When we booked our first ever Disney World holiday, we booked Caribbean Beach Resort on the advice of the travel agent. We didn’t have a clue whether we wanted to drive in Florida or use the bus transportation system so we opted for a Disney Resort for the ease of getting around. Many people who have stayed at Disney will usually have a preference whether they stay in a Disney resort or whether they opt for a villa just outside of the Disney World area.
After two trips, both staying in a Disney resort, I don’t think I would opt to stay outside of property unless we went in a large group of people. If you’re thinking of booking a holiday to Disney World and are unsure of where to stay, here are 5 reasons to stay in a Disney resort.
Extra Magic Hours
All Guests staying in a Disney resort have access to extra magic hours. A different park will open for an extra hour or two in the morning or at night. As the parks are only open for guests staying in a Disney resort, the crowds aren’t usually as high as other times. Park hours are usually released around 180 days in advance, but they do change around from time to time, so it’s worth keeping your eye on them before you travel. For example if you have a late night at Magic Kingdom, you may not want to do this if you’re planning on visiting Animal Kingdom the following morning and then they announce extra magic hours.
Fastpass+ 60 days in advance
Guests staying in a Disney resort can book their Fastpasses 60 days in advance and for the first ten days of they stay. This is a massive advantage over guests staying off property who can only book one day at a time 30 day in advance. For popular rides such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, meet and greets with Anna and Elsa and Frozen Ever After, being able to book 60 days in advance is a great help to secure some Fastpasses that are difficult to acquire.
All guests staying in a Disney resort can purchase the dining plan, or if you book in advance and secure some of the offers, you are able to enjoy the quick service dining plan for free as part of your stay. This is a huge attraction for many people who book their holiday in advance for the following year when the offers are out.
The quick service dining plan provides 2 quick service meals and 2 snacks per day in 2017. We have enjoyed this offer on both of our tips and both times we have had meals left over. Often you don’t want big meals, and we found we were sharing a lunch because of the heat.
To be able to enjoy character meals as well, there is an option to upgrade the quick service dining plan to the dining plan which provides one table service meal, one quick service meal and 2 snacks per day in 2017. This has the ability to save a huge amount of money when booking character meals such as Tusker House in Animal Kingdom. The upgrade costs are minimal compared to paying out of pocket for character meals and this is an option we will be taking up for our next trip.
Disney Transport System
All of the Disney Resorts have a bus service that loop the resorts to the parks and back again from one hour before the parks open until the last guest has left the parks. I have heard mixed reviews on the bus service in varying resorts, however staying at Caribbean Beach resort, I only have praise for the transport system. Busses run approximately every twenty minutes, but at the bus stops in the resorts, there are great time advice guides to update on when the next bus may be arriving. We have found the twenty minute rule to be very approximate and we rarely wait longer than ten. At the end of the night in the parks, the bus lines get very long and the busses always arrive in quick succession.
Having experienced the bus transport during our 2014 trip, I wouldn’t travel any other way. I know a lot of people prefer to get in their car and arrive at the park quicker, but I am put off by paying for parking and then having to leave your car and navigate the tram, ferry and monorail systems in place to get you from the car park to the actual park. For me, being picked up near my room and dropped off at the front of the park is a great bonus. It requires no thinking, worrying about traffic, just planning if you need to be at a certain place for a certain time.
If you have a booking for a Disney resort, then you can book the Magical Express to pick you up from the airport and drop you at your resort. The service will also collect you from your resort on your departure day and drop you back to the airport. This service is free for all guests staying in a Disney resort, and it’s a great way to start your holiday. The thirty minute or so bus journey (depending on which resort you’re staying in) begins with a great Disney themed bus with Disney TV to get you even more excited about arriving at your resort.
The journey back on departure day isn’t quite as fun but it’s a hassle free way of getting back to the airport. For us we wouldn’t have it any other way.