5 Magical Reasons to Stay at a Disney Resort

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For anyone who has planned or taken a vacation to Walt Disney World in Orlando, the biggest decision you need to make is whether or not to stay at a Disney resort. A Disney vacation is like no other vacation!  

For some, this is a tough decision and may be more financial, since it’s obvious that staying onsite can be more expensive. But if the difference in price doesn’t bother you, here are five reasons why you should just take the plunge at stay in the “Disney Bubble”.

More time in the parks

One of the main reasons for staying at a Disney resort is being able to take advantage of the Early Theme Park Entry. This perk allows Disney resort guests to enter the park 30 minutes before it opens to the general public. By taking advantage of early park entry, guests can experience some of the more popular attractions with shorter lines and enjoy the parks before the mass crowds arrive. It’s important to note that many of the parks let you in sooner than that 30-minute mark, which gives you even more time. For example, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the “normal” wait time for rides like Rise of the Resistance, Slinky Dog Dash, and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway varies from 55 minutes to more than 200 minutes throughout the day. The last several times I visited, resort guests were allowed in as early as 45 minutes early which allowed us to ride BOTH Rise of the Resistance and Runaway Railway before the park gates were even open.

Guests staying at deluxe resorts, deluxe villa resorts, and other select resorts can also enjoy Extended Evening Hours in select parks on select nights.  This nice perk allows guests to remain in one park for up to two hours after closing to the general public and other resort guests.  While there is no guarantee that all of the attractions in the park will be available, having an additional two hours with even fewer guests than Early Entry can be a game changer.

Genie+ and Advance Dining Reservations

Another very popular reason for staying onsite is the ability to access Genie+ and make advanced dining reservations before non-resort guests.  

As of this writing, advanced dining reservations open for guests 60 days before their arrival.  For resort guests, this means that you can make your advance dining reservations for the entire length of your trip (up to 10 days) beginning 60 days from the day you arrive.  Non-resort guests can only make reservations 60 days before the day they would like the reservation.  As you can imagine, many of the more popular restaurants may no longer be available for non-resort guests.

In addition to advanced dining reservations, the Genie+ Lightning Lanes open earlier for resort guests.  We’ll discuss Genie+ more in a future post!  Resort guests can make their first lightning lane reservation at 7 AM, while non-resort guests can make their first lightning lane reservation when the park opens to the public, which may be anywhere from one to two hours later.

Complimentary Transportation Options

Disney transportation is an essential part of the Disney World experience. The transportation system is efficient, convenient and offers a variety of options for guests to choose from. The most common mode of transportation is the bus system, which runs regularly throughout the day and evening hours, connecting all the Disney resorts, theme parks, and water parks. The bus system is free for all guests and is a great way to get around the resort without worrying about parking or driving. Disney resorts have one bus dedicated to each park, while non-Disney resorts may only have one or two buses that travel a loop around the hotel and all parks.  

Additionally, guests staying in the Magic Kingdom resort area can use the monorail system, which runs in a loop from Magic Kingdom to Epcot and some resorts, providing a scenic view of the resort. For guests who prefer a more leisurely way to travel, ferry boats are available, connecting Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and some resorts. If you aren’t afraid of heights, you can take the Disney Skyliner which connects some resorts to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.  

Even better, a few resorts are close enough to a park that no transportation is even necessary, making it even easier to be at the gates when they open.

Closer Proximity to the Parks

Staying at a Disney resort keeps you closer to the parks, which can be a game changer when you just need to relax for a few hours in the afternoon (since you woke up at dawn to be at the park before they opened)!  There’s nothing better than being able to make the short ride back to your resort to just take a nap or let the kids enjoy some pool time before heading back into the parks for evening festivities.

Being Immersed in the Magic

Staying at a Disney resort is an immersive experience that brings the magic of Disney to life beginning the moment you step onto the property.  The resorts are designed with incredible attention to detail, from the theming of the rooms to the decor throughout the property. Whether you are staying at a resort themed after a classic Disney movie or one inspired by a far-off tropical paradise, you will feel fully immersed in the magic. 

With exclusive access to certain attractions, convenient transportation to the parks, and more opportunities to meet your favorite Disney characters, a stay at a Disney resort is the ultimate way to truly experience the magic of Disney.

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