Benefits of Staying at a Disney Owned Hotel
Planning a Walt Disney World trip can be a daunting experience. One of the biggest decisions to make when planning a Walt Disney World trip is where to stay. Although there are hundreds of hotels within the Orlando area, I recommend staying at one of the Disney owned hotels. Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort can enjoy certain perks and benefits staying at a Disney owned hotel.
Free Park Transportation
Walt Disney World is roughly the size of San Francisco. The sheer size of the resort makes getting from point A to point B a challenge. Walt Disney World offers free transportation to all four theme parks, Disney Springs, and the two water parks.
Most off-property hotels will either charge for transportation or not include transportation at all. Disney provides transportation to the parks via bus, Skyliner, monorail, boat, or by walking path. Each resort varies on which transportation is provided.
The Orlando area also has many toll roads. If you stay off property you could be paying a daily toll to get to the resort and for parking (more on this later).
I recommend choosing a resort based on the proximity to the park you plan to visit most often. Using a Disney Travel planner is a great way to help you decide which resort is for you.
Early Park Entry
Disney offers daily early park entry for resort guests. Guests can enter the parks 30 minutes early. Most resort transportation will start running an hour before the early park entry for resort guests. Getting to the park at rope drop is a huge way to save time in lines. Arriving before the general park guests can arrive will save you time in line!
Highly Themed Hotels
The theming in Disney hotels are unlike anything in the world. Disney has hotels that transport you to New Orleans, Africa, the Pacific Northwest, the Atlantic City Boardwalk, an Animated Disney movie, and much more!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is the only resort in the United States that offer Savannah views of animals. Unique theming such as these you will not find at off property hotels.
Many of the resorts also feature your favorite Disney characters in themed rooms. Caribbean Beach Resort features pirate rooms while Port Orleans Riverside has Royal Princess rooms. Polynesian Village Resort just received a Moana makeover while Contemporary Resort has Incredibles rooms.
Art of Animation has Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, Lion King, and Cars rooms. No matter your family’s taste you’ll find a resort that you love.
No Resort Fees
Most of the hotels within close distance to Walt Disney World resort charge a daily resort fee. Many of these resort fees range from $30-$50 per night! Some families may feel that staying at some of these hotels may save money because hotels do not often include this fee in advertising. Staying a week in a hotel that charges a daily $50 resort fee can easily add up to hundreds of dollars. Make sure when you are comparing prices for off property hotels that you are calculating this fee in your budget.
Disney offers Value, Moderate, and Deluxe resorts to fit any budget.
The Disney owned hotels have pools that are amazing. All of the moderate and deluxe hotels offer a pool slide. In our “non-Disney” vacations it is really had to find a pool with a slide. Our kids love being able to use a slide and often complain when we stay at a hotel without a slide.
Yacht and Beach Club even has a lazy river. Many of the hotel pools also have a kids play splash area that can entertain toddlers for hours. Most of the Disney resorts also have multiple pools per hotel including feature and quiet pools.
One thing I always notice as a parent with small children is the Disney hotels always have lifeguards on duty at the main feature pool. We have stayed at a lot of hotels around the world and Disney is the only place we have noticed a lifeguard on duty. This gives us peace of mind as a parent.
Magic Band Discounts
Disney Resort guests receive a discount when they order magic bands through the MyDisneyExperience site. Guests buying these at ShopDisney will spend $20-$40 on Magic Bands. Resort guests will receive about a 50% discount on magic bands when ordered through the MyDisneyExperience website.
The Disney Bubble
Staying in the Disney Bubble is the biggest reason I love staying on property. I like being able to park my car or arrive from the airport and never leave the Disney bubble. Staying at a Disney hotel and never leaving the bubble gives you more of the all-inclusive vacation experience. You don’t have to worry about the stress of daily life (traffic, toll roads, etc.) and can truly relax on your vacation.
Free Theme Park Parking
Guests staying at Disney owned hotels receive free parking at all the theme parks. Parking currently costs $25 a day for standard parking and $50 for preferred parking. Although resort guests pay for hotel nightly parking this is standard for almost all hotels. We once paid almost $100 a night to park our car in Chicago! Staying at most off property hotel you will pay both hotel parking and theme park parking.
Dining Reservation Priority
Walt Disney World guests are able to book advanced dining reservations 60 days from the first stay of their stay up to 10 days. A lot of the popular advanced dining reservations like Space 220, Storybook Dining, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Be Our Guest, and character dining can be fully booked by the time general park guests can make a reservation.
Special Character Greetings
During the 50th anniversary celebration characters visit the Disney resorts. The characters will be wearing their EARidescent best.
Extended Evening Hours for Deluxe Resort Guests
Guests staying at Deluxe hotels, villas, and other select resorts can participate in extended evening hours at Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Guests enjoy two hours of special access to Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Epcot is open late on Mondays while Magic Kingdom is open late on Wednesdays for deluxe resort guests.
Priority Booking for Individual Lightning Lanes
Guests staying at a Disney hotel have priority booking for individual lightning lanes starting at 7 am. This can be especially important for booking attractions such as Rise of the Resistance. The individual lightning lane for this attraction usually sells out before the general public booking window. If booking Rise of the Resistance without the standby queue is important to you, then stay at a Disney resort.
Do you want more help planning your next Disney vacation? As an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, my goal is to help you plan the Magic your way. I also create customized itineraries, book advanced dining, monitor for discounts for your vacation, and much much more! Also, did I mention that my services are FREE!!!! Contact me at SLoehrlein@MickeyTravels.com or follow me on Facebook @MickeyTravelsShannonLoehrlein