Disney World: The Family of Five Dilemma

This year, both of the DW Dads welcomed their third sons to the world.  Domenic’s son Zack was born in July and JR’s son Liam was born just a week ago (Congrats, JR!).  This is an exciting time for both of their families; however, choosing the right resort when they vacation at Disney may become a real head-scratcher!

For the next three years, they will continue to be considered a family of four, so there is tons of flexibility when it comes to what type of resort and room they can choose.  But, when the babies turn three, the families will have to stay in rooms specifically designed for five.  You see, Disney does not offer roll-away beds or cots and it sticks pretty strictly to the maximum occupancy quoted for each room type, so would-be vacationers have to really crunch the numbers on the options to see what works best for them.

I recently had a family of 6 (the 6th is a baby) ask for a quote for a trip to Disney.  The following is an excerpt from the e-mail I sent them,

“First, since your youngest is under 3, you technically have a family of 5. This will allow for a little more flexibility when it comes to resorts/rooms.  I’m not sure what resort level you’d prefer to stay at, so I’ve put together a few sample quotes. All of the following are based on a Saturday-Saturday stay, the last full week of June 2014; tickets are included and are park hoppers (you can visit multiple parks in one day), but they do not include water parks; and there is no dining plan included at this time.

Value: All-Stars/Pop Century
At these hotels, you can only have 4 people (plus the baby) per room, so you would have to get two adjoining rooms. The upside is that you would have more space and two bathrooms. The total for two rooms is approximately $4350.
Moderate: Port Orleans Riverside
This is the first level where you could potentially all be in one room.  Only one moderate level hotel – Port Orleans Riverside – allows for families of five (plus the baby).  They have two queen beds and a small Murphy bed. There is only one bathroom, though, and the room isn’t huge, so it may be a little tight.  The total for one room here would be approximately $3900. Of course, you could also get two adjoining rooms here, just like at the Value resorts above.
Suites: Art of Animation
This is the newest resort at Disney World.  It is technically a Value resort, but 75% of the rooms are family suites, so the prices are actually higher than the moderate resorts.  Each suite contains a bedroom with one queen bed and a common room with a very small kitchenette and two additional “beds” (the kitchen table turns into a double bed and the couch pulls out to a double bed). There are two bathrooms.  The total for one suite is approximately $5000.  I should probably say that, if my family of five were going a few years from now, this is the option we’d choose.  Keep in mind, however, that the Art of Animation is often excluded from discounts, because it is so new and popular.
Deluxe (Example: Grand Floridian)
There are many options at this level, if you’d prefer to stay somewhere closer to the parks, like on the monorail loop.  These rooms are larger than the Port Orleans room mentioned above; many have two queens and a pullout couch.  Still, only one bathroom. Again, there are many options at this level, but one example: the total for one room at the Grand Floridian would be approximately $6260.
Disney also offers the following: Deluxe level suites, 1- and 2-bedroom Villas, Cabins, Treehouses (no, really!)…there are many more options besides the ones listed above.  Once we have an idea of your budget, we can start narrowing down the possibilities.”
So, you see, families of five have a lot of considering to do. So, for comparison’s sake, here is a list of the options, from most affordable to most expensive.  I’ve also included some numbers for the Villas, Fort Wilderness Cabins and Saratoga Springs Treehouses. This is based on the same info as the e-mail above (last full week of June 2014, Park Hoppers included, Dining Plan is NOT):
1 Room at Port Orleans Riverside – $3900
2 Rooms at Pop Century – $4350
1 Cabin at Fort Wilderness – $4850
1 Suite at Art of Animation – $5000
1 Room at the Beach Club – $5300
1 1-Bedroom Villa at Old Key West – $5900
1 Room at Grand Floridian – $6260
1 2-Bedroom Villa at Old Key West – $7700
1 Treehouse at Saratoga Springs – $8550
Does YOUR family of five (or two, or three, or four, or…you get the point) want to take a trip to Disney World? Let DW Dads know, and we can help you plan a magical family vacation. And remember: our services are always FREE! Contact us today!

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