Earlier this year, I shared 9 benefits of staying on-site at a hotel on Disney property. Since the COVID-19 forced closure and subsequent reopening of Disney World, many of those benefits of being a Disney resort hotel guest no longer apply.
FastPass+ currently isn’t in use so there’s no 60-day FastPass+ reservation window.
Disney Dining Plans have been temporarily suspended so resort guests no longer have the option of purchasing a DDP.
Complimentary MagicBands? They’re still free for now, but Disney hotel guests will have to begin paying for those in 2021.
Disney World parks are no longer open for Extra Magic Hours, that extra hour or two when one park each day would be open only to Disney resort guests.
So, is it still worth it to stay at a hotel on Disney property?
YES! Many of the original benefits remain and there are now new reasons to stay on-site at a Disney World resort…
1. Disney Park Pass Priority
Disney now limits park capacity via the new Disney Park Pass System. In addition to purchasing park tickets, you now additionally need a reservation for the specific park you’ll be visiting each day.
However, these park pass reservations aren’t available to everyone equally. Disney Park Pass availability is separated into groups for passholders, resort guests, and ticket holders (which would include guests staying off-site at non-Disney hotels). For example, there have already been days when Disney Park Passes for passholders at a certain park are exhausted while availability remains for other guests. You can check Disney Park Pass availability here.
While it’s clear that Disney has been shuffling the capacity of these availability buckets since the parks reopened as certain days that were once full for a certain group later have availability, availability clearly favors resort guests overall. This is completely understandable: Disney wants to ensure that guests paying to stay in their hotels will actually get to visit the parks!
2. Health and Safety Consistency
Disney’s health and safety guidelines are clearly posted, precisely detailed, and there is now a history of the guidelines being consistently enforced all around Disney property. If you have concerns about social distancing, wearing face coverings, and staying as safe as possible, staying at a Disney World resort hotel ensures you’ll spend your entire vacation under consistent guidelines.
All of the guidelines are posted on Disney World’s official Know Before You Go webpage.
3. Location, location, location! (WALK to some parks!)
The close proximity of Disney resorts to the parks makes midday breaks for naps and swimming most convenient.
Several resorts are even close enough to walk to the parks.
Planning on spending lots of time at Magic Kingdom? You can walk there from the Contemporary Resort (and, soon, the Grand Floridian!). The Polynesian Village Resort is just a quick ride on the monorail away. Take a relaxing boat ride from Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness to Magic Kingdom.
What about Epcot and Hollywood Studios? You can walk to both parks from Beach Club Resort, Yacht Club Resort, BoardWalk Inn, and the Swan and Dolphin. Both parks are also on the Skyliner route which provides quick and easy access from the Riviera Resort, Caribbean Beach Resort, Pop Century Resort, and Art of Animation Resort.
4. Complimentary Airport Transportation
Guests of Disney resort hotels may take advantage of free airport transportation via Disney’s Magical Express motorcoaches. There’s no need to rent a car or budget for ride share service from MCO to your hotel!
5. Free Transportation Around Disney World
Once you’re on site, Disney resort guests can be chauffeured around to the parks and Disney Springs for free! Disney buses, boats, Skyliner, and monorail connect all resorts to the four parks and Disney Springs. There’s no need to rent a car or drive your own!
6. Free Parking at Disney Theme Parks
But maybe you’re driving… In that case, you can be in control of your family’s transportation and receive complimentary parking at the parks. Those driving from outside Walt Disney World Resort are charged a daily $25 parking fee at all four Disney World theme parks.
7. Staying inside the “Disney Bubble”
There’s no price that can be placed on staying ensconced in all things Disney. Staying on-site provides an all-inclusive vacation bubble to fully relax, recharge, and escape from everyday life, if only for a few days!
Will you be staying at an on-site Disney World hotel or off-site during your next vacation?