Why Staying on Property at Disney is the Best Decision- I was invited by Walt Disney Special Events to attend a private preview of Pandora – World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom, but all opinions and photos are my own.
Disney World resorts offer guests many benefits you won’t find staying at other hotels in Orlando. We’ve stayed at several Disney resorts and found that while each offers it’s own unique experience, there’s a resort to fit every family’s needs. I have been to Disney World 11 times, not counting the 6 months I lived there and frequented the parks and resorts. I have visited, if not stayed, at every WDW Resort property other than the campsites at Fort Wilderness (which is on my bucket list!) We have also stayed off property as a kid and an adult. This last trip solidified that I will never stay off property again.
Here is a list of reasons why you should choose a Disney resort when planning your Disney vacation:
Why Staying on Property at Disney is the Best Decision
We’ll start at the first bit of Disney magic you encounter upon landing at MCO. In the planning stages when guests are booking their reservations and buying tickets, they’ll also have the chance to sign up for Magical Express tickets for free. The Magical Express is the large air conditioned bus that whisks you off to your resort. Simultaneously, your checked bags are taken to your resort and placed in your rooms before check-in. TIP: I suggest always taking carry-on but if you must check luggage, be sure to bring a bag with everything you may need for the parks (including swim suits) as your carry-on.
COMPLIMENTARY TRANSPORTATION & PARKING
My number one reason for staying on property is their complimentary transportation. Guests can avoid the hassle of driving and parking, and save time and money. You’ll have your choice of riding a bus, boat or monorail within Disney property. Parking is also free for guests of Disney resorts. Standard parking throughout the theme parks, water parks, Disney Springs and hotel areas is complimentary for resort guests.
Magic Bands are great for convenience and efficiency around Disney World. With your magic band, you’re able to:
- Unlock the door of your Disney Resort hotel room.
- Enter theme and water parks (with valid admission).
- Check in at FastPass+ entrances.
- Connect Disney PhotoPass images to your account.
- Charge food and merchandise purchases to your Disney Resort hotel room (only available during your hotel stay).
It makes it especially easy when you’re trying to balance a child and souvenirs and snacks to just use your magic band without having to dig around for a card.
EXTRA MAGIC HOURS
All resort guests are invited to visit the parks before or after the normal public hours. Extra magic hours are especially great for new attraction openings like Pandora-World of Avatar. Resort guests are able to see the World of Avatar an hour before the public enters the land! This means, you can get less wait time on your favorite attractions if you’re unable to get a fastpass.
You can go on the best rides without waiting in any lines with a FastPass+. Simply schedule your passes 60 days prior to your vacation (30 days before non-resort guests). If you are a first time WDW vacationer or you have a special must-do ride, you might leave it up to a Disney travel planner to make sure you have the best chance of getting that attraction’s FastPass.
Each resort has it’s own special amenities that make that property unique. As you go up in price from a budget friendly resort to a deluxe resort, more amenities are added. When I visited Board Walk Resort their amenities really impressed me. We visited:
- Jellyrolls– a dueling piano bar for 21+
- Flying Fish– a newly renovated contemporary American restaurant serving premium sustainable seafood and prime steaks
- Boardwalk Bakery– a quaint shop with baked goods, soups, salads and sandwiches
- Abracadabar– a fun magician themed bar where the bartenders do tricks and the theming is top notch
- Trattoria al Forno– casual Italian eatery offering dinner from an open window kitchen as well as an all-new Character Breakfast (the only location you can find Princess Rapunzel and Princess Ariel with their princes!)
Aside from those fantastic amenities, there is a wonderful pool with slide, arcade room with VR games, yoga on the brand new green turf grass, family bicycles and much more! My favorite amenities of any resort are the options to nap (or swim) and do laundry. Being able to do these two things helps us last from rope drop to after the fireworks without being zombies.
Each resort has its own theme, staff, and activities that remind you that you’re still in Disney World. If there’s anything you know about Disney, it’s that they do not skimp on theming. Their resorts are no exception and they go above in helping you feel the Disney magic. If you are bringing children, I highly suggest staying at the Art of Animation resort where all their favorite Disney characters are huge statues throughout the resort. The suites are laid out to make sure everyone has enough space with sleeping for 6 adults and two full bathrooms. Plus, their pool is the best and biggest on Disney property with underwater speakers so you can hear the tunes down below!
The less time you waste on travel, the more time you have enjoying WDW with your family. The Disney resorts are sprinkled all across Disney property making it convenient to get from your resort to the park. If you know you’ll be spending multiple days at Magic Kingdom, you’re able to choose a resort near that park (possibly even stay at The Contemporary where you can walk!)
Disney is known for making celebrations extra special. Celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, honeymoons, and graduations, among other things, at Walt Disney World is extremely popular, and for good reason. Be sure to tell a cast member what you’ll be celebrating on the phone while making initial plans (or online). When we checked in at the resort during one vacation the front desk lady saw we were celebrating our anniversary and congratulated us. I’d asked if we could transfer to a room closer to the buses and she was able to upgrade us to a suite that was right off the main pool by the buses! Things that should be planned in advance are add-ons like cakes, gifts, flowers, or other surprises. Cakes can be ordered by calling the cake hotline at 407-827-CAKE (407-827-2253), and everything else is possible via Disney Floral & Gifts. We were surprised with chocolate dipped strawberries, champagne and Mickey champagne flutes in our room after we returned from getting engaged in Magic Kingdom. Disney makes it super easy and quick for someone to call up and send something special on a short notice. You don’t have to use the Disney Floral & Gifts department to add a special touch. The last time we went, I’d purchased Disney PJs, an autograph book, some treats and a light up Cinderella before heading to Disney and set it up as a gift from Tinkerbell while we were out at the parks on our first day.
I’d love to know your favorite reasons to stay on Walt Disney World Resort property. What about it makes you save up a little bit longer so you’re able to stay on property?
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