When I was a child, my parents took us to Walt Disney World a few times. I remember the experiences vividly. We stayed both on and off property during those visits. As we grew up and those family vacations continued, we stayed off property more often than not. It wasn’t until I started going with friends and loved ones later in life that I really discovered all of the amazing things you can do while staying on property to enhance your already magical Walt Disney World experience.
8. Transportation to and from the parks
This may seem like an obvious advantage, but it really does save so much time and energy during your stay. Bus service is available from each and every resort, and it’s quick and efficient. But it doesn’t end there. A lot of resorts offer boat launches to and from certain parks. A few choice deluxe resorts even offer the famous monorail ride right up to the gates of the Magic Kingdom.
7. Extra Magic Hours
This is probably the biggest perk of staying on property in Walt Disney World. Certain mornings and (more often) certain evenings offer guests staying on property extra time in the parks. This is an opportunity to experience fewer crowds and shorter wait times for your favorite attractions throughout all of the parks. Before you leave for your Walt Disney World vacation, make sure to check out which parks have Extra Magic Hours on which days: it’s a great way to maximize your time.
6. Resort Restaurants
Of course you’ve seen the park restaurants and probably even made some excursions to Disney Springs to catch some of the fabulous restaurants offered there. All of the resorts have their own restaurants, which are some of the best on property. The themes of these restaurants bring even more magic to an already magical vacation. The Yachtsman has some of the best steaks you will ever eat, while the Kona Cafe has pineapple bread that is to die for. Staying on property puts these restaurants at your fingertips. More and more of these amazing restaurants are also starting to offer breakfast and brunch. The Grand Floridian has one of the most breathtaking views, and now you can wake up on a Sunday morning and enjoy the waterfront view while eating brunch.
5. Close to the magic
Feel like waking up to giraffes grazing right outside your window? Where else will you be able to do this other than at the Animal Kingdom Resort? What about watching spectacular fireworks displays over Cinderella’s Castle, right from the privacy of your balcony? Check in to the Contemporary Resort, and it’s a reality. Or maybe you’d like to wake up early and walk down the beach, ending up at Epcot. All of these things are possible and offered by different resorts on Walt Disney World property.
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4. Disney Quality Service
If you’ve ever eaten at a Walt Disney World restaurant, made a purchase at a gift shop in one of the parks, asked a Disney cast member for assistance or interacted with anyone who works for Disney parks, you already know how unbelievable the service is at Disney. Hotels all over the world have to pride themselves on their service or they won’t have people staying there long. Imagine that taken to the next level. Imagine a cast member who cleans guests’ rooms noticing you didn’t bring a towel to the pool, and bringing you one. A clerk in your resort’s gift shop might ask you which park you’re going to today, and offer some tips to make your day run smoother. Or, my favorite – if your child is collecting Disney pins, a cast member may notice the pins while walking by, and stop to give your child a special pin they won’t find anywhere else.
3. Free MagicBands
The MagicBand is one of my favorite Disney inventions. I always try to travel light when I am at Walt Disney World. I know just how much I am going to end up buying throughout the day, and I don’t want to worry about extra bags or even extra items in my pockets. With these incredible little pieces of technology you can leave your wallet and your camera in your room, and you don’t have to worry about your tickets, your FastPasses or your restaurant reservations. Add a credit card to your MagicBand and you can pay for absolutely on property with it. Your tickets, FastPasses and restaurant reservations are all attached to it as well. Your MagicBand opens the door to your resort room, and if you purchase a Memory Maker, you can have Walt Disney World photographers take your pictures for you wherever you go.
2. Early access to FastPass+
Everyone can make FastPass+ reservations 30 days in advance, but if you stay on property you extend that to 60 days. There are many attractions in the parks that are so popular that if you don’t stay on property, you may not even get a FastPass for them if you don’t stay on resort. They book up fast.
1. Disney Concierge Service
This covers a couple of things. If you want to get an elusive restaurant reservation, or change your park tickets to a Park Hopper, or even get tickets to Cirque de Soleil at Disney Springs, it’s all possible with just a call from your room or a visit to your resort lobby. Disney cast members really are magicians. A little pixie dust goes a long way! But best of all, if you stay on resort you never have to carry a package around the parks. You can just get your purchases shipped back to your resort, free of charge. This lets you walk around unencumbered through the parks all day and night.
No matter how you slice it, staying on property is always a fabulous experience and for us, we wouldn’t do it any other way.