This is a time like no other at Walt Disney World. The theme parks are open with limited hours and experiences. Character meals are slowly returning but with social distancing. The whole FastPass+ system is on hold. And some of the perks of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, like early FastPass+ booking and Extra Magic Hours, just don’t exist right now. This may leave some guests wondering if staying on Disney property is worth it right now. Our answer is a resounding YES, and here’s why:
1. Safety Measures
Disney is following the same safety measures at its Resorts as in the theme parks, creating a space where guests feel can feel safe because mask wearing and social distancing is enforced. During a recent stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge, I really appreciated that guests consistently wore masks in the hallways, lobby, and parking lot. There may be other hotels and resorts in the area that are also doing a good job with this, but you’ll probably have to do a lot of research to confirm that. With Disney, you can be confident that the safety measures will be in place and enforced.
2. Park Reservation Priority
Disney’s new attendance system requires that you have a park reservation, in addition to a ticket, for each day that you want to visit a park. Reservations are limited to keep capacity low enough to support social distancing. There are a few separate pools of reservations though, and one is specifically for guests staying on Disney property. We’ve consistently heard that Disney resort guests have been able to get last minute park reservations and to change parks a day or two in advance. There seems to be more availability and flexibility for this group than for regular ticket holders.
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3. Convenient Transportation
One of the biggest perks of staying on Disney property is its convenient transportation system. If you don’t have a car, staying at a Disney resort is astronomically more convenient than staying off property. Many off-site properties have shuttles that only run at certain times or to certain parks. When you stay at a Disney resort the transportation runs continuously from prior to park opening to after the park closes, letting you come and go on your own timeline. This is especially convenient if you have young kids or other members of your party who may need a shorter day than the off site hotel shuttles support.
4. No End to the Magic
The biggest reason I love staying on Disney property is that it feels like you are in a bubble of “the magic.” There’s no traffic to deal with, you’re not driving by non-Disney stores, restaurants, etc, and you see Disney’s amazing attention to detail everywhere you go. It helps me feel like I’m totally escaping reality! Now that the parks have limited hours and there is a little less magic everywhere, it feels even more valuable to stay on Disney property to soak up as much as you can.
If cost has kept you from staying on Disney property in the past, now might be THE time to get a great deal. Disney has released a lot of discounted rooms this fall for Florida residents, annual passholders, and residents of several surrounding states. This also may be a great time to rent Disney Vacation Club points as there is more availability at DVC properties than there normally is.