I was tucking away some mementos from Circle Square Ranch into our kid’s scrapbooks (you do that too right?) and I found our vacation photos from our family vacation to Disney World. After flipping through the pages all those fun memories came rushing back.
Mouse ears? Churros? Dole whips? Check, check and Check!
We had an unforgettable vacation!
It’s hard for me to believe that it’s almost been two years since our first visit to the Magic Kingdom. Looking back I remember all the fun we had but it’s easy to forget it takes a ton of time and hundreds of Google searches to plan a family’s first trip to Walt Disney World. With four parks, two water parks, a massive downtown district and 31 different lodging options, it’s not unexpected to feel like you need a Disney vacation from simply planning one!
Friends, family, and Disney World regulars will happily offer up their favorite meals, rides, and experiences. Some of the best tips I’ve received have been from other parents who have vacationed in Disney World so, I have listed 10 reasons why we chose to stay at a Walt Disney Hotel Resort.
10 Reasons to stay at Walt Disney World Resort
1. Disney’s Magical Express. Well, this is a logical kick off to our list. One thing that I LOVE about staying at a Walt Disney World® Resort hotel is Disney’s Magical Express! This is a free service that is located at the Orlando International Airport; Disney has its own little hub at the airport complete with Cast Members ready to assist you and large, gorgeous busses ready to whisk you away to your resort. If you fly certain airlines, Disney will even arrange for your bags to be taken to your hotel! But even if you’re not arriving on one of the designated airlines, just grab your bags at baggage claim, take them with you and they’ll load them on the bus and get them where you’re going. I don’t know about you, but transport to and from the airport is always a huge fuss for me, so having all of this taken care of just starts the vacation off on the right foot!
2. Transportation. While we’re on the subject, overall transportation is a HUGE reason to stay at a Walt Disney World® Resort hotel! Once you’ve arrived at your hotel, you’re set in terms of transportation. Depending on which hotel you stay at, you can make it to ALL of the theme parks via either the bus, monorail, or boat! It’s so nice to not have to worry about how you’re going to get around, especially if you have kids in tow.
3.Extra Magic Hours. I realize to this point we haven’t even talked about the actual hotels yet and how AMAZING all of the Walt Disney World® Resort hotels truly are, but I promise you, we’ll get there. But something I need to mention here at the top of our list is Extra Magic Hours, what I think is one of the coolest perks of staying at a Walt Disney World® Resort! During Extra Magic Hours, guests of select Walt Disney World® hotels can enjoy time in the parks before they open and after they close! It’s such an amazing perk, especially if you want to start the day early and beat the heat, or hit certain attractions before the park is open to the public or even close down the park.
4. Disney Dining Plans. Dining plans let you pre-pay for snacks, Quick-Service meals and Table Service restaurants throughout Walt Disney World Resort so it’s easy to find a great place to eat and they have plans to fit your travel style and budget.
5. Magic bands — I wasn’t sure what to expect with the magic bands, but they ended up being amazing. You get one for every member of your family and you can customize your color using the My Disney Experience website. The magic bands are your room key, ticket into the park, fast pass holder, and your money….all rolled up into one magical band. Besides picking your favorite color, there are plenty of charms and decals at DisneyWorld, online, and Etsy to customize them even more.
6. Theming. Ok, now we’re finally getting to the fun stuff actually AT the Walt Disney World® Resort hotels! From Value, all the way up to the Deluxe Hotels, the theming of the Walt Disney World® Resort hotels is top notch, any guesses where we called “home” while we visited?The big blue world of Nemo and friends, the Pride Lands of Africa, under the sea in Ariel’s grotto, a super-charged adventure through Radiator Springs — they all come to life for vacationers at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort at Walt Disney World Resort. Each of four distinctly designed wings celebrates rich storytelling, spirited characters, original sketches and playfulness with colorful icons and whimsical theming inspired by classic Disney and Disney•Pixar films.
At Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, stately southern mansions, rustic bayou dwellings, and ornate row-house buildings are recalled at a 3,056-room resort that features two “regions” — the French Quarter and Riverside. Southern architecture creates the setting for romance amid trees and flowers. The resort offers a step back in time into the heart and soul of the Southern region of our country.
Disney’s BoardWalk revives and energizes the mid-Atlantic water-front villages of the 1940s. Guests walk along the lively waterfront promenade, they can stroll into the shops and enjoy the unusual vendors, or dine at one of three restaurants or experience entertainment found nowhere else, like the up-to-the- minute sports action at the ESPN Club or the hip sounds at Atlantic Dance Hall.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, a deluxe resort, which opened April 2001, showcases the wonder and romance of Africa, from the hand-carved furnishings and the gourmet cuisine served in its three restaurants to the splendor of a 46-acre savanna around the resort where animals roam freely. Disney Imagineers visited more than 20 African lodges for inspiration and research when designing the resort.
Which Walt Disney World ® Resort did we vacationed at?
8. Cast Members. The Cast Members at Walt Disney World® Resort truly bring the magic, and if you stay at a Walt Disney World® hotel you have access to them around the clock! We had the best experience and I know that so much of that is because of the labor of love that Disney Cast Members put into their job. And we’re thankful for it because our experiences were truly magical!
9. Activities. Outside of just enjoying the outdoor spaces at each Walt Disney World® hotel, there are a number of activities that guests can enjoy! From pools to arcades to movies under the stars there is so much to see and do! The hotels have kid-friendly amenities like Kids’ Clubs and babysitting services so you can have some time alone. Disney World has five golf courses and 11 fabulous spas and fitness centers.
10. A vacation for Everyone, Not Just the Kids. When you and the kids enter the gates to Disney World, which spans 40 square miles (about the size of San Francisco), you are literally entering another world – one that is perfect for kids. Everything is family-friendly, from all the kid-friendly attractions to the on-site resorts, restaurants, and shops. Disney World appeals to all ages, nationalities, and races – in other words, to the “kid” in everyone!
So there you have it – our 10 Reasons to Stay at Walt Disney World® Resort! And if we haven’t convinced you by now that you should stay, I’m not sure what will! I know for our family, there’s nowhere else we’d rather be.