I was talking about this the other day with a friend, do you think one has to stay on WDW property to get the full WDW experience? I'm leaning towards Yes and here is why.
I've stayed both on property and off and the experience is much better on property. For one, the theming of the various resorts makes an individual prepare for the Disney experience at the parks.
Second, everyone at the resort has a singular purpose in mind, that is enjoying the Disney experience through the parks, waterparks, etc. As strange as it sounds it's almost like living in a cult community where everyone has the same purpose in mind which adds into the Disney experience. Off-property I know you don't get that same feel where guests are there for a variety of reasons.
Third, the benefits of staying on property also contribute to the WDW experience. Bus rides to the parks, (monorail as well) special hours at the parks, resort programming on the TV's (this was a big for me as a kid, I knew I was at Disney when I watched the resort programming on TV).
So I would say that one def has to stay on property to get the full WDW experience. What does everyone else think?