When you start planning a vacation for somewhere like Disney World, you have to consider all of your options for travel, lodging, and dining. I like to plan out every detail I possibly can and try to find the best bargain that I can. This helps to make my trip not only the more enjoyable, but also the most affordable for my family.
There is a big debate between the population when it comes to traveling to Disney World as to whether it is better for you to stay on site or off site. I am going to break down the details of each, along with the pros and cons. However, no matter what I say you know what works better for your family and budget.
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Perks of Staying Off Site:
1. Less Expensive: Finding a hotel that is near by but not on Disney grounds, usually tends to be a bit cheaper. You can even find several hotels that are not specifically Disney hotels, but they will still offer Disney themed rooms/packages and shuttles to the parks. This is a great perk, especially if you have children with you, because you can get a room that is Disney theme without having to book something on Disney property.
2. Flexibility: Staying off site from Disney offers your family a sense of flexibility for the rest of your trip. If you have plans for other activities or parks in your trip that are not Disney related it gives you more of a flexibility to do those things. Not that you can’t do those things if you stay at a Disney hotel, it’s just that typically when you stay on Disney property you feel more like in a Disney bubble and you feel obligated to do only Disney related things.
3. Off Site Hotel Amenities: Non-Disney hotels also have various perks that may be more beneficial to you as well. Things including Free Breakfast, which can be very beneficial for your wallet if you have a large family, or maybe transportation to other parks including Universal Studios. These things aren’t going to be included when staying on Disney property.
4. Size of Your Party: If you are going with a large group of people staying at a hotel on Disney property might not be the best or most cost friendly option. For example, if you are going with a large group you will most likely have to book multiple rooms which can add up to a pretty costly stay. Comparatively you may be able to book a condo or Airbnb that will accommodate a larger group for a cheaper cost.
Perks of Staying On Site:
1. Disney Experience: If you are a huge Disney fan then staying on-site may make all the difference for you to get the full Disney experience. Staying on site gives you the chance to stay in a Disney themed hotel room along with opportunities to schedule breakfasts and wake up calls from your favorite Disney characters. This allows you to spend time with and meet characters without having to chase them down or wait in line at the parks.
2. Free Park to Park/Airport Transportation: When you book your trip on Disney property you don’t have to worry about renting a car or using a car service unless you plan to leave the Disney resort area. You will be given free transportation to and from the airport as well as within the Disney grounds from park to park and Disney Springs. It makes it very convenient for you to be able to just enjoy your whole vacation for an all inclusive experience at the Disney resort.
3. Extra Magic Hours: When you stay at a Disney resort you get an added perk to extra time at the parks. You get to utilize the park opening up 1 hour early or sometime it is also open 2 hours later. This gets you the chance to get more time for your money. When you are spending a good amount of money on your ticket, you want to utilize all the advantages you can get. Not to mention, the parks are much slower during these times because it is only for resort guests so you can fit in a lot more rides than you typically would.
4. Souvenir Delivery: When you stay on Disney property you can ask to have any of your souvenirs that you purchase sent right to your room. No worries about lugging anything you buy around with you throughout the park all day. You can have your purchases sent to the front of the park regardless if you stay on property or not but when staying at the resort you get the added perk of having them delivered directly to your room.
5. Early FastPass Reservations: When you purchase Disney tickets you are given 3 Fast Passes per day to utilize for your day. Typically you can book these 30 days out from your trip but when you stay on Disney property they extend the period that you can book your Fast Passes up to 60 days in advance which is great for those rides that tend to have a really long time.
When it comes to choosing which option is better for you, it really comes down to what is important to you and your family. If simply saving money and looking for a better bargain is the most important option for you then maybe staying off site is best. However, if you are looking for a more full, Disney experience and want to do anything and everything Disney then you may want to splurge and do the staying on site. Either way, you’re bound to have a fantastic trip with your family and friends.