Staying at a non-Disney hotel has a few money-saving advantages.
For one, these hotels are almost always cheaper than Disney-owned resorts. They also offer a wider selection of spacious rooms and suites to accommodate larger groups and families. Many of these larger rooms come equipped with kitchenettes, which means you can cook meals in your room instead of dining at pricey Disney World restaurants. This alone can save you hundreds of dollars.
Although off-site hotels don’t have the same perks and cool Disney themes as their on-site counterparts, most of these hotels do have some wonderful amenities.
The obvious downside is that you are situated further away from Disney World and will not have access to free Disney transportation services. Thus, you will have the additional expense of renting a car (unless you bring your own) or taking taxis/Ubers to the park. However, when all is said and down, non-Disney (off-site) hotels have the potential to save you money (if you are willing to deal with some inconveniences) vs. Disney Moderate and Disney Deluxe resorts.
Disney Value resorts are the least expensive in-park lodging and offer competitive rates to rival off-site resorts. We would encourage you to book this tier if you want to be close to the action without costing you an arm and a leg. See our Disney Value Resorts and Cheapest Hotel in Disney World articles for more information, or contact The Vacationeer to review your options. It’s often cheaper to book through a Disney Travel Agent. Plus they can help you set up a payment plan for your Disney vacation.
Another Disney on a dime strategy is to search online for room or house listings near Disney World.
Websites like Airbnb and HomeAway offer these types of short-term vacation rentals, most of which can be a considerable discount to staying at a resort. Consider splitting the rental costs with another family to reduce your lodging expenses even further.