One of the first questions one has to answer when booking their trip to Walt Disney world is:
Do we stay on Disney property or do we stay off Disney property?
I have stayed on site the majority of my visits to Disney and have had some wonderful experiences. (If you would like to see our recommendations for places to stay off Disney property, check out this post.)
There are many perks to staying on Disney property.
The resorts all have Disney themes so you are fully immersed in the Disney experience the whole time you are there! Guests receive free parking at the parks or can take advantage of the bus or monorail system! You can usually get to the parks much faster. I say usually because we had to wait an hour for a bus from our resort to a park one day and 30 minutes another day. Another perk to staying on site are the Extra Magic Hours! These are extra time slots for only guests staying on Disney property to visit the parks! The parks are not quite as crowded and you can really enjoy the park before it becomes super busy. My absolute favorite thing about staying on property is that you get to book your fast passes 60 days in advance! You are most likely to get the fastpass you really want and they are not picked over.
Staying onsite does come with a price tag.
I have been lucky enough to stay in many different Disney resorts. I have stayed in a value, moderate, and deluxe resort. The old adage definitely is at play, you get what you pay for.
You are on Disney property and I will say the outside of the resorts are really neat. Little kids will love the animations outside of the resorts. They are really magical and the pools have really neat themes as well. The cafeterias have yummy food and plenty of options for all ages. This is a great option if you are on a budget but still want the full Disney immersion.
The value rooms are much like a run of the mill hotel. The rooms are themed but they are very small. If you have two or three people going on the trip, you may be ok staying in one of these rooms. Our family of four stayed at the Art of Animation on our most recent four day trip in the Little Mermaid Room. I originally was going to book a suite but didn’t really want to spend the extra money because we usually leave our room at 8 am and do not return until sometimes 12 am. Looking back, I really wish we would have paid the extra money for the extra space or made a jump to a moderate resort. We felt like we were crammed into the room with our luggage. The bathroom decorations are made to make you feel like you are underwater which was neat but very dark.
We also were the furtherest rooms from ANYTHING on the property. A walk from the bus stop added a half mile to our walk each way. After walking 10 miles each day, we were pretty beat by the time we got to our room. I would highly suggest requesting the closest building to the bus stop or main building at check in if you go this route. This resort is also the furtherest from the parks so some days we waited anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour just to jump on a bus and it took us 30 minutes to get to other resorts for breakfast or dinner reservations.
You get some of the perks of the deluxe resorts but with a smaller price tag. The rooms are bit bigger than the value resorts and the quality of materials in the rooms are better. The pools are also a step up from the value resorts as some have water slides. The resorts are a bit closer to the parks so you can even catch a glimpse of fireworks if you are lucky! I have stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort and the Coronado Springs Resort with the Caribbean Beach Resort being my favorite! I really loved the atmosphere at the Caribbean Beach Resort, loved the pools, and the extra amenities were awesome!
There can still be a wait for the transportation although it was not nearly as long as what we experienced at the Value resort.
Everything. For real. We stayed in the Contemporary Resort for a five day stay and it was amazing. The convenience of the monorail right outside your room is the best part. Not to mention you can walk to Magic Kingdom! We were able to get to parks in record time. We also loved how close the cafe was located to our room and the amenities like the game room were right there at us. Not to mention being able to watch the fireworks at Magic Kingdom from the hotel! The balcony and view from our room was a huge perk. It was absolutely magical and we were able to make the most of our trip because we were so close to everything. The rooms are a nice size as well as the bathroom. We were able to have two adults and three teenagers stay in the room comfortably and not feel like we are on top of each other.
Besides the price tag, NONE.
No matter the resort you pick, you can have a magical time at Disney. While staying on site is nice, if it doesn’t fit in your budget, you can find other alternatives. I am a firm believer in that if you budget and plan, you CAN go to Disney on a budget that fits your family!
Want to go to Disney for under $2,500? Check out our other Disney post!
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