Unless you are a local or have the fortune of having family members who live close to Disney World, any trip is going to involve a conversation about whether you are going to stay on or off property. There are obvious benefits (Extra Magic Hours, ability to make advanced dining reservations) and drawbacks (namely, cost) to staying on property, but there are hidden benefits to staying on property that no one will tell you about – until now!
8 – MagicBands in Advance – guests who book their vacations in advance are eligible to customize their MagicBands before arriving on property and Disney will send them to you to help you get excited for your trip! Be sure to remember to bring them since they will be your keys to your room, and, if you’ve purchased your tickets in advance, your admission to the parks. They can always replace them if you lose them or leave them behind, but they will be grey and will not be customized with your name!
7 – Shopping Perks – if you are staying on property and don’t want to carry around your purchases from the parks, you can have your bags sent back to the resort for you to pick up. However, be aware that there must be at least 2 days left on your trip for Disney to be able to accommodate you and deliver your items, but it certainly will free up your hands to have more fun in the park!
6 – Great Restaurants – as a Passholder, I am able to visit Disney frequently. What I have discovered is that many of the resort restaurants vastly exceed the theme park restaurants in terms of theming and scope of their menu. I’ve recently favorited Boatwright’s Dining Hall at Port Orleans Riverside – here you are able to find an amazing collection of Southern and Creole foods to satisfy the most discerning tastebuds. Even the food court at Art of Animation, Landscape of Flavors aims to please with a wonderful menu that appeals to everyone!
5 – Amazing Bars/Lounges – if you are looking for a more adult trip to Walt Disney World, there are many places where you can cozy up to the bar and enjoy a drink. The Wave Lounge at the Contemporary serves amazing drinks in a wonderful atmosphere only a stone’s throw away from the Magic Kingdom. You can lounge hop around the Yacht and Beach Club complex and enjoy a drink in several different lounges – my favorite there is the Crew’s Cup Lounge!
4 – Surprise Character Greetings – when I was staying at Port Orleans Riverside for my birthday, I was shocked when I stumbled into a character greeting with Brer Fox from “Song of the South” and Splash Mountain fame! I had NO idea that characters would just pop up for greetings at resorts. I haven’t run into any other characters at other resorts, but it was a happy surprise!
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3 – Entertainment – in addition to the fun and games that Cast Members put on for the children at the pool area at the resorts, there is a lot of other things you can do for fun! You can enjoy a drink and Yeehaw Bob at the River Roost Lounge or you can take a boat out for a spin at Fort Wilderness or even pick up a bow and arrow! Be sure to check in with the Concierge at the resort for what your resort offers by way of entertainment or if there is something you can take advantage of at a neighboring resort!
2 – Mid-Day Naps – this is by far by favorite on-site perk! After hitting the parks at rope drop and having lunch in the park, I need some time to myself for a nap, read, or just relax. Staying on property makes it a lot more convenient for you and your family to hop back to the resort to do that. Even if you are staying very near to Disney property, transportation is complicated because you will have to drive yourself back to your room.
1 – Transportation – depending on where you are staying, there may be more than one way to get to your resort. Guests staying near Epcot and Hollywood Studios can walk, take a boat, or a bus to get to both of those parks. Guests staying on the Monorail line are also able to access the Magic Kingdom and the other resorts through the monorail or by a boat ride. Not every resort has multiple means of transportation, but by staying on site, you’ll be able to discover the property at your own pace.
While staying on property may be more expensive than staying off property, there are many perks that aren’t publicized and these are just some of them! What is your favorite “perk” when staying at a Disney resort?
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!