Staying at a Disney World hotel can have loads of benefits!
Some people prefer to stay on Disney property for all the services that are provided. Some of these services are provided at other hotels in the area, but there are also a ton of magical extras. We’re breaking down everything that your Disney World hotel can do for you!
The amenities range from onsite laundry rooms to having a private Concierge. Some of them cost a fee and others are included in your room rate. There are A LOT of things that a Disney World resort provides and some people don’t know everything they have to offer. We’re here to list some of our favorites so you can take full advantage of your stay!
Hold Your Luggage
Bell Services will hold your luggage if you’re waiting to check-in or have already checked out. This will take loads off your mind if you’re plane arrives before your room is ready or you need to check out but want to hit the parks for the day. You don’t have to sit in the lobby and wait for your check-in or check-out time!
Just drop off your bags with Bell Services located at the front or exterior of each resort and they’ll keep them safe while you’re out! Take the whole day and go to the theme parks or stop into Disney Springs! Be sure to save a couple of bucks to tip your Cast Member for retrieving your bags, if you’re so inclined!
Get You to and from the Airport to Your Hotel…for Free (For Now)
Some guests don’t know about Disney’s free airport transfers for hotel guests! It’s a pretty sweet deal considering that the Orlando International Airport isn’t just around the corner from Disney World (it’s about a 30-minute drive with tolls most ways!). A ride from Lyft will cost you around $50 each way for a small car that only fits 3 people.
Rather than deal with a car or rideshare, you can reserve your spot on the Magical Express when you book your vacation. The service will pick you (and your luggage) up and drop you right off at your resort! Be sure to share your flight information with Disney before your trip for all members of your party.
One policy has changed since the parks reopened in July. The Magical Express used to have the ability to pick-up a guest’s checked luggage and deliver it to their hotel room. Now, guests are responsible for picking up their luggage at baggage claim before boarding the motorcoach.
BIG UPDATE ON THE MAGICAL EXPRESS: In early 2021, Disney announced that the Magical Express service will actually be ending in January of 2022! So, while you can still take advantage of this service throughout 2021, it will not be available for guests visiting next year. What’s the best way for you to get from the airport to your hotel once Magical Express is gone? Well, we’ve looked at some of the options and broken it all down for you here!
Mears, the company that currently operates the Magical Express, had indicated that they would continue to provide transportation services after the Magical Express is gone. Recently, Mears actually announced a NEW airport-to-Disney-hotel transfer service which will effectively replace Disney’s Magical Express. This service will debut in January of 2022, but we’re still waiting on more information about it like the pricing details.
Deliver Your Luggage
After holding your luggage, Bell Services can deliver your luggage straight to your room! This is especially convenient if you’ve left your bags at Bell Services before check-in and hit the parks for the day.
You don’t have to wait at the desk and lug up your bags after a long day. Simply call Bell Services from your room and wait for them to drop off your bags! Again, having a few bucks handy for a tip is a nice gesture, if you’re so inclined.
Transfer Your Luggage for Split Stays
A “split stay” is when you stay at one resort then transfer to another during the same vacation. Some guests like to experience more than one hotel so they split their time between multiple hotels. This gives guests a chance to experience two totally different hotel experiences in one trip! You don’t need to struggle to get your luggage to your second resort — your resort will transfer your luggage to your next resort when it’s time to check out!
All you have to do is head to Bell Services and tell them you’re moving to another hotel. They will have you fill out a form and take care of the rest. This way, you don’t have to lug your bags around all day! The Bell Service Cast Members can give you a rough idea of when you can expect your bags at the second hotel. Your luggage will make its way to the next resort and you can call Bell Services to deliver your luggage when you’ve arrived at your room.
Celebrating something special? You can have your resort spruce up your room with decorations, flowers, gift baskets, and special celebration cakes. This is a fantastic idea for a surprise party or anniversary! Have your resort set up the fun display when you’re away at the theme parks so it’s ready when you return!
They offer everything from fun balloon arrangements or birthday celebrations for kiddos to snacks and champagne for the adults in your crew! You can head to the Disney World Floral and Gifts website to check out the prices and baskets for purchase.
Hold Your Souvenirs
Ever dreaded getting on a ride because you have armfuls of Disney shopping bags loaded with souvenirs and nowhere to put them? Disney World resorts give you the option to send your souvenirs purchased in the parks to your hotel while you’re at Disney World. When making a purchase, let the gift shop Cast Member know that you’d like it sent back to your hotel. You’ll fill out a slip and they’ll see to it that it gets sent to your resort.
Once you get back to your hotel, you can pick up your items from your resort’s gift shop. Note that this is currently not being offered but when it returns, you need to be not checking out of your resort for the next two days in order to allow time for it to be delivered. This is incredibly convenient if you bought something large and don’t want to carry it around all day!
Mail Your Stuff Home
Go a little overboard on the Disney souvenirs and stressing how to get them home? No worries! Disney can send your enormous crystal Cinderella Castle home to you. It costs a fee (and can get expensive) that goes up depending on the size of the package being mailed (it typically starts around $10 and goes up from there), but the option is there in case you need it.
If you plan in advance, you can ship pre-packed and pre-labeled packages at the Front Desk or Concierge desks at most of the Disney World resorts. Some resorts have onsite business centers and any resort with a convention center, like Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian, will be able to ship packages without a pre-printed label (at your cost, of course). These locations typically have some packing materials on hand as well.
Receive Your Mail
Likewise, Disney resorts can receive your mail and packages. You might not always have room in your luggage for everything or have something important that needs to be sent to you while on vacation. You can have it sent to your resort at any time!
To send a package, have the label include the mailing address of the hotel. It should also feature the word “Guest” on the front and have the date of your arrival. This will better assure that it is kept safe. Also, you should know that Disney charges a $6 fee for handling packages sent to the resort, REGARDLESS of size, so consider packing everything in as few boxes as possible.
Bring Small Items to Your Room for Free
Your resort will often be able to provide you with small items that you may have forgotten to pack. This can be a life-saver if you’ve forgotten your toothbrush and just spent the day eating sugary Dole Whips. Usually, the resort will have items like band-aids, toothpaste, deodorant, extra shampoo, disposable razors, and more.
Call down to the Front Desk and see if they have what you’re missing! It doesn’t hurt to check and they might have just what you need. If not, they can direct you to the nearest gift shop where you can purchase these items.
Receive Your Grocery Deliveries (And Keep Them Fresh!)
Some guests love to stock up on groceries and have them delivered to the resorts. The groceries can help you save a few dollars on food and you don’t waste time shopping when you arrive. Bell Services has a refrigerator just for this occasion! They will store your perishables in the fridge or freezer and you can pick them up when you get back to your hotel.
Your resort will charge a flat fee of $6 (as opposed to that $6 per package fee for package deliveries!). You can choose to retrieve your own groceries from Bell Services or have them sent up to your room for free (again, we’re sure to have a tip on hand to thank our friendly Bellhop for their services!).
Back in the day, certain Disney resorts offered on-site childcare facilities that were essentially super-fun communal babysitting services for your kids. Those have gone away with time with the exception of Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. For $55, you can drop your potty-trained 4-12 year old off from 5-8:30PM nightly for a themed dinner and fun activities. It may not be open til midnight like the old kid’s clubs used to be, but it’s just enough time to sneak off for a dinner just for mom and dad!
There IS a late-night option available at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort — Camp Dolphin. This runs from 5-12 nightly and costs $12 per hour per child.
Another option available to parents is a childcare provider from the independent company Kid’s Nite Out, who comes to your resort and watches your kids! The one-on-one babysitting service can be provided for kids ages 6 months to 12 years old and starts at $20 per hour. (Prices increase depending on the number of children and for hours after 9:00PM.)
The childcare provider will entertain your little ones with crafts, books, games, and activities in your room. Call the Kids Nite Out hotline provided on the Disney World website to make an appointment.
Note: As of right now, we were told by Disney that all of these Childcare Services are unavailable, but they may return in the future.
Accommodate a Room Preference
You can make room requests depending on your location and amenity preferences. Some room preferences are considered upgrades and will cause a price increase. Upgrades usually include rooms that are close to amenities like the pool, restaurants, and transportation. You can also request an upgrade with a better view. (We highly suggest getting that Savanna View room in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge!)
You can also make requests that don’t affect the cost of your room rate. These requests can include certain floors and buildings that are still within your room level. You sometimes have the option to make these requests while booking your room online. We also suggest calling the Disney World resort reservation hotline to make sure they know your preferences! Do your research beforehand and look up your ideal room in the category you’ve selected so you can let Disney know exactly where you’d like to be.
Virtually Check You In and Out
There’s no need to wait in those long, tedious lines at the Front Desk to get checked in anymore! You can use the My Disney Experience app to take advantage of the virtual check-in option. You’ll be sent a notification when your room is ready without dealing with a hectic lobby.
That’s one less line you have to worry about! You can always call from your room if you need to talk to the Front Desk or return when the lobby is less busy.
Virtual Room Entry
This is the future! Everything is virtual. You may be thinking to yourself, “I can check in on my phone, but how do I get into my room??” There’s an app for that! Well, it’s the same app you’ll use for most things on your Disney trip. The My Disney Experience app can act as your room key too!
Navigate to your Disney World hotel reservation on the app then hit “Unlock Door.” Hold your phone to the door lock and it will magically unlock. Your MagicBand will also work once you’ve checked into your room as long as it’s linked to your Disney account. Keep in mind, Disney will no longer be issuing hotel guests complimentary MagicBands starting in 2021, so if you don’t feel like buying a MagicBand (or using an old one from a past trip) this service will be useful to you.
Provide Concierge Services
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to planning a Disney World vacation. You might miss a few steps along the way. That’s where a trusty Concierge will come in handy! The Lobby Concierge can help you book Advanced Dining Reservations, assist with Disney transportation, buy tickets, and give you loads of vacation suggestions.
Just think of the Concierge as your local Disney expert! They will know a lot about the theme parks and will help in any way that they can! Keep in mind Club Level guests (at resorts that offer this) have access to an exclusive Club Level Concierge as well that can help with many of the same things.
Throw a Pool Party!
The resort pools aren’t just for swimming! They’re for dancing, games, and more recreation! You’ll often see a Cast Member break out the Limbo stick and ask guests to join in on the fun. The games are usually accompanied by some groovy music to get the party going.
We’ve seen the impromptu pool parties include trivia, celebrations, crafts, dance parties, and even retrieving rubber duckies. You never know what kind of party you’ll find at the pool!
Give You Free Souvenirs!
You can get a free Disney World button any time you visit! The buttons come in a variety of designs that say things like “Happy Birthday,” “Happily Ever After,” and “I’m Celebrating” for all other occasions. Many guests know that you can pick up these buttons at Guest Services in the theme parks. You can also pick one up from your resort!
Head to the Front Desk and they’ll hook you up with the free souvenir. You can also ask for any theme park map to keep or use while on vacation!
Notify You When You’re Laundry is Done
Ah, technology, you make life so much easier! There’s no need to sit around in the laundry room waiting for your clothes to dry anymore while on vacation. An app called LaundryView is connected to the Disney World resorts and tracks the status of each washer and dryer. LaundryView will let you know how many machines are available and you can ask the app to notify you when your clothes are ready!
Think about all the time you’ll get back not sitting in a dreary laundry room! You can finally finish that novel you’ve been working on or watch another episode of The Bachelor in your room. Or even take a dip in the pool while you wait!
Do Your Dry Cleaning
Ok, let’s take it one step further. LaundryView is cool and all, but your resort can do all of your dry cleaning for you too! However, this will cost you MUCH more than doing your laundry yourself. It’s still super convenient if you need to clean your fancy suit before your big dinner at Victoria & Albert’s.
To schedule a pick-up, call Housekeeping on your in-room phone. You can also drop off dry cleaning Laundry bags and full price lists are located in your room closet. Guests at select resorts can drop off their laundry with Bell Services before 9AM as well.
Host Free Outdoor Movie Nights
One of Disney World’s signature recreation offerings at the resorts is Movies Under the Stars. Cast Members will set up a large projector in a designated outdoor area. Naturally, the movies are usually Disney or Pixar films!
Schedules are typically posted in the lobby or available at the Concierge desk if you want to plan your schedule around the flicks. Grab some food from your resort’s quick-service restaurant and something to sit on. It’s a perfectly cozy way to end your long day in the theme parks!
Immerse You in the Magic
The resorts are pretty magical themselves. Some are more “Disney” than others, like the over-the-top displays at Disney’s All-Star Resorts. You can have even more magic in your life if you upgrade to a themed room at select resorts. Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside offers royal-themed rooms complete with light-up fireworks in the headboards.
Over at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, you can request to have a pirate room. The beds are shaped like pirate ships and you’ll see other nautical elements around the room. And of course, there are the suites at Disney’s Art of Animation. The rooms are inspired by The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars with heavy theming to match the films!
Exchange Your Currency
Traveling from another country and need to get some U.S. Dollars? Don’t fret! Your resort can exchange the cash for you. This may seem like a small benefit, but can it be extremely convenient if you just got into town or run out of cash and need to make purchases.
You can also exchange currency at Guest Services in any of the theme parks!
Provide Bedtime Stories and LOADS of Info!
Kiddos having a hard time sleeping after all those Mickey ice cream bars? Have Mickey do the work for you! Switch on your resort television and you can tune into a bedtime story given by Mickey and Duffy the Disney Bear each evening. How sweet!
Your television will also give you all sorts of information about the theme parks. You can find a channel that lists the daily park hours and entertainment schedule. Another channel will give you loads of Disney World tips called “Must Do Disney” featuring the somewhat Disney World-famous host, Stacey!
Have Mickey Wake You Up!
This one is more fun for the little ones, but adults seem to love it too (Meaning us. We love this!). You can have Mickey Mouse give you a wake-up call in the morning. Hit the wake-up call button on your room phone and follow the prompts to set the time you’d like to receive the call. Your resort phone will ring at that time and Mickey will tell you it’s time to rise and shine!
This is a super fun way to get the kids excited about their first day at Disney World!
Help You Unwind
Disney World trips are non-stop fun and can get super exhausting. Remember that you’re on vacation and need a little time to rest and relax! Otherwise, you’ll use up all your energy and the magic will run out fast. There a few ways to unwind at your resort. First, you can use one of the many spas located at Disney World. You don’t have to be staying at the resort that has a spa to use them either! The spa treatments will cost extra, but they’re SO nice and relaxing.
Also, many of the resorts will offer free yoga classes and other activities on select days. The yoga classes are temporarily suspended at the moment, but check the recreation schedule to see what other recreational activities the resorts might offer!
Bus, Boat, Skyliner, and Monorail Transportation
Some guests say their favorite ride of the day is the transportation getting to the theme parks! Disney transportation is included in your room rate, which makes it a huge benefit for staying onsite. There are so many forms of transportation too! Some resorts offer boat transportation to certain parks. Others are located on the monorail line. And a select few get to use the new Disney Skyliner Gondolas to fly into EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The Disney bus isn’t too fun and can get a little crowded. It’s still very much part of the experience and the anticipation of rolling up the Magic Kingdom can make a busy bus ride fun!
Take You on a Free Tour
Disney World resorts also offer a few free walking tours. Many are unavailable at the moment, but when they return, put them on your must-do list! Disney’s Old Key West Resort offers “The Legend of Conch Flats” tour that allows guests to explore the Hospitality House. The tour tells you all about how Walt Disney Imagineers blended historical fact and story building to create the fictional tropical oasis that the resort is set in. Participants even receive an exclusive pin when they finish the tour!
You’ll also find a free culinary tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge that gives you an overlook of the three table service restaurants: Jiko, Boma, and Sanaa. Plus, you can learn about Africa from the country’s visiting ambassadors on certain days. While these extras may be unavailable right now, you can still walk around and see the huge amount of authentic art at Animal Kingdom Lodge and the entire savannah full of animals.
Provide Table Service Meals To-Go!
Disney recently added a new Table Service To-Go option at select resorts. The new feature allows you to order a full meal from a sit-down restaurant and pop in to grab your food already packaged in to-go containers. You don’t have to be staying at the resort to use the new dining feature either! All you have to do is order your food on the My Disney Experience app. Then, head into the resort restaurant and pick up your items. You’ll have a full table service meal to enjoy from the comfort of your bed!
Note this option is only available from very select Disney World hotel restaurants, so be sure to check where it’s available before you order!
P.S. We’re anxiously waiting to see when the Twilight Feast might return to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Right now, the popular restaurant ‘Ohana, is currently closed. In the past, guests staying at the Polynesian could order a huge feast big enough for two and it consisted of all the best items from ‘Ohana. This included pineapple bread, salad, roasted meats, noodles, bread pudding, potstickers, stir-fried veggies, oak-fired shrimp, and POG juice.
Give You the Royal Treatment
Feeling fancy? When Club Level returns, you can experience what it’s like to live the life of a Disney Princess. The Club Level rooms are only available at Deluxe Resorts and will cost you extra. (Many guests find this splurge worth it!) At Club Level, you’ll receive access to that Club Level Concierge who can help you make reservations, seek out merchandise, and so much more!
You also have the option to purchase three additional FastPasses. Plus…you get tons of food! Club level guests have access to a lounge at their resort that offers food and drinks most of the day. Guests receive access to a continental breakfast, hot samples from the resort restaurant, evening wine and beer, and desserts!
Early Access to FastPass and Advanced Dining Reservations
Prior to closing, guests staying at Disney World resort could make FastPass reservation 60 days prior to their vacation start date. Guests not staying at Disney World resort could only make them 30 days in advance. That’s a huge difference considering popular rides like Flight of Passage in Disney’s Animal Kingdom fill up fast. As of right now, it’s unclear when FastPass will return and if it will be the same when it does.
Likewise, guests staying at a Disney World resort can book their dining reservations 60 days in advance plus the length of their stay (up to 10 days) prior to their vacation start date. Guests staying off-property can book 60 days in advance. Those extra days are extremely helpful when you want to snag that hard-to-get Be Our Guest Restaurant reservation.
Another big perk of staying on-site that’s unavailable at this time is Extra Magic Hours. This allowed resort guests early or late access to at least one park each day. In the evening, for instance, this meant once the parks “closed” to the general public, guests often still had two hours to play in the park with evening Extra Magic Hours!
We’re keeping our eye on this and when it may return.
Staying onsite at Disney World resort can bring you a world of benefits. Disney does their best to bring in the immersive atmosphere and level of service you may experience in the parks. These are just a few of the things you can do while staying onsite. Now, we wanna hear from you! What’s a tip or trick that others might not know about when staying at Disney World hotel?