Six Reasons Why Disney Resorts Rock

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Port Orleans Riverside - Water WheelMy wife and I always have a great time whenever we go to Disney, partly because we’re both kids at heart and partly because Disney makes the whole experience very enjoyable. On our recent trip, we stayed at the Port Orleans Riverside resort, a moderate Disney resort, for the second time and loved it. Disney is very good at “keeping you in Disney” if you let them, which is not necessarily a bad thing, and when we went, we were on Disney property (not counting roads) 24/7 for our entire stay in Florida. From getting off the plane and hopping on the Disney Magical Express Transportation until the same bus took us back five days later, they had us. But when they had us, they treated us very well and we didn’t have a single complaint!

Staying at a Disney resort, doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive and there are plenty of benefits if you do stay there. Besides the fun atmosphere at each resort, there are tangible benefits that can save you money, here are six:

  1. Free Transportation to and from the Airport: When you stay at a resort, Disney will shuttle you to and from the airport on their Disney’s Magical Express Transportation service. They will also wait for your checked-in luggage and deliver it to your room several hours later, which is great if you’re getting in the morning and want to take advantage of the time to visit the park.
  2. Extra Magic Hours: If you stay at a Disney resort, you’re to participate in Extra Magic Hours, which is when the park is opened early or later just for resort guests (the park that has the magic hours will change each day). During our last trip, we took full advantage of the Extra Magic Hours because the traffic in the park dies down considerably. We were able to get on the most popular rides with only five and ten minute waits, sometimes with no wait. We rode the Buzz Lightyear ride at Magic Kingdom three or four times in a row without waiting.
  3. Free Transportation to and from the Parks: Free buses every 20 minutes to and from the parks, coupled with the free transportation to and from the airport, means you never need a rental car. It also means you don’t have to pay for parking each day at the park, which is even more savings.
  4. Take Breaks During The Day: It’s a lot easier to jump on a shuttle back to your room if you want to take a break during the day. Towards the end of our trip, we would take an hour or so naps or breaks in the late afternoon before dinner, it’s a lot of walking in Disney!
  5. Souvenirs Delivered To Your Room: If you buy anything, you can show them your room card and it will be delivered to your room. We didn’t take advantage of this but it’s nice not to have to carry something around all day!
  6. Participate in the Meal Plan: I discussed my thoughts on the Disney Dining Meal Plan but if you like the convenience of the plans, you can only get it if you are staying at a Disney resort.

One more bit of advice, if you are celebrating something, like a birthday or an anniversary (or just celebrating life!), ask for a button from your front desk or from the information services desk at any park. They’ll give you a small pin you can wear. We got a Happy Anniversary pin and practically every Disney employee wished us a Happy Anniversary or asked us how many years, it was a fun little highlight to the weekend. It also acts as a conversation starter whenever you’re waiting in lines or on the bus.

So, the next time you visit, consider a Disney resort because you’ll be surprised how good the deals are nowadays.

(Photo: gold41)

{ 15 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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15 Responses to “Six Reasons Why Disney Resorts Rock”

  1. Traditionally, I hate Disney World. I went for the first time in middle school and expected more rides than they actually had. However my fiance is a huge Disney fan, and going with her is a much more enjoyable experience (don’t tell her I said that).

    We’ll probably make many more trips back to Disney World, this time I’ll suggest we stay inside the Disney community. She’ll never know it’s because I want to save money. Muhahaha.

  2. John says:

    Staying at a Disney Resort is definitely the way to go. We just stayed at the Disney Swan a couple of weeks ago and the transportation alone was worth it.

    Another reason why they rock is some hotels have meals with the characters. We had a dinner and breakfast at our hotel and several of the Disney characters were walking around while we ate. This is a better way for your kids to meet them than standing in line at the park.

  3. FMF says:

    An alternative view:

    We stayed off property in a three-bedroom condo with kitchen, two-baths, free wi-fi, flat screen TVs, etc. for $79 a night. They were in a new complex about 10 minutes from Disney.

    Of course we had to rent a car, but then again, we paid way less than what a room at Disney would have cost, had a whole condo versus one hotel room, and saved a ton making our own food (which we liked better than picking up something in DW anyway.)

    Key for us: go in the off-season. (We went in September.) Otherwise, the condo would have been in the $200 per night range in more peak times of the year.

  4. SJ says:

    How much does a resort run compared to “normal” places? I’ll admit I still haven’t gone =/

    One of these years.. hehe

    • nickel says:

      It depends, but even for their “Value” resorts, the prices aren’t cheap. On top of that, the service that they provide is inversely proportional to price. Yes, you get free transport, etc. at all locations, but the lines are long and the buses are less frequent at the value resorts. Same goes for lines at check-in, etc.

  5. Swamproot says:

    Oh, but what does it profit a man to save money at a resort if he loses his own soul? Disney is evil and so is that mouse. 🙂

  6. Betty says:

    Add to that the fact that in 2009 you get free admission on your birthday…and if you pay attention to the specials they’ve been offering you can get free nights and free park admission for extra days when you purchase a certain number of days…not too bad a deal!

    • Jim says:

      There were SO many people at the park that were there for the birthday freebie and now the hot promo is buy 4 days, get 3 free. It’s a pretty solid deal but the parks can get expensive, so it’s a tradeoff.

  7. Tina says:

    Good info, I am hoping to visit Disney World for the first time this year or next.

  8. H-Town says:

    The deal sounds attractive. The opportunity to take advantage of the extra hours and to go back to your room easily for breaks during the day allows you to really make sure you enjoy your time there.

    The only thing that worries me is that it might get TOO Disney and sometimes you just need a break from it all.

  9. nickel says:

    If by “free” you mean “included in their rather high prices,” then I agree. 😉

    It’s actually a pretty good deal for those who fly in, but if you drive down you’re better off staying somewhere like the Embassy Suites in Lake Buena Vista. Free breakfast, free cocktail hour at night, one exit from Disney World (and at the back entrance into Downtown Disney).

    Another snag that we run into is that most rooms at most Disney resorts can’t accommodate our family (two adults, four kids) and there’s no stretching the truth to get around their limits because the park tickets are attached to the room. Thus, we’d have to pay for *two* rooms if we stayed “on property.”

  10. F2O says:

    My wife and I were just down there last week!

    I would have to agree with FMF, $79 a night – one exit away on I4 is pretty hard to beat. We were at the Radisson in Celebration.

  11. I have stayed at most of the Disney World resorts and am always very impressed by the high standards of customer service. Disney really does get it right most of the time – something that you can’t say about too many others these days.

    I have a vacation home business offering homes just 2 miles from Disney World – but yes I admit I often stay at the hotels too! There are some great deals at the moment on Disney hotels. So if you are looking for great places to stay for your Disney vacation I would always say consider a vacation home, but also look at the Disney resorts too.

  12. Eric says:

    Went to Disney World for the first time in February. I am now a huge Disney fan. I stayed at Shades of Green (military hotel on Disney grounds) and had a great visit. Nearly everyone at Disney World makes it their job to make sure you have a great time. The park is so much cleaner than most amusement parks and my 3 year old still talks about it like we just went.

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