If you are anything like me, you’ve been to Disney World too many times to count! I’ve been in the heat of the summer, I’ve fought the spring break crowds, I’ve seen Goofy Santa make his way down Main Street USA. Over the course of my trips, I’ve been very purposeful about where I stay. I like to collect blogger data (aka pictures, story ideas, and any insider scoop I can). I’ve stayed on and off property and today, I’m here to share my observations. I’m breaking down my thoughts on the eternal question….do I stay on property? Let’s compare a few points on both on property and off property resorts. Today I’m giving you my tips to make your trip P.A.R.K. perfection! On property? Off property? Let’s figure this thing out!
When it comes to the theme parks, proximity is HUGE! The ability to hop on a bus, boat, or monorail (or your own car for that matter) and be “home” in the blink of an eye is huge! So, let’s makes some comparisons…
There are a wide variety of resorts to choose from. You have the power to select a resort that is as close as on the monorail loop to as far away as the Downtown Disney area. Of course, you’ll have to pay for that convenience, but in this point we are comparing proximity. You can’t get any closer than the monorail loop. That’s a fact.
While there are a few hotels that are technically on (or near enough to be on) Disney property, that aren’t official Disney Resorts. Of course, there are the variety of other hotel options and rentals that aren’t anywhere near property. I’ve stayed in non-official resorts like Disney Good Neighbor Resort hotels and I’ve stayed in a rental house that required a trip through 2 toll roads--that was not awesome! Think of all the time you are spending driving back and forth and all the money you’re spending on parking, gas, tipping, renting a car, or whatever…you can forget a midday break!
On Property takes the win here! All on property hotels are within minutes of the theme parks. The ability to hop on Disney transportation and be back at your home resort is the winning factor for me. Even when compared to “good neighbor” hotels, I’d still pick the Disney resorts for the ease of return to your hotel. Either way, you just can’t beat the hop, skip, and a jump of an on property resort!
Amenities & Services
Amenities are important. Whether I’m selecting a hotel for a girls weekend get-away at the beach, a family trip to Hawaii, or a return trip to Disney World, I think about amenities. I’m all about “free” and I’m always looking for ways to squeeze every last morsel of “included” out of my stay. So, let’s make some comparisons…
Disney knows how to do amenities! From transportation (on property to pickup and drop off at the airport) to complimentary wi-fi, Disney Resorts have got you covered. If you would rather drive your own vehicle to the parks, have no fear! Parking at the resort and at the theme parks is complimentary with your Key to the World Card or Parking Permit. Walt Disney World Resort guests are also offered free merchandise drop off, a service that literally takes the weight of the World off your shoulders–don’t bog yourself down with your theme park purchases, instead have them sent straight to your hotel room (LOVE it!).
There are about a billion non-Disney resort options. These hotels have a variety of amenities at affordable rates. I will say that many of the amenities that I’d take advantage of the most, are the ones that I haven’t been able to enjoy. For example, two years ago I stayed off property for the princess half marathon. I was excited to stay relatively close to Disney property for a fairly reduced price…only to realize that the “complimentary” shuttle to the parks was actually a forced tip ride with a driver that scared the daylights out of my entire family. Yikes!
With the exception of free continental breakfast, Disney Resorts make the typical hotel amenity quiver in their boots. Again, Disney gets my vote! I know that the price of a competitor hotel may outweigh the amenities, but for me, I’d rather pay extra to enjoy some Disney extras!
For me, money is important. While I would love to be able to spend to my heart’s content, that just isn’t an option. I want the most bang for my buck. Does that come in the form of an on or off property resort. Let’s make some comparisons…
Disney keeps it classy. Value, moderate, or deluxe hotel, Disney goes above and beyond! While the cost does add up, staying on property gives you a whole new appreciation! The good news is that there are often deals and incentives for planning a stay on Disney property (room discounts and of course, FREE dining). When those specials role around, you can’t talk me out of booking!
In an effort to keep up with Disney, many area hotels and rentals will offer competitive rates! You might just be able to save a pretty penny if you do a little bit of research. Of course, choosing an off property hotel may mean a little inconvenience, but if that doesn’t bother you, then this may be the winning point for you!
I’m going to call this one a tie. While I can say that most off property hotels are cheaper, you can get a good deal on Disney resorts. All you have to do is keep your eyes peeled (thank you Chipandco.com!) for special offers; these special offers can help you pinch your pennies and have a magical on property stay too!
Keeping it Magical
I’m all about atmosphere! I want to feel like I am on vacation! I want to be taken into another world and this is ESPECIALLY true of my Disney trips. I’m a theme park kind of girl. Honestly, I typically only spend time at my hotel sleeping, not enjoying the resort. One day I will layout by the pool, enjoy the arcade, and take a paddle boat ride…but that day is not today. I am all about using up every last minute of my ticket in the parks! Let’s make some comparisons….
Disney doesn’t overlook any details. Each hotel has its own assortment of amusements! There are pools themed beyond compare, outdoor movies, musical talent, play areas, and a variety of recreation choices. Disney keeps the magic going beyond the theme park gates! Set the mood for magic in your “home away from home.”
I’ve stayed in few different off property hotels, condos, and rentals and I have never seen anything that compares to the magic that Disney creates. There are a variety of pool offerings, play areas, and probably game rooms to enhance your stay.
I’m saying that on property takes the win again! There’s an old saying that I’ve retooled for the Disney traveler. When in Disney…be magical!
I’d call staying on resort the official winner of this little comparison. I’m sure that you are not at all shocked. This isn’t to say that an off property isn’t a good fit for you. You might find a really great resort that is close to the parks, that is affordable, offers a ton of amenities, and has a magical touch to add to your trip…if you do, that’s great! So what are your thoughts? Where do you love to stay? On property or off property? Shout out your winner in the comment section below!
As always, thank for reading and commenting!
See ya real soon,