Staying In A Disney Resort
Unfortunately, changes Disney made in 2020 and 2021 have reduced the advantages for on-site guests, but there are still some.
- Accommodation is more expensive , but you can save on transport and tickets .
- Free shuttle buses between resorts and parks so you dont need to rent a car or pay for parking. From 2022 you will need to pay for transport from the airport.
- Resort guests can enter all parks 30 minutes early every day. This is especially useful for popular rides like Avatar at Animal Kingdom and the Star Wars rides at Hollywood Studios.
- In addition, guests at Deluxe Resorts will be able to stay late at some parks on select days.
- You can book Individual Lightning Lanes at 7am .
- You can make restaurant reservations 60 days before you check-in plus up to 10 days of your trip . This is useful if you want to eat in a popular restaurant like Cinderellas Royal Table.
- Packages purchased in park stores can be delivered to your resort.
If you do decide to stay in a Disney resort, the cheapest options are Disney Value Resorts including the various All Star Resorts and Pop Century.
Pop Century is generally considered slightly better, but the cheapest one available when we booked was All Star Music, which has a standard rate of $161 plus tax per night. In low season there are discounted rates.
Our room at All Star Music was similar to the basic motel rooms we usually book off-site with two double beds, an ensuite bathroom, air conditioning, free wifi, TV, and a mini-fridge .
How Far In Advance Should I Book My Disney Vacation
Q: How far in advance should I book my Disney vacation?
To get through the winter, most of us our setting our sites on sunnier climes and perhaps even a visit to one of Disneys amazing destinations. So when should you start planning and/or booking your Disney getaway? It varies a bit from destination to destination but when it comes to Disney, I generally advise clients the earlier the better. However, for those looking for a few more specifics, heres some general guidelines on booking at Walt Disney World, with Disney Cruise Line or at Disneyland in California.
Walt Disney World
Let me first preface this by saying that there is no wrong time to book a Disney stay. I have booked last-minute visits for clients who had just as much fun as those that booked months in advance. However, if I were to pick the best time, I would say AT LEAST six month ahead of time. Especially during peak periods like Spring Break, Summer Break, Food and Wine Festival, Halloween and Christmas, Walt Disney World resorts can fill up fast. This means that you may not get the resort or room category that you were looking for.
Walt Disney World packages are currently available to book through until the end of 2017.
Disney Cruise Line
Images copyright Disney.
Do You Really Need Park Hopper Tickets
Warning: some of our Disney World on a budget tips require serious deliberation! Some planning decisions will have an effect on the rest of your trip and budget.
Park Hopper tickets allow you to visit any of the theme parks within a single day. You could start your day at Magic Kingdom and end in Animal Kingdom, if youd like. However, these ticket types are more expensive than general admission.
Now, if youre only visiting Disney World for one or two days, the Park Hopper tickets can help you see all of the parks within this short time span. Of course, youll need to do a bit of extra planning to make sure you make the most out of each park visit. On the other hand, if youre staying for three or more days, you can save money by visiting one park per day and forgoing the Park Hopper passes.
The choice is yours!
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Consider Staying For Several Days
With the way Disney tickets are set-up, the more days you stay, the better savings you receive!
For instance, on Reserve Orlando, if you purchase 3-day theme park tickets, you will enjoy a savings of $35 off per person. Or, if you purchase more than 5 days worth of tickets, you receive extra days at the park free of charge.
Be sure to review your budget and travel plans to decide if you can take advantage of these ticket savings.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is not really a Disney World vacation package per se, but more like an immersive entertainment and accommodation experience. Its a 2-night experience that puts you aboard a Starcruiser in the universe of Star Wars, where you experience unique food, entertainment and adventures. Most people will choose to add this to the beginning or end of a regular Disney World vacation package. See our page on the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser experience for more.
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Choose A Disney Resort Hotel
There are two options for lodging at Walt Disney World. You can either stay at an official Disney-owned on-site resort, or at a nearby off-site resort. Lets look at the advantages/disadvantages of each type of resort hotel.
Official Disney On-Site Resorts
There is something special about staying at an official Disney resort.
For one, each resort has its own distinctive character, charm, and identity. You can leave the real world behind and surround yourself with Disney magic, 24/7.
Since all resort guests are on Disney World property, you will be in close proximity to all the parks and have direct access to monorails, boats, and buses.
On-site guests also receive special perks that off-site guests do not. These include free transfers to and from the airport via Disney Magical Express , Early Theme Park Entry, the ability to book Advance Dining Reservation, and Disney Genie+ selections ahead of non-Disney resort guests.
There are 3 main tiers of on-site Disney Resorts: Value, Moderate, and Deluxe. Theres also a Deluxe Villa tier, which is essentially a WDW timeshare.
The only major disadvantage of staying at a Disney resort is the cost. With the extra perks and close proximity to the park, these resorts are more expensive than off-site resorts, so your decision will really just depend on your budget and the priorities of your vacation.
Non-Disney off-site resorts compete with on-site Disney Resorts.
Learn More Here:
How Can I Plan A Trip To Disney World On A Budget
A trip to Disney World is on every familys bucket list. But the sheer cost of a Walt Disney World vacation can send some into a panic. Between the transportation, the tickets, and everything in between, is it even possible to visit Disney World on a budget?
Of course, it is!
The magic of Disney doesnt fade just because you didnt spend extra on a Character breakfast or a souvenir. There are several ways to plan a Disney vacation that doesnt send you into debt or wipe out your savings.
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Walt Disney World Resort In Florida
An equally happy and magical destination, Walt Disney World boasts four spectacular Theme Parks Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disneys Hollywood Studios and Disneys Animal Kingdom in addition to two incredible Water Parks, two bustling nighttime entertainment districts and a state-of-the-art sports complex. Diners have hundreds of options to choose from, while those with a taste for shopping can get lost in the worlds largest Disney store. Parades are a daily occurrence at Magic Kingdom, complete with music, dancing and colourful floats an ever-popular attraction for guests of all ages. Thrill-seekers will want to head over to Disneys Blizzard Beach and take the plunge on the Summit Plummet waterslide, one of the tallest and fastest freefall slides in the world. The opportunities for fun are endless here so book your Disney vacation package with us today and all youll have to worry about is deciding which attractions and activities you want to see and do most.
Disney World: An Overview
When you think of Disney World, the first thing that pops in most people’s minds is Cinderella’s Castle. It is the iconic symbol of Disney World, but there is so much more on offer than that. The Disney World property expands over 25,000 acres in Central Florida . Within the gates of Disney World property you will find:
- 4 Theme Parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom
- 2 Water Parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach
- 28 Disney Resorts
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Explore All That Walt Disney World Resort Has To Offer Including:
- Magic Kingdom® Park, Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, Epcot®, Disneys Hollywood Studios®.
- Stay at one of the 26 Disney Resort Hotels.
- Make a splash at Disneys water parks with a visit to Disneys Blizzard Beach or Disneys Typhoon Lagoon.
- Satisfy your appetite with award-winning cuisine at fine dining restaurants.
- Enjoy shopping and entertainment at Disney Springs.
- Dine with some of your favorite pals at Disney Character Dining locations.
- Don’t miss Pandora The World of Avatar at Disneys Animal Kingdom Theme Park.
Book your Walt Disney World® Resort vacation package today and learn about everything the park has to offer at our Walt Disney World® page.
Things You Must Book In Advance For A Walt Disney World Vacation
Jason CochranDisney ParksDisney-run hotelDisney ParksDisney ParksVictoria & Albert’sDisney ParksCinderella’s Royal TablePrincess Storybook DiningDisney Parkswww.disneyworld.com/toursDisney ParksMickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween PartyMickey’s Very Merry Christmas PartyCandlelight ProcessionalDisney Parksspecial dessert partieslunch with an Imagineerwww.disneyworld.com/events-toursDisney Parksdisneyworld.disney.go.com/memory-makerDisney ParksDisney ParksHarmony Barber ShopDisney ParksHoop-Dee-Doo Musical RevueDisney’s Spirit of Aloha ShowMickey’s Backyard BBQGospel BrunchJason CochranEasyGuide to Disney World, Universal Studios & Orlando
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Buy Your Theme Park Tickets
Its possible that you may end up spending more on park tickets than on your hotel room, so the decision about which tickets to buy is an important one.
We recommend you review all your options well in advance so you have time to think about which package makes sense for your budget and duration of stay.
Where to Buy your Disney Theme Park Tickets
As a general rule, always purchase tickets through an authorized seller/reseller and buy your tickets well in advance of your departure. This will lock in the current rate of ticket prices and shield you from the inevitable price hikes which occur at least once every year. Unused tickets do not expire, so there is really no downside to buying your tickets well in advance, assuming you are committed to going to Disney World in the foreseeable future.
Your Disney Travel Agent can also purchase tickets for you. The Vacationeer can help you with that!
Buy your Theme Park Tickets Early
As far as pricing advantages go, the longer the duration of your park tickets, the less each ticket costs per day. As Disney states, the longer you play, the less you pay per day.
Single-day tickets are pricey , whereas multi-day tickets become much cheaper by the day. After 3 days, the cost of additional days substantially decreases with each additional day.
Whatever you do, dont wait to buy tickets at the gate, and never buy your tickets via eBay, Craigslist, or another unauthorized reseller.
Disney Park Hopper Tickets
Best Time To Visit Disney World
Disney World has evolved into a destination where theres always something going on, so there is no true off-season.
On top of the rides, shows and characters to occupy your time, there are festivals, marathons, waterparks, more festivals and holiday parties. The best time to visit Disney World is going to be highly dependent on what you want to accomplish. If holiday decorations are your thing, you might think that December around Christmas is the time to visit Disney World. But, that isnt necessarily the case.
If you want decorations without the crowds that come with the Christmas holidays, know that Disney World usually transforms the Magic Kingdom from Halloween to Christmas the night after Halloween.
Not all of the decor across the parks and resorts is finished on Nov. 1 or 2, but much of it is up by the end of the second week of November. Youll generally find the parks a bit quieter in November and early December compared to the true holiday season.
Related: Guide to Disney World at Christmas
If youre an adult, the festivals in the spring and fall at Epcot are a great way to eat, drink and adult your way around the world in a leisurely way. Those who enjoy running and races will want focus on January as marathon season, including themed runs for popular characters such as princesses or Star Wars characters.
Hotel pricing at Disney World resort properties generally follows the same trajectory as the ticket prices.
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Are Park Hopper Tickets Worth It
If your goal is to do everything Disney World has to offer from sunup to sundown, thats when you should consider Park Hopper tickets. For around $65 to $85 more, the Park Hopper add-on to any multiday ticket lets you go from park to park as often as youd like that day.
Thats not a huge cost in the grand scheme of Disney, but the fact is most families especially those with little kids dont need access to more than one park per day.
Amid the pandemic, park-hopping got even more complicated. There used to be no limitations on how many parks you could visit, or what times you could hop. Currently, you need to start with a park pass reservation for one park and enter that park. Park-hopping officially begins at 2 p.m. each day and is capacity-controlled. If time permits, you can hop to a third or fourth park assuming those parks have capacity as well.
To find out if there are any restrictions on park-hopping, guests can call 407-560-5000 to check availability, though on most days it should work out.
Before you dole out that extra cash, be sure you and your family have the stamina for it: You can easily walk eight to 10 miles per day at Disney World in just one park. Generally speaking, older kids or adults without kids benefit more from Park Hoppers, but even then its not essential. You can also hold off on the decision until you get there and simply have guest services help you upgrade to Park Hoppers if needed.
Best Ways To Save Money At A Disney Resort
We have outlined the best ways to save money at a Disney resort on your upcoming Walt Disney World vacation. But, we know that Inside the Magic readers may still have questions, such as whether there are extra costs that may arise once you arrive on your trip, and what discounts are available throughout the year. Here, we answer those specific questions.
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Why Should I Use An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner
You might be asking, Why cant I just do this all myself? Well, you most certainly can. But if you ask someone whos been to Disney World or Disneyland a lot , we can tell you that theres a lot more to it than just booking a flight and hotel and heading out.
A trip to Disney World or Disneyland is about more than just hanging out in your average amusement or theme parks. As many people know, Disney World and Disneyland are two of the most popular vacation destinations in the entire world. Theres a good reason for this: they are magical places.
Truly, they are magical. But for your vacation to be magical too, you need to put some serious work into the planning of it. Unless you plan to pore over websites or Birnbaums Official Guide Book to Disney World , then you will probably want to leave it to the professionals.
Speaking of asking people that go to Disney a lot The ins and outs of a trip to one of these great parks is actually something of a science. These particulars are what Annual Passholders like us can forget once bothered us at all. Like knowing where to park, the best use of FastPass, where all the bathrooms are , the best food, and even discounts or showtimes.
If this is your very first time, though, it can be incredibly intimidating. How do you even begin to navigate the labyrinth of the parks?
All of this is exactly why you are probably going to want to use an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.
What Can You Expect At Walt Disney World
One of the first things you should know is that the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is very different from the Disneyland Resort in California. To begin with, it is much larger.
At 40 squares miles, Disney World is equal to the size of the city of San Francisco! The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida has four theme parks, two water parks, Disney Springs , more than 25 Disney Resort hotels, a few golf courses, and a Boardwalk where you can enjoy nighttime activities for adults.
The four parks located inside the Walt Disney World Resort are:
- Magic Kingdom Theme Park
- Disneys Animal Kingdom
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