Staying Onsite vs Offsite at WDW


Rebecca Jones
April 6, 2017

As a travel professional, one of the most-asked Walt Disney World questions I get is, “Should I stay on Disney property or off?”  There are a lot of factors that go into planning your Disney World vacation, and I’d like to share with you some of the reasons I recommend staying on property.


From the moment you fly into Orlando International Airport, your transportation needs are taken care of, free of charge.  Disney’s Magical Express is a free service that provides your family with roundtrip transportation between the airport and your Disney hotel, both at the beginning and at the end of your stay.  You will board a motor coach and be entertained with videos and cartoons on the 45-minute ride to the resort.

Are you driving to Disney World? That’s okay, because parking is complimentary for you at both your resort hotel and at the theme parks, if you are staying in a Disney-owned hotel.

Once you are onsite, there are busses, boats, monorails, and walking paths that will help you get wherever you need to go. There is no need at all to rent a car while you are at Disney World. Each of these modes of transportation will drop you off as close to the front gate as possible in each park.  When you use a Wishes Family Travel agent, we will assist you in determining the best route to get from Point A to Point B using Disney transportation as part of our free concierge services.

If you are staying off-property, you will either have to drive your own vehicle and deal with traffic, plus parking fees and a long walk to the park entrance, or ride a shuttle bus from your hotel location, that will drop you either in the far reaches of the parking lot, or at the Ticket and Transportation Center, where you will then ride a ferry boat or the monorail to your park choice.

The convenience of using Disney transportation to get around the property, with no traffic to deal with, no parking fees, and less walking, is a huge benefit to all guests staying at Disney hotels.


A big part of any Disney World vacation is the food.  There are a couple of advantages to staying onsite when it comes to dining. All dining reservations have a 180-day mark that opens up your window for making reservations.

When you are staying onsite, you are able to make all your dining reservations for your vacation 180 days from the day you check in to the hotel, for your entire vacation (up to 10 days).  So, whether or not you need a reservation on your first day, you are still eligible to start making your reservations on that 180-day mark from your vacation check-in date.  Your Wishes agent will discuss your dining requests with you ahead of time, and will make your reservations for you, as part of our concierge services.

When you stay offsite, you can still make your reservations 180 days ahead of time, but it’s 180 days from the day you want the reservation for.  You also have to call in or log in to your My Disney Experience account and make them each day, instead of doing your entire vacation in the same sitting.

This can be a big deal when you are trying to get that difficult reservation, like Cinderella’s Royal Table or Be Our Guest.  Onsite guests have an advantage when making their dining plans.


A new experience when planning your Disney World vacation is scheduling your FastPass+ times.  At WDW, you can reserve times to visit up to three attractions in the same park, per day.  When you are staying on Disney property, you are able to reserve your Fastpass+ times for your entire stay, at the 60-day point.  And, you guessed it, your Wishes agent will help you plan these choices and then make the reservations for you.

Guests who are staying offsite may start making their FastPass+ choices at 30 days out, and must do them one day at a time, 30 days before the day they want the reservations.  When your children really want to ride the new “Frozen” ride in EPCOT without standing in line for hours, this could be a big deal.



So, as you can see, there are several logistical reasons to stay on Disney property.  You definitely have an advantage to planning the vacation you always dreamed of, versus settling for the vacation you can get with what’s left over.

I would love to work for you, and help you plan a magical family vacation to Disney World.  I encourage you to contact me via email,, or use our Quote Request Form and put my name, Rebecca Jones, as the agent and I will be in touch very soon!

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