I get asked this question a lot- “Is it really worth it to stay on Disney property?” My answer is yes… in almost all cases. Here’s why:
There are no hidden fees at Disney’s resorts. It is very common for non-Disney owned hotels and resorts in the Disney area to charge resort fees; some are up to $25 per room per night. The fees are a bit hidden when checking prices, so be sure to specifically ask if there is a resort fee when looking at off-site hotels. In addition to a resort fee, some resorts also charge guests to park at the resort. Lastly, some area hotels charge an additional fee for internet access. All of those can turn what looks like a great hotel rate into something much more; make sure you find out the TOTAL cost per night for non-Disney hotels. They might not be a real bargain. In contrast, if you stay at a Disney World resort there are no resort, parking or internet fees!
You get free, reliable transportation. Disney World offers free transportation for resort guests. You can park your car, and let someone else do the driving! Disney offers free bus, boat, and/or monorail transportation to the parks from their resorts. Some off-site hotels do offer transportation, but their schedules are generally much more limited, forcing you to plan around them. There is also sometimes a fee for their shuttles to the parks. If you decide to drive to the parks, guests staying off property have to pay $20 to park each day (no charge for Disney resort guests). Those fees can really add up for a family. Disney resort guests flying into the Orlando airport can also take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express, a free bus service from the airport to their resort that even handles your luggage for you. Disney transportation can add up to be a big savings for guests choosing to stay in a Disney World resort.
You can book Fastpass experiences 30 days before guests staying off site. Disney resort guests can book their Fastpass experiences for their whole stay 60 days before they arrive. Others visiting Disney can’t make their reservations until 30 days before they visit, and they have to make them separately for each day of their stay. This extra time is crucial when booking difficult Fastpasses such as the new Frozen Ever After ride as it often books up the day it’s released. Plus, Disney resort guests receive free customizable Magic Bands.
It’s easier to get the super popular dining reservations. If you stay at a Disney resort, you can book the dining reservations for your whole trip 180 days in advance. This means you have access to days that guests staying at off-site hotels do not. Planning to dine in the castle or wanting to experience Be Our Guest? Disney resort guests have access to the most availability when planning in advance for their trips. Better still, Disney Vacation Planners like me can help you book your dining when you stay at a Disney resort.
You have more time in the parks with Extra Magic Hours. On select days one or more parks will open early or stay open late just for Disney resort guests. This gives you more time to experience popular attractions with often lighter crowds.
The magic never ends. It might sound cheesy, but no other property can match the theming and customer service that Disney offers guests. Whether it’s a campfire with Chip and Dale, awesome pools, hidden Mickeys, or stickers on the way to breakfast, Disney resorts offer an experience that others can’t match.
If you’d like more information about the Disney difference or if you would like help planning your Disney Vacation, please email me at email@example.com.