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Facts and Tips for Disney Resort Hotels
All Tips on this Page Apply to Walt Disney World Only (Other Disney resorts around the world have different systems)
Disney Resort guests (onsite guests) have the option of free transportation to the parks and Disney Springs on Disney buses, monorails, boats, or skyliners. Each Disney resort hotel has different transportation options, such as Art of Animation and Pop Century offering skyliner transportation to Hollywood Studios and Epcot, or monorail transportation for Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Contemporary. However, buses are the most common type of Disney resort transportation to the theme parks. To learn more about bus transportation and their routes, visit Disney’s official website. It’s also helpful to know that some resort hotels share buses with other resorts (such as All Star Music often shares with All Star Movies or All Star Sports), and those resorts with shared buses can sometimes end up having a longer wait time due to extra stops.
Disney Resorts offer many services and experiences that are unique to Disney hotels (some are even free!) Some hotels have specific Disney theming, and others offer one-of-a-kind experiences unique to that specific resort, such as drawing classes at Art of Animation with a Disney animator or songs around the campfire at the Fort Wilderness campsite. Resort hopping (visiting other resorts) is encouraged, which means that you may be able to participate in a lot of these unique offerings even if you aren’t staying at that particular resort. All Disney resorts also feature at least one pool, a restaurant/counter service food, a souvenir shop, a kid’s playground, an arcade, and other fun activities depending on the time of year or special events. Be sure to check out the amenities and activities offered at the different Disney Resorts before you book to see which is the best fit for you and your family (also be aware that while resort hopping is encouraged, pool hopping is not allowed).
If you fly into the Orlando Airport, Disney’s Magical Express bus will transport you to and from your Disney resort hotel for free. This only works if you are staying onsite and flying into the Orlando Airport, so if you stay offsite or arrive a different way, you will need to find your own transportation for your entire trip. To learn more about how “Disney’s Magical Express” works, check out Disney’s official webpage.
Disney resort guests get complimentary standard color MagicBands, or they can upgrade to certain designs for a discounted price.At this time, any guest staying on Disney property can receive free plain colored MagicBands with their resort stay. Onsite guests now also have to option to choose from a select variety of designs and themes for an additional $10 per band should they choose to do so, though this is not required. The MagicBand is worn on the wrist like a watch (or if you have a second generation MagicBand you also have the option of popping out the center piece/token and placing it in a lanyard-type holder or keychain holder). Your MagicBand can then serve as your Disney Resort room key, meaning that each person in your party automatically has their own room key, and well as be used to make purchases at your resort should you choose to link it to your credit card. To learn more about how MagicBands work, check out Disney’s official MagicBand webpage.
Walt Disney World resort hotel guests can reserve their first three FastPasses up to 60 days before their arrival date and for up to ten days of their trip. This means that you have 60 days before your arrival to reserve three FastPasses for each day you have park tickets for up to ten days (if you stay longer than ten days, you will to be able to reserve FastPasses for your remaining trip days at that time).
Extra Magic Hours (and sometimes EXTRA Extra Magic Hours) are available for Disney Resort guests. For those staying onsite, Disney often offers extra hours either before a park opens or after closing exclusively for resort guests to enjoy the parks (meaning those staying offsite or driving in for the day will not be allowed in to the park for these hours). This schedule is ever changing from week-to-week and only certain parks have Extra Magic Hours on certain days, so check the schedule online and each day at your Disney Resort (the schedule should be posted somewhere in the lobby). A new offering this year that came along with the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is EXTRA Extra Magic Hours, which allows guests into certain parks even earlier than usual.
Certain Disney hotels do allow dogs to stay for a fee. There are specific requirements for bringing dogs to the resort hotels that offer this option, so you will want to research this ahead of time if you plan to bring a pet or if you would rather not stay in a hotel that allows pets.
Disney World has special offers for veterans and those who are currently in the armed forces. Military personnel may receive certain resort rooms at a discount, or the option to stay in a special resort (called Shades of Green) which is reserved only for Service Members and their families and located near the Magic Kingdom.
You may have the option of sending your purchases from the parks to your Disney hotel to pick up later. There are some requirements for this service (specifically if you would like it sent to your resort near the end of your stay), so be sure to check into this ahead of time to see if it is something you would like to do and what the requirements are.