Before you go packing your flip-flops and sun block, you have to make a huge decision about that family trip down to Orlando, Florida. Where should you, the spouse and the kids, stay when you get there? This decision is not merely about location. It is about affordability, convenience, facilities and activities for the whole family - and having fun! You don’t want to get tangled in logistics, arranging meals and coordinating a whole lot of other details.
If you keep all those factors in mind then probably your best choice is booking into a Disney World Resort or Hotel. They have so much to offer, you come up against another decision making problem! Which one to stay at? Believe me, that is a good problem to have and here’s why.
Airport Pickup and Drop
Your Disney benefits begin even before you get to one of their hotels. You can start your holiday from the time you land in Orlando. When you get off your flight, Disney’s Magical Express service kicks in. This is a complimentary roundtrip transportation and luggage pickup and delivery facility only for Disney guests.
The service includes an air-conditioned complimentary bus drive to your resort; your baggage picked up from the airport and delivered to your room. When you get into the main terminal building, head straight for Disney’s Magical Express Welcome Center. There, present your special luggage tags Disney would have mailed after you booked with them.
Presto! You and your family along with your bags are whisked off to your vacation. You avoid the tedium of waiting to claim your luggage and then hike off to hire a cab, or two, to get to your hotel. The same goes for the end of your stay at Disney.
Disney has about 30 unique accommodation options. Tariffs range from about $49 (Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort) to around $500 (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa). You can choose from Value, Moderate or Deluxe Resorts. Depending on the size of your family or group, there are residential units that sleep from four up to twelve people. The rooms are large and comfortable. Then there are campsite cabins. You are certain to find a property that suits your family requirements and budget. Another great thing is that children below the age of 18 get a free stay at Disney Resorts.
It is not just about the room rate. There are a whole raft of services and conveniences thrown in that you cannot negotiate or even get at other places. There are fine dining restaurants, buffet meals, spas, pools, huge grounds and complimentary transportation to all Disney parks. Some of them even have in-house kayaking and kids clubs. In fact, you could spend a whole day (or more) just enjoying the activities in your resort or hotel.
Tip: Disney is always having seasonal offers at lower prices for all their World resort properties.
Time Savers & Extra Time
Staying at a Disney hotel saves you lots of time. That is a massive plus point. Let me make myself clear. Disney World, Orlando is as large as Boston city! So if you are staying at an off-site hotel, getting around to and from the various parks and rides is a challenge. It can take up plenty of time travelling back and forth.
Staying at a Disney Hotel puts you close to the action, so to speak. You can come and go as you please, giving you that much more time with the family or friends. That’s not all.
Walt Disney World has “Extra Magic Hours” for all its resort guests. It is really magical because you get the pleasurable run of their parks minus the normal humongous crowds and long lines. What Disney does is they open one of the four theme parks an hour early or keep it open an extra two hours after the regular closing time. They also do that with the Disney Water Parks during the year. You really cannot put a price tag on this time bonus.
Convenience of Resort Transportation
One of most brilliant perks about staying at a Disney resort is the complimentary transportation. There are coaches, ferryboats and even the world famous and futuristic monorail at your service. As I said earlier, Disney World is huge and as large as Boston. So, travel between the various parks and your hotel is a major challenge especially late at night. The least time needed to get from your hotel to a park can be as much as 15 minutes.
With Disney’s Complimentary Transportation Service you avoid the hassle and stress of driving and parking. The added advantage is saving on parking fees. Just remember to allow for time to catch the next bus, monorail or boat.
Dedicated Disney Delights
Disney will always be delightful – whether you are a kid or an adult. Everything they do is designed to give and utmost pleasure. They have a range of thoughtful touches to make that possible.
All resorts have a theme with attractions and an ambience built around that theme. Disney’s Polynesian Resort has a volcano pool. Animal Kingdom Lodge has jungle-themed architecture and animals roaming the savannah-like grounds.
The rooms too are Disney-esque. Family suites are designed to make guests ‘feel’ they are in the middle of a movie. The Pirate Rooms at the Caribbean Beach Resort have ship-style beds, light fixtures and art work that put you in buccaneering mode. The Royal Guest Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside Resort are fit for royalty. There are also suites featuring The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, The Lion King and Cars motifs.
Disney has on-site games and activities. They also provide pedal boats, kayaks and bikes. Many of the resorts put on open-air movie shows while you lie under the stars to watch them.
Another thoughtful perk is delivery of your purchases to your room. It saves you the hassle of dragging them all over the place, thus enriching your Disney experience.
One big headache that staying at a Disney resort eliminates is meals. Choose a package that includes snacks and dining. This is a terrific plan because you can enjoy Disney’s incredible range of cuisine at very good rates.
It is hard to number or cost-quantify the many little, yet pleasure-giving, time-saving and cost-reducing touches Disney World offers. They all add up to making your stay a perfect hassle-free and magical holiday.