Sunday, June 10, 2012

Staying Offsite: Shortcut to the Parks


With a family of five, staying on property isn't always easy for us. Although with the new Art of Animation Resort opening, it has become easier, yet pricey.

Staying offsite is a must for many larger families. You can rent a 3+ bedroom with a private pool for less nightly than what you would pay at a value resort. Along US 27S, there are many communities that offer short term rentals that are great for saving money without sacrificing the comfort of your family. 

Many families ask, though, is it worth the time spent to stay offsite. Driving from many of the communities above can range from 15-48 minutes from Disney property. Which end of the spectrum you end up on depends on whether you listen to your GPS and take I-4 or US192 or if you listen to me and take a lesser known route. 

First, you can trust your GPS to get you to Florence Villa Grove Road. 

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This will bypass US192 aka Land of the Neon. Not only will you miss all the neon, you will miss only half of the inhabitants of all those vacation homes/condos/hotels heading toward Disney. Ha ha ha suckers.

You will turn RIGHT onto Florance Villa Grove Road. You will follow it for approximately 1.5 miles.
Turn LEFT onto Westside Road. Contine through the stop light. Westside Road turns into Avalon Road/Co Rd 545. 

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Watch very carefully on the right for a small road. Hartzog road looks like it may lead to only residences, but that's not the case. Find Hartzog after about a mile and turn right.

It's bumpy. It's unmarked. There are orange groves. Nothing too exciting. Don't speed though. Even as tempting as it might be, please refrain from speeding. You might hit an animal, or a cast member. Please don't hurt Mickey's friend on the way to work. That wouldn't be cool.

Hartzog eventually turns into a civilized looking roadway. Follow it to the stoplight and turn RIGHT onto Western Way.

Once on Western Way, turn your air conditioning (or heat if you're so inclined) on recirculate. You will thank me. In about a mile you will pass under the Walt Disney World "gates". Once you pass under those signs, it's even more important that you have your vents on recirculate. Trust me.

Have you ever wondered what happens to all the waste from the Animal Kingdom? Disney reuses it, of course. If you want to find out how elephant/rhino/giraffe poop smells as it's turned into fertilizer, then don't turn your vents on recirculate.

Follow Western Way to a stop light where you must make a decision. Animal Kingdom or one of the other three? 

Two roads diverged by a red stop light,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, after a long flight
And looked down one as far as I might
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, to make rope drop,
And having perhaps the better chance
Because it was early we might park hop;
Though for the babe, we'll use kid swap
Had to take a nap, all the same,

And all that morning equally lay
In heaps of blankets in the sack.
Oh, I kept the other for another day!
Yet knowing now it was time to play,
I doubted if I should ever come pack.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere days and days since
Two roads diverged in Disney, and I—
I took one and don't know why,
And in the end, it made perfect sense.

Turn RIGHT for Disney's Animal Kingdom. Turn LEFT for Magic Kingdom, Epcot or Disney's Hollywood Studios. 

Follow the signs, GPS doesn't always work well on property. You can thank me later for saving you the time and headache of travelling US192 or I4 during busy drive times. 

If you get lost, though, that's your fault. I'm much too smart to get lost. My husband, however... well, we won't discuss that. Everyone knows men never need directions. Yeah, right. 

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