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Staying off property at Disney World
Picture from Magical Vacation homes. This is our favorite place to stay!

Can I tell you a secret? We usually stay off property when we go to Disney World. For some reason, this bother some people. They feel like you don’t get the “full Disney experience” unless you stay on property, but I disagree. Staying off property at Disney World can be wonderful! You can still get the full Disney experience by staying off property. I actually think many people can have a better over all experience by staying off property. For more DisneyWorld planning help, check out my Complete DisneyWorld Planning Guide!

Pros To Staying On Property

Sure, staying on property has some really great benefits. Disney has some of the best resorts in the world. The pools(at most of the resorts) are great! You can use the Disney’s magical express to get you to and from the Orlando airport for free. You can usually book your fastpasses earlier when you are staying on property(Fastpasses are not available now due to Covid 19). Also, you usually get to access to extra magic hours(Not right now, due to Covid 19). You get free magic bands that you can use throughout the property. Lastly, you can pay for the Disney dining plan(again, it’s not available now because of the pandemic).

Cons To Staying On Property

The rooms on Disney properties are small. In fact, if you have more than 4 people in your group, you will probably need two rooms or you’ll have to dish out more money for a larger family suite. Family suites are limited and hard to reserve, so chances are that will not be an option for you.

Transportation to and and from the Disney parks is very crowded. You should plan on waiting upwards of 30 minutes or more just to get on the bus, shuttle, skyliner or monorail to take you to the parks.

You’ll need to purchase all your meals. There’s no kitchens in most of the rooms and Disney doesn’t offer a free breakfast, so you’ll need to dish out more money for 3 squares a day. If you have a larger family, this adds up quickly!

Pros To Staying Off Property

You’ll most likely pay less for your hotel staying off property and get more amenities and a nicer room. Staying off property doesn’t mean you’ll be staying in a sketchy room with bed bugs. You can find lots of nice hotels around Disney World. In fact, some of the best luxury hotels in Orlando are located off property. If you go with a value room on the Disney property, it’s going to be pretty basic. You’d save money and have a nicer room by staying in a value hotel off property.

Many of the off site properties offer a free breakfast. Or, if you stay in a house, you’ll have a kitchen where you can make your own meals. This is a huge money saver! On property breakfasts cost our family of 6 about $75. Yikes! Plus, by eating quickly in a hotel or house we save ourselves lots of time. Then, we can get to the parks in time for rope drop!

If you stay in a house you’ll be getting so much more space! We rent a house near Disney World(10 minute drive) that had 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, a private pool and hot tub, full kitchen, a game room and a movie theater room. So much space for our family to spread out! Plus, it cost us the same as staying on property.

Cons Of Staying Off Property

You’ll most likely need to rent a car. Although this is a con for many people, for us it’s a pro. I like the freedom of having a car to run to the grocery store or grab fast food after we leave the parks. Plus, we can drive ourselves to the parks each day. This means we don’t have to wait in long lines for Disney transportation and actually end up getting into the parks much earlier than on property guests.

You will need to pay for parking. Parking is about $25. This doesn’t bother me though because I saved so much money feeding my kids cereal before we left!

You don’t get free magic bands when you stay off property. Magic bands can be purchased online though(which we have done). You can reuse them for your next trip too. Magic bands aren’t much use right now with all the covid restrictions and no fast passes available.

Do your research

Before you rush to book your room on property, do some research. See what’s available around the parks. Staying off property at Disney World might be right for your family too. Figure out what is important to your family. Our family always has a better vacation when we’re not on top of each other and sharing one bathroom, so renting a house has been amazing for us! Our favorite place to rent from is here. If you tell them Melissa Hamblin sent you they will give you a 5% discount. Check prices and amenities and see what’s best for your family. Don’t feel pressure to stay on property.

I hope that gives you something to think about when you’re planning your trip. It might even save you some money! If you’re looking to save money, make sure you book your tickets through my friends at getawaytoday. They have the very best prices around!

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