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Disney Vacations > Disney vacation planning > Pros & cons of staying onsite

Pros & cons of staying onsite

Deciding whether to stay at one of Walt Disney World's resort properties, or at a nearby off-property hotel, condo, or rental home is sometimes a difficult decision. Families of four or less who are flying into Orlando, and who do not want to see anything other than the parks of Walt Disney World may be better off staying on Disney property.

However if you're driving in, you won't need to worry about a rental car, so Disney transportation won't be as crucial to you. Also, if you plan to see other sites in Florida such as Universal Studios, Bush Gardens in Tampa, or Cape Canaveral, you may do just as well staying in an off-property condo or Orlando area hotel. Also, if your family is larger than four, your on-property choices will be limited so you may want to check other options. Here's a look at some of the pros & cons of staying on Disney property.

Advantages of staying on Disney property

All-star music resort in Walt Disney World

  • No rental car - Disney provides free transportation to and from the airport and theme parks.
  • Bypass luggage claim - The Disney Magical Express will transport your luggage from the airport directly to your hotel room.
  • Extended theme park hours - Walt Disney World visitors staying on Disney property have the benefit of extended theme park hours at each of the four major theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios.
  • Disney dining plan - The dining plan give you a pre-purchase you meals at Disney hotels and theme parks which can save you money in the long run.
  • Package shipping - When you stay at a Disney resort you can have all the souvenirs you purchase in the parks shipped back to your hotel room. This provides a tremendous benefit over carrying your packages around the theme parks all day.
  • More immersive experience - Many of the Disney hotels and resorts are decorated in a theme that becomes part of the overall Disney experience.

Disadvantages of staying on Disney property

  • Options are limited for groups of 5 or more.
  • Hotels tend to be more expensive than similar off-property accommodations.
  • Depending on the resort, you may end up walking a long way to the bus stop, or having a long commute to the Walt Disney World theme parks.
  • Without a rental car, you'll have limited mobility. If you want to visit any other Orlando area attractions such as Sea World or Universal Studios, you'll need to take a cab.
  • If you have an early flight home, you'll be getting up before dawn. Disney requires you leave for the airport three hours prior to your departure time.
  • Most of the rooms are very small compared to similarly priced hotels in the area.

The lobby of Disney's Contemporary resort

For more on where to stay, check out our Disney Orlando hotels and accommodations section!


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