Inspired by Actual Events (and TV, Music, and Movies) - 12/29/18 to 1/4/19

3dadknight

Well-known member
Thank you for your fantastic trip reports - I truly enjoy them. I was just wondering if you could add something about your experience with the Grand Villa? I would love to hear your thoughts on the pros/cons and if it was worth it??
Thanks. I’m glad you enjoy the reports. Sorry it took so long to reply. I have been extremely busy at work and life in general. I don’t think it has ever taken me over three months to complete a trip report. Anyway, my thoughts on an OKW Grand Villa:

First, it was great to have for this trip given the makeup of our group. 8 people and 4 bathrooms was a very convenient timesaver. Also, we had more than enough sleeping surfaces. Only one person (oldest son) did not sleep in a real bed. My wife and I took the king/master suite. Younger son and his friend took the room with two double beds. Daughter and her friend (both 12) shared one queen bed and son’s girlfriend took the other. Oldest son was perfectly comfortable all week on the sleeper chair in the living room. The living room/kitchen/dining area is absolutely huge and provided plenty of room to sit, relax, and eat without anyone being relegated to one of the bedrooms (unless, of course they wanted to). With two bedrooms on the second floor, there was no need to worry about disturbing those sleeping upstairs. Even on the same floor, simply closing the door to our bedroom door made things quiet enough that I slept through the CM knocking to provide trash service during an afternoon nap. On a trip with a large group of which my wife and I are in charge, an OKW Grand Villa Near Hospitality House provides everything we could want by way of accommodations.

OKW’s location is what it is, and I won’t go into the pros and cons of being “so far away” from the parks. Bus service, though, was pretty good throughout our stay. We were a quick walk away from Hospitality House where every bus makes its last stop before departing the grounds for a park. The first stop made by the buses returning from the parks was at the end of our parking lot. Out of curiosity one day, we boarded a bus to MK from our parking lot stop and rode through the entire OKW property. It took as long to ride the grounds as it did to get to MK. I won’t do that again. Next time I’ll just walk to HH and wait on a bench.

We usually have a rental or our own vehicle, and I love being able to park almost right outside my door. That is not unique to the GV, but I thought I’d mention it as a plug for OKW.

Now, the all important question: Was it worth it? Yes, if “it” means a 6 night stay beginning December 29 and ending January 4, with Dad, Mom, Older Son (19), his girlfriend (19), Younger Son (17), his friend (18), Daughter (12), and her friend (12). It was expensive, but we needed the space. I don’t think things would have gone as smoothly as they did if we were crammed into a two bedroom that technically sleeps 9. The first three nights of the trip cost 267 points (105, 81, and 81 points). The last three nights cost 141 points (47 points each). Overall, it was 408 points for 6 nights, an average of 68 points per night. Our trip spanned both the most point-expensive season and least point-expensive season. I still question why the room cost 105 points one night and less than half that 3 day’s later - that is a huge difference without much difference in our WDW experiences from day to day. The drastic point drop seems somewhat arbitrary. I shouldn’t complain, though, because I could not afford the same trip taken a week earlier. In fact, the original plan had been to go Friday December 28 and return Thursday January 3. I could not find the points, so we shifted the trip by one day trading a 105 point night for a 47 point night. At an average of 68 points per night, I think it was well worth it. In fact, for all but 2 weeks out of the year, you can get an OKW GV for an average of 68.14 points per night or much less. For about 5 months in the year, you can get it for an average of 51.14 points or less. For the amount of space and comfort, on a trip when you plan to spend and afternoon or two or an evening or two in the room, it is a steal and well worth it.
 

mgarbowski

Well-known member
The next day, timing was perfect. It had to be. Our flight was scheduled to land in New Orleans at 12:05.


That's living on an edge where I would not be comfortable. Glad it worked out for you.


In fact, the original plan had been to go Friday December 28 and return Thursday January 3. I could not find the points, so we shifted the trip by one day trading a 105 point night for a 47 point night.
And now I see why you did it.
 

3dadknight

Well-known member
That's living on an edge where I would not be comfortable. Glad it worked out for you.
It was mandatory training and there was another scheduled in March that I could attend, but would require me to drive across the state. In hindsight, I should have attended the March session. I didn’t think there was anything that could make a 4 hour mandatory training session more boring until I attended one within an hour of returning from Disney World.
 

psdras

New member
The way you broke it down really makes sense. I've been going back and forth between getting 2-3 rooms or going off site for a larger house for our large party. But this was an option I hadn't considered. I'm going to price it out now and add it to the list of options. I know an off site house will be much less expensive but my main concern is our party being able to split up with teenagers who would be old enough to take disney transport on their own but not to drive rental cars. And I really don't like the idea of 2 or 3 rooms as I think it would really dampen our hanging out together time. Thank you for taking the time to respond. Looking forward to your next trip report!
 

3dadknight

Well-known member
How hard is reserving a grand villa?
After thinking there was only 1 GV Near Hospitality House, I learned that there are two in that category - the one we had and the mirror image adjacent to ours. They are both in building 25. I actually walked our reservation at 11 months for our trip. Both were gone fast. I just checked and other than a night here and there, there is no availability for those in the next 7 months and only a couple of stretches of 2-3 days in Nov and Dec. Late January and Late February into early March still show some availability of 5-7 day stretches. The other GVs at OKW are pretty easy to get. Although we are about to hit Easter and a week that costs 81 points for weekdays and 105 on Friday and Saturday, I could book a 7 day stretch beginning tomorrow. There are plenty of 5-7+ days of availability for the next 11 months. In fact, as I write this on April 9, there is complete availability for an OKW GV on any day from August 25 - September 14. A 5 night trip over Labor Day beginning Sunday, Sept. 1 with a Friday checkout would only cost 235 points and it is available now. That is less than 5 months away. SSR has both preferred and standard GV availability for that same trip, but the cost is either 55 or 140 points more. AKV Kidani GV would also be 140 points more and is available.

To finally answer your question, GVs Near Hospitality House likely require booking at 11 months or at least before the 7 month window opens, depending on the time of year. The other GV’s at OKW are pretty easy to get except around Christmas/New Year’s and perhaps Thanksgiving since they really lend themselves to family gatherings.
 

Anne

Well-known member
Thanks so much for the details! I didn't realize how reasonably priced the grand villas can be. We're spending that many points on a 1 bedroom for thanksgiving week :-(
Next off-season extended family trip I think we will seriously consider a GV. Although we might have 12-14 people so we'd still need another room.
 
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