When planning a vacation to Orlando, you’re posed with one of the most difficult decisions that could make or break your trip….figuring out a place to stay. There are literally hundreds of properties across the spectrum, and I know that having that on your to-do list from the beginning is daunting. Personally, I’ve made a change over the last few trips to Disney World on how I choose my hotel and I can’t wait to share my thoughts!
Spoiler…the price doesn’t matter as much as the other factors that are at hand.
After two separate trips to this property (April 2018 and again in 2019), the Holiday Inn @ Disney Springs has become my go-to location for my way of touring! Here are five of the reasons why I believe that this property is a great choice for folks visiting Walt Disney World & Universal Orlando.
Full Disclosure – We booked this property through Expedia and paid full price for our stay, including all fees and tips.
Before I get into the insider tips, I gotta give you the background of the property. It’s a 323 room hotel that’s located on Walt Disney World property, within walking distance of Disney Springs. Trip Advisor sits at an average of 4.5 stars (with 3,800+ reviews) and currently ranks as the #32 of 344 Hotels in Orlando.
The Holiday Inn Disney Springs is undergoing a substantial renovation, so the property photos will be updated as we get them…but for the time being, photos are credited. Some are mine and some are from the property, but that’s mostly due to time restrictions from our side OR the sun glare / backlit images that I didn’t realized until I got back in front of the computer to write this article.
LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION
The Holiday Inn’s location on Hotel Place Boulevard is prime for a Walt Disney World vacation. We are “rope-drop to fireworks” travellers, so for us the goal is to be as close to the action as possible. Our goal is to be immersed in the ‘Magic’ throughout the day, so knowing that we’re within an 8-minute walk to Disney Springs is a great feature that I just can’t overlook and won’t overstate.
Another fun feature about the location is that they are the the first hotel that ISN’T at the intersection of Hotel Plaza Blvd and East Buena Vista Drive…aka the main turnoff for traffic either going into Disney Springs or bypassing to the parks.
OFFICIAL WALT DISNEY WORLD HOTEL BENEFITS **NEW**
This was new for us to experience, as we booked our April 2018 package (flight & resort) in Early February, we had the opportunity to take advantage of the new benefits that the Disney Springs Area Resorts are now able to offer their guests.
- Extra Magic Hours – YES! Because you’re staying at an Official Walt Disney World Hotel…you get access to EMH!
- FastPass+ – Traditionally, folks who are only staying at a Disney World Resort are able to book their FastPass+ reservations 60 days out, while all the other guests (day guests and non-official resorts) are able to get their reservations 30 days out. This all changed as of January 1st, 2018 as well! Welcome to waking up 2 months out to make sure that you get your Flight of Passage and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train reservations:)
- The benefits are available through until the end of 2020!
We took full advantage of this, but did have a couple of issues linking our Expedia reservation to our MyDisneyExperience account. All we had to do was call the hotel front desk and they walked me through it and we were in within a few minutes.
When I was coming up with this list, the goal was to bring you into my vacation and give you the pros and the cons for why we decided to choose this property and what we did to counter some of the qualms that are present from staying “off-property”. Firstly, the Holiday Inn at Disney Springs is an Official Walt Disney World Disney Springs Hotel…so even though you don’t get the Disney Transportation (monorail, friendship boat, official buses), you get a shuttle that is fairly dependable.
Each side of Hotel Plaza Blvd has a bus shuttle loop, and they pick up guest at the 3 or 4 hotels before heading to their end destination. There are two buses per loop and they leave every 30 minutes…one that goes to EPCOT and Disney’s Animal Kingdom while the other one goes to Magic Kingdom & Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
We used the buses to get to the park in the morning and then in the evening, we took a bus from the Park or nearest Disney Resort to Disney Springs and then walked back to the hotel. Why? Because ending at Disney Springs is so much better of an ending location than a value resort, like Pop Century or the All Star Resorts where everything is closed by the time you get back from a fun night of playing in the parks!
This is an insight that I just love to share…you’re going to be saving money by staying “off-property”. We put some of the money that we would have spent to stay on property into a paypal account that’s connected to an UBER account. Anytime we started at the Magic Kingdom, we took an UBER to the Contemporary Resort, which ranged from $9-$14 and then walked through the Secret Entrance (yea, there’s a secret entrance to the Magic Kingdom) within 30 minutes from lobby to Main Street USA.
If you don’t want to wait, you should know in advance that a $20 ride-sharing budget per day will give you all the flexibility that you could want.
During our last trip, here are some of the UBER rides we completed:
- $30.19 from Orlando International Airport to Holiday Inn Disney Springs
- $19.37 from Universal Orlando to Holiday Inn Disney Springs
- $8.18 from the Boardwalk Resort (After an evening at EPCOT) to Disney Springs. The bus was running 20 minutes late, so we made the decision to spent less than $10 and arrived at Disney Springs within 12 minutes!
- $14.05 from Holiday Inn Disney Springs to the Contemporary Resort.
- $25.59 from Holiday Inn Disney Springs to Orlando International Airport.
Why do I share this? Because it’s important to know that you’ve got options AND that UBER on property is actually fairly reasonable when you put your vacation dollars to work.
Just like most resorts around Walt Disney World & Universal Orlando, the Holiday Inn has a full list of amenities that are available at their website…but let’s be honest…it’s all about the USB plugs right? We didn’t have to go behind the desk to find a free outlet (like we did at All Star Sports in November) OR bring our own power bar, we like we had to at Pop Century. There were plenty of spots to charge your camera batteries, power your laptop or make sure that your phones (we take down iPhones and an LG), so we didn’t really stress about this.
Along with the dependable WiFi (which they change the password on Sunday nights, btw), there are plenty of other things to enjoy:
- 24-Hour Front Desk with incredibly friendly staff who know the area like the back of their hand
- Tour Desk
- Baggage Storage (when you’re checking in early but your room isn’t ready OR when you’re checking out and still wanting to hit up the parks before heading to the Airport)
- Updated restaurant and bar, with late night and early morning options.
- Kids Eat Free is available for kids age 11 years old and under when ordering in the hotel’s restaurants from the Kids Menu and when accompanied by a family member dining from the regular menu.
THE SKINNY ON HOLIDAY INN AT DISNEY SPRINGS
We’ve been searching for properties that can offer us the flexibility to vacation our way without feeling like we’re over-paying for a resort that needs some upkeep. This is a property that you can feel confident in knowing that they are Disney & Universal fans and not just doing a job.
This may not be the perfect location for every person, but the goal of this article was to share that an off-property hotel still has a lot to offer!