Disney World is open again! This is incredibly exciting, but it is important that guests realize there have been a lot of changes implemented in order to keep everyone healthy and safe. Pre-shows have been removed from rides, social distancing markers have been added to queues, the FastPass system is not currently in use, shows have been suspended for the time being, and of course, everyone must wear a mask while visiting a park.
The parks aren’t the only places on Disney property that have seen changes, either. The Disney Resorts—and the benefits that come along with staying in one—have changed quite a lot as well. Again, we see the rule stating that guests must mask up when in common areas except when dining, swimming, or lounging by the pool. Other changes include a lack of Extra Magic Hours for on-property guests, as well as the lack of early FastPass reservations.
These changes are leading some to wonder, is a stay at a Disney Resort worthwhile right now? In our opinion, the answer is yes, such a stay is absolutely worthwhile. Here’s why.
1. Park Pass Priority
Since the reopening of Disney World, all guests have been required to have a day-specific reservation to enter a park. This prevents overcrowding, and thus helps to ensure social distancing. Unfortunately, some people have had a bit of trouble getting the reservations they’d prefer. What does all of this have to do with staying on Disney property? Well, on-site guests might be missing out on early FastPass reservations, but what they get instead is park pass priority. This means they are easily able to snag a reservation for any park on any day of their stay, taking some of the stress out of planning.
2. Earlier Dining Reservation Window
There once was a time when one could make Disney World dining reservations a full 180 days before their trip. These days, guests are only allowed to make dining reservations 60 days in advance. This is fine, really, as everyone is now on a level playing field, and we didn’t really need to be planning meals 6 months in advance anyway. That said, those looking for a booking window that’s a tiny bit longer and gives them an advantage should look into booking an on-site hotel room. This is because on-site guests can book dining for their whole trip (of up to ten days) 60 days before the first day of their trip. This means they can book dining up to 70 days beforehand if they will be staying a full 10 days, making it easier to snag hard-to-get reservations.
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3. High Cleaning Standards
Worried about picking up germs while traveling? This is a legitimate concern, and one we totally understand. However, if you’re going to travel and stay in a hotel, Disney World is the place to do it. Why do we believe this? Well, Disney has always had very high standards when it comes to the cleanliness of their resorts, and now their standards have jumped even higher, making these some of the cleanest hotels you’ll ever stay at. Every inch of every room is thoroughly cleaned between guests, and common areas are cleaned regularly throughout the day.
4. Strict Social Distancing Policies
In addition to enhanced cleaning procedures, Disney Resorts also have some strict social distancing policies in place. As mentioned before, all guests must wear masks, and this rule is enforced. Additionally, rooms are only cleaned every other day in order to reduce contact with housekeeping, and online check-in is available and encouraged, giving you the opportunity to go straight to your room upon arrival, skipping the front desk entirely.
5. Airport Transportation
One of the big perks of staying at a Disney Desort if you’re flying is the fact that free airport transportation is provided in the form of Disney’s Magical Express buses. This means you won’t have to drive or deal with public transportation at all during your trip, so you can sit back and relax, letting Disney whisk you away as soon as you land in Orlando. While Magical Express will no longer deliver your luggage to your room, the buses are still operating, meaning you can still take advantage of this wonderful perk that only on-site guests receive.
6. On-Property Transportation
In addition to airport transportation, guests who choose to stay on Disney property also have access to the free on-property transportation system. This means they can get from their hotel to anywhere on Disney property quickly and easily, and without driving or paying a dime. This perk alone is enough to make staying on-site worthwhile, in our opinion.
7. Magic Bubble
Last but not least, there is the “magic bubble” to consider. Disney World is a magical place, and leaving it at the end of each day to drive to a typical hotel room really takes away from that magical experience we’re all seeking when we make the trek to Walt Disney World Resort. Staying in a Disney resort, on the other hand, allows you to stay within Disney’s magic bubble for the duration of your vacation, never leaving that happy headspace you enter while in the parks.