1. The Bubble
  2. Transportation 
  3. Resort activities
  4. Dining options
  5. Family-minded people
  6. Pools

Now that I’ve admitted that we are a Disney family, I have a lot of other Disney tips and tricks I would love to share. I’ve even decided to make a whole “Disney” category on my website for the occasion. Today’s suggestion is that you should stay on Disney property for your trip. If you have been on the fence about it, read on to find out why it is worth it to us. 

Welcome to the Disney Bubble!
  1. The Bubble

Have you heard of the Disney Bubble? When you arrive at Walt Disney World, you enter through the most beautiful gateway that welcomes you with the warmth that only Minnie and Mickey can. As soon as you cross the Walt Disney World arch, you are met with road signs that will direct you to all of the places of your dreams. This Disney Bubble is like its own city that runs on magic. You might feel a sprinkle of this magic if you just visit for the day, but when you stay for the duration of your trip, you can’t escape it. The cast members (workers) are all generally very friendly and go out of the way to say hello. The grounds are clean and well-kept. The buildings smell amazing (It’s kind of a thing – you can find candles that are supposed to mimic these smells. People have compiled essential oil recipes to mimic the smells. The bathroom at the Beach and Yacht Club pool smells so good that a lady walked in while I was changing Little Love and remarked about it.) The Disney Bubble transforms your perspective to one of relaxation and cheer (unless you are some kind of mega-grouch, I suppose). If you haven’t experienced it yet, and are skeptical of what I am saying, I highly recommend trying it out. 

Port Orleans French Quarter was our first stop (beignets!) for this trip and the smell in the lobby reminded me that there is no place like Disney World!

2. Transportation

 You can easily navigate Walt Disney World without your own vehicle. In the interest of full disclosure, The Husband is not a fan of relying on Disney transportation. We typically drive, so we have our own car, but there are thousands (millions?) of people who do not, and they have nothing but good things to say about the transportation. All of the hotels have bus transportation to the parks and Disney Springs. Certain hotels that are in close proximity to a park may offer alternative transportation such as boats or walking paths. In this case, it is likely faster for you to walk to the park than any other method. We tested this out on our most recent stay at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. There is a walking path to Hollywood Studios, but it seemed kind of far, so we opted to take a Friendship Boat. By the time we lugged our stroller onto the boat, stopped at two neighboring hotels, and sailed to the park, we realized we could have walked the 15-20 minutes and been there more quickly. We walked back in the evening and it was really delightful. There were hardly any people around, and since the walkway follows the waterway, the view was beautiful. 

Other transportation methods include the Monorail or the Skyliner. Both come with their own set of benefits and drawbacks. They do not take you anywhere you want to go, and in inclement weather or other extenuating circumstances, service may be delayed. We rode both without a problem on our trip, but I have heard some stories of people waiting on board. Another drawback is that the buses from the resorts only visit the parks and Disney Springs. If you have a dining reservation at another hotel, you will have to take the bus to Disney Springs and then transfer to the bus for your hotel. An alternative to this would be taking a Lyft or an Uber. Disney also has a service called Minnie Vans, which are slightly more expensive, but very convenient and friendly. They can accommodate car seats and can take you anywhere on Disney property. We did a Minnie Van one time, and it was very pleasant and speedy. 

Walkway to Hollywood Studios from the Boardwalk Area
View of Tower of Terror and the Friendship Boat from the Walking Path

3. Resort Activities

Disney resorts are so much more than a hotel to sleep in. Any one of the resorts can easily be a vacation on its own without visiting any of the parks. We have come to enjoy the pools and activities almost as much as riding rides and visiting characters. Each resort has a monthly activity guide that shows what is happening. (magicalresortguide.com seems to have a very organized list of the activities going on at the resorts this month.) Some of the activities are included in your stay, while others cost extra. In my experience, the prices vary depending on the activity. Mickey Tie Dye was $15, and other crafts range from around $5-10. The pool games we participated in at Yacht/Beach Club were fun, but I also found that one of the games was really long and Big Love wanted to watch what happened until the end. I was getting antsy. Thankfully for me, it was cut short due to a storm in the area and we had to leave the pool. We found that even in the event of bad weather, the activities crew had indoor activities for kids to do. My girls colored crowns, played Disney charades, and got 4th of July tattoos, all on separate days (It was a stormy week!). The cast members were fabulous and truly showed that they have a love for their jobs. 

Some resorts have nightly campfires where you can roast marshmallows for free.

Some resorts, such as the Boardwalk Inn and Riviera Resort have designated craft centers where anyone can color pictures and play games for free. The Boardwalk has some TVs with video games to play and ample coloring sheets to decorate. The Riviera has bookmarks that are also available to color. We did not inquire if Boardwalk had bookmarks, but they were not out and obvious. Each of these craft rooms also had other activities to do that cost extra money. They seemed fun, but we did not participate. These rooms are a nice change of scenery, but I can imagine they get busy when the pools are closed. 

4. Dining Options

Theme park food does not typically come critically acclaimed, but I would say that Disney has worked hard to offer many different options in their parks and resorts. I am not a foodie by any stretch of the imagination, but I like a wider variety of food than burgers and fries. All of the resorts have on-sight dining options including sit-down restaurants, lounges, and quick service options. The value resorts have fewer options than the deluxe, but if you stay at a hotel that is in close proximity to a different hotel, you can utilize the options at both. I’m not sure if this site is completely up to date, as we ate at a restaurant in the Dolphin hotel that is not listed, but it gives you a good idea of the many food options available at all of the parks and hotels. You definitely won’t go hungry!

The Mini (and Minnie) Kitchen Sink from the Beaches and Cream Take-Out Window

5. Family-Minded People

Ok. This one is a little more subjective. We spent our most recent trip split between SeaWorld and Disney World, and there is just a difference. At SeaWorld, we stayed at one of their partner hotels, which was only about a 5 minute drive away. We got an excellent package deal and the hotel was beautiful and everything we needed for our two-night stay. I have absolutely no complaints about this hotel at all. The complaint would be about the demeanor of the people visiting SeaWorld. They were fine, but there was just a bigger feeling of a negative attitude from the people we encountered. It is hard to put my finger on, and I would be curious to know if other people can identify what I mean. At Disney World, people were generally more happy. This does not mean that I didn’t see countless examples of families disciplining their children or snappy remarks between a husband and wife – I did. But there were also thousands of examples of jovial moments between family members. It stood out to me that people from all across the world can come together in this place and just enjoy themselves. It didn’t matter what language or country of origin – people just had fun. 

6. Pools

Disney Resort pools are some of the most fun places to spend a vacation. Moderate and deluxe resorts have a pool with a waterslide and they also have separate “quiet” pools, which are often paired with a laundry facility. These pools are a little less fancy, but equally wet and cooling. Sometimes the peacefulness of the quiet pools was just what we needed after a long day at the parks. The theming at the main pools is typically right in line with what you would expect from Disney World. It depends on the resort, but you will likely feel transported to a different land while you are paddling along in the water escaping the heat. Some resorts also have splash areas for kids, and even Big Love enjoys playing on the equipment and hoping that the big bucket of water will splash on her head. Little Love wants to be big, but the shallow depth of water is perfect for her tiny legs. The main pools have lifeguards on duty, while the quiet pools do not. You are allowed to bring things like pool noodles and beach balls, but it is at the discretion of the lifeguards and if you get rowdy, they can ask you to stop. One notable difference between the off-site pool and the Disney pools is the cleanliness level. The water was noticeably cleaner in Disney World than our other pool. Like I have said before, this place is made of magic and everything is just better here. 

Splash Pad at Wilderness Lodge
Sand Bar at the Sandy-Bottom Pool in Stormalong Bay at Yacht and Beach Club Resorts