Cheers Sippin Gypsy Travelers! This post comes to you while enjoying my Sippin Gypsy Jalapeno Margarita inspired by one of the best Jalapeno Margaritas from La Cava del Tequila at EPCOT at Walt Disney World Florida.
The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando Florida is massive, actually its own township (Reedy Creek)! One could plan for a week vacation at the Walt Disney Resort and still not exhaust everything there is to do, see and taste on this Florida Property. Having been a pass holder for more than 6 years, a regular visitor for more than 30 years and a mom that has to make magic happen with only pennies to spend, I wanted to share my tips for getting the most out of your Walt Disney World experience in Florida. I have broken up the Orlando Disney Experience into three separate posts:
Cocktails and Cuisine
Each one offers a variety of tips ranging from indulging in the luxury offered while visiting Walt Disney World to money saving tips to stretch your dollar and make magic happen with pennies! I'd also like to take a moment and ensure my readers understand that I am in no way affiliated with Disney. These tips and suggestions have come from my own personal experiences over the years. So without further ado here are my tips for where to stay while on Disney property.
The Walt Disney World Website does a really good job of breaking down resorts by price range. Prices will vary based on the time of year and events hosted within the parks. Prices are usually highest near Easter, spring break and the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival as well as the December and New Years holiday season.
There are perks to staying on Disney Property that could outweigh staying offsite to save money.
1. Guests who stay on property have transportation from the airport to Disney World. The Disney Magical Express will pick you up from Orlando International Airport (MCO) and take you directly to your specific resort then back to the airport at the end of your vacation.
2. Each of the Resorts offer food and dining options as well as a themed pool or pools and various activity areas ranging from boat rentals to fishing depending on the resort.
3. Resort guests have at least one form of transportation directly to the various parks, some resorts are within walking distance of a park or offer a relaxing boat ride.
4. Resort guests get "Extra Magic Hours" where they have access to one specific park per day for an additional hour that general guests do not have access to.
5. Early access to locking in Fast Pass Experiences. The Walt Disney World Resort offers Fast Pass planning to help you get the most out of each day in the park. Guests can start out with three Fast Passes per day to one park. I advise you as to which past passes to get in my Walt Disney World Parks Post here. Even as a pass holder, I take advantage of the Fast Pass program. It allows my kids and I to walk onto a ride with a minimal wait time allowing up to see more in our day and not be so exhausted waiting for hours in the hot sun.
5. The Disney Experience. The customer service level at Disney World is unparalleled to most other businesses. It is so pleasant to hear "welcome home!" and receive warm smiles and helpful hands at any hour of the day while on property. As cliche as it sounds, good customer service can make or break your vacation. Complaints are few and far between, and having at least 10 friends who work for Disney World directly, I know their hearts and sincerity regarding passion for their job and making each experience as magical as possible for every guest they come in contact with.
I do offer suggestions for other beautiful hotel properties in Central Florida. Some of them offer a shuttle service to Disney. Check them out on my Sippin Gypsy Tips for Restin: Orlando post
Each Walt Disney World Resort hotel is themed. That theme is painstakingly carried through to every detail from the art and decor in the lobby to each individual room. You will find the music that plays and plants and foliage planted on each property varies to support the theme of that resort. If you're traveling with several family members or friends, consider the villas. Many of the properties offer vacation villas that can sleep up to 9 adults. While these Villas may be more expensive, it truly is like a home away from home with a full kitchen and washer and dryer in each unit.
As I stated before, the Walt Disney World website makes it very simple to select your hotel package based on your budget and desired theme/experience. But before you click through to their website, here are my thoughts and tips for different travel celebrations:
No kids, just you and your lover. You are going to enjoy a few days at the parks but also want a few days to just enjoy each other.
1.Grand Floridian Resort
One of Disney's luxury resorts. The Grand Floridian transports you back into time to indulge in Victorian elegance. This property offers one of the top dining experiences in Florida, Victoria and Albert's. Guests also can indulge at the Senses Spa and rent a cabana poolside while soaking up the Florida sun. Guests also enjoy a beautiful display of fireworks with a romantic view of the castle at Magic Kingdom.
2. Animal Kingdom Lodge
Another one of Disney's luxury resorts. The Animal Kingdom Lodge gives you the unique experience likened to an African Safari. Many of the rooms offer views of sweeping plains where giraffes, zebra and other wildlife roam. The Lodge offers a truly fun dining experience at Sanaa where not only is the food incredible, but you get to learn about the animals on property during your dining experience.
3. Caribbean Beach Resort
Sometimes we need a romantic getaway, but we want to stretch our dollars a bit further. My husband and I had booked a few times to stay at the Caribbean Beach Resort. The resort makes you feel like your on an tropical getaway. Not only does the resort offer one huge pool with a fun Caribbean theme, but each of the clusters of rooms has a smaller basic pool. This was nice to catch a few rays in the morning before hitting the park. Most of the families flock to the main pool, so these smaller pools were quiet and refreshing. In the evening we cuddled up on a hammock on one of the sandy beaches and just watched the sky change with the setting sun...so romantic!
My FIRST VISIT and I want to pack in as much as I can:
With or without kids, maybe its just you and your traveling companion or the whole family. You saved up for this Disney World getaway and you want to be positioned to get the most out of your stay.
1. Boardwalk Inn or Beach Club
One of Disney's luxury resorts, but set within walking distance or a short, not too crowded boat ride to both EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, these resorts make it easy to get into the parks early and get back to your room for an afternoon hiatus before going back out for fireworks and the rides again at night. The Boardwalk also has Jellyrolls for live music in the evenings which is a fun alternative to Disney Springs.
2.Coronado Springs Resort
This is one of Disney's 'moderate' resorts (referring to pricing). While you will have to take a bus or enlist the Minnie Van services through Lyft, The resort is centrally located between all the parks. The pool is spacious and a favorite with my kids.
3. Disney All Star Resorts
There are three All Start theme options: Sports, Music and Movies. Usually all three are priced the same and are usually the best priced on property Disney Resorts, so you pick based on what theme would interest you and your traveling party the most. Again you will have to take the bus or use your Lyft App for the Minnie Van service to get to any parks, but they are a great price, fun and a great way to stay on property and get the most out of your experience.
Its all about the kids!
I wan't this Disney Vacation to be magical and memorable for my little prince or princess.
1. Polynesian Village Resort
One of Disney's luxury resorts, the Polynesian Village Resort places you right on the path for the monorail for easy access to Magic Kingdom and EPCOT as well as bus or Minnie Van by Lyft to the other parks. At night its fun to see the fireworks from Magic Kingdom with a memorable view of the castle. The resorts around the Bay Lake get enjoy the Electrical Water Pageant.
2. The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort
Such a memorable experience to spend the nights 'glamping"! The cabins are each separate and really transport you into the majestic forests for quality time to unplug and spend time together. The Fort Wilderness Property offers convenient boat access to Magic Kingdom, but then requires use of buses or the Minnie Van by Lyft to get to the other parks. Disney can even help you stock up in the kitchen before you arrive.
3. Animal Kingdom Lodge
Listed above in my Romantic Getaway suggestion, this is also a great place for families. There is something spectacular and memorable about watching children enjoy wildlife. Waking up in the morning to a giraffe spying at you is something that will live in their memory forever! My kids packed night vision binoculars and had a good time trying to catch the critters in action after dark.
4. Caribbean Beach Resort
Again, I know I suggested this location for a Romantic Getaway...however the Caribbean Beach Resort offers rooms that are pirate themed. The beds sat in carved wood frames that felt like a pirate ship. 5 years later my kids still talk about their stay here. You have book these rooms specifically.
5. Art of Animation Resort
Have a little one that draws their favorite character or watches the same beloved movie every chance they get!? This was a creative resort for Disney to offer. Most of the rooms on property are suites, but please note this is not like the vacation villas suggested above. The villas offer separate rooms. These suites offer ample sleeping for up to 6 adults, but by way of the sleeper sofa converting into a bed. Ideal for families with multiple children who really want to submerge into their favorite movie.
I've visited Disney before... I love going to the parks and I've stayed at some of these before...give me a new experience!!
1. Tree House Villas at Saratoga Springs Resort
What an absolute treat! A getaway in the tree tops, with spacious well appointed accommodations. It was so much fun to come back from the parks, relax together on the patio while enjoying a drink or three then heading to Disney Springs for dinner and more cocktails. The Tree House Villas are pricey, but this is a great spot for two small families traveling together or a group of friends wanting a memorable Disney getaway.
2. Port Orleans Riverside
This moderately priced resort quickly became one of our favorite spots. Tucked away with lots of trees for shade, this resort offers "Royal Guest Rooms' that celebrate Disney's royalty. More an adventure for traveling parties that include children, this is a great way to indulge your little princess while escaping to the quiet backwaters of the bayou.