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11 Things You MUST Know About Staying At A Walt Disney World Resort

A Disney vacation just isn’t a Disney vacation without staying on property. No matter which resort you choose to stay at during your Disney vacation, you will undoubtedly have a fabulous time and feel surrounded by magic throughout your entire stay. The resorts have so many wonderful things to offer guests that it can seem a little overwhelming at times, so we’re here to tell you 11 things you must know about staying at a Walt Disney World resort.

11. The Lobby Concierge

Every resort has a lobby concierge, and they are a great resource to take advantage of when staying at a Disney resort. They can help answer any questions you may have about the parks, show times for parades and fireworks, they can help you make dining reservations, lost and found, childcare arrangements, they can even help with foreign currency exchange, as well as offer information about transportation throughout Disney property. The lobby concierge is there to help make your stay enjoyable, so whatever question you may have, they are there to answer it.

10. Package Delivery

Every resort has a store full of Disney souvenirs, snacks and essential items you may have forgotten to pack. One of the biggest perks to staying at a Disney resort is one of the services offered through the shops. Anything you purchase at the theme parks or Disney Springs can be sent to the shop at your resort for pick-up the next day. This means you don’t have to be concerned with carrying around any souvenirs you pick up throughout the day, instead you can pick them up on your way back to your resort hotel room at the end of a day at the parks. Just ask the cast member about this service when making your purchase.

9. Magic Bands

As a resort guest you will receive a Magic Band, a brightly colored band that you wear around your wrist throughout your stay at Disney. This Magic Band is very important to keep on you at all times, as it functions as your room key, if you have purchased a dining package, that will be on your Magic Band, and you can also make purchases and charge goods and services throughout Disney to your room through your Magic Band.

8. Dining Options

Do a little research about your resort and check out the dining options available there. Some of the resorts have some amazing restaurants and instead of eating only at the theme parks, you may want to make a reservation at a restaurant at the resort. The deluxe resorts all have multiple dining locations, and you will find both table service and quick service dining options at many of the resorts. The value resorts do not have table service restaurants, but they have some great quick service options that serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and are open long hours. Some great resort restaurants include 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian, which has character dining, and the Contempo Café at the Contemporary is a fantastic quick service location.

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7. Activities and Recreation

There are a ton of fun and enjoyable activities for guests at each resort. All the resorts have pools, some have golf courses, miniature golf, horse and carriage rides, campfires, fishing, bike rentals, and each resort has a movie under the stars nightly.

6. Extra Magic Hours

Guests of Disney resorts get the added perk of Extra Magic Hours. Each day one theme park is open an hour early or stays open late, and those hours are only for resort guests. During Extra Magic Hours the parks a little less busy and line-ups are shorter, but one thing to keep in mind is that during regular hours, the park with Extra Magic Hours for that day can be quite busy with noticeably larger crowds.

5. Character Wake Up Calls

You can arrange for a character wake up call by calling the front desk, or simply using the wake up call button on the phone in your room. It adds a little bit of fun and extra pixie dust to your morning receiving a wake up call from a character.

4. Eat Breakfast Early

The dining locations, especially quick service areas, can get very busy during breakfast before everyone heads to the park. Try to get breakfast just a little earlier in the morning, definitely before 8am, and you will find fewer lines, and lots of empty seats and a quieter atmosphere.

3. Overnight Parking Fees

Disney has recently rolled out parking fees for their overnight Resort guests. This means if you plan to drive to Walt Disney World or rent a car from the airport, you will have an additional fee tacked on to your resort stay. The fee per night varies depending on your resort category: Value Resorts ($13 per night), Moderate Resorts ($19 per night), Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts ($24 per night); Valet at Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts ($33 per night). You do not have to pay the overnight parking fee if you are a Disney Vacation Club member and staying at a DVC resort. Other exclusions include Cast members, guests with disabilities, stays at the campsites at Fort Wilderness, and guests visiting resorts for dining reservations and other activities. 

2. Transportation Options

Here’s the good news… Disney has a wonderful transportation system and it’s complimentary. There are bus shuttles from all the resorts that will drop you steps away from the front gates of all the parks. Some resorts have boat taxis to some locations like Disney Springs, and the deluxe resorts by Magic Kingdom, like the Polynesian, have monorail service to some parks. The transportation at Disney is easy to use, and convenient, and fun!

1. Online Check-In

You can speed up and simplify the check-in process by completing the online check-in 60 days before your stay. With this method, you can either check-in at the front desk and have your Magic Bands and welcome folder waiting for you… or you can use your My Disney Experience App and have your room number sent right to your phone without even having to visit the front desk. You can customize your MagicBands to arrive in the mail a couple of weeks before your trip which really means you’ll have everything you need already in hand when you arrive.

About Lauren Repei

Lauren lives in Hamilton Ontario, but dreams of one day moving to Orlando to be closer to the Magic Kingdom. She loves the atmosphere, the history, the magic of the parks and Dole Whips, so she’s always in the midst of planning her next vacation. In the meantime, she spends her days working for the family business as a baker, and as a travel agent specializing in Disney with ClicktheMouse. Lauren’s most memorable Disney moment by far, is when she became engaged in front of Cinderella Castle making it her best Disney vacation to date.