There have been rumors brewing for a while now that Disney will replace FP+ with some version of MaxPass or Disney Paris version of paid FastPass…Since COVID hit and Disney has cancelled FP+ during the pandemic, the rumors seem to be swirling more frequently…Per Disneys own website, it advertises the #1 benefit of staying on property is advance booking of FP+…The other benefits are Magic bands (gone unless you pay for them), free transportation (which everyone gets), theming, dining plan (currently not available but will def be brought back because they make $ on it) and finally EMH (we avoid parks with EMH because they are usually busier on those days, thanks for the tip Len!)…My question is, why would Disney get rid of FP+ (or worse charge for it) if they are trying to lure back hotel guests when it’s really the only perk that is worth it? I know FP+ is not popular for non hotel guests but I think its a big perk for people that travel for week+ vacations to know they are going to be able to get on the rides they want without having to get up before sunrise…Thoughts?
First, understand that WDW is the only Disney park in the world that doesn’t already use a paid FastPass system. This is something they’ve wanted to “fix” for a long time. (They already offer “Club Level” to allow you an additional 3 FPP for a fee)
I’m not sure about that! In the past, off-site guests still get FastPass, they just can’t book it until a month after on-site guests. It’s still a big perk to all visitors.
But here are some other factors for that people take into account for staying at an on-site hotel:
The Disney hotels, typically, offer better service than your standard Holiday Inn, Ramada, Best Western & etc…
Plus, you are getting everything “all inclusive” in your booking in a one stop shop booking. You have a problem with anything just call guest services. Your not dealing with multiple vendors.
Also, You can have your in park purchases shipped back to your on-site hotel.
As mentioned use Disney buses / skyliner if on-site. I’m not sure what you mean by “free transportation” for all. Not every off site hotel in the area offers a shuttle to the parks. You typically have to either take your own car & pay to park or use Uber / Lyft. Plus, WDW has the only hotels that give you free rides to & from MCO on the DME
Not all WDW on-site hotels are equal. There are some true “resorts” that are almost a vacation unto themselves. Offering amenities and first class dining that you can only get at Disney.
People will always pay for on-site for the location and service. Just look at Disneyland. It’s anywhere from $350 to $700 per night for those hotels. (They aren’t even the closest. They just offer that Disney “magic” / service)
Personally, I enjoy EMH! I go for that for that hour and typically park hop over to another park for early lunch. So many guests prefer to sleep in / arrive about 45 minutes after the parks “officially” anyway open that EMH doesn’t have the “dramatic” effect it’s reputed to have.
There’s also the chance WDW my do what Universal does. Universal charges $70 / $90 for their Express Pass - they have two tiers. However, Universal includes it with their deluxe hotel stays.
If you have to pay for FP+, then all those other perks are nice, but 100% not worth the upcharge and def not worth to what Disney used to offer (purchases shipped to room, theming, etc)
almost every popular ride is gone at the 30 day FP window
Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Waldorf Astoria, and Four Seasons are high end properties near Walt Disney World, and they are all considered nicer than even the Grand Floridian (read rumor of GF going through major reno to compete)
Marriott, Hilton, and Wyndham hotels are close or nicer than alot of Disney’s Deluxe Resorts at Walt Disney World and those are often priced below Moderate levels hotels
Those hotels all have very high standard so if you have any issues, they have concierge desk that will help you
anyone can ride skyliner, bus, monorail or boats…all that is free to off site and on site guests
the offsite hotels are just as good and some better at being resorts unto themselves
to Hop during EMH you have to buy park hopper, so thats an additional cost…with more and more hotels (17 new ones in the last 10 years) participating in EMH, its very busy and the parks reflect that in almost every single touring plan ive ever read (almost all say avoid parks that have EMH)
You asked if there is any advantage to staying onsite and I gave my opinion. (MDE being one of the biggest IMHO)
If the only reason you stay on-site is the 60 days FPP window then I can understand how you dislike this possibly going away.
We can debate which hotels are “nicer” and I agree that is completely subjective.
I stay on-site so that I’m in “The Bubble” and that’s probably the best advantage for me.
As for staying off-site:
There are plenty of advantages for staying off-site though. I like to do AirBnB if I’m not staying onsite.
I’ve done both on / off site stays for years. If you know how to “work” the FPP system you can get pretty much whatever FPP you want. It may just not be prebooked. You have to pick up FPPs the day you are in the parks after you use the first 3 prebooked. On average, I get about 10 FPP each day I visit - during “normal” times. (sometimes way more)
While anyone can ride a Disney transportation, are off-site guests using these to get to the parks often? I’m not sure I would drive & park at another hotel just to wait and get on a Disney bus or even skyliner. I just go and park at the places I’m visiting. You can, also, just take an Uber directly to the parks from most off-site places for about $10 each way.
I’ve been using TP since 2012, and be a “Disney Regular / Vet” since the mid-90s, going regualry (except this year… ) Even if you don’t park hop from the EMH parks they, IME, really aren’t as “packed” as people say. Plus, using a TP really mitigates the waits. Using a touring plan has been proven to save you up to four hours of time not standing in queues. With a touring plan you’ll be ahead of 90% of the people just wandering aimlessly asking, “What do you want to do next?” and then walking into a queue that is 90 minutes long. Later in the day that same queue may be only 15 minutes, but they won’t know that. However, you will because TP will have given you that data
We will be staying onsite even though the typical benefits are not currently available, EMH for example, for the opportunity to have our tickets as part of our package. If we decide to cancel our reservations, we don’t have tickets that we still own. We have tickets, have park reservations, and can cancel all of it if we need.
Well said… that’s the point I was trying to make by “one stop shop” / “In the Bubble”. You said it better!
In addition to FP’s, this is the other major factor for me too. Staying on site is simply part of the experience for us. Honestly, I’ve stayed at hotels that were a lot newer and nicer than any WDW hotel but cheaper. You can stay at a very cool hotel in major cities around the world for the same price as a regular room in a deluxe WDW resort, yet I still choose onsite resorts when at WDW and am willing to pay for it. It certainly doesn’t make sense financially, but as said, it’s indeed part of the bubble. I could stay at one of the mentioned high quality off site resorts for cheaper and drive to the park in the same time it takes to walk, take the monorail or bus within WDW, but I don’t necessarily care about being sensible when I’m at WDW
That said, FP’s are important for me too, and they are one of the reasons I’m not that excited about or early january trip. It would be a short trip and FP’s would play a big role in getting in everything we want to do. However, if FP’s were missing and there was no pandemic I would still go, but the covid situation is a bigger factor and I’m most likely moving our whole US trip to sometime in the spring/summer.
We love staying onsite. I love being in the Disney bubble. Disney continues to charge more and give less and that has made us look elsewhere even when we didn’t want to. For what these other hotels offer and for much less of a price they are worth way more than what Disney offers.
I like staying onside for the themes and proximity and I own DVC so there’s that. But I have to say without the FP+ and EMHs right now there is VERY little advantage to staying onsite! Maybe DME but the price of that is definitely built into the (very) high price of the on-site hotels. You could easily get a bigger and better (service) hotel for less money or equal and then pay for airport transfers. Even the “free” transportation to the park is negligible because I’m staying at the Beach Club in October and still planning a bunch of Lyft trips because the transportation is lacking.
I do expect some sort of onsite advantage to return, but if you’re looking at today, there is virtually zero advantage.