Bus stop in front of Disney's Coronado Springs Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida

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Have you ever wondered what you get if you stay in a Disney hotel? Today, we’re going to explore the free perks you get for staying at Disney World resort hotels. Use this to help you decide if staying at an onsite Disney World hotel is right for you on your next Walt Disney World vacation in Orlando, Florida.

Early Entrance Disney World Benefit

Magic Kingdom Cast Member holding a sign that says "Early Entry For Guests of Participating Hotels"Want to enter the Disney World parks a little early? You can if you’re staying at an official Disney World hotel!

Disney resort guests can enter each of the following theme parks 30 minutes early every morning during their stay:

  • Magic Kingdom
  • Epcot
  • Hollywood Studios
  • Animal Kingdom

Make sure you bring your MagicBand, Key to the World Card, or, if you use Disney MagicMobile pass, your phone to the park. This is how you’ll prove that you’re staying at a Disney resort.

You can learn more about Early Theme Park Entry here, including our family’s experiences.

Disney Extended Park Hours

With Extended Evening Hours, you can stay longer at one of the theme parks at night.

Now, unlike early entry to Disney World, the nighttime extended hours are only for guests at some of the resorts – mostly, the resorts that are considered “deluxe.” Not surprisingly, these hotels are generally more expensive (though you can save money on Disney deluxe hotels here).

Guests at those resorts can stay 2 hours later on select nights at Epcot or Magic Kingdom.

Like with Early Entry, you can show that you’re eligible for this benefit via your MagicBand, Key to the World Card, or Disney MagicMobile pass.

You can find out more about Extended Evening Hours here, including which specific hotels are included.


MagicBands for sale at Walt Disney World in Orlando FloridaAny Disney World guest can purchase a MagicBand. In fact, you can buy one even if you aren’t going to Disney World. But Disney Resort guests get a couple of MagicBand related perks.

First of all, you can use your MagicBand to open your hotel room door! It’s so convenient to use it as a room key.

And secondly, if you order your MagicBand prior to your hotel stay, you can take advantage of a discounted price!

Please note that when we say MagicBand, we mean MagicBand as well as MagicBand Plus. You can learn more about MagicBand Plus here.


Disney World resort guests can enjoy complimentary bus transportation to the theme parks, Disney Springs, and the water parks. And there are some other free transportation methods at select Disney hotels.

Monorail Hotels

Monorail entering Epcot theme park at Walt Disney World Resort, with Spaceship Earth in background

The following hotels have access to the monorail, which takes you to the Magic Kingdom. You can also get to the Transportation and Ticket Center via the monorail, where you can transfer to another monorail that will take you directly to Epcot.

  • Polynesian Village Resort
  • Contemporary Resort
  • Grand Floridian Resort

Boat Transportation

Boat in water at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort boat dock in Walt Disney World, with monorail in the background of the photoAt select Disney hotels, you can take a boat to one of the theme parks or Disney Springs.

Magic Kingdom Boat Hotels

  • Wilderness Lodge
  • Fort Wilderness
  • Grand Floridian Resort
  • Polynesian Village Resort

Please note that there is a boat (aka water taxi) that travels between the Contemporary Resort, Fort Wilderness, and Wilderness Lodge. So if you’d like to travel by boat from the Contemporary Resort to Magic Kingdom, you could take a boat to Fort Wilderness or Wilderness Lodge and then another boat from there to Magic Kingdom.

Epcot/Hollywood Studios Boat Hotels

  • Beach Club Resort
  • Yacht Club Resort
  • Boardwalk Resort
  • Swan Resort/Dolphin Resort/Swan Reserve*

*Please note that these are not official Disney World hotels, but the boat does make a stop at a dock between the Swan and Dolphin, convenient to the Swan Reserve.

You can learn more about these hotels located close to Epcot here.

Disney Springs Boat Hotels

  • Port Orleans: French Quarter
  • Port Orleans: Riverside
  • Saratoga Springs
  • Old Key West

Disney Skyliner Hotels

These hotels have Disney Skyliner stations, so that you can take a gondola to get to Hollywood Studios or Epcot.

  • Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Riviera Resort
  • Pop Century Resort
  • Art of Animation Resort

In most cases, you will need to transfer once to a different Skyliner line. But it’s still a convenient (and fun!) way to get to the parks. We talk about it in greater detail in our Skyliner review.


Don’t want to use the Walt Disney World transportation system? Disney hotel guests get free standard parking at the following places:

  • Disney Theme Parks
    • Magic Kingdom
    • Epcot
    • Hollywood Studios
    • Animal Kingdom
  • Disney Water Parks
    • Typhoon Lagoon
    • Blizzard Beach
  • Disney Springs

Early Access

There are actually a few ways that Disney resort guests can enjoy early access as a special perk.

Individual Lightning Lane

Interested in purchasing an individual Lightning Lane entry? You can buy and book your individual Lightning Lane attractions starting at 7:00 AM. Guests not staying at a Disney hotel have to wait until the park opens.

You can learn more about individual Lightning Lane attractions here.

Advanced Dining Reservations

The other thing you can do earlier than other guests is make dining reservations. If you aren’t staying at a Disney hotel, you can make your dining reservations up to 60 days in advance. Disney hotel guests can also start making them 60 days in advance, but you can make them for the entire length of your stay (up to 10 days).

For example, let’s say you’ll be staying June 4-10. 60 days before June 4, you can make dining reservations for June 4-10. This means you get to make your reservations for June 5-10 earlier than everyone who’s not a Disney resort guest. This makes it easier to get the reservation times you want and at the restaurants you want.

We discuss the pros and cons of Disney Advanced Dining Reservations here.

Special Events

Sometimes, guests with a Disney World hotel reservation can purchase tickets for a special event before sales open to the general public.

For example, last year, tickets to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party went on sale on April 27 for those with Disney hotel reservations. If you didn’t have a Disney hotel booked, you had to wait until May 2 to purchase your tickets.

Hey Disney Voice Assistant

Setting an alarm on Hey Disney Amazon Echo in a Disney World hotel roomWhile staying at a Walt Disney World resort, you can take advantage of “Hey Disney,” the in-room voice assistant!

This special Amazon Echo device (complete with Mickey Mouse ears!) can help you plan your day. Just by saying “Hey Disney” (or “Alexa,” if you’re more used to that), you can ask about park hours, the weather, and more. There are also fun features like Disney trivia, jokes and storytelling. You can even ask for more pillows or towels for your room, or request that your luggage be delivered to the lobby.

We go into more detail about the Hey Disney Magical Companion here.

Free Towel Rentals at Disney Water Parks

Disney's Typhoon Lagoon has rides for all heights, for children of all agesDisney resort hotel guests can enjoy free towel rentals at Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon water parks. Otherwise, the fee is $2 per towel. And speaking of the waterparks…

Free Water Park Tickets

Now, this Disney hotel guest perk is not available this year. But starting in 2025, you’ll get free water park admission with your Disney hotel stay!

This complimentary water park admission is for the day you check in and will be for either Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach waterpark. (Both parks are closed for part of the year for maintenance, but at least one should be open during your trip.)

Option for Disney Dining Plan

A sign for Tiffin's Restaurant at Animal Kingdom theme park in Walt Disney World, which uses 2 credits on the Disney Dining PlanIf you book a Disney Resort Hotel Package, you have the option of getting the Disney Dining Plan as part of your package. (Annual Passholders with a Disney resort stay can also add the Disney Dining Plan over the phone.)

Basically, the Disney Dining Plan gives you pre-paid meals and snacks for the length of your stay. And there’s a Quick Service Dining Plan option as well, if your family doesn’t usually eat at table service restaurants. You can find out more about the Disney Dining Plan here.

And you won’t have the opportunity to purchase a Disney Dining Plan unless you’re staying at a Disney hotel.