*DIS Contributors review meals, resort stays, and entertainment that they have paid for during their own vacations. They only utilize discounts and offers if they are available to the general public, such as annual passholder discounts, or DVC membership discounts. They receive no additional compensation for dining experiences or events, so that they may give their honest opinions about price and value.
When we visit Walt Disney World, we have enjoyed trying out various resorts (or hotels) to see how we like the property, the room, the accessibility, transportation options, and so forth. For a long time, we thought Disney resorts offered a great value even with the greater expense because of the additional perks in extra time in the Parks, theming, transportation, and dining packages.
However, in the last several years the Disney resort perks have declined (only an extra 30 minutes in the Parks, loss of the free Fastpass+ early booking window, and no dining packages have yet returned) while the prices have continued to rise. With this in mind, we have tried out several other onsite (but not Disney-owned) resorts in recent years because they offered some competitive deals.
During our latest visit, we stayed at the Drury Plaza Hotel at Disney Springs, which took over a previous hotel location after a renovation and building an addition. Of all our hotel stays, it truly packed a punch to beat out all the non-Disney resorts on value, comfort, and terrific staff that went out of their way to help during our stay.
Research and Booking
In planning our trip, we were sure we wanted to try a hotel property we hadn’t stayed at before. My husband did some research on the Disney Springs area hotels (the Drury is about a 15-20 minute walk/roll to Disney Springs) and discovered that the Drury Hotel was opening after a renovation. There were not many reviews posted yet, but the ones we saw were positive.
We took a deeper look at the website and were amazed at the beautiful photos. Even better, the information provided on accessibility (including the rooms and the property) was excellent. Before booking, my husband called to ask a few questions. Someone answered and provided the information on accessible rooms (with roll-in shower) and transportation (always a concern with my wheelchair as we have encountered accessible transportation issues at other resorts). We were really happy with their responsiveness and knowledge, so decided to make our booking.
It was easy to book an accessible room with roll-in shower on the website (we also later confirmed by phone with no problem) and to get a good price (even better with the pre-pay discount option). We also liked that the hotel does not charge a resort fee, so everything is included. Before arrival we did opt to pay a fee ($50) for early check in so that we could go to the room and get settled on arrival.
Arrival and Check-In
We always take an early morning flight when traveling to WDW so that we can be at the hotel by lunch and enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the pool. By the time we arrive to the hotel, I’m usually pretty exhausted and need to rest in the room awhile.
For wheelchair users, hotel check-in can be stressful. I’ve had trips where the accessible room I have booked had been given to someone else or does not have the promised accessible features, or I have been accidentally given the wrong room and then have to return to the desk to correct it.
Thankfully, none of these things happened at the Drury! It was absolutely smooth sailing! We arrived, went to the desk, were greeted by a friendly staff member, checked in, and after a brief wait to confirm our room was ready, given keys to the correct and nicely accessible room.
Lobby of the Drury Hotel and front desk area
It was such a nice and smooth experience that I wanted to applaud them! If only it were always that easy to check into an accessible hotel room.
The room was thoughtfully designed and very accessible. The door opened to a closet area that had a lower hanging rack, a kitchenette-type area (with sink, coffee maker, refrigerator, and microwave), and a safe.
Kitchenette and foyer area of room
There was a bureau with easy to pull drawers, desk, and chair with side table. The bed was very comfortable, though a little high. A lift could be put underneath and I think risers could be removed to lower the bed.
The balcony was nice and accessible so that my wheelchair could roll easily and fit comfortably. But the view was of the parking lot, so we didn’t use it much.
Throughout the room, there were plenty of lights, outlets, and USB plugs. One feature I really liked was the wheelchair-height mirror—which is a rare experience for me at hotels! Generally, it was a very accessible room except the coffee bar was pretty tall, some of the light switches were out of reach for me, and the rolling space between the bed and bureau was tight for my wheelchair.
Bed and desk area of room with door to balcony
The bathroom was one of the most accessible we have had in a hotel. The door was a slider so we never had to worry about blocking it or navigating around it. My only wish was that it opened one or two inches wider.
On one side was the sink (that I could roll under and had an easy handle) and toilet, while on the other side was a nice roll in shower with fold down bench. There were two shower heads and one was a hand held that pointed at the bench comfortably when in its cradle. I appreciated the bench and flooring were not slippery, as balance issues can make wet areas treacherous for me. Unfortunately, the shower controller was a bit high for me to reach, but I know I generally have a shorter reach than most.
Roll-in shower with fold-down bench
We wished there were more hooks and accessible storage (this is often lacking in accessible rooms for some reason), but were otherwise very happy with the bathroom. We also found the extra sink in the kitchenette area to be really useful for getting ready at the same time in the morning.
Lobby and Amenities
The lobby area was beautiful and spacious with plenty of couches. On one side was the front desk, which was always well-staffed and on the other a restaurant and bar area. One section off to the side offered a small business center. To the side of the restaurant bar was an entry to a small market where you could buy sundries.
Our first early morning we found and greatly appreciated the complimentary coffee bar around the corner from the front desk. There was also an arcade for entertaining children.
One other feature we noticed and appreciated was a companion restroom in the back of the lobby by the elevators and also one behind the pool bar. We didn’t end up needing them, but the option is great to have.
The pool area was gorgeous! Right outside the back door from the lobby was a relaxing outdoor lounge area and restaurant. Orders could be placed at the counter or poolside from wait staff. We had a couple excellent meals there (salad and sandwich), so recommend it as an option.
Down a ramp there is a gate to enter the pool deck that features plentiful chaise lounges and seats under umbrellas. There was a water play area for children, in addition to the large saltwater pool and whirlpool.
View of the Drury pool area
We visited the pool nearly every day of our stay and enjoyed it very much. The lift was easy to operate—we just needed to remove the cover and go. We appreciated not having to wait for a battery or assistance. The water was a comfortable temperature and a great way to stretch and relax after a long day at the Parks. The whirlpool looked lovely and was popular with other guests, but we never tried it. Although there wasn’t a lift at the whirlpool, it looked like I could transfer in with assistance.
The bus transportation was excellent and fully accessible. There was a regular schedule, and the drivers ensured that service was reliable. All of the buses were labeled Drury, so it made it easy to find for return trips. One detail I deeply appreciated was that the bus times ensured options for enjoying the early half-hour in the Parks as previous hotels sometimes had the first bus too late to make this perk. (I found this very aggravating as a huge reason we stay at hotels on Disney property is to enjoy the early half-hour in the Parks.)
We made a few calls in advance about bus service due to some previous bad experiences at other hotels. We’re happy to report that all of the buses we saw were accessible (with two wheelchair spaces, tie downs, and ramped entry) and provided good service.
They recommend booking space on the bus in advance because it can fill up, and there is a website for booking online. However, they ask that passengers with wheelchairs call to book their reservations. The earliest booking time was two days in advance, so we’d make that call when they opened around 8 am.
The boarding at the hotel was fine, but the waiting area for the bus was up a step, so we had some time to ask the driver to move forward to park and extend the ramp. The other note I would make is that it was a steep ramp for my wheelchair. I chose to exit backward out of caution and would have my husband act as a spotter for me. Otherwise, the tie-downs for my wheelchair and everything else felt similar to riding the bus where we live and those used by Disney.
Drury bus with accessible boarding ramp extended
Definitely collect tip money before your trip as tips are appreciated by the bus drivers and housekeeping. The weeks before we go, we save all the ones we get for this purpose and that made it easy to tip as we went.
We can’t say enough good things about the staff! From the moment we arrived, we felt welcomed and appreciated. Everyone we spoke to was friendly and helpful—from the desk staff, to the pool wait staff, housekeeping, and even the hotel maintenance staff.
In fact, several Drury staff members went above and beyond to help us. Most particularly was when my foot rest broke in Magic Kingdom. We picked up the pieces and stowed it in my bag, thinking I’d make due with one foot rest (not ideal) until we traveled home. When we arrived back at the hotel that night, we met a terrific maintenance worker who found a replacement for the bolt that had broken and got my footrest fixed for me. It was incredible! He spent a good amount of time helping us and it made the rest of my stay so much more comfortable to have my foot rest back.
We so appreciated several staff members that we wrote a letter of gratitude mentioning them by name and how they helped make our stay amazing, and gave it to the manager on the day we left. They were really moved that we had such great experiences and accolades to share.
When we booked our stay at the Drury we saw about a free breakfast and evening happy hour (called the “Kick Back”) on the website, but didn’t really think about these features or that we would use them much. Were we ever wrong!
The free breakfast each morning was incredible and saved us time (and money) in the Parks. It opened at 6 am and was a buffet that included hot items (eggs, sausage, pancakes) and cold items (cereal, fruit, muffins, yogurt) plus a Mickey waffle bar. Most importantly—they had great coffee! Just about every morning we spent about 20 minutes having a filling breakfast before hopping on the bus to get to the early half-hour in the Parks.
Author’s husband showing the hot breakfast options
The evening “Kick Back” from 5 – 7 pm included snacks (both warm and cold options), sodas, juices, and alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, mixed drinks). When we checked in, we were given drink tickets for the week that we could use every evening at the bar. We enjoyed this extra feature at the Drury because some nights we just wanted a light snack after having our big meal of the day in the Parks. It was a great way to wind down from a busy day and cool down from the heat outside.
When we compare our stay at the Drury Hotel to other on-property resorts, it cannot be beaten. The rooms were very accessible and comfortable, the pool was gorgeous, the transportation well coordinated, and the “extras” put the experience over the top in value. I truly look forward to making a return visit!