Today, we are taking on a controversial topic. To stay on or off Disney property when going to Walt Disney World. First off, everyone has their own preferences, so be sure to leave a comment on what you prefer and why!
Let’s get started with the perks of staying on property because that is truly something that should be factored in when you make your decision. It is a common thought that you will always pay a premium when staying on property. What is true, is that there are resorts on Disney property that you will pay an escalated rate for, regardless of what time of year you are traveling but there are a Disney resorts that are reasonably priced and you are able to take advantage of all of the Disney amenities without paying that higher price tag.
What are the on Property Benefits
Disney Transportation. Many of the hotels throughout the Orlando area offer transportation. Hubby and I have used it and we have used Disney transportation and Disney transportation, in our humble opinion, is superior; far superior.
What are the transportation options provided free of charge by Disney when you stay on property? The bus system, the friendship boats and ferry and the Monorails.
Each Disney resort has busses that run on an approximately every twenty minute basis to each park. You can also take a bus from each park to any Walt Disney World resort. In addition, there are busses that run from certain places on Disney property to the water parks and also to Disney Springs.
The friendship boats run from Hollywood Studios to the Boardwalk resorts, Swan and Dolphin, Boardwalk, Yacht Club and Beach Club and then also stops at the International Gateway, which is the back entrance to Epcot.
Friendship boats also run from the Monorail resorts. You can take a boat from Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian and then to the Polynesian and there is another boat that goes from Magic Kingdom to Wilderness Lodge and another boat that goes from Wilderness Lodge to the Contemporary.
Guests staying at the Contemporary or Bay Lake Tower can either walk to Magic Kingdom or take the Monorail.
The Monorail will take guests from the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) to either Epcot or Magic Kingdom depending on which Monorail you board. Be sure to double check where your Monorail line is headed because there is not a Monorail that goes to both Epcot and the Magic Kingdom, you must transfer at the TTC.
The resort Monorail goes on a loop from the TTC to Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Magic Kingdom and the Contemporary. The Express Monorail runs between the TTC and Magic Kingdom and does not stop at the resorts. The Epcot Monorail runs between the TTC and Epcot.
The Ferry runs between the TTC and Magic Kingdom.
It is important to mention that a new mode of transportation that is free of charge is the Disney Skyliner. This is the first mode of transportation that specifically travels from value and moderate resorts and not the deluxe resorts.
The Skyliner system goes from Pop Century, Art of Animation, Hollywood Studios, Caribbean Beach, Disney’s Riviera Resort and Epcot. This mode of transportation is currently under construction and is set to open in the fall of 2019.
Additionally, there is a mode of transportation throughout Disney that is not free but that is incredibly convenient. The Minnie Vans. Minnie Vans are Disney’s answer to Uber and Lyft and they are pricey. Currently, at the time of this video publishing Disney has adapted a new(er) fee structure includes a base charge of $15 plus a fee for the distance traveled. So, depending on where you go, the price will be different.
Additional Perks of Staying on Property
No Rental Car Needed
When you are staying on property, there is no need to rent a car. There are, of course, exceptions to this. Some people enjoy being able to rent a car but remember that Uber and Lyft are available to transport you anywhere you need to go and that earlier this year, Disney began charging overnight rates for cars at all resorts.
At the time, this article is published, The fee is $13 per night at Value resorts, $19 at Moderate resorts and $24 at Deluxe and Deluxe Villa resorts. With all those transportation options for getting you and your party around Walt Disney World, renting a car for that one day at Universal or Sea World, seems a bit silly.
Extra Magic Hours
Extra magic hours are available for guests that stay on Disney property. This means, that if you are Walt Disney World resort guest you can gain access to Disney Parks either before the park officially opens or after a park officially closes. This perk is only available to Walt Disney World resort guests.
Disney’s Magical Express
This is my hands down, top perk for staying on property. Disney’s Magical Express takes the hassle out of airport travel. About 4 weeks out from you Walt Disney World vacation, you will receive your Magic Bands which serve as your room key, payment, lifeline to Walt Disney World and your luggage tags, if you have decided to opt in for Disney’s Magical Express, which you should.
When you check your luggage at the airport, that will be the last time you see your luggage until it is brought right into your resort room. The yellow tagged luggage indicates that it is for Magical Express. When you get off the plane at MCO, Orlando International Airport, you go straight to the Magical Express area, scan your magic band, get on your bus and you don’t have to wait for your luggage.
We have stayed off property numerous times and luggage at MCO is a hassle, it takes forever and the crowds are huge, if you can skip it, do it. Stay on property.
Once your Magical Express drops you off at your resort, you can get straight to your adventure and within about four hours, your luggage will arrive. The first time we used Magical Express, we were weary of not having our luggage for those few hours. We simply put our must have essential items into our carry on’s.
Oftentimes, we will take the red eye to Orlando; leaving at midnight, which puts us at our resort around 7:45 am. I always bring my essential toiletries, toothbrush, toothpaste, makeup, face wash, deodorant, etc and a change of clothes. I get freshened up in a bathroom because most of the time, that early, our room is not ready and we head straight to the parks. We leave what we don’t want to take to the parks with bell services and off we go.
Themes and Magic
It simply adds to the magic when you never have to leave it. We have stayed at moderate resorts, value resorts, deluxe resorts and no matter what your price point, needs and wants, there is something for everyone.
Whether you are looking to save a little money and be immersed in theming at Pop Century, be quiet and quaint and feel like you have been transported to an alligator bayou at Port Orleans, or if you want to be deep in the woods in a rustic cabin at Wildnerness Lodge or wake up and see Cinderella’s Castle from your window at Contemporary Resort, there’s a magical home for you at Walt Disney World.
You simply can’t beat the themes, the customer service and the magic of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort. The perks, in our opinion, are worth the extra cost of staying on property. We do travel and stay off property from time to time and I’m not saying you have to stay on property. You can experience a magical vacation at a non-Disney resort or accommodation but the reality is, it is simply not the same.
We are going to do a little cost comparison between booking on and off property but first I want to also mention that Disney offers packages that include discounts on park tickets when you book on property as well so that has to be taken into consideration as well.
Important to mention that costs are always changing in terms of resorts but at the time of publishing these are the prices we found.
First let’s plan a Walt Disney World vacation June 7 -11. To stay at a value resort, we will choose Pop Century. You can get a standard room with one queen sized bed and one table that folds into a second queen sized bed for $163 a night. This provides you access to all of the Disney transportation, the food court area and the hippy dippy pool. You can also get Magic Express at no additional charge. If you want to include park tickets, a family of four, two adults and two children can get accommodations and park hopper tickets for a grand total of $2,791. 05.
To stay at Port Orleans Riverside during these same dates, for a room only, you can stay for $254.50 per night for a standard room. If you include the park hopper tickets for a family of four, two adults and two children, the total is $2,951.26.
Other hotels in the area, the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs Resort for these same dates would be $155 per night. Cypress Point Resort by Diamond Resorts is $81 per night. Courtyard by Marriott Lake Buena Vista is $134 per night. For a four day park hopper, the price is $128 per day for ages ten and up. Also remember you need to get to and from the parks and any dining reservations that you have and get to and from the airport which could be an additional cost. If you select the Courtyard by Marriott at $134 per night and a park hopper for a family of four for four days, you are right around, $2,584 and like I said, that doesn’t include your transportation anywhere.
I hope that this helps with your price comparisons and to weigh the pros and cons. There truly are pros and cons to staying on property and to staying off property. It all depends on your family, your needs, your plans and your vacation.
We would love to hear from you. Do you prefer to stay on or off? What are some of your tips for staying off property? What do you look for in a resort for your trips?
Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.