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Walt Disney World Resort: Should I Stay On Site or Off Site?

Choosing where to stay is a huge decision when you start planning your Disney World trip. Big considerations, such as cost, location and amenities, will all factor into where you finally book to stay.

But when planning a Disney World vacation the number one question I get asked is 'should I stay on site or off site at Disney World?'. So today I will help you answer this!

Walt Disney World Resort: Should I Stay On-Site or Off-Site?


Staying on-site is when you stay at a Walt Disney World property, and mostly refers to staying in a Walt Disney World Resort.

Disney World has over 20 hotels to stay in, covering all different budgets, room types and levels of amenities.

There are also a range of 'good neighbor' hotels on Disney World property, but these often don't include the same benefits to staying at a Disney World Resort. When talking about staying on-site typically these types of hotels are excluded.

Staying off-site is to stay in a property outside of Walt Disney World Resort. There are hundreds of different hotels, resorts, villas and rentals available in Orlando.

Some great areas in Orlando to stay in are Lake Buena Vista, which is closest to Disney World, International Drive which has lots of restaurants and entertainment right there for you to enjoy and Kissimmee which is an area with a lot of holiday rentals not too far from Disney World.

What Is It Like To Stay On-Site At A Disney World Resort? - The Lobby of the Grand Floridian Resort


Here are the benefits to staying at a Disney World Resort plus two reasons people may choose not to.

You Get To Stay In The Disney Bubble!

One of the biggest benefits of staying on-site at a Disney World Resort is you are in the Disney Bubble for your entire trip! The magical atmosphere that you feel when at Disney World is extended throughout your entire stay! This makes your trip feel more like an experience rather than just a vacation.

Many Different Types of Resort So There Is Something For Everyone

If you are a family, a couple, a solo traveller or visiting with friends there is something for everyone! There are so many different types of resorts at Disney World that everyone is accommodated.

No matter what your taste is you will find something to suit you! If you want lots of Disney references then Art of Animation Resort is right up your street, if you are animal lovers then Animal Kingdom Lodge is the best for you as you can see all the incredible animals on the savannah or if you want an adults trip then the Port Orleans resorts are the perfect setting for you.

All budgets are catered for also. Value resorts are the most budget friendly and have the most Disney theming. These resorts are particularly great for people travelling with children. They have the least amount of facilities and restaurants but with Disney's complimentary transport you can easily travel around the whole of Walt Disney World easily to find whatever you need.

Moderate resorts are the perfect balance between budget and facilities. These resorts are great for adults and offer both quick service and table service dining.

Deluxe resorts are the closest to the parks, have incredible facilities and the most amount of restaurants. These are perfect for people wanting convenient access to the parks, amazing dining right at your doorstep and access to lots of facilities.

Complimentary Disney Transportation

Disney World offers a whole range of free transportation to its resort guests! All Disney Resorts have buses that connect them to the Disney Parks and Disney Springs. Many resorts also have a secondary mode of complimentary transportation: such as the monorail, the Skyliner and the Disney boats.

Having free transport can save you a huge amount of money when visiting Disney World! There is no need to factor in the cost of taxis, theme park shuttles or car hire.

Free Park Parking If You Do Have A Car

If you stay at a Disney Resort you get free park parking! Although you do have to pay to park at your resort you can end up saving you money as to park at the parks costs $25 a day, whereas parking at a value resort is $15 a night, at a moderate resort is $20 a night and at a deluxe resort $25 a night. If you are staying in a value or moderate resort you can end up saving big bucks on parking this way!

A giraffe eating on the savannah at Animal Kingdom Lodge with the resort in the background.
Animal Kingdom Lodge is the perfect resort for animal lovers! You can see these beautiful animals from your room!

Resort Activities, Entertainment, Movies and Pop up Character Experiences

The Disney World Resorts have so much more than just great rooms and fantastic dining. You can also take part in a range of activities and entertainment.

Every resort posts a weekly schedule of everything that is on offer for you to enjoy at your resort. Plus many of these are free!

Activities such as 'Movies Under The Stars' let you watch classic Disney movies in the beautiful outdoor surroundings of your resort. This is a lovely way to end the day!

You can pay to create your own tie die t-shirt. This is a really fun way to take home a one-of-a-kind souvenir from your trip. It is a great activity for families or groups as you can all have similar designs but the way you tie die your t-shirt will be totally unique to you!

You can even see beloved Disney characters making pop-up appearances at your resort! It is so great to spot Disney character whilst walking around your resort grounds and this is a part of the magic that you experience when staying at a Disney World Resort!

Some resorts also offer activities unique to their theming. Animal Kingdom Lodge is incredible for the beautiful animals on the savannah and the African culture represented throughout the resort. Whilst staying here you can attend talks about the animals to learn more about them, take a safari or enjoy a range of activities to teach you about the wonderful culture of African nations.