While I do love the Disney on-property Resorts, for their fabulous theming and close proximity to everything Disney, the point can be made that you can find excellent deals off property that make financial sense when you are on a budget. From a Motel 6 room to renting a spacious house or condo, Orlando is full of beautiful properties just waiting for you to find them and decide if it’s worth your trouble to stay off site. Let me whisper three words for you to remember… Bonnet Creek Resort.
You can almost drive right by the entrance to Bonnet Creek without realizing it’s there. When my children were toddlers, we made a wrong turn and wound up driving into the property on accident. Just that one peek was enough to make me dream of staying there one day. I looked up pictures of the rooms and the multiple pools on the Internet, and then the price stopped me dead in my tracks. But I found my Cheapskate Princess solution to that dilemma…
Wyndham’s Bonnet Creek Resort is nearly 500 acres surrounded on three sides by Disney World property, located practically next door to Epcot and Downtown Disney. Bonnet Creek offers amazing one, two, three, and four bedroom condos with large master bathrooms sporting jet tubs. With fully stocked full-size kitchens and a washer/dryer, you’ll have the conveniences of home with just a short drive to your favorite Disney hot spots.
With all these resort amenities, you may not even need to bother with theme park tickets. OK, you probably will, but you wouldn’t have to.
- Beach Volleyball Court
- 5 Outdoor Swimming Pools
- “Get Out & Play” Activities Program
- 9 Outdoor Hot Tubs
- 2 Children’s Water Features
- 13 Pool Cabanas
- 2 Lazy Rivers
- 2 Exercise Equipment Areas
- 3 Game Rooms
- Miniature Golf
- 3 Picnic/BBQ Areas
Now that we’ve covered why you should forgo your regular Disney on-property Resort, let’s get to the price.
Wyndham has a limited time offer right now on their Facebook page where if you book by January 31, 2013, traveling by March 28, 2013, you can rent a one bedroom suite for $195 a night, with a two night minimum. I don’t consider that to be any sort of bargain, even if it is a discount off their regular non-discounted price.
My solution? I love to shop on eBay. When our family needed accommodations for Christmas 2011, my husband secured a two bedroom lake view unit at Bonnet Creek from an eBay auction for about $125 a night including taxes and cleaning fees. We spent three nights at Bonnet Creek in June of 2012 with a spectacular view of the lake, again purchased from an eBay auction, for $120 a night. During Thanksgiving 2012, we headed back to Bonnet Creek for a week. We rented the same size two bedroom unit for around $125 a night from, you guessed it, an eBay auction, but this time the view was of the parking lot, which actually wasn’t as visually traumatic as it sounds. You can check out the resort using the official Wyndham Bonnet Creek web site.
Once you have virtually toured the resort on the Internet, follow that up with a trip down shopping lane on eBay. Just type in Bonnet Creek Resort in the search engine and look for the travel dates you want. You have to be a savvy shopper, because as with all eBay auctions, you will find vastly different prices for the exact same item.
With eBay transactions, make sure you deal with reputable sellers with good feedback. All three of our Bonnet Creek auctions turned out great, and I would not hesitate to bid on a future vacation through eBay.
Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort
9560 Via Encinas
Lake Buena Vista, Florida, 32830,
VRBO.com also offers Bonnet Creek resort accommodations where you rent straight from an owner. From our price comparisons, our eBay auction prices always turned out to be more cost-effective than renting from an owner. This may depend on time of travel and the owner’s willingness to work with you. If you can’t find a low enough eBay price, try VRBO.com.
Let me compare my Bonnet Creek eBay rate to prices for the Disney All-Star Resorts, the least expensive (translation- most affordable) and least decked-out (translation- least amenities for your dollar) of the Disney Resorts. For $125 a night, we rented a two bedroom condo with that huge list of amenities. The pre-tax and non-discounted rate for the All-Star Resorts starts at $92 during Value Season, which can run as high as $198 during Holiday Season in December. That rate gives you beds, a bathroom, a pool, mini-fridge, and free wi-fi, plus Extra Magic Hours, which definitely are a bonus.
You do not get Extra Magic Hours at Bonnet Creek, which is definitely a big selling point for staying on property at Disney World. This is because although parked right next to Disney property, Bonnet Creek Resort is not a Disney-owned property. Bonnet Creek will also not give you access to the Disney bus shuttle service like the Disney Resorts, until you get on Disney property, but they have their own bus service that runs on a set schedule. So if you drive, you will have to pay for Disney parking unless you have an Annual Pass. Staying on property definitely gives you on-site-convenience and Extra Magic Hours, but not the spaciousness of a two bedroom condo just a stone’s throw from all your favorite Disney destinations.
Bonnet Creek is a timeshare property owned by the Wyndham Corporation. You will almost certainly be asked to see a timeshare presentation, which is lengthy at about two hours, and they are seriously far more aggressive in sales techniques than Disney. In my opinion, they are also vastly more expensive than the DVC for similar use times. However, you are not obligated to see the presentation. Just simply tell the representative “No, thank you!” from the very first request, and then don’t change your mind. For our two hours of time, we received a $100 gas card and a three night vacation somewhere we found too complicated to attempt to use. The gas card was worth our time. Last year they offered me a spa day; I felt like I did not want to leave my family on vacation, so we said no to the presentation. They must have known I was broke, because they didn’t push the issue!
I love the Disney resorts and the perks of staying on-property, but if you are looking for a totally classy alternative at a possibly discounted rate, then head over to eBay and see what sort of deal you can find: www.ebay.com and search “Bonnet Creek Resort.” Let me know if you find any deals!
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Thanks for stopping by, and let me know if you use eBay to win a stay at Bonnet Creek!
Disney’s Cheapskate Princess