To have the ultimate magical experience at Walt Disney World, everyone prefers to stay in a Walt Disney World hotel, but it is not always affordable. There are ways to save for your Walt Disney World vacation in advance. You can find some of those ideas by clicking on this link “Money-Saving Tips For your Walt Disney World vacation”. Some families prefer to stay off of Disney property, because they are going to explore other attractions and theme parks in Florida, can book a bigger room for less money, can save money on food, etc. Here are the pros and cons of staying on and off Disney property.
Pros of Staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel
- All of Walt Disney World’s free transportation is available for you to use starting from the airport (Disney Magical Express available through to January 1, 2022) to the hotel to the parks to the restaurants and so on.
- No rental car needed.
- No resort parking fee, because you don’t need a rental car.
- The Disney Dining Plan is an option to purchase for your vacation party. Click here for DDP details.
- FastPasses are available to book at 60 days from checkin date for your entire stay up to 14 days. Click here for FastPass+ information.
- Dining reservations are available to book at 180 days from checkin date for your entire stay up to 10 days. Click here for tips on how to successfully book reservations at the restaurants you want.
- Extra Magic Hours at the theme parks are available for you to take advantage of.
- Can have theme park purchases delivered to your resort instead of carrying the bags all day.
- Free MagicBands. For more information on MagicBands, click here.
- Able to enjoy alcoholic beverages and utilize Disney’s free transportation back to your hotel.
- Able to enjoy Disney’s hotels’ themes and experience the magic and convenience of staying in a Disney hotel.
- Able to enjoy Disney’s entertainment at the hotels.
Cons of Staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel
- All of the above comes with a higher price. Higher nightly rates.
- If driving to WDW or renting a car, you will have a daily resort parking fee. Some exclusions apply. Click here for details.
Pros of Staying off of Disney Property
- Less expensive nightly rates, but it depends on the resort. You may encounter a more expensive rate off property versus staying in a value or moderate resort. You may have a bigger room off property than the value or moderate resort, but be sure to look at both options before making a final decision. The smaller Disney value or moderate room may be worth it to you not only for the lower nightly rate, but also for the perks and benefits of staying on Disney property.
- Stay off property + eat off property for some meals = save money. It depends on how much time you spend at Disney. If you are there from the moment it opens to the moment it closes, you may be eating all meals at Disney.
- Some hotels offer a free breakfast.
- Can book bigger rooms for less money. Vacation parties with more than 4 people can benefit with a suite or villa for less money off property. Especially if they need more beds in one villa versus a villa that allows a certain number of people to sleep there. For instance, a Disney 2 bedroom villa sleeps 8 or 9, but only has 3 beds, 1 pullout couch and a sleeper chair in rooms that allow a 9th person. Some 2 bedrooms have 2 beds, 2 pullout couches and 1 sleeper chair. If there are people who cannot sleep in the same room or on a pullout couch, these rooms would be problematic. It depends on the dynamics of the vacation party.
Cons of Staying off of Disney Property
- Only able to book FastPasses 30 days in advance of check-in date and only one day at a time.
- Only able to book dining reservations 180 days in advance of check-in date and only one day at a time.
- May charge additional resort fee that is not included in your nightly rate. Be sure to ask if they have a daily resort fee and if they do, how much is the daily resort fee? I have seen daily resort fees as much as an extra $50/night. With $200/night plus the $50 daily resort fee, you may be better off staying on Disney property in a moderate or value resort.
- No access to the theme parks or attractions during Extra Magic Hours.
- Disney Dining Plan is not an option for purchase.
- Some hotels have shuttles to Disney. Some do not. May need to rent a car.
- If you do not want to pay a taxi, Uber or other forms of public transportation to get to your hotel from the airport, you need to rent a car.
- Some hotels charge to use their shuttles to Disney.
- Some hotels charge a daily parking fee.
- When Disney is close to capacity, non-Disney resort guests are first to be turned away at the gate.