Post Updated February 2016
If you are just starting to plan your Disney World vacation you probably started with How Much Does it Cost to go to Disney World.
Once you realize how affordable it can be the next question many people ask themselves is should I stay off property to save money. I am a huge advocate of staying on property while on a Disney World vacation. Let me give you 8 reasons to stay on property at a Disney World Hotel.
Why Stay at a Disney World Hotel?
The Fun starts the Moment you Arrive in OrlandoThis may be my favorite reason for staying at a Disney World hotel. If you stay off property the magic doesn’t start until the exact moment you set foot on Disney property. But if you stay at Disney World hotel you will enter the magic at Orlando airport. You will be greeted by helpful cast members next to baggage claim.
- Disney will get your bags & take them to your hotel room – FREE!
- Kids love using their magic band at the airport to check in with the Magical Express
- Get excited aboard a Disney bus watching Disney cartoons as you make your 45 minute trip to your resort
- Buses are well organized and leave very regularly (buses run 24/7 but in the late evening expect to wait long to fill a bus before leaving)
The Magic Never EndsDisney hotel guests never leave the magic. From the moment you land in Orlando your vacation has begun. It doesn’t go on pause every night, but rather the fun goes on at your hotel.
You’ll continue to enjoy Disney service with helpful cast members, use your dining plan at the hotel, shop for souvenirs at the shop, and enjoy the unique Disney theming at your hotels.
Beside taking a dip in the pool, you can also watch a free Disney movie pool side every night. Some hotels have camp fires with marshmallows and Chip and Dale. Plus some hotels even have spectacular views of one of the parks evening fireworks.
Did you know you can get a morning wake up call from a character each morning?
Extra Park HoursI think families who choose to stay off site are missing big time when it comes to park time. But not just time in the park; precious extra morning or evening hours when the crowds are very low because only disney world hotel guests may ride.
During just 1 hour of Magic Kingdom early morning magic hours our family is able to see almost all of Fantasyland. That would take you almost all morning during regular hours!
Reserve Fastpass+ EarlyDisney World hotel guests get the magical perk of reserving their Fastpasses a whole month before everyone else! Specifically, Disney World hotel guests may reserve Fastpass+ 60 days early; off site guests may make selections only 30 days in advance.
It may not seem like a big deal until you try to make your selections and you realize that all the coveted Fastpass+ for Peter Pan, Seven Dwarf Mine, Meeting Elsa & Ana, among others are already all gone!
Reserve Disney World Restaurants EarlyAlthough technically you can make a Disney World Dining Reservation at any point 180 days before your trip the system has a small loop hole. If you have a Disney World package reservation you get to start making your reservations 180 days out from the FIRST day of your trip. So if you are staying 10 nights, you can make the 10th night reservation 180 days before your first night; making it actually 190 days out.
So don’t be surprise if all the Be Our Guest slots have filled up even if you are making a reservation 180 days out!
Disney World TransportationBy staying at a Disney World Hotel you won’t have to do any driving while on vacation. Disney has an very well organized bus system taking guests from any hotel to all the Disney World parks and Downtown Disney area at very regular intervals.
This means less waiting, not paying $17/day to park, earlier/later buses, and a reliable way to get to the magic all day long.
FREE Package Delivery to your HotelIf you are like most guests, you are going to buy at least one souvenir on your tip. Disney World hotel guests have a special perk. Instead of lugging their packages around all day with them (and chancing misplacing them) the cast members will very easily have them delivered to your hotel.
It doesn’t cost as much as you thinkBesides all the other perks mentions above that really stack up in my view, let’s compare the numbers.
I feel like comparing a Disney Budget Hotel (i.e. All Star Movies) is equal to a Holiday Inn; at least as far as room quality, pools, and service.
For a Tuesday in September it costs $100/night at All Star Movies and $75/night at Holiday Inn Orlando-Lake Buena Vista. However the Disney World cancellation policy is more generous. To get an equal cancellation policy where you can cancel up to 5 days in advance for no reason it will cost you $89/night at Holiday Inn.
So there is only an $11/night price difference in staying off property. And then again you loose out on all the other advantages listed above.
Bottom Line. Stay at a Disney World Hotel!
Disney World Planning
- 28 Great Places to Eat on the Disney Dining Plan
- 8 BEST Snacks at the Magic Kingdom
- The BEST age to take kids to Disney World
- 20 Tips & Tricks for Families at Disney World
- The BEST time of Year to got to Disney World
- How to Set-up Your Disney Fastpass+
- How to Get MORE Fastpass+ (like 15+)