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Disney Resorts: What You Need to Know for a Magical Stay

The fantastic resorts at Walt Disney World are part of the magic. They provide a place to rest, great entertainment, dining, and magic. We want you to have the most fantastic stay, so we offer a quick list of what you need to know when staying at a Disney resort.

Remember these things as you plan your stay at Walt Disney World.

Disney Value Resorts Family Suites
Credit: Disney

Tip One: Choose the Right Amenities for Your Family

Walt Disney World offers three different resort categories for guests to choose from for their stay. Dig into what each type provides to help determine what will work best for your family.

As you narrow down your resort options, ensure you know what amenities are essential to your group. This will allow you to find a resort that fits your budget but also meets the needs of your group.

We have a great post HERE that does an excellent job of breaking down the differences between Disney resort categories. Use it as a starting point to help guide you in your decision-making. Remember, just because someone loves a Disney resort for their family doesn’t mean it will be perfect for yours.

Family dining at BOG at Magic Kingdom
Family dining at BOG at Magic Kingdom

Tip Two: Make Your Dining Reservations

For those guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, you can make all your dining reservations 60 days before check-in. Making them for your whole stay is a huge advantage to those staying off-property.

Popular restaurants, such as Space 200, O’hana, and Cinderella’s Royal Table, book up two months ahead. The ability to book your whole stay 60 days ahead of time gives you a better chance at snagging those hard-to-get reservations. If you can plan to enjoy those meals towards the end of your stay, you will have an even better chance of success.

Tip Three: Use Online Check-in

Disney now offers direct-to-room service for guests staying at their resorts. By completing online check-in before your vacation, you can bypass the check-in desk and be ready to head right to the magic.

Disney will keep you up to date via text messaging regarding your room status. Once it is ready, use your MagicBand+ or the My Disney Experience app to get into your room—no need to visit the front desk.

This great feature saves time and gets right to the magic.

Early Theme Park Entry Sign, Disney's Hollywood Studios
Credit: V Mills

Tip Four: Take Advantage of Early Entry and Extended Evening Hours

Early entry is a perk of staying at any Walt Disney World Resort. This allows Disney resort guests to enter any of the four main Disney parks thirty minutes early daily. Although this might seem like a little additional time, it is a huge perk when battling the crowds.

By getting into the parks thirty minutes early, you can enjoy top attractions such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight in Magic Kingdom or Na’vi River Journey in Disney’s Animal Kingdom with low waits. By saving time at the beginning of the day, you will have more time in the afternoon and evenings to explore other experiences.

If you stay at a deluxe Disney resort, you will want to look into extended evening hours. On select evenings Disney allows deluxe resort guests to stay late at one theme park. As these happen on special days, you will want to check the calendar to see if extended evening hours will be offered while visiting.

Disney's Pop Century Pool Area
Credit: V Mills

Tip Five: Plan a Resort Day

Plan a day at your Walt Disney World hotel during your vacation. Walt Disney World Resorts are part of the magic, and if you don’t take the time to enjoy them, you are missing out. The resorts are full of charm that you won’t want to miss out on.

Schedule a day to sleep in, hang out at the pool, enjoy a meal, and discover all your resort offers. This is great to do during your vacation to rest and be ready for more park time.

Don’t forget to get an activities guide for your resort. This will show you all the fantastic activities that will take place during your stay. Typically you will find great games and activities at the feature pool each afternoon. Kids, young and old, can enjoy these together.

Often you will find crafts taking place throughout the week, and don’t miss out on movies under the stars in the evening. Grab those snacks and enjoy a family movie night outside.

Disney resorts have so much to offer besides just a place to sleep and shower. Make you take some time to enjoy them.

Related: Best Disney Pools

Disney's Riviera Resort, Disney's Contemporary Resort
Credit: V Mills

Tip Six: Visit Other Resorts

Consider taking time during your trip to visit other Disney resorts. Each Walt Disney World Resort is unique, so schedule some time during your trip to explore. During your day at Magic Kingdom, catch the monorail loop and stop in to see Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, or Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

The skyliner is another excellent way to visit other Disney resorts, such as Disney’s Riviera or Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Have a meal, grab a snack, or visit a shop. Each Disney resort is different and so much fun to explore. You might even find your next vacation destination.

The resorts at Walt Disney World are part of what makes the magic for guests. When you are staying at one of these fantastic resorts, make sure you take time to follow these tips. Take advantage of everything that comes with a stay at a Disney resort.


Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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