For us, the perks of staying ON-PROPERTY at Walt Disney World far outweigh the perks of staying OFF-PROPERTY. Even at Disney Springs- yes, we’re talking to you Good Neighbor Hotels! In fact this post could have probably been titled ” Why you should just give in and stay on site at Walt Disney World.” Because really, our goal here is to make your vacation life easier and that comes mostly when you stay on-site! Mind you, while we do our best to give honest, unbiased reviews of just about everything Disney related on this blog, we’re taking a stance on this one. Here’s why.
Why People DON’T Stay on-Property at Walt Disney World
We’ve written about the Pros and Cons and staying Off Property at Walt Disney World before. But, lets face it. The more we visit Disney, the more we realize ITS JUST BETTER to stay on-site. And if we were completely honest we could probably say this for Disneyland as well. Things that prevent us from staying on-site at Walt Disney World are usually money, money… and oh yeah, money. And really, that will have to be your only reason. Because Disney Resorts accommodate just about everything else. Here’s a few other excuses we’ll debunk just to get them out of the way.
- It’s Expensive to Stay at a Disney Resort. Um, not really. We’ve paid 80 bucks a night at the value resorts and 120 bucks a night at the moderate resorts during the fall months. Others have reported paying even less. And there are ALWAYS deals available. And you’ll only find hotels cheaper than that if you get something outside of Orlando.
- What about the pets? Disney has 4 resorts that accommodate pets
- But what if we’re staying at the parks all day long? And don’t need a fancy resort? All the more reason to make sure you’re not stuck in Orlando traffic at 11pm getting to wherever your cheap hotel may be. And Disney has resorts in all flavors, not just “fancy”.
- We need special accommodations! Disney has those too.
- But we have more than 4 people? Family suites can be found at Art of Animation. Plus there are villas, cabins and campsites too.
- And what about the crazy school groups or crying kids? Disney has resorts that deter those. mostly the higher priced fancy ones.
But really, all the possible excuses aside when you’re finally able to take your magical vacation to Walt Disney World, keep in mind you didn’t save all that vacation money to have a sub-par, kinda like Disney experience. The Disney Resort experience is one worth prioritizing.
Why You Should Stay on Disney Property
Everything Shows Up On the My Disney Experience App
This includes your hotel stay, the room number, transportation times to and from your resort, a resort map, resort dining options and the ability to open your room with your phone. The Works! One of our biggest reasons to try and always stay on site at Walt Disney World, is simply the convenience of having everything in the My Disney Experience App. You just won’t get this with an AirBnB or Orlando Hotel experience. When you stay at a Disney Resort everything is connected and linked for a super simple at-your-fingertips vacation experience.
Disney Resorts Are Pet-Friendly
If you thought you needed to stay off-site with your pets, think again! You are allowed up to two dogs per room. These resorts have pet-friendly accommodations and you get a Pluto Welcome Kit too! Add in the walking paths that are plentiful at these locations and your pet can have just as magical a time as you do. You can also bring your pooch to the Best Friends Pet Care at Walt Disney World for a resort play experience of their very own.
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Disney Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
- The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort
You Only Pay Disney Parking Fees Once
If you’ve been lamenting the new Disney resort parking fees and figuring it would just be cheaper to stay off-site, lets consider that you can’t completely get out of paying for parking somewhere. If you’re staying at an Orlando Hotel you will have to pay a hotel parking fee: 20+ dollars typically, per day. Then you’ll have to pay the parking fee for each Disney Park you visit throughout your stay: 25-50 dollars per day. The good news here, is that once you pay for parking at one theme park for the day you can park hop without paying a second time.
Of course add in the cost of gas, and the cost of time driving to and from everywhere, and you may want to sit down and do the math. Staying on-property at Walt Disney World means you get access to Disney Transportation. While not a surefire system, you can still bet your bottom dollar that at some point the Magical Express, a Disney bus, a monorail, or even a skyliner gondola will magically arrive to take you where you need to go. True it may not be on “time”, and you may be standing instead of sitting. BUT, it may be better than walking that mile to your car. To sit in traffic for an hour. To return back to your off-site hotel. Where you pay again for parking your car.
Complimentary Disney Transportation
And while we’re on the subject, if you stay on Disney property you get access to complimentary transportation to and from the airport, parks, and Disney Springs. While the Disney transportation system still has some flaws, not being responsible for getting to the right parks at the right time and back to the hotel again can take a load of your vacation mind. If relaxation is a goal for your Disney trip, the complimentary transportation allows you to let someone else do the driving.
You Get Access to Disney Discounts, Offers and sometimes Free Dining
Another massive perk of staying on Disney property is that you can take advantage of offers. Every year Walt Disney World releases 25-40% off offers for resort stays on select dates. You can check out their special offers page for all current offers. Magic Your Way (MYW) Disney Vacation packages that include discounts on multi-day or multi-park tickets are sometimes a steal. You could even be lucky enough to snatch a Free Disney Dining package! The Free Disney Dining Offer is usually released between January and April every year and ONLY available if you’re staying at a Disney resort. You need to be on the lookout for the release of this promo. But just the possibility of getting Free Food throughout your stay, saving you thousands of dollars, is worth it.
Early Advanced Dining Reservations
A Disney Vacation wouldn’t be complete without at least a few Disney restaurant experiences. This is where Advanced Dining Reservations come in. If staying at a Disney resort you can start making dining reservations at 180 days before your trip, for the full stay. A perk reserved first for Disney resort guests so if you’re a foodie it’s in your best interest to stay on-property. This will help you get access to the most coveted dining reservations. Reservations for Cinderella’s Royal Table, California Grill, Artist Point, and Be Our Guest are on the hard-to-get list.
Early Fast Pass Reservations
And if you’re planning on snagging a Flight of Passage fast pass, then staying at a Disney Resort can help your chances! Fast Passes are available 60 days before your vacation begins if you’re staying on Disney property. If not, you’ll have to wait until just 30 days before your trip, making it less likely you’ll get the fast passes that are most coveted. Check out our best FastPass Strategy to make the most of your Walt Disney World vacation.
Magical Express Shuttle To and From Orlando International Airport
Does the idea of dropping your luggage at your home airport and not having to see it again until it magically shows up in your resort room sounds appealing? That’s the benefit of staying on site. When you stay at a Disney Resort you can add the Magical Express service for Free to your list of perks. You won’t have to touch your luggage when you arrive in Orlando, and simply need to get on the bus to head to Walt Disney World. Easy, peasy.
Extra Magic Hours
Extra Magic Hours give you an extra hour or two before and after the parks open on certain days. This is a perk available to Disney Resort and Disney Good Neighbor Hotel guests only. Best for those early morning risers, night owls, and everyone who forgot to get fast passes, extra magic hours give you a little more time without crowds. With Disney busy all the time, this is one perk that you may want to take advantage of! Read our Guide to Extra Magic Hours at Disney World.
It’s More Magical than an Off-Site Hotel
We’ve written about the Pros and Cons of staying off site at Disney World before. What’s the point of taking a Walt Disney World vacation if you’re not there for the magic. Trust us when we say that with travel deals everywhere these days, you can travel many places cheaper than Walt Disney World. So if you’re at Disney, you might as well be ALL IN at Disney. This means enjoying the crazy cafeterias at your resort, taking a break at the character themed pool, eating all the Mickey shaped snacks you can find and watching the lawn movie at night. It also means standing on the crowded bus after a rainy evening, grateful you’re not sitting Orlando traffic. With resort rooms themed to characters you know and love, the grounds at each property meticulously crafted to Disney perfection and Instagram-worthy cupcakes magically appearing at your resort cafeteria, why stay anywhere else?
How You Can Afford to Stay at a Disney Resort Hotel?
All in all, there are tons of ways to make sure you’re paying LESS for your resort room at Disney.
- We practically live for that special offers page on the Disney website.
- But we also live for hotels.com offers that earn us free nights we can use at Walt Disney World.
- We’ve got the best Hotwire hacks for Disney hotels.
- And Annual Passholder discounts that arrive every so often.
- Plus in-room Bounceback Offers are at the back of the small booklet on your resort room dresser. These offers alone can include Free Dining and up to 40% off your next stay.
What’s Keeping You From Staying On-Property at Walt Disney World
So there you have it… all our reasons, so far why we absolutely recommend staying on property at Disney. While some of these may not make or break your vacation, it won’t be nearly as fun somewhere else. And if you’re not planning to visit Disney multiple times a year, why not make the most of this vacation.