Where to stay in Disney World?
After “when to go?” this is the second question we all ask. Disney World is very large, magical and seems to have everything. With so much to offer, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Rest assured, there are many wonderful choices for hotels. There is absolutely something right for you and your family. MickeyTravels Agent Genevieve Buck shares her invaluable tips on where to stay on your Disney vacation!
Should You Stay at a Disney Resort?
Yes!! When booking your accommodations, I strongly recommend staying on the property. Staying at a Disney resort offers so many magical benefits. Before you even check-in to your hotel, the perks abound.
Wristbands Handle Everything
Before you even arrive to Orlando International Airport, you receive a package with seemingly magical bands that are included in your stay. I call these bands magical because they make everything easier. They are your room key, your park admission and, depending on your dining plan, your meal ticket! Having fewer things to carry and worry about while you’re adventuring through Disney World means a better time for you and your crew.
Disney will also send you luggage tags. Before you arrive at the airport you attach the yellow tag to your luggage then drop them off at your airline counter and you do not even have to think about them until you are in your room. Disney not only picks up your luggage for you but delivers it directly to your room. I know when traveling with young children how handy this can be! Imagine not waiting in baggage claim while your children are chomping at the bit to see Mickey Mouse!
Another perk to staying at a Disney resort is the transportation. All your transportation is taken care of and there is no need for GPS, toll money or car rentals. All Disney resorts offer free transportation to and from the airport called the Magical Express.
Disney Dining Plan
When staying at a Disney resort you can also purchase the Disney Dining Plan. You can read my previous post about how the plan is a great way to pre-pay and help you budget for all your meals.
Extra Time in the Parks: Extra Magic Hour
If you decide to stay at a Disney Resort, you are able to enter at least one park an hour early or stay an hour later each day. We call this the Extra Magic Hour. One theme park will be opened an extra hour for hotel guests only – talk about being a VIP!
Bellhop Service at the Parks
In my opinion, one of the most luxurious things about staying at a Disney Resort is not having to lug around souvenirs. If you or someone in your crew comes across the perfect souvenir, you can purchase it right away and not haul it around the park for the rest of the day! After you purchase your must-have, they will deliver it to your hotel for you. Coolest thing ever! You’ll feel just like Lady Mary in Downton Abbey.
Hotel Choice: From Great Deals to Total Luxury
Now that you know just some of my favorite onsite amenities, let’s talk hotel choice. Disney has four categories; value, moderate, deluxe & deluxe villa. Depending on your needs and budget, I can help you find the perfect place to stay.
Value resorts are great for those on a budget or for those who don’t plan on spending much time at the hotel. Each value resort offers quick service restaurant(s) and family pools. All Value resorts will have bus transportation to and from each park.
Pop Century is my favorite value resort. Currently updating their rooms, the new rooms will have a queen bed and a pull out double. The queen bed is a little higher off the ground so you can store your luggage under it. All other standard rooms at the value resorts will have two double beds so this is a huge upgrade for those looking to sleep comfy on a budget.
In terms of dining, moderate resorts offer quick service and some table service restaurants. Moderate resorts will have a slide at the main pool and bus transportation to the theme parks. Some moderates will even offer a relaxing boat ride to Disney Springs.
My top choice in this category is the Port Orleans French Quarter. This resort shares amenities with their sister resort Port Orleans Riverside, which is also very lovely. If you have ever wanted to be in Princess Tiana’s world, this is the place. The standard rooms will have two queen beds. The French Quarter is one of the smaller moderate resorts, so getting around is pretty easy here. You will be able to take a short boat ride to Disney Springs, too, or a bus to all theme parks.
Deluxe resorts are generally the closest resorts to the parks. They all have quick service, table service and signature dining restaurants. All of the deluxe resorts offer themed pools with a slide. These resorts will have either boat, monorail or bus transportation, or are even within walking distance to some theme parks.
My all-time favorite resort for my family is The Beach Club. Styled with a New England feel, this resort has arguably the best pool of all the resorts. It has a gigantic pirate ship themed water slide, a lazy river and a sandy bottom area perfect for younger ones. The Beach Club offers a couple quick service restaurants, some really fun themed table service choices and one of my favorite Disney steak places, the Yachtman. This amazing resort shares amenities with The Yacht Club, another amazing place currently undergoing room renovations. From The Beach Club, you can walk to Epcot, Hollywood Studios or the Boardwalk In for great family entertainment in the evening. Everything is at your fingertips!
Deluxe villas offer larger rooms for those with big families. These are often attached to a deluxe resort and some even have full kitchens and laundry. I know doing laundry on vacation may not seem magical but going home with all clean clothes sure is!!
Bay Lake Tower is a great option because it is steps away from the Magic Kingdom and wonderfully contemporary. Bay Lake is just next door and, when you walk out its front door, you can stroll right over to the Magic Kingdom.
Helping You Narrow It Down
There are so many choices when you visit Disney World. Rather than be overwhelmed, contact me and I can help you! With advance planning, smart choices and plenty of options, we can organize the family vacation of your dreams.
MickeyTravels Agent Genevieve Buck