Westgate Resorts are a great off-property option for your Walt Disney World or Universal Studios Orlando vacation!
Westgate has studio, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom condos at great rates very close to all of Central Florida’s vacation attractions.
There are 7 locations in the Disney World/Universal Studios area!
Walt Disney World
Military families are always on the hunt for cheap hotels near Disney World, with Disney’s recent increase of their resort-hotel rates, and the explosion of affordable stay options that dot the landscape nearby there there are so many to consider.
The problem is that it’s still fairly challenging to find one of these that is both close enough to the parks (say, about a mile or two away) and still has SOME resort-level comforts built into its experience. Enter Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa, which has been sitting on the backdoor of Disney for decades, with a nearly straight shot into the Disney area from its prime location on Turkey Lake Road / Palm Parkway to the South.
A lot of people don’t know this route, but it’s a sneaky and quick (and usually uncluttered) road to use that’s largely devoid of tourist traffic.
This makes Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa convenient and (with the perks of an affordable resort thrown in) the perfect off-property resort.
Universal Studios Orlando
If you’re looking for cheap hotels near Universal Studios, there’s no better place to look than the Westgate Palace Resort. While this hotel might not necessarily be the obvious choice for premium digs, it’s been around forever as one of the best values for a hotel right across from the parks, and a solid alternative to paying in-park resort rates for many.
Staying Off WDW Property
Staying off Walt Disney World property brings with it a couple of things to think about.
Transportation and My Magic Plus (particularly FastPass Plus).
Transportation – Those not staying at a Disney Owned Resort are responsible for their own transportation from the Orlando International Airport. While Disney Resort guests have use of the Magical Express airport service.
Fear not! Military Disney Tips had coordinated a Military Discount on Airport Transportation with Orlando Shuttle Service.
Just visit orlandoshuttleservice.com to compare all of the shuttle services in Orlando and get a military discount too!
Use the discount code MDT15 which will take $15 off of your rate.
Theme Park Transportation – The Westgate resorts offer free transportation to the theme parks.
My Magic Plus – Those not staying at a Disney Owned Resort will make their FastPass Plus reservations 30 days out from the day desired versus the 60 days for WDW guests.
If you’d like to have the use of Magic Bands to act as your park tickets and FastPass Plus tokens, you’ll need to buy your own Magic Bands. You can do so at the Disney Store.
Westgate Resorts Regular Military Discount
In recognition of the bravery and commitment of America’s heroes, Westgate Resorts is proud to offer savings to the military community.
Receive up to 10% off of the best available rate.
Westgate Resorts’ Military Weekend
In 2011 Westgate Resorts began offering free weekend stays to military families to thank them for their service.
David Siegel Westgate CEO, a veteran himself is proud to do this for military families each year.
As a veteran, I understand the dedication and sacrifice required of our troops,” said Siegel. “I am incredibly proud of these national heroes, and it is our pleasure to thank them the best way we know how at Westgate Resorts – with an unforgettable vacation experience.”
Our U.S. military and their families make a constant sacrifice. We hope to give those who have served in combat a chance to spend some quality time with their loved ones. Nothing can ever replace the family time that’s lost, but by creating these weekends for them, we’re trying to help make new memories and give these men and women the recognition they deserve.”
During the first few years of offering these vacations, those who registered in time could select their vacation dates and location from a list of Westgate Resorts.
But starting in 2017 Westgate stepped it up and offered a Big Special Weekend that all would attend together. Doing this allowed them engage with partners to offer many special events and other offers.
I’ve now attended both the pick your date and resort, and the consolidated military weekend, and the latter is by far the best way to do it.
As you may know, Westgate Resorts are timeshare resorts, but this event is a totally separate experience. There are absolutely no strings attached and no sales presentations whatsoever. Just an offer to say thanks for serving.
See my report from this year’s Military Weekend.
See last year’s announcement and be on the look for this year’s!
Planning a Disney Trip? Want to get the best military discounts that are available? Feeling a little confused? See our:
Learn about the Disney Armed Forces Salute the best military discount that there is for Disney. For where to stay see our Resorts/Hotel Overview Page. Disney doesn’t discount dining for the military, but there are a few places on property that do, see the Dining Overview Page to learn where plus more dining info. You can also learn about Transportation Options. Be sure to check out our Technology Overview to learn about Magic Bands and My Disney Experience to see how they work with military tickets. Walt Disney World visitors might be interested in staying at Shades of Green, WDW’s Military Only Resort.