One question I usually get is, what's the benifits of staying in property, and is the price really worth it?
Disney World has three levels of hotels to stay at, value (The All-Stars, Art of Animation, and Pop), moderate (Port Orleans, Carribean Beach, Cornado Springs, etc), and the Deluxe (Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Conteporary, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach and Yacht Club, etc). These deluxe resorts also include the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) properties attached to them.
Each level has a price point and according to that, is how nice of room you get and where the resort is located in reference to the parks. Values are the cheapest and furthest away from Magic Kingdom, then moderate, and deluxe can be within walking distance of one of the four parks.
Staying on property does has it's benefits. Free parking for all the parks you go to, free transportation to and from your resort to the park, extra magic hours for different parks though out the week, option of adding the dining plan, store to resort pick up in items bought in the stores on property, if you are flying in & out the Magical Express will pick you up, also with taking a a Disney Cruise, they will take you to the port or pick you up from the port. And who could forget unique & beautiful theming you don't get anywhere else?
I may start sounding a little biased here, so excuse me for a few minutes. I have only stated off property a few times, and I can't remember what it was like because I was so young. Since we have started to go back on a regular basis, we have only stayed on property. But we love it! We drive down, park our car near the room, and don't get back in until we leave. The extra couple of hours we get in the parks, thanks to the Magic Hours, help us get the rides we would like to get to that may usually have longer waits. The dining package, as I have stated before, is one thing we love to get. So staying on property is well worth our money.
Now, there are some downsides. The free transportation, mainly buses, can take a lot if time out if your day. You may wait 5 minutes, or 40 minutes for a bus at your resort, or worse at the end of your day in the park. It does get discouraging seeing all the other buses come by, but never one for you.
The prices are high, the values start at $89 a night on the down season and will go up in the summer and Christmas. Some friends have stayed off property and paid for parking at the parks and still saved money on their room.
But to help out a little on the down sides, you do get the free parking, so if you do stay on property, take your car. You will get there fast and return to the resort sooner.
There are DVC members that rent their points out for as little at $115 a point. This could help out on staying on property. DVC is only at the Deluxe Resorts. So, by the time you have purchased the points, you have most likely saved money on your resort. Be sure if you do this, to go through a trusted service. The owners have to make your reservations.
So is it worth it to stay in property? In my opinion, Yes. If you only plan on making the one trip to Disney world, go all out. If you go multiple times a year, then spice it up every now and then, and try staying of property.