Magical Vacations to the Walt Disney World Resort are often a once in a life time event for many family’s. To save money, many family’s make the decision to stay off site to save money. While this may seem like a good decision, there are a lot of things to take into consideration when planning your trip.
If staying off site, you must decide how you will be getting to the parks each day. Some, but not all of the off site resorts have their own shuttle buses. If they do, yes, you can use these to get your family to and from the parks every day. You must be very careful when planning your trip and days however to make sure your dining and attraction plans coincide with your resort’s shuttle service. Most of these shuttles have scheduled times only and if you miss your shuttle you are now looking at paying additional money for a cab to get you and your family back to your resort.
If your resort does not have a shuttle service, then you are left with driving to and from the parks each day. Depending on how far away your resort is from the parks, you can have anywhere from a 15 to 60 minute drive depending on the time of year, local construction schedules, and park capacity. in addition you need to be prepared to pay the additional $15 daily parking fee at the parks.
If planning on staying off site you must also take into consideration your meal for the day. Will you be eating at the dining establishments at the park? If so, look ahead at the menus to have a good idea how much money you will need for meals each day. You may also decide to save money on food by bringing picnic meals with you. For this you will need to carry these meals with you on the shuttle and either store them in a locker at the parks or carry them around with you all day. But remember, no glass containers or alcohol are allowed in the parks.
The weather can change quickly and often in central Florida. Be prepared for very hot and sunny days and sudden rain which can be anything from a mild afternoon shower to lengthy clothes soaking down pours. Sun screen, umbrellas, or ponchos are always a good idea to have with you for a day at the parks. Be sure to bring them with you from your resort, or be prepared to pay for them in the parks. Evenings during some seasons can also become quite chilly. It is not uncommon to need shorts during the day and long pants and a light jacket at night when visiting the parks.
Length of day:
Spending a day at the parks can be a very long day. There is a lot of walking, and lines can be long, so be prepared to be on your feet a good majority of the day. If it gets too tiring or the kids get too cranky, your only options are to sit inside one of the cooler attractions such as Festival of the Lion King, Hall of Presidents or Carousel of Progress, or to wait for your resort’s next shuttle and head back to your room. After resting back at your resort, you must decide based on time if you take a later shuttle back to the parks depending on your resort’s schedule, or just stay at your resort.
With all of these things to consider if staying off site, what would be the advantages to staying on site at The Walt Disney World Resort?
Let’s first look at the items we discussed above.
When you arrive at The Walt Disney World Resort, you can either park your car, or exit The Magical Express, and never look at them for the rest of your trip. The Walt Disney World Resort has one of the largest transportation systems in the world, rivaling many large metropolises. Using the Monorails, Water Ferries, Water Taxis, Bus system or any combination of them, you can get from your resort hotel to any other location on The Walt Disney World resort, all for free and included in your stay!
The Walt Disney World Resort has a wide variety of dining options ranging from 4 star restaurants to quick service food courts in many of the resort hotels and the parks. Many of the resort hotels also include at least a small refrigerator or even a full size kitchen in the deluxe villas! Using the transportation system, you can exit a park at any time and head back to your room or anywhere else for a quick snack or meal and then head right back to the parks!
While it is still a good idea to carry sun screen and ponchos into the parks, if bad weather prevails, or if it just get too hot, once again you are only minutes away from your resort room using the Walt Disney World Resort Transportation System. It’s easy to head back to your room for a while and then head back to the parks once the rains move out or the weather gets cooler.
Length of day:
A day at the parks can get very tiring, especially for little children or the elderly. Why not just hop on the free transportation, head back to your room for a nap or maybe relax by the pool for a couple of hours, and then when you’re refreshed, head back to the parks for a few more hours of Magic!
While these are all good factors, staying at The Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, has many other exciting perks and opportunities available only to those guests staying on site!
Here are but just a few of them:
Total Immersion in The Magical Disney Experience
Guests staying on site are not only closer to all the parks without the hassle of dealing with congested traffic, but they are completely immersed in the Disney Experience from the time they arrive until the time they leave. This includes beautifully themed resorts, fabulous restaurants, awesome swimming pools, a variety of extra activities for the family, and the never-ending world-famous Walt Disney World Cast Members, there to help you every step of the way. No matter what your budget, there’s a Walt Disney World Resort to suit your every need from Value Resorts to Moderate Resorts up to Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villa Resorts!
When you stay at The Walt Disney World Resort, each Magic Your Way Package and any other Walt Disney World promotional package, allows you to make your dining reservation beginning 180 days prior to your arrival, and select your Fast Pass+ selections 60 days prior to your arrival. You also get to select the color of your Magic Band, have your name imprinted on it and be shipped directly to your home prior to your arrival!
Disney’s Magical Express
Disney’s Magical Express takes away the hassle of dealing with your baggage and gives you free transportation from Orlando International Airport to the Walt Disney World Resort and back to the airport at the end of your stay! Simply affix the Magical Express luggage tags to your luggage, check in your bags at your departure airport, and your bags will Magically appear in your room at The Walt Disney World Resort a few hours after you arrive. Once you arrive in Orlando, simply proceed to the Magical Express Center, check in, and you will be told which bus to board to ride in comfort to The Walt Disney World Resort without the hassle of waiting and paying for a cab.
Extra Magic Hours (EMH)
Every day, The Walt Disney World Resort selects one park to open 1 hour early and another park to stay open for up to 3 hours past park closing time, ONLY for guests staying at The Walt Disney World Resort!
Disney Dining Plans
The Walt Disney World Resort offers 4 different dining plans (Disney Quick service Dining Plan, Disney Dining Plan, Disney Deluxe Dining Plan, Disney Premium Dining Plan) for the guests to choose from if they so wish. These plans are only available for guests staying on site, and must be purchased for all guests on the reservation for the entire length of stay.
Visitors staying on site will be able to customize their Magic bands in advance of their arrival. Once there, your Magic Band becomes your room key, park ticket, dining reservations, and Fast Pass+ ticket for your entire stay. If you desire, you can also have your credit card attached to be able to use it for purchasing items at most resort and theme park shops and food service areas!
Early Fast Pass+ Selections
Guests staying on site at The Walt Disney World Resort are allowed to choose their Fast Pass+ selections 60 days prior to arrival rather than 30 days prior as all other guests!
Gift & Souvenir Purchases
While staying on site, guest may purchase items at any of the theme park or resort shops and have their items shipped to their resort room free of charge to avoid the hassles of carrying your packages around the parks all day!
All of The Walt Disney World Resorts offer beautiful themeing, wonderfully themed pools to cool off each afternoon, free pool side movies at night (weather permitting) and many other activities for their on site guests!
All of The Walt Disney World Resorts offer complimentary Wi-Fi for all guest for the entire length of their stay in their rooms, many restaurants, pool side, and most public areas
The Walt Disney World Resort Transportation System
Guests staying on site never need to use their own vehicle if they choose. The resort offers a wide variety of free transportation including buses, Ferry Boats, Taxi Boats, and monorails to get you where ever you need to be, completely free and effortless!
Disney’s Magical Extra’s
The most often overlooked advantage for guests staying on site are Disney’s Magical Extra included in the Magic Your Way package. These are Free passes and discounts at a variety of locations throughout The Walt Disney World Resort given to each and every guest staying on site. The Magical Extra’s for 2015 include: Arcade Card (Valid for 100 game points at arcades located at select Disney Resort hotels.), Children’s Activity Centers Discount (Get 15% off the non-discounted hourly rates at select Children’s Activity Centers located at select Disney Resort hotels.), Disney Quest Indoor Interactive Theme Park Admission Voucher (Receive 2 vouchers per package, each valid for one admission to Disney Quest Indoor Interactive Theme Park at Downtown Disney West Side. Persons under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a responsible person 14 years of age or older.), Disney’s Miniature Golf Experience (Receive 2 vouchers per package, each valid for one round of miniature golf prior to 4:00 PM at either Disney’s Fantasia Gardens or Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course.), Splitsville Luxury Lanes Discount (Get 20% off bowling (Monday Friday, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM), 10% off the purchase of food and non-alcoholic beverages and 10% off the non-discounted price of merchandise at Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Downtown Disney West Side. (Not valid with other discounts or offers; block-out dates apply; valid for dine-in only.), Trail Rides Discount (Receive 15% off the 30-minute guided horseback trail rides at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.) and discounts at dozens of other Disney World Resort shops and restaurants, all included absolutely free for all on site package guests!
Have A Magical Vacation!
-Don & Tina
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