You don't have to spend a ton of money, but you should make sure you have the basics checked off. If you plan on doing the marathon of parks, you will be expending a lot of energy each day and even though you may only need a place to sleep, you want that place to be safe, clean, have a comfortable temperature, and a cozy bed. Also, depending on how many people are going with you, you may also want a little personal space, especially since, even if the parks aren't crowded, you are spending a lot of time in close proximity to other bodies.
For this trip, we spent the week at The Marriott Grande Vista, because we know a guy. The Grande Vista is a time share resort.
We ended up having a two bedroom suite all to ourselves. One room had a king size bed and bathroom and the other had two queen beds and a bathroom. The beds were quite cozy.
Our favorite area was the screened -in- porch.
The grounds were beautiful.
Each building had a grilling area.
There were two man-made beach areas.
There were two pool areas.
There were all sorts of activities going on everyday.
I think this would be a fantastic place for families or larger groups of friends because it offered a lot of space. It would also be useful for people who do not plan on eating out/at the parks because it has a full kitchen and areas for grilling. Since my husband snores, I was happy for a second bedroom to escape to on two of the evenings, and who doesn't like two bathrooms, but we didn't use the pool or beach once.
The biggest disadvantage was the fact that we had to rent a car, drive everywhere. The driving was a bit crazy, okay I didn't actually do any of the driving, but my husband's daily rantings about the driving was enough to make me understand why people will pay a little extra to enjoy "staying on property," and using Disney or Universal's transportation (note-Disney's transportation doesn't go to Universal and Universal's does not go to Disney).
We really did enjoy our stay, even if most of the time our eyes were closed.