10 Reasons to Stay On Property at Walt Disney World

I have heard the argument a zillion times– families trying to decide whether or not to stay in property at Walt Disney World.

As a family who frequently enjoys visiting the most magical place on Earth, this is something that I have spent a lot of time investigating.

Yes, I know there are dirt-cheap budget motels located in relative close proximity and they can seem quite alluring.  After all, cheaper lodging can mean more money to allocate elsewhere.

I have done it both ways.

I have stayed on property and I have stayed off property.  And– I am here to tell you that after staying off property just one time my decision was made for each and every subsequent trip.

When we visit Walt Disney World, we always stay on property.

If you’re on the fence, let me share with you my top ten reasons to stay on property at Walt Disney World.

1.  Extra Magic Hours

My most favorite perk of staying on property at Walt Disney World is Extra Magic Hours.  Each day, one of the four theme parks will either open 1 hour early or stay open 2 hours late.  During this time that particular park is ONLY open to Walt Disney World Resort guests who have a valid room key.  The parks tend to be a lot less crowded and you can often enjoy the most popular attractions with little to no wait times.  Not all attractions are open during Extra Magic Hours, but there is always an ample amount of things to do.  Some days, one park will open early and another will stay open late.  If you’re using a Park Hopper Ticket, you have the potential to enjoy Extra Magic Hours on each end of your day.

2.  Free Parking

If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, then you can park for free at any of the four theme parks.  This is actually a significant savings considering that it will otherwise cost you $15 per day.  If you don’t bring your car {and even if you do!}, then you’ll enjoy…

3.  Free Transportation to the Theme Parks

Each of the Walt Disney World Resorts provides complimentary bus transportation to the four theme parks as well as the two water parks and Downtown Disney.  You can also use the bus system to transport between the parks.  The buses deposit you very close to the entrance of the theme parks, so there is little walking involved to reach your destination.  The buses are able to accommodate wheelchairs and strollers so they are accessible to all resort guests.  Even if you drive your own vehicle to Walt Disney World, this can be a very useful service.

Additionally, some resorts offer a ferry service that will take you to a theme park or Downtown Disney.  If you stay on one of the three Resorts located along the Monorail, you can use this to access Magic Kingdom or Epcot.

4.  Great Customer Service

When staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, you don’t have to worry about sub-par customer service.  We’ve stayed in everything from a Value Resort to a Deluxe Resort and we are always impressed by the knowledge and kindness shown by the Cast Members at our Resort.  They always go out of their way to ensure that our stay is nothing short of magical.

5.  Recreational Activities Available at the Resorts

Each of the Walt Disney World Resorts has a lot to offer.  In fact, I firmly believe that you could never leave the Resort and have a very full vacation.  You’ll find big, beautiful pools located at each Resort and there is always a flurry of activities going on around the pool during the day.

Also, each Resort has it’s own unique set of activities to offer.  If you stay on the Seven Seas Lagoon, you can take in the Electrical Water Pageant each night.  Many resorts offer evening movies where you can watch a free showing of a Disney movie outside under the stars.  We’ve done things like complimentary face painting and cookie decorating, relaxing in a hammock, trying out drums and bongos, and more.

The recreational offerings change weekly, so make sure to pick up a complimentary guide to everything going on at your Resort when you check in.

6.  Unique Photo Opportunities

If you’re taking a trip to Walt Disney World, then I am certain you’ve got your camera handy constantly.  The great thing about each Resort is that they offer a unique set of photo opportunities that are great for the entire family.  At the All Star Resorts and Pop Century Resort, you’ll find large oversized objects that are perfect to pose beside.  Think of a yo-yo or a football helmet that measure over 4 stories tall!

The Caribbean Beach Resort is situated along the water and will give you some gorgeous beach shots, as will the Polynesian Resort, the Grand Floridian, and the Contemporary.  The latter three are located near Magic Kingdom, so you can potentially get those beach shots with Cinderella’s Castle in the background.

Animal Kingdom Lodge has the most beautiful African-inspired theming throughout the Resort.  Additionally, each of the two main houses are located alongside an active Savanna.  You’ll be able to photograph stunning wild animals up close from the observation areas as well as some of the Resort rooms.

Each Resort provides a unique set of photo opportunities, so make sure to explore your specific Resort to find some creative spots to capture those magical memories.

7.  Theme Park Package Delivery to Your Resort

If you stay at a Walt Disney World Resort, any purchases you make within the theme parks can be sent directly to your Resort.  This means you can buy anything that catches your eye but you don’t have to carry it with you all day!  It does take a bit of time for your purchases to reach your Resort.  For example, things purchased one day usually aren’t available for pick-up until the next day after 3pm.  So, plan accordingly if you’re nearing the end of your vacation.

8.  Key to the World Card

One of our favorite perks of staying on property is the Key to the World Card.  This card is quite a powerful little thing.  It serves as your room key, but can also hold your park tickets as well.  Upon check-in at your Resort, you can also put a credit card on file making your Key to the World Card valid for charging.  You create a unique pin for your card, making it essentially like a debit card.  This means that instead of carrying your room key, park tickets, and credit card, all you need is your Key to the World Card.  It’s quite convenient.

Disney is currently working on rolling out the Magic Bands.  These bracelet-like bands will have the potential to hold everything that a Key to the World Card can plus your PhotoPass Card and Fastpasses.  I am looking forward to their debut.

9.  Refillable Resort Mugs

As soon as you check in at your Walt Disney World Resort, head on over and buy yourself a refillable Resort Mug.  They are currently running for $14.95, which I know my seem like a lot for an empty mug.  However, for that one low price you can get unlimited soft drink, coffee, and hot chocolate refills for the duration of your stay.  Even if you’re planning a full day in the parks, this is still a great value.  We often fill up before heading out in the morning and fill up upon our return each evening.  It’s proven to be a great value for us.

10.  Extra Magic Hours

Yes… I said it before, but this one is worth repeating.  Extra Magic Hours are hands down our favorite perk of staying on property at Walt Disney World.

So, now you’ve seen the top ten reasons I stay on property when visiting Walt Disney World.  Why do you choose to stay in a Walt Disney World Resort?