Other Hotels in Disney World
By Dave Shute
STAYING IN A HOTEL THAT DISNEY DOES NOT OWN
The best reason to stay in a non-Disney hotel is to save money. (For the Disney-owned hotels, see this.)
Four non-Disney hotels are in the heart of Disney World, and offer deluxe-quality rooms and amenities for typically less than the Disney deluxes (at Shades of Green, much less).
All these but the Four Seasons participate in Disney’s Extra Magic Hours program.
The Swan and Dolphin in addition use Disney’s transportation system and have access to FastPass+ 60 days in advance, not 30.
The Swan and Dolphin used to be part of Starwood, but are now part of the Marriott family. These means many more folks will have points they can use to rent these, as they now go for both Marriott and Starwood points.
I’m not keen on any of these four for first timers.
- None has any distinctive Disney theming–you could be anywhere.
- Shades and the Four Seasons have less than great transportation, and only can access FastPass+ at 30 days.
- The Swan and Dolphin have transportation comparable to the Disney-owned resorts, and get FastPass+ at 60 days, but are inconveniently located for a Magic-Kingdom-centered trip–which most first visits are.
They can each be great choices for returning trips–Shades of Green for its prices, The Swan in particular for a lower-priced way to be close to Epcot (the Swan has queen beds and two sinks, making it a better family choice than the Dolphin with its full beds and one sink), and the Four Seasons for its stunning amenities, and in particular its pool complex–the best at Disney World.
Another group of hotels on Hotel Plaza Boulevard are on Disney property but isolated from the main attractions at Disney World except for the shopping and dining at Disney Springs.
There are literally hundreds of other hotels and thousands of condos/villas/homes for rent off the property. The condos/villas/homes for rent will particularly save money for larger families or groups.
Be careful in your price comparisons to include added rental car costs, hotel parking, resort fees, theme park parking.
For more on saving money on lodging at Disney World, see this.