Being on the west coast, Disneyland was our go-to Disney park. Since the area is covered in reasonably-priced hotels which are only a stone’s throw away from the park’s entrance, we never really considered staying at the Disneyland Hotel or one of the newer official hotels. The additional perks are minimal and locals pretty much only book a room there if they really want to splurge on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Disney Resort Hotels at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida is a completely different case though.
Disney Resort Hotels at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL
Staying at one of many official Disney Resort Hotels offers is more convenient and there are so many lodging offers to choose from. When looking for hotels near Walt Disney World, you can’t get any closer than the official ones. At some of the budget properties, 4-5 occupants can stay in a room that starts around $120 per night (even less if there’s a sale going on with up to 30% off) while luxury villas will cost $500+ per night.
These Disney Resort Hotels allow guests to experience even more Disney with themed décor and special amenities. Whether you prefer a lazy stay in the bayou, plantation luxury in the south, island life in private bungalows, camping out in the wilderness, living among African wildlife, or immersing yourself in your favorite Disney movies, you’re sure to find a style that best suits your vacation. Maybe even try a few different ones. Some are better for a romantic getaway or a girls’ trip, while others are perfect for multi-generational family travel.
Benefits of Staying at Disney Resort Hotels at Walt Disney World
If at all possible, I would recommend staying in a Disney Resort Hotel if you are visiting Walt Disney World for the majority of your stay in the area. The included (free) perks of doing so are definitely worth it.
- Magical Express — Easy transportation for you and your luggage from the Orlando International Airport to your hotel. Bright yellow tags are sent via snail mail and, when affixed to your luggage, these will allow your bags to bypass baggage claim and be delivered right to your room (allow up to 4 hours for delivery). Or, have your luggage travel with you on the Disney motor coach to the hotel. On the way back, you can even check-in your luggage at the hotel instead of at the airport.
- Extra Magic Hours — Each day guests are allowed to enter designated parks 1-2 hours before opening to the public. That means shorter lines and more time for rides! The schedule changes daily so make sure to check the online park calendar.
- MagicBand Access — No more searching for your room key! Instead, just scan your MagicBand to get into your room. Complimentary MagicBands will be sent to you ahead of time or can be picked up at the hotel. These high tech bracelets (that are waterproof and can be customized) also work as your park tickets, FastPasses for attractions, and payment for purchases in the park or at the hotel. It’s super handy!
- Disney FastPass+ — Schedule your FastPass attractions online before your trip starts. Just scan your MagicBand at the ride kiosk to get in/on and lessen your wait time.
- Transferring Luggage — If you will be changing Disney hotels during your stay for budget reasons or for a different lodging experience, the staff can move your luggage for you so that it is waiting in your new room before you arrive.
- Internal Transportation — Since the hotels and parks are all so spread out, Disney hotels offer internal bus or boat service. The mode of transportation you use will depend on the location of the hotel and which park you are visiting. For example, a dedicated boat travels throughout the day between Yacht and Beach Club, Epcot, Boardwalk, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin (which, despite the name, is not an official hotel and only offers some of the above perks), and Hollywood Studios.
- Parking — If you decide to drive to each park, staying at a Disney hotel grants you free parking. That right there can save a ton of money!
- Dining — Disney Resorts have an amazing selection of food and take great care to accommodate those with food allergies. That attention to quality and customer satisfaction carries over to the Disney hotels.
- Service — The staff at the Disney Resort Hotels are amazing! They are friendly, helpful, and will do their best to make your Disney vacation memorable. It’s rare that you encounter any less than stellar customer service through the duration of your stay from check in to check out.
Why You Should Stay at Disney Resort Hotels
We have stayed both on- and off-property when visiting Walt Disney World and I have to say that I prefer staying in a Disney Resort Hotel for the above-mentioned perks. Not only is it much more convenient getting to, from, and between the four main parks but we find that it becomes less expensive as well. You don’t have to pay for daily parking, airport transportation is taken care of, and you get even more time in the parks. There’s a Disney Resort Hotel to fit every budget and style and the perks are awesome. So, the question isn’t if you should stay at one but why wouldn’t you?!