Published: December 18, 2008 at 3:57 PMBy far the biggest reason for us staying at an on-site hotel is the proximity to the parks and safety. The front of the line and extra magic hours are a bonus, but I like the feeling of being so close to the parks. Particularly when you go to Disneyland or Disney World, everywhere you look you are surrounded by reminders, great and small, of Disney. We've always stayed at the Disneyland Hotel and while pricey, it was nice to catch the monorail back to Downtown Disney knowing our hotel was a few feet away. The same at Disney World. I'm sure we could save a lot by staying off site, but being on site is the best.
Published: December 18, 2008 at 6:39 PMRobert, I second your vote for staying on property at Universal Orlando. Their three hotels are up to Disney Deluxe standards and the Universal Express pass just adds so much value to the package that there is nothing else quite like it at any other theme park. I cannot stress enough just how relaxing our Universal vacation was when we stayed on property. Furthermore, the fact that Universal no longer has a free version of Express Pass (for good or for ill) means that the Express Pass lines are almost always guaranteed to be a huge time saver.
As much as I love Disney, I just don't feel the need to stay on property unless the deal is too good to pass up (like when they offer free dining as part of the package). But at Universal, the convenience of staying within walking distance of City Walk and both Universal parks, combined with the automatic Universal Express Pass granted to hotel guests, makes staying on property the ONLY way to go!
Published: December 18, 2008 at 7:42 PMIn September '07 I vacationed to DisneyWorld. The perks we enjoyed of staying on-site was the close proximity to the theme parks. The extra-magic hours. The wait times were so short that on the night we arrived we rode everything on our to-do list at the Magic Kingdom. Also, the promotion during the value season is free dining, which by far was the best perk of the whole trip.
Published: December 18, 2008 at 7:53 PMDisney also provides transportation to its parks and I acually have never had problems with Magical Hours. Every time I have used them, the parks have been pretty empty. EPCOT's Magical Hours are my favorites.
I do agree, it is better in the long run to stay on site hotels at Disney or Universal
Oh, and you can send stuff back to your room or charge to your room at Disney. I am guessing Universal is the same.
Published: December 18, 2008 at 8:08 PMDisney no longer sends packages to your hotel room. They will however send them to the gift shop in your hotel and you can pick them up there. It's still a nice perk, but not as nice as it used to be.
Universal still offers room delivery at their three on site resorts.
Published: December 18, 2008 at 8:49 PMI forgot about buying things in the park and sending it to your hotel. We did this on our entire trip and it was so nice. We'd go to the gift shop the day after buying our stuff and never had a problem. It was so nice not having to carry all that stuff around.
The Extra Magic Hours, just like the Fast Pass, are awesome if you know how to work with them.