For the first twenty years that I visited Walt Disney World, I never once stayed at an on-site resort. In fact, I never set foot on any Disney hotel property. Being Floridians with annual passes, my family visited often on weekends and stayed at inexpensive chain hotels just outside of the park on route 192 or International Drive.
Fast forward to early 2013 and we begin planning our first Disney World vacation for our boys after nearly a decade away from the parks. The Art of Animation resort is brand new and its Cars section appears to be even more exciting for our Cars-obsessed boys than the parks themselves! We decide that staying close to this Cars courtyard is imperative for their first Disney World visit.
That single Disney resort experience completely transformed our views on Disney lodging and we’ll never go back to a “main gate” hotel again!
For us, the main benefit of an on-site resort is never leaving the “Disney Bubble.” The Bubble became real to us one night during that 2013 trip as my sister and I were driving back to the resort after a late evening at EPCOT. Somewhere along the way, we took a wrong turn and ended up on route 192 west, smack dab in the middle of a sea of bright commercial lighting and signs for chain restaurants and hotels. We’d inadvertently left the “Bubble” and quickly found the first possible u-turn!
In that one moment, we realized how important it is to stay on Disney property, to remain in this bubble of joy and childlike wonder that is so uniquely Disney.
This is why we vacation, isn’t it? To remove ourselves from the challenges and problems of everyday life for just a brief moment? Relax, recharge, and be ready to face the world again.
Staying on site is the best way to maintain that all-inclusive bubble of VACATION and there are plenty of other perks that influence our decision to chose a Disney resort every time.