The past year has brought a lot of changes for our everyday lives… and there have been a lot of changes at Walt Disney World too. With some of these changes, I’ve heard a lot of people ask what the benefits are to staying on Disney property. As things continue to change and evolve with the times, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to share some key reasons to (still) stay at a Walt Disney World Resort.
Reason #1: Location, location, location!! This one is a no-brainer. You can’t beat the location of the Disney Resorts to the parks. You can take advantage of all that the resort has to offer without worrying about how you’re going to get to and from the parks, being on a tight schedule to catch a bus, or get lost trying to follow signs (especially if you’re not a seasoned Disney guest that knows your way around) … which brings me to…
Reason #2: Disney Transportation. Yes, your off-site resort may offer transportation to/from the parks daily for you. But does that shuttle come every 20 minutes (or less)? When you stay at a Walt Disney World Resort, you know even if you
just saw your resort bus pull away, there will be another coming right behind it. No need to keep an eye on the time and worry about a bus schedule. Disney has buses, the monorail, the skyliner, and boats to help you get around property. Plus, the buses will run until every last guest has exited the parks to ensure nobody gets left behind.
Reason #3: Some resorts are actually WALKING distance to parks!! Some people may not want to walk to/from the resort since there’s already a fair amount of walking on a Disney vacation, but some people absolutely love to have this option. Where can you walk to/from?
- You can walk to the Magic Kingdom from Disney’s Contemporary Resort
(including Bay Lake Tower), Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and Disney’s
Polynesian Village Resort (though I will caution that the walk would be a bit
longer to/from the Polynesian).
- You can walk to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios from Disney’s Beach and Club
Resorts, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, and the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin.
- You can also walk to Disney Springs from Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort &
Spa. If you love the shopping and dining (especially in the evening), this is a great
resort to consider!
Reason #4. Parking. By now, you have probably heard that Disney charges a daily
parking fee at the parks (as most theme parks do). But if you’re staying on-site at a
Disney Resort and want to drive to the parks, you don’t need to pay an additional fee to
park at the parks. Your Resort parking fee covers that! So if you’re staying off-site at a
resort that’s charging you to park, you’ll be paying for parking at your resort PLUS at the
parks when you drive to Walt Disney World, whereas you’ll only pay to park once when
staying at a Walt Disney World Resort.
Reason #5: Early Park Entry. Earlier this year, Disney announced that Extra Magic Hours (EMH) will not be returning. However, instead of adding an extra hour before or after regular park hours for on-site guests, all guests staying on-site will be able to access ANY park 30-minutes early EVERY DAY. I think this is an awesome trade-off, and here’s why… Normally on a day that a park offered EMH, that park would be more crowded since most guests would take advantage of that extra hour. Now on-site guests will still get a jump start at their preferred park each day, but without the extra influx of everyone wanting to go to the same park on the same day. Hopefully this will better balance the crowds each day across all four parks.
Reason #6: Mid-Day Breaks. Do you like to take mid-day breaks from the parks to rest or swim before heading back into the parks at night? Staying at a Walt Disney World Resort makes this SO much easier, especially when utilizing Disney’s transportation. Hop on a bus back to your resort. Take a nap. Go for a swim. Get refreshed, and go back for the evening festivities (and hopefully fireworks!)
Reason #7: Charging Privileges. Love to keep your vacation on one bill? You still have charging privileges to your room via your Magic Band (or Key to the World if you choose to forego the Magic Bands). No need to worry about carrying cash or credit cards with you. Just charge everything to your room and you’re all set!
Reason #8: Book All Your Dining at Once. Currently, dining reservations can be made 60-days prior to your check-in date (and for up to 10 days into your vacation) when staying at a Walt Disney World Resort. If you’re staying off-site, you won’t have access to book all of your dining at once – in other words, you’ll need to book each day’s dining reservations separately when that respective day is 60 days away. This means you run the risk of not landing that coveted dining reservation at the hard-to-get restaurants as Walt Disney World Resort guests will get the first chance to snag those reservations.
Reason #9: Bundle Your Room and Tickets into a Package. This sounds straightforward, but let me explain. Disney offers some of its best deals when you package tickets and your resort stay together. Plus, when you book your vacation as a
package (especially with a Travel Agent), you only need to pay a $200 (refundable!) deposit for your vacation package. The balance is due 30 days prior to your arrival, but you can also make payments in any amount at any time through your Travel Agent if you prefer to pay for your vacation in increments ahead of time. This makes it much more manageable for many to not feel overwhelmed paying for their vacation all at once. Buying tickets separately when you’re staying off-site means paying for them in full at the time of purchase and they are non-refundable. And since Disney is currently requiring you to make park reservations for entry into the parks each day, you’ll want to have those tickets linked to your account as far ahead of time as possible to be sure you are getting into the park you’d like each day.
Reason #10: Be Fully Immersed in the Disney Magic. I’ve stayed off-site before. There’s nothing wrong with it. But there’s nothing like staying in the middle of the Disney Magic! If you’re planning to visit the parks more days than not, staying at a Walt Disney World Resort gives you that full Disney Experience that you won’t get anywhere else. The theming at every resort is amazing, and there’s truly something for everyone when you’re picking amongst all of the incredible resort options at Walt Disney World.