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