Tips on How to Get Cheap Hotels at Disney World in Orlando, FL, and Disneyland in Anaheim, CA

You’re in the middle of Disney vacation planning and start wondering how to get cheap hotels that still maintain quality, comfort, and a convenient location to the Parks.

Does this scenario sound familiar? Whether you’re visiting Disneyland in Anaheim, California, or Disney World in Orlando, Florida, it’s an age-old back-and-forth struggle that all out-of-town prospective visitors go through at some point. Perhaps you’re considering an on-property stay but can’t decide which Disney hotel is best for your budget. Or maybe you’re eyeing a Good Neighbor Hotel near Disney World or even a highly recommended hotel near Disneyland. You probably have a million questions flooding your brain and feeling pretty overwhelmed, especially after evaluating which perks and essentials you want while still keeping things affordable and top-notch. Is it even possible, or are your high-end demands contradictory to what a “cheap” hotel can offer?

To help you out, we at Inside the Magic are fielding some common FAQs you may have about affordable hotels close to Disney Parks. As we go through, we will present answers and offer additional advice on maximizing quality while maintaining a surprisingly cheap budget.

Related: Secrets to Staying at a Disney Resort for a Cheap Rate

Should I Do a Disney Resort or Not?

This is the most significant question to ask in your search for accommodations. Disney Resorts are known for endowing Guests with a host of perks and benefits that other area accommodations cannot necessarily guarantee. Some of these include special Park admission times outside of public operating hours, complimentary transportation services, and several others. Of course, there are also many Good Neighbor Hotels—some of which are still counted within the Disney Resort Collection—that utilize these same offerings. Other area venues may offer a similar perk, like free shuttle services. Still, diehard Disney Resort fans will tell you that nothing compares to the convenience and all-inclusiveness of booking a Disney Resort. It’s all about the Disney difference, they say.

Good Neighbor Hotel Versus Grand Floridian Comparison

Related: Walt Disney World Good Neighbor Hotels We Love

What Are the Cheapest Disney Resort Options Available?

If you’re going to Disney World, specifically, you may ask, “What’s the cheapest Walt Disney World Hotel?” While we cannot offer an exact answer, we can at least tell you about the onsite lodging options that are the cheapest. As indicative of the name, any Disney Value Resort designation can be considered the best place to stay in Disney World on a budget. These include Disney’s All-Star Resorts, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Also at Disney World is Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campgrounds, consisting of both Cabin and Campsite rentals. While the former costs a little extra, the campground spaces are comparable to Value Resort pricing.

Cars at Art of Animation
Credits: Disney

Disneyland has no Value Resort designs among its three official on-property hotels, but there are many budget-friendly alternatives in the region. In fact, these include some of the best hotels near Disneyland within walking distance.

Another thing to be mindful of is that rates may vary depending on the season in which you book your Disney Resort stay. This means there are times throughout the year—mainly during the off-season months—when some Deluxe Resort accommodations can go for rates comparable to Moderate Resorts. Likewise, some Moderate Resorts can dip low enough to rival Value Resort pricing. It’s all a matter of deciding which Disney hotel is the best for you at the time of your vacation.

Grand Floridian Resort, exterior aerial shot
Credits: Disney

How Can I Get a Roomier Option If I’m On a Budget?

Whether you are staying on Disney Property or you’ve decided on a nearby area hotel, there are indeed ways to get more room for your buck. In fact, even some Disney Value Resorts boast hotels with nice suites, like those at Disney’s All-Star Music and Art of Animation.

As previously mentioned, off-season times are when you can get a cheaper rate on loftier accommodations in higher designated categories. But here’s another lesser-known hack for staying in roomier suites or even Deluxe Villas; consider renting from a Disney Vacation Club Member directly. The way it works is that sometimes DVC Members can’t use all their points in a single calendar year and will rent out their unused points to non-Members. In these instances, DVC owners will make reservations directly in your name, and you can experience some Deluxe, spacious options for sometimes up to 70% off the regular rate.

Those who decide to stay at a nearby non-Disney Resort instead have many possible deals at their disposal. For example, if you belong to a hotel rewards program like Choice Hotel, Marriott Bonvoy, etc., you may want to check for branded accommodations to score a great deal. Likewise, specific credit cards have redeemable reward points that may earn you an affordable stay at a would-be pricey, signature hotel room. There are so many ways to get optimal money-saving deals. It’s just a matter of looking around and exploring all the cost-saving options that may be right under your nose.

Disney's Four Seasons Resort
Credits: Four Seasons

Related: New Villa Concept Art Revealed at One of Disney’s Most Iconic Resorts

What is the Pet Policy at Disney Hotels?

If traveling with pets is important to you, you may have asked, “Do Disney hotels allow dogs, cats, and other pets?” In short, the answer is that four Disney World Resorts do allow dogs (only) in designated accommodations. These include Disney Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, Disney’s Yacht Club, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. Disney even welcomes dog Guests at these Resorts with a special “Pluto’s Welcome” care package, laden with dog-friendly gifts and essentials.

Unfortunately, none of Disneyland’s three official resorts allow dogs or any other pets to lodge onsite, except for service animals. However, there are many Good Neighbor Hotels close to Disneyland that are entirely pet-friendly.

Pluto with girl and her dog
Credits: Disney

Related: Dog Friendly Disney World Lets You Bring Your Pets On Vacation

Which Resorts Offer Shuttle Services to Disney Parks?

Disney World is massive, consisting of four theme parks, two water parks, and the nearby Disney Springs shopping district. Therefore, complimentary shuttle services are provided to and from each Disney Resort to all the aforementioned locations. Exceptions are Resort-Park connections that rely on alternative means of travel, all of which are still provided free of charge. Likewise, many Good Neighbor Hotels at Disney World also provide shuttle services to the Parks.

Because Guests can easily navigate between Disneyland’s three hotels and two Parks on foot, Resort shuttle services aren’t needed. However, there are several hotels near Disneyland with shuttle service to Disneyland Parks, specifically.

Shuttle Services at Disneyland Area Resorts
Credit: Anaheim Resort Transportation Service

These represent only a handful of the starter questions you may have when considering affordable Disney area accommodations that still uphold quality standards. What are some of your favorite tips or recommendations for scoring a cheap hotel for a Disney vacation? Let us know!

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