Towels Rolled into Mickey Mouse shape at Disneys Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort Pool - image by Dani Meyering
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5 Helpful Features of Disney World Hotels for Parents and Families

Staying in the middle of the magic at a Disney hotel can sometimes seem out of reach. But there’s a reason that even local Orlando parents book a few nights at a Disney World Resort Hotel every so often. It’s convenient, enchanting, and helpful.

I have had the privilege of staying at nearly every single Walt Disney World Resort Hotel – that’s right all 25 hotels. Of course, that’s over the span of 25 years, but still, you get the point. I’ve also stayed at countless Orlando hotels outside of Disney. So I know a thing or two about staying on Disney property versus off property.

Even without going to the Disney theme park, the hotels that Disney owns and operates are special and worth it. In this quick guide, I’m sharing five things that make Disney World hotels helpful for families. I’m talking about little touches that make a world of difference in your family vacation.

Helpful Features of Disney Hotels (That Are Often Overlooked)

  1. Mobile Ordering at On Site Dining
  2. Disney on Demand TV Programming
  3. Hey Disney In-Room Assistant
  4. Lifeguards at the Pool(s)
  5. On Site Hotel Activities

You’re probably familiar with the main benefits of staying at a Disney hotel. There’s complimentary Disney transportation that’ll take you to and from the Disney theme parks, Disney Springs, and more. You get early access into the theme parks in the mornings. Guests staying at Disney Deluxe Resort Hotels or Disney Deluxe Villas can enjoy extended evening hours at select theme parks on select nights.

The features I am sharing are ones that not everyone knows about or thinks about! And they make things so much easier for parents.

Young Boy playing with Buzz Lightyear Toy inside Cars Family Suite at Disney's Art of Animation Resort
Cars Family Suite at Disneys Art of Animation Resort image by Dani Meyering

Mobile Ordering at On-Site Dining

You may be familiar with mobile ordering in the Disney theme parks. It’s the same concept as when you order groceries and arrive at the store to pick them up. Disney’s Mobile Ordering is so user-friendly and saves so much time.

Mobile Ordering is helpful in the theme parks, but it is just as helpful at the Disney owned hotels. Every Disney resort has at least one dining location that offers mobile ordering.

What I love about mobile ordering at the Disney hotels is that it’s available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – meaning I can easily get sustenance for my child, myself, or my husband anytime we’re at the resort.

Heading back to your hotel from a long day in the theme parks? Order up a snack, meal, or dessert while you sit on the Disney bus, monorail, boat, or Skyliner. Then pick it up when you arrive back at the hotel.

mom holding a Lion King Waffle for Breakfast at Disney's Art of Animation Resort
Lion King Waffles at Disneys Art of Animation Resort image by Dani Meyering

Waking up in the morning and need breakfast ASAP? Order your family’s breakfast while the marathon of getting ready for the day commences. You’ll enjoy a hot, yummy breakfast without having to wait in line at the register.

There are even select table service restaurants at Disney hotels that do to-go / takeout orders via mobile ordering!

Another thing I love about the restaurants at Disney resorts is many of the Deluxe Disney Resorts have character dining, no theme park ticket is required!

Mirabel poses for a picture with father and son at 1900 Park Fare Character Dinner
Mirabel poses at 1900 Park Fare Character Dining image by Dani Meyering

Disney on Demand TV Programming

Anyone else swore they wouldn’t use the TV to help make life as a parent easier? Yeah, that went out the window pretty early on in my parenting journey. But I am very selective about what our son watches.

It often shocks me when I cannot find any suitable TV channels and programing for our son when we are at a hotel – except when it comes to the Disney hotels. Not only do the TVs at Disney hotels have every Disney channel there is (Disney, Disney Junior, Disney XD), but there is also “Disney on Demand” programming.

Young Boy Watching Disney on Demand Programming at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Room
Disney on Demand Programming image by Dani Meyering

Our time in our Disney hotel room is made peaceful and fun thanks to “Disney on Demand.” These programs are exclusive to Disney hotels. Everything from LEGO Star Wars shorts, to health and wellness programs, to bedtime stories. You can even watch Magic Kingdom’s “Happily Ever After” fireworks in your room!

Hey Disney In-Room Assistant

Do you have a voice assistance at home? Or even just use the one on your phone a fair amount? Well, every Disney resort hotel room now has an adorable and helpful “Hey Disney!” device.

“Hey Disney!” is a voice assistant and it is a life changer! Our elementary age son loves playing trivia with Hey Disney as well as asking it to tell us jokes. When I need a few more minutes before we can head out the door Hey Disney entertains our boy for a few moments without me having to rely on more screen time.

Hey Disney Voice Assistant Inside Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort hotel room displaying a Cars audio book
Hey Disney Voice Assistant image by Dani Meyering

In the rare times I get a moment to myself I like to have Hey Disney play one of the many soundscapes available. It’s such a unique thing to listen to soundscapes inspired by Star Wars, Frozen, or The Lion King while relaxing in the hotel room.

Lifeguards at the Pool(s)

Every single Disney resort hotel has more than one pool. If you’ve ever been on vacation with your kids you know the pool is just as big of a hit as the theme parks.

Pool time can be tough though. It takes a lot of energy to keep up with the kids. But I feel less stressed at Disney resort hotel pools when the Disney lifeguards are there.

Seating and Lifeguard Stand at Big Blue Ocean Pool at Disney's Art of Animation Resort
Big Blue Pool at Disneys Art of Animation Resort image by Dani Meyering

Naturally, I stay with my son and keep a close watch on him while we’re in the water together. But it’s reassuring knowing that Disney lifeguards are constantly keeping an eye on everyone too. It’s that added level of safety that feels comforting.

On Site Hotel Activities

How does relaxing poolside watching a Disney movie under the stars sound? Or perhaps roasting some marshmallows around a small campfire at your resort? Every night there are at least a handful of activities offered at every Disney hotel, included in your stay!

Plus there are a few activities during the day at each resort. Some activities have a minimal cost, usually $5 – $10 for things like making a tie die t-shirt, or sand art, or other fun hands-on activity.

Young Boy Interacting with Cultural Representative Animal Education Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort Lobby
Animal Education Disneys Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort Lobby image by Dani Meyering

Usually every day there are poolside activities like Disney trivia and dance parties. You’ll find these energetic activities at the main pool in the afternoon. The mornings and evenings are less crowded.

So by making use of the mobile ordering, in-room TV programming, Hey Disney assistant, and recreational activities, you can make things easier and more magical for yourself and your family. You just might find you’ll return home from your vacation relaxed and rejuvenated – just as it should be.

Related post: Insider Tips for Your First Trip to Walt Disney World

Important note: A portion of these images in this blog post are from a hosted media trip to Walt Disney World which included tickets and hotel accommodations provided at no cost to the writer.

author avatar
Dani Meyering
Born and raised in the land of sunshine and dreams come true, Dani is a proud Orlando native. She loves sharing her hometown with others from the theme parks to Florida's natural beauty. With over 15 years of experience, Dani is thrilled to serve as our Managing Editor at Orlando Date Night Guide, Orlando Parenting, as well as Tampa Bay Date Night Guide.