Can’t decide whether or not to stay on property for your next Walt Disney World vacation? Take a look at some of the benefits of staying in a Walt Disney World resort.
If you do not plan on leaving Disney property, you don’t need to rent a car while you are there! You can use the Magical Express shuttle from Orlando International to your resort and during your stay, you can use the Disney bus system to travel to the theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs. Not to mention the monorail system, which is available from the Contemporary, Grand Floridian and Polynesian; as well as the boat system which is available from certain resorts to and from Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Disney Springs.
Want to take advantage of one of the dining plans? Only guests staying at one of the Disney resorts can use the dining plan. Disney will also occasionally offer a free dining plan promotion, usually in the fall, as a way of enticing people to stay on property at Walt Disney World. Another huge advantage of looking into staying on property!
If you are staying on property and have your own car or decide to rent a car, parking at the theme parks is included with your resort stay. Anyone staying off property, who is not an annual passholder, has to pay $20/day to park at any of the theme parks. Parking is free at the resorts and Disney Springs.
Extra Magic Hours
Disney offers what they call Extra Magic Hours; that is every day one of the theme parks will either open earlier or stay open later. Only guests staying on property will be able to take advantage of this extra time in the parks (it’s usually a little less crowded too!). Be sure to check the park hours for the days you plan to visit and incorporate EMH into your touring plans!
Magic Bands are included with your resort stay. They function as your room key, park ticket, meal plan, and credit card while you are on vacation. Magic Bands come in 8 plain colors: gray, red, blue, green, orange, yellow, pink, and recently added, purple! These are free to anyone staying on site, however, you can purchase them if you decide to stay off property.
Purchases shipped directly to your resort
If you are staying at Disney, you can have anything you purchase in the parks sent to your resort so that you don’t have to carry it around all day! You can pick up anything you have sent back to the resort at your resort gift shop, usually within 24 hours.
I highly recommend taking a break in the afternoon. Either relax and take a nap at your room, or sit out by the pool. It’s a good idea to get out of the sun for a few hours and relax. It’s much easier if you are staying close!
Book Dining Reservations and FastPass+ in Advance
Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel get the luxury of booking their dining reservations 180 days in advance + 10 days. This means that if your vacation begins on September 1st and lasts until September 10th, you would be able to begin booking your reservations for your entire vacation on March 5th (180 days ahead of September 1st). However, if you are not staying on property, you would only be able to book dining reservations for one day at a time. For the example above on March 5th, you could book reservations for September 1st only. On March 6th, reservations for September 2nd only, and etc. This can be the difference of getting the harder reservations (i.e. Be Our Guest, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Ohana breakfast) or not.
FastPass+ reservations can be booked by guests staying on site 60 days in advance and only if you have park tickets. Non-resort guests with park tickets can begin booking their FastPass+ reservations 30 days in advance. That extra time on booking FastPass+ reservations can give resort guests the opportunity to get Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Frozen Ever After, and other harder FastPass+ reservations, while non-resort guests may have a hard time attaining those reservations.
Decided to stay at Disney?
Check out our resort overviews and photos to help you decide which resort is right for your family!