As you start planning any Disney World Vacation, one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is whether or not to stay on property at a Disney resort hotel. Both choices have their advantages and disadvantages. You’ll need to determine your priorities for your vacation to help you decide which route to go.
Benefits of staying on property
Benefit #1: Resort Hotel Offerings for Every Budget
Most people assume that a Disney Vacation is automatically incredibly expensive. The reality is that Disney has options for every budget. From Value resorts to Deluxe Villas, all of the resorts offer amazing theming, plenty of food options, and resort activities for non-park days.
If you can be flexible with your travel dates, then keep an eye out for special deals and lower seasons. A Disney travel agent can help you determine the best options for your budget.
Benefit #2: Proximity to the Parks
Just by nature of the resort hotels being on property, you’ll be closer to the action. When you’re on vacation, the last thing you’ll want to do is spend a ton of time getting to and from the parks. Most parks are just a quick bus, monorail or boat ride to the entrance of the parks. Even a few of them are within walking distance. At the end of a long day, you’ll be thankful for how close you are.
Benefit #3: Transportation
With transportation to and from Orlando International Airport via Disney’s Magical Express and the resort-wide transportation, you don’t need to rent a car for a Disney vacation. In my book, it’s one less thing to worry about. The transportation is easy to navigate and there are always cast members nearby to help guide you.
Benefit #4: Extra Magic Hours
Staying on property gets you access to Extra Magic Hours, or times where a park opens early or stays open late at the end of the day. These can add some extra time to squeeze in more attractions, character meet’n’greets, dining reservations and shopping. Who doesn’t love more time for magic?
Note: This benefit was extended to the Disney Springs area hotels in 2018.
Benefit #5: Early Access to Advanced Dining Reservations
Dining reservations open up for everyone 180 days in advance. For resort hotel guests, that window opens up 10 days earlier. If you’re a big fan of the table service restaurants or you're looking for the most popular reservation (Hint: Cinderella’s Royal Table and Be Our Guest), this is an opportunity for you to have access before the general public has access to reservations.
Benefit #6: Park Purchases Delivered to Your Resort
Want to do some park shopping in the middle of the day, but don’t want to carry it around the rest of the day? No problem, just have your packages sent to your resort and pick them up at the gift shop the next day.
“Do you normally stay on property?” I get this question a lot.
My answer is always, “Yes.”
I have stayed off property a few times, but my viewpoint is, if you’re going to Disney World, stay on property. Even if the resort hotels are more expensive at the time we’re traveling, the benefits listed above more than make it worth it for us. If you think you might hop around to other Orlando area attractions, then it’s worth investigating Good Neighbor or other non-Disney properties.
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