Our First Off Site Hotel Stay for a Disney World Trip

After staying on site at Walt Disney World for our first twenty trips, we decided to take a chance and see what it is like to stay at an off site, non-Disney owned resort for our 21st trip to The World.

We did some research starting with Mousesavers.com to look into the resorts they recommended and where they were located in the Disney area. Staying at the end of August made for some pretty good deals, since southern schools were already back in session, thus “tourist” season was over. We decided on a one bedroom suite at Buena Vista Suites on World Center Drive, about a mile outside of Disney property. Two queen beds, a double pull out couch and a free breakfast for only $99 a night seemed too good to be true. Was it?

It didn’t exactly feel “magical” pulling up to check in and walking through the lobby, but it was neat and quiet and fresh looking.

Buena Vista Suites Lobby

Buena Vista Suites Lobby

We were given our room key cards (oh yeah, no magic bands here!) and told the best place to park. (Parking was free for this hotel also, another plus). We were on the 5th floor and our view was of a power substation. Not exactly magical either.

View from our room at Buena Vista Suites

View from our room at Buena Vista Suites

However, we were within sight of Downtown Disney (soon to be Disney Springs)…

Downtown Disney Characters In Flight was visible from the room

The Downtown Disney Characters In Flight balloon was visible from the room.

As well as Epcot…

Spaceship Earth from Buena Vista Suites

Spaceship Earth is just visible from Buena Vista Suites as well.

The room itself was clean and up-to-date. Although there was enough sleeping space for 3 adult couples, the addition of all of the luggage made things a bit cramped. The location of the bathroom and sink area, between the bedroom and the living room, was awkward when 4 people were trying to get ready for bed in the evening or out the door in the morning at the same time. Still the price was right. So far money well spent and we were all looking forward to a free breakfast in the morning!

Wellllll, I’ve had worse “free breakfasts”. Thinking back, it really was just fine and certainly more than the usual free Continental Breakfast consisting of bagels and coffee. Scrambled eggs, either bacon, sausage or ham, roasted potatoes, waffles or French toast sticks, oatmeal and cold cereals. (I never did see any toast though…)

Buena Vista Suites Free Breakfast

Buena Vista Suites Free Breakfast

There were some different pastries each morning and a very limited selection of fresh/canned fruit.

Free Breakfast Pastries

Free Breakfast Pastries

A couple of fruit juices and coffee, really what more did you need?

Beverage Station, including soft drinks, juices, and coffee.

Beverage Station, including soft drinks, juices, and coffee.

It was nothing fancy, but we paid less for a night at this hotel AND breakfast the next morning than it would have cost the 4 of us just to eat at Crystal Palace! Other than the one little girl who sneezed into the tray of potatoes, it all was perfectly acceptable.

Buena Vista Suites Dining Area

Buena Vista Suites Dining Area

The other odd couple of things were that we were given a $25 food/beverage credit to use at their bar. Well, I don’t know if it was because it was “off-season” or what, but the bar was never open!

The Bar at Buena Vista Suites is called "Bambooz".

The Bar at Buena Vista Suites is called “Bambooz”.

Also, they said that they had Starbucks coffee available in the lobby. This was their “Starbucks”:

The Buena Vista Suites Starbucks Location

The Buena Vista Suites Starbucks Location

This particular hotel did not have a very big pool, and it was not always open. If swim time is important to your family, there are probably better off site pool options.

Buena Vista Suites Pool

Buena Vista Suites Pool

So would I recommend staying at The Buena Vista Suites on World Center Drive? Absolutely. The price is the best selling point. You are no farther away than many of the on-site resorts at a fraction of the cost. And if you have older kids or a larger family, it’s a no-brainer. This hotel was clean and extremely quiet (we had no idea anyone else was staying there until we went to breakfast in the mornings). And breakfast was…adequate and free.

All in all, our first stay in an off site hotel for a Walt Disney World trip was perfectly fine. It was clean, inexpensive, and very near the Disney Theme parks as long as you have a car. How about you? Have you ventured to a non-Disney resort on your Disney vacations? Let us know what you thought. Would never hear of such a thing? Let us know that as well!

Comments

  1. Crystal says:

    I’m looking at staying at this hotel next January. Do you have an opinion on the shuttle service to and from the parks? Did you notice whether they ran the shuttles frequently?

    • We had a rental car so I can’t give you an opinion on using their service. However, I do know that for the most part shuttles at off site hotels only make a few trips daily, sometimes only a morning and evening trip and some charge a per person, per trip fee for the service. Your best bet is to call the hotel directly to get their schedules.

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