When planning a trip to Walt Disney World, one of the most important decisions you must make is whether to stay on-property, or off-property. There are pros and cons for both, and the choice depends on the needs of the people traveling. But if you’re thinking about staying on-property in a Walt Disney World Resort, here are the Top 10 reasons why you should stay at a Walt Disney World Resort.
1. Different Types of Accommodations – Walt Disney World Resorts are classified in three different categories, or levels. Value Resorts have smaller rooms (about the size of the average chain hotel), and fewer amenities (they do not have sit-down restaurants, but do have food courts with counter-service offerings), but they are usually the most highly themed with lots of visuals to pull you into the Disney feel. Moderate Resorts have slightly larger rooms, may have a restaurant on-site along with the food court option, and typically have more plush surroundings, with slightly less whimsical theming. Deluxe Resorts have the largest rooms, have at least one restaurant, and are themed elegantly but not with characters. So, you first must decide at which level of resort you wish to stay.
2. Locations of Resorts – While all Disney World resorts are on property, they are not in one particular location. Resorts are grouped by their proximity to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Downtown Disney (Disney Springs). If you have a favorite park, you may want to stay in a resort closer to that park. Or, if you have dining reservations at a particular park or resort, you may want to be close by to avoid any delays in making it to your reservation. I highly recommend the Boardwalk area resorts!
3. Cost – This is typically a factor for anywhere you stay, and it’s no different at Walt Disney World. Yes, WDW Resorts may be more expensive than some you can find off-site. This is particularly true if you have a large group. You may be able to find a house to rent for less than it would cost to book an adequate number of rooms or suites on-site. Once you’ve decided the level and location of the on-site resort in which you’d like to stay, you can have the best idea of what the cost will be.
4. Dining/Food Options – While off-site hotels may offer complimentary breakfasts, what you’ll find at Walt Disney World Resorts is a variety of options. Even at breakfast in the Value Resorts, the food courts have several choices for breakfast, including some grab-and-go options for those who know breakfast is important, but want to get to the parks as quickly as possible! Lunch and dinner options also vary at all of the resorts, and snacks are available at any time during the day. And, let’s face it, you can’t get a Mickey Waffle off-site!
5. Transportation Options – Disney offers complimentary transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport via Disney’s Magical Express busses. You must plan and arrange for this ahead of time, but they will send you luggage tags, and will pick up your luggage and load it on the bus for transport to your resort. During your stay, Disney World Transportation is available to you, helping you get to and from parks, resorts, and Downtown Disney (Disney Springs). Buses pick up at all of the resorts, and are generally very convenient. This saves you from sitting in traffic and paying for parking at parks as well.
6. Perks and extras – Refillable resort mugs are available for a flat fee for your length of stay. These can be refilled at your resort with no charge, though a chip in the mug moderates the length of time between refills. Guest of Walt Disney World Resorts also get to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours, early entry or late hours at the parks solely for resort guests. And if you’ve booked a package that includes your resort and tickets, you get some discount vouchers to use at Disney Quest at Downtown Disney (Disney Springs), the resort arcade, miniature golf, spa treatments and more.
7. Shopping/Handling Your Purchases – We all want to buy souvenirs and gifts when we’re at Walt Disney World, and it can be difficult or unwieldy trying to carry our purchases around while enjoying the parks. Resort guests can have their purchases sent to the front of the park for pick up at the end of the day, or even to their resort gift shop for pick up there. This can make a day at the parks much more pleasant!
8. Discounts/Special Offers – At various times of the year, Disney offers resort room discounts, package discounts, and sometimes Free Dining offers. The Free Dining offer requires a resort room reservation and tickets, but the Disney Dining Plans for select dates and resorts are free. This can be a significant savings for guests, especially families.
9. Time/Scheduling – Staying off-site may mean working with a shuttle schedule to the parks that is limited to particular times of day or night. This may put a crimp in your plans to open and close the park. Disney Transportation, which includes buses, boats, and the monorail, runs on a fairly constant basis prior to park hours and following park hours to ensure everyone gets where they need or want to go.
10. MAGIC! – Staying at a Walt Disney World Resort means that you are immersed in the magic throughout your stay. Whether you’re in the parks, dining, or spending time in your resort at the pool or other on-site activities, you are surrounded by Disney and Disney cast members who want you to feel at home and have the most magical visit possible!
Those are my Top 10 reasons why you should stay at a Walt Disney World Resort. Is there something you feel I’ve missed? I’d love to hear about it in your comments!
I’m Jeri, and I’m a Disney Addict! I’m also an Independent Travel Agent with World of Magic Travel Services, the preferred travel agency of Chip and Co. and Disney Addicts. I am always happy to offer my free services to you to help make your next vacation a little more magical! And I would love nothing more than to help you book onsite or offsite. Contact me for a free quote at firstname.lastname@example.org.