Disney Resort Hotel and Campground guests have privileges and amenities unavailable to those staying outside the World. Though some of these perks are advertising gimmicks, others are real and potentially valuable. Here are the benefits and what they mean.
If you don't have a car, commuting to the parks is easy via the Disney Transportation System. This is especially advantageous if you stay in a hotel connected by monorail or boat service. If you have a car, however, dozens of hotels outside Disney World are within five to ten minutes of theme-park parking lots.
Power shoppers, rejoice: if you're staying on Disney property, you can charge theme-park and Downtown Disney purchases to your hotel room. Even better, you can have your loot delivered to your resort's gift shop at no extra charge instead of having to lug it around with you all day long.
Extra Magic Hours At The Theme Parks
Disney World lodging guests (excluding guests at the independent hotels of Downtown Disney Resort Area, except for the Hilton) are invited to enter a designated park one hour earlier than the general public each day or to enjoy a designated theme park for up to three hours after it closes to the general public in the evening. Disney guests are also offered specials on admission, including discount tickets to the water parks. These benefits are subject to change without notice. Early entry can be quite valuable if you know how to use it. It can also land you in gridlock.
Babysitting And Child-Care Options
Disney hotel and campground guests have several options for babysitting, child care, and children's programs. Disney's Polynesian and Grand Floridian hotels, connected by the monorail to the Magic Kingdom, as well as several other Disney hotels, offers "clubs," themed child-care centers where potty-trained children ages 3 to 12 can stay while the adults go out.
Though somewhat expensive, the clubs are highly regarded by children and parents. On the negative side, they're open only in the evening, and not all Disney hotels have them. If you're staying at a Disney hotel without a club, you're better off using a private in-room babysitting service. In-room babysitting is also available at hotels outside Disney World.
Disney's Magical Express Service
Checked baggage for those arriving in Orlando by commercial airliner are collected by Disney and sent via bus directly to your Walt Disney World resort, allowing you to bypass baggage claim. There's also a bus waiting to transport you to your hotel. This complimentary service still has a lot of kinks to be worked out, and your bus may stop at other Disney resorts before you're deposited at your hotel, but you can't beat the price. For a greatly detailed explanation of Disney's Magical Express, please read Erin Foster's article on our blog at blog.touringplans.com/2012/07/25/frequently-asked-questions-about-disneys-magical-express.
Occasionally, cast members reserve the right to turn away even resort guests if a given theme park gets so crowded that safety becomes a concern.
When it's time to go home, you can check your baggage and receive your boarding pass at the front desk of your Disney resort. This service is available to all Disney resort guest, even those who don't use the Magical Express service (folks who have rental cars, for example). Resort check-in counters are open from 5 a.m. until 1 p.m., and you must check in no later than three hours before your flight. Currently, the following airlines participated in the program: AirTran, American, Continental, Delta, JetBlue, TED, Alaska, Northwest, Southwest, United and US Airways.
Children Sharing A Room With Their Parents
Priority Theme-Park Admissions
On days of unusually heavy attendance, Disney will restrict admittance to the theme parks for safety reason. When guests are admitted, Disney will usually let in first those guests staying at a Disney resort.
In practice, no guest is turned away until a park's parking lot is full. When this happens, that park will be packed to gridlock. Under such conditions, you would exhibit the common sense of an amoeba to exercise your preferred-admission privilege.
There's no extra charge per night for children younger than 18 sharing a room with their parents. Many hotels outside Disney World also offer this.
Disney resort guests with cars pay nothing to park in theme-park lots. This saves about $15 per day.
Disney guests get preferential treatment for tee times at the golf courses.