There are so many hotels to choose from when visiting Disney World, and there is a lot to consider in making the decision of where to stay!
The perks that a hotel has to offer can really make an impact on your choice. Some hotels will have tons of perks you love, while others might be a little more “meh.” Do hotels on Disney World property have better perks than hotels off property? Today we’re breaking down the perks of onsite and offsite hotels so you can get a full picture and decide what’s best for you.
Onsite and offsite hotels have some perks that overlap, and some that don’t. When picking what hotel to stay at, it’s key to think about what’s most important to you. Do you care more about free transportation or access to good food? How about walking access to the parks or early theme park entry?
The answers may vary depending on who you’re traveling with or what the goal of your trip is. For this analysis, we’ll take a look at one deluxe, one moderate, and one value resort on Disney World property, and 3 that are “off property” or at least are not run and operated by Disney.
Let’s take a look at just what perks you can expect to find at these onsite and offsite hotels.
Before we split up into perks for onsite hotels vs offsite hotels, let’s talk about some of the perks that these hotels share.
One important thing is that when Early Theme Park Entry begins on October 1st as part of Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, all Disney World hotel guests, as well as guests at select offsite hotels, will be granted early access to the theme parks.
Note that this won’t apply to ALL offsite hotels. In terms of offsite hotels, only a few are currently eligible for Early Entry.
In the past, both Disney World hotels and the Disney Springs Resort area hotels have had the benefit of having early access to planning FastPass+ reservations. Again, this did not apply to ALL offsite hotels, only select ones. Note that FastPass+ is currently not available.
Alright, now let’s tackle perks that are available to guests at ALL of Disney World’s hotels (whether that hotel is a deluxe, moderate, or value). First, as we mentioned above, all Disney World hotel guests typically get early access to FastPass+ planning. Note that FastPass+ is currently not available.
All Disney World hotel guests also get complimentary resort transportation. Whether that’s a monorail, boat, or other forms of transportation, all hotel guests get free Disney transportation between the hotel and the parks.
Disney Hotel guests also typically get access to Disney’s Magical Express — a free motorcoach service to get to and from the hotel and the airport. Note that this service will be discontinued starting January 1, 2022.
Disney hotel guests also get access to the pools at their respective hotels, poolside games, and outdoor movie screenings (if/when offered).
For the onsite deluxe hotel, we’ll primarily use Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort as an example. The Polynesian has a lot of unique experiences to offer…for a price, of course.
This deluxe resort is located very close to Magic Kingdom and even has its own Resort Monorail station. Note that the Polynesian monorail station is currently closed and is not set to reopen with the resort later this summer. We’re on the lookout for updates about a future reopening date.
But, you can hop on a boat to get to Magic Kingdom from the Poly. Or you can walk to the Transportation and Ticket Center to hop on a monorail from there, or even walk to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and take the walking path to Magic Kingdom.
While it’s not the case for ALL deluxe resorts, many of them do offer extremely convenient access to one or more of the parks, including potentially walking access.
At the Polynesian, you’ll also find a variety of food options includingCapt. Cooks, Kona Island, Pineapple Lanai, Kona Cafe, Tambu Lounge, and ‘Ohana! There’s also Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Bar and (when available) the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show.
This again is a perk that you’ll find at many deluxe hotels — a variety of dining options. You’ll generally find a quick service option as well as 1 or more table service options at the deluxe hotels. Many of the deluxe hotels also offer dining options with unique views of the fireworks from some of the parks, buffets, or specialty dining experiences.
What Disney World hotels have the best dining? We asked our followers — click here to see what they had to say!
What other perks can you expect by staying at Disney’s deluxe hotels? Well, there’s typically a variety of transportation options available (like buses, monorail, boats, walking access, etc.). The hotel rooms tend to be larger than those at other hotels, so you’ll have more room to spread out. There will be health clubs available for guests to enjoy.
And those staying at deluxe resorts and deluxe villas will also get access to Disney’s upcoming Extended Evening Hours as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations. This is separate from the Early Theme Park Entry and is actually a perk that will be exclusive to those staying at deluxe resorts or deluxe villas.
For our moderate resort example, we’ll take a look at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Moderate resorts have many of the perks we’ve already talked about — access to Disney transportation, etc. Some of the moderate hotels may offer unique transportation. For example, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort guests can take Disney buses to some of the parks, but they also have access to Disney’s Skyliner.
Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts don’t have access to the Skyliner, but they do have a boat that takes guests to Disney Springs. Again, this might not be something found at all moderate hotels, but you will want to look into what transportation options they have available.
Additionally, at most moderate resorts you will find a quick-service spot as well as at least 1 table service option. For example, at Caribbean Beach, you’ll find Centertown Market (quick service), Sebastian’s Bistro (table-service), and some other spots as well.
One thing you won’t find at most moderate resorts is a fitness facility. That’s primarily a benefit for deluxe resorts, except that Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort does have access to a fitness center.
The rooms at moderate hotels do tend to be larger than the ones you’ll find at value resorts. Moderate hotels also generally include a swimming pool with some kind of beneficial feature like a hot tub or slide, as well as recreation options.
Finally, we get to the value resorts. These are typically Disney’s cheapest hotel options. For our study, we’ll primarily focus on All-Star Movies Resort as an example.
While the value resorts may be the cheapest offerings, they have perks too!
The transportation options are less impressive here, with only buses to get you to and from the parks. But, you may find that some value resorts have special transportation options. Specifically, Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, both of which are value hotels, have access to the Disney Skyliner. If that form of transportation is important to you, it’s key that you look for that transportation option when booking your hotel.
Value resorts generally only have a quick-service or food court option in terms of dining.
But, they will still have access to fun amenities like outdoor movie nights, arcades, pools, and playgrounds.
The rooms at value resorts will typically be smaller than the other Disney World hotels. But, some of the value hotels (specifically, All-Star Music Resort and Art of Animation) have family suites that could give you the space you need.
While there may be fewer luxurious perks, these value hotels could be what you need!
Alright, when it comes to offsite hotels there’s no perfect deluxe, moderate, value comparison but what we did was try to find hotels that were somewhat comparable. Let’s take a look.
In the Deluxe hotels category, we’ll look at places like the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and the Four Seasons Resort Orlando.
While the Waldorf is considered to be an “official Walt Disney World Hotel” and is surrounded by Walt Disney World property, it is not owned or operated by Disney. At the Waldorf, you’ll find a whole bunch of luxurious amenities.
Let’s start with some basics. Guests who stay at the Waldorf do (just like Disney World guests) get free transportation between the hotel, Disney’s theme parks, and Disney Springs. The buses used here are NOT Disney buses. Instead, they are different buses that have an agreement with the hotel, so just keep that in mind.
The Waldorf also gets early access to FastPass+ planning (when available).
In terms of perks, there is a 24-hour fitness center, 2 pools, a lazy river pool and water slide next door at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, activities, a spa, and a golf club.
There are also a variety of dining options at the hotel or hotels nearby, including some more luxurious spots like Bull & Bear steakhouse.
The Four Seasons Resort Orlando is also located right in the heart of Disney World in the middle of the Golden Oak community.
This spot has a number of amenities including a character breakfast with Goofy and his friends! It also has a ton of activities, including a spa, golf course, and entire water park. It doesn’t fall short on access to dining options either, with Capa, Ravello, and more, you won’t go hungry.
In addition to those perks, guests staying at the Four Seasons do get free shuttle transportation to the Disney World theme parks (not through Disney buses, but through other shuttle services), and early access to FastPass+ (when available).
Additionally, both the Waldorf and Four Seasons will get Early Theme Park Entry access.
One hotel that might be considered a moderate hotel that’s near Disney is the Hyatt Place Orlando/Lake Buena Vista. This hotel is very close to Disney Springs and is considered to be a Good Neighbor hotel. It has a number of amenities you will find in Disney World hotels and others that are unique.
What’s something that’s hard to find at Disney World onsite hotels? Free breakfast. Hyatt place has it, in addition to free parking, which is another hard find! At the Hyatt, you’ll also find some spots to grab some items to go and a bar with some bar bites available. It also has a fitness center and pool and is pet-friendly.
The hotel also typically offers free scheduled shuttles to Disney and Universal Orlando Theme Parks. Again, these will not be Disney buses and may be scheduled to go to the parks and backless frequently, so keep that in mind.
Finally, we’ll take a look at Magic Moment Resort for our off-property value hotel. Magic Moment Resort and Kids Club is a little farther away from the Disney parks. It’s about a 20-minute drive from the hotel to the parks.
This one also has free continental breakfast and free parking! However, there is no free transportation, so that is something you’ll have to consider when staying here. But, it does have some great activities for kids, including a game room and play area, and a pool, garden, and mini soccer field.
There is such a variety when it comes to hotel perks, whether onsite or offsite. Each of these hotels has its own benefits and unique offerings. When picking the “right” hotel for you, it all comes down to your needs, desires, and budget. Some are more kid-friendly, some are more budget-friendly, and some are just straight-up opulent. Any of these choices will give you a different experience during your trip to Disney World, so it’s important to look at all aspects of a hotel when making your decision. We know it’s not easy but hopefully, this gives you a better idea of some of the things to consider.
Want more hotel tips? Check out the video below on why you’re staying in the wrong Disney World hotel!
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Would you prefer to stay offsite or onsite when visiting Disney World? Let us know in the comments!