Are you planning to visit Walt Disney World? If you are I suspect you have already considered where will you stay at Walt Disney World?
This isn’t an easy question and will usually include whether you should stay onsite at Walt Disney World or offsite elsewhere in Orlando. Both options have merits and there are some fantastic hotels throughout Orlando including inside Walt Disney World. Each option has its own advantages:
Should you stay on-site at Walt Disney World?
If you are visiting Walt Disney World, especially for the first time, nothing beats being in the heart of the action by staying in a Disney World Resort. With over 30,000 hotel rooms; 3,000 Disney Vacation Club units & 799 campsites the accommodation options in Walt Disney World are numerous. Disney World Resorts provide unique theming, accommodation to suit a range of budgets & the opportunity to stay close to the action. Staying onsite at Walt Disney World will appeal to many guests but it is more expensive.
Guests staying at Disney owned resorts get a number of perks including:
- Free transportation around Walt Disney World
- Free transport from Orlando International Airport via Disney’s Magical Express
- Extra Magic Hours in a selected park each day.
- Earlier booking of Fastpass and Advanced Dining Reservations.
- Free MagicBand.
- Being able to book the Disney Dining Plan as part of your reservation.
- The ability to check-in, including your luggage, for many internal flights inside your resort.
Whilst there are cheaper options than staying at a Walt Disney World Resort the closeness and the added extras make them a popular option for many guests.
Our Guide to Walt Disney World Resorts has information on all the resorts at Walt Disney World.
Should you stay off-site when visiting Walt Disney World?
There are numerous accommodation options throughout Orlando. Accommodation options include luxurious villas, budget motels & 5-star hotels. All these options have one big advantage over Walt Disney World Resorts and that is the price. You will get more “Bang for Your Buck” staying off-site.
Whilst it isn’t a necessity to have a car if staying off-site it probably is desirable. Many hotels do include free transportation to Walt Disney World but they are rarely as convenient as Disney World Transportation. If you choose to stay in a villa access to a car is essential.
Other advantages of staying off-site include:
- It is often easier to get to other attractions eg Universal Studios.
- Hotel rooms are often bigger.
- You can experience some of the many outstanding restaurants in Orlando.
- You might get extra perks eg free breakfast.
- You can get away from Disney. Staying at Walt Disney World can be pretty intense.
However, guests have to weigh up whether these benefits outweigh the benefits that Walt Disney World offer. Whilst isn’t a necessity to have a car if staying off-site it probably is desirable.
A 3rd Option?
Guests who want to stay near the action but are happy to skip some of the Disney theming have a 3rd option which can be very good value for money. The Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels offer several resort advantages which are not available at other offsite hotels. In addition, these resorts are usually slightly cheaper than booking an official Disney Resort.
There are 7 non-Disney Disney Springs Resort Areas Hotels. The hotels are:
- Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
- DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando – Lake Buena Vista
- B Resort & Spa
- Wyndham Lake Buena Vista
- Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel
- Buena Vista Palace Resort & Spa
- Holiday Inn – Orlando Lake Buena Vista
These resorts all include shuttles to the theme parks and until the end of 2019 the extended 60-day Fastpass Window & access to Extra Magic Hours. However, other Disney Resort perks eg Disney Dining Plan, Magical Express & free MagicBands are not offered.
Staying off-site or on-site at Walt Disney World is not an easy choice. Ultimately the decision will probably come down to price versus convenience. However, you will almost certainly have a fantastic vacation wherever you stay.
Our Guide to Walt Disney World Resorts has more information on all the Disney World Resorts.
If you are planning to visit Walt Disney World our Essential Planning Guide is full of useful information.