When people think of a Disney Parks vacation, they immediately think of money! “How much will THAT cost me?” No doubt, a trip to Walt Disney World Resort can be expensive; but there are several ways to make the trip more affordable. Let me start with this: While I think you SHOULD stay at one of the Disney Resorts, you don’t have to stay at a Deluxe Resort to have a magical vacation! With three tiers of Resort hotel options, there is usually a room that can fit in the budget. Of course, staying off-site is also an option. I, personally, find that the perks of staying at a Value Resort help offset the savings those hotels provide.
Here is a list of all the Value Resorts that I will be discussing in this post:
- Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Ready to learn more about all the perks and value at these amazing resorts? Let’s dig right in!
Perk #1 – Disney’s Magical Express
If you are flying into Orlando International Airport (MCO), then Disney’s Magical Express, is really worth it’s weight in GOLD! I love jumping off the plane, skipping the luggage pick up and being immediately greeted by a Disney Cast Member. However, this is ONLY available to Walt Disney World guests staying on property, so it’s a GREAT way to save money on a rental car or a taxi to your hotel. No other hotel in the Disney area offers free shuttle service from the airport to hotel. So, even if you get a GREAT deal on the room off property- if you fly in, you’ll be spending that ‘saved’ money somewhere else.
DIStracted Tip: If your flight arrives after 10pm or before 5am, you will still be able to use the shuttle to the resort, however you will need to make plans to pick up your luggage.
Perk #2 – Buses
Buses… wait, didn’t we just discuss this? YES!
Disney also provides air-conditioned bus transportation to the four Theme Parks, Water Parks and Downtown Disney to those staying at one of the Walt Disney World Value Resorts. Even if you have your own car, it’s still a great service to have! Who wants to deal with getting lost while on the way to the Happiest Place on Earth? Again, this is a great savings when you don’t have to worry about paying for gas (and parking!) while visiting the parks.
Sure, you may not have the luxury of the Monorail or the charm of a boat to take you to your destination. However, I have found that the buses at Disney’s Pop Century and Disney’s Art of Animation are MUCH easier to deal with than those at the Deluxe resorts. Deluxe resorts usually share buses, so it can take much longer to get back to the resort after a long day in the park. Yes, the buses are crowded, but at least there aren’t any stops and the chance for more people to get on the bus. The exception to this is the All-Star Movies, Music, and Sports Resorts, which do share buses at times.
Perk #3 – Free Parking
I know, I know… I just told you how great it is to use the resort transportation system. However, did you know that you don’t have to pay to park at the Theme Parks if you are staying at a Disney Resort? So, if you really can’t stand the idea of ditching the car, you STILL save money by staying on property and using the perk of FREE parking! Currently, it cost $17 EACH DAY to park at the Theme Parks.
Perk #4 – Saving TIME
One way the Value Resorts are able to save you time is with Extra Magic Hours! This perk means that guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort are able to enter a park early or stay late depending on the schedule. This gives you extra time without all the crowds to get in that special ride or even that special pixie dusted character meeting.
Another way the value resorts are able to save you time? They are right there on the Disney Property. That means very little traffic to fight if you decide to take a mid-day break. My two kids- who are ages 3 & 6- still take naps each day! It’s so nice that we were able to save TIME in the parks and still get our naps in thanks to Perk #2! Those buses!! Plus, we have great themed pools, playgrounds, food courts and entertainment right at our own resort; so really, there is no reason to leave!
Perk #5 – Convenience
It’s worth the “extra” money at Disney Resorts for the early booking Advance Dining Reservations (ADR’s) and Fastpass+ (FP+) selections. On-property guests get to make their ADR’s at 180+10 days and FP+ are 60 days before their trip. Getting the best times and places really comes down to being one of the FIRST to make the reservation. If there is a meal you just HAVE to have or an attraction you just CANNOT miss, make this perk work in your favor!
Perk #6 – Family Suites
There are two Value Resorts that offer Family Suites at the Walt Disney World Resort! Disney’s Art of Animation and Disney’s All- Star Music offer suites that sleeps up to 6 guests. The family suites at each resort offer a separate bedroom, a pullout sofa, 2 bathrooms and a kitchenette. The Art of Animation Suites offer 3 themed choices (Finding Nemo, Cars and The Lion King). These rooms offer a king size bed in the bedroom, and kids can chose to sleep in either a sleeper sofa or the murphy bed. In my personal experience, the family suite is a GREAT option if you are traveling with a young child. Being able to enjoy watching television or read while your child is napping or going to bed early is a huge perk!
Yes, most of these perks are available to all Disney Resorts guests, but here you really get all the bang for your buck! When you do the math, a Disney Value Resort really IS a VALUABLE option to creating that once-in-a-lifetime-trip or that quick-weekend-getaway! My favorite value resort is Pop Century! All of my stays there have been wonderful. Do you have a favorite Value Resort? Share with me here in the comments!