Saturday, 9 February 2013

Why stay in a Disney hotel?

Back in November of last year I started doing a few posts about the decisions made when considering a holiday to the vacation capital of the world...especially when travelling all the way from the UK!

I talked about the time of year to go, whether a car was needed and the choice of staying 'off-site' or 'on-site', so I thought I would now tell you why I think staying in a Disney hotel is a great choice.

I understand that staying in a Disney hotel is not for everyone, especially when travelling from the UK.  For those of us who live such a long way away from the magic we have to think about the cost involved as well as making the most of our time in Florida.  How much of Florida do we want to explore?  How much time do we have to get all the things done that we'd like to get done?!

When we visited Orlando the first few times back in the early 1990's we stayed off property for exactly the reasons I've mentioned but as the years have gone by and our sole reason for travelling all those thousands of miles has become visiting Disney we decided to take a different option and try a Disney hotel.

Nowadays a vacation to WDW just wouldn't be right if we didn't immerse ourselves fully in the magic and stay in a Disney hotel.

So what is it that makes a Disney hotel the only choice for me?  Where do I start...

Location, Location, Location - staying in a Disney hotel means that you are at the heart of everything Disney, you are never far away from a little bit of that Disney magic whether its visiting a park, having a stroll through Downtown Disney or enjoying a little chill out time by the hotel pool.
Port Orleans French Quarter - Entrance
Quality - the attention to detail and the quality of everything in a Disney hotel surpasses all others.  Everything is 'top notch', well maintained, well presented, looked after and cared about.  They obviously hold very high standards and do everything in their power to make sure those standards are met all of the time.  The grounds are immaculate, the housekeeping and general maintenance are fantastic.

Mousekeeping! How cute are these?
Customer Service - it kind of goes without saying that the customer service you receive in a Disney hotel is exceptional, in fact for us Brits visiting the US customer service whether in a Disney hotel or not is more often than not way better than we get at home. Everything is done with a smile, a willingness to chat and a desire to ensure that you have the best time possible.

Theming - each Disney hotel is themed to a particular style and gives each hotel a distinct feel and personality of its own.  We have only managed to stay at two hotels so far; the All Stars Movies which was big, bold, brash and larger than life and Port Orleans French Quarter which is a complete contrast to All Star Movies with it's laid back New Orleans vibe, beautiful architecture, landscaping and tranquility.  We now can't wait to try Coronado Springs in approximately 192 days time :)

All Star Movies Resort
Port Orleans French Quarter - beautiful grounds
Port Orleans French Quarter - pool area
Perks - as you would expect there are a few things that are exclusive to staying in a Disney hotel.  Firstly there is the complimentary transportation whether it be bus, monorail or boat there is enough to get you wherever you want to be on Disney property. Then there is 'Extra Magic Hours', exclusive to hotel guests giving extra time in the parks either before they open or after they close.  Next is the 'Key to the World' card; your hotel key, your park tickets, charging facility and Disney Dining Plan all rolled into one.  And as a Disney guest you can also get an extra 10 days booking power for those important Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR's).

Disney Dining Plan - a perk that is exclusive to Disney guests and worth it's own mention and often for UK visitors offered free when booking package deals through certain travel companies!  We took advantage of this offer during our last WDW vacation back in 2011, by simply staying in a moderate priced hotel we were given the Quick Service Dining Plan for free.  This suited us down to the ground and meant that a big holiday expense was sorted before we'd even set foot in the magic...and we still had snack points left over at the end of two weeks!!

Part of the vacation - by this I mean that staying in a Disney hotel is as much a part of the vacation as going on all the rides and seeing all the shows.  It's the icing on the cake that rounds out a Disney vacation, especially for those of us who's main reason for visiting Orando is Disney and very little else :)

Port Orleans French Quarter - pathway leading to pool area
Disney hotels are so much more than just hotels.  Disney realised very soon after opening the first hotels at WDW that they needed to run and operate differently to an ordinary hotel, that the clientele was not the usual hotel crowd, that something more was needed from the hotels.  From the theming to the facilities on offer to the customer service to the ability to cope with large numbers of people.  They recognised that they needed to apply some of the principles of running a theme park to how they ran their hotels, once they did this they never looked back.

Can't wait to try our next hotel when we visit Coronado Springs Resort later in year, look out for my report on all things south of the border.

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