Whether you're all about staying off-site or you've always been one to stay at the deluxe (or moderate) Disney resorts, you can have a great time at the Disney value resorts. Here are nine reasons to consider the value resorts for your next Walt Disney World trip!
1. Spend that money somewhere else
A hotel is just a place to put your head between parks, dinners, bars, shows, and any other Disney experience you can think of. Why not save $200 per night on the resort and spend that $200 elsewhere?
Staying at a value resort doesn't have to mean your entire trip has to be value-focused. $200 per night is dinner for two at a signature Disney restaurant. These restaurants are an amazing part of the Disney experience, so consider reallocating some of your money that way.
You can wine and dine by planning a resort day of visits to other resorts (but you'll be stuck in your value resort pool). Or you can buy some of that Disney gear you've been on the fence about your last three trips. There are plenty of ways to spend money at Disney World, you don't have to spend it on a resort.
2. Transportation is Improving
All signs point to the fact that Disney understands (probably more than many fans) the dismal state of transportation at Walt Disney World. This makes sense, because Disney wants you to spend as little time waiting for a bus and as much time buying merchandise, food, and drink, as possible.
Recently, Disney began allowing hotel guests to access bus wait times (at the resorts) from within the (free) My Disney Experience app. This is great because it keeps you from sitting out at the bus stop for too long (though it doesn't really change the fact that there still is a wait).
The skyliner is coming soon to Art of Animation and Pop Century, which will be a boost for those two hotels. More importantly, though, you can Uber around Walt Disney World with relative ease. Trips cost between $8 and $20 depending on your start and end points, but obviously this beats spending $200 more per night just to avoid the buses.
3. Great Quick Service Options
Food courts might not be for everyone, but we love them. Deluxe resorts often have limited, expensive, and sometimes downright bad quick service food options.
At Pop Century, you can stand in one place and get a sense of your huge selection of standard cafeteria fare. Everything POP! is not signature dining, but it is good food, at reasonable (Disney) prices, that gets the job done in one quick stop. Honestly, it would probably be great just for every resort to have a food court offering pizza and burgers.
4. They're Not Stuffy
This is about taste, but some (definitely not all) of the deluxe resorts can feel a bit stuffy. That can be nice for the right kind of day on the right kind of trip, but sometimes you want to be able to walk in flip flops to grab a bite to eat without feeling a little out of place. The value resorts tend to be bumpin' with kids and adults alike running around, having a fun time.
5. Rethink the midday pit stop for new experiences!
The single best reason to stay at most deluxe resorts is the convenience in returning to them midday. Especially for families with children, this is a great option to have. But, if you're willing to be creative, value guests can have good midday breaks too.
For example, stop at another resort. If your morning is at Magic Kingdom, take the monorail to the lobbies and lounges at the monorail resorts and relax there with a quick bite for an hour, then head to your next destination. From Epcot, walk over to the Boardwalk or to the Yacht & Beach Clubs. You'll find plenty of places with space to relax and good lunch options.
6. Get the Suite Experience at a reasonable cost
Okay, this is maybe just saying "value resorts are less expensive," but its an important point to make. Many people don't realize that Art of Animation has beautifully themed suites that tend to price around a standard room at a deluxe resort.
If you're interested in having a particularly awesome room without breaking the bank, you should consider this option. It's an experience unlike any other at Disney World.
7. The Theming Is Fun
Honestly, there's not much to compare as far as theming between the deluxe and value resorts. They're just themed too differently. The deluxe resorts are stunning and brilliant, the value resorts are, in a word, fun.
Animal Kingdom Lodge may have a savannah with real animals, but Art of Animation has The Lion King's elephant graveyard. Yacht and Beach Club may have the miniature waterpark of Stormalong Bay, but the pool at Art of Animation plays music underwater. There are just plenty of features at the value resorts that are entertaining, even if a bit kitschy.
8. The Energy is Unbeatable
We've written this elsewhere, but while Grand Floridian feels like an older couple taking a horse-drawn carriage down Fifth Avenue, the value resorts feel like a family of five zipping through the streets of Hanoi on a motorbike. The energy at the value resorts is just something else.
It isn't completely black and white, obviously. At each resort you'll have kids running wild and kids keeping it cool, parents who let their kids do anything and parents who quickly reel them in, other guests who laugh at it and other guests who sneer. But the balances are different.
9. Enjoy those Disney guest perks!
Value resort guests get all the perks of the other Disney guests. If you are used to staying off-site, you might not know what you're missing! You'll get to book your Fastpass+ reservations further in advance. You'll get complimentary transportation via Disney's Magical Express to and from Orlando International Airport, and best of all, you'll get access to Extra Magic Hours!
Some non-Disney hotels get access to some of these perks, but only the Disney resorts have access to the full suite of benefits for your Disney vacation.
All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered
Don't be overwhelmed by Disney World planning! Take a second to check out our most important content and you'll not only be an expert, but you'll save big $$$ along the way. If you're still picking dates, we've got everything you need to know about Disney crowd calendars. For picking your hotel, check out our Walt Disney World hotels guide.
Don't forget to master your Disney World Fastpass+ strategy a few months in advance. We'll keep you out of long lines so you can maximize the magical time in the parks!
Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you're interested in saving, there's no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.