Should I stay at a Disney Resort hotel or off-site hotel?
The range of hotels and accommodation available around Disney World Orlando is wide in both quality or choice, from standard motel style rooms, vacation rental homes and on-site Disney World Resort hotels.
Considerations when choosing your vacation hotel?
I must admit, choosing where I stay when visiting Orlando throws me into sleepless nights. Some questions you may need to consider when choosing your accommodation will include:
- The size of your budget.
- The size of the party you’re travelling with (including ages).
- How far in advanced have you planned?
- Will you be strictly staying at the Disney parks, or will you also visit Universal Studios or other attractions?
- What facilities do you require?
- How long will you be staying?
The big question? On-site Disney Resort or Off-site hotel?
There are certainly pro’s and con’s for staying at a Disney Resort, or opting to stay off-site.
On-Site Disney Resort Pro’s
- 24 Hour Disney Experience. The Disney Resort hotels are fantastically themed so you can live the Disney dream for the whole of your vacation.
- Extended Theme Park Hours. When you stay at a Disney Resort you can take advantage of the Extra Magic Hourse.
- Airport Service. The Disney’s Magic Express transfers you from the airport direct to your resort, and takes your luggage straight to your room.
- Complementary Resort Transportation. Use the Disney World transportation system free of charge to visit any of the theme parks or other Disney properties.
- Package Delivery. If you buy merchandise or gifts around the parks you can have the item delivered direct to your hotel room.
On-Site Disney Resort Con’s
- 24 Hour Disney Experience. On the flip side, you’ll be submersed in Disney 24/7. If you want a change from this then maybe go off-site.
- More expensive than a standard hotel room. The Disney resort hotels are more expensive, you certainly pay for the extra benefits of staying on-site. The room sizes within Disney Resorts are generally less generous than a standard hotel room.
- Food can be more expensive at the Disney Resorts.
- Although it’s also a pro to use the Disney transportation, during the peak periods it can be a pain to be tied to waiting in line for a bus to your resort from a park.
Off-Site Hotel Pro’s
- Easier to bag last minute bargains. The Disney hotels usually get booked up much quicker and around busy periods such as Christmas you’ll have more choice with an off-site hotel.
- Standard hotels the cheaper option. With the competition in Orlando for hotel rooms, you can nearly always find a great value place to stay.
- More choice with hotel location. The Disney hotels are in a great location for visiting the Disney theme parks, but not so great for visiting other attractions such as Universal Studios.
Off-Site Hotel Con’s
- You don’t get the full Disney experience.
- Extras such as the Extra Magic Hours aren’t available to non-Disney Resort visitors.
- You will have to make extra travel arrangements to get to the Disney theme parks. This will include paying for parking.
So, On-Site Disney Resort?
If you can afford it I’d say a definite yes. The on-site resorts have great themeing and added perks that do add to your vacation. I would add though that if my vacation is for more than seven nights I may consider splitting my stay between an on-site resort and off-site hotel.