Pros and Cons of Staying at a Disney Resort: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

pros and cons of staying at a Disney Resort

Your family has decided they want to go to Walt Disney World and you are so excited, but then you have to decide if you want to stay at a Walt Disney World Resort or stay off property. A Disney World vacation has so many moving parts, and there are so many decisions to make while planning your vacation.  But don’t worry, because we are here to help you make the important decision on where to stay!

When you take a Walt Disney World vacation, there really isn’t a bad place to stay.

Read: Benefits of Staying at a Disney Resort: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Walt Disney World has different tiers of resorts. They have Value level, Moderate level, Deluxe level, plus Deluxe Villas. But the important decision is where do you want to stay? Below I will give you the pros and cons of staying at a Disney Resort.

Pros of Staying on Property

10. Leave the Park, but keep the Magic

This one seems simple and might not matter to a lot of people, but being able to stay in a resort on property your family will be able to keep that magic feeling going. The themes of the resorts are wonderful and provide such attention to detail, you will really feel like you are leaving the real world and staying inside the magic.

9. Discounts

Not only does Disney offer discounts on their vacation packages and resort rooms during the year, but also if you book a Walt Disney World package, guests receive discounts to use during their stay. There is a voucher booklet that comes with discounts on miniature golf, some restaurants, and shopping. Who doesn’t love a good deal?

Disney Resorts

8. Quality of Time

This is number eight, but I still think this is one of the most important reasons for staying on property. Walt Disney World is huge! It takes time to travel between parks or to a resort off property. If you stay on property this helps gives you more time inside the parks making memories instead of traveling. Also, if you stay on property, you will receive free parking at the theme parks. This helps save $20 a day for standard parking.

7. Extra Magic Hours

Disney offers Extra Magic Hours at one park a day. It might be an hour before the park opens or a couple hours after the park closes. This helps with crowd control. You would be amazed at how many attractions you can get in during the Extra Magic Hours. Plus there is something magical about riding your favorite attraction late at night or early in the morning without the massive crowds. Only guests staying on property will be able to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours.

Read: Disney Fan In Need of a Present? Shop Helzberg’s Enchanted by Disney Jewelry Line

6. MagicBands

Disney gives complimentary MagicBands to every Disney resort guest. This is your resort key and link to your FastPasses. You can link your credit card and use it to purchase merchandise or pay for meals. There are several different colors to choose from and you can purchase embellishments for them too. Guests staying off property have to purchase these, and they cost $12.95 and up.

5. Advanced Dining Reservations

Disney allows guests to make their dining reservations 180 days out  from your trip, and with some dining options, these reservations go fast. If you are staying on property plus staying a total of seven days, then Disney allows you to make your dining reservations for all seven days at once. This means technically you are able to book reservations for the end portion of your vacation before the 180 days out. It’s only a few days early, but to be able to make them all at one time, plus get a jump on some reservations, can help relieve some stress in planning.

4. Disney Dining Plans

Only guests staying on property can take advantage of the Disney Dining Plans. This is especially helpful if guests don’t want to have to worry about paying for food the whole time they are on vacation. Also, this helps you stick to a budget. If you purchase the dining plan you are pre-purchasing your food, so this will be one less expense to worry about while you are on vacation.

Read: Ask a Princess Travel Expert: What’s the Best Disney Resort for Kids?

Disney Resorts

3. FastPasses 60 Days Out

This pro is huge. Guests staying on property are allowed to select their FastPasses for their entire vacation 60 days out. Guests staying off property can select their FastPasses 30 days out. This helps guests secure that coveted FastPass for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Character Meet-n-Greet opportinities that your child is dreaming about and you can’t miss.

2. Magical Express

This free transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport is a life saver. Guests won’t have to rent a car and Disney does all the work! Disney will send you luggage tags in the mail. Guests will put these tags on their luggage and check them in at their home airport. Then when you arrive at Orlando, simply scan your MagicBand and Disney drives you right to your resort. Walt Disney World will bring you your luggage (this does take a little while so always pack a carry on).

Then when you are ready to leave Disney, each resort has an airline check in. Disney makes this process so easy and it’s a big perk if you are going to fly into Orlando.

Read: Pros and Cons of Staying Off Site at Disney World

Disney Resorts

1. Free Transportation

Who doesn’t love free? Disney offers complimentary transportation to its theme parks for all guests staying on property. The different resorts have different transportation options such as bus, monorail, and water taxi. The free transportation also means you don’t need to rent a car. This also helps guests save money during their vacation. Score! If you drive to the Happiest Place on Earth, then it also takes the stress out of driving around the World for the week. It feels good to park your car your length of stay and let someone else worry about driving you and your family around.


Cons of Staying on Site

5. Availability

There are a lot of resort choices when staying off property, with even houses available to rent. There are times when there isn’t the availability on property within your budget or requirements, and  then off site is always a great choice. There are so many options and price ranges available to guests visiting Orlando. Also, some families like to visit other theme parks in Orlando, so staying off property makes sense.

Disney Resorts

4. Loyalty Points

If you travel for work a lot and receive loyalty points for staying at a certain hotel brand, then staying at those resorts make more sense than staying on property. Guests can save a lot of money this way and still enjoy all the magic that Walt Disney has to offer.

3. On Property Resorts that aren’t Disney Resorts

There are a couple options for staying close to the magic but not on property. These resorts have their own perks and offer some of Disney’s perks too. They might have a free shuttle service, Disney character meals, a close enough to walk to one of the theme parks, or a free complimentary breakfast. These are great for families wanting to stay close but save some money.

2. Additional Space

Some guests want a larger room or a suite but don’t want to pay Disney prices. This is where staying off site comes in handy. I know some families, especially food allergy families, like to have a full kitchen to be able to cook their own meals while enjoying their vacation. Staying off site offers some wonderful options and doesn’t break the bank. This means more money for souvenirs, and who doesn’t love that?

Read: To Get FREE Disney Emojis, Play Disney Emoji Blitz!

Disney Resort

1. Save Money

This is the number one reason to stay off peppery, because I think we can all agree we like to save money anywhere we can. If Disney seems like it’s too much money and just out of your reach budget wise, then staying off site is a way to still make a Disney vacation happen. There are tons of resorts, houses, and hotels in the Orlando area, and they are in every price range for every family. This helps save money and who doesn’t love that?


Do you want help deciding which is best option for your family? Your Princess Travel Experts are here to help! We have stayed on property and off property. We love both! We know that a Disney vacation can require a lot of preparation, and we are here to help you with all of your planning needs. The great news is we can help you for FREE and we also give our clients tips, perks and freebies just for booking with us.

Contact us today and let’s start planning your vacation.

Read: Holiday Wishes Dessert Premium Package: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Disney ResortsElizabeth fell in love with Disney World as a little girl and has continued to visit again and again. She has been to Disney as a little girl, in her 20’s with friends, pregnant, with a preschooler, and with a child who has severe food allergies. Elizabeth is an agent with Destinations in Florida, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. She is ready to help you plan a magical Disney vacation, all at no cost to you!

Elizabeth loves planning and researching any adventure! She will work with you and your family to ensure that your vacation is everything you dreamed of and more! You can reach Elizabeth at or call her at 317-753-5959. You can fill out a quote request form here.


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  1. Twyla says:

    I’m a fan of staying off-site. We’ve stayed on-site but have found that we prefer off-site much more. For much less than we’d pay for a simple room at Disney, we can get a condo and a rental car. When we arrive we hit the grocery store (not the one at Crossroads that is expensive — there are others very close by that have normal prices). The condo has a kitchen so we make our own breakfast before heading out for the day. Having a washer & dryer is also a huge plus. We’re able to travel for the week with just a carry-on bag for each of us. The condos always have a balcony — usually screened in — and it’s a great place to read before going to bed. Having a rental car gives you the option to go to the many restaurants outside of Disney property and not be held hostage to the high prices of on-property restaurants. (Highly recommend Orlando Ale House just outside the Disney Springs exit.) We don’t do this but if you wanted to be really cheap, you could park at one of the resorts and then take the Disney transportation system to the parks. There are also so many other things to do outside of the Disney Park, and having a car makes that possible. On our last trip we went on an airboat ride (very reasonably priced) and tried the inside sky diving in Orlando (downright cheap with a coupon from a booklet). We’ve stayed on-property twice and I can’t think of why I’d stay in a single room on Disney property again.

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