• On Sep 1, 2013
    Heather Asked Note: This answer was provided prior to the change to planDisney and may still contain references to Disney Parks Moms Panel.

    Experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    Planning our first Disney trip and curious if we should stay onsite vs offsite? We will be traveling with our 4 year old son. Also, should we buy the Park Hopper and Dining Plan? Any cost savings tips are greatly appreciated.

    Hi Heather,

    I love hearing from guests who are planning their first Disney vacations! How exciting!

    I can definitely speak from experience about staying off-property vs. staying at one of the Walt Disney World resort hotels.

    From a cost perspective, you can't beat the package deals when you bundle everything together (i.e. a room at one of the Walt Disney World resort hotels, theme park admission, and the Disney Dining Plan). I'm an accountant, so you'll have to trust me on this one!

    Not only is it a better deal when you bundle everything together, but there are so many other reasons why you should stay at a Walt Disney World resort hotel. Here are a few:

    1) You'll get access to the best-in-class service that Disney is known for.

    2) You'll get complimentary transportation to and from the theme parks, water parks, and Downtown Disney that runs more frequently than off-property hotel shuttles. 

    3) You'll get complimentary transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport (assuming you'll be flying).

    Here's a bonus reason from your buddy Derek:

    The Walt Disney World resort hotels, no matter the price range, are vacation destinations in their own right. You could plop any one of them down in the middle of nowhere and people would still flock to them. The hotels I've stayed at off-property are just plain old hotels.

    As for your question about the Park Hopper option, I like having the flexibility to go to more than one theme park each day. My family usually goes to one theme park in the morning, then we come back to our resort hotel for a nap or a dip in the pool, then we'll finish the day in a different theme park. It's not essential, but it sure is fun!

    I hope that helps! Please feel free to write back if you should have any additional questions!

    Best regards,
thumbnail image for Derek

Meet the Panelist: Derek, Virginia

Whether you're traveling with infants or preschoolers, planning a family reunion, taking a romantic trip for two, or even traveling solo - I've been in your shoes.  I'd love to help you make the most out of your next Disney vacation! Learn More About Derek

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