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5 Reasons to Stay On Site at Walt Disney World

Animal Kingdom Lodge Pool Jambo House

I LOVE to stay onsite at Walt Disney World. So much so, that I’ve done it on every single trip we’ve had to the resort in Florida. We haven’t always stayed the whole trip, I’ve become a pro at organising split stays, but at least some part of our trip is spent staying exclusively in the Disney bubble. We have managed to stay at all three of the All Star Resorts (Movies, Music, and Sport), Pop Century, Art of Animation, both Port Orleans resorts (French Quarter and Riverside), Coronado Springs, Old Key West, Yacht Club, and Animal Kingdom Lodge.

We’re conflicted when it comes to our favourites. Livvy loves the Royal Rooms at Riverside and Animal Kingdom Lodge. I love French Quarter and Pop Century. We haven’t had any bad stays, and each resort has its own magical charm.

But hey, where in Disney doesn’t?

One of the benefits of booking with Fairytale Holidays is, that they’re also pros with organising split stays, and sometimes it works out cheaper if that’s your thing (as a single parent, it’s usually mine!) For me, if I know I’ll be having a lot of resort time, I often splash out more on the resort. The more expensive resorts obviously offer more amenities. Then for another part of our trip, we might be barely in our room so it makes sense to move. Sometimes we just want different experiences. The Value resorts are a lot of fun and super kid-friendly, they actually feel the most Disney. And what’s great about doing a split stay at Disney is they make the move from one resort to the other so simple, they even deliver your luggage to your new room! But why should you stay on-site at Walt Disney World? It’s already a big holiday without paying extra for a room you might barely be in. You do get great offers by booking a package, especially from here in the UK. But in case that isn’t enough; here are 5 more reasons to stay on-site at Walt Disney World.

Mickey Mouse at Old Key West

They Take the Best Care of You

In the US, The Walt Disney Company wants to be top of its game when it comes to customer service and satisfaction. Which means they go out of their way to make their resorts the best. They take such good care of you. Staying somewhere as a single mother can sometimes be tricky. I’ve been able to call up the front desk and have someone come help me with everything. From helping with bags to catching big bugs. When I had sunstroke they brought me water and snacks so I could stay hydrated. And they were amazing when we were visiting Walt Disney World during Hurricane Matthew. Not only did they keep us safe and updated, but as the parks were closed, they were amazing at keeping everyone entertained and our spirits up.

Pop Century Resort at Walt Disney World

Booking Benefits

If you were someone who visited Walt Disney World pre-pandemic, you’ll be aware the booking benefits were 180 days out for dining, and 60 days out for onsite fast passes. Once the parks started to re-open there was less availability at restaurants. Because of this, the booking window for dining was reduced to 60 days. Disney also retired their FastPass program and introduced in its place, Genie+ and Lightning Lane. While they don’t offer the same pre-booking window, there are still plenty of benefits to staying at a Disney resort when it comes to both dining and attractions.


Advance Dining Reservations (or ADRs) can now be made up to 60 days before arrival. This is for everyone not just Disney resort guests. So you might be wondering what the benefit is here? If you are a Disney resort guest this is 60 days from your arrival and you can make them for multiple days at once. However, be aware this perk is only up to 10 days. So if you’re staying for 2 weeks, you can only make reservations for the first 10 days of your trip then you’ll have to do the final four individually. If you are staying offsite you’ll have to reserve each day individually which is time-consuming. If you want to eat at some of the most popular restaurants such as Cinderella’s Royal Table, Be Our Guest, Toppolinos, and The Boathouse, making your reservations as soon as possible is imperative, and getting those extra days is a great incentive to stay on-site at Walt Disney World.

Top Tip: for the most in-demand reservations try at the end of your holidays as fewer people will have had access to these days.

Genie+ and Lightning Lane

In comparison to the old Fastpass system, Genie+ is hard to get your head around and it does require a lot of time on your phone. There aren’t as many perks for staying on-site when it comes to this. Genie+ isn’t included in any resort packages so it is an extra expense. However, one perk that you can get when staying onsite is the early access to daily Lightning Lanes. Resort guests can purchase two individual Lightning Lane attractions starting at 7:00 a.m. EST on the day of their park visit. While guests staying offsite will have to wait until the park opens.

Old Key West Bus Stop at Walt Disney World

Free Disney Transport

For me, free Disney transport is a huge perk. When visiting as a child, I always stayed offsite. But unlike my dad who is a confident driver while abroad opening up to offsite hotels nearby, I’m not. By staying on site I’m able to use all the free transport at my disposal making getting around the parks and to other resorts easy.

While the free Disney transport is open to any guest visiting Walt Disney World, it’s very beneficial to those staying onsite.

Skyliner at Walt Disney World

Extra Park Hours

Yes, the extra park hours perk has changed since the pandemic, much like with the ADRs and Fastpass.

Early Theme Park Entry perk now offers guests staying onsite an extra 30 minutes of access to all four of the theme parks. While this might not seem like much, I do love that it’s at all four of the parks at the same time. It gives you time to get through security and scanned, and then you can head off towards your chosen attraction. In the past, you would get two hours at one specific park but because this is at all four parks it spreads everyone around a bit more. Guests at all Disney properties and some offsite properties are entitled to this perk. However, there is another extra park time perk, this one that is exclusively for guests staying at a Deluxe Resort or a Deluxe Villas Resort. The Extended Evening Hours perk gives guests staying at these resorts an extra two hours at either Magic Kingdom or Epcot. At the moment it appears the extended evening hours for Epcot are a Monday night and extended evening hours for Magic Kingdom are a Wednesday night. The parks are significantly quieter on these evenings so it’s a great perk when staying at a Deluxe.

Themed Resorts Add to the Disney Experience

From the minute you arrive at your Disney resort, you’re in the bubble and it’s magical! The way they treat you, the way they speak to you, your room, the pools, the shop.. everything. Without a doubt, it just adds to your Walt Disney World holiday and it’s one reason I’d struggle not to stay on site anymore. I stay offsite in Disneyland Paris all the time because I’m barely in the room. However, as a Walt Disney World trip is typically longer we do have periods of downtime. It’s been so long between trips at the moment that I long to hear the resort bus announcements. I miss the WDW info channel. I want to hear “Have a magical stay” or “Good morning princess“. And I miss the smell each resort has. For me, no Walt Disney World trip is now complete without a stay at a Disney resort. And it’s not just the themed resorts, but it’s the rooms! My personal favourite is the Royal Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside, now that was a truly magical birthday stay!

If you'd like to receive a quote for a Walt Disney World Resort hotel as part of your visit, simply get in touch here.


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