Staying At A Walt Disney World Resort
A Disney World Vacation is expensive. Staying At A Walt Disney World Resort makes it even more expensive. Do the advantages make up for the price difference though?
Did you know that whether you are staying two days or two weeks Disney has eliminated the need to ever leave Disney property? They have gas stations, groceries, movies, restaurants and even a place to lay your head after a long day of having magical moments.
No you cannot stay in the Castle, although there is a suite in it, but you can stay within the confines of Walt Disney World for your entire vacation! There are a few options ranging from hotels to camping.When it comes to hotels there are two classes, Disney owned and non-Disney owned. As you might guess the Disney owned ones tend to be a bit more expensive but they may just be worth it if it fits in your budget.
Port Orleans Riverside is one of the moderate resorts near Downtown Disney and one of my favorites.
So what does Disney offer at its resorts? Let’s take a quick look.
Disney’s Magical Express
If guests fly into Orlando International Airport they can arrange for several perks. By making the appropriate arrangements, a simple process really, Disney will take care of picking up your luggage and carry it from the airport to your resort room. They will also pick you up, via Disney’s Magical Express, and carry you to your resort. You do have to carry yourself to the room though. When it’s time to go bring your luggage down to the lobby and load it on the Magical Express and they will whisk you and your luggage back to the airport.
Escape from the real world
These are not just some bland hotel rooms stacked one on top of each other. Walt Disney World Resort Hotels are designed to take you to another place. It may be a child’s fantasy like the Lion King or it may be the islands of the South Pacific but you will know you are not in the Super 8 down the street from home.
Each resort has its own theme. They range from child friendly (and decidedly adult repulsing in some ways) themes with over-sized bowling pins and cartoon characters at the value resorts to the Africa where giraffes may just peak in on you while you eat breakfast on your balcony at the Deluxe Animal Kingdom Lodge. There are a range of choices to suit both your tastes and your budget.
Food and Fun
All of the Disney resorts have at least counter service, similar to fast food, offerings. These are offered food court style. Deluxe and Moderate resorts also have (or at least have reasonable access to) a sit down restaurant. Some of these are world class so be prepared to make reservations (which can be, and in some cases should be, made up to 180 days in advance of your check in.)
All Disney resorts also have pools. Some have multiple pools ranging from heavily themed large pools with slides to small quiet pools.
Each Disney resorts also has bus service to all of the theme parks, the water parks and Downtown Disney. They are glad to do the driving and parking while you relax. This service can be a little slow sometimes though and crowding is often an issue. You might have to stand for the ride but in my grumpy opinion it’s still better than trying to drive, navigate and park not to mention remembering where you park. But if you insist on driving your Disney will let you park for free for the duration of your stay.
Get Into The Park Before and Stay After Everyone Else (Kind of)
The final perk to be mentioned here, and perhaps the best, is Extra Magic Hours. These are hours that a park is open only to Disney World Resort guests. The Extra Magic Hours are normally one hour before opening or up to three hours after closing for all non-resort guests. As you might expect this cuts down on the line size, especially the morning magic hours when so many guests opt to sleep in but Grumpy is up and running! On one visit Mr and Mrs Grumpy had ridden Aerosmith five times before most people could get into the park! Extra Magic Hours are offered for at least one park per day but during busy season sometimes one park opens early and one stays open late.
Disney’s Resorts are broken into three categories, Value, Moderate and Deluxe plus campsites. As you probably guessed their is a big difference in price from value to Deluxe. In any case they are all listed below.
- The Campsites at Fort Wilderness
- All-Star Movies- The movies are celebrated with oversize tributes to movies.
- All-Star Music
- All-Star Sports
- Art of Animation Resort
- Pop Century Resort
- Caribbean Beach
- Coronado Springs
- Ft. Wilderness Cabins
- Port Orleans Riverside
- Port Orleans French Quarter
- Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Beach Club Resort
- Boardwalk Inn
- Contemporary Resort
- Grand Floridian Resort
- Polynesian Resort
- Wilderness Lodge
- Yacht Club Resort
Disney Vacation Club (You do not have to be a member to rent one if it’s available!)
- Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas
- Bay Lake Tower (At the Contemporary)
- Beach Club Villas
- Boardwalk Villas
- Old Key West Resort
- Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- Wilderness Lodge Villas
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