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  • Writer's pictureBrenda

Staying Offsite

Updated: Mar 23

For many families staying off property works better for their budget, vacationing style, and/or family size. There are dozens of high quality hotels not owned by Disney, both near and on Disney property that are great options. Additionally, with the era of AirBnB and VRBO, there are full-sized houses with all the comforts of home available to rent just a hop skip and a jump from all the Disney fun.

On site vs Off site. The Walt Disney World debate of the ages. We have an entire post here talking about why we think staying on site is the way to go.

But there are plenty of reasons to stay off-site, too, from more budget friendly options, especially for people who want a condo type hotel with multiple rooms and a kitchen, to wanting a more diverse Orlando visit with a homebase more centrally located to the other offerings around the city, to families who want the luxury of a five-star resort without Disney theming or who want to book with Hilton or Marriott points. With that in mind, here we’ll talk about some of the best places to stay off-site when visiting Disney World and look at the difference between a Good Neighbor Hotel and an "Official Walt Disney World Hotel."

What is a Good Neighbor Hotel?

According the

“We are proud to recommend select Walt Disney World Good Neighbor Hotels conveniently located near the Resort. All meet our high standards for comfort, quality, and service. In addition, Good Neighbor hotels:

  • are AAA-approved.

  • offer a choice of standard rooms, suites and villa-style accommodations.

  • feature a Guest Services desk to help you plan your Disney vacation and purchase park tickets.

  • provide transportation to Disney theme parks. (A fee may apply.)”

A Good Neighbor Hotel is one that has a partnership with Disney. They will usually have someone on staff that can help with all aspects of your Disney vacation including purchasing theme park tickets. Like an on-property resort, many Good Neighbor hotels have a Disney Resort channel on their televisions full of information and tips. A list of the Good Neighbor Hotels can be found here at Disney’s Good Neighbor Hotel website.

How much do Good Neighbor Hotels cost?

Much like staying on property, Good Neighbor Hotels range widely in cost from Value to Deluxe Resorts. There are certainly some good deals out there for someone on a budget, but be sure to compare them to onsite Value resorts.

What are “Official Walt Disney World Hotels?”

These are hotels very near - or in some cases on - Disney Property that get some extra benefits. The Disney Springs areas hotels are included in this category. Guests at these hotels:

  • have access to Early Theme Park Entry

  • don’t have access to Extended Evening Hours

  • cannot book individual Lightning Lanes at 7AM

How are "Official Walt Disney World Hotels" different from a Disney Resort?

A Disney Resort is a resort hotel on Disney property owned by Disney. "Official Disney World Hotels" are not owned by Disney and guests of these property do not get all of the perks a Disney Resort guests.

What hotels are considered “Official Walt Disney World Hotels”

The Hotels in the Disney Springs Area, the Swan and Dolphin, plus Bonnet Creek and Shades of Green all participate in Early Entry at Disney Parks.

  • B Resort & Spa Lake Buena Vista

  • DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando

  • Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando Lake Buena Vista

  • Four Seasons Resort Orlando

  • Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace

  • Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista

  • Holiday Inn Orlando

  • Shades of Green® on Walt Disney World® Resort

  • Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

  • Waldorf Astoria Orlando

  • Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista

  • Wyndham Lake Buena Vista

What’s up with the Swan and Dolphin? I thought they were on Disney Property.

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin are on Walt Disney Property, but they are not owned by Disney. They are owned and managed by Marriott. Walking distance from Epoct and Hollywood Studios, they have complimentary transportation to all WDW parks, plus early entry and extended evening hours. They use Disney transportation to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, but their own busses to Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and Disney Springs.

If I book any of these hotels through the WDW website will I see them in my MDE app?

If you book at a Good Neighbor Hotel or an "Official Walt Disney World Hotel" through the WDW website, your reservation will be linked in the MDE app, and you will be good to go for an early theme park entry. If you book with points through the hotel chain’s website you will have to link the reservation manually.

What about renting a vacation home in Orlando?

There are many many full-sized homes for rent in the Orlando and Kissimmee area. We’ve found this list of fun homes for rent in Travel and Leisure Magazine. Read it here.

What about staying at the Universal Studios Resort Hotels?

Universal Studios hotels are great fun and come with a lot of perks for the Universal Studios Parks. We have a post about them here.

Our Recommendations:

Here are our recommendations for the best off-property hotels in the Disney area. They are located in the Disney Springs area or Bonnet Creek and have early entry as one of their perks.

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort and Spa

Wyndham Grand Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort


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