Planning a Disney vacation can feel like a full-time job. With all the information out there, it’s hard to tell if you’re getting a great Disney World vacation deal. Here at BOTTLESOUP, we love to analyze costs and options. Toward the end of this post, we reveal the best Disney World vacation deal for 2018.
Disney World vacation options
When you take a Walt Disney World vacation, you have two standard accommodation options:
- Stay on Disney property
- Stay off property
In the past, the difference between these two options was clear. Staying on Disney property entitled you to serious perks and benefits. It’s also prestigious.
So if you’re more about appearances and less about a Disney World vacation deal, you may be set on staying at a Disney resort.
But in 2018, Disney made some changes. And now some formerly off-property resorts get some of the same perks that on-property guests get.
About staying on disney property
Many people rave about the on-property amenities and experiences. But what do you really get for staying on Disney property?
The answer: it depends.
There are three different tiers of Disney property resorts:
- Value resorts
- Moderate resorts
- Deluxe resorts
This article does a pretty good job explaining the differences between tiers.
For these on-site options, Disney provides an awesome vacation comparison tool. If staying on property is a must for you, you’ll get the best Disney World vacation deal by using the comparison tool.
other important on-property perks
Aside from the resort and its amenities, there are a few other on-property Disney perks to consider:
- Magical Express
If you’re flying into MCO, you’ll enjoy free transportation to your Disney World hotel.
- Magic Bands
If you purchase Disney tickets through your vacation package, you’ll get Magic Bands included.
- Disney Dining Plan
If you’re interested in adding the Disney Dining Plan to your vacation, you’ll need to book an on-property package. It’s the only way to add dining to your Disney World vacation deal.
- Disney transportation
If you stay on property, you’ll benefit from free Disney transportation from your hotel to nearly every place on property. Options include monorail, bus, and boat transportation.
Note that anyone can take this transportation, but the advantage is you are guaranteed transportation back to your resort. People off property may have to make other accommodations.
- Extra Magic Hours
If you’re on property, you’ll benefit from Extra Magic Hours. During these times, only Disney resort guests are allowed to enjoy the parks. Hours and parks vary.
- My Disney Experience 60-Day FastPass booking
You can choose to book your FastPasses (free with your Disney tickets) 60 days before your trip. Guests staying off property must wait until 30 days before their trip to schedule FastPasses.
About staying off Disney property
If you’ve looked at an off-property Disney World vacation deal, you know that cost is a huge factor. Although we managed to save 38% off our on property stay in 2017, we could have saved even more by staying off property.
But that information alone doesn’t make hunting down a Disney World vacation deal much easier.
And adding to the confusion (but providing a huge perk for potential guests!) Disney World announced partnerships with some formerly “off property” options. These Disney Springs Hotels provide guests with awesome on property benefits at an off property cost:
- B Resort & Spa
- Best Western Lake Buena Vista
- DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando
- Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace
- Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
- Holiday Inn Orlando, and
- Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista
off property perks
How’s this for a Disney World vacation deal? For the resorts listed above, you’ll get these on-property perks for the off-property price:
- Extra Magic Hours
You’ll get the exact same Extra Magic Hour benefits as those people on property.
- My Disney Experience 60-Day FastPass booking
You’ll get the on-property benefit from staying at a Disney World resort. So this means you can book your FastPasses 60 days before your vacation instead of 30!
- Transportation shuttles
While you won’t have *official* Disney transportation to your hotel, you will have complimentary shuttles from these resorts. These shuttles run every half hour. And you can still take the monorail, boats, and other Disney buses at any time during your stay.
off property options without the perks
If you can live without Extra Magic Hours and the 60-day FastPass window, you may find the best Disney World vacation deal is found completely off property.
You can choose from any Orlando area hotel. There are many that are very cheap. Some things to consider when staying off-property:
- Transportation to and from Disney property
- FastPass window is 30 days instead of 60 days
- No ability to add a Disney Dining Plan option
However, what we found in our latest Disney stay (at the Polynesian) is that Disney transportation is not that great.
In fact, even though we stayed on property at a Magic Kingdom resort on the monorail line, it took a really long time to get back and forth. One afternoon it took us over 90 minutes to get from the Magic Kingdom to the Polynesian. And that was after we boarded the monorail.
So if you’re looking for a Disney World vacation deal that will give you a great experience, try AirBnb. It’s great for large family trips, too. Because some hotels only let you have a maximum of 4 people per room.
If you click here to use our referral link, you’ll get $40 in travel credit for AirBnb! (And we’ll get $20 for referring you. Thank you!)
Is AirBnb the best Disney World vacation deal?
Surprisingly, no. So where do you get the best Disney World vacation deal? The answer is through Costco.
Yup, you read that correctly: Costco has the best Disney World vacation deal.
For starters, you can book one of the Disney Springs hotels (those on / off property Disney hotels with major perks) through Costco. And Costco provides your hotel stay at a significant discount.
Here’s an example of how much you save by booking through Costco:
- 2 adults, 2 children
- 8 days, 7 nights at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Palace:
- $1,498 for the room ($214/night)
- + $245 resort fees ($35/night)
- + $210 estimated taxes
- = $4,209.40 for your hotel stay + tickets (does not include parking fees and other extras, like food)
booked through costco
For the same dates, same people, same hotel, same Park Hoppers:
That’s a savings of $1,324.50 for the exact same vacation.
Who wouldn’t want to save that much money?
Note: You do need a Costco membership to book through Costco Travel.
Share your Disney World vacation deal!
Do you have a better money saving option? Tell us in the comments below. And if you think someone would like this article, share it with them!