Choosing a Walt Disney World resort is like car shopping. There are over 20 various resorts to choose from in three different budget-class categories. What this leaves you with is a stressful decision that leaves you covering your eyes and randomly picking a resort. I am here to tell you the secret of choosing the right resort for you and your family.
First I want to tell you why you should stay at a Walt Disney World resort. Convenience, amenities, dining, and your sanity. Let’s start off with convenience, which includes saving time too. It starts as soon as you land since you have access to Magical Express, Disney’s shuttle bus to and from the Orlando International airport. You don’t have to worry about renting a car, an added expense, and you don’t have to worry about your checked luggage. Special luggage tags provided by Disney are simply placed onto your checked luggage by you before you leave for Orlando. Once in Orlando, the luggage is taken by Disney employees and it is delivered to your room later that day. Once you and your family have deplaned, you simply follow the signs for the Magical Express, swipe your Magicband at one of their kiosks and get the bus which goes to your resort. Another convenience is that resorts are in close proximity to the parks and some resorts are even within walking distance to the parks. This saves you time and money on a rental car and parking. Friendly staff! This one sounds a bit strange, but personal experience has taught me that I always encounter the friendliest staff when I stay at a Disney resort, even at eleven o’clock at night when I just returned to the hotel and starving! Early bird FastPasses. Did you know that when you stay on property you can reserve your FastPasses 60 days prior to your check-in date? This helps you get ahead of the game and reserve FastPasses for some of those hard to get FastPasses such as the Meet and Greet with Elsa and Anna or Toy Story Mania! When you stay off property you have to wait until 30 days prior to arrival to make your FastPass selections.
Resort amenities in Disney are like no other. Did you know that three of Disney’s resorts have themed rooms? Caribbean Beach has pirate themed rooms where the beds are shaped like pirate ships, and the Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside resort has Royal Guest rooms where the back boards display fireworks at the push of a button. Art of Animation has four different themed rooms, three of which are suites sleeping up to six adults. Each resort has at least one themed pool with some of the most elaborate water slides I have ever seen. Complimentary Wi-Fi, extended theme park hours, and laundry service are just a few other benefits of staying at one of the Disney properties.
No matter if you are staying on property or down the street, when you visit the parks you inevitably end up eating. Only those who are staying on property have the option to include one of the Disney Dining plans to their reservation. I have written a whole article on whether or not the dining plan is worth the money, and it is! Also, your dining plan is automatically linked to your Magicbands. No credit cards needed.
Now some of you may be thinking that I should include Disney’s Magicbands as a perk for staying on property. Well, the truth is that you don’t need to stay on property to have a Magicband. There are specialty Magicbands that can be purchased and linked to your My Disney Experience account. When you stay on property, part of your reservation is getting NEW Magicbands from the array of colors available.
So now that you have all the AMAZING reasons why you should stay on property, here is the secret of knowing which resort is perfect for you and your family: BUDGET. It really does come down to what you and family have budgeted for the trip. There is a resort for every budge,t so make sure that you stay within that budget. When a client comes to me and tells me their budget, my first follow-up question is does that budget include meals, souvenirs, and extras? If you have set a budget and that is the maximum amount you can spend, then you need to consider these extra costs. Estimate these costs then subtract them from your budget and this is the resort category where you and your family can stay. Now you have now narrowed it down to a category. Take a look at the resorts in your category and see what amenities each resort has and how it will benefit your family.
For example, for me and my family the room is just a place for us to sleep and get cleaned, so I am not worried if it is close to the pool or has a river view. I am concerned with how large the resort is because the larger resorts have more bus stops which means buses get crowded during peak times to get to the parks. I also like to have table service available at the resort in case the first night or last night we don’t want to stay in the park, we can still enjoy a sit down meal together. These are just some of my personal preferences, but if you have not stayed at a Walt Disney World resort before then these are some questions you may not know to ask. If you talk with a Disney Travel Consultant, like myself or any of my independent contractors, these are some questions that we will be sure to ask you.
So if you are thinking about taking a Walt Disney World vacation in 2018 or 2019, now you know how to choose the right resort for you but if you still need some help, don’t hesitate to call us.