The first time I went to Disney, I received advice from “friends” who had never went to Disney before, but thought they were Disney Experts.
- “Spend the least amount of money on the hotel at Disney World because you will never be there!”
- “Stay at an off-site hotel because Disney hotels are SUPER EXPENSIVE! Spend your money on souvenirs.”
- “It’s not that hard to get around the Disney parks. They have all those shuttles, it’s super fast to get to one park from the other.”
After going to Disney my first time and having a Disney DIY Vacation Disaster, I realized that my friends had told me… LIES. All of them LIES. There is a reason that over one million people stay at Disney World Resorts hotels every year. It’s the best value, for your time and money.
Pros of Staying at Disney World Resort Hotels
It’s easy to think that by choosing to stay off-site you will save lots of money. But when you factor in all the benefits you receive by staying on-site, you realize you may actually be spending more money (and precious vacation time) by staying off-site. Here are a few of the pros of staying at Disney World Resort Hotels:
- Accommodations for all budget ranges. Disney has three tiers of resorts available: Deluxe, Moderate or Value.
- Access to FREE Magical Express Transportation – Magical Express transports you from the Orlando Airport to your resort and back again and includes luggage pickup and in-room delivery.
- Ability to use Extra Magic Hours. Each day, Disney opens one park up an hour early, and/or leaves one park open an hour later for hotel guests only.
- Ability to use Disney Dining Plan. One of the biggest Disney Vacation DIY Disasters you can make is not taking advantage of the Dining Plan. Using the Disney Dining Plan saves you money on food overall because your aren’t buying items ala carte in the parks or the hotels. Plus you spend your vacation time in the park, not going back and forth to your car in the parking lot.
- Ability to send purchases back to your room versus carrying them around all day. #nuffsaid
- Option of charging items with your Disney Magic Bands versus using a credit card or cash. This also means you don’t have to carry around a purse or backpack.
- Being immersed in the Disney experience. Disney World Resort Hotels have FREE extra character on-site events, added activities like bonfires and movies on the beach, and kid’s activity hours.
For me, the biggest pro of staying at Disney World Resort Hotels is the ability to have a place on property that is “yours” to take a break. Regardless of your kid’s ages, everyone will appreciate a break to swim in the pool, take a nap, watch a movie, grab a bite to eat before the fireworks, or walk along the “beach” or Boardwalk. Disney World Theme Parks are intense. And sometimes, those precious breaks (which you can’t get from a trip to the car in the parking lot, because it took an hour to just get there) are the difference between melt-downs and continued smiles.
Which Disney World Resort Hotel should I choose?
Another loaded question.
Each Disney World Resort Hotel has their pros and cons (including their nightly rate). Here are just a few of the differences:
- Proximity to specific parks,
- Number of ways to be transported to parks,
- Pool. Some are suited for young kids, some for older kids,
- Extra FREE activities (including character events, tours, nightly movies, etc.),
- Quality of food (table service versus food court and menu options),
- Balcony and patios (which is important if your kids go to bed early and mom and dad want a glass of wine),
- Size of beds,
- and size of rooms.
In a nutshell, here is a quick run down:
- Value resorts: double beds, single sinks, themed pools, and food courts.
- Moderate resorts: queen beds, double sinks, themed pools with water slides and unique and enhanced pool features such as fountains and hot tubs, sand play areas, and waterfalls.
- Deluxe resorts: queen beds, double sinks, themed pools with water slides and unique and enhanced pool features such as fountains and hot tubs, sand play areas, and waterfalls.
- Deluxe Vill resorts: These resorts offer all of the same amenities as Deluxe resorts but also feature Deluxe Studio Rooms as well as One-, Two-, and Three-Bedroom Villas. Villas are perfect for larger or multi-generational families traveling to Disney.
Confused on Which Disney World Resort Hotel You Should Stay At?
The best advice I ever received about Disney was from my friend, Denise.
Use a Disney Travel Expert (like my friends at Magic Mouse Travel) to book your Disney Vacation.
1. An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner is the same price as booking yourself. I did the research myself. I received a quote from Magic Mouse Travel and one from the Disney website..they were the same price. Also, Magic Mouse Travel suggested going a week after our “proposed” date because we would be receiving a promo for FREE Disney Dining. That little adjustment saved us close to a thousand dollars on food and snacks and I wouldn’t have known if it weren’t for them. Who wouldn’t want a FREE value-added information source? Plus, you receive a FREE agency-exclusive booking gift.
2. The Magic Mouse Travel Team are Disney Experts. They have been to Disney World Resorts over 500 times. And they know intimate details like…Stormalong Bay is one of six sand-bottom pools in the United States or Epcot Resorts, Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness have jogging tracks which were created by Google. In fact, the team goes back every year specifically for training. Why? Because Disney is constantly updating, changing and revamping.
3. The Magic Mouse Travel Team has stayed at every hotel (multiple times) and can give you recommendations based on YOUR family. They have information from Disney Inside Sales including the Destination Handbook with room schematics. They know the size of the rooms, when they were remodeled, the size of the beds, does the room have a refrigerator, is it loud, how long it takes to get by bus to the Magic Kingdom, is the pool good for young children. You have a question…they have an answer.
4. They know about the food at each hotel, theme park, and area of the resort. This is a HUGE deal, especially if you are on the Disney Dining Plan. Love Dole Whip? Guess what? It’s a snack credit at specific hotels. Plus, wouldn’t you rather have a fresh veggie hummus wrap or hot prime rib sandwich for lunch versus a ham sandwich on white bread? They are worth the same Disney Dining Plan credit, just at different hotels.
5. They know about all the FREE extras. Each hotel has a certain FREE “extras” that are available including Family of the Day, character events, movies on the beach, kids crafts, s’mores parties, beach parties, scavenger hunts, lighting shows, and more.
When you think of all the pros of staying at Disney World Resort Hotels, why would you want to stay anywhere else? And then when you add in all the Disney Expert Advice from Magic Mouse Travel, why wouldn’t you use the FREE help of a Walt Disney World Travel Agency?
Disclosure: Magic Mouse Travel is a partner of RedefinedMom. However, the written remarks and opinions, as well as my stance that they are Disney Experts and know their ‘shtuff is entirely my own. They are the only company I will use for my Disney Vacations (and I have been there multiple times). Want more information – check out my full disclosure statement.