At Magical Adventure Co. we love the magic of staying at a Disney Resort, getting that exceptional Disney service wherever we go and never having to leave the experience of the most magical place on Earth. However, there are a few nearby resorts that can almost match what Disney has to offer.
Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort is one of our favorites when it comes to choosing one of Disney’s Good Neighbor resorts. In fact, it comes with nearly all of the same benefits of a Disney managed property, including the ability to make FastPass+ reservations 60 days in advance and Extra Magic Hours (utilizing the park an hour before it opens or getting to stay after it closes). Plus, you won’t even feel like you are leaving Disney property as you don't even have to leave Disney Property to access the resort entrance right next to Disney’s Riviera Resort. These perks add quite a bit for those wanting to get the most out of their Walt Disney World adventure, without sacrificing their budget. Additionally, if you’re wanting to use any accumulated points for your stay or acquire more, this is a fantastic option.
Here at Magical Adventure Co., picking out where to stay is part of the fun of planning a Walt Disney World adventure! Though every explorer has different needs when booking their stay, it’s best to weigh a few options: Theming, Price, Food and Drink, Transportation, and Pool.
As you enter, this beautiful hotel welcomes you into a large and open lobby overlooking the pool area and golf course. As you move throughout the property, the Hilton brand continues to live up to its name and provide a very high end, luxurious experience. This resort recently updated it’s rooms, and the modern, warm aesthetic is relaxing and inviting at the end of the day. Additionally, we have found the staff at this Hilton to be very customer focused, and solution oriented; they truly wanted us to have a fantastic stay at their resort. Overall, this resort is more budget friendly without sacrificing amenities, and a great escape after a day in the parks. It really is one of the best of what Hilton has to offer.
With rates starting at around $250/night (including the resort fee), this resort comes in at about two thirds the rate of its Deluxe Resort Hotel counterparts managed by Disney. There are upgrade options available, such as a higher floor, or a view of the fireworks, that you can choose if you desire. However, since one isn’t necessarily staying here for the Disney theme, and are instead looking for a cheaper option, we found that a standard room overlooking the pool and golf course on a lower floor worked out quite well. You can achieve this by utilizing the Hilton Honors app to hand pick your room in advance of your trip. Since this is not an in demand Disney property, you can generally find rooms and cheap rates closer to your desired travel date, making this hotel a great option for a last minute getaway.
With six on property dining options, you can find something for anyone, from a drink and quick bite by the pool at Beech, to signature dining at La Luce. Venturing next door to the Waldorf Astoria you will find an additional six restaurants, featuring Bull & Bear, named Diner’s Choice Top Restaurant by Hilton. Besides these onsite options, you are also a very short Uber or Lyft away from Disney’s Boardwalk and Disney Springs with a multitude of other fabulous quick service and signature dining options. And remember, you don’t have to be staying in a Disney Resort to visit or dine there.
Hilton Bonnet Creek provides free transportation to and from the parks. However, unlike Disney Properties, the busses don't run as frequently. Instead they run on a fixed schedule at greater intervals between pickups (generally every hour during busy times and every two hours the rest of the day). You can get a schedule from the front desk when you arrive.
While this does pose a problem for any last minute adjustments or when you might be running late, it does allow you to plan a little better for when to be ready in the morning and when you will leave the park in the afternoon or evening. With a set schedule, you will know exactly when to be at the stop and never just miss a bus and have to wait another 20 or 30 minutes for one to arrive. Additionally, you can always take a Lyft or Uber to any of the theme parks or dining areas. And since it's right next to Disney Property, it's usually a pretty cheap ride at around $10-$15 to/from Hollywood Studios and EPCOT.
The bus service and an occasional ride share service do work great for most of the parks, however, we should warn you about traveling to Magic Kingdom. The complimentary bus service and any regular Lyft or Uber will actually just drop you off at the Transportation and Ticket Center. You will then have to take the monorail or ferry to get to the entrance of the park, adding between 20 minutes and an hour to your transit time. Instead, we recommend leveraging the Minnie Van service. This is available through the Lyft app and will take you right up to the entrance. There is a fee for this and it can be a little pricey, but definitely worth it in our opinion.
When leaving the Magic Kingdom, the complimentary bus and Uber and Lyft service will also only be available at the Transportation and Ticket Center. Additionally, we have found the monorail and ferry are even more time consuming at the end of the evening. Instead of going this route you can always call another Minnie Van, which will pick you up near the Disney resort bus stops. Or, you can head to a Disney Resort or Disney Springs and call an Uber or Lyft from there. The simplest option is to take the walkway over to the Contemporary. However, this can be a pretty busy pick up spot. So instead, we recommend using a Disney Transportation bus to one of the Boardwalk area resorts (Boardwalk Inn, Yacht or Beach Club, or the Swan and Dolphin) or Disney Springs. The Uber or Lyft is only about $5-$10 dollars from there back to the hotel.
You will also need to secure your own transit to and from the airport as Disney’s Magical Express is not included in the Good Neighbor hotel perks. We have found an Uber or Lyft to be your best bet here.
The Hilton Bonnet Creek pool is one of the highlights of this resort. With its beach or zero entry swimming area and significant lazy river, it reminded us a lot of the Stormalong Bay pool located at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort; a pool that is generally viewed as the best in Disney World. Bonnet Creek’s pool area has ample seating, three distributed hot tubs and a short slide to add fun and relaxation for everyone. It’s a great way to relax at the end of the day, or get some well deserved pool time in the afternoon after waking up for early entry into Hollywood Studios!
And don’t forget to check out the pool bar, which will serve food and alcohol directly to your lounge chair up until around 5pm each day. But don’t worry if you head out later, you can always order directly from the bar until 8pm during the week, and 9pm on the weekend.
The only drawback of this resort is that it is not a Disney Property. Meaning that you don’t get that perfectly themed Disney charm like you would at any of the other Disney Deluxe Hotels. Also, transportation to and from the parks can be a little challenging to navigate, especially when it comes to Magic Kingdom. However, with savings on your nightly stay a few ride sharing services, including Disney’s Minnie Van service, will hopefully fit into your budget.
The Hilton Bonnet Creek Resort is a great option for anyone wanting to save a little money on their stay, earn some extra points, but still get a high quality room and plenty of Disney perks. With a relaxing room and fine dining, this resort will truly make for a magical stay for your next Walt Disney World vacation.