Before heading online to book your next vacation to Walt Disney World, there is some research you should do to ensure you make the best decisions for your family. One important part of your vacation is a hotel. Sure, there are tons of resorts and hotels in the Orlando/Disney World area, but very few offer the perks that staying at a Disney Resort Hotel do. Check out some of those perks here.
Keep in mind, the perks below stretch across all resorts and categories. Every individual resort offers different experiences and perks of their own which are important to research as well.
1. FastPass+ Reservations
One perk of staying at a Disney Resort is the ability to make Fastpass+ reservations up to 60 days in advance, for free. When you link your vacation package to your Disney account, you receive 3 FastPasses per day, per person for one park. You are able to pick out these FastPasses via the Disney app or site. Once you are in the parks and you used up your three FastPasses, you can then either pick some more on the app or find a FastPass kiosk and book some more there. These are very helpful on new rides or popular rides. For example, rides in Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom often have extremely high waits. If you check for Fastpasses at that 60 day mark, you can skip the 2 hour line and enjoy the rest of the day. To learn more about FastPasses, check out my blog post here.
2. Magic Bands
Another perk of staying at a WDW resort on your trip is receiving a complimentary magic band. In case you aren’t familiar, Magic Bands are bracelets that allow you to make charges, open your resort room, get into the parks, check-in for your FastPass and even sync your PhotoPass photos to your account. Having a Magic Band keeps all of your information and needs in one area so you don’t have to worry. If you aren’t staying at WDW resort, you can get one, but you have to purchase it. Once you book your trip and sync your reservation with your account, you can order your band on the designated page. Here, you can customize your band and have it delivered to your house before your trip. It comes in different colors and you can even get your name on it. If you don’t remember to personalize it ahead of time, you will still receive one at your resort in a basic grey color. As I mentioned, anyone can purchase a Magic Band from the Disney Store. Guests who are staying on Disney property and do choose this option can add their new Magic Band to their account and take advantage of the uses of the Magic Band, stated above.
3. Extra Magic Hours
Extra Magic Hours allow you to either get into a park earlier or stay later depending on the day. The times vary as do which parks are utilizing Extra Magic Hours for the day. It’s important to check your park information channel on your resort TV or the My Disney Experience App for specific information. This is something special for guests at WDW resorts as you can avoid lines and virtually be there when the park is empty.
Staying at a Disney Resort means that you are actually on vacation, including not having to worry about getting different places. Disney offers transportation options that begin when you land at Orlando International Airport. Let the magic begin when your plane lands with Disney’s Magical Express Service, which means that Disney picks you up at the airport and brings you directly to the resort and the reverse on your way home. The great part is, there are buses leaving for all resorts every so often, so you don’t have to worry about scheduling a pick up time or alternative plans if your flight is delayed. Disney also provides guests using Disney’s Magical Express service luggage tags so that you don’t have to wait at baggage claim. Disney picks up your luggage and delivers it to your resort hotel room. Once you are on property, there are options such as buses, boats and monorails to get you where you need to go depending on the resort your staying at.
5. Dining Plans
Yes, you don’t have to be staying at a Disney resort to eat in a Disney restaurant. But, you do have to be staying at a resort if you want to get the Dining Plan. I know the Disney Dining Plan is a point of contention among some people. I personally think it’s worth the money. It makes your trip more seamless, it includes snacks and basically you don’t have to worry about how much money you will need to pay for food during your trip since it is already taken care of. Only guests staying at a Disney resort or at a Disney Vacation Club property can purchase the Dining Plan.
6. Other Perks
There are tons of perks for staying at a Disney resort. My favorite perk is that you are immersed in the magic from the time you are picked up at the airport until you are dropped off at the end of your trip. I mean I don’t know about anyone else, but when that video comes on during the ride to Disney on the Magical Express about the resort and that your on your way to the Happiest Place on Earth, I get all kinds of excited.
These perks are available at all of the Value, Moderate, Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts. Some, but not all of the above benefits are available to guests staying at the WDW Dolphin and Swan, the Four Seasons Orlando and the Disney Springs Resorts. Guests staying here cannot receiving Magical Express Service, do not receive Magic Bands and are not allowed to purchase the Dining Plans.
Have you ever stayed at an on property Disney resort before? Did you like the perks of staying on property? Let me know in the comments below!
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