In our opinion, the very best way to vacation in Disney World is by staying in an on-property resort. There are a number of reasons for this, but the number one reason is because it puts you in the Disney bubble for the entirety of your trip, ensuring you never have to come back to reality. Many people require a bit of convincing when it comes to staying onsite though. This is understandable; the cost can be quite significant, especially when considering the prices at surrounding hotels. However, it is 100% worth it. That said, it is good to know what you’re getting into before booking. Most people know the typical perks of staying onsite, and perhaps the very few downsides. However, there are some secrets—both good and bad—that people aren’t necessarily aware of. Here are the top 10 things people don’t always realize when booking a Disney hotel.
1. They Do Offer Discounts
Many people believe that there are no discounts at Disney. Luckily, this is not the case. While discounts may be difficult to come by, visiting during the off season will almost certainly help you get some of those costly rates shaved off. Annual Passholders can also get good deals from time to time, as can members of the military.
2. Parking is No Longer Free
Here’s one of those downsides we mentioned earlier. There once was a time when parking was free to onsite guests. This was a major benefit, and one that pushed many people over the edge when making a final hotel decision. Unfortunately, this perk is no longer available, and those staying in Disney Resort Hotels are required to pay for any parking place they may be using. The only exception to this is Disney Vacation Club members staying at a DVC Deluxe Villa or guests with a valid disability parking permit.
3. Airport Transportation is Free
That said, transportation to and from the airport is still absolutely free. This is awesome because it means you can avoid those parking fees entirely by hopping on the Magical Express bus. Not only, that, it also means you can get your vacation started just a bit sooner by letting someone else do the driving.
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4. Have Merchandise and Groceries Delivered
Want to have breakfast in your room? That’s not a problem at all when you order groceries to be delivered by the local Garden Grocers grocery store. Your Disney hotel will be happy to accept your order, and will even hold onto it until you check in. Another thing you can have delivered to your Disney hotel is the merchandise you purchase in the parks. Simply let your cashier know you’d like your new items to be delivered to your room and it’ll magically make its way to you by the end of the day.
5. The Pools are Awesome
One seriously awesome reason to book a Disney hotel is for the pools. Disney knows how to entertain, and it really shows in their amazing resort pools. From water slides and lazy rivers to mock beaches and water features, these pools are actually like mini water parks, meaning you may want to set aside extra time to enjoy them.
6. Decorate Your Window
Disney fans are pretty dedicated. This really shows at the resorts when you’re walking by the many rows of windows. It seems the die-hard Disney community has a thing for decorating their hotel room windows, giving everyone something fun to look at as they walk by. Be sure to take some decorations of your own if you want to join the fun!
7. The Front Desk Will Hold Bags
Often, people will want to begin to enjoy the parks before check-in time or continue to play after check-out. In these cases, Disney hotels are kind enough to hold luggage for you. Simply let the people at the front desk know that you’ll be in the parks for the day, and they will ensure your baggage is safe and well cared for while you’re gone.
8. Schedule a Character Call
There’s nothing quite as thrilling as waking up in Disney World—nothing that is, except maybe being woken up in Disney World by your favorite character. Disney Resort guests can schedule wake-up calls from favorite characters. To schedule your call, just push the wake-up call button on your in-room telephone.
9. Check In Ahead of Time
In order to save time and get the fun started as quickly as possible, you might want to get through the bulk of the check-in process beforehand. Luckily, you can do this with the awesome online check-in feature that all Disney hotels offer.
10. Remember to Tip
Last but not least, it is important to note that the Mousekeeping employees should be tipped. These individuals work hard to make your stay as comfortable as possible, and tipping them is the least we can do to show our appreciation.