My 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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 )