When we go to Walt Disney World we always stay on site. We love the vacation packages available to those who stay at the resorts and we love a lot of the perks that come with staying at Disney.
Perk 1: Free transportation from the Orlando International Airport. This may not be a big deal to everyone but for us we don’t like renting a car. Walt Disney World offers the Magical Express, a free bus service that transports you from the Orlando International Airport to your resort. We love not having to worry about a car rental or figuring out how to get to Disney. Now a big con we have heard of is that the Magical Express can take longer than actually driving to your resort and thus wise, This can be true as one bus can stop at up to four resorts. We still feel that the magical express service still as a whole with all that is offered with it does out weigh this con but that is just our opinion.
Perk 2: Being able to book our Fast Passes 60 days before our trip. When you stay on site you get to book your fast passes 60 days before your trip. When you don’t stay on site you can book 30 days before. Having the extra 30 days will help you get some of the harder to get fast passes such as Frozen Ever after, Soarin, Flight of Passage, and Navi’s river Journey. Now we will say this, we booked our fast passes right at 7 AM when you are allowed to 60 days out and we still couldn’t get Flight of Passage, with that being said though we did get Frozen and Navi’s River Journey. It does help having the extra days because you have a higher chance of getting your top choices for rides.
Perk 3: Bus transportation from the resorts to the Parks and back again. Disney has its very own internal bus system. Having the ability to wake up and go to the bus stop to catch a bus is nice. Buses run roughly every 15 to 20 minutes and in early morning we have noticed they run more often especially to Magic Kingdom. The buses also allow for you to park hop really easily. We can grab a bus at Magic Kingdom to go over to Animal Kingdom if we wanted to. The only thing the bus system doesn’t do is resort to resort. So if you wanted to go to another resort you have two options: Take a bus to a park and then switch buses to go to another resort, or call a taxi or Lyft. We have not taken either with a child but the taxi is great at the end of the night without kids to get back to the resort and costs roughly $10 to go anywhere on Disney property. Disney is now also partnered with Lyft, and although we have not taken it ourselves, we have heard great things about Lyft. We will say though Lyft is a little higher in price at $20 per ride but you can have up to 6 people and they have car seats available upon request. For now though we will stick with the bus.
Perk 4: Magic Bands! When we stay on site you get a magic band as part of your My Disney Experience package. This has all your information on it, your fast passes, tickets, your memory maker, dining reservation, and even your dining package. You can also hook up a credit card to the band to make purchases easily. Now we don’t hook our card up on the magic band because we buy gift cards before we go to make sure we stay on budget, but for some this is a great perk, not having to carry as much into the park. There are 8 colors to choose and you can customize your bands through My Disney Experience on the Walt Disney World website. You can even add your name or a fun nickname to your band.
Perk 5: Dining Plans. Okay now we have seen a lot of negatives about the dining plan, it’s a waste of money, don’t bother, but hear us out. We love the Disney Dining Plan and there is a plan for just about every type of family, person and need. When we went on our honeymoon we splurged and got the Deluxe dinning plan, three meals either all sit down, quick service or any combination of the two, plus two snacks per night you are at the resort. I will say this it was A LOT OF FOOD. When it was the two of us though and we did Epcot we did a lot of sit down restaurants and loved every minute of it. Now the next dinning plan down from that is the Disney dining plan which includes one quick service and one sit down, plus two snacks per night you are at the resort. This is a great package as long as you are actually going to use it. We love that we can do one sit down restaurant a day and then do a quick service for another meal. They also have a quick service plan which gives you two quick service meals a day. We haven’t used this one because we do enjoy doing sit down restaurants. The other great thing about Disney Dinning plan is there are no restrictions on how many meals you can use a day. In other words, your meals and snacks are given to you first day and you have to use them by the time you leave. There is no limit that you must use x amount each day. You could use all your quick services in one day if you really want to. At the end of the day we find the dining plan gives us the freedom in our budget to eat at some of the restaurants and enjoy more expensive meals that we wouldn’t normally get if we were paying out of pocket. Just understand that tips for your waiters/ waitresses are not included in your dining plan so you still need to budget those into your expenses. If you want to look more into the dining plan here is the website from Disney itself:
Now these are the perks we love about staying on site. We also do love being so close to the parks that if we needed to go back to the room, especially with an infant, we are able to.
Not everyone feels the same as we do about staying on site. There are tons of blogs out there that go more in depth into the pros and cons of staying on and off site. So always do your research and consider what is best for your family.
That is all for now until next time remember: the best is yet to come!