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10 Things You Might Not Know About Walt Disney World Resorts

1. Parking in the parks is free, but parking overnight at the resort is not.

When you stay at a Disney resort, you’ll be able to park at any of the theme parks, water parks, Disney Springs, and other resorts (for the day) for free. While parking is complimentary in all of these instances, Disney recently began charging fees for overnight parking at the resorts. Parking fees vary based on the level of resort you’re staying at, and they do only impact overnight parking as opposed to parking just to visit or dine at other resorts, but these fees are something to keep in mind when budgeting the cost of your resort stay if you plan on driving. The only exception to this is guests with disabilities that have a valid parking permit and Disney Vacation Club Members that are staying at a DVC Deluxe Villa. 

2. Bell services can store your luggage for the day.

If you’re checking in early or catching a late flight, bell services at your resort can be a lifesaver when it comes to making the most of your trip. If you arrive at your Disney resort before your room is ready, bell services can store your luggage (for free) so you can head right to the parks. The same goes for check out days when you have late flights–you can always store your bags with bell services to fully enjoy the last day of your trip. While these services are free, be sure to tip bell services cast members upon retrieval of your bags.

3. Concierge cast members cannot accept tips.

Since you may be tipping bell services cast members, the thought may have crossed your mind about whether or not you should tip concierge cast members at your resort. While concierge cast members at resorts in general can accept tips, Disney’s concierge cast members are actually not able to do so. Since their role is classified within Disney as “non-tipped” these cast members are required to refuse tips. This may feel strange if you’re used to tipping concierge at other resorts, but Disney’s concierge role functions much differently.

4. Pools are reserved for resort guests only.

You are welcome to visit Disney resorts other than the one you’re staying at to enjoy shops, restaurants, and select activities, but pools are reserved for guests of each specific resort only. Your resort bill may not explicitly state this, but pools are considered resort amenities and are included with the cost of your stay. Therefore guests who are not staying at a given resort are not able to use resort pools.

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5. Merchandise pick-up is available free of charge.

One of the best conveniences you can take advantage of while staying at a Disney resort is merchandise pick-up. When purchasing items in the theme parks, you can ask the cast member at check out to send the item back to your resort. You’ll be able to avoid carrying shopping bags around the park and you can pick up your items at your resort gift shops free of charge.

6. You can skip housekeeping.

If you don’t need housekeeping to service your room on a regular basis throughout your trip, you can decline housekeeping at check-in. Sometimes Disney offers promotions where you can receive a Disney gift card valid for a set rate per night of your stay in exchange for skipping housekeeping.

7. But housekeeping cast members can still enter your room.

Even if you decline housekeeping services, these cast members are still able to enter your room. When you arrive in your room you’ll find that the “Do Not Disturb” hanger has been changed to reflect Disney’s new housekeeping policy that allows cast members to enter your room once per day for security purposes whether you need housekeeping services or not.

8. All transportation is included in the cost of your stay.

One of the biggest perks of staying at a Disney resort is that complimentary transportation is provided between your resort and the theme parks and even Orlando International Airport. Disney resort transportation includes buses, Monorail, boats, and Skyliner that pick up at the parks and resorts about every 20 minutes. Additionally, Disney’s Magical Express works as a complimentary shuttle between the airport and your resort, and it’s even able to pick up your luggage so you can skip baggage claim when you land in Orlando.

9. You can occasionally find deals outside of Disney.

Intimidated by the resort rates through Disney? Try working with a travel agent who can help you find the best deal (just be sure they are an official Disney vacation planner). Aside from travel agents, you can sometimes find deals for Disney trips through outlets like AAA and third party hotel sites.

10. You can buy some forgotten toiletries… but not all of them.

If you arrive at your Disney resorts and realize you forgot something, you can probably find it in your resort gift shop. There are exceptions however, and certain items like chapstick and hair elastics can be more difficult to track down. Double and triple check your luggage to avoid being stuck looking for items that aren’t sold at your resort.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a graduate of St. Anselm College, where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in History. She completed two Disney College Programs, one at Dinoland U.S.A., in Animal Kingdom, and one at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Hollywood Studios. She is the author of “Brittany Earns Her Ears,” a memoir about her experiences on the college program, and she currently resides in Massachusetts.