When going to Disneyland, the choices of lodging are limited compared to Disney World. Over the years, my family has stayed at various Good Neighbor Hotels, as well as resort hotels. However, in the past couple of years we have discovered vacation rental sites such as VRBO.com, Homeaway.com, and Flipkey.com. On these sites, you are able to rent out people’s homes or vacation condos. These are especially helpful for people with bigger families or groups. You are able to stay in a house for your whole group for around the price of one hotel room a night, depending on your budget. Here are a few tips when looking for vacation rentals on these sites for your Disney trip.
1. Reviews: Just like you would for hotels, make sure to check the reviews on these places. Reviews are key to helping you find the right place and making sure you are working with reputable people since these are privately owned places. To stay on the safe side, I would not stay at a place with little to no reviews or ratings. Customer reviews are crucial when booking these kind of rentals.
2. Location: Considering most of the places are in neighborhoods instead of main city areas, you want to make sure you are able to get to the parks in a reasonable amount of time. Even though the advertisement may say “close to Disneyland” make sure to map out the address to see how close it really is to the rental. At the last two places we stayed at through these sites, we were able to walk to the parks from the rentals with no problem. However, you need to be cautious and check the distance, especially if you aren’t renting a car.
3. Pictures: If they don’t already have pictures posted, make sure to request them. Unlike hotels, there is no standard when it comes to these rentals so you want to make sure it fits your needs. You do not want to take a gamble on a house you haven’t seen on the inside.
4. Availability: Even if they have a calendar posted for availability for their rental, make sure to double check before you book. Some of these rentals fill up very quickly, especially during the summer and holiday season so you want to make sure you are not double booking.
5. Communication: Make sure to always have communication with the rental owners or company. Also, request a contract if possible in the form of a temporary rental agreement. I would also recommend having a verbal discussion with the rental owners/property managers before you book the property.
Vacation rentals are a convenient alternative for lodging, especially on a budget and for bigger groups. The three main vacation rental sites I recommend and have used before are VRBO.com, homeaway.com, and flipkey.com. If you are looking for vacation lodging alternatives to resort hotels or good neighbor hotels, I suggest to give these sites a look and see if they fit your standards and needs.