disney world – where to stay

When booking your Disney vacation there are always a lot of options of where to stay and it can be overwhelming.

In my opinion, it’s ALWAYS worth it to stay on Disney property. You get a ton of benefits that you don’t get when you stay elsewhere and on top of it, you get the full magical experience. Disney is the pinnacle of excellent customer service. Their entire brand is built on creating a wonderful experience for their customers so you can rest assured you won’t have the regular Air BnB or hotel headaches.

Reasons to stay on Disney property:

  • Transportation to the parks included in your price of the stay. There is a coach bus that drives you to and from the airport. There are also shuttles that take you to your resort and all of the parks including Downtown Disney.
  • They have very affordable options with the Value resorts (we typically book for around $100 a night which is comparable to cheap area hotels).
  • Extra magic hours, meaning the parks stay open extra hours or open up early for resort guests only! These extra hours are really valuable and can make a difference in getting to squeeze in time for your favorite ride or meeting your favorite character.
  • Ability to book your fast passes 60 days in advance! Those that stay off property but have park tickets purchased can select passes only 30 days in advance. (Full Fast Pass recommendations by park post coming with more details on which items to select). 
  • If you’re checking luggage, always pack a change of clothes in your carry-on. All resorts have complimentary delivery of your luggage to your room but like all great things, there’s sometimes a small wait for it to actually arrive at your room.
  • When staying on Disney property you can check into your room without even going to the front desk (they’ll send you a text saying when your room is ready if you do online check-in).  You can also gain access to your room with your magic bands so no need to worry about misplacing a key.

Now that you’ve made up your mind to stay on Disney Property, where to stay? Note that the list below includes only the resorts I’ve stayed at (we’ve been repeat customers since we had such a good experience at these places). As my Disney hotel staying grows, I’ll add to this list.

Pop Century Resort

Pop Century

  • This resort is always my first choice. This hotel recently went through renovations and has a clean and updated look. The fun theme of this hotel is entertainment through the years.
  • Biggest perk – this resort has its own bus for transportation to and from the parks. I repeat, ITS OWN BUS LINE! Even the more expensive hotels share bus lines typically so not having to wait for your bus to make multiple stops (with people packed like sardines) is a true luxury.
  • Fun Things To Note – This hotel has a good sized pond in the center with Art of Animation on the other side. There are fun facts posted around the lake about Disney and the entertainment industry through the years.
    • Fun fact – this pond is where Phil and I got engaged!


  • Pro Tip – If you’re able, select a room that has a lakeside view. You can pull up a chair outside your room and see the fireworks from Hollywood studios.

Yacht Club Resort – 

  • This resort is amazing. If cost is not a concern, this is your place to stay. With the nautical theme, access to the boardwalk, and multiple pools, it has something for everyone.
  • Biggest Perk – Location. The Yacht Club sits right on the same lake as the Boardwalk. The Boardwalk is fun and has restaurants, bars, and shops. This resort is also next to Beach Club Resort and near a ton of others (Dolphin Resort, which has a funky light display out front, and Swan Hotel). This means on nights you’re not in the parks, you have a plethora of great options for food and entertainment. Plus, it’s a 5-10 minute walk from Epcot! No bus ride needed.
  • Fun Thing to Note – This resort has some of my favorite food. Details on where to eat below.
  • Pro Tip – The main pool can be loud with music and lots of people. If you want to enjoy the pool but don’t want to be surrounded, travel out back to one of the smaller size pools. You’ll only have a handful of people to share with and can relax, enjoy the sunshine and a good book.

All Star Resorts

  • These resorts will get you the most bang for your buck. We’ve stayed here for less than $100 a night before while still getting to experience all of the magic.
  • Biggest Perk – Really, it’s the affordable rate. Rooms are nice enough and with the motel style, you have easy access to outdoors should you want to sit outside and feel the breeze.
  • Biggest Con – There are 3 All Star Resorts and all 3 shares one bus line. This means, each time you get dropped off or are heading to the parks, you need to make a stop at every single resort. It tacks on more travel time and the buses can get very crowded.
  • Pro Tip – Ask for a room towards the back of the resort as these resorts tend to pack a lot of people and can get loud. Also, there’s no difference between the 3 value resorts so go with whatever has the best rate.

Where To Eat (When You’re Not In A Park) 

Beyond DownTown Disney (which will have its own post dedicated to it) there are some wonderful restaurants right at the resorts. These are great to explore during your rest days from the parks. My top picks:

Yacht Club –

  • Beaches and Cream Soda Shop – Fun vibe and delicious ice cream.
  • Hurricane Hannah’s – Located right near the main pool, this place is a must if you’re staying at the Yacht Club Resort. The shrimp roll and fries were my favorite.
  • Ale & Compass – Sit-down restaurant with a sleek and mature feel. We’ve eaten here and had drinks at the lounge for a quiet night.

BoardWalk –

  • BoardWalk Bakery – When staying at the Yacht Club I woke up and walked to this bakery every morning. The baked goodies are delicious. The croissants were buttery and flaky deliciousness.

What are your favorite places to stay? Leave me a comment below!

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