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Walt Disney World On-Site Resorts

On-site lodging at the Walt Disney World Resort in Miami, Florida.

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There are real benefits to staying on a Walt Disney World resort for your vacation.

  • Mar 24, 2010
There are a lot of reasons to stay on property when visiting Walt Disney World, not the least of which is you become immersed in a 24/7 Disney experience. Yes, it can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be if you watch closely for the discounts and choose your resort wisely. So I recommend an on-site resort since there are many benefits to staying on property that have both financial savings and convenience factors.
My family has stayed in Value, Moderate and Deluxe accommodations. Yes, there are significant differences between the different resort categories, but sometimes a less expensive room is better. For example, on our last trip we stayed at a Port Orleans French Quarter, which is a moderate resort, and we also stayed at Wilderness Lodge, which is a deluxe resort. But in fact, we preferred the less expensive Port Orleans (which is another story).
I also recommend using an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner who are graduates of The College of Disney Knowledge. People who specialize in the many aspects of a Disney vacation will be better prepared to advise you, but more importantly, will know how to get you the best deal. And, if new discounts are offered before your arrive, they will help you adjust your itinerary to make the most of your vacation dollars.
Our last Disney vacation we used one of these agencies, MEI-Travel & Mouse Fan Travel. We were quite pleased with our consultant Michelle. (This is an uncompensated endorsement, as are all of my recommendations.) But there are many Disney-endorsed agencies that you can find easily online.
If you are like us though, the only time you’re in your room is to sleep. If you come back during the day to relax (which I highly recommend), you’re likely not going to hang around your room since there are the pools, the food court, the lounges, game rooms, widely decorated grounds, water vehicles and more.
It is likely our next trip will be to a Value Resort because we’ll have a larger group including children and need to save some money, probably Pop Century. But we also travel to several resorts during our trips, so restaurants, recreation and just plain enjoyment at the other accommodations are already a part of our vacation, even though we don’t sleep there.
But the bottom line, there are real benefits of being in any resort on Disney property. For example:

  • Extra Magic Hours offer guests additional time in selected parks, sometimes in the mornings and other times after closing. Either way, it is only available if you stay in a Disney resort and it adds to the value of your admission tickets.
  • Disney’s Magical Express Transportation is free pick-up and drop-out to your resort and back to the Orlando International Airport. This saves the money you might have spent on a rental car, cab, or other fare.
  • Disney onsite transportation from park to resort to Downtown Disney and back. These are the buses, boats and monorail that conveniently take you from place to place.
  • Free parking. If you do use a car, you get to park for free both at your hotel and at the parks. Check your daily rates for staying off site; this benefit is a big value.
  • The Disney Dining Plans are offered only to park guests. You can save a lot of money depending on your vacation eating habits. With about a 100 restaurants on property, choosing wisely will cut the cost of food for your trip.
  • If you golf and stay at a WDW Resort hotel you can get club rentals with a purchase of a full round of golf at four Disney Championship Golf Courses.
  • Package delivery to your resort is free. We always find this to be really helpful, since we can buy gifts and souvenirs at many stores which are then delivered back to our hotel the next day. But beware, if you’re not carrying anything you’ll likely buy more. (I wonder if Disney thought of that.)
  • And the Key to the World. Carry one card for park admission, dining, and charging at stores; and get extra cards for your party. Of course, this is linked to your credit card and it’s a little easy to overdo it, but it is a great convenience while on vacation.

So the bottom line is I highly recommend staying on Walt Disney World property during your visit. Plus, the savings and benefits compared to staying off site will often times even out or exceed the difference in price.
A World View - Enjoying Walt Disney World
Grand Floridian Pop Century Contemporary Resort © Disney http://www.flickr.com/photos/kathika/2460948050/

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September 14, 2010
Thanks for the comments, and obviously I agree. I've been trying different resorts over the years, from Value to Deluxe and find something special about each one.
September 14, 2010
Excellent review, Bruce. I've visited Walt Disney World twice so far and, if the good Lord's willing, I'll be returning next year. Both times that I've gone my family and I have stayed on-site. We had our daugher with us on the second trip (first was our honeymoon), and utilized the dining plan. It's almost impossible to beat the advantages of staying on-site. Once again, great review.
July 13, 2010
Great advice, Bruce and I agree whole-heartedly. Our stay at a Disney resort was great!
March 25, 2010
Thanks for this really great advice, Bruce.  I will definitely stay at an on-site resort when I visit since it sounds like the smart thing to do!  By the way, I moved your review over to this topic specifically for on-site resorts, which frees up your review slot for Walt Disney World, so perhaps you can write a review about WDW in general some day  :)
March 25, 2010
Thank you for this and other kind comments. I will do a general WDW post one day. And thanks for moving the topic. I'm still trying to figure out "topic" when I post. It's the simple things that confuse me.
More Walt Disney World On-Site Reso... reviews
Quick Tip by . June 29, 2010
posted in Only WDWorld
You get so many perks from staying on property, including transportation and sending your bags back to your resort! Its great!
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
If you're going to Disney for more than a day, stay at one of their on-site resorts! We stayed at the Polynesian Resort while at Walt Disney World and it was great! The service was awesome, the room was spacious, clean and very nice - despite being one of the oldest resorts on the property. They had everything we needed and we didn't even leave Disney property for 4 days. It wasn't cheap, but it was worth everything we paid. My only problem now is when I return I want to experience another resort, …
About the reviewer
Bruce Brodsky ()
Ranked #116
Hi folks. My blog is A World View - Enjoying Walt Disney World. I actually think it was watching a True-Life Adventure called the Living Desert that started my enthusiastic love of Disney. I must have … more
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There are 32 resorts and hotels located on the Walt Disney World property. Of those, 24 are owned and operated by the Walt Disney Company. The Disney resorts are classified into five categories: Deluxe, Moderate, Value, Disney Vacation Club Villas, and Campground.
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