Where Do I Go When the Park Closes? Lodging for the Young Traveler

I understand that some of you out there have the great fortune of hopping in your cars and going the few miles to the Magic Kingdom to work or to scan your season passes. Most of us, however, don’t live fifteen minutes away and after flying, driving, training, or magic carpeting to Lake Buena Vista, we have to decide where to sleep and store our crap.

It may by tempting to to choose the Motel 6 but when you end up having to consider rental cars, paying for parking, navigating, and whether accepting the smoking room is okay or not, you may choose again. The truth is for the most convenient and best Disney experience we ultimately have to give in to Disney’s brainwashing and stay on property. When all is considered the only downfall that I can possibly think of to staying at a Disney resort hotel is that you will end up paying a little more per night. The plethora of benefits definitely outweigh this single factor and can really assist in making your Walt Disney World vacation outstanding:

1. When you stay at a Disney Resort Hotel the option for seemingly free transportation to and from the Orlando airport is offered. If you check bags you won’t even have to worry about them when you get off the plane. Disney will put them on the bus for you.

2. Disney Resort guests receive a “Key to the World” card that provides a heap of convenience. This card is set as your room key, park tickets, and can be linked to and used in lieu of your credit card.

3.When you buy your hotel room and park tickets together each day is slightly cheaper than if you were to buy at the gate. Also, as you add more days, you save more and more money per day.

4. Disney Dining Plans can be added to a hotel and ticket package. While I truly don’t believe that you’re saving money by using the Disney Dining Plan, the idea of paying for everything in advance is nice.

5. The staff at a Disney resort are an oasis of knowledge and will devote themselves to giving you a more enjoyable stay.  While Marge at the Days Inn is grumpy that she made it to Orlando and all she got was this stupid name tag.

6. Resort guests get the opportunity to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours. One park each day will open early or stay open later so that those with a Key to the World card can enjoy even more Disney.

7. When you stay at a Disney hotel you’re getting all Disney all the time. Which is why we hitch hiked here, isn’t it?

8. Finally (and the one, sole reason why you should stay at a Disney hotel), Disney Resort Hotel guests get frequent and reliable (heh) transportation to and from the parks.

I personally believe that choosing a resort option while in Disney is the hardest, most aggravating part for the young tourist. When deciding on where to stay I believe that there are several factors that you should take into consideration. Pick and choose which of these are most important to you and which are better left for Marge and her twelve children or Amber and her velvet track-suited boyfriend.

*Transportation options (bus, boat, or monorail).

*Proximity to particular parks (you may want a quicker ride to Animal Kingdom, for example).

*On-property restaurants.

*Theme.

*Number of children.

*Number of old biddies and sugar daddies.

*Other on-property features and whether or not you actually plan to spend any time at your resort.

*Price.

When looking at your options Disney has already grouped each of its resorts into one of the following categories:

*Deluxe Villa from $313/night. Ideal for larger parties or those that want to spend a larger amount of time relaxing and enjoying Marco and his magical hands.

*Deluxe Resorts from $279/night. Similar to the villas but you’re getting a hotel room instead of a villa…

*Moderate Resorts from $162/night. Luxurious, entertaining, and a bit more family and budget friendly.

*Value Resorts from $85/night. Cheesy in theme but definitely worth the price tag.

*Campground from $48/night. Cheap, yes, but you’re at a campground…

Pricing depends on what time of year it is and as resorts go up in price they also go up in quality, amenities, and luxury. This is the point where you really need to decide what’s important to you. If cheese plates and a higher thread count to your sheets is what you deem necessary and you have the money to spend why not indulge in a Deluxe Resort? If you’re truly trying to save money, simply want to spend time in the parks, and don’t mind giant guitars or footballs out your window, settle for a Value Resort.

Disney has broken their resort system down by quality but I’m going to take this opportunity to break the system down by what us Disney fans are truly looking for and recommend certain hotels for certain occasions.

If you’re traveling with a group and money isn’t an object, stay in Disney’s Beach Club Resort or in a Beach Club Villa. The theme is pleasing for most and a villa will give you more space.

If you’re traveling with a group and want to save money, try Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. The price is good, the pool is wet, and you and your girlfriends can gush over the Little Mermaid theme. Groups can also choose to stay in a larger suite.

If you’re traveling as a couple and money isn’t an object, The Boardwalk Inn or The Grand Floridian are decent options. They offer a rather nice romantic feel without too many children running around or adjusting ill-fitting bathing suits.

If you’re traveling as a couple and want to save money, choose either Disney’s Campground or an All-Star Resort. The Campground will allow you to save money and be close and snuggley but be forewarned that you’re in a tent. In the dirt. For however long you plan to stay. An All-Star Resort is by no means romantic but you’ll save big bucks and get to know each other all over again as you cackle at the ridiculous themes.

If you’re looking for cheap and romantic, try Dollywood.

Happy planning!

Magically Yours,

Allison Wonderland

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