Priceline Hotel: Staying "in the Kingdom"

By tufty2000,

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For a trip to Orlando, my wife has heard that a lot of the events at Disney are more accessible if you stay "in the Kingdom" (in other words, on Disney grounds). There's a "Disney World - Kissimmee" zone on Priceline but I can't tell if it's only hotels on Disney grounds or not. I wondered if anyone had gotten a hotel at Disney using priceline?

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Staying on-site at Disney gives you access to their transportation system which is far superior to any Disney-area hotel shuttle I've seen-- including Downtown Disney hotels, extra magic hours (a selected park opens 1 hour early and/or stays open 3 hours later depending on season/attendance and day of the week), as well as free parking, now worth $10 or more per day, at the theme parks. We usually stay at the value resort Pop Century which is typically around $80 + tax per night with a Florida resident or passholder discount; however, I think a regular rate there is about $100 (the max. rate allowable by Fla law as posted on the back of the door is $125). Disney is very good about fixing problems, too, like leaky faucets, broken toilets, etc., so what might be a horrible problem at a comparable motel outside the parks (in the value category, I would compare to Holiday Inn Express or Courtyard) is taken care of immediately.

Disney doesn't usually have anything show up on PL. The All Stars that showed up were a definite "rare bird," and were only given due to the construction of the new family suites. Disney has no problem filling up their nearly 30,000 rooms on-site and the reasons above show why.

I think you could expect to save $40 or more per night by bidding PL 2 or 2.5* versus the Disney Value Resorts (All Stars and Pop Century), but only you can determine whether it's worth the $$. If you compare Disney Deluxes to PL Resorts, the savings would probably be even more substantial (say $80 vs. $150+). Www.mousesavers.com can give you a good idea of the going rates of Disney resorts as well as discounts available.

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For the reasons stated above, I think it's worth about $35/night more to stay at a Disney Value Resort compared to a 2.5 star priceline hotel IF you're primarily going to Disney while in Orlando. There are sometimes special offers (usually at off-peak times) that can make staying "on site" significantly cheaper than staying off-site (the recent free disney dining program is a classic example). FWIW, I've heard rumors that a new Disney lodging offer will be released to the public on Nov. 2 for off-peak days this winter (it won't include free dining, however).

If you're looking for a resort experience, priceline probably offers the better deal because Disney resorts are so outrageously expensive (and their discounts barely help). I don't think a resort is worthwhile, however, if you will be hitting the parks each day -- since you'll spend very little time at the resort.

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