Are you going to visit Walt Disney World? Want to stay close to your favorite theme park? If so, you’re in for the experience of a lifetime! But did you know that staying at a Walt Disney World Resort has even more advantages?
Choosing to stay at a Walt Disney World resort comes with exclusive benefits like early access to select parks, and all kinds of other perks!
In this article I discuss how choosing a Walt Disney World Resort can really level-up your family’s vacation. From helpful amenities to special offers—staying at a Walt Disney World Resort could elevate your stay from magical to truly extraordinary.
Before we get started, if you’re a fan of all things Disney and love discussing theme parks and planning Disney vacations, then I want to announce the launch of my new private Facebook group, the Disney Park Advisor Community. This is a place where Disney fans can come together to share their love of all things Disney, ask questions, get advice, and make new friends. Click the link to request membership. I can’t wait to see you in the group!
What Are The Benefits Of Staying At A Walt Disney World Resort?
When you’re thinking about a trip to Walt Disney World, choosing where to stay is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. While there are many options, staying at a Disney Resort hotel offers a unique and immersive experience that can make your vacation even more special. In this article, we’ll be exploring the many benefits of staying at a Disney Resort hotel, from convenient transportation options to extra time in the parks and early vacation planning.
As a Disney Resort hotel guest, you’ll be able to experience the same legendary storytelling, detail, and guest service that you’ll find in the parks. From Disney-themed rooms to options for families of 5 or more, there’s a perfect accommodation for every travel style. And with vacation packages and personalized vacation-planning support available for Club-level rooms and suites, planning your trip has never been easier.
Extended Park Hours: Extra Magic Hours Revised
Disney has replaced Extra Magic Hours with Extended Park hours. During this exclusive perk, certain Disney Parks open early or stay open late so that guests can experience shorter wait times and smaller crowds. It’s also a great way to enjoy the parks in lower temperatures than during the typical day.
This means you can get a head start on your day and enjoy some of the most popular attractions with minimal wait times. Early Entry varies throughout the week and from park to park, so make sure to check your schedule when you visit.
For those who are staying at a Deluxe Resort, Deluxe Villa, or select hotel, you have the added perk of Extended Evening Hours. This means that on select evenings, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the theme parks after normal operating hours. With smaller crowds, this is a great opportunity for you to enjoy some of your favorite attractions without the wait. Extended Evening Hours are only available two nights per week, so be sure to check your itinerary and plan accordingly.
In comparison to the previous Extra Magic Hours, Early Entry and Extended Evening Hours are less busy and a significant perk.
Genie+ Line-Skipping System and Lightning Lane
As a Disney resort hotel guest, you have the benefit of experiencing the latest technology for line-skipping at the parks. The Genie+ line-skipping system has replaced the free FastPass program, giving you the opportunity to make your park experience more efficient and enjoyable. With the Genie+ line-skipping system, you can reserve your spot in line for your favorite attractions and shows ahead of time, allowing you to spend more time experiencing all that the parks have to offer.
While there is not an extra benefit for the Disney Genie+ when it comes to staying at a Walt Disney World resort there is with the Individual Lightning Lane purchases.
A guest staying at a Walt Disney World resort can purchase the Individual Lightning Lane option for applicable rides at 7 a.m. whereas non-resort guests would not be able to purchase until the park opens.
The earlier access to Lightning Lane is a great way to beat the crowds and get a jumpstart on your day at the park.
There’s no doubt that the loss of free FastPass+ was a significant blow to all visitors, especially on-site guests. However, the Genie+ line-skipping system and Lightning Lane offer a convenient and efficient alternative, allowing you to make the most of your time at Walt Disney World.
As a guest staying at a Walt Disney World resort, transportation is one of the key benefits you’ll enjoy.
First off, Walt Disney World brought back free overnight self-parking for guests staying at its resort hotels in 2023. This means you’ll be able to park your vehicle overnight at no additional cost during your stay. Additionally, Walt Disney World guests still receive complimentary standard parking at its theme parks, so you can park your car for free while you enjoy your day at the parks.
When it comes to getting around the resort, you have several options to choose from. The Skyliner is considered the best transportation option and has been reliable since its opening. It provides an aerial view of the resort as you travel between select Disney resorts, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Epcot. If you’re going to Magic Kingdom, you have the option of taking the monorail or ferry service. The water transportation is also a great option for getting around the Boardwalk, to and from Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
Unfortunately, Disney’s Magical Express airport shuttle service ended in 2020, leaving visitors to Orlando International Airport to rent a car, use Uber/Lyft or find alternative shuttle service like Mears Connect or Sunshine Flyer. Despite this change, bus service at Walt Disney World has improved and is now more efficient.
Wait times can be seen on digital boards at the bus stops and in the My Disney Experience app, and the resort addressed its bus driver shortage by bringing in a third party to assist with routes. With all these transportation options available, getting around Walt Disney World is easy and convenient, making your stay even more enjoyable.
Themed Resorts and Hotel Rooms
Staying at a Disney resort hotel offers the chance to immerse yourself in the magic and be surrounded by the same legendary storytelling, detail, and guest service found in the parks. The themed resorts are still meticulously themed, offering a certain x-factor that elevates your overall experience above all the other alternatives. Disney World’s resorts are known for their unique and intricate themes, and staying on-site will place you in the middle of the magic.
While the sense of theme inside the rooms has been subdued a bit in recent years, Disney seems to be turning the corner with recent upgrades.
Disney Resort Hotel rooms offer a comfortable and convenient place to rest, with a wealth of options for families of 5 or more guests, vacation packages, special offers, and personalized vacation-planning support for guests staying in Club-level rooms and suites.
Additionally, the on-site guests have the advantage of being able to take advantage of the resort’s various amenities, such as pool games, Disney trivia, and campfires, and access to kitchens and laundry facilities.
Disney Resort Amenities
Staying at a Disney Resort offers a world of immersive experiences and amenities that elevate your vacation to the next level. With legendary storytelling, detail and guest service, you’ll feel like you’re in the heart of the magic. One of the most enjoyable aspects of staying at a Disney Resort is the abundance of recreational activities. Each resort features its own unique pool, where you can splash, play and lounge in the sun. If you’re looking for something more thrilling, some resorts offer water slides, hot tubs and even a lazy river.
Disney Resorts also offer a variety of dining options to suit every taste and budget. From character dining experiences like Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary or Ohana at the Polynesian Resort, to food courts and fine dining restaurants, there’s something for everyone. These dining options are conveniently located within the resort, so you don’t have to venture far from the comfort of your room.
Additionally, Disney Resorts offer food courts, where you can grab a quick and easy meal, (don’t forget to grab a Dole Whip at the Polynesian!) as well as other convenient amenities like laundry facilities, trails and playgrounds, which can be particularly helpful for families traveling with young children. With so many options and amenities available, you can truly make the most of your vacation without ever leaving the resort. Whether you’re in the mood for a relaxing day by the pool or an action-packed day of adventure, you’ll find it all at a Disney Resort.
Disney Resorts Are Close To The Action
Staying at a Disney resort hotel puts you in the heart of the magic and provides unmatched convenience. The resorts are located close to the theme parks and other guest area attractions like Disney Springs, making it easy for you to enjoy everything the resort has to offer. You’ll be able to start your day at the theme parks early and come back to your resort for a mid-day break or a quick nap. Then, you can head back to the parks for evening entertainment or take a stroll to Disney Springs to enjoy the shopping, dining, and entertainment options available there.
For example, the Polynesian Village Resort is just a short Monorail ride away from Magic Kingdom, while the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is just a boat ride away from the park. The Contemporary Resort is just a short walk or monorail ride away from Magic Kingdom.
Staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge puts you in close proximity to the Animal Kingdom theme park, making it a convenient and seamless experience to spend time in the park, and you can even get a savannah-facing room putting you in close proximity to the animals who will show up right outside your balcony! This is by far my favorite place to stay – you can sit on your balcony, have a cup of coffee, and watch the animals roam and feed on the savannah – it’s truly amazing!
The proximity of the resorts to the parks and other guest areas allows you to maximize your time and enjoy all that Walt Disney World has to offer.
Taking A Break is Easy
Whether you want to head back to your room to grab a nap, or let the kids spend some time in the pool, taking a break is easy when you stay at a Disney Resort. With so many amenities available, you can truly make the most of your vacation without ever leaving the resort.
As an example, we regularly take a break during the heat of the day to head back to the hotel. Sometimes it’s so we can jump in the pool and cool off, and sometimes it’s to pull the blackout curtains closed and sleep. Resting is part of vacation, and when you stay at a Disney resort, it’s so much easier.
The Disney resorts are so close to everything that it makes it easy to take a break from the parks and enjoy some of the other activities available, or just get some much needed downtime.
Fun Disney-Specific Resort Activities
Staying at a Disney resort is an unforgettable experience, especially when it comes to the fun activities available. Every day, guests can enjoy a variety of activities like poolside games, Disney trivia, campfires and movies under the stars. These activities are perfect for families looking to make lasting memories together. Some resorts even offer free scavenger hunts that allow you to explore different areas of the resort and collect a prize when all the clues are solved.
Most of these activities are completely free, but there may be some small fees associated with certain items like Mickey tie-dye T-shirts or s’mores kits for the campfire. No matter what activity you choose, you’re sure to have an amazing time during your stay at a Disney resort!
There Is A Room For Any Size Party
When it comes to Disney resorts, there’s a room type for everyone. Whether you’re traveling with a small family or a large party, Disney has a variety of room options to accommodate different travel styles and preferences.
For those seeking a budget-friendly option, standard rooms offer comfortable and convenient accommodations with all the necessary amenities. For a little extra luxury, the Club-level rooms and suites provide personalized vacation-planning support, special offers, and access to private lounges. These rooms are perfect for guests who want to take their vacations to the next level.
For families seeking more space, Disney offers a range of room options that can accommodate up to five or more guests.
For example, the Polynesian Village Resort offers a variety of room types, including standard rooms, garden rooms, Club Level rooms and villas. The Deluxe Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa are perfect for families who prefer the comfort and space of a home-away-from-home experience. With separate living areas, full kitchens, and private bedrooms, these villas are an ideal option for families who want to experience all the magic of a Disney vacation while enjoying the comforts of their own space.
For those seeking the ultimate in luxury and comfort, Disney offers a range of Deluxe Villas and suites. These rooms offer spacious accommodations, premium amenities, and a variety of dining options, making them perfect for families and groups looking for a truly magical vacation experience.
Whether you’re seeking a room with a view of the park, a private balcony, or a separate living area, Disney has something to offer everyone. With its extensive range of room options, Disney resorts are the perfect place to create memories that will last a lifetime.
Advanced Dining Reservations
Getting reservations for some of the table service restaurants at Walt Disney World can be incredibly challenging to say the least. But if you’re staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel, you’ve got an added perk when it comes to making dining reservations.
You can book your Advance Dining Reservations up to 60 days prior to the date you want to eat and for your entire length of stay, which can be up to 10 days. This gives you plenty of time to plan out your meals and make sure you have reservations at the restaurants you’re most excited about. And, with the convenience of being able to do it all from your resort hotel, you’ll have one less thing to worry about as you plan your magical vacation.
Disney Dining Plan in 2023
The Disney Dining Plan has been a popular option for guests visiting Walt Disney World, allowing you to pre-purchase meals and snacks at the park.
It’s unfortunately suspended right now, but it’s expected to return at some point in 2023.
But if you still want to prepay for your food and snacks and lock in a budget for your food expense then a clever way to do that could be to pre-purchasing discount Disney gift cards as an alternative.
Not only are they flexible and provide significant savings compared to the Disney Dining Plan, but they can also be used to purchase food, merchandise, tickets, and more.
You can find discounted gift cards offered by third-party websites or physical stores.
No matter which option you choose, you’ll have to do a bit of research and compare prices to get the best deal possible.
Purchasing Disney gift cards is a great way to save money on your trip!
Immersive Disney Experience
When you step onto Disney property and you’re inside Disney bubble you’re entering a completely self-sufficient world with its own unique, immersive culture. It’s one of our favorite things to as we cross the threshold onto Disney property for us to mark the moment and shift mental gears knowing that we’re now officially on our vacation and ready to indulge in the experience of all the magic that Disney has to offer.
Staying at a Disney resort allows you to be completely immersed in the Disney experience from the moment you arrive. From the themed decor, to the friendly Cast Members, and even special touches like Mickey-shaped waffles for breakfast, staying at a Disney resort is an experience like no other.
You’ll have all the amenities you need to make your stay comfortable including easy access to delectable dining, transportation, pools and much more.
Plus, you’ll discover an impeccably landscaped space with truly magical touches that set it apart from anywhere else.
When you stay on property, Disney has you covered. With Disney’s thoughtfully designed layout and many offerings, they create an experience like no other that makes staying there unlike any other destination.
What’s Included When You Stay At A Disney Resort
When you stay at a Disney Resort, you will be surrounded by the same legendary storytelling, detail, and guest service that is found in the parks. There are several amenities and benefits included in your stay, and it all starts with the resort room.
Guests who stay at a Disney Resort receive complimentary standard parking at Walt Disney World theme parks and access to a range of transportation options around Disney World, including monorail, ferry service, and water transportation.
Disney resort hotel guests can enter theme parks 30 minutes earlier than the posted opening time and on select evenings, some Disney resort hotels offer extended evening hours.
Complementary Magic bands, which used to be included with the price of your room are now available at a discounted price. They’re no longer required for your visit though, so you’re not missing out too much if you choose not to get them for your trip. Magic bands have traditionally served as your park admission tickets, resort room keys, and basically your one passport for everything Disney.
There are also fun resort activities like pool games, Disney trivia, and campfires to enjoy. These are just a few of the many benefits that come with staying at a Disney Resort, making it the ultimate vacation destination.
Q: Why should I stay at a Disney Resort?
A: There are several reasons why staying at a Disney Resort can enhance your vacation experience. Firstly, Disney Resort hotels offer a unique and immersive experience that combines the legendary storytelling and attention to detail found in the parks with world-class guest service. Secondly, staying at a Disney Resort provides convenient transportation options, including free transportation around Disney World, which can save you time and money. Thirdly, Disney Resort guests receive special offerings and benefits, such as early park entry, and access to exclusive experiences. Finally, staying at a Disney Resort offers a range of room types to accommodate different travel styles, making it a great option for families of all sizes.
Q: What are the benefits of staying at a Disney Resort hotel?
A: The benefits of staying at a Disney Resort hotel include a unique and immersive experience, convenient transportation options, special offerings and benefits such as early park entry, a range of room types to accommodate different travel styles, and access to exclusive experiences.
Q: Are there any additional fees when staying at a Disney Resort hotel?
A: Some Disney Resort hotels may have additional fees for certain amenities or services, such as parking or in-room dining. However, many of these fees can be waived or reduced for Disney Resort guests. Additionally, transportation around Disney World is free for resort hotel guests, which can save you money compared to staying off-site.
Q: What is included with my Disney Resort room reservation?
A: Your Disney Resort room reservation includes your room accommodation, access to Disney Resort hotel amenities such as pools, restaurants, and activities, and transportation around Disney World. Some Disney Resort hotels may also include additional amenities or services such as MagicBands or in-room dining.
Q: Are Disney Resort rooms suitable for large families?
A: Yes, Disney Resort rooms are suitable for families of all sizes. There are a variety of room types available, including standard rooms, suites, and villas, to accommodate different travel styles and family sizes. Additionally, Disney Resort hotels offer a range of amenities and activities specifically designed for families, making them a great option for families traveling to Disney World.
The next step is connect with other Disney fans. Join the Disney Park Advisor Community group to connect with other Disney fans and get tips and advice on planning the perfect Disney vacation. This private Facebook group is the perfect place to share your love of all things Disney and get insider knowledge from other Disney enthusiasts. Simply click the link below to request membership and become a part of our community.