Where to Stay
Why it's Worth it to Stay at a Disney Resort
Ease of travel: If you plan to visit just the Disney parks, you won't even need a rental car. The most convenient resorts to the Magic Kingdom (the Contemporary, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian) are located at monorail stops, but all Disney transportation gets you closer to the Kingdom than driving or using non-Disney shuttles. Disney transportation is free, and so is parking if you stay at a Disney resort. And if you buy four-day Park Hopper passes, which allow you to visit more than one of the four parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom), you'll get around more quickly.
Priority meal seating: Even before you arrive, you can make reservations for all Disney World restaurants with one call: 407-WDW-DINE.
Great themes: From exotic animals on the grounds of the Animal Kingdom Lodge to the larger-than-life icons at the All-Star resorts, the Disney hotels are often as much a part of the magic as the theme parks themselves.
Why You Might Want to Stay at a Non-Disney Resort or Condo
With more than 100,000 hotel rooms in the Orlando area, it's definitely a buyer's market. Many families like the larger accommodations offered at hotels like the Holiday Inn Family Suites or the Embassy Suites or a time-share condo like the well-regarded Vistana Resort, all conveniently located and often much less expensive than similarly sized rooms in Disney hotels. Having one or more separate bedrooms allows kids to nap or go to sleep early and adults to stay up later. The accommodations also usually include kitchenettes, making it easier to have breakfast or other meals "at home" and pack a sandwich or snacks for the park. Furthermore, they can be more convenient if you're planning to visit Universal Studios, Sea World, and other non-Disney attractions.