Staying on Disney property: is it worth it?

Is it really a better value to stay at a Disney resort? Won’t staying off-property be cheaper?

Yes, you should stay on property. No, offsite hotels aren’t necessarily always less expensive or a better value.

The Orlando area is abundant in hotels. Literally any type of property you want, we have it.

Because of this, I get lots of questions from friends visiting the area who want economical lodging close to Disney property. You might be surprised to hear that I always encourage them to look into Disney resorts rather than budget-tier off-property hotels and motels. 

Why? Well:

  • Generally speaking, the closer to Disney Property, the more expensive the hotel. With Value and Moderate resorts, I think you you get more for your money if you stay on property.
  • Rates for Value and Moderate resorts are comparable to what you’d find off-property, plus you get the super-fun Disney theming and magic!
  • Complimentary transportation to all parks, resorts, and Disney Springs is yours for the taking when you stay on property. This is especially amazing for trips to the Magic Kingdom if you’re staying at a resort that’s not on the monorail loop – you can skip the TTC and monorail or ferry trip! There are few things worse than being exhausted, sweaty, and having to wait an eternity for the monorail or ferry in order to get back to the parking lot and drive yourself home.
  • Extra Magic Hours! If you’re an on-property guest, you get to take advantage of earlier park openings and later park closings. Parks tend to be more crowded on EMH days (based on my non-scientific observations), but I personally find evening EMH totally worthwhile.
  • No worries about driving in Orlando traffic or trying to navigate the mahoosive Disney complex
  • Disney Dining Plan option (and fellow Diet Coke addicts will appreciate that resort refillable mug option)

The All Star resorts are your most budget-friendly option. I’ve seen rates at this tier as low as $87 per night, which seems like an amazing deal. These Value resorts are heavily themed. 

The next tier up are the Moderate resorts. Structurally, these are very similar to the Value resorts, but theming is a bit more subtle and grown-up. This is where I always opted to stay during our visits, as they feel a little more peaceful than Values and Deluxes.

Disney’s top tier hotels are the Deluxe resorts. Proximity to parks is usually excellent, but these aren’t the luxury hotels I expect for their price point. Imagine something in the realm of a nice Hilton or Marriott, but with way more character, amazing restaurants, and stunning outdoor and pool areas. Personally, I think the rates are a little high for the rooms you get, but would I happily stay in one? Absolutely. The common areas are excellent.

So, if you’re visiting Disney World and your hotel budget is not huge, don’t forget to check rates at your Value and Moderate resorts! Pricing might be better than you’d expect, and the on-property perks are totally worth it.

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