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Disney hotels

5 posts
Disney hotels

We are looking at Florida for next May I have two children age 4 & 2,

what are the benefits of staying in a Disney hotel?

Would it be cheaper to book elsewhere for 2 weeks but also book a couple of nights (2) in a Disney hotel so that the kids get to have breakfast with the characters?

What else do Disney hotels offer?

The price seems to double for a Disney hotel


20 replies to this topic
Destination Expert
for Walt Disney World, Orlando, Antarctic Adventures
Level Contributor
10,138 posts
188 reviews
1. Re: Disney hotels

You do not need to be staying at a Disney hotel to book a character breakfast. Anyone can book a character breakfast and you should look to do so 180 days in advance regardless of where you choose to stay.

The main benefits of the Disney hotels are 60 day FastPass Reservations and Extra Magic Hours. These are perks that give you an advantage touring the parks; however these advantages have also been extended to the Disney Springs hotels, so be sure to check the prices on those as well.

Disney hotels also include the Magical Express bus transfer from the MCO Airport. You will get Magic Bands for your stay. You can charge back to the hotels. You can also make dining reservations for 180 +10 days.

If you are on a budget, consider those Disney Springs hotels. The on-site hotels are Magical to some, but you can get the most of what you need for a much more reasonable price there.

5 posts
2. Re: Disney hotels

Thank you I will look at those hotels great!!

Level Contributor
55,255 posts
3. Re: Disney hotels

I saw on another post you asked where the holiday had been booked, that poster had the Free Dining Disney Package. If you are from the UK, that offer is well worth looking into. Staying at a Disney Resort doesn’t have to cost a fortune. When you add in all your meals and Transportation when staying off site you’ll have a clearer cost comparison with an offer like the free Dining deal. If not from the UK, keep in mind there will be offers from the US Disney Site, for May holidays

5 posts
4. Re: Disney hotels

Thanks for your help there’s so much to consider. I’ve been to Orlando before but before we had children so stayed elsewhere. Probably be a long time until we go again and while they are so young want the real Disney experience x

Valley Stream, NY
Level Contributor
20,544 posts
70 reviews
5. Re: Disney hotels

If you're going May 2019 and are from the UK, that free dining deal has ended. The next UK deal (if available) would be free nights. So you can wait and see if that comes out within the next month. You can check on US Disney World site also (anyone can book on the US site). I would still check out the Disney Springs hotels (they include 60 days fast passes, extra magic hours, they have their own shuttles to Disney parks and from some you can walk to Disney Springs).

Scottsdale, Arizona
Level Contributor
132 posts
57 reviews
6. Re: Disney hotels

I've never been able to justify the extra costs of on property -- and my daughter works at one of them. By comparison, you can stay at the JW Marriott/Ritz Carleton Orlando for what the on-properties cost. And you can't out ritz the Ritz. Every time we are going to Orlando, we first check the JW's rates. Sometimes it's an unbelievable deal, and all of 15 minutes from MK's parking lot.

If you get to the parks early - and I used to drag my kids out of bed to do so - you'll get plenty of rides in during those first couple hours.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
465 posts
8 reviews
7. Re: Disney hotels

I would not pay much attention to what the disney travel agents who frequent TA forums (ref #3) would have you believe - the ultimate disney vacation does not require stay at a disney resort complete with the dining plan for the "most magical" experience. If you plan on having a car, I would definitely stay offsite; it will save you a lot of money and give you more space, often times full kitchen, and some really great amenities. You will have the option to put your kids in a separate room for a nap or bedtime, stock up the fridge with their favorite snacks, all for a lot less than you would pay for a 300 sf disney room. A lot of these places are within few minutes drive to the disney parks. Plus you can eat where you want to eat and offsite meals are considerably less expensive so you will be saving even more money there. As far as disney perks go, most fast passes can be easily booked at the 30 day out offsite guest window, magic bands are not needed (cost $15 if you want to purchase one), car is often times faster and more convenient than the disney buses:)

If you do not plan on having a car, I think that one of the disney springs hotels is a great option; they provide frequent and reliable transportation to the parks, some have great amenities, offer suites and good quality rooms, are within walking distance to disney springs and have the emh and 60 day FP disney perks.

Level Contributor
636 posts
8. Re: Disney hotels

Although you will get a lot of Fastpasses 30 days out, you will not get popular rides like FOP, Slinky Dog Dash, Mine Train, etc. 30 days out, so if that is important to you, consider staying at a DS hotel if you don’t choose a Disney resort. I personally liked all conveniences of being on-site. Thought it was worth the money, but every family needs to choose what works for them.

Edited: 13 November 2018, 21:45
Scotland, United...
Level Contributor
8,326 posts
83 reviews
9. Re: Disney hotels

When my son was younger and his gran would also come on holiday with us, I liked the convenience of staying on site.

We could go and leave when we liked, yes you can drive or uber if staying off-site but these only drop you off at the Transportation centre, then you have to boat or bus to your park. The same with off-site hotels their shuttles have set times.

But check out Disney Springs hotels with the Disney Extras, their shuttles may be more frequent, but again only to the transportation centre, not the actual parks.

But check everything out, yes we give advice from our experiences but its your holiday and you know your family and what they can cope with. With their ages, lots of fun downtime sounds good so pick your hotel with lots of kid friendly amenities.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
465 posts
8 reviews
10. Re: Disney hotels

With regard to the 30 day fast pass situation, most fast passes you can get at 30 days out - we go frequently enough to know what is usually available and when. The 3 that are tough to get at 30 days are Slinky Dog, flight of Passage and mine train (occasionally Peter Pan although I have had a lot of luck pulling this FP often times the day of) - OP has young kids so height restrictions will be a factor for all 3 of these rides. You can get Navi river instead of flight of Passage at 30 days out no problem and it’s a ride that the whole family can enjoy. The 3 aforementioned rides, if of interest, can be rope dropped by any guest (onsite or offsite) on non (morning) emh days; in other words, it’s entirely possible for an offsite guest to minimize their wait in line nearly just as much as the onsite guest does while not having to pay premium for this so-called perk (I know because I have done so).

While I agree that onsite vs offsite is largely a matter of personal preference and budget (not just the ability to spend this kind of money on lodging but the willingness to do so) I do not agree with Disney travel agent(s) frequenting TA forums pretending to offer a “friendly, fellow traveler” advice!

The truth is, sometimes onsite is the best fit and sometimes it is not. For us, if the whole family goes, offsite is the best option; we like to come and go, have more space, nicer rooms, full kitchen, some of the timeshares around Disney have better amenities than the Disney resorts, we like to eat offsite at times, and, of course, we save money. If I visit with just one of my kids for a brief stay and can find a good deal, I stay onsite (although not a fan of the buses or the magical express). Each situation and each family is different but I do think that anyone who frequents these forums and is asking for advice deserves an unbiased response, which certainly #3 is not.

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