Where’s the best place to stay on your Disney vacation? At one of the Disney hotels? At a rental house? At a hotel just outside of Disney? There are so many options, it can be hard to choose. Why should you stay at a Disney hotel? I’ve stayed at a rental house, on-site, and hotels that are not Disney, but my pick would always be one of the many Disney hotels. The extra cost is well worth it, as staying at Disney gives lots of other perks you would typically not receive. First of all, your surrounded by Disney magic day and night. You can still feel the superb customer service in most of the employees, from the clerk at the front desk, to the life guard by the pool. Your staying in the magic! When you arrive at your hotel room at the end of the day, and the cleaning crew has left the towels folded in the shape of a Mickey, and your stuffed animals have magically been rearranged in front of the TV, it is a fun surprise for all ages. Plus, you can wash your hands with the Mickey soap, and you can turn on the Disney Must Dos channel (a TV channel that shows you all of the best attractions in the Disney Parks) to watch while you get ready for bed. If you decide to stay at a Disney hotel, make sure that you get a wake up call, and let the kids answer it because it’s likely going to be Olaf, Stitch, or one of the other Disney characters calling to wake you up! Guests staying at the Disney hotels can travel for free on clean, air-conditioned buses that drop you off at the gate to the parks. These buses run far more regularly then any off site hotel shuttle. The buses are also far more convenient then driving. For example, if your staying off-site and rent a car to drive from your hotel to Magic Kingdom, you will pay about $17 USD for parking (per day). Then you must park, take a tram to the monorail, then the monorail to the gate. This wastes a lot of time in the morning. It might not seem so bad heading in, but heading out after the fireworks, with probably about 2/3 of the people that were in the park, means crowds and long waits for the monorail, then for the tram, and then to go find your car and join the traffic exiting. It can be a very long, and very slow process when your feet are sore, and the whole family is tired. On the other hand, on-site guests leave the park and the buses are only a short walk. The line might seem long, but keep in mind that the buses run regularly and there will be even more buses in the mornings and evenings because of their high demand. Buses are wheelchair and scooter accessible, and strollers are allowed (though strollers must be folded). Another perk for Disney hotel guests is Disney’s Magical Express, that takes you right from the Orlando International Airport, to your Disney hotel, and your luggage will be picked up from the plane & arrive “magically” in your room. (To see more on the luggage tags and Magical Express, check out my previous blog post, Traveling & Transportation) All the Disney hotels have multiple heated pools with life guards at each and scheduled kids activities. They also each have at least one restaurant, gift shop and Disney “extras” such as giant icons, gardens and little surprises at every turn (watch for hidden Mickeys!) Staying at a Disney hotel gives guests the option of having their shopping sent directly to their hotel, so no need to carry heavy shopping bags around the park. This free service is available for all but your last day before departure. Extra Magic Hours are available to all guests staying onsite. (More on Magic Hours coming soon!) These additional perks make up for the extra cost of staying at a Disney hotel, and if your vacation time is taken into consideration, it will be a huge savings! I’ve heard it said that after you’ve stayed at on Disney property, you’ll never want to stay anyplace else! I know from my own experiences that this is true, and I highly recommend it!