10 Things You Must Know About Disney Resorts

When visiting Walt Disney World Resort, you essentially have two options: to stay on Disney property, or stay off Disney property. While I feel that each has choice has its own advantages and disadvantages, there are a few key things you should know about what to expect when staying in a Disney resort. Here are ten perks, tips, and general facts about staying in an on-property in the happiest place on earth.

10. You can have your merchandise sent to your Resort from the parks:

The Walt Disney World parks and resorts have a system where merchandise guests purchase in the parks is shipped to your Disney Resort for free. Just ask the souvenir shop’s Cast Member, and he/she will take some of your information they need to send your purchase to your Disney Resort. This means there’s no need to go back to the shop at the end of the night to pick up your purchases before heading back to your resort. Simply pick it up at the designated area at your Resort. Talk about full service!

9. Transportation to the park is included:

That’s right, folks. If you do not want to drive your car throughout your vacation, you don’t have to. Bus, boat, monorail, or Skyliner (options vary by each resort) transportation to and from the park is included in your resort price, so you can sit back and enjoy the ride. If you decide to drive to the park, you can park for free at Disney parks as a Disney resort guest.

8. Parking your car is no longer free at resorts:

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 ($15 per night), Moderate Resorts ($20 per night), Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts ($25 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. Be sure to include this cost in your Disney planning.

7. Disney’s Magical Express:

This next one may just be one of The Walt Disney company’s most innovative ideas yet. Disney’s Magical Express is an accommodation for guests staying in Walt Disney world Resorts, which transports them to and from the Orlando International Airport (MCO). That’s not even the best part. The service also transfers your checked luggage directly from your flight to your resort, so the only thing you need to do is walk to your room after check-in to unpack. How great is that?!

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6. Discounts on your next trip:

When on a Disney vacation, the last thing we want to think about is having to leave for home. (I have been known to tear up a time or two myself.) To make leaving seem more of a “see you later” rather than a “goodbye,” you can always start planning your next trip.  Walt Disney World Resort offers discounts (“Bounceback” offers) on your next trip if you book your next trip during your current one. All you need to do is ask a Cast Member or call the front desk to learn more about future vacation dates specific to your current vacation time.

5. Each room has a mini-fridge:

This used to not be the case, but I am oh-so-happy it is now. Disney park and resort food prices are pretty steep to rely on for a week, so stocking up on groceries to put in that fridge might just be a good idea for extra snacks during your busy Disney days.

4. Transportation to and from the parks for opening and closing times:

This next tip is super important. Guests are encouraged to get to the parks early for rope drop in order to get as much park time as possible, but know this: buses from the resorts only leave 45 minutes before each park opens. At closing, buses will bring guests from the parks back to the resorts about an hour to an hour and a half after each park closes. This is not a problem when it comes to guests being stuck in the parks at night, but if you do want to arrive to the parks earlier than the allotted 45 minutes, you may want to drive yourself.

3. Online check-in:

Walt Disney world resort conveniently has online check-in for their hotels. This service sends you an email when you are able to check in online. Once you do, you’ll tell them what time you think you’ll arrive to your resort. At your resort, you’ll go to the front desk to finalize your check in, if needed. Want to skip the front desk line? Use your My Disney Experience App to receive your room number when your room is ready. You can even set it up to where you’ll receive a text message when your room is ready for your stay.

2. Marshmallows and movies:

My favorite parts of staying in a Disney resort include the marshmallows and movies. Each Walt Disney World resort now has one or more fire pits for resort guests to roast unlimited marshmallows each night. Even better, each resort also shows nightly movies, for the feel of a “night out” all while staying at your resort!

1. Extra Magic Hours:

Do you ever dream of extra time in the Disney parks? Extra magic hours allow just that. These extra hours in the park apply only to guests who are staying in Walt Disney World resorts. They can be in the morning or at night, and vary in length. I recommend checking the Walt Disney World website or the My Disney Experience App to see when/where the extra magic hours are during your stay. These hours are great for squeezing in some extra rides and experiences that are very popular. Only resort guests have the ability to be in the parks during these times, so take advantage of the low crowds!

About Alexandra Blazevich

Hello, my name is Alexandra Blazevich and I am a 22 year old journalist. Put quite simply, I am a Disney addict. I am originally from Cary, North Carolina, a small town just outside of Raleigh. In 2013, I moved to Orlando, Florida to dance with The Orlando Ballet, pursuing my childhood dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer- but I spent all my free time either in Disney World or thinking about it. Now, I am a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill and write for a various publications, but Disney will always be my favorite subject to write about.