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One of our favourite family destinations is Disney World. We took the kids one year thinking we were giving them a real treat, however, my husband and I were surprised by how much we loved our Disney World trip too.

onsite-disney-resortIf you’re planning a trip to Disney World you’ve probably been spending time researching already: the difference between the parks, which rides to hit first, where you’re going to eat for dinner, what time the shows start and so on.

But what about where you’re going to stay. You can of course find a variety of hotels, motels, resorts and condos around Disney World but when we visit we always plan to stay at one of the resorts on the Disney World property. There are many advantages to doing this:

Magical Express Service. If you’re flying to Disney World, you can take advantage of Disney’s free Magical Express airport transportation service. They’ll handle your luggage and get you to and from the airport and your resort quickly and easily. No need to make other transportation alternatives. You can read why we enjoy the service so much. [magical express blog post]

Free Parking. If you’re driving to Disney World you’re given a parking pass. This means if you decide to drive to Magic Kingdom or any of the other parks, you can park your vehicle for FREE; no need to pay for parking. Plus resort guests have their own entrance lane so you can flash your parking pass and zip on into the parking lot without having to wait in long lines behind those who are paying.

Closest Accommodations to the Parks. Since the Disney World resorts are within the Disney World property, the resorts are closer to the parks than those outside the property boundaries. Closer means shorter transportation time from your hotel to the parks.

Internal Transportation System. Disney World has a great internal transportation system that includes buses, ferries and monorail. All resorts have bus access to get them around the Disney World property. Some of the resorts also offer ferry or monorail service. The transportation system starts running about an hour before the parks open, so you can be one of the first ones in if you desire, and they usually run an hour or so after the park closes. Each bus and each bus stop is well marked to avoid any confusion but you can always ask the driver for clarification. I’m sure there’s no transportation question they can’t answer.

Extra Magic Hours. Each park hosts Extra Magic Hours just for Disney World resort guests. This means the park opens an hour earlier or stays open three hours later for resort guests only; everyone else has to leave the park (you will need your resort ID card as proof). This gives you a head start on some of the popular rides before the crowds start or some extra ride time when other guests leave. The parks rotate these Extra Magic Hours so only one park is open early or late on a specific date.

Refillable Drink Mug. This is one of the things my kids love best about staying at a Disney World resort property. For a fee ($12.99 +tax, but price may change), you are given a 14oz plastic Disney World branded travel mug with lid. You can fill and refill (and refill) your mug at the beverage station located in your hotel’s food court. The beverage station includes Coca-Cola products (pop and juices), coffee, tea, and even hot chocolate. You can use these for your entire stay at your hotel (they can’t be used in the parks). We used these often, for breakfast and snacks and late night cocoa. My kids still use the mugs at home too.

Charging to Your Room. Your Disney World resort card is both your ticket to get into the park and your room key. You can also add charging privileges to it when you check-in at your resort. This means instead of bringing money with you to buy souvenirs or snacks, you can use your card to charge these purchases back to your room. At the end of your stay you will be given an itemized bill for all your charges.

Park Purchases Delivered to Your Room. When you’re in the parks you’ll probably pick up a souvenir or two from the many stores. Instead of carrying your purchase around with you or struggling with it on the Disney World transportation system at the end of the day, the store can ship it back to your room. You’ll be able to pick it up the next day from the store (some hotels will even deliver your purchase right to your room).

Dining Plan Purchases. If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan you don’t have to wait until you’re in the park to use it. Grab a snack, quick service meal or even a table service meal right in your hotel restaurants or store.

Online Check-In. Disney World resorts have also added an online check-in feature. This means up to ten days before your arrival you can check-in online, from the convenience of your home computer. When you arrive at your resort you will receive your room/park card and information folder from the Online Check-in desk. Using this service doesn’t assign you a room but it should speed up the check-in process.

Immersed in Disney Magic. From the hotel themes and staff to the Mickey wake-up call, you’ll always feel the Disney magic when you stay at one of their on-site resorts. There’s Disney shaped snacks in the stores, towels are twisted into Mickey head shapes in the bathroom, and Mickey can even wake you up in the morning. There’s no mistaking your at Disney World when you stay at an on-site property.

About the Author

With a background in advertising, Carrie Anne left the agency life to spend more time with her three energetic and active kids (age 7, 5, & 3).

Along with her interest in writing, Carrie Anne loves to travel or rather vacation with her family. She’s spent a fair amount of her time planning and organizing family vacations. She knows what works for her and wants to share this with you.

Carrie Anne is also the Managing Editor and Review Editor at EverythingMom.com.

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