In 17 1/2 years of marriage, we’ve taken six family vacations to Disney World and one family vacation to Disneyland! In all my writing about Disney this month, I’ve neglected to mention that we also made an additional one-night stop at Disney World in 2012 before we headed out on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Five of those eight visits to Disney Parks, we stayed on Disney property.
We’ve stayed at the following Disney properties:
Disney’s Pop Century Resort (a second time)
Having experienced Disney’s excellent customer service and stellar resorts, one thing is for sure. Staying on property – at Disney’s Resorts and Hotels – is the best way to go. We won’t do Disney any other way. We’ll never again question where to stay when we go on a Disney vacation. The best answer is to always stay on Disney property.
Today, I’d like to do a brief review of reasons to stay on Disney property! This post is intended for the family who’s decided to go on a Disney vacation, but isn’t sure WHERE they’ll be staying yet. They’re waffling between staying OFF Disney property at a regular resort or hotel, or ON Disney property at a Disney resort or hotel.
Here goes, friends! Here are the reasons WHY I love staying on Disney property, and think it would be a great choice for your family, too.
Staying at a Disney Resort or Hotel is incredibly convenient. That’s all there is to it. You can book the whole package at once. It’s a one-stop gig. This makes vacation planning A LOT easier. When you book a Disney vacation package, everything’s taken care of in one swoop – tickets to Disney Parks and Waterparks, Park Hopper passes, Disney dining plan, transportation, and your reservation at the Disney Resort or Hotel of your choice. It’s easy. It’s convenient. It makes vacation planning a lot more enjoyable and streamlined. For convenience alone, staying on Disney property is totally worth it.
When you stay at a Disney Resort or Hotel, you’re staying ON Disney property. That means you’re incredibly CLOSE to the Disney Parks. Sure, you’ll still have to travel some distance to get to the Park of your choice on any given day, but it’s a LOT closer than it would be if you stayed off property. Proximity is a big deal. It shaves off a lot of travel time in and out of the Parks each day, which means you have a lot more time to enjoy your stay instead of driving all the time. For proximity alone, staying on Disney property is totally worth it.
Disney’s Magical Express
When you stay on Disney property at Disney World, you can take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express, which is Disney’s complimentary bus service to and from Orlando International Airport. Disney’s Magical Express is a GREAT way to start your Disney vacation. They pick up your luggage from baggage claim for you and deliver it straight to your room. So all you have to do is make your way to the Magical Express check-in desk, check in, activate your Magic Bands and off you go! You’re directed to the line that’ll bring you to your Disney Resort or Hotel, hop on your Disney Magic Express bus, and voila! Before you know it, you arrive at your Disney Resort! This is so easy, so slick! Disney’s Magical Express is complimentary both ways – FROM the airport TO your Disney Resort at the beginning of your vacation, and FROM your Disney Resort TO the airport at the end of your vacation. It’s a great way to begin and end your Disney vacation, and a big perk of staying on property.
Once you arrive at your Disney Resort or Hotel, you’ll need transportation to and from the Disney Parks, right?! No surprise, Disney has that taken care of for you. No need to rent a car. No need to worry. Every day, all day long, they have shuttles that run non-stop from Disney Resorts to all the Disney World Parks. Travel time to the Parks can be as short as 5-10 minutes, or as long as 25 minutes, depending on what Resort you’re staying at and where it is compared to the Disney Park you’re visiting that day. At any rate, all you have to do is wait in line a bit, get on the shuttle, and off it takes you to the Park. When you’re done at the end of the day, stand in line again, hop on the bus, and they’ll bring you back to your Resort. It’s incredibly convenient and so easy. We’ve never once rented a car when we’ve stayed on Disney property, and this is why. Because Disney’s all-inclusive transportation system is seamless.
Disney-Themed Rooms, Gift Shops, Food & Extra Perks
When you stay on Disney property, your whole experience is Disney themed. To some people, that might sound annoying or simply TOO MUCH. But our family loves it. We want our experience to be 100% Disney, all the way around. When you stay at a Disney Resort or Hotel, be ready for Disney-themed rooms, gift stores, shampoo bottles, decor, landscapes, and extra Disney perks such as pin trading in the gift store, character drawing in the lobby, and late-night Disney movies on the lawn. That doesn’t even begin to cover the food. Among the many lovely dining options in Disney Resorts & Hotels are Disney-themed foods, snacks and desserts, such as character waffles, Mickey cupcakes, Goofy trail mix, and refillable Disney mugs for your entire family. Whether you’re staying at the Grand Floridian, one of Disney’s Value Resorts, or anything in-between, rest assured your experience will be fully Disney!
Beautiful, Well-Kept Landscapes and Properties
Disney has the magic when it comes to creating and keeping beautiful properties. Every Disney Resort and Hotel I’ve been to is immaculately kept. Outdoor landscapes are beautifully manicured. The properties are well designed to keep guests flowing through efficiently, while simultaneously helping them feel comfortable, cozy and right at home. Pools, beaches, gazebos, and outdoor sitting and waiting areas are meticulously planned and well kept. Nothing’s lost on Disney. They make sure every nook and cranny – inside and out – is top notch.
Extra Magic Hours
When you stay at Disney’s Resorts and Hotels, you have automatic access to “Extra Magic Hours.” Extra Magic Hours are extended Disney Park hours. On certain days, they open select Parks extra early and keep them open extra late for guests staying on Disney properties. For example, one night on our most recent Disney World vacation, Magic Kingdom was officially closing at midnight. That was a late night the way it was! But Extra Magic Hours for that particular day ran all the way through 2:00 a.m., so my husband and son took advantage of the opportunity and stayed all the way until 2:00 a.m. closing! Typically, during Extra Magic Hours, you have FABULOUS access to rides, attractions and landmark locations you wouldn’t have otherwise. Want GREAT photos in front of the castle? Extra Magic Hours are the way to go. Want to get on a bunch of rides before the park opens or after the park closes? Extra Magic Hours are the way to go. Want to catch the ride that had a crazy long line all day long? Extra Magic Hours are the way to go. Want a quieter start to your day? Extra Magic Hours are the way to go. We nearly always take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours one way or another. They’re a HUGE hidden perk of staying on Disney property!
So that’s about it, ya’ll! Those are the best reasons to stay on Disney Property. If you’re trying to make a decision one way or another, and want more input from somebody who’s been there done that, please let me know! I’m happy to answer questions about our experiences staying at various Disney properties. Obviously, Disney Resorts & Hotels have worked incredibly well for our family. I hope they’re a great fit for your family as well!
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