8 Things You’ll Want To Know About Staying At Walt Disney World Resorts

First time visitors to Walt Disney World have probably been dreaming of vacationing with Mickey Mouse for years, especially the children. Now that the decision has been made to make the journey, it’s time to consider travel and lodging. Some may forego staying at Disney Resorts, thinking them overrated or too expensive. Others believe that they only target kids, therefore lacking the amenities that appeal to adults. Before booking your trip, consider these eight things you’ll want to know about Walt Disney World Resorts.


8. Affordable Lodging

Many conclude that Walt Disney World Resorts probably exceed their lodging budget, so they hunt for low prices at offsite economy hotels. Actually, Disney Resorts offer a variety of options with competitive rates. Their Value Resort Hotels are affordable, usually ranging from $100 to $180 per night, depending upon the time of year. Those who desire upscale amenities may choose Moderate or Deluxe Resort Hotels, though prices will reflect the luxury level of the room, location, and services. However, no matter which category of resort you choose, you still receive the special benefits available to all guests at Walt Disney World Resorts, such as using the transportation system, getting free parking privileges, remaining in the theme parks for Extra Magic Hours, and experiencing events, shows, and character interactions located at the resorts. Guests of competing hotel chains aren’t able to access most of these options.

7. MagicBands

Visiting a Walt Disney World Resort allows you to order and receive your MagicBands early, while everyone else waits until their arrival to buy them and link them to their tickets. This gives you plenty of time to personalize your band in a way that channels your inner Disney. MagicBands provide the best in convenience for Disney Resort guests, acting as not only their park tickets, but also as their room key, credit card, FastPass+ check in, and Disney PhotoPass connection. They link to your My Disney Experience app so that you can manage all your vacation needs in one centralized place. The result is a worry-free adventure at Walt Disney World that you don’t experience at non-Disney resorts. It’s amazing how many first time visitors are clueless about this wonderful device.

6. Extra Magic Hours

Disney insiders have known about Extra Magic Hours for years, but inexperienced visitors are surprised when they hear about this remarkable privilege that allows you to enjoy selected attractions and activities while the park is closed. You may only take advantage of Extra Magic Hours if you’re staying at official Walt Disney World Resort Hotels, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels, or Shades of Green Resort, so don’t think you can hide out after closing and try to jump on one of your favorite rides. The cast members ensure that you’re a legitimate Disney Resort guest before they let you get in line. Some extra hours are also offered early in the morning before parks open. The schedule for Extra Magic Hours changes from day to day, so make sure you consult the My Disney Experience app or a cast member before making your daily plans.

5. Transportation

A host of neighboring hotel chains provide shuttle service to the Walt Disney World theme parks, but perhaps friends and family members haven’t explained all the transportation options that Disney Resort guests have. Guests at Disney Resorts first encounter the bus system, beginning with the Magical Express, which delivers them from Orlando International Airport to their hotel. Each Disney Resort also provides regular bus service to the theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs. However, most new guests don’t realize that the bus service can be slow or even backed up, which may lead to unnecessary frustration and missed reservations. The key is to get in line at least 45 minutes early for the bus or explore your resort’s alternative options, like monorails and ferry boats.

4. Rapid Refill Mugs

Rapid Refill Mugs may be purchased at your resort’s food court, poolside bar, or quick-service restaurant. These mugs contain a RFID chip that permits you to fill them at Refill Stations located at all Walt Disney World Resorts. Unfortunately, you can’t refill them at theme parks or other soft drink dispensaries on the Walt Disney World property. Of course, you can fill them at any Disney Resort and carry them into a park, if you don’t mind lugging around extra weight. Most novice guests don’t realize how expensive soft drinks are at Walt Disney World, which makes this mug a cash savings in the long run.

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3. Napping 

Everyone talks about their great Disney theme park memories but often neglect to mention just how exhausting the experience may be. The extreme walking and the sizzling heat are enough to drain anybody’s energy dry. No one tells you about the benefits of mid-afternoon naps at Walt Disney World Resorts. Such naps are indispensable to those wanting to stay up late during Extra Magic Hours; their children need them even more. Napping is convenient if you’re staying at a Disney Resort, since all you have to do is hop on a bus, ferry boat, or monorail and you’re back at your room in no time. Also, you can schedule a wake-up call from a Disney character; just let your little one answer the phone when the phone rings. Off-property guests don’t have a convenient option for afternoon naps.

2. Shopping Benefits 

Anyone can shop in a theme park and request that their packages be sent to the front of the park to avoid carrying them around all day long. However, Disney Resort guests have the added convenience of having their merchandise delivered to their resort gift shop, thereby avoiding the awkward feeling of lugging loads of souvenirs and clothing aboard a crowded bus. Many newcomers to Disney Resorts haul their heavy burdens around and miss opportunities to ride attractions with their loved ones because their more experienced friends didn’t inform them about this benefit. So go ahead and buy that R2-D2 toy robot that your kid is begging for; just make sure you’re at your resort the next day to pick it up.

1. Departing Sorrows

Not only do children moan and sigh when it’s time to leave, but also parents who’ve enjoyed Walt Disney World Resorts. Most hotel chains offer a uniform experience across the board, no matter where you’re visiting. However, when you stay at a Disney Resort, the magic designed by Imagineers and delivered by cast members feels unique. Visitors know they’ve stepped into a world of fantasy and possibilities that daily life doesn’t offer. Nobody told them that they wouldn’t want to leave.

About D.W. Noonan

D.W. Noonan was blindsided by the magical universe of Walt Disney when he married a dedicated Disneyphile in 1994. His wonderful wife dragged him into countless days of binge-watching great Disney films. As children began showing up in the Noonan home, D.W.'s growing passion for all things Disney led him to vacationing with his family in Walt Disney World each year and taking a journey to visit Disneyland. He is especially proud of his two teenage daughters, who danced for Disney Performing Arts at Walt Disney World in 2015. Though D.W. lives in Maryland, he longs to hear these familiar words when he returns to the resort: "Welcome home."