One of my favorite parts of going to Walt Disney World isn’t just the parks – it’s also staying on property! There are many reasons to stay on site at Walt Disney World resort. There is just something so magical about coming home to find that Mickey towel arrangement waiting for you on the bed.
Not only that, but you can expect the top notch Disney quality you’ve come to expect from the parks in every aspect for your resort as well.
From the All Star Resorts to the Grand Floridian, it doesn’t really matter where you stay – because no matter what, you’ll have access to these five things. These are the top reasons you should stay on site at Walt Disney World resort!
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Disney’s Magical Express
Kiss the days of needing a rental car goodbye! If you’re staying on property, you can hop on the complimentary Magical Express when you arrive at Orlando International Airport. When you book your ride, you tell them which resort you’re staying at. Based on that they will group you with other travelers at nearby resorts so you’re not driving all over the property. It takes about an hour to get to all the resorts from the airport – and the whole way there, you’re sitting in comfortable seats, with blessed air conditioning, watching a video on what’s new at the parks! What better way to get you pumped up for all the fun you’re about to have?! It works the same way going back to the airport as well.
You can set it up so they pick up your bags straight from the airport and ship them to your hotel for you, and have them send them to the airline on your departure date as well after checking in for your flight. I usually just pick my bag up at the airport, but I usually take advantage of the check in process at the resort. It’s just so nice being able to drop my bag there! Then I get to focus on relaxing on the bus before getting to the airport.
Disney Bus Service
Once you’re at your resort, your access to the Kingdom is just a few steps away – at the bus stop! All the resorts (even the value ones!) have bus stops where you can hop on the Disney Resort bus service. These buses take you everywhere – all the parks, water parks, Disney Springs, even other resorts! The bus lines are some of the most efficient buses around. If you miss a bus to the Magic Kingdom or you find the bus is too crowded – don’t worry, another one will be around in just a few minutes! Buses also run prior to park opening and about an hour after park closing (yes, that includes Extra Magic Hours!) so if you want to make it to rope drop, the bus can get you there! These are also convenient because if someone in your party wants to go back to the resort early, they can just hop on the bus while you keep having fun! The My Disney Experience app allows you to see when the next bus is arriving at your bus stop. It’s not always super accurate, but it gives you a guide as to when to expect them.
Additionally you can check out Minnie Vans to get to your destination. These vans are powered by Lyft and are perfect for people who don’t want to sit on a crowded bus or wait for the bus to arrive. You book them using the Lyft app. These vans will take you anywhere on property – just let them know where, and you’re off! There are plenty of ways to travel around Walt Disney World resort. All these options are available to you as a guest on Walt Disney property!
All the Disney resorts have some sort of dining option available on site. They range anywhere from Quick Service Food courts to full on dining experiences – including character dining! If you want to have a big breakfast before you go to the parks, or want to turn in early and do dinner at your resort, you can. These dining options all take the Disney Dining Plan as well, so you can use your credits without having to brave the lunchtime crowds at the park.
One little known fact – you can use your snack credits at gift shops! You can use your snack credits to buy lollipops, rice crispy treats, and so much more. This is the perfect place to find something to recharge with in your room before heading out for round two at the Magic Kingdom!
If your resort has a character dining option, you should definitely check it out. See my post on why adults should do character dining here!
Need to know when the parks are open today? Just ask the front desk or pop on the Disney Resort television station. Want to upgrade your tickets to a Park Hopper ticket? You can do that from your resort! Want to get advice on the best place to book a last minute dining reservation? The concierge at the hotel is sure to know. Disney experts are just a few steps away if you stay at a Disney hotel, and they can help you fine tune every detail to make your trip as magic as possible.
Extra Magic Hours
Finally, my favorite part of staying on site are Disney’s Extra Magic Hours. Each day, one of the parks will open early, and one of the parks will stay open late. The catch is – you have to be staying at a Disney resort to access those hours! I’ve stayed at the parks will into the evening thanks to this little perk. Since other guests aren’t able to stay, ride lines are shorter – we once did Star Tours FOUR TIMES in a row while staying late at Hollywood Studios!
While Disney is starting to phase out Extra Magic Hours in favor of paid Early Morning Magic experiences, I hope they’ll continue to do them every once in a while.
Learn more about the perks and reasons why you should stay on site at Walt Disney World resort – as well as an in-depth guide to all the resorts – by checking out the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. It’s available on Amazon and one of my absolute FAVORITE guide books. They update it every year to keep up with all the changes going on with the parks!
Which Disney resort is your favorite to stay at? What do you love when you stay on site at Walt Disney World resort? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter! You’ll receive my FREE WDW Planning Checklist when you subscribe!