When it comes to where to stay for your Walt Disney World vacation, it may seem like you have a million options. There are the many Disney owned resorts and the many, many neighboring hotels in the area. Where should you stay? If you want the overall best experience, you’ll want to stay onsite at the Disney own resorts, and here’s why:
1.) Transportation/Parking: When staying at a Disney resort, you get free transportation from the airport and back. In addition, you get free transportation on a frequent, regular schedule from your resort to all of the parks. If you decide to rent a car anyway, parking at the parks is free for resort guests. All of this adds up to savings AND convenience. While some offsite hotels offer shuttles, most are not very frequent and quite a few don’t start going until AFTER the park opens (which is not good at all, see here for why).
2.) Dining Reservations/Dining Plan: Guests who are staying at a Disney resort are allowed to book their dining reservations at 180 days like everyone else PLUS 10 days of their trip. So while offsite guests are booking reservations one day at a time, you’ll book the full length of your trip (up to 10 days) all at once. Why does this matter? The most popular restaurants are snapped up in a flash and the onsite guests frequently use this advantage to completely take up those reservations – leaving offsite guests out of luck. And then there’s the Disney Dining Plan which is only for guests of the Disney resorts. This plans is very convenient, a great stress reliever for some, and often a savings over paying out of pocket.
3.) FastPass+ reservations: FastPass+ allows you to reserve 3 attractions per day in advance of your stay. The key here is that onsite guests get to do this 60 days in advance, while offsite guests only get to do this at 30 days in advance. Why does it matter? The most popular attractions, including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Frozen Ever After and Flights of Passage are often completely booked up by the 30 day mark. This can leave you in incredibly long lines.
4.) Afternoon Breaks: One of the great things about staying onsite is that it’s quick and easy to return to your resort for a break. The parks are huge and a lot of walking is involved. Especially in hotter times of year and especially with children in tow, the ability to exit the parks for a bit in the heat of the sun and height of the lines for a refreshing break back at your resort can feel priceless. Most offsite hotels simply take too long to get to, with having to take a parking tram to your car, commute time, finding parking upon return and so forth.
5.) The Disney touch: When your resort can be as magical as the parks, that’s something special. Many people find the resorts end up being a really big part of the fun on their vacation. Resorts can be whimsical or beautiful, depending on your preference. Many have fantastic pools with super fun water slides. The fun of the themes combined with the world renowned Disney service makes your vacation feel truly like an escape from the every day. So while there are many hotels in the Orlando area, for the least stress and the most fun, you’ll find that the onsite Disney World hotels may make the most sense for you!
Looking for help in selecting the best resort and other components for your Disney vacation? Not sure how you’re going to figure out all the dining and FastPass+ reservations and how to make it through your days without long lines and stress? That’s what we’re here for!
Ready to learn more about any of these options? Visit our website to connect with us for more information!
This post was written by Sabrina Tinius, a specialist in planning Disney vacations for families who want less stress and more time making memories that last a lifetime.
Through her in depth destination knowledge, park touring strategies and incredibly detailed planning, Sabrina is here to help you have a more enjoyable Disney vacation — while saving you tons of time and stress. And when she’s not busy crafting amazing Disney vacations, you can find her hanging out with her two awesome kids, taking family vacations of her own, and occasionally baking up a storm in her Seattle area kitchen.
Want to learn more about Disney Vacation planning? Check out our past posts on the topic :
- Visiting Disney Parks in Summer? You MUST Read This First!
- Which Disney Vacation is Right For You?
- 7 Reasons Why I Will Never Plan Another Disney Vacation!
- 4 Reasons Why Disney Cruises are GREAT for Extended FAMILY vacations
- How to Surprise Your Kids with a Disney Vacation for Christmas
- 5 Reasons to Plan Ahead for Disney World