Things I Wish I Knew Before The First WDW Trip(2) – Location

This is the second in a series of posts about some of the big things I wish I knew before taking the first trip.  If your planning your first trip, spend some of your research on these biggies.

Where To Stay Decision

One of your first big decisions is deciding where to stay on your trip.  When it comes to Disney World, as in many things, you have many choices.  You have to first decide if you’ll stay on the Disney World property or outside.  Inside the Disney property, you have value, moderate, deluxe and DVC resorts as well as

Walking to MK from Bay Lake Tower

Walking to MK from Bay Lake Tower right after checking in

Downtown Disney, Swan and Dolphin.  The closer you stay to the parks, the higher the price and luxury of the resorts.  On our first two trips to the World, we choose to stay at two of the Downtown Disney hotels.  These are not owned by Disney but are on property and close to Downtown Disney.  You do get the Disney free bus transportation.

The Bus Dilemma

This past weekend, I had a fun “Disney World” conversation with some friends who just got back from a trip to WDW.  Come to find out, they’re veterans like us and we didn’t know it.  They told us that on some of they’re first trips, they stayed in hotels outside of Disney property.  The major issue with resorts further away from the parks is time spent waiting and riding buses.  When we stayed in the Downtown Disney hotels, you had to wait for the specific bus for your destination.  There’s a bus for each park, for example.  Once you get on the bus, you have to make many stops at each hotel.  People pile on and it can get crowded.  It can take close to an hour to get to where your going.  After our first couple of trips, we began renting cars.  Back then, we got some good deals on car rentals. Today, the prices have soared and we’ve not rented on our last three trips.  Driving is fairly easy once your on property and it’s easy to find your way around.  If your staying at a Disney resort, parking is free at the parks and resorts.  The new Magical Express bus service from the airport for Disney resort guests is great.  You check your bags at your airport and Disney gets them right to your room.

Upgrading to Deluxe

We continued to improve our resort choices as the years progressed.  On our third trip, we booked the Polynesian. This was a Christmas/New Years trip with my sister in law and their family.  We got a fantastic price and deal by also purchasing an annual pass.  We stayed ten nights at $169 a night.  The cast member at checkin wondered how we got such a great price.  When you experience one of the luxury, close to the parks resort, you never want to trade down.  From the Polynesian, an original Magic Kingdom resort, you

View from Bay Lake Tower  Room

View from Bay Lake Tower Room

can see Magic Kingdom from the beach and volcano pool.  You can watch the fireworks at night and they play the park music.  Your a short boat or monorail ride to the Magic Kingdom.  It’s a very relaxing way to travel to the Magic Kingdom anytime you want.  This makes taking a break at mid-day very easy and then go back to the park later in the day.  As a Disney Resort guest, you can take advantage of extra magic hours at the parks.  For EPCOT, we walked a short distance to the ticket and transportation center and rode the monorail to EPCOT.  You can take a boat to Disney Studios otherwise the Studios and Animal Kingdom require a bus ride.  Either way, these buses don’t have as many stops from the deluxe resorts.

Moderate Resorts

We’ve stayed at Port Orleans and Caribbean Beach.  These are nice moderate resorts.   They have great themes, pools and food courts are convenient.   They’re large resorts and Margita once got lost coming back from the food court on her own back to the room.  Again, it’s the proximity to the parks that are an issue and the long bus rides.   These buses have to stop many times even in the resort themselves.

Take a Ride On the Boardwalk

Staying in the Boardwalk resorts is great for location and access to EPCOT.  From the Beach Club, your steps away from the International Gateway entrance to EPCOT.  I love the Boardwalk area.  It’s beautiful.  I like just hanging around this area and the restaurants are great too.  ESPN, Big River Brewery, Beaches and Cream and my new favorite, Flying Fish are some great spots.  For Disney Studios, you can walk from the Boardwalk or take a nice boat ride.

To sum it up, if you can afford a deluxe resort, you won’t regret it.  Look for deals and save your vacation dollars.  The convenience and extras of a deluxe really make a Disney World trip extra special.


Part 1 – Introduction

Part 2 – Location

Part 3 – Time of Year

Part 4 –

Part 5 –


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