Stay you stay on property or off?

There are so many decisions to be made when planning a Walt Disney World vacation.  To stay on property or off property is a huge one that often kicks off your planning process.  I have done both, and there are definitely perks to both.  

I will cut to the chase and tell you my opinion now, but below is a list of pros and cons for off property and on property to help you evaluate and make a decision for your own vacation.

The biggest detractor for staying on property is often cost, but, in my opinion, if your budget will allow you to stay on property, those benefits largely outweigh any benefits of staying off property.

A good old pros and cons list for each now

On Property Pros

Magical Express is a pretty comfy bus brings you to you hotel, and as long as you use the luggage tags Disney sends you, you don’t even have to go to baggage claim!  They will deliver your bags right to your room for you, so go directly to a park or shopping or the pool if you want!

Extra Magic Hours are hours that the parks open early or close late and only guests staying on property are eligible to take advantage of these hours.

Disney transportation around the entire resort is pretty great.  There is no need to rent a car when staying on property because the buses, monorail, Skyliners, or water taxis can bring you anywhere on property you’d like to go!

FastPass reservations open 60 days from the date of check in for the duration of your stay (versus 30 days off property, but that is also listed below).

Disney Dining Plan is the biggest plus if you can get in while they run the Free Dining promotion, or you are someone who likes to have everything paid for upfront. You are only eligible to have the dining plan if you stay on property

Dining reservations open for the length of your vacation starting at 180 days from the check in date, so hard to get reservations aren’t quite as “hard to get.”

Magical Extras are perks like percentages off at certain Disney Springs stores or vouchers for mini golf.  They are only available to WDW resort guests. A full list of the Magical Extras currently being offered to guests can be found here

On Property Cons

The cost can be higher than some off property options, however, there are tiers of hotels on property with quite a few that are pretty budget friendly.

Off Property Pros

The cost of staying off property can be a large savings if you have a tight budget, larger family, or large group that all wants to stay together. Renting an Airbnb can be incredibly inexpensive and there are tons of rental properties in the Orlando area.

Good Neighbor Hotels can provide cost savings, but still get some of the on property perks. A couple of these hotels are technically located on Disney property, but most are just very close by.  While there is no Magical Express, these hotels do have transportation to the parks (some have a fee for using them). They also allow you to make FastPass reservations 60 days out.

Off Property Cons

FastPass reservations are only 30 days from the date your ticket was purchased for, so you’ll have to wake up and make FastPass reservations 30 days out from each morning you will go to the parks

Transportation is your responsibility. You will need to rent a car or take a taxi/Uber to get anywhere you want to go. If you rent a car, you will have to pay for parking (currently $25 per day).

Of course it could all be broken down further, but these are the major things for each in my opinion.  In the end, if I can make it work to stay on property with my budget, I will always choose on property. I love being able to stay in the Disney bubble and extend the “Happiest Place on Earth” to include my resort.

If you’d like a quote to compare a few different resort options for your next pixie dusted vacation, email me at Jill@ThinkTheHappiestThoughts.com or fill out the form under “Free Quote” and I’d be happy to help you in anyway you’d like!

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