What if I told you that by staying off site you were not taking the full advantage of your Disney trip?

Sure, there are plenty of off site options that are tempting because they are cheaper.
But wait! Let’s be honest. Is this truly getting you the ultimate Disney experience? NO!

I’m here to tell you why you should stay in the parks and the perks you’ll enjoy.

Walt Disney World captures serenity at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Photo credit: Ashley H

Oh gosh I can’t imagine not staying on site in a hotel. Just the distance itself is worth it to me. To be that close is awesome to me. We were on a bus to a park for at most 15 minutes and the location that the resort buses drop you off at are much closer to the park entrance than if you are transported by an off-site hotel or you drive yourself. The employees at each resort carry on the same Disney experience as you experience in the park…so you really do get the full effect!!” ~ Ashley H. Lewistown, Pa

Christmastime at WDW Animal Kingdom Lobby ~ Photo credit: Ashley H

Reason #1 You may lose the magic of your vacation…

What is the main reason why any of us, young or older, go to a Disney Park or destination? Go ahead…. I’ll let you ponder it for a minute. THE MAGICAL EXPERIENCE!!!

You won’t find any more magic and wonder than when staying on site. My family stays at the Grand California Hotel and Spa when we visit Disneyland and I cannot begin to even put into words how much more magical (sorry! There’s no other word for it) the experience is.

Morning balcony view from Grand California Hotel looking into California Adventure Park. The “private hotel guest only” access to the park can be seen mid-left in the picture.

When you’re walking from breakfast to the parks, the parks to your room or anywhere in between your thoughts and emotions are still wrapped up in all things Disney because of the decor and ambience each hotel will put on for you. At Disneyland’s GCH soft Disney melodies can be heard from a magical playing piano that sits right in the middle of the rustic lobby.

Checking in never felt more exciting then when your children get to occupy their busy minds watching classic Mickey shows on the tv by the fireplace and Beauty and the Beast plays in the background.

Red depicts the path from the Grand California Hotel to the two main entrances into the park (in yellow).

Chimes from the cast members ticket scanners can be heard as visitors enter the park from the convenient entrance right outside the hotel! Music from California Adventure and Soaring High welcomes you on the balcony of your room by staying on site.
Characters can be spotted every morning through the windows in Storytellers Cafe for those enjoying the character breakfast.

You simply cannot do this if you’re not staying on site.

Reason #2 Your feet and tired children will thank you!

You’ve just enjoyed a lovely day of fastpass holding, line standing, ground shaking, roller coaster riding fun and literally are limping back to your room before that fireworks show later.

Imagine having to walk all the way out to parking lot with kids, strollers, balloons in tow for what seems like a mile. Or having to find a place to park yourself in the meantime (usually not sitting and relaxing like you would be in a hotel room) because you aren’t staying on site.

What my family chose to do was take advantage of the early magic hour (where you get into the park an hour earlier than general admission holders) and got up super early each morning! Because of this, by noon each day we were all dragging a bit and needed a pick me up.

With the help of Von’s Grocery Delivery Service we spent everyday in our hotel room or on the balcony eating lunch and cat napping before we hit the parks again for another 6 or so hours. Trust me, we LOVED it! Even our 10 year old needed an hour or two to just chill.

Reason #3 The proximity to shopping and eating

Speaking for Disneyland in particular here…

Disneyland Hotel and the Grand California Hotel & Spa have easy, convenient, direct entrances into Downtown Disney (you literally walk out of your hotel entrance straight into Downtown Disney).  Insider Tip: You do not need to access the parks to get into Downtown Disney. If you’re a hotel guest you can come and go as you please even if you do not have a park ticket yet.

Balcony view from Disneyland Hotel looking into the entrance of Downtown Disney (under Mickey’s Magic hat). Photo credit: Debra D

Here you’ll be immersed in shops from Build-a-Bear and LegoWorld to more Disney specific shops like The World of Disney (one of our favorite shops) and Anna & Elsa’s Boutique. Not to mention all of the dining options, pin trading booths, and a luxury movie theatre!

LegoWorld display in Downtown Disney

Reason #4 Nighttime Entertainment

Does your family need a break from the parks??

Each night the hotels traded turns on whom was hosting the entertainment for the night. One night Paradise Pier would have a poolside movie of Mulan and the next night Disneyland Hotel would do Aladdin and a poolside party!

My children loved this idea! Not only did it give us outside options from the park but it also gave us something to do if we were too tired to stay in the parks after dinner but didn’t want to “resign” to our rooms just yet.

Resorts at WDW boast similar features and some even have boat rentals and tree house type activities for kids!

Personalized room keys!

What questions can I help answer for you about staying on site?

 

 

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