I am planning a vacation for the month of July with my niece and her 5 year old son. He will be six by then. I don't want to go back to International Drive because I don't drive and the cheaper hotels, the ones that I can afford, don't offer free shuttles to Disney. That is where I really want to spend more time. We have already gone to Sea World, Universal, etc. Those shuttles were free but to get a shuttle from the Rodeway Inn on International Drive cost us a little over30 each, and that's just for one day. Someone told me that it is closer to Disney if I stay in Kissimmee. I have been looking on the web and some of the cheaper hotels in Kissimmee have bad ratings. Thriftlodge doesn't have that many unbiased traveler's reviews available for reading and whatever reviews are available to read sound good. What is confusing to me is that one person said that the Thriftlodge in Kissimmee at 4624 Iro Bronson Memorial Highway is far from the Disney theme parks and another person says that it is 5 minutes away. One travel company says that the hotel has a free shuttle and four or five other travel companies don't even mention a free shuttle to Disney. I emailed the hotel asking them the questions but I haven't received a response. One other person also stated that there is a public bus, Lynx, across the street from this hotel and that it goes to the Disney main gate area, but I can't find out if that is true. I will have to call the hotel directly. I don't drive so I really need this info. I want to spend about 10 days in Disney, but I can't afford to spend a lot on cabs back and forth if I want to use the money going to the parks. I also need information about restaurants and grocery stores nearby. The website for the hotel says that there are restaurants nearby, one person says that there are and one person says that they are very far away and that if you don't have a car and stay at this hotel I will be very unhappy. Please help. I want to book this hotel very soon because it does have a very good AARP rate and if the hotel is really clean, it will book up fast. Once again thank you for any advice that is given.
Go to your library (or a good browsing bookstore) and check out the Unofficial Guide to Disney World.. it has some good information on how far hotels "really" are from Disney World when you factor in traffic. I-drive is pretty built up, so 5 minutes by mapquest could be 30 minutes in traffic. We stayed at the marriott courtyard at Lake Buena Vista, which wasn't too expensive last July. The Lake buena vista region is apparently not too bad for traffic, close enough, but far enough to get some deals. I don't know about public transit, but I wonder what is really to stop someone from hopping the bus at a neighboring hotel. They never checked if we had a room key or anything. So theoretically, if you booked at a cheap hotel that is next door to a more expensive hotel with a shuttle, then you could possibly manage that way. Don't waste your money on cabs. Orlando is total sprawl town, and for what you'd be paying on cabs, you could afford to stay in a more expensive hotel with a shuttle. You're looking at probably 20+ dollars a trip (one way!), assuming no traffic, which means you'd be going at lunch time or later. So good luck finding out about public transit (though I suspect the service would either be horrible or inconvenient, since even our hotel shuttle was a total pain when we were there - the bus would go to three parks before returning to the hotels, but if it filled up at the first park or two, it just wouldn't go to the third park, and they wouldn't send an extra bus. We ended up waiting 2 hours in a thunderstorm with blistered feet until a bus came for us.)
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I've been hearing that a lot of the smaller motels like Thriftlodge, Master's Inn and Knight's Inn suffered a lot of hurricane damage. Some of them are run-down, some of them are all repaired and somewhat renovated. But the general consensous is to avoid them all right now. What's your top price point? Maybe someone can come up with some better ideas that have a shuttle.
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