Holiday Inn Disney Springs – A Pleasant Surprise!
Holiday Inn Orlando-Disney Springs Area Hotel
This was our first time staying at a hotel located in the Disney Springs area – the Holiday Inn Disney Springs. Going in, we had a lot of reservations about staying here. However, the hotel far exceeded our expectations. We will definitely keep this hotel and the hotels in this area as an option for our future Disney vacations.
What are the benefits of this hotel?
There are two main benefits with staying at the Holiday Inn Disney Springs. First, it is inexpensive relative to most Disney World hotels. The rooms here currently start just over $100 per night. There is a resort fee of $17 per room, per night. If you are driving to Disney, there is also a parking fee of $14 per night. While you may be able to get a value-level Disney resort hotel for around the same price, it is nice to have other options as well. Also, if you have Holiday Inn hotel points (IHG points), this can be a great way to save some money on your vacation.
The other main benefit of this hotel is that you can walk to Disney Springs. While Disney Springs is not a Disney World theme park, it has a lot of great restaurants, shopping, and other fun activities. The walk is about 10 minutes from the hotel and you enter Disney Springs right by their Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. We really enjoy going to eat or grab drinks at Disney Springs, so the location of the hotel was a definite benefit.
Current Disney World Perks
Even though the Holiday Inn is not a Disney-owned hotel, you currently get most of the perks that you would get if you were staying at a Disney property. These benefits were recently extended through 2019. The included perks consist of: making FastPasses 60 days in advance, Disney park transportation, extra magic hours, and delivery of in park purchases to the hotel. For extra magic hours, you are given a piece of paper upon check-in that identifies you as a hotel guest that has access to extra magic hours.
The things that are not included are: free transportation to your hotel from the airport on the Disney Magical Express (we usually take an Uber) and magic bands (you can purchase one separately if you want, but it will not allow charging to your hotel room).
Our stay at the Holiday Inn was pretty short. In that time, we wanted to get to the park as quickly as possible, so we did not take the free park transportation that was provided. Instead, we took Ubers to and from the parks. While Uber worked best for us on this trip, we still thought it was nice to have the free bus transportation as an option.
Our personal experience at Disney-owned hotels has been great, but one downside is we rarely get to check into our room early and if we can get checkout pushed back by even 30 minutes we consider it a win. We arrived at the Holiday Inn around 8:30AM and our room was ready for us. While this is not a guaranteed benefit, we were so excited that we could go up to the room and take a quick nap before walking over to Disney Springs.
There is a good chance that the hotel would have allowed us to also have a slightly later checkout. We didn’t need it this trip, but the odds of getting a late checkout are usually much higher with a non-Disney hotel.
Our hotel room was clean and very spacious. We were able to spread out with our suitcases and still have a ton of room. The bathroom was large, updated, and clean. The shampoo and soaps were also really nice (Bath and Body Works products).
We were lucky and were given a room on the top floor facing Disney World. This meant that from our Balcony we could see Disney Springs as well as the Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios and Mount Everest at Animal Kingdom in the distance. Our balcony also overlooked the hotel pool which was a pretty good size.
While we prefer to stay at Disney hotels located in the Epcot Boardwalk area, we really enjoyed this location. The benefit of being able to walk to Disney Springs was a huge perk. The walk was easy and enjoyable. This aspect would be particularly nice when the weather is cooler (traveling in the winter).
Even though you can walk to Disney Springs, this hotel is still pretty far from all of the other Disney World theme parks. Be sure to set aside a fair amount of time to take the bus or get an Uber to the parks. This aspect is in contrast to many Disney World resort hotels where you can walk, monorail, or take a quick boat ride to one or more of the theme parks.
What are the downsides of this hotel?
The biggest downside is that it is a Holiday Inn, not a Disney hotel. What we mean by this that there is not any special theming. When you walk into Animal Kingdom Lodge, you’re transported to a different world. That type of experience does not occur here.
While the hotel does have a Disney Store, that is about as far as it goes with the Disney theming. If you want the full Disney World experience, we would recommend staying at a Disney resort hotel. If you are on a budget, we would strongly recommend Disney’s POP Century or Disney’s Art of Animation. Also, while we were at the Holiday Inn, we did not really notice any children. This may be a pro or con for you.
Getting to the park was less convenient that at a Disney World resort. While the Holiday Inn has free bus transportation that comes ever half hour, the ability to walk, take a boat or monorail is a huge benefit for many Disney World hotels. Also, the new gondola system coming to Disney World is sure to be very popular. The Holiday Inn only has the bus option. Also, the My Disney Experience App lists bus arrival times for Disney World resorts. You do not have anything like this at the Holiday Inn.
Our Overall Recommendation
Overall, we would recommend this hotel if you are traveling to Disney World at an expensive time of year. If your choice is between staying at this Holiday Inn or staying at Disney’s POP Century, we would suggest POP Century because it has more of the Disney theming and magic.
If the Disney resorts are more expensive, then the Holiday Inn is a great option. Also, if you are an adult that wants a bit more of a traditional hotel and a break from Disney while at your hotel, the hotels in this area may be a great fit for you.
Lastly, if you think you will be spending a lot of time at the bars and restaurants at Disney Springs, then this hotel is a great fit. The walk from the hotel to Disney Springs is very safe, easy, and convenient.
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