Whether you’re a first-timer or a veteran, choosing a hotel in Orlando can be mind-boggling. If you’re visiting Disney World, the main debate is often whether to stay in one of the on-site Disney hotels or somewhere away from the parks?
These are some of the main factors to consider when you make your decision, and some info that will hopefully make it easier!….
How much do you love Disney?
If you are Disney mad, you will LOVE being immersed in the magic 24/7. If you’re not 100% in love with all things mouse-shaped, then it could become a living nightmare!
Can you save money with on-site offers?
A major factor for many people will be cost, and there is no getting away from the fact that staying on-site can be more expensive. However if you do want to stay in the heart of the action, then there are more affordable ways to do this. Look out for offers like the free Disney Dining Plan which means you will have almost no food or drink costs during your stay!
Getting around the parks (and to other parks)
Walt Disney World is HUGE. Staying on-site (especially if you are in a Monorail resort) means you are never too far from your first attraction of the day, and a lot closer than the hotels outside of Lake Buena Vista. But you are also a fair distance from the other attractions. If you are not planning on just visiting one resort, this can be a lot of distance to travel.
If you do stay on-site, then you have full use of the transport systems, whether that be bus, monorail or boat for free. This saves on car rental and fuel (although parking is free too for Disney hotel guests).
The Disney transport is a public service at the end of the day, and you will be reliant on timetables and possibly long waits at busy periods. It is particularly useful though if you are a big party that plans on splitting up, so you can all get back safely but at different times.
Extra Magic Hours!
Another perk of staying on-site is the Extra Magic Hours. This is where one of the parks will open earlier, or remain open later for resort guests only. These can be indispensable if you’re travelling during the busy high season or if you want to make the most of the 6am starts with Junior!
How many of you are going?
If you are a larger party, it might be better to consider accommodation away from the parks. If you’re not getting the free Disney Dining Plan then off-site restaurants work out far cheaper, or even rent a suite with self-catering facilities.
Always look at private villa rental too. They can sleep as many as 10-12 people, and you have all the space to be able to fully relax away from the parks. Your own pool, kitchen, laundry room and living area can mean a fun, cheap, safe evening for the adults knowing the kids are tucked up just a few feet away.