Ask It: Are Preferred Rooms Worth It?

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Is a preferred room at Disney World worth the cost

There’s no question that staying on property at Walt Disney World is an added luxury to your vacation. But even with the extra cost of staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel, there are options for “preferred rooms” and room upgrades. These rooms may have a more desirable location (near bus transportation, near the pool, near the food court/lobby), better views (of ponds/lakes, pools, or animals on the savannah), special theming (Pirate or “Royal” rooms) or ground floor locations.  Of course, there’s an added cost for anything above a “standard” room. So this week’s question is:

What features are worth paying extra for a preferred room at Walt Disney World?

  • Location (49%, 427 Votes)
  • Never Worth It (21%, 185 Votes)
  • View (20%, 172 Votes)
  • Special Features (9%, 79 Votes)

Total Voters: 863

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Voting is open here and on Twitter and we’ll have your results next week. Feel free to share your reasons for your choice in the comments.


Julia Mascardo

Freelance writer and editor, living the dream in Central Florida with my husband, cats, and spirited nine-year-old daughter.

15 thoughts on “Ask It: Are Preferred Rooms Worth It?

  • May 17, 2017 at 11:24 am

    At this point, I pretty much only stay at Pop Century, because my room is little more than a place to sleep, shower, and store my cooler full of water, soda, and beer. Having done both standard and preferred rooms there, I will always do preferred going forward, because that resort is massive, and the last thing I want to do after walking around the parks for 10-14 hours is hike another quarter-mile from the bus depot to my room.

    • May 20, 2017 at 6:30 pm

      You are so right about Pop. We almost always stay there and preferred is the way to go. Lots more walking otherwise.

  • May 17, 2017 at 11:25 am

    1. I would never pay for a pool view. In fact if it were an option I’d probably pay more to avoid a pool view after my last stay where there weren’t rooms designated as pool views (Caribbean Beach). Hearing kids yelling in the pool late at night was not fun.

    2. I have stayed at Pop Century twice, once in a standard room without using your room request feature, and then again with a preferred room and using your room request feature to request where I wanted. It was a big difference, I wasn’t too happy with my room the first time (90s building 4th floor), and loved it the second time (60s, first floor, opposite side from hippy dippy pool, the section nearest the classic hall). It was definitely worth the extra $.

    • May 17, 2017 at 8:08 pm

      Which room did you request? We are going in September and have a preferred room.

  • May 17, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    I think it depends on the resort, and on your preferences too. At CSR, which my partner and I consider our “home” resort, preferred rooms are great, because you’re as close as you can be to the food court, the restaurants, the bars, the front desk, and (now that the business rooms have sadly–if temporarily–been torn down) bus stop 1, and not a bad walk from the main pool. However, I can see why families with kids might stay closer to the pool in standard rooms and relying on the pool bar for some meals, too.

    Meanwhile, at Pop, we prefer the standard rooms that face the lake. The preferred rooms at Pop face the pools, which can be really loud all day and well into the evening. So we like the quiet facing the lake, and my partner, who smokes, likes being near the lakeside DSAs. Nowhere at Pop is really that far a walk from a bus or services (especially from the perspective of anyone whose home resort is a Moderate), anyway, so that isn’t an issue for us. And again, I can see how families with pool-loving kids *would* want the preferred rooms at Pop, to be near the pool.

    Bottom line for us I guess is that it doesn’t seem like there are any consistent criteria for what makes “preferred” preferred. You really have to be guided by your preferences.

  • May 17, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    I have only paid for a preferred room once, for our 1st stay at AoA. I will never do that again. The room faced the pool which was always so noisy after the parks closed. Our third visit to AoA was in October and I loved, loved, loved our room. I used the preferences requests when doing the online check in and it worked perfectly. We had a room on the upper floor, which was super quiet, and were in the back of the building facing the lake. It was absolutely beautiful in the mornings and the evenings. We would come out of our room and walk behind the Lion King buildings along the lake to go to the main building. It was a beautiful quiet walk each time. Nowadays with EVERYTHING costing extra in the World, I would never waste the money on a preferred room again. We are only there to sleep. We have stayed at AoA, POR, and AKL for a total of 5 WDW trips. If I have my choice, I will never stay anywhere other than the AoA Little Mermaid standard rooms.

  • May 17, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    I think this poll should have allowed multiple selections. I’ve paid for view before, I’d certainly pay for a royal room once my daughter is old enough to care, and while I’ve always been happy enough with a request as near the restaurants as I can get without paying for a preferred location if i had the funds I think I’d pay that too.

    • May 17, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      Hi Brian,

      The reason why we’re stuck with only one choice each is so that it can line up with the poll running concurrently on Twitter, which only allows one choice per person. Hopefully someday Twitter will get with the game to allow multiple choices!!

      • May 18, 2017 at 10:09 am

        Heck with Twitter. Use Twitter to drive the poling and traffic to your website, vs giving them the free advertising space!

  • May 18, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Location! Location! Location!
    Last trip I made sure to ask for a room near a WDW transport stop and closer to the center of the resort (Saratoga Springs) Paid off in spades! Getting to the bus was shorter, the clubhouse amenities was close enough to go and get something or pick up a resort drop off package. Didn’t have to walk 1/2 way across the resort every time you leave and come back from a park. Pick ups for resort delivery purchases in the parks didn’t have to be planned, Oh I have to walk to the resort store today on the way back so get off at this other stop etc. The closer you are to the center of the resort that is also nearer to a bus line is one of the best things to ask for! Of course if your staying at a Deluxe resort like Grand Floridian, this isn’t that much of a problem, but at budget or moderate price resorts, this its worth it! I’ve stayed at All- Star Music, Coranado Springs and Port Orleans Riverside and got rooms further away, and the walk though everything just to get to the main resturants or the store was a bit of a pain. The Grand Floridian wasn’t bad as you generally have to move though the main entrance for any transportation. Closer Port Orleans rooms were much more convenient when were able to walk to the main entrance daily to get the transportation.

  • May 19, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    We were right next to the first bus stop at Saratogo Spring and it was a life saver. Not only could we be at the stop in less than a minute we never had to worry about not getting on the bus.

  • May 19, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    We have stayed in the cabins at Ft. Wilderness. We were on the outskirts yet within a couple minutes walking time from the pool. At At All-Star Music, we were at the far end and loved the privacy and quiet. At Pop Century, we were on the 4th floor at the 50s area, facing the parking lot. Very quiet and quite close to the lobby. Our favorite was Shades of Green – large room! However, now that SOG guests have to pay for parking at the parks, we will probably not stay there again. We utilized the buses at Ft. Wilderness but at the other resorts we prefer to drive to the parks.

  • May 20, 2017 at 1:21 am

    We booked a somewhat last minute trip into Saratoga Springs in March when only “preferred” was available in deluxe studio. Actually, nothing was available when suddenly this room was and we booked it before someone else did. (We were only able to get the last night as a non-preferred room and waitlisted it. There was a cancellation during our stay and they were able to keep us in the same room that night–prompting me to turn to my husband and say, much like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s: “Isn’t this the most marvelous place?”)

    Anyhow, for people who had a 4:30 DME reservation, the preferred view was definitely to our advantage. We were right behind the Springs bus stop to the parks and only had a five minute walk to the DME bus stop. It was totally worth the 3 points per night for us. Being about a minute away from the bus stop to the parks was advantageous, too.

    • May 20, 2017 at 1:23 am

      OTOH, our previous trip saw us in the Grandstand building closest to the Carriage House in a standard room, also about a minute from the Grandstand bus stop. That was perfectly fine and wouldn’t have been much longer as a walk for us had we not driven that time, so I think it really depends upon the particular needs of the particular trip.

  • May 21, 2017 at 1:01 am

    When my kids were little, we usually upgraded to a Theme Park View at the Grand Floridian, where we could watch the fireworks from the balcony already dressed in our pajamas, then hop in bed afterward. Now that the kiddos are older and can stay up later, we stick with a standard room and use the extra funds for a dessert party at the Magic Kingdom. I guess if you’re going to pay extra then there needs to be some perceived value, which depends on the guest, whether that’s close to transportation or club level or bigger room or whatever.

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