You’re thinking about vacationing to Walt Disney World! One of the first things you’ll need to decide is where you want to stay. In central Florida, there is certainly no shortage of hotels and other accommodations…. so why pick an official Disney hotel?
When it comes to theming, it’s hard to beat Disney. Even the trash cans are themed to a location, so you know every detail was carefully planned. With Disney hotels, this attention to detail carries through guest rooms, pool areas, and dining areas! I remember how excited I got when I looked down at the floor in my room at Port Orleans-Riverside Alligator Bayou section to find the carpet looked like wood! From the campground to club level, you know you’re going to find little bits of magic everywhere.
09) Magical Extras
Magic Your Way Packages (WDW hotel room and theme park tickets), includes exclusive discounts and freebies! Each package includes a free round of mini golf at one of Disney’s putt putt courses and one-day entrance to the ESPN Wide World of Sports for up to 4 people. Discounts are also offered for a variety of dining, shopping, and activities within the Walt Disney World resort, such as 10% off of bowling at Splitsville at Disney Springs!
08) Free Magic Bands
Magic Bands have become a ubiquitous part of a Walt Disney World vacation. They provide easy access to park tickets and FastPass+. If staying off-site, you can purchase a MagicBand, but you get one free with your Magic Your Way package! Plus, when you stay at a Disney hotel, your Magic Band also becomes your room key! With the ability to charge to your room via Magic Band (with a pin), my husband and I literally don’t have to carry anything but our phones with us to the parks. Pro Tips: If you want to have an adult beverage, you will still need to bring ID! If you want to use your Disney Visa Credit Card perks, you’ll need to have the card on you.
07) Package Service
One of my personal favorite reason to stay at a Disney resort is the ability to send items back to your room. Whether it’s a gift you don’t want someone to see or just something you don’t feel like carrying around the park, when you stay at a Disney hotel you can have items shipped to your hotel’s gift shop for pick-up at a later time. One caveat is that you have to give 1-2 days for delivery, depending on time of purchase, otherwise – go nuts!
06) Free Parking
Parking at the theme parks is included for the duration of your stay at a Walt Disney World hotel. The price of parking is currently $20/day, so that’s definitely a cost to consider when looking at prices of off-site hotels.
Speaking of parking, how would you like to not have to drive at all? From the time you arrive at the airport to the the time you leave, Disney provides free transportation. Not only does Disney’s Magical Express shuttle pick you up at Orlando International Airport (MCO) and take you to your hotel, but they also bring your checked bags to your room for you while you play at the parks! During your vacation, Disney has an extensive web of buses, boats, and monorails to get you where ever you want to go at Walt Disney World – all for FREE!
04) Extra Magic Hours
Another guest favorite is Extra Magic Hours that allow Disney resort guests exclusive access to extended park hours, either one hour before the park opens or two hours after closing (these vary by day). While these extra hours can sometimes make a given park more crowded for the day, there are also certain activities that only occur during these times, like a late-night character dance party at Hollywood Studios.
03) Disney Dining Plan
While you obviously don’t have to be staying at a Disney hotel to eat at Walt Disney World, the Disney Dining Plans (DDP) are only available to on-site guests. You can read all about the different DDPs HERE to see which plan is the best fit for your lifestyle and budget. The DDPs are convenient and can definitely save you a lot of money, depending on your family.
Speaking of saving money, Disney offers discounts all the time for vacation packages and hotel rooms. These discounts are only available to guests staying at on-site hotels. The most popular discount in years past, the Free Dining promotion, has required a minimum vacation package with stay at a Disney hotel and park tickets.
01) Disney Service
Disney is legendary for their service and staying on property means you get that service 24/7 during your stay. We love staying at a Disney hotel because it allows us to stay within the WDW “bubble.” There’s something to be said for not having to go back to the “real world” for a while that is magical in and of itself.
Bonus: My Services
Never Grow Up!