YAY! You’re planning a Disney World vacation and we couldn’t be more EXCITED for you!
We’re betting you’ve already done some extensive research to figure out which Disney World resort hotel is best for you, but we want to share a few common pitfalls that trip up a lot of Disney World guests!
Which mistakes should you avoid? Let’s examine five BIG ONES!
Booking Your Disney World Resort Without a Discount
Trust us, we get it. Before we learned how things work, we overpaid for our Disney World vacations too. That’s why we want you to know there’s almost ALWAYS a discount you can apply to your trip, be it a park ticket offer or room discount.
Always check our Disney Discounts and Deals page before you make your reservation!
And if you forget (or already have a reservation when a new promotion or discount is released), you can usually call Disney and rebook your trip with the new discount applied!
Disney doesn’t normally advertise this service, but they’ll do it for you if the offer is still available for your requested room or package. Some promotions such as Disney World’s free dining offer (which isn’t currently offered) book up VERY fast, so make sure you are signed up for our newsletter so you’ll be one of the first to know!
Not Requesting a Room
Many Disney guests don’t realize what POWER they have!
They show up at their Disney World resort, end up with a room they don’t like, and figure, “Well, that’s just the way it’s going to be.” This is NOT how it has to be!
Request a Room When You Book Your Reservation
Select Disney World resorts will allow you to note a room preference when you check in online.
But if the resort you’re staying at doesn’t offer this feature, you can call Disney, and a representative will make note of your preference on your reservation. You can request what kind of view you’d like, what building you’d like, what floor, etc. (just bear in mind certain rooms will come with an added cost).
Ask To Switch If You Don’t Like Your Room
If you realize you don’t like your room once you arrive at Disney World (maybe because it has a funky configuration or is too far from the lobby) check with the front desk. You can sometimes move to a different room IF there’s one available in the same price range. If not, you might be able to upgrade to a better room for an additional cost.
It’s not always possible to transfer rooms or have your first preference, but we’ve found out it never hurts to ask.
Going Straight For a Deluxe Resort Without Considering Other Options
Depending on how much time you’re actually planning on spending at your hotel, a Deluxe resort might not be your best option at Disney World.
Sure, these luxury hotels have a LOT of bells and whistles, including access to Extended Evening Hours, nicer rooms, fancier grounds, and loads of other amenities; but depending on how you plan to vacation, you might not get your money’s worth out of the facilities. Whether you’re looking to hit the parks all day every day and won’t be at your resort much OR you’d like a bit more space without shelling out a ton of cash, consider the Value Resorts!
Larger Rooms and Access to Disney’s Skyliner
First up, let’s look at families that might want a bit more space than standard Disney rooms provide. You don’t HAVE to look to Deluxe accommodations to find more spacious rooms! One of our favorites is the Family Suites at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
These larger guest rooms cost twice what standard rooms at Art of Animation run BUT they can hold up to six adults and have a separate sitting area, TWO FULL BATHROOMS, and lots of extra space. They even include a separate sleeping area for adults and kids! We think you might be quite drawn in by them.
AND Disney’s Art of Animation Resort has a Disney Skyliner station (which it shares with Disney’s Pop Century Resort), meaning you can hop on a gondola and ride over to Hollywood Studios or Epcot SUPER FAST instead of taking a bus.
Many Guest Rooms Have Been Recently Remodeled
For instance, all of Disney’s Pop Century Resort rooms have been completely overhauled and now feature new flooring, tiling, fixtures, giant flatscreen TVs, and soft furnishings including linens and drapery. And don’t forget — it’s also a Skyliner resort, like Art of Animation!
But it wasn’t just Disney’s value resorts that recently got an update. Disney’s Contemporary Resort updated its lobby with a Mary Blair-inspired design, along with introducing new Incredibles-themed rooms. AND there’s a new restaurant available there: Steakhouse 71 (and needless to say, we’re BIG fans!).
And Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort got an update during its closure. When it reopened, we found new Moana-inspired carpeting and artwork in the hallways, and the rooms got a Moana makeover, too.
Amenities at some of the value resorts might not be as high-end as Disney World’s more luxurious resorts, but they can still be pretty amazing! Like we previously mentioned — both Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s Pop Century Resort share a Disney Skyliner station, making it super convenient to access two of Disney World’s four theme parks.
Other than Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, you won’t find a resort that’s comparable in price with access to Disney’s Skyliner — and keep in mind Caribbean Beach’s room rates are higher since this resort is classified as Moderate and NOT a Value.
Plus, we really dig the more playful aspect of the Value resorts! Disney is more “present” in these resorts’ guest room decor as well as each Value resorts’ pool and play area. Kiddos (and adults too!) really seem to get a kick out of seeing larger-than-life representations of their favorite Disney characters, toys, musical instruments, and other crazy things sprinkled throughout the Values’ buildings and courtyards! Plus these resorts are just SO fun and colorful.
The style of Disney World’s higher-end Moderate and Deluxe resorts skews a bit quieter and subdued. Their guest rooms and courtyards aren’t as flashy, while their decor tends to only have a hint of Disney.
Who knows — you might prefer being surrounded by the bigger ‘n’ bolder Disney stuff at one of the Value resorts because it will remind you you’re on a vacation AT Disney World!
Going Straight For a Value Resort Without Considering Other Options
Wait, didn’t we just say the opposite? But it’s true; you have to carefully weigh out ALL of your options and sometimes the best way to do this involves a little reverse engineering!
That means taking a deep dive into what you’re expecting to get out of your trip to Disney World. This could equal spending a little bit more money on your room if you really want swankier Disney digs!
Higher Quality Vacation Experience
You know yourself better than we do — maybe a Value Resort just doesn’t fit with your vision of what your vacation should be. As fun as Value resorts can be, you might need something less economical to be reminded you’re on a magical Disney vacation. We’re talking maximum relaxation in Disney World’s more opulent settings!
That’s why a Moderate or Deluxe Resort might actually be best for you. You’ll find more amenities such as workout facilities, more diverse and high-end dining options, business centers, and even salons and spas at some Deluxe hotels. Many of Disney World’s Deluxe properties are also closer to the parks, making them ideal if you’re hoping to avoid extended travel times!
Instead of hopping on a bus, you can get right over to Magic Kingdom via the Monorail if you’re staying at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, or Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. And from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, you can take a boat directly to Magic Kingdom.
And don’t forget about the EPCOT area resorts, which include Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. You’ll be able to walk over to EPCOT AND Hollywood Studios from all three of these resorts — or take a ferry boat as well!
PLUS you’ll even have access to the International Gateway Skyliner station located in EPOCT, giving you even MORE options to get to the parks.
More Restaurants and Variety
While the Value Resorts have great food courts, Disney World’s Moderate and Deluxe Resorts often offer the best range of dining options.
Many Moderates and Deluxes have grab-n-go options for convenience while also providing a sit-down dining option, lounges or bars, and more. Some even have their own character meals, signature (meaning FANCY!) dining, and room service!
Extended Evening Hours
Guests at Disney World’s Deluxe Resorts also have access to the Extended Evening Hours perk, which means they can stay late in select Disney World parks on certain days!
An extra 2 hours in Magic Kingdom or EPCOT with much lower crowds could be worth the upcharge for some people.
The Determining Factor
Here’s the thing: some people swear by Disney World’s Value Resorts while others feel the exact opposite. The choice is ultimately yours to make!
If you think you’ll have a better trip at a Moderate or a Deluxe resort, don’t let your friends’ advice stop you from booking one of these options. Do what feels right for YOUR family.
How to Make It Work With Your Budget
If you’d like to stay at a pricier resort but having a hard time justifying the cost, consider trimming a few days off of your itinerary to make staying at a Moderate or Deluxe more affordable! Not only will you be saving money on your room by staying fewer nights, but you won’t have to worry about purchasing extra food, park tickets, or additional parking costs if you’re bringing a car.
That’s savings that can really add up quickly — which you can THEN apply to a nicer resort! Of course, the trade-off is you’ll have less time to spend at Disney World, but if staying at a pricier resort is a must-do for you it’s an option worth considering.
Not Thinking About Transportation and Proximity
Going off of what we’ve already mentioned a few times, you might really be surprised by the importance of your resort’s location. It could be the deciding factor for your whole vacation experience!
If you’re planning on spending A LOT of your trip at a certain park, staying at a nearby hotel might be smart for your family.
Stay Closer to Where You Want to Spend the Most Time
Earlier we mentioned Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, along with Disney’s Riviera Resort and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, have access to Disney’s Skyliner — and therefore Hollywood Studios and EPCOT are just a short ride away.
This makes travel to these two parks SUPER convenient, but this also means their buses to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios run less frequently. This is something to consider if you have a fear of riding the Skyliner — you might have VERY limited bus access to those two parks.
If Magic Kingdom is your MUST-DO park and you plan to spend a good chunk of time there, the (pricier) Monorail resorts might be worth it to your family. Plus, these resorts often offer views of the Magic Kingdom and Seven Seas Lagoon, if you want to feel right next to the magic.
And like we said before, EPCOT’s resorts are awesome because you can literally walk to EPCOT or Hollywood Studios from Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. If you’re looking forward to spending a lot of time at one of EPCOT’s annual festivals, these resorts have an optimal location so you can pop into EPCOT as you please!
We hope we helped you make a little more sense of the tough decision you’ll be making soon, and as always, we’re here to help you every step of the way!
Which Disney World Resort are you thinking about staying at? Let us know in the comments below!