Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Benefits of Staying On-Site at Walt Disney World

By Dan Valis

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World can be very overwhelming, and deciding on where to stay can be one of the biggest decisions you will have to make. The price of staying on Disney property is not cheap, but it is definitely worth your time. It gives you the full experience of being in Walt Disney’s "World" and the convenience and first class service you receive is well worth the cost. Disney goes above and beyond in everything that they do, and the attention to detail all over Walt Disney World is incredible. You will be sure to find cheaper hotel options off-site, but you will have additional expenses that come with that such as parking and you will not get to experience the benefits of staying on Disney property. With that said, let’s explore the benefits and perks Disney provides its guests that choose to stay on-site in today's new article...

Extra Magic Hours – Each day Disney chooses which theme park will offer extra magic hours to guests staying on property. These extended hours are only available to guests who are staying on Disney property. Depending on the park chosen, extra magic hours can be added prior to the parks opening or after the park closes to the general public. During these extended hours the parks are typically less crowded and the rides have shorter wait times.

Complimentary Transportation and Parking – Disney’s transportation options are extensive and offer guests the ability to travel around Disney World hassle free. Disney’s transportation options include the bus system, the monorail, and the ferry boats. The buses can transport guests to anywhere on Disney property, including other Disney resorts, Disney Springs, and all of the Disney theme parks. The bus system begins running approximately one hour prior to the theme parks opening and continues to run after the parks close, even as late as 2:00 AM from Disney Springs. If you choose to drive, Disney offers complimentary parking at all of its resorts.

Disney Magical Express – One of the biggest perks to staying on Disney property is the magical express. Once you book your transportation you can add your flight information onto your reservation. Your vacation begins the moment you land, as guests will be picked up at the airport and ushered onto a Disney Magical Express motor coach. You will not need to pick up your luggage as Disney will do this for you. Guests will enjoy Disney movies on the motor coach as you are transported to your resort. Your luggage will be delivered directly to your room so you can choose to check in and head straight to the theme parks if you would like. This service is also provided for your return trip to the airport.

Disney Dining Plan – Adding this feature gives guests the feel of an all-inclusive vacation. It can also be added to any vacation package while staying at a Disney resort. There are different levels to the dining plan, giving guests the option to have a quick service and table service meal. As a bonus perk, at certain times during the year Disney may offer free dining plans, which are typically offered during non-peak months.

Free Magic Bands – These bands have a lot of features that many guests may not be aware of. The magic bands can be used as your park tickets, room keys and reservations for fast passes. They can also be used to redeem dining plan meal credits, charge items to your room, and for the photo pass. You are able to customize your magic band with your color of preference and the ability to add your name on it.

There is no way you can walk out of this place empty handed...I've tried!

Purchase Items with Delivery – As I mentioned above, you can use your magic bands to charge items to your room. This is extremely convenient because you can scan your magic band when you purchase items around the WDW Resort and have it charged to your room account. You will not be charged until later and, to top it all off, you can have the item delivered to your resort gift shop where you can pick it up the following day.

You'll definitely want to utilize an early FastPass+ reservation on this attraction!

Early FastPass+ Reservations – FastPass+ reservations can be made 60 days in advance of your trip. This gives a leg up on guests staying off-site to reserve the most popular rides. Guests staying off-site have to wait until 30 days prior to their trip to make their FastPass+ reservations.

Accommodations – Disney accommodations offer something for everyone. Every resort or hotel on Disney property is themed and provides their own unique Disney experience. Each resort has their own gift shop, food court, and uniquely themed rooms. Character dining experiences are also available at select Disney resorts.

As you can see, deciding to stay on-site at Walt Disney World is certainly worth the extra cost to do so...if you can swing it. What's your favorite perk for staying on property? Can you think of some other benefits that we can share with our readers? Be sure to tell us your thoughts and opinions in the comments below or on the Disney Avenue Facebook page.


Dan Valis has been a lifelong Disney fan since his very first visit to Walt Disney World at the age of five. Although he doesn't recall much of that first trip, he knows it was then that his love of Disney was born. Dan has since passed along his passion for Disney on to his wife and son. Over the course of Dan's Disney trips, he has learned countless tips by staying on and off site and has done Disney several different ways. Each trip has been a learning experience on how to do it better the next time. Dan will share what he has learned by providing tips and tricks to make your Disney vacation more cost effective and as enjoyable as possible.  


  1. Welcome to the Disney Avenue community Dan. I really enjoyed your first article. Having stayed both on and off property, I will only stay on from now on. Being fully immersed in the magic and the benefits of doing so completely outweighs the cheaper alternative of staying off site. One of the highlights of a Disney vacation is knowing we get to go home to a highly immersive resort each night. I wouldn't do it any other way.

  2. Yes, I completely agree. Staying on Disney property is part of the experience of visiting WDW.