Walt Disney World:: To Stay On Property or Not
Traveling to the Magic Kingdom can be a beautiful experience. Whether you have kids or not, the wonders and service of Walt Disney World make for a fantastic vacation. Disney can also wreak havoc on your bank account. One of the biggest arguments of saving some cash can be debated over whether to stay on property or choose a hotel off site.
We have explored both options and have first hand experience. What is my recommendation? Stay on site! There are a multitude of good reasons to stay at one of the many Disney resorts, saving a little money is just one of the perks.
The first time we traveled to Orlando for a Disney vacation, we flew a cheap airline, rented a vehicle for the week, stayed off site, and purchased a four day hopper pass. We had a great time. However, if you are doing it this way, learn from our amateur mistakes:
Rent the vehicle when you purchase your airline tickets as a package. All the airlines offer this option. Not only will it be cheaper but your reservations will be all together.
Stay as close to Disney as possible. I hated driving through Orlando traffic but that is just my personal preference.
Use a travel agent if at all possible. We did everything ourselves and could have saved some headaches by letting someone else do it for us. Travel agents normally do not cost anything, they work off commission from booking your trip.
Get there early to avoid parking miles away from the entrance.
Flying to Disney: We flew Allegiant Airline, which flys direct from Lexington, Kentucky to Sanford International in Orlando. The cost was about $200 per ticket for round trip travel.
Renting a car: We did not choose the option of renting transportation while purchasing the flight. our travel party included three adults, three children, and my baby at the time in a car seat. A minivan was the only logical option. The van added $500 to the total cost of the trip.
Parking at Disney: Three years ago parking was twenty bucks a day, times four days.
Food: Although the plan was to eat in Orlando for breakfast and some dinners, the kids needed to be fed when they were hungry. We ate Disney food more than we planned.
Staying on property:
This year we drove to Orlando over two days. We broke the trip in half and took our time. Shopping and eating, no real agenda. We checked into Disney All Star Movies resort using the reservations made by our travel agent. It was easy. We stayed at the resort and took the bus to Disney World.
The best part of staying on property? Fast Pass Plus. We were able to strategically plan our ride schedule, zipping past the 90 minute wait for Flight of Peter Pan, Seven Dwarves Mine ride, and Splash Mountain. Using Fast Pass Plus, we were able to ride 20 rides in one day!
At the end of the day we didn’t have to worry about finding the car in the vast sea of vehicles. We loaded up on the bus and went right to the hotel. No hassles of traffic and no effort of even driving.
No paying to park! We took the tram from the resort to the parks. Twenty bucks a day saved!
My opinion? It pays in the end to stay on property!