When planning a Disney World vacation, a lot of people ask “should I stay on Disney property or somewhere close by to save money?” For me personally, it is a definite stay on property. While sometimes off property may work better for large families who want to stay in a house together, in almost all cases, staying on property has too many conveniences and perks to pass up.
What is the “Disney Bubble?”
When you stay on Disney property, once you get to your resort, you are in the Disney Bubble. There is no need to go anywhere outside of Disney, and Disney provides free transportation to all four parks, their two waterparks and Disney Springs. The magic of Disney is just not the same when you have to pack up and head outside Disney property.
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort (Cars Family Suite Section)
Here are my top reasons to stay on Disney Property.
Magic Bands. When you stay on Disney property, you will get personalized Magic Bands for everyone in your party. These magic bands work as your room key, park tickets, dining credits (if you opt for the dining plan), and the magic band can be linked to your credit card, so you don’t have to carry cards or cash around at the parks. Everything can be charged to your band. You will receive your magic bands in the mail about 3 weeks prior to your trip, so it’s also fun to receive something in the mail to get you even more excited about your trip! While you can buy magic bands and link your tickets if you are staying off property, the bands cost at least $12.95 each, and you will not have charging privileges staying off Disney property.
Extra Magic Hours. Disney resort guests have access to extra magic hours at the parks. There are either early morning hours (7am-8am) or late hours (anywhere from 9pm – 1am) that only resort guests have access to.
Dining Plan. Staying on Disney property is the only way you will be able to purchase the Disney Dining Plan. While the dining plan is not for all people, it is a definite convenience loved by many. Should you get the dining plan? You can read my post on that here.
Disney transportation. While it’s not always fun (especially at park closing when you and thousands of other people are exiting the parks), the Disney transportation is a definite perk to staying on property. Who wants to hop in their car, drive through traffic, and pay to park (if staying off-site – $20 per day). Not only that….if you are wanting to leave the park for some pool time or an afternoon nap – it’s so much easier to hop on a Disney bus and head back to your resort. Mid-day breaks are a must for this family! While some off-site hotels do have shuttles that go back and forth to the parks, they are not as frequent as Disney transportation, and it will be a longer trip.
Access to book FastPasses at 60 days instead of 30 days for off-site guests. This may not seem like a big deal – but it can be for the popular rides such as the new Avatar Flight of Passage or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. For these rides, if you don’t book at the 60 day mark – more than likely you won’t be getting a fastpass. In some cases, if you don’t book at 7am at 60 days you may not get one. (Another great reason to use me as your travel agent who will get up at 7am to book them for you).
6. Charging Privileges. When you stay on Disney property, you can use your Magic Band to purchase souvenirs while in the parks so that you do not have to carry around cash or credit cards. Not only that, but whatever you buy can be delivered to your resort gift shop so that you do not have to carry it around with you all day!
7. Disney’s Magical Express. When staying on Disney property, if you are flying into Orlando International Airport, Disney provides free transportation to and from the airport to your Disney resort. Luggage tags will also be sent with your Magic Bands that you can put on your luggage, and Disney will pick your bags up from baggage claim and deliver to your resort! They will also deliver your bags to the airport on your way home!
As you can see, there are many reasons to stay on Disney property. If cost is your main reason for wanting to stay off property, be sure to ask about the Disney value resorts. You may be surprised at how cost efficient they can be. When you add up the additional costs that can add up when staying off property (parking fees, magic bands if you want to purchase, etc.) it may not be that different!