Walt Disney World is our happy place. There’s nothing like driving under those famous arches to let us know we’ve officially arrived to the parks! Truth? We do enjoy staying both onsite and offsite. While there are advantages of offsite lodging (budget pricing, larger rooms), we can’t help but admit there are amazing perks of staying at a Walt Disney World resort. From pixie dust to morning calls from Disney characters, here are eight benefits of staying at a Disney World Resort.
- No Transportation Worries
- Option of Adding the Disney Dining Plan
- Character Wake-Up Calls
- The Disney Bubble
- Extra Magic Hours
- Early Access to FastPass+ Planning
- Free MagicBands
- Free Package Delivery to Your Resort
As a family that visits Walt Disney World a few times a year, we’ve stayed both onsite and off-property. While, both have their perks, the benefits of staying at a Disney World Resort are plentiful. Here are my top reasons to consider staying on-property.
1. No Transportation Worries
This perk is twofold: if you fly in to the Orlando International Airport and are staying at an onsite resort, Disney’s Magical Express will pick you up when you arrive, grab your luggage, load it, carry you to your resort, drop you off, and even unload your luggage and have it sent to your room- for free! If you choose to drive in (this is our main means of getting to WDW), you can park your car in the resort parking lot and leave it there. Please keep in mind that WDW does now charge an overnight fee to park in one of its resort lots and it’s anywhere from $13, $19, or $24 per night depending on which resort tier you choose.
Not staying onsite? You can rent a car at the airport or drive to the parks- or use Lyft or Uber. Parking fees at the time this article was published are $25 per car if you’re not an Annual Passholder.
2. Option to Add the Disney Dining Plan
There are folks on either side of the Disney Dining Plan (DDP) coin, but for my family it works well sometimes. I love paying for our meals ahead of time and not worrying about budgeting for them once we arrive. If you plan your vacation around free dining offers (they are a great deal!), you’ll save some serious cash. If you purchase the plan (or receive it complimentary with a special offer package), you’re able to schedule your advanced dining reservations at 180 days away from the first day of your vacation.
Not staying onsite? Pay for meals out of pocket.
3. Character Wake-up Calls
We love taking advantage of this onsite perk: Call the front desk and ask for a character wake-up call! Although you won’t get to choose which character will phone your room, you will get an extra smile in the morning- and you’ll make sure you don’t sleep in.
Not staying onsite? Ask your resort front desk for a standard wake-up call.
4. The Disney Bubble
There’s nothing like leaving the world behind for a few days and thinking of nothing but Disney! Walt Disney World is our happy place for sure, and the ability to drive under those famous Disney arches and forget about the world for a few days is priceless. Whether it’s a Value Resort or a Deluxe one, we love the submersion, aka escapism that they provide.
Not staying onsite? You can still have an amazing vacation with offsite resorts!
5. Extra Magic Hours
Each day, Walt Disney World schedules Extra Magic Hours at at least one theme park for guests staying onsite at WDW resorts. Disney transportation runs early (or late depending it they’re in the morning or at night) and it’s a great way to hop on those super popular rides that always have lengthy queues. Check the official schedule before you go so you can figure out which parks to hit on which days.
Not staying onsite? You have to obey each park’s opening and closing times.
6. Early access to Fastpass+ Planning
Staying onsite at Walt Disney World allows you to schedule FastPass+ selections at 60 days out plus a 10-day grace period. Head to the official Walt Disney World website and sign up for a My Disney Experience account to choose selections.
Confused? So was I at first, so here’s an example. Let’s say I’m visiting WDW in October and my check-in date is October 1st. 60 days before my check-in date of October 1st I can begin choosing FP+ selections for 10 days in a row.
Not staying onsite? With valid theme park admission it’s 30 days out. If you’re an Annual Passholder you can choose selections at 30 days out as well unless you’re staying onsite- then it’s 60 days out.
7. Free MagicBands
With a Walt Disney World room reservation, each member of your traveling party will receive a free standard MagicBand. At this point there’s seven cool colors to choose from, and the bands can be personalized on the inside to include a name- great for when members of the same traveling party select the same color.
Not staying onsite? You can use your theme park ticket for entrance and FastPass+ selections or purchase a MagicBand in the parks.
We all love the benefits of MagicBands, but do you know the no-nos? Here are five things NOT to do with Disney’s MagicBands.
8. Package Delivery to Resort Rooms
One of our favorite perks of staying onsite is the ability to have our purchases sent directly to our resort room. The Kid loves saving up her money throughout the year to spend it all on souvenirs, and it’s a snap to ask to have it sent to our chosen resort. There is a catch- you can have packages delivered to your resort up to the day before your last day onsite as it takes an entire day to get them there.
Not staying onsite? Carry your purchases or rent a locker and store them.
What are your favorite benefits to staying at a Disney World Resort? Please let me know in the comment section below!