Visiting Disney World is a magical experience. Staying at one of the many Disney resorts — “on property” as it called – extends the magic 24/7. Here, a veteran Disney World visitor shares what she learned from her first Disney visit that included a stay at a Disney resort hotel. These are her top four reasons for staying at a Disney hotel.
Why You Should Stay at a Disney Resort
I am a huge Disney fan and our family travels from New Jersey to WDW on average 2-3 times per year. Both of our little ones first visited Disney World when they were each 2½ months old (they are now 9 and 5)! But even with all of those trips, we have never stayed at a Disney resort. This time, in order to take advantage of some of the new benefits, we decided to stay on Disney property for the first time.
No matter where you stay, you’ll be able to take advantage of these 4 key benefits for staying on the WDW property:
1. FastPass Priority
The biggest advantage for us was being able to book our FastPasses 60 days in advance (versus only 30 days in advance if you stay outside of WDW). This is a huge benefit as some of the most popular attractions are already booked 30 days in advance.
I was able to get the immensely popular Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride and Meet & Greets with various Princesses by staying up late and booking our 3 FastPasses for the Magic Kingdom at 12:01am on the 60th day before our trip!
To minimize effort after you reach WDW, you should also purchase your park tickets in advance (or a Disney resort/ticket package), and link your park tickets to your FastPasses, as well as any events or dining options you choose to do, using My Disney Experience.
2 Magical Express Bus
While we like to rent our own car from the Orlando airport (as we also visit with family while in Florida), many of our friends who have stayed in WDW rave about Disney’s Magical Express bus service. This is the free shuttle service for WDW resort guests to/from the Orlando airport. Being greeted at the airport and letting someone else worry about your luggage at baggage claim is a great way to begin your vacation!
3. Even More Magic Early and Late
Another reason to book a WDW resort is the Extra Magic Hours system, which allows WDW guests to either arrive early or stay later at one of the 4 Walt Disney World parks. We’ve seen families enjoying this benefit in the past when we’ve had to leave the park at night, but this time we’ll get to stay too when the parks are less crowded.
4. Free Disney Parks Transportation
The 4th reason to stay at a WDW resort is your ability to use the Disney bus system to travel between your resort, all four parks, two water parks and Downtown Disney. While anyone visiting WDW for the day can use the Disney bus system, by staying at a Disney property, you’ll not have to worry about driving, then parking in enormous parking lots where you may have a long walk and/ or wait for a tram before taking a monorail just to enter the Magic Kingdom, which makes for a smoother start to your wonderful day!
Disney has various resort and ticket combination discounts throughout the year. We have annual passes, so I was able to take advantage of discount rates to many of the resorts in all the price categories (from Value through Deluxe). For our upcoming trip in November, we have chosen to stay at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort, one of the Value resorts, as the Sorcerer Mickey pool looks great.
We timed our trip so that we can attend both the 20th Anniversary of the International Food & Wine Festival as well as the first “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” of the holiday season during our 5 night stay, but we’ll find time to enjoy the pool as well!