What Perks Do Disney Resort Guests Still Have in 2021?

Recently, we heard new developments coming out of Disney World that will have a major impact on the way guests that stay on-property plan their vacation. Not only will Disney’s Magical Express go away starting in 2022, but Extra Magic Hours would also not be returning and will be replaced instead by Early Theme Park Entry.

Contemporary Lobby

So that begs the question, what perks do Disney World resort guests have these days? If you have a 2021 Disney vacation in the works and have yet to book your hotel accommodations, here are some factors to consider when weight the pros and cons between staying on or off Disney World property.

Disney’s Magical Express

With the major announcement that Disney World will suspend their complimentary Magical Express service from Orlando International Airport to your Disney World hotel, there is one important detail to keep in mind. Magical Express will not go away until January 1st, 2022, meaning that if you have a 2021 Disney World reservation and you are staying on property, you will still have Magical Express to take you to and from the airport.

Disney’s Magical Express

For those with 2021 reservations, Magical Express could be a major money saver if you’re looking to avoid costly taxi fees or rideshare fees to and from the airport, or if you would prefer to not rent a car.

Disney’s Magical Express Bus Stop Pick-Up

Easy (and Free) Transportation to the Theme Parks

There’s something to be said for location, location, location. With many resorts literally steps from the park gates, a major perk to staying on property is quicker, easier access to Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. Time is money when vacationing in Disney World, and the proximity to the theme parks could be a major deciding factor!


On top of that, Disney World still offers multiple modes of complimentary transportation, including buses, the Monorail, the Disney Skyliner, and boats. These transportation methods are free to all guests regardless of where you are staying once you’re on property, but then there’s the issue of actually getting ON Disney property in the first place. Depending on the park you’re looking to visit, some off-property hotels could be just as close, but keep in mind you may be limited to paid transportation like parking your own car or taking a rideshare service like Uber and Lyft.

Parking Entrance

Early Park Access

One perk that has been around for many years is early access to each of the four theme parks. Disney World recently announced that they will continue the suspension of Extra Magic Hours as we knew them; however, early morning access will be coming back in a new form. With the upcoming Early Theme Park Entry, resort guests will be able to enter the theme parks thirty minutes ahead of the general public.

EPCOT Fountain

Discounted MagicBands

While Disney World suspended sending complimentary MagicBands to resort guests ahead of their trip, there’s still a slight edge to staying on property.

2021 MagicBands

That’s because Disney is continuing to offer discounted rates on MagicBands purchased ahead of time for their resort guests. You can also link a MagicBand from a previous trip to your reservation, avoiding the fee altogether.

MagicBand Scanner

The Disney Bubble

The last perk we want to mention today is a bit more “intangible” than the others we’ve included in our list. For some travelers, it’s really important that when they’re on a Disney World vacation, they REALLY want to be totally immersed in their Disney World vacation! There’s certainly something to be said for living in the “Disney Bubble” from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave.

Grand Floridian Lobby

When staying off-property, that Disney Magic may wane when you return to your hotel for the night. Everyone’s travel style is different, so if that total Disney experience is important to you, you may be more willing to pay extra! Be sure to crunch those numbers and discuss with your travel party what your priorities are and what’s worth saving or splurging on!

Click here to learn about a refurbishment happening this year at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Will you stay on Disney property for your 2021 vacation? Let us know in the comments!

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3 Replies to “What Perks Do Disney Resort Guests Still Have in 2021?”

  1. No benefits to staying onsite now apart from ‘free’ theme park parking (albeit already paid for with resort parking). Rooms are generally much smaller than offsite hotels, food offering more expensive – Disney has removed all of the magic and is now just another over-priced hotel chain. Much better value nearby now for half the price. So sad that corporate greed has come to this.

  2. So for the future on staying on property, no free magic bands, no magical express where they provide luggage service to your room and if you have drive your own or have rental car you pay for parking at your resort, no 2 hours extra at nights at parks for staying on property and no discounted dining plan. Why I ask is the advantage of staying on property for over priced rooms with no perks?

  3. Typically go to WDW once or twice a year. Wont book until we understand fast passes, reservation priority, and benefits that replace magic hours, if any. Not seeing benefits of staying on property at this point so we may look at other properties or other theme parks.