A lot has changed since the reopening of Walt Disney World. Perhaps some of the biggest changes have been at Walt Disney World Resorts. Disney Resorts remain expensive, but many of the traditional perks have been modified or suspended altogether. These changes have made us wonder whether it is still worth staying at a Walt Disney World Resort?
Traditional perks of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort
If you visit Walt Disney World, nothing beats being in the heart of the action by staying in a Walt Disney World Resort. Hotel guests staying at Disney owned resorts have traditionally received several perks, including:
- Free transportation around Walt Disney World. Although any guest visiting Walt Disney World can access these transports.
- 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. Earlier booking of FastPass is perhaps the best perk of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort.
- 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.
- Shopping delivered from parks to your Disney Resort.
While there are cheaper options than staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, the convenience and the added perks have made them a popular option for many guests. However, since Walt Disney World has reopened, is the above still true?
How have the perks changed at Walt Disney World Resorts?
Since the reopening of Walt Disney World, the perks offered at resorts have changed significantly:
- Extra Magic Hours are suspended until further notice. (Edit This is now confirmed to be permanently canceled. A new service is coming later this year)
- FastPass+ is suspended.
- There is a new 60-day window for Advanced Dining Reservations. Guests at Walt Disney World Resorts get the extra perk of booking up to 10 days of Advance Dining Reservations that same day.
- Free MagicBands will not be given from January 1, 2021.
- The Disney Dining Plan has been suspended until further notice.
- The resort airline check-in service is no longer available.
- Package delivery from parks to resort is suspended.
The only perks that remain are:-
- Free transportation around the resort, which isn’t really a perk.
- Disney’s Magical Express (Edit this will end in 2022)
Many of the highlights of a Walt Disney World vacation are suspended, including playgrounds, arcades, campfires, character experiences, rentals, etc. Also, pools and fitness centers will be operating at reduced hours and capacity. However, it should be noted many of these changes are not exclusive to Disney Resorts.
Should you still stay at a Walt Disney World Resort?
Walt Disney World Resorts offer a “little extra Magic.” The majority of resorts, due to their themes, feel like an extension of your Disney Vacation. This hasn’t changed! The added convenience of staying close to the action also remains.
Disney Resorts are not cheap, and the majority of additional perks have been suspended. You can get a much cheaper vacation staying offsite, and you will not be disadvantaged currently with shorter FastPass reservation windows. However, some of the perks, e.g., FastPass+, might still be reintroduced during 2021.
For financial reasons, it is hard to recommend currently staying at a Walt Disney World resort. However, the convenience and setting of Disney Resorts are still hard to ignore. Ultimately, the decision will be down to finance versus “the Disney Experience,” which will be a personal decision.
Visit our Guide to Walt Disney World Resorts to learn more about each resort.
We have created a Guide to Walt Disney World Resorts during the reopening period, which has additional information on the altered experience.