In this article we’ll discuss the different ways of reserving room accommodations, and the pros and cons of each. This is the first thing people should do when planning a Walt Disney World vacation. Unfortunately, a Disney vacation is all about money and planning. There are three different ways to visit Disney World- staying on property at a Disney resort, staying on property at a non-Disney resort, and staying off property.
Staying on Property
A huge benefit is Disney’s Magical Express. You essentially don’t touch your damn bags after you check them at the airport until you’re in your room. This is the shit. Another benefit includes a 60-day booking window for FastPass selections and 180 day window for advanced dining reservations. Plus, you’ll have access to all the modes of transportation Disney has to offer. No need for a damn car. Extra Magic Hours is the cherry on the top.
1.) Renting Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Points. Disney Vacation Club is essentailly a timeshare. Members that can’t use their points for the year can rent their points out to recover their cost. Because DVC is only offered for deluxe resorts, renting points offers substantial discounts from Disney prices. We highly recommend renting points (if it fits your budget) to stay at the deluxe resorts because they have the best restaurants, pools, theming, and are most convenient when visiting the parks. Disney does this shit right. *Editor’s Note: The most reputable dealers are the DVC Rental Store and Dave’s DVC Rentals. You can also connect directly with DVC members by using the DisBoards.
2.) All Resort rooms can be booked through an authorized Disney Vacation Planner at no cost because they get paid by Disney. *Editor’s Note: Dreams Unlimited Travel is one of the most reputable places out there. Pete Werner, owner of ‘The Dis,’ is co-owner of Dreams Unlimited Travel.
4.) All Resorts rooms can obviously be booked directly through Disney, but this is usually the most expensive way.
Including DVC villas, there are 25 Disney Resort hotel locations to pick from when staying at Walt Disney World Resort. These rooms range from budget-friendly value Resort hotels to impressively themed deluxe Resort hotels. Whether you want to spend the night in the kickass Bora Bora Bungalow suite overlooking the Magic Kingdom (Polynesian), or want to roast in the hot sun while camping beneath the stars (Fort Wilderness), Walt Disney World has a shit ton of hotel themes and styles available. There are three levels of theming and each have their own price point.
Value resorts are your typical hotel with minor Disney theming slapped onto the sides of buildings. If you don’t plan on spending a lot of time at your resort, these are perfect. They’re inexpensive and a comfortable place to lay your head at the end of a long day. Dining options are strictly quick service, but they still come with all the benefits of staying on property. Value resorts utilize shared busses as transportation to the parks. These are shared with other resorts and that could possibly mean a ton of people. *Editor’s Note: The Campsites at Fort Wilderness also offer a water taxi to Magic Kingdom.
- Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort
- The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
Moderate resorts are a step up in theming and have better dining options than Value resorts. Moderate resorts also utilize shared busses as transportation to the parks. These are shared with other resorts and again, could possibly mean a lot of people. *Editor’s Note: The Cabins at Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge also offer a water taxi to Magic Kingdom, while Port Orleans can take a water taxi to Disney Springs.
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
- The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
Deluxe Resorts and Villas:
Deluxe resorts are full immersion into the Disney bubble. Each resort offers signature dining experiences that are unmatched by Values and Moderates. They offer the very best transportation to the parks: monorail, ferry boat, and bus services. Hell, you can even walk to Magic Kingdom and Epcot from a couple of the resorts. However, Animal Kingdom Lodge uses only a bus service because it’s in the middle of nowhere but that shit is exclusive to the damn resort, so you’re not packed in the bus like sardines.
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Staying on Property at a Non-Disney Resort
Although you do have the possibility of Extra Magic hours and a 60 day window for FastPasses, you still have to find your own ride to and from the airport. You’ll be able to use the monorail and all the great Disney transportation while getting around the parks during the day, but you still have to get your ass back to your resort on your own.
2.) You could also book with an authorized Walt Disney Travel Company such as Dreams Unlimited Travel.
3.) Or you can book direct through individual websites such as DisneySpringshotels.com, which offers non Disney hotels located in the Walt Disney World area.
4.) You can also book directly with the hotel itself the benefit here is many of them guarantee the lowest rate when doing so. There’s also the the benefit for those who have loyalty points with a certain brand, you can use those to stay for free. In fact at Hilton owned brands when using your points for a fully comped stay the daily resort fee (which can be $30+) is also waived. This may ring true for othe brands as well so it’s definitely worth looking into.
Staying Off Property
You obviously know how to use the internet. You can book off property the same damn way you would any other hotel. Listen, if you’re staying off property to save money, I give you props. But you’re fighting an uphill battle and killing some of the magic. After a long day at the parks, the last thing you want to do is walk to your car and drive 20-30 minutes to get back to your room. But hey, look on the bright side- Motel 6 will at least leave the light on for you. Ooh, magical.