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15 Things You’ll Love About Staying At A Walt Disney World Resort

1. Close proximity to the parks

One of the most obvious things you’ll love about staying at a Disney resort is being right in the middle of the action. The theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs, are all just a quick monorail/bus/boat ride away, and if you didn’t bring your own car you’ll never need to worry about figuring out transportation because you can take advantage of:

2. Complimentary transportation to/from the parks…

Transportation to and from the parks is free for guests staying at a Disney resort. Keep in mind, resort guests do need to pay for overnight parking at the resorts, but thankfully there is no charge for Disney transportation. Why stay at a further away off-site resort and pay to get to one of the theme parks when you can stay at a Disney resort?

3. … And the airport

One of the nicest transportation perks for Disney resort guests is Disney’s Magical Express, a service that picks guests up and drops them off at the Orlando International Airport. If you are just arriving to Orlando, Disney’s Magical Express can even take care of your luggage to, so you can skip baggage claim and head right to your resort or the parks. When leaving your resort to fly back home, you can also check-in your bags right then and there so you do not need to carry them through the airport yourself.

4. Details and theming

Each Disney resort is full of rich details contributing to the area’s overall theme. Take a moment to wander through your resort and take it all in. Even the value resorts with their larger than life icons scattered among the buildings can provide some fun photo ops! Want to check out a resort you’re not staying at? No problem—just hop on Disney transportation and let yourself explore.

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5. Recreational offerings

You may be aware that some of Disney’s deluxe resorts have recreational offerings like parasailing or horseback riding, but did you know each Disney resort shows movies under the stars and includes fun pool-side events like trivia, dance contests, crafts, and more? Some resorts even offer unique experiences you won’t find anywhere else, like the drawing classes guests can take at the Art of Animation Resort, or the tours of the savannah area at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

6. Pool areas

Disney’s pool areas have a lot to offer besides water! Each pool area is conveniently located near a quick service food and beverage location and a bar, and is one of the best places to take advantage of some of those recreational offerings we were just talking about. Additionally Disney’s pools come equipped with lockers to keep your belongings safe, and many are just as well-themed as the rest of the resorts like Stormalong Bay at the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts or the Big Blue Pool at Art of Animation.

7. Bars and lounges

Think all Disney bars are created equal? You haven’t been to Trader Sam’s at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort or Abracadabar at the Boardwalk. Bar crawls aren’t just for Epcot anymore—if you’re traveling with a 21+ crowd try bar-hopping through different resorts instead of the parks.

8. Entertainment

From dueling pianos at Jellyrolls (at the Boardwalk) to the entertainment offered in the lounges at Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts, and the live music at the Grand Floridian, there is a lot to experience in terms of entertainment at Disney resorts. Even just relaxing in the lobby and people-watching can be entertaining if you think about it…

9. Dining

Disney really excels compared to other resorts in terms of dining. Even the value resorts that do not offer table service restaurants have plenty of options to please everyone in the family. Quick service restaurants (and sometimes table service restaurants too) often open early and stay open late, so you’ll never find yourself at the resort looking helplessly for a snack.

10. … With characters

Some of the resorts also offer character dining, which is a great way to see some Disney characters without going to the parks. This can be a great way to get a little character interaction in on a day that you’re planning to spend by the pool or at Disney Springs. (It can also save time vs. meeting the characters in the parks, as you’re having a meal and meeting them at the same time).

11. Disney cast members

Having Disney cast members are your disposal in your resort can make a world of difference. Have a question about FastPass? Need to know which park is open the latest? Not sure how to get from point A to point B? Disney cast members are all around to give you a hand.

12. Merchandise shipments

One of the best parts about shopping as a Disney resort guest is that you have the ability to purchase items in the parks and have them sent back to your resort for free. By doing this you can purchase whatever you like without worrying about carrying it around and on the rides with you all day. In turn, it may cost you to purchase more as it doesn’t seem like you’ve spent as much money when you’re not carrying something to show for it, but that’s why it’s a vacation, right?

13. Holiday décor

Disney’s resorts are just as done up as the parks are for the holidays, and if you happen to be visiting during the winter months it is worth the couple of hours spent resort hopping to see the decorations. Many resorts have festive trees specific to the theme of the resorts, while others go all out, like the Grand Floridian which features a full-scale gingerbread house each year.

14. Shopping

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when finding resort-specific merchandise felt more like a convoluted scavenger hunt than a leisurely shopping experience. But Disney heard the requests from guests wanting to take home something to remember their stay and made the change, and now you can shop plenty of products based on the themes of each resort.

15. Sweets and treats

Like the theme parks, many Disney resorts have certain snacks that are specific to their property. Whether it be smoothies or milkshakes at the All Star Resorts, zebra domes at Animal Kingdom Lodge or beignets at Port Orleans, Disney resorts are full of interesting snacks!

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.