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Disney Hotels: Which one to Choose

Staying inside Disney is undoubtedly a desire of many tourists who visit Orlando, as well as an experience that I love! Despite this, hotels are usually a little more expensive and many people are left with the question in their minds: is it worth staying there? With that in mind, today we’re going to explain all the details about Disney hotels, the different types of resorts, and the benefits of staying there. The idea here is to help you assess whether or not it’s worth it and then make the most of this experience, if you decide to stay at a Disney Hotel.

Disney Hotels

In all, Disney has more than 20 hotels, only two of which are not managed by the company itself (Swan and Dolphin). The hotels are divided into Economy, Moderate and Luxury classes.

Some hotels still have an option of Villas (with kitchen, living room and more bedrooms, that is, they can accommodate more people) and camping (in fact, you can only camp at Fort Wilderness).

As with non-Disney hotels, Disney hotel prices can vary greatly depending on the time of year, but considering an average value, we can think of the following price scale for each category in a standard room:

  • Budget Hotels: around US$175 per day in high season and from US$100 per day in low season.
  • Moderate Hotels: Average daily rate of US$280 in high season and approximately US$205.00 per day in low season.
  • Luxury hotels: here the variation is greater. In high season, the average price of a night varies from US$500 to US$770, depending on the hotel chosen. However, in low season, the average price range is from US$320 to US$550. If you’re curious or interested, the cheapest of the luxury hotels is the Animal Kingdom Lodge, while the most expensive is the Grand Floridian Spa & Resort.

If you’re wondering which category each of Disney’s hotels fits into, then see the full list below.

sunset-boardwalk-inn-hotel-disney-world-florida-051
sunset-boardwalk-inn-hotel-disney-world-florida-051

If you compare prices, you will see that there is a “grey area” in the prices of the different categories, that is, the best hotel in the moderate category may be more expensive than the simplest hotel in the luxury category.

Disney Budget Hotels

  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Disney Moderate Hotels

  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort (the houses, right? The camping would be in the economy category)
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Disney’s Luxury Hotels

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort (villas only)
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa (villas only)
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort
  • Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel (some Disney guest benefits only)
  • Walt Disney World Swan Hotel (some Disney guest benefits only)
  • Waldorf Astoria (not operated by Disney)
  • Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek (not operated by Disney)
  • Four Seasons Orlando (not operated by Disney)

Disney Hotels Benefits?

As is already clear, Disney hotels tend to be more expensive than equivalent hotels outside the complex. On the other hand, they bring a series of benefits that should be taken into account when deciding where to stay.

Therefore, here is a short list of benefits that, for me, are worth a lot:

Fastpass+ earlier (suspended)

The Fastpass+ system is available to anyone with a ticket to the parks, but Disney guests are able to schedule their Fastpass+ even farther in advance than other guests.

While guests of the Disney complex can make this appointment up to 60 days before the day of check in, other visitors can only do the same 30 days before the day of visit to the park. To understand how the system works, click here.

In times of crowded parks, this benefit can be essential for you to get that coveted Fastpass+ for Pandora, at Animal Kingdom, for example. We give these and other tips to get Fastpass+ competed here in this other post.

Note: it is worth noting here that, even if you have tickets and hotel reservation linked to your account, the Fastpass+ booking in advance will only open when there are 60 days before the check-in date, and not before that.

If it is more than 60 days before your arrival at the hotel, the system will only show you 30 days in advance, it is normal. When the correct day arrives, then the system will release the appointment for the period of your stay.

Transport and Parking

Disney hotels provide complimentary transportation to the complex’s parks and Disney Springs. For full Disney transportation details, click here.

In addition, until the end of 2021 they also offer Disney’s Magical Express, a free shuttle that takes you from the airport to your hotel and from the hotel to the airport. This benefit will be suspended from 2022.

Oh, and Disney hotel guests can see upcoming bus times, plus an estimated arrival time via the My Disney Experience app. It makes planning a lot easier 🙂

If you prefer to travel by car, it is worth mentioning that parking at the parks is not charged to Disney guests, but hotels charge their guests’ parking for each night of stay. The values ​​depend on the hotel category, and are currently in:

  • Cheap: $15 per night
  • Moderate: US$20 per night
  • Luxury: $25 per night

Extra Magic Hours (canceled)

Every day, Disney guests had a few extra hours at one of the parks (before the park opens or after the park closes to the general public), called Extra Magic Hours.

This benefit has been canceled by Disney, and a new one called Early Theme Park Entry will be introduced in the future, with no official start date yet. Unlike EMH, this new benefit will apply to all parks every day, which can help spread the crowds of guests and further shorten the lines for them.

Disney Dining Plan (DDP) (suspended)

Generally speaking, DDP is a plan where you purchase credits to spend on food in the parks and can only be purchased by guests of Disney-managed hotels (ie Swan and Dolphin are out). DDP can be a good source of savings or a hole, it all depends on how you intend to use it.

It is worth mentioning that at some times of the year, Disney makes promotions offering the DDP as a courtesy for those staying in its hotels. It’s definitely worth it for free, right?!! Click here to learn more about DDP.

Purchase delivery (suspended)

Everyone ends up getting carried away with the Disney atmosphere and do some shopping in the parks, nothing more natural, right?

But it’s a bit boring spending the rest of the day carrying the bags, don’t you think?

Well, Disney guests don’t have to worry about that, as they can choose to pick up all the purchases they’ve made at the parks at their hotel store. It’s definitely a convenience.

Climate

Look, this may be an intangible benefit but it’s definitely my biggest motivator to stay inside Disney. The truth is that when you’re staying inside Disney, even on days you don’t go to the parks, you feel that “yah! I’m at Disney” 24 hours a day. This definitely makes the trip even more enjoyable, especially if you have children in your group.

Safety

Disney is actually a much safer place than the average Orlando hotel. I remember a trip I took with my family when I was a teenager and we stayed at a Disney hotel.

For my parents, it was a peace of mind, because even though my mom wanted to shop someday and my dad wanted to go to the movies, they didn’t bother to leave my sister and me alone in the parks or the old Downtown Disney at the time.

The entire complex is really safe. Also, if we take into account the courtesy transport policy, you can let your children walk around the property without any major worries.

Discount MagicBand

MagicBands are technological bracelets that can serve as your ticket to parks. A lot of people think that everyone gets a bracelet like that when they buy Disney tickets, but that’s not true.

When purchasing Disney Tickets, you receive a card and if you want a MagicBand then you will need to purchase it separately.

Until 2020, Disney hotel guests received the bracelet for free, but as of January 1, 2021, it has been paid for. Still, guests have a benefit and pay a reduced amount on the bracelet, which starts at $5 for guests and $15 for non-guests.

The bracelet is optional, and if the guest does not wish to buy, they can use the My Disney Experience app to open the room door or a magnetic card for purchases and tickets, similar to the Keys to the World that existed in the past.

Control of expenses

You can also use the MagicBand or room magnetic card as a credit card for your purchases within the complex, and only pay for everything at the end of your stay (in your hotel account).

To do this, just ask at reception to enable this “function” on your reservation.

In addition to allowing you to walk around without worrying about carrying cash, this service allows you to control your expenses, as you can set a limit on purchases on your hotel card.

For example, once, when I was little and this feature could only be used on the room key card (since there was no MagicBand at that time), my father decided to give me $100 for me to spend with what I had. wanted in the parks.

He set this limit on my hotel card and that was it, problem solved. It was my responsibility to control my spending so I could buy what I wanted.

Children’s recreation (partially suspended)

Some children’s recreation activities are offered at most Disney hotels. A super classic activity often offered is a movie set up in the pool or on private beaches (the latter, only in the most posh hotels, of course). As you can imagine, the films chosen are always Disney cartoons!

Some hotels offer very interesting recreational activities that can be enjoyed by guests and non-guests in some cases.

Disney’s Fort Wilderness is for me the champion in recreational structure for any age, with free programs, such as the bonfire and show with Tico and Teco.

Fort Wilderness itself has many other activities and if you go to other hotels, the list of possibilities keeps growing.

Advance Disney Restaurant Reservations (on hold)

Disney’s official rule was that everyone could make restaurant reservations up to 180 days in advance.

It turns out that Disney guests can get a few extra days of lambuja, which can make all the difference if they want to book a popular restaurant, such as Cinderella’s Royal Table.

Disney guests were able to make reservations from 180 days from the first day of booking at the Disney hotel and the next days of stay were also released (with a maximum limit of 10 days), totaling 190 days in advance.

For the reopening in July, all existing reservations have been canceled and can now only be made 60 days in advance.

Check in Online

Disney allows you to advance the check-in process by filling out the reservation with your information, choosing your shopping password for use in the complex, requesting room type/location, and adding bill payment information. By doing this, you are entitled to take a special queue on arrival at the reception and go through this process faster!

This is now even the preferred form of check-in, as a measure to avoid the physical proximity of visitors to employees and reduce the risk of contagion with the new coronavirus.

Online check-in can be done as long as 60 days before your arrival at the hotel.

With 60 days (or less) before your arrival date at the hotel, it will be possible to anticipate the check-in process by filling out the reservation with your information.

On the day of check in, just present the printed check-in confirmation page, passport and credit card.

Is it worth staying at Disney?

Staying at Disney can have positives and negatives. The main negative point is that the price is a little higher, while the list of benefits I mentioned above. In the end, you have to put all this in the balance and ask yourself: what is worth the most for my trip?

Are the benefits worth that extra money after all?

The answer is really going to be very personal and will depend on a number of factors. Personally, there are trips that I prefer to stay at Disney, while there are trips that I prefer to be away from. One way or another, one thing is certain: the experience of staying there is always very pleasant and I can’t get enough of Disney hotels!

How to make your reservation?

To book your stay at Disney hotels or even just make a quote to see the values ​​for the period of your trip, the main channels are:

Disney Reservations Center: +1 407 939-4357
Disney’s official website: via this link
Disney tour agency or operator if you prefer to close your reservations through an agency or operator, ask them about quotes or look on the websites.

Anyway, I hope this post will help you make a better decision for your trip 🙂

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Secure internet for your entire trip

Although several places in Orlando have free Wi-Fi, the connection is not always good and mainly, in several situations where you will be moving from one place to another we recommend that you have internet to use gps on your cell phone for example.

We recommend that you travel with an international cell phone chip to have the best connection and internet throughout your trip and of course, with our indication you still get a discount on this super need for your trip!

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More Tips for Your Trip to Orlando

As we talked about above, be sure to check out our youtube channel where we give several travel tips to Orlando.

In addition we show you lots of cool things to do there, do you want a better way to plan a trip than already living a little bit of what you will see there?

Click on the Image below to check all our tips on Youtube

Art of Animation - Little Mermaid Carlos and Nath - Departed Disney Parks
Art of Animation – Little Mermaid Carlos and Nath – Partiu Disney Parks

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