04 October 2015

31 Days: Deciding Where to Stay at Disney World

Disney World with Young kids: Deciding where to stay

So today's topic is pretty straight forward- do you stay in a Walt Disney World resort hotel (on property) or stay off property? They each have perks and drawbacks. I've had experience in both staying on-property and staying off-property at our family's timeshare. Both have their perks, but I'll admit that I'm a sucker for staying on-property when the budget can afford it!!

Disney World with Young kids: Deciding where to stay
Disney's Port Orleans Riverside
On Property @ a WDW resort hotel
  • All Disney all the time!! Truly a magical experience :) Each resort has unique theming that makes the stay really special!
  • Complementary shuttle from Orlando (MCO) airport
  • Complementary shuttles throughout the parks
  • Complementary parking at the parks (if you prefer to drive yourself)
  • Concierge desk can arrange non-Disney shuttles to other local attractions (Sea World, Universal Studios, etc) which are usually a reasonable fee
  • MagicBand (which will be discussed further later): your room key and you can charge anything in the parks to your room using the MagicBand (except a few free-standing drink/ice cream carts that only accept cash or card)
  • In-park purchases can be sent back to your resort (so no lugging them around the parks!)
  • Extended Theme Park Hours: one park is open late or early each day for On Property guests only
  • Complimentary baggage check & boarding pass printing at your resort for participating airlines
  • Disney Dining Plan: a pre-paid dining plan (your choice of a few different options/levels) that is only available to on-property guests
  • Gift or Flower baskets can be delivered straight to your room. Find out more {here}.
  • Priority tee times for Disney's golf courses
  • WDW TV, with exclusive insider Disney info being shown all day and night
  • Disney has their timeshares (Disney Vacation Club) which allow you to have a kitchen right in your room! Great for keeping costs lower by preparing food in your room.
  • Fees for shuttles to visit any non-Disney attractions (if you didn't rent a vehicle)
  • Using the complementary Disney transportation only, you are at the mercy of their schedule, which doesn't always coincide with your toddler's nap time!
  • Generally higher priced rooms 

Disney World with Young kids: Deciding where to stay
our favorite off property timeshare
Off Property
  • Timeshares (and some hotels) will have full kitchens or kitchenettes to facilitate cooking meals so you don't have to always eat at the parks. 
  • Some hotels may even offer free breakfast 
  • Convenience of having a car allows you the flexibility to leave whenever you need 
  • Check out {AllEars here} before you book- their readers can get special discounts for some hotels and resorts!
  • Cheaper than staying on-property
  • Often times you can get larger accommodations off-property for the same or lower prices.
  • Requires a rental car and parking fees at the parks or a daily shuttle service
  • At peak holiday times, sometimes the Disney parking lots will fill up and close
  • Not as close to all the Disney action
  • No Disney Dining Plan available, so you have to keep tabs on your meal spending
  • No Keys to the World, so you'll have to have credit cards, room keys, cash, etc. all with you at the parks
  • No complementary package delivery. You'll have to carry them throughout the park or remember to pick them up at the front of the park before you leave 
So I hope this has helped you weigh the pros and cons of staying on or off property. If you hope to save money by bringing your snacks to the park. If you're looking for convenience, not having to drive or think about much of anything besides having fun and relaxing, on-property could be the way to go!

NOTE:: I do not receive any compensation for recommending the above links or locations. These opinions are purely my own!!

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