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Don’t Forget About These Benefits to Staying at a Disney World Hotel

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There’s been a lot of talk about the decrease in perceived value of staying at a Disney resort hotel. With the removal of Extra Magic Hours and Magical Express service ending at year’s end, it’s no wonder people are discouraged. There are still special benefits to staying at a Disney World hotel. And, those small things can add up depending on your needs.

  • Multiple transportation options
  • Special in-room TV programming
  • Recreational activities at each resort
  • Themed pools
  • Mobile ordering from quick service locations
  • Mobile ordering from select table service locations
  • Groceries and other goods at each resort merchandise shop

For some guests these benefits do not make up for the loss of other benefits, but for other guests these still add value. During our stay at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort a few weeks ago all of these benefits had value for us at some point, and we only stayed two nights.

Caribbean Beach Guest Room
Caribbean Cay Seating Area

We’re so spoiled at home with our TV streaming services. Although Disney resort hotels do not have streaming on their televisions, there are special channels you can’t watch anywhere else. In the upper 70s channels you can find non-stop Mickey Mouse cartoons and bedtime stories at night, on a schedule. Currently since there are no fireworks in the parks, channel 74 shows a recording of the “Happily Ever After” fireworks at Magic Kingdom.

Old Key West Living Area – Channel 74 Fireworks
Disney Resort Hotel Special TV Programming
Disney Resort Hotel Special TV Programming

And during our stay we came across a channel that shows programming on Disney’s conversation efforts. It features a lot of footage of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This channel served as the perfect motivation to get my husband and son out the door so we could go see the real thing in person, and also as a reminder of how special that park is.

Disney Resort Hotel Special TV Programming

Some recreational activities are on hold or reduced right now due to COVID-19 precautions and cut backs. But there are still movies under the stars (currently every other night). And at each pool there are still afternoon games and activities. Speaking of Disney pools, even the basic Value Resorts have themed pools. Each resort has one main themed pool, and the Moderates and above have pool slides.

Keister Coaster at Disney’s Boardwalk Pool

Your resort is your home base during your Walt Disney World vacation. You can mobile order from at least one quick service location at each Disney resort. And select resorts have table service restaurants that offer takeout via mobile ordering.

You can place your mobile order anywhere, anytime (during operating hours). Meaning you could be on the bus ride back to your resort, place the order, and potentially have your food ready for pick up as you arrive at the resort. We ordered breakfast at Caribbean Beach while at our room, and checked in while we were walking over. It was a lovely way to start the day.

Plant-Based Bounty Breakfast Platter
Seared Gnocci and Chocolate Flight To Go at The Wave

If you need to stock up on some basics Disney’s got that covered too. Most Disney resort merchandise shops have at least some groceries and basics available for purchase. In fact most of the items are not a major upcharge compared to local grocery store prices (the exception being alcohol).

Dry Groceries at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

What other benefits would you add to our list? Let us know in the comments!

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Born and raised in the land of sunshine and dreams come true, Dani is a proud Orlando Native who loves sharing her hometown with others. She's worked in nearly all of Orlando's theme parks, on board Disney Cruise Line, and in hotel management. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @thisfloridalife

9 thoughts on “Don’t Forget About These Benefits to Staying at a Disney World Hotel

  • You did a nice job on the article, but to me it highlighted how slim that benefits are now. Such a bummer. 🙁

  • It makes me think Disney’s going to start Early Theme Park Entry sooner rather than later. According to our touring plan software, that’s going to be a huge advantage to on-site guests (and a huge penalty for off-site guests).

  • These are nice perks that can be made for almost any hotel. Aside from the additional Disney-specific TV channels (which is not enough to draw me in), they’re not offering something that ONLY Disney hotels can provide. What set them apart was the Magical Express and the Extra Magic Hours. Now that they’re soon to be gone, I see the only thing that separates Disney from the others is the Disney bus service. Oh, and the cost. I think canceling those was a short-sighted mistake.

  • Isn’t it true that you can still make dining reservations for the whole length of your trip when staying on property?

  • Mobile ordering is for anyone, not just Disney hotel guests, since it charges a credit/debit card or gift card. Using your Magic Band to charge food and merchandise to your hotel room is only for Disney hotel guests.

    • Hey Sarah, yep – that is true. My point in including the mobile ordering in this list is as far as I am aware no “off property” hotels have a similar feature. So while anyone can use it, the Disney hotels are the only one with such a feature. I am a big fan of it. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment!

  • Not sure this is enough anymore. The death blow, I think, is the extra magic hours. I can understand the reasoning behind it but it completely undermines any push to get people to stay. Couple that with Magical Express ending and you might as well stay at a Good Neighbors or VRBO.

    • Yeah, definitely for many guests these little benefits are not enough to make up for what’s no longer offered. For other guests, these little differences can be helpful.

  • I wish Disney+ would add a Resort TV feed. I’d like to wake up and put on the daily schedule like I do when getting ready for the parks.
    Also, I’d love a nightly feed of fireworks when they come back to the parks.

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