“Is it better to get a package deal or try to book the hotel away from the park?”
I’m going to begin with the exceptions to the rule in this case. If you belong to a hotel discount club program, you may do better financially booking a hotel away from the park. For example, my friend’s parents will only stay in one chain of hotels regardless of where they go, so that is their hotel of choice for Disney as well. Also, if you are traveling with another family, there are house/condo rentals available at very low rates right now, which may make more sense if savings is your top priority.
While booking a package deal doesn’t actually save you money on the room and tickets, it is incredibly convenient. We have booked the full Magic Your Way package and have also booked the hotel and tickets separately and have found little to no difference in pricing. But when you book a Magic Your Way package you have the ease of your entire reservation falling under one confirmation number.
Booking a package also allows you to take advantage of special deals. Throughout the year, Walt Disney World offers special savings offers such as the ever popular free dining plan. These special offers are often contingent on purchasing a Magic Your Way package, which includes hotel and park tickets. Also, in order to book the Disney Dining Plan, you must book the Magic Your Way package first. The dining plan is a great way to save money on food during your stay.
There are a variety of other benefits to staying on site during your Walt Disney World vacation.
- Disney’s Magical Express: Guests of the Disney resorts have access to free transportation to and from the airport. For moms and dads traveling with little ones, this means no need to lug a heavy carseat or worry about car rentals. My son loved riding the Magical Express almost as much as the rides!
- Extra Magic Hours: Every day at least one of the WDW parks is open early or stays open late just for resort guests. This was a great time for us to ride the children’s favorite rides with little to no lines!
- Key to the World Card: When you stay at a WDW property you are given a Key to the World card. This is not only the key to your room, but also holds your theme park ticket information, your dining plan, and can even be linked to your credit card to act as your purchasing power during your trip!
- Package Delivery: Guests of the resorts have the option of sending all souvenirs during their time in the parks directly back to their hotel! Imagine – no bags to lug around with you all day!
The Complete Disney Experience: For my family the most magical part of staying at a Walt Disney World resort is the fact that we are experiencing all Disney, all the time. My five year old daughter loves finding hidden Mickey icons in the architecture and my son loves to point out favorite characters. And the best part for me? Happy children.