Disney World Resorts: To stay on-site or not to stay on-site? That really is the question, isn’t it? I know lots of people are always debating whether or not to stay at one of Disney’s many resorts. It can be a tough choice. Hopefully, this article will help you make that decision!
We also know that we are currently living in a different world than we were last year. Everything is different; from how we go to work, to how we spend time with family and friends, to even vacationing!
Disney World is no exception. In this post, I will cover the new changes that the Disney World Resorts have implemented, while still talking about some of the perks that Disney is not offering at this moment (but crossing our fingers that they will come back once things settle down!)
Before I go into all of the perks of staying on-site, let me first give a very brief overview of the different levels of resorts that Disney has.
Now, not all of the Disney World Resorts will be open right away. Some are open now, sone will open in a few months, and some do not have an opening date. I will indicate the opening date next to the resort name. Also, just like the times we are in, this info can change at any moment.
Value Resorts- Disney World Resorts
The first level of Disney resorts is the Value Resorts. And as the name suggests, these resorts are a great value and the lowest price per night of the resorts. Here is a list of the current value resorts.
- Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort (no opening date yet)
- Disney’s All-Star Music Resort (No opening date yet)
- Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort (no opening date yet)
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort (August 12th)
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort ( July 10th)
- The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort (currently open)
These value resorts are very family and kid-friendly. They are stylized with some larger than life fun! If you don’t have kids, don’t worry! You can still stay in these resorts. My husband and I have done a few ‘kid-free’ trips and have stayed in a value resort during those trips.
The second level of Disney World resorts is the Moderate Resorts. These resorts are ‘moderately priced’ (in Disney terms). Here is a current list of the resorts.
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort (July 29th)
- Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort (October 14th)
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter (no opening date yet)
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside (no opening date yet)
- The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort (currently open)
These resorts have more of ‘destination’ feel to them as opposed to the Value Resorts which have a more ‘fun’ feel. And Disney really does accomplish giving you that feeling!
Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villas
The last level of resorts is the Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villas. These resorts are on the higher end of the price range per night for the resorts. Here is a list of the current resorts.
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (only Kidani Village is currently open)
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort (villas are currently open, the rest of the resort will open August 24th)
- Disney’s Boardwalk Inn (villas are currently open, the rest of the resort will open October 1st)
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort ( Bay Lake Tower is currently open, the rest of the resort will open July 10th)
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa(villas are currently open, the rest of the resort will open September 21st)
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (villas and bungalows are open, the rest of the resort will open August 12th)
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (Copper Creek and Boulder Ridge are currently open)
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort (August 24th)
- Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa (currently open)
- Disney’s Old Key West Resort (currently open)
- Disney’s Riviera Resort (currently open)
The Deluxe Resorts go to the next level with amenities, service, and beauty! Even if you don’t stay at these resorts, you should for sure visit them!
Perks of Staying at A Disney World Resort
Now, in this section, I will tell you all of the benefits of staying at any one of these Disney Resorts, no matter what level you decide to stay at.
As we know, things are a little different these days, so some of the perks are different then what Disney typically offers.
Disney’s Magical Express- This a super convenient free service that transports you and your family from the Orlando International Airport to your Disney Resort.
Disney will also pick up your checked luggage from the airport for you and deliver it right to your room. So, there is no need to go to the luggage claim. Just walk off your plane and get on the bus! Disney will do the rest. *Disney just announced that luggage pick up will be discontinued for now, but let’s hope that it come backs soon once things get back to normal!
Transportation- To get to and from the resorts and parks, Disney offers complimentary bus, ferryboat, Skyliner, and monorail services (depending on what resort you are staying at). Just getting to and from the parks can be a ride in and of itself! Disney is also practicing social distancing, and they are doing such a good job at it. With their transportation systems, they are leaving spacing in between seats and limiting the number of people that can ride at once. This way you know that Disney is keeping you safe!
Parking- If you have a car, and prefer to drive yourself to and from the parks, Disney offers free standard parking at Disney theme parks, Disney water parks, and the Disney Springs area. This is a savings of at least $22 a day! You will have to pay a parking fee at your resort, but that is typical for most hotels and resorts.
MagicBands- Sure, you could purchase one if you like ($13-$35+), but for Disney resort guests, Disney will send one for each member of your party for free! Each person in your party gets to choose one of seven colors. (or you can pay for one with your favorite character on it).
Disney will unfortunately be discontinuing the free magic bands for resort guests in 2021, but they will be letting resort guests purchase them for a discounted price!
You can use your MagicBands for…
-Unlocking your resort room
-Entering the parks (it’s basically like your ticket to get in)
-Charging purchases to your room (no need to take out your wallet while in the parks!)
-Using PhotoPass (to learn more about PhotoPass,
Shopping- If you are shopping at one of Disney’s MANY gift shops, and you find something that you just got to have (Hi, my name is Nicole, and I am addicted to Disney coffee mugs), but you don’t want to carry it around all day, Disney has you covered. They will ship items you have bought back to your resort for free! Sometimes, it might take a day or two to get back to your resort, so this only works if you are still at the beginning/middle of your trip.
Enhanced cleaning- I have never had a problem with the cleanliness of a Disney World Resorts room. But now, more then ever, it is very important that we keep things clean! Disney is doing all that they can to keep up happy and safe. They have even implemented new “Enchanted Cleaning” that you can see from the photo below.
Staying in the Disney Bubble- Blog readers, listen to me. The human world, it’s a mess. Life in the Disney Bubble is better than anything they got out there! (Get it? Get it? If not, then I’m not sure we can still be friends. Kidding! Well, maybe…. 😉 ) Anyway, staying inside the Disney bubble is probably the biggest perk for staying at a Disney resort. Disney’s cast members are superb when it comes to customer service. While I’m on my Disney vacation, I don’t want to leave the ‘bubble’ for even a minute. I want to be in the magic for as long as I possibly can!
Below, I will include some of the perks that Disney typically has for resort guests, but due to the current times, they have put them on hold for now. I can’t say for sure, but I feel like Disney will have to bring back some of these perks one way or another sometime soon.
Ability to Purchase The Disney Dining Plan- One of my favorite perks of staying on-site is being able to book the Disney Dining Plan. It really is something that I truly love!
Extra Magic Hours- With Extra Magic Hours, you get to spend extra time at one of the theme parks each day! For resort guests only, a select park each day will either open early or close late. Fewer crowds=shorter wait times on rides! Yay!
FastPasses- FastPass is a free service that everyone in Disney gets to use (to learn more about how to use FastPass, click here). But Resort guests get an advantage… they get to book their FastPasses 60 days in advance! Resort guests can also book FastPasses for their entire stay as of 60 days before the first day of their vacation. This is a huge advantage because it makes getting those hard to book rides easier to get! (I’m looking at you Flight of Passage, Slinky Dog Dash, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train). Guests with park tickets who are staying off-site can book their FastPasses 30 days in advance and must book FastPasses one day at a time.
What are the reasons you love to stay at a Disney Resort? What are the reasons you love to stay off property? Did you learn anything new? I would LOVE to know! Leave a comment down below!