Orlando Vacation Disney Resorts Vs Disney Good Neighbor Hotels

As you search for accommodations near Disney World, you’ll find that you have literally thousands of options. This can be more than a little overwhelming, especially for someone who’s never been to Orlando before.

The good news is that we’re here to help you narrow down your options. Once you’ve decided on a hotel your next choice is simple: Should you look at Disney resorts or Disney good neighborhood hotels? Read on to learn the advantages of both options.

Price: Disney good neighbor hotels offer a better value

When families choose just one factor to consider, it’s often price. If that’s the boat you’re in, then you’ll definitely want to choose Disney good neighbor hotels. They can cost just one-quarter what you’d pay to stay in a Disney World resort. While many people assume that the higher price of Disney resorts must mean an incredible experience, that may not be true. Read on to learn more.

Amenities: Disney good neighbor hotels offer you more options

For some families, amenities are essential. They want a hotel that offers spa service, that has several outdoor pools, and that has a concierge on site. For other families, they’re planning to spend the vast majority of their time in Disney World’s four theme parks. All they’re looking for is a safe, clean space to sleep at night.

Regardless of which of these two camps you fall into – or if you’re midway between them – you can find a good neighbor hotel that has what you need. When you choose Disney resorts, you have a few options but most people can’t find exactly what they’re looking for and either end up paying for amenities they don’t need or not getting what they need in favor of a low price. Good neighbor hotels offer the best of both worlds.

Location: Disney resorts are closer – but only a little

One of the main reasons that families are willing to pay three to four times as much to stay in a Disney resort versus a Disney good neighbor hotel is because they want to be as close as possible. This is an understandable want, but the reality is that Disney resorts aren’t the only ones that are just minutes from the parks.

In fact, Disney resorts are spread out throughout Disney World. If you plan to spend most of your time at one particular theme park, then there are likely to be good neighbor hotels that are even closer than some of Disney’s resorts. Regardless of what you choose, it’s true that location is an important factor. What isn’t true is that a Disney resort is the only way to get as close as you want.

Free transportation: A tie

Every Disney resort offers free transportation to all four theme parks as well as the water parks. Depending on the resort that’s chosen, this transportation can be via bus, boat, monorail, or a combination of these options. During non-peak times of the year and non-peak times of day, these modes of transportation can run infrequently. Immediately after fireworks, there can be huge lines to get on the Disney buses.

Most good neighbor hotels also offer free shuttle service to and from the parks. Depending on the hotel a family chooses, this may be via bus, shuttle, or another mode of transportation. Some people prefer good neighbor hotel’s transportation because it often runs on a specific schedule. Though it may run less frequently than Disney transportation, when you know the exact time the bus is going to pick you up, you can better plan your day.

Remember that not any hotel can be a good neighbor hotel

Many travelers don’t realize that not just any hotel qualifies as a Disney good neighbor hotel. Disney has high standards for these hotels and any that don’t reach those high standards will no longer be a listed good neighbor hotel. Some of those standards include:

  • They must offer a variety of rooms, including standard rooms, villa-style rooms, and / or suites.
  • They must be comfortable.
  • They must be convenient.
  • They must be between 2 and 14 miles away from Disney World.
  • They must be approved by AAA
  • They must offer access to information about the Walt Disney World theme parks to their customers prior to their arrival.
  • They must meet Disney’s quality and service standards.
  • They must have a Guest Services desk that can help visitors with planning their Disney vacation and purchasing tickets.

What are Disney good neighbor hotels’ amenities worth to you?

One of the best things about staying at a good neighbor hotel is that you can often get amenities that make the room worth more – yet it still costs considerably less than a Disney resort. For example, none of the Disney World resorts offer continental breakfast yet many good neighbor hotels do. If you have a family of four, the benefit of a free breakfast could pay for the room itself.