We’ve talked extensively about how much we love the Disney Resorts. The magic, the perks, and the theming is something I don’t see at many other Hotels…especially at my price point.
But, even we can admit that there are times a non-Disney Hotel would work much better for your family.
5 Reasons You Should Book A Non-Disney Hotel For Your Next Disney Vacation
You Are Traveling With 5+ People
Unless you’re willing to increase your budget, or the 5th member of your family is under the age of 3, many Disney Resorts won’t fit your needs.
Many rooms, including those in Moderate and Deluxe Resorts, are designed for 4 Guests, leaving larger families with fewer options.
In some instances, connecting rooms at a Disney Value Resort works out just fine.
Last year, we invited my family on our Disney trip. We booked 2 rooms at Pop Century to take advantage of Disney Perks and the Free Dining promotion, which ended up saving us $1800 on food costs. Since we hardly ever spend extended periods of time on our room, this worked out fine for us.
But, this doesn’t work out of everyone, no matter how good the deal is.
Disney Resorts, especially Value Resorts, aren’t spacious. In fact, standard Value Resorts are only around 260 sqft. So, it can be snug in the first place. If you also have ECVs and/or strollers, they’re going to take up what little floor space you have.
In these instances, off-site Hotels tend to work better. Not only do you pay less, you will most likely get a larger space, as well.
You’re Working With A Tight Budget
Many clients come to me because they are having a hard time finding a way to make a Disney vaction work with their budget. They are convinced that a vacation within their budget doesn’t exist.
But, as long as your budget is reasonable, a Disney vacation is not impossible.
Because off-site Hotels tend to be cheaper, going further away from the Parks gives you more for your money. And as an added perk, many of the non-Disney Hotels I book also come with discounts on your Theme Park Tickets.
You Have Credit Card Points/Perks
Believe it or not, there are non-Disney Hotels on Disney property.
If you have a credit card that earns you rewards for other Hotel Chains, you can actually save a lot of money on your Disney vacation by staying at one of these non-Disney Hotels.
And although these Hotels aren’t Disney owned, they do come with some of the same Perks that Disney-owned Resort Guests receive.
Guests at these Hotels receive:
- 60-day Fastpass+
- Extra Magic Hours benefit
- Shuttles from your Hotel to the Parks
What these Hotels do not provide:
- Disney’s Magical Express or other transportation to and from the airport
- Complimentary MagicBands
While these Hotels do not use MagicBands, you may purchase one to use in the Parks to hold your Park Tickets, Memory Maker photos, and Fastpasses. Once you purchase your MagicBand, they can easily be added to your account.
If you opt to not use a MagicBand, your ticket into the Park works the same way.Orlando Airport Transportation to Orlando Area Hotels – Save Now!
Disney Isn’t The Only Location You’re Visiting
Disney may be on your itinerary, but so is Universal Studios, Legoland, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, beaches, etc…
If you plan on visiting other locations, you probably either have your own car or you plan on renting one. So, perks like Disney’s Magical Express have less impact on your vacation.
In reality, by staying off property, if you’re only visiting the Parks for a day or two, the only perk you may feel upset about missing out on is the 60-day fastpass booking.
While not impossible, it does make it more difficult to find the fastpasses you want when you get a later start than other Guests going the same time as you.
However, to be fair, even Guests who do have that 60 day window have a difficult time securing Flight of Passage and Slinky Dog Dash fastpasses.
Booking a non-Disney Hotel equal distance from everywhere you plan on visiting may not only save you money, it will save you time in the car.
You’re Looking For Relaxation and Privacy
While the Disney Resorts tend to be less busy during the day, they’re never going to be empty.
Sure, there are rooms you can book on Disney property that are not only quiet, they are also private from other Guests. But, this sort of luxury comes at a price.
Disney Resorts welcome everyone into their doors, whether or not you’re staying there. So, for budget travelers, such as myself, peace and quiet may not always be possible.
There are so many benefits of staying at a Disney Resort. But, the truth is, you can rent an entire house with its own swimming pool for less than the price of many Disney Resorts.
So, if you long for days of relaxation and privacy, you may want to look outside of Disney property.
When Staying At A Disney Resort Just Makes Sense
You Don’t Plan on Leaving the “Disney Bubble”
There’s nothing I look forward to more than getting off of a plane, heading to the Magical Express, and not leaving my “Disney Bubble” for the entirety of my trip.
Disney planning can be difficult, no doubt about that. But, Disney has made it incredibly easy to go about your vacation with the least amount of stress as possible.
Magical Express means not having to worry about how you will get to your Disney Resort. Disney privides free transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport. They even get your luggage from the plane!
Meal Plans mean everything is paid for up front, so you don’t have to worry about how much each meal is costing you.
And early fastpass booking means that you can book those fastpasses 30 days ahead of other Guests, so you hopefully don’t have a 4 hour long wait for Flight of passage.
The magic of the “Disney bubble” is something you have to experience to believe.
However, with so many wonderful Hotels out there, you will have a wonderful trip, no matter where you lay your head at night.