One of the first things you’ll want to decide about your Walt Disney World vacation is where you’re going to stay. Will it be at a Disney resort or a hotel nearby? And if you’re staying on the property, what hotel should you choose? All of these choices will have an impact on your trip – and your budget, so it’s important to be informed about your options. We spoke to AAA travel advisor and Disney expert Cady DeBlois to get all the latest information on where you should stay when you’re visiting the mouse.
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What are the benefits of staying at a Disney resort?
“First, you will be fully immersed in the Disney bubble,” said Cady DeBlois. “The theming at each resort is very detailed and thought out by the Imagineers. It’s like you’re in your own little world there. You won’t have to worry about driving to the parks or sitting in traffic. Transportation to the theme parks is complimentary when staying on property.”
Do onsite guests get any perks at the theme parks and restaurants?
“Onsite guests get early park admission of 30 minutes each day and extended evening hours on select nights for deluxe resort guests,” said DeBlois. “Plus, on-site guests can make those hard-to-get character dining and restaurant reservations up to 60 days before their arrival.”
What are the different types of hotels?
Disney organizes its resort hotels into three categories: Deluxe, moderate and value.
Deluxe hotels include Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort and more. They’re extravagant, heavily themed, luxurious and pricey. Many of them are close to one of the theme parks, and some are even on the monorail line.
Moderate hotels include Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort and the Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. They’re a step down from the deluxe resorts in terms of pricing, but they still offer unique amenities, sit-down dining, themed pools and comfortable rooms.
Value hotels include Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century resort and more. As the budget-friendly resorts, they usually have less amenities, smaller rooms and food courts instead of restaurants. However, they’re very colorful, have fun pools for the kids and are a lot easier on the wallet. Some even have access to Skyliner transportation, which connects directly to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and International Gateway at Epcot
Where should I stay on my next vacation?
“I would always recommend any resort that offers two modes of transportation to the parks, but my recommendations are also always tailored to who is traveling,” said DeBlois. “I love Disney’s Pop Century Resort as a value resort option. The Skyliner access is a great perk. It’s also connected to some other resorts, making it easy to visit there for dining and shopping. For deluxe resorts, I would recommend the Beach or Yacht Club, Disney’s Polynesian Resort and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.”
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Featured image: Disney’s Beach Club Resort, located at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Disney/Todd Anderson)