The biggest question to answer other than “What time is the 3 o’clock parade?” is “should I stay on Disney property or at a non-Disney hotel?” Definitely a tough question if you’re making for your first pilgrimage to the land of the mouse. The perks of staying on Disney property may very well outweigh the potential cost savings of staying at a non-Disney resort. Here is why we continue to choose to stay on Disney property.
The moment you land at Orlando International Airport until your departure, Disney handles all your transportation. No rental cars or Uber fees. No parking cost. No need to bust out multiple navigation apps, physical maps, and a compass to navigate your way around the always under construction Orlando freeways.
When staying on Disney property you can reserve, for free, transportation from Orlando International Airport to your Disney hotel. The best part is Disney handles your luggage as well. No baggage claim for us! The service is called Disney’s Magical Express (DME), and it’s truly magical. Disney will mail you bag tags for your luggage before your trip, put them on your luggage at your home airport and they magically appear in your Disney hotel room. No muss, or fuss!
The same service is available when you depart. You check your luggage in at the hotel then pick up your bags in baggage claim at home.
A rental car is usually a must for travel, and we almost always get one. At Walt Disney World we never get a rental car, as Disney has a variety of free transportation options while on property. From buses to boats to the famous monorail, Disney will get you from point A to point B, faster than you could spell supercalifragilisticexpialodcious. Best part for us is we save on renting a car and parking fees at the resorts and theme parks.
Early Morning or Evening Extra Magic Hours
Getting in one last ride on Space Mountain or waking up to a warm hug from your favorite snowman is definitely easier when you stay on Disney property. When you stay at a Disney resort each day has Extra Magic Hours for a select park, both in the morning and evening. Extra Magic Hours let guests staying on Disney property either enter a theme park 1-hour before opening or stay 1-hour after park closing.
Disney announces Extra Magic Hours on both the Disney World website and on the MyDisneyExperience app. Usually the Extra Hours are announced a proximity 4 months in advance. Extra Magic Hours is a great way to see the attraction you may not have a FastPass+ for that day. Give Olaf a high-five for us!
Disney Dining Plan
This is a DVC Duo favorite and something we do every trip. The Disney Dining plan has a variety of options to meet your needs, whether you’re an uber foodie or prefer fast casual dining. For us the perfect balance is the middle plan. The middle plan gives us one table service meal, one quick service and 2 snacks per day. New this year is the ability to get an alcohol beverage with your table service or quick serve. Enjoy one of the unique beers at The Satu’li Canteen in Pandora. DVC Duo approved 🙂 We cover the Disney Dining Plan in more depth in the following blog.
Shopping Made Easy
Walking through the parks you’ll probably run into one or two (or in our case tons) of merchandise you want to bring home, but who wants to carry a bag onto Splash Mountain or have a Yeti potentially steal them? Not me! When staying on Disney property you can have merchandise shipped back to your room at no charge. No need to lug around your favorite souvenirs. Unless they’re Mickey ears, then you have to where them immediately! 🙂
For us the perks of staying on Disney property make our decision easy. We definitely recommend comparing the cost and finding out what works best for your trip, though, and either way, we’ll see you in the parks!