Ah, things were much simpler back in the days immediately after Walt Disney World first opened.

In the old days, if you wanted to go on attraction you simply waited in line for it. Today, you need to consider options like FastPass+ and MyDisneyExperience.

In the old days, if you wanted to get something quick to eat, you were probably looking at a hamburger. Today, you have all kinds of dining options with cuisine from all over the world.

And in the old days, if you wanted to stay at a Disney-operated hotel, you had three from which to choose. Today, there are more than 25 Disney resort hotels – with prices, amenities, and locations that are all over the map.

Choice is a good thing, but it does mean you need to be better prepared and plan ahead.

Let’s take a look at the top four considerations for selecting a Disney Resort Hotel:

Cost

Like so many things in life, cost drives what we can experience. There is a wide range of cost options, including three resort categories: deluxe, moderate, and value. Prices start as low as $90 and go up to “how much do you have” – literally thousands of dollars a night for the Presidential Suites at the most posh locations.

Deluxe resorts like the Grand Floridian will cost more.

Deluxe resorts like the Grand Floridian will cost more.

Moderate hotel rooms can be had for the upper $100s, and deluxe rooms can be had for around $300. Of course, the prices vary widely, as we will see.

So yes, Disney hotels can be expensive. But there are options for even the budget minded. Consider that guests of Disney hotels get free parking at both the hotels and at the parks (it costs $17 for your car at the theme parks if you are staying elsewhere). You also get access to theme parks hours before or after the general public – which means you can see and do more. Take these perks into account when you consider cost.

Timing

In addition to different costs based on category, cost will also vary based on your timing. Disney has four different time-frames or seasons, each of which has different pricing: value, regular, peak, and holiday. Visiting in January, February, and September is typically the least expensive time to go. Planning to spend Christmas Day at Disney World? That will definitely cost more.

Location

Another important consideration is what you will be doing while you visit Disney World. If you are there for a special event like the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, or a RunDisney event, or an after-hours party like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, then you might want to select a resort close to your event.

Kids may actually prefer value resorts.

Kids may actually prefer value resorts.

Style

Disney hotels come in many different styles and themes, from the luxurious grandeur of Victorian age at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa to the roughin’ it approach of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground. The themes of some moderate and deluxe resorts may not appeal to children, who might otherwise love some of the whimsical value resorts like Disney’s All Star Music or Disney’s Art Of Animation. Be sure to select a resort that matches the personality of the people in your group.

Do you stay on-site or off-site when visiting Disney World?  Why?