Today we are going over the perks of staying on-site at a Disney World Resort. Lately with all of the changes being made within Disney both in regards to the parks and the resorts, sometimes it’s still hard to see the perks that are still offered. I have listed several perks for you to view to help you weigh out the pros and cons of staying on-site!
(Last update January 14, 2022)
Genie+Lightening Lanes Early Access
The free Fastpass+ has been replaced with the new Genie+ paid Lightning Lanes.
All resort guests will be able to purchase two individual Lightning Lane attractions starting at 7:00 a.m. EST on the day of their park visit.
Guests not staying at a Disney Resort will have to wait until the park opens to purchase Lightning Lane attractions. This gives Disney resort guests the best opportunity to reserve their passes for the more popular attractions.
Dining reservations can be reserved up to
180 days in advance: (During the pandemic this has been modified to 60 days)
You will want to get on your dinner reservations right away! Some of the restaurants like Beauty And The Beasts Castle and Cinderella’s Castle book very quickly. If you were able to secure your reservation, keep checking back on the app. Chances are another family will cancel their reservations and you can swoop in and grab them!
Every resort is themed and has special qualities to them. The magic does not stop at the park, the moment you walk into a Disney resort you can feel the magic and pixie dust. If you are looking for themed rooms check out these resorts:
Disney Art Of Animation- Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and Cars.
Disneys Polynesian Village- Moana
Contemporary, Club Level- The Incredibles
Disneys Port Orleans-Riverside- Royal Guest (Princesses)
I don’t know about you but it’s not every day that I spend 10 hours a day walking in the Florida heat. An easy way to get your energy back up and to save your feet is simply by going back to the resort and resting. Taking a midday nap or even a swim is easy with Disney’s free resort transportation.
Many resorts have activities for all ages. For example, the Wilderness Lodge has Pony Rides (for an extra cost) and the Boardwalk has their free Movies Under The Stars and campfire smores. Or if you have teens, there are arcades and dances they can go to for entertainment at several different resorts.
Rooms For 5
I know from personal experience that the Caribbean has a room with 2 queen beds a 1 twin pull-down bed. How awesome is that? Or some of the rooms have 2 queens and a sofa bed. This came in handy when our teens refused to share a bed!
Every resort has its own themed pools. I will admit that some pools are themed much better than others but nonetheless, they are themed! Our top picks for the best pools are:
Beach Club/Yacht Club- Enjoy the Lazy River and real sand at the bottom of the pool. There’s also sand on the beach areas to build sandcastles.
Polynesian- Themed like a volcano with a slide running through it.
Coronado Springs- Themed like a Myan pyramid with a slide.
Caribbean Beach- Themed like an old Spanish fort with a giant slide.
The dining options at all of the deluxe resorts are absolutely amazing. If you are lucky enough to be able to splurge on some meals try out some of our favorites.
California Grill- Contemporary. We love watching the fireworks from the balcony after an amazing dinner.
Nacoossees- Grand Floridian. The food is to die for!
Beaches and Cream-Beach Club Resort. Try the Kitchen Sink, I bet you can’t finish it!
Discounted Magic Bands
Magic Bands are no longer free but you can get them at a discount after you purchase your Disney trip and enter all of your travel details in your My Disney Experience Account. Some of the plain bands are as low as $5.00-$15.00. If you are looking for one with a Disney character, those will run from $29.99-39.99 and the Doone and Burke bands will set you back $58.00.
Whether it’s ordering packages through Amazon or just shopping the parks, the package delivery service is flawless. Amazon can deliver packages or food right to your resort. Check with the concierge for packages or bellhop for food. If you are shopping in the parks, you can take your item to a drop-off location and they will send your packages either to the front of the park or to your resort. Usually, this process does take about 3 hours, so keep that in mind at the end of the day.
Deluxe Resort Guests – 2 Extended Evening Hours
This is a HUGE benefit for guests staying at a Deluxe Resort. 2 extra hours after the parks close at EPCOT and Disney’s Magic Kingdom resort on select nights. This benefit is only for guests staying in Deluxe Resorts or Villas.
Magic Band Purchases
If you are staying at a Disney Resort you can connect your debit or credit card to your account and use your Magic Bands for Resort and park purchases. These transactions make it so you no longer have to worry about taking your cards and losing them. Just synch your card to your account and set up a pin that you will use during your purchases. This makes cashless transactions a breeze!
Luggage Transfer Service
If you choose to split your stay, which I highly recommend Disney makes sending your luggage to your 2nd resort very painless. Just drop your luggage off with bellhop before you head to the parks and tell them which resort you would like them sent to. Usually, your luggage will be delivered to your 2nd resort by 3:00 pm directly to your room. However, you can opt to call down and grab your items sooner if bellhop already has them in storage.
Disney Park Pass Reservations
Disneys resort guests have 1st priority over other guests when reserving their park days.
Online check-in for resort guests via the Disney World App. All you need to do is go into the App and let Disney know when you are there and ready to check in. If your room is ready, your room number will appear and you will be able to unlock your door with your Magic band or the App. If your room is not available, no problem! Check-in on the App and store your luggage with bellhop while you explore the resort, go to the parks, or visit Disney Springs. The App will notify you when your room is ready.
Early Access To Event Tickets
Disney Resort guests will have early access to purchase tickets to the Disney After Hours parties.
Free Towels At The Water Parks
Disney Resort guests get complimentary towels at Disney World’s water parks Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.
25 different Resorts to choose from:
Each resort is themed completely differently to enhance your Disney experience. There are 3 different tiers to choose from, Deluxe, Moderate, and Value. The deluxe resort price is usually between $445-$500, Moderate $245, and Value $125-$200 depending on the season.
Extra Magic Hours:
Extra Magic Hours are for those that wish to enter the parks 30 minutes before it opens to the general public. Or stay in the park after it closes to the general public, depending on the season.
Free transportation to the parks via Bus, Ferry, Skyliner, and Monorail:
No need to worry about parking or renting a car, this alone will save you hundreds! To save more on your Disney trip, click here for more money-saving tips.
Free parking at the theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs:
If you do decide to drive or rent a car, Disney has free parking at the theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs. However, parking is not free to park at the resorts. For more information on Disney parking, click here.
Staying at a Disney World resort will also allow you to head back to the room if you or your littles want to nap or just take a rest mid-day. For those of you that do not want to haul lunch or dinner in the parks, escaping back to the resort for a quick bite is easily done. We personally like to head back to the hotel mid-day on those hot humid days for a short swim and quick nap. I feel like staying on-site allows you to take off time from the park to just rest, without feeling like you are wasting money by not spending every waking moment in the parks.
Looking for ways to save on your Resort, check out Hotels.com for their special pricing!
RIP Free Perks
Magical Express has been discontinued and the Mears Connection has taken its place.
The Magical Express was a free transportation option from the airport to any Disney Resort. Disney has cut ties with Mears Transportation as of January 2022. You now have the option for pick up with the same service with Mears Connection directly for an additional charge. Your other options would be a private car, car rental, Uber, Taxi, Lyft, or shuttle service.
Free Magicbands: Disney now charges guests for Magic Bands
Yes, free Magic Bands are no longer a thing, now you can purchase them at a discount.
Extra “Extra” Magic hours:
This perk was only for a limited time, September 1st-November 2nd Hollywood studios open at 6:00 am, the Animal Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom at 7:00 am.
Fastpass+ has been replaced with Genie+
Free Fastpasses have been replaced with the paid-for new Fastpass system called the Genie Plus.
Suspended But Will Hopefully Return Soon
The Dining Plan: (During the pandemic the Dining Plan has been suspended)
Some people use the dining plan to save money, others for convenience. Having a dining plan eliminates the need to budget for meals and makes your Disney experience even more magical with an all-inclusive feel. There is nothing better than not having to tell your kids no to a snack or meal that they want because it’s not in your budget!
Free Dining Plan during certain times of the year: (During the pandemic the Dining Plan has been suspended)
Disney runs a plan every year that includes free dining with your resort stay I have crunched the numbers on this plan and it is much cheaper if you are wanting to do the dining plan. This plan is usually for those traveling in August and September.
Free refillable resort mug with dining plan: (During the pandemic the Dining Plan has been suspended)
We woke up every morning and used the free refills mug for coffee or juice and then again later on for a soda nightcap. I know it doesn’t really sound like much of a perk because you can only use it at the resort but, drinks are $4.50+.
What are the Minnie Vans, Disney Worlds own prepaid taxi service.
What is your favorite Disney resort to stay at and why? Leave a comment below!