1. Check for special offers
When making reservations at a Walt Disney World Resort it is always helpful to check for special offers before booking your stay. Disney’s official website will have special offers listed on the bottom of the homepage, conveniently under the “special offers” link. Once there, you will be able to view offers including free dining plan promotions, percentages off the resort room costs, and special savings for members of the military, annual passholders, and more. In addition to Disney’s official website, you can occasionally come across some savings on Disney resort rooms using outside travel sites like Expedia or Orbitz. Even though value resorts are helpful for budgeting in that they are already the least expensive resorts at Walt Disney World, the extra savings never hurts!
2. Know if refurbishments are taking place
You may not generally think of refurbishments taking place outside of the parks, however various areas around resorts are refurbished as well, and in some instances these events may impact whether or not you’ll want to stay at a specific resort. Usually when large areas of resorts are being refurbished, the other rooms at the resorts have lower rates to better accommodate guests. Still, if the food court or pool is closed during your stay, and either of those are important to you, you may want to look into another value resort instead.
3. Choose a resort based on theme
While many of the value resorts do seem fairly similar in terms of their style and overall design, the themes of each resort really do add some distinction to your stay. For instance, if the price per room is equal, or about equal at each of the value resorts, I would choose the resort with the theme that you are most interested in. While more expensive than other resorts due to the size of the rooms, it is worth noting that the Art of Animation Resort is the most-well themed (in my opinion) to some of your favorite Disney films.
4. Research which rooms would be best for your party
Most of the rooms at value resorts are similar in terms of amenities and design, however there are some larger rooms, including suites which can accommodate larger parties, as well as preferred rooms. Before finalizing your reservation, read up on what each of the different room types have to offer, and be sure to choose the one that is best for your family.
5. Check the resort’s recreation schedule
Each Disney resort has recreation schedules that are available from the front desk. The schedules include everything from pool trivia to Movies Under the Stars. If you know you are going to be spending a day at the resort, or at least some time away from the parks, picking up a recreation schedule will help you get the most out of your resort stay.
6. Take photos around the resort
Though value resorts are not as elaborately themed as some of the other resorts at Walt Disney World, their larger than life icons do make for some excellent photo ops. The style of the value resorts honestly does not interest me as much as the thematic elements of moderate and deluxe resorts do, however some photos I’ve taken of my friends and family in front of various areas of the resorts are actually some of my favorites.
7. Do not order pizza from non-Disney restaurants
Occasionally guests at Walt Disney World resorts (particularly at the value resorts) find flyers under their resort door advertising off-site pizza companies. Unfortunately these are often scams, with the person on the other end of the phone looking to take your credit card information. While Disney does work hard to prevent this from happening, the flyers do sometimes make their way around property, and you would not want to fall for this scam.
8. Do not order pizza from the resort using the dining plan
If you do want to order pizza while staying at a value resort, you can do so by ordering from the resort itself. Just make sure to pay out of pocket for pizza, and save your dining plan credits for something else. Pizza delivery costs two credits on the dining plan, which is simply not worth it.
9. Try food that is specific to your resort
Some of the resorts feature certain items that are specific to each theme. For instance, Pop Century’s food court features a tye-dye cheesecake and Dole Whips. Check out your resort to see if there are any specific menu items you’d like to try during your stay!
10. Check in online
Checking in online saves you time when you arrive at the resort, and it also allows you to put in special requests for your resort room. For instance, if you’re staying at All Star Music, and you’d like to stay in the Calypso section if possible, mention it when you check in online. Of course requests are based on availability and not guaranteed, but it’s worth a shot!