The Benefits of Staying at an Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

With over 450 hotels and resort in the greater Orlando area, there are numerous hotel options for vacationers to choose from when visiting the Walt Disney World.  These properties range from economy priced, limited-service hotels to massive resorts with extensive amenities include on-site golf courses, resort pools with water parks and numerous dining options.

The Walt Disney World Resort itself also features more than 30 hotels with over 30,000 individual guest rooms.  These resort hotels are located directly on-site at Disney World and are among the closet in proximity to the four theme parks, the two water parks and Disney Springs.

In this article we will discuss the numerous benefits that guests receive when staying on-site at a Disney Hotel and Resort at of spring 2022.  Some of these benefits are extended to non-Disney owned hotels like those in the Epcot Resorts area, the Bonnet Creek Resort and the Disney Springs area hotels.  It is important to note that these benefits are constantly changing so we will do our best to keep this post as up to date as possible.

Click here to see our Complete Guide to the Walt Disney World Hotels & Resorts

The benefits of staying on-site at Walt Disney World include:

  • Complimentary Resort-Wide Transportation
  • Early Theme Park Entry
  • Extended Theme Park Hours (select hotels)
  • Complimentary Parking at Disney parks
  • Discounted MagicBand Purchases
  • Advanced Lighting Lane Access
  • Disney Dining Plans

Complimentary Resort-Wide Transportation

The transportation system at the Walt Disney World Resort is extensive and transports guests from the resort hotels to each of the four theme parks, the two water parks and Disney Springs.  Guests travel for free by shuttle bus, boat (water taxi), Disney’s Monorail or the Disney Skyliner.

Disney’s Monorail system runs from the Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.  There is a separate Monorail line that can be accessed from the Transportation and Ticket Center that takes guests to the main entrance at EPCOT

In addition to the Monorail, there is extensive water taxi service to the theme parks and attractions from a number of resort hotels.  Water taxi service is available as follows:

The Magic Kingdom

Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney Springs

  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside and French Quarter

Another great way to travel between certain hotels and the theme parks is the Disney Skyliner which is gondola type transportation system that runs between the following hotels and theme parks:

  • Epcot (International Gateway entrance)
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort

Early Theme Park Entry

Guests staying at any of the on-site Disney resort hotels can enter all four of the Disney theme parks 30 minutes before the scheduled opening. This benefit not only includes the 32 Disney owned resorts and hotels but also those as follows:

Guests using the early park entry benefit should not that not all rides and attractions are available during the early entry period.  Those that plan to be available for guests at each park include:

 Magic Kingdom

  • “it’s a small world”
  • Astro Orbiter
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  • Seven Dwarf Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • The Barnstormer
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
  • Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

Click here to see out Top 10 best rides and attractions at the Magic Kingdom


Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continues
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (TM)
  • Toy Story Mania!

Click here to see our Top 10 best rides and attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Extended Theme Park Hours (select hotels)

Hotel guests staying at Disney’s Deluxe Resort hotels or Deluxe Resort Villas get  extended theme park access during the evening hours in select theme parks during select nights.  The very special benefit is typically only available on for a single individual theme park for two additional hours.  Only select attractions will be available during this two hour period.

Click here to see the complete list of Disney Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villa Resorts.  In addition to the Deluxe resorts & villas include the following hotels:

Complimentary Parking at the Disney Parks

If guests choose to take their own vehicle to any of the Disney theme parks or water parks instead of the complimentary Walt Disney World Transportation, standard parking charges will be waived.

Discounted MagicBand Purchases

Guests staying at any of the Disney resort hotels can purchase MagicBands at discounted prices up to 6 days prior to arrival.  MagicBands have a number of different colors & themes and can be used to:

  • In place of a room key (unlock hotel room)
  • Enter theme parks and water parks (valid admission required)
  • Purchase food and merchandise (with a valid credit card linked to the MagicBand)
  • Connect Disney PhotoPass images to Disney account

Advanced Lightning Lane Access

Lightning Lane entrances are part of the new Disney Genie system.  Lightning Lanes offer guests the ability to get quicker access to some of Disney’s most popular rides and attractions.

Hotel guests can make their first individual Lightning Lake purchase as early as 7:00 AM on each day of the visit while non-hotel guests can make their first purchase when the park opens.  For up to two attractions per day, hotel guests can select a one-hour arrival window on an eligible attraction (one attraction at a time).

In addition to the Disney owned hotels, guests staying at the following hotels have access to this benefit.

Disney Dining Plans

While not currently operating at this time, Disney Dining Plans are a great way for guests to budget what they spend on meals during their vacation.  Dining plans essentially let guests prepay for meals and snacks at a number of quick-service and full-service dining venues throughout the Walt Disney World resort.

This exclusive benefit is only available to hotel guests.

Jerry Joyce

Jerry Joyce has been a Florida resident since 1988 and has lived in a variety of places in the South Florida area. Jerry is an avid boater & water sports enthusiast, beach aficionado, a lover of great food, muscle car fan and a theme park annual passholder for many years. Some of his favorite places in Florida include the Florida Keys, Walt Disney World, Cedar Key, the Loxahatchee River, St. Augustine and Ten Thousand islands.

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