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When it comes to picking a resort for your Walt Disney World vacation, there is a seemingly endless range of options. It can be overwhelming. But the question I hear over and over again is, “Should I stay at a Walt Disney World Resort?” While each family’s situation is different, my answer is almost always, “Yes!” And here’s why:
Worry-Free Airport Transportation
Every Walt Disney World Resort stay includes complimentary airport transportation through Disney’s Magical Express. Even better, your checked bag will be collected from baggage claim and delivered right to your resort hotel room. When it’s time to return home, the Magical Express will pick you up at your resort and deliver you back to the airport. Many airlines also participate in Resort Airline Check-In, a complimentary service that allows you to check your bag at your resort’s Airline Check-In desk. No need to haul all those souvenirs to the airport yourself!
Priority FastPass+ and Dining Reservations
There is nothing worse than getting to Walt Disney World and spending countless hours in line for the most popular attractions. The busiest times of year can see 3+ hour waits for rides like Flight of Passage and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. This is where FastPass+, an advanced reservation for an attraction that lets you skip the stand-by line, can be a game changer! With your Walt Disney World Resort booking, you can secure reservations for FastPass+ experiences 60 days prior to your check-in date for the length of your stay. Non-resort guests will have to wait until 30 days before they visit each park and book those FastPass+ experiences one day at a time. The earlier booking window means you will be the first to grab those “hard-to-get” FastPasses before they run out!
And advance dining reservations are no different. As a Walt Disney World Resort guest, you can make dining reservations—for up to 10 days of your trip—180 days before you check in to the resort. Non-resort guests, on the other hand, have to book dining reservations one day at a time, 180 days before the actual reservation. That gives Disney resort guests a jump on popular dining locations like Cinderella’s Royal Table, Chef Mickey’s, and Be Our Guest.
It’s true that many off-site resorts and hotels provide shuttle service to some or all of the Disney parks, but Disney transportation is by far the most efficient way to travel. Just log into your Walt Disney World app from your resort hotel room to see when the next bus will arrive. When you stay at a deluxe resort, transportation is even easier. Hop on the monorail from the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, or Contemporary resorts and head to Magic Kingdom or Epcot. Or, grab the Friendship Boats from the Beach and Yacht Club and Boardwalk resorts to get to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Off-site hotels often rely on shared transportation between multiple properties and Disney parks, but each Walt Disney World Resort has its own bus system and separate transportation for every park (with few exceptions). With property roughly the size of San Francisco, Disney has your transportation down to a science!
Extra Magic Hours
Each day, Walt Disney World offers extends its opening hours for resort guests by offering either morning or evening Extra Magic Hours at one or more parks. We especially like to utilize Extra Magic Hours with our Park Hopper tickets to avoid the additional crowds that come with so many others also trying to maximize their time in the parks. Typically, we will visit a park with Extra Magic Hours in the morning then hop to another park when crowds reach their peak around lunch. Many times, we can accomplish more during Extra Magic Hours and the first hour of park opening than we can the rest of the day. For early birds (and night owls), this can be a huge benefit!
It sounds cheesy, but there really is something to be said for never leaving the “Disney bubble” during your vacation. From the moment you step onto the Magical Express at the Orlando airport or drive under the iconic “Walt Disney World” sign, you are immediately transported to another place. And whichever Disney World resort you choose will be perfectly themed to match your vacation. Want a “larger than life” Disney feel surrounded by your favorite characters? Check out Disney’s Art of Animation and All Star Movies resorts. Or would you prefer a little more luxury, like an on-site spa, signature dining, and monorail access to your resort? The deluxe resorts may be for you. With more than 25 resort hotels, Disney is sure to deliver the magic your family is seeking.
With airport-to-hotel assistance and on-property transportation designed just for Disney resort guests, your family can start enjoying the parks, resorts, restaurants and activities from the moment you land—and let Disney get you where you need to go. And with Extra Magic Hours and FastPass+ and dining reservation priority, you can experience the most popular Disney attractions and still avoid the crowd. Staying at a Walt Disney World Resort is one of the best ways to ensure that your family’s Disney adventure is also a Disney vacation!
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