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21 Best Disney World Resort Hotels in 2023

Trying to decide which hotel at Disney World is best for you? That can be a difficult decision. So what are the best Disney World resort hotels in 2023? Don’t worry, we can help you pick the perfect one for your family!

Best Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

In this post, we are going to give you a list of the best resort hotels in Walt Disney World and rank them from best to worst. After all, there are more than 30 resorts on Disney World property, and figuring out which one is best for you when planning a Disney World vacation can be a challenge.

After almost 40 years of visiting Walt Disney World, we’ve stayed at every resort multiple times, giving us the needed experience to provide you with the best recommendations.

We’ll share with you our overall ranking for every hotel class (Value, Moderate, and Deluxe) and the pros and cons of each one. We’ll also rank the best hotels for families, for adults, the most luxurious, best themed, most relaxing, most convenient, and more.

There aren’t really any bad resorts at Disney World, but there are certainly ones that are better suited for your budget, tastes, and vacation needs. Disney has hotels for families, couples, singles, and every budget type. You just need to find which one is right for you.

Best Disney World Resort Hotels Art of Animation

We’ve included resorts from areas near all 4 Walt Disney World theme parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom) as well as Disney Springs.  So no matter where you would like to stay, we’ve got you covered.

The fun part about this list is that it will keep changing in the future. The current rankings are for 2023, but as new hotels are added to Disney in the coming years, we will update this list. We’ll also take into consideration any refurbishments or additions to existing hotels.

Our list of the best hotels is very subjective and reflects our personal tastes, preferences, and needs, and is based on the experiences we’ve had at Disney World throughout the years. Your list may be completely different from ours and we want to see it so leave us your top Disney World resorts in the comments section below and tell us why you feel that way.

Before we get started, don’t forget to sign up for our FREE Weekly E-Mail Newsletter. There we will update you with the latest Disney World Resorts updates, and share the latest vacation planning tips. You can sign up here: Join our E-Mail Newsletter!

Disney World Resorts Overview

Disney's Riviera Resort guest room villa

When coming on a vacation to Disney World, one of the most exciting parts of your trip is choosing your Disney World Resort. Why? 

Disney World Resorts or Disney-themed hotels (for those unfamiliar) can be an incredibly gratifying and enjoyable part of your stay. Just like with theme parks, visiting a Disney World Resort is unique and highly themed to your family’s preferences. 

Whether you enjoy luxury, recreation, dining, or themed Disney characters, picking the right Disney resort can make all the difference to your family’s trip!

How Many Resorts are in Disney World?

Wilderness Lodge Boulder Ridge pool

There are 30+ Disney World resorts that are exclusively owned and operated by the Walt Disney Company. There are an additional 12 hotels Disney World property that feature many of the same amenities as the Disney-owned resorts but they aren’t owned or operated by the Disney Company.

There are also additional 40+ “Good Neighbor Hotels” that are also located within a few miles of the parks and Disney Springs. These hotels have contractual agreements with Disney and include some of the Disney perks. 

They typically also have transportation to/from the parks each day at certain times of the day, as well as someone on staff to help you with your Disney vacation. They are usually Disney-friendly and normally much more reasonably priced than staying on-site.

Resorts and Hotel Tiers

Disney World Resorts are split up into 3 tiers: Value, Moderate, and Deluxe Resorts. Each of them varies in the areas of convenience and location, pricing, and amenities. In this next section, we will touch on the specifics of each of these resorts. 

Value Resorts

Mickey Mouse figure Disney's All-Star Sports Resort

Value resorts are the lowest on the scale of pricing and are the most affordable for families with small children. Disney does a tremendous job of making these resorts appeal to children of various different ages and interests. 

They include bright and captivating Disney themes and signs that will surely interest kids! They offer some typical amenities including large food courts, free Disney transportation, and large pool areas. 

These resorts typically appeal to budget-conscious families that want to be on-site. They also appeal to families that don’t plan on spending much time at their resort and plan to be in the parks each and every day. 

These rooms are in no way luxurious or fancy nor do they contain table-service restaurants if you want a nicer sit-down meal. They feature smaller rooms and smaller bathrooms that can be a bit challenging for families that need more space. The value resorts are also typically jammed-packed with people, making lines for food and Disney transportation very long.

Moderate Resorts

Disney's Caribbean Beach lobby

A step up from the value resorts is Disney’s Moderate Resorts. They are a nice in-the-middle alternative to value resorts and deluxe resorts. They are more affordable than deluxe resorts but more expensive than value resorts. 

They have a big step-up in perks, with nicer pool areas, larger hotel rooms, and better dining options. The level of theming and detail in moderate resorts is of a more subtle touch appealing to older families, solo travelers, and couples alike. 

Like the value resorts, moderate resorts unfortunately are spread out over large footprints, and you may have a LONG walk between your room and the lobby or the pool areas. 

Moderate resorts typically have a number of bus stops throughout the property making your trip back to your resort after a long park day even longer. 

Families weighing out value resorts and moderate resorts should give careful consideration to how much time they will spend at the resort. If staying and relaxing at your resort is a higher priority, in our view it’s worth the additional costs of a moderate resort. 

While moderate resorts do have some nice added perks over value resorts, you’ll need to consider the downsides to see whether it’s worth it for your family.

Deluxe Resorts

Disney's Beach Club beach looking at Boardwalk

Lastly, are the Deluxe resorts. These are the most expensive and most luxurious Disney resorts. They include many perks and amenities that neither moderate resorts nor value resorts contain. 

They include more luxury and convenience for travelers that are willing to spend the premiums in price. Some of these perks and amenities include better proximity to the parks, additional immersion and theming, more table-service food options, on-site spas, concierge levels, and less walking!

But with the added perks, come significant upticks in prices! 

The major con with Deluxe Resorts is that they are expensive, very expensive. And with the added costs of staying at a Deluxe Resorts are not necessarily the matched expectations that one would expect of a true luxury hotel. 

Don’t get me wrong, these hotels are beautiful and exceptional but likely not on the same level as true 5-Star Hotels. They are the equivalent to more like a 4 or a 4.5-Star Hotel. 

If you can afford to stay in a Deluxe Resort, it can be a great and luxurious way to enjoy your Disney Vacation. Especially if you plan to spend some downtime at the resort.

Benefits of Staying On-Site at Disney World

Disney's Boardwalk at night

When it comes to weighing out and considering the benefits of staying on-site at Disney World, it can be a long and debated journey. If price is your one and only concern, you’ll likely be able to make a justification for staying off-site on almost every single occasion. It’s almost always more affordable. 

Our family has done it every single way! And all of them have their positives and their negatives. But there truly are few things like staying on-site, even with the additional costs. What benefits are there?

  • Disney theming
  • Disney cast members
  • Better transportation to and from the parks
  • Early theme park entry 
  • Better access to Disney Dining
  • And much more! 

I’ve written more in-depth about this topic in our Benefits of Staying On-Site at Disney World Guide with a full discussion of risk/reward. It’s a hard decision but in almost every case the better chance of your trip being a success is by staying on-site. Especially if you’ve never done so before!

Our Ranking Factors

Walt Disney mural in Gran Destino Tower

Ranking the best hotels at Walt Disney World sounded like an easy task when we started, but we soon realized that it was hard to compare all the features of each resort and figure out how to rank them in order.

The reason we put this together is to give you a chance to compare the features, pros, and cons of each resort so you can find the right one for your family.  Since we’ve stayed at all of these resorts multiple times, we used that experience to come up with a definitive ranking of them from best to worst.

For our overall Best Disney World Resorts list, we only considered resorts that are actually owned and operated by Disney the company.  There are many other hotels on Disney property (such as the Swan & Dolphin hotels), but since they are not Disney-owned, we aren’t adding them to the main list.

However, we did add some of them to the smaller lists later on such as “Best Luxury Resort,” “Most Romantic Hotels,” etc.

Disney's All Star Movies Resort 101 Dalmatians watching tv

We looked at recent changes to the resorts.  Has there been a refurbishment?  Have they added new or upgraded amenities?  How have customer reviews been in recent years?

We also tried to make sure that value for the money was a big factor in our rankings.  We didn’t want to just put the most expensive ones at the top (though many of them are there) but we wanted to make sure you, the guest, are getting extra magic in return for those dollars.

Overall, none of the resorts on our list are really bad.  Sure we have our favorites, and there are some we would much rather stay at, but we would still be open to returning to all of them again at some point in the future.

Some of the ranking factors we considered are:

  • Value – How much bang for your buck are you getting?
  • Theming – Disney resorts are known for their unique atmosphere.
  • Convenience – How close are they to the theme parks, Disney Springs, or other interesting places?
  • Rooms – Are the rooms comfortable?  How big are they and how many people do they fit?
  • Dining Options – Restaurants at that particular hotel.
  • Amenities – Pools and other activities the resort provides.
  • Transportation – What transportation options are available from here?

Remember, this list is highly subjective and may be completely different from your list depending on your interests, taste, and past experiences.

Best Disney World Resorts List in 2023

Timon Pumba and Simba Art of Animation

Before we break down our rankings and show you why we put them in the specific order that we did, here is a list of all the Disney World resort hotels ranked from best to worst.

  1. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  2. Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  3. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  4. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort
  5. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  6. Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  7. Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  8. Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
  9. Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  10. Disney’s Riviera Resort
  11. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  12. Disney’s Pop Century Resort
  13. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  14. Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter Resort
  15. Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  16. Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside Resort
  17. Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  18. Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
  19. Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
  20. Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
  21. Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort

Best Disney World Hotels Ranked

Port Orleans Riverside Resort mansion rooms

Besides the name of the resort and location, we’ve also included the avg cost per night in 2023, theme, transportation options, amenities that the resort offers, and what type of guest might like it the most.

If possible, we suggest trying as many of the resorts on our list as you can.  Obviously, it’s not possible to try all these resorts on one trip, but you could do a split-stay and stay at one resort for the first half of the trip and another one for the second half.  

This gives you the opportunity to try as many as possible the more you go.  Then in the future when you know your favorite, you can keep going back to that one.

Without further ado, here are the top Disney World resorts for 2023…

21.  Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort

Disney's All-Star Sports Resort football field
  • Cost: A Standard room costs between $128-$289 per night (Includes tax) 
  • Category: Value
  • Location: Animal Kingdom Resort Area 
  • Theme: A tribute to competitive sports
  • Amenities: Complimentary wi-fi, two themed pools, a one-mile jogging trail, campfire activities, walking distance to the other All-Star resorts, and laundry and dry cleaning services. 
  • Transportation: Since it’s a little further out than other resorts, the All-Star resorts only have free transportation via the Disney Buses. 
  • Best For: All-Star Sports is ideal for budget-conscious families with small children that love sports! Parents can spend hours exploring the fun and large icons and pictures scattered throughout the resort grounds.

Pros

Pool at All-Star Sports Resort

Price – The main pro of staying at All-Star Sports is the price as it’s among the cheapest resorts at Disney World. Although the prices can vary greatly if visiting during one of the most expensive times of year (Holiday times), for the most part, rooms are usually only $130-$160 a night. This makes staying here affordable for many families.

Fun For the Kids – There’s something about the All-Star resorts that kids love! The big and fun elements with the bright colors make kids just love these resorts!

Movies Under the Stars – All-Star Sports features Movies Under the Stars, allowing your family to watch their favorite Disney movies outside and under the stars!

Recently Updated – The most newly-refurbished and updated All-Star resort, All-Star Sports has nice and clean rooms that just feel ‘new’ and ‘clean.’

Multiple Pools – There are two pools that are sports-themed that many families take advantage of. The larger one is a giant surfboard-themed pool. The smaller one is baseball-themed.

Close to Animal Kingdom – Besides the Deluxe Resort Animal Kingdom Lodge, the All-Star Resorts are the closest resorts to Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

Walking Distance to the Other All-Star Resorts – Spend time exploring both All-Star Movies and Music with easy walks to both of these two resorts. This can be a fun activity for families that want to see all the fun and giant decorative pieces at both resorts.

Cons

waiting for the bus at Disney's All-Star Sports Resort

Far From Most Things – The All-Star Resorts are on the far outskirts of Disney property, making bus rides a little bit longer for almost everything (Besides Animal Kingdom).

Massive Property – Prepare to walk a long way to get from your room to the lobby or one of the pool areas. This can be exhausting after a long park day.

Worst Bed Situation  – Although updated and nicer in quality, the rooms are still very small. Both standard and preferred rooms include double beds, as opposed to queen beds like All-Star Music and Movies. Rooms with strictly king beds can be requested for disabled travelers.

No Table-Service Restaurants – Like all of the value resorts, Disney’s All-Star Sports does NOT have any sit-down table-service restaurants. This means if you want a nicer or sit-down meal with your family you’ll need to travel elsewhere.

Packed and Noisy – Due to the popularity of the All-Star Resorts for large groups (School groups and sports teams), they are often packed and noisy! This means it’s highly unlikely you’ll find a quiet spot anywhere on the property. You’ll often have to wait longer for Disney’s buses and on food lines.

Dining Options

End Zone Food Court All-Star Sports Resort
  • End Zone Food Court – A simple sports-themed food court that features a large variety of common food items. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mobile orders through the My Disney Experience app are recommended because it speeds up the time needed to wait. 
  • Grandstand Spirits Pool Bar – A cool outdoor bar area for adults that want to enjoy a cocktail around the pool area. They also have a limited menu featuring a few simple food items.

Don’t Miss

Take your kids to explore all 5 of the different themed buildings in the resort! These include:

  1. Touchdown – A football-themed building featuring large helmets and football. 
  2. Center Court – A tennis-themed area where you’ll find giant rackets and tennis balls.
  3. Homerun Hotel – A baseball-themed area featuring giant bats, balls, and scoreboards.
  4. Surfs Up – With giant surfboards and lifeguard stands, paying tribute to beach sports.
  5. Hoops Hotel – A basketball-themed building featuring megaphones and hoops.

20. Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort

Disney's All-Star Movies Resort entrance
  • Cost:  A Standard room costs between $128-$323 per night (Includes tax) 
  • Category: Value
  • Location: Animal Kingdom Resort Area 
  • Theme: A salute to legends of Disney films 
  • Amenities: Complimentary wi-fi, two themed pools, a one-mile jogging trail, campfire activities, walking distance to the other All-Star resorts, and laundry and dry cleaning services. 
  • Transportation: Like the other All-Star Resorts it’s further out than most other resorts, and the only free transportation is via the Disney Buses. 
  • Best For: Ideal for budget-conscious families with small children that love Disney movies! Parents can spend hours exploring the fun and Disney-inspired icons and pictures scattered throughout the resort grounds.

Pros

Disney's All-Star Movies Resort hotel room

Price – The main pro of staying at All-Star Movies is the price. Although the prices can vary greatly if visiting during one of the most expensive times of year (Holiday times), for the most part, rooms are mostly only $130-$160 a night. This makes staying here affordable for many families.

Fun For the Kids – Like the other All-Star resorts, kids love it here! The big and fun elements with the bright colors make kids fall in love with this resort!

Movies Under the Stars – All-Star Movies feature Movies Under the Stars, allowing your family to watch their favorite Disney movies outside and under the stars!

Multiple Pools – There are two movie-themed pools. The larger one is themed to Fantasia and looks like a giant movie theatre. The smaller one is called the Duck Pond Pool.

Close to Animal Kingdom – Besides the Deluxe Resort Animal Kingdom Lodge, the All-Star Resorts are the closest resorts to Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

Walking Distance to the Other All-Star Resorts – Spend time exploring both All-Star Sports and Music with easy walks to both of these two resorts. This can be a fun activity for families that want to see all the fun and giant decorative pieces at both resorts.

Cons

Disney's All-Star Movies Resort 101 Dalmations statue

Far From Almost Everything – The All-Star Resorts are on the far outskirts of Disney property, making bus rides a little bit longer for almost everything (Besides Animal Kingdom)

Massive Property – Prepare to walk a long way to get from your room to the lobby or one of the pool areas. This can be exhausting after a long park day.

Simple and Basic Rooms – The rooms at All-Star Movies are small. Both standard and preferred rooms include either 1 King Bed OR 1 Queen Bed and 1 Queen-Sized Table Bed.

No Table-Service Restaurants – Like all of the value resorts, Disney’s All-Star Movies does NOT have any sit-down table-service restaurants. This means if you want a nicer or sit-down meal with your family you’ll need to travel elsewhere.

Packed and Noisy – The All-Star Resorts are the cheapest resort and popular with large groups (School groups and sports teams), and families. That means they are often packed and noisy! You won’t get much quiet time here. Also, wait times for the Disney buses and the food court are both longer than other resorts.

Dining Options

Disney's All-Star Movies Resort cinnamon bun burger
  • World Premiere Food Court – A simple movie-themed food court that features a large variety of All-American fare. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner and the food is standard, nothing great. 
  • Silver Screen Spirits Pool Bar – A simple outdoor bar area for adults that want to enjoy a cocktail around the pool area. They also have a limited menu featuring a few small food items.

Don’t Miss

  • The Fun-Themed Pools – Enjoy Sorcerer Mickey spraying water at the larger Fantasia-Themed Pools or jump in the Duck Pond Pool, which is a large hockey rink-styled pool that is based on The Mighty Ducks.

19. Disney’s All-Star Music Resort

Disney's All-Star Music outside Jazz Inn
  • Cost:  A Standard room costs between $128-$329 per night (Includes tax). Family suites that can sleep up to 6 range in price from $323-$658 per night (Includes tax). 
  • Category: Value
  • Location: Animal Kingdom Resort Area 
  • Theme: An homage to the world’s most popular music genres 
  • Amenities: Family suites, complimentary wi-fi, two music themed-pools, a one-mile jogging trail, campfire activities, walking distance to the other All-Star resorts, and laundry and dry cleaning services. 
  • Transportation: Due to being a little further out than most of the other resorts, the All-Star resorts only have free transportation via the Disney Buses. 
  • Best For: Ideal for budget-conscious families with small children that love music! Parents can spend hours exploring the large music-inspired icons around all of the different resort buildings.

Pros

Disney's All-Star Music Stefy and Elvis

Price – The main pro of staying at All-Star Music is the price. Although the prices can vary greatly if visiting during one of the most expensive times of year (Holiday times), for the most part, standard rooms are mostly only $130-$160 a night.

Fun For the Kids – Kids just love the All-Star Resorts because of the oversized figures places throughout the resort and all the bright colors. They can be tacky to adults, but kids love them!

Family Suites – All-Star Music is the only All-Star resort that features larger rooms that allow for up to 6 guests. Family Suites include 1 queen bed and 2 additional pull-down beds.

Multiple Pools – There are two themed music pools. There’s one giant guitar-themed pool. There is also a smaller and quieter piano-themed pool.

Close to Animal Kingdom – If you like spending time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, this is as close as you are going to get to the park unless you stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Movies Under the Stars – All-Star Music features Movies Under the Stars, allowing your family to watch their favorite Disney movies outside and under the stars!

Walking Distance to the Other All-Star Resorts – Spend time exploring both All-Star Sports and Movies with easy walks to both of these two resorts. This can be a fun activity for families that want to see all the fun and giant decorative pieces at both resorts.

Cons

Disney's All-Star Music pool with 3 Caballeros

Far From Most Things – Again, one of the biggest downsides like the other All-Star Resorts is it is far from basically everything (besides Animal Kingdom). Bus rides take longer here to go anywhere else so give yourself extra time.

Massive Property – Walking to your room from the lobby or the pool can be an adventure and it can be exhausting after a long park day. It’s also inconvenient when transporting your luggage.

Simple and Basic Rooms – The standard rooms at All-Star Music are small. Both standard and preferred rooms include either 1 King Bed OR 1 Queen Bed and 1 Queen-Sized Table Bed. If you want something bigger you’ll want a family suite, but they are significantly more costly.

No Table-Service Restaurants – Like all of the value resorts, Disney’s All-Star Music does NOT have any sit-down table-service restaurants. This means if you want a nicer or sit-down meal with your family you’ll need to eat in the parks or at one of the nicer resorts.

Packed and Noisy – Disney’s All-Star Music is always packed with small children or large groups (School groups and sports teams). This makes it one of the noisiest resorts which means less rest and relaxation than in other places. Food lines and lines for the buses also can take forever at times.

Dining Options

Disney's All-Star Music Food Court
  • Intermission Food Court – A music-themed food court that features a large variety of popular food items. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Use Disney’s Mobile order here to reduce wait times when getting your food.
  • Singing Spirits Pool Bar – A simple outdoor bar area for adults that want to enjoy a cocktail around the pool area. They also have a few small food items on the menu if you are hungry.

Don’t Miss

  • The Guitar-Shaped Pool – This giant and fun heated pool is home to a fountain of the Three Caballeros that spray water at nearby swimmers.

Although all three All-Star Resorts are very similar, Disney’s All-Star Music is our personal favorite. We like the theming a little more and we find the food to be slightly better. Otherwise, all three of them are going to be really close, and if you’ve stayed at one, you’ve stayed at them all.

18. Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground sign
  • Cost: Prices fluctuate greatly whether you are paying for a campsite or a cabin.
    • Campsites – Depending on the type of campsite, and time of year, prices can range between $76 per night and $280 per night. (Tax included) With campsites, you will either be bringing your own tent, pop-up, or RV. Campsites can include up to 10 people.
    • Cabins – They fit 6 people and the price per night range is $448 – $872 (including tax).
  • Category: The Campsites are considered Value and the Cabins are Moderate. 
  • Location: Magic Kingdom area 
  • Theme: A campground that focuses on the timeless beauty of the American Frontier 
  • Amenities: Campsites and cabins feature many amenities and unique experiences such as: renting golf carts to drive around the massive property, campfire sing-alongs, archery, horseback riding, pony rides, wagon rides, fishing, bike renting, canoe and kayak rentals, basketball courts, two fun pools, jogging trails, volleyball, horse-drawn carriages just to name a few!
  • Transportation: Golf carts for rentals around the campground. Disney Buses have multiple stops that will bring you to different areas of the campground that you can conveniently hop on and off. Ferry Boats to get to Magic Kingdom, Wilderness Lodge Resort, or Disney’s Contemporary Resort. For the rest of Disney parks and Disney Springs, you have to take Disney Buses from the Outpost Depot. 
  • Best For: Ideal for larger families and if you enjoy camping and outdoor activities. It can be a really great value if you have a larger group with small kids.  It doesn’t feel like ‘Disney’ as the other resorts. For some, that is a good thing and for others, it is a bad thing.

Pros

The Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

Value – Staying at Fort Wilderness can be a tremendous value, especially if staying on one of the campsites and splitting the costs with up to 10 people. There are many families that are able to come down to Fort Wilderness and stay for weeks at a time during the holiday season when it’s too expensive at other resorts.

Never-Ending Activities – No matter what you’re interested in, chances are Fort Wilderness has you covered! It’s an outdoorsy paradise for kids and adults alike. Even non-Disney people can enjoy fishing, water sports, or an abundance of other outdoor activities and sports.

Close to Magic Kingdom – Despite feeling like you are miles and miles away from the Disney magic, you are just a short boat ride away from Magic Kingdom and it’s easy to go back and forth during the day.

Wildlife – You’ll be connected and closer to Florida wildlife here more than at any other Disney resort! The resorts’ 750 acres of pine and cypress forests feature wildlife such as deer, rabbits, ducks, armadillos, and wild turkeys. Explore it all with beautiful trails throughout the resort.

Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue

Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical RevueOne of the most unique dining experiences in all of Walt Disney World, the Hoop-De-Doo is dinner and a show! It’s a great time with all your favorite American foods. Our family loves the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue and we’ve traveled from other areas of Walt Disney World’s resort just to see the show!

Unique – Nowhere else on Walt Disney property can you camp in a tent or stay in an RV! You get all the magic of being in Disney World while being in a completely rustic wilderness.

Pet-Friendly – The campground is open and spacious, which makes it ideal for locals or travelers with pets.

Cons

sunset at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

Very Spread Out – The property is massive and your campsite or cabin could easily be a 30-minute walk to get a coffee in the morning. Quick service locations and gift shops are very spread out and if you don’t pay the extra costs for renting a golf cart, it could be a major hassle to get around.

It Isn’t Luxurious – While it can be reasonably priced considering other Disney World Resort options, it still isn’t cheap considering it’s a campground. Especially for smaller families and those staying inside a cabin.  If you’ve camped in the past, you could be very disappointed by what you get for the money. If you want something that isn’t rustic or that contains a spa, this certainly is NOT your place.

Almost Everything is Far Away – Not only is the property extremely spread out but getting outside the resort to other parts of Disney can be a pain in the butt. In most cases, you’ll need to take multiple buses to get outside of the resort. This can take time and be exhausting early in the morning or after a long day in the parks.

Lacks Disney Theming – While some might view it as a plus that Disney Characters aren’t everywhere, others come to Disney World because they want to feel they are ‘in the magic.’ Staying at the campground will feel more removed from Disney than connected, especially when comparing it to other Disney Resorts.

Cabins Are Overpriced – Considering the cost of cabins is comparable to other moderate resorts, the amenities are FAR less. And when you compare the quality of the common areas, restaurant options, and bed situation, it’s not even close. Not to mention, you’ll likely need to pay another $70+ to rent a golf cart each day!

Dining Options

old west relics inside Trail's End Restaurant
  • P & J’s Southern Takeout – Quick-service location serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 
  • Meadow Snack Bar – Open-air snack bar featuring a variety of different snacks and sandwiches. 
  • Crockett’s Tavern –  A lounge with a variety of drinks and lounge fare inside Pioneer Hall. 
  • The Chuck Wagon – Quick-service spot features different American foods. Serving dinner only. 
  • Trail’s End Restaurant – All you care to eat breakfast and dinner serving classic American favorites (get the fried chicken!).
  • Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue2-hour family-friendly dinner and show featuring dancing, singing, and comedy. Food includes all you can eat and drink!

Don’t Miss

Visit the Beautiful Tri-Circle-D Ranch – A visit to the ranch is well worth it! Even if you don’t want to take a pony ride or a trail ride, visit the ranch and check out the 90 different horses with a variety of different breeds! 

You’ll also discover the Dragon Calliope, which is the horse-drawn musical instrument that Walt Disney personally purchased for the Mickey Mouse Club Circus Parade at Disneyland in the 1950s.

17. Disney’s Old Key West Resort

Disney's Old Key West lighthouse
  • Cost: A Deluxe Studio room (fits 4 people) ranges in cost between $457-$774 per night (includes tax).
  • Category:  Deluxe Villas 
  • Location: Near Disney Springs
  • Theme: Florida Keys 
  • Amenities: Disney’s Old Key West is a DVC-Only resort which means the rooms have additional amenities reminiscent of a condo. Each room includes a kitchen, washer, and dryer. The resort also has movies under the stars, four pools scattered throughout, campfire activities, the community hall with a variety of table games, bike rentals, fishing excursions, tennis, basketball court, volleyball, a jogging path, playgrounds, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. 
  • Transportation: Enjoy water transportation to Disney Springs and other nearby resorts including Saratoga Springs and Port Orleans. To visit the Disney Parks, you will need to take a Disney bus. 
  • Best For: Adults or older families that enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of the Florida Keys. It is also ideal for people that plan on spending significant time at Disney Springs, as it’s a simple boat ride away.

Pros

Disney's Old Key West 2 bedroom suite

Room Sizes – On our last stay at Old Key West it was noticeably impressive how much bigger the rooms were than other Disney resorts. Whether you’re getting a smaller studio or upgrading to a larger 1 or 2-bedroom villa, you won’t find many more spacious rooms in Disney.

Fun and Relaxed Island Feel – There’s something nice about getting to Old Key West. As soon as you arrive, you just feel relaxed. The airy and bright pastel colors give you an island vibe, putting you in the right frame of mind immediately.

Access to Disney Springs – Having boat access to Disney Springs makes it super convenient to come and go to Disney Springs at a moment’s notice. Not to mention the boat ride is much more enjoyable and relaxing than the bus.

Cheapest DVC Resort – While the prices might seem steep, if you can take advantage of borrowing or renting points from other DVC members, you won’t find a cheaper or more reasonable DVC Resort. Rates on renting will be considerably cheaper than booking directly through Disney. (Rates shown are Disney’s Rates)

Recreation Activities – Very few resorts have comparable outdoor activities for guests. From shuffleboard to tennis and basketball courts, there is something for every family member at Old Key West.

Cons

Disney's Old Key West looking over the water at a fountain

Very Spread Out – With a huge footprint, Old Key West is spread out over several buildings requiring a lot of walking. There are multiple bus stops throughout the complex, requiring you to stop at multiple bus stops between your visits to/from the parks.

Limited Transportation Options – Besides easy boat access to Disney Springs, the four theme parks require bus transportation from Old Key West if you don’t want to splurge and pay for a Minnie Van or a ridesharing service.

Limited Restaurant Options On-Site – The only table-service restaurant here is Olivia’s Cafe. Olivia’s is a nice and solid restaurant, but it’s the only one. Granted you can always take a short boat ride over to Disney Springs for some truly amazing restaurants.

Dining Options

Disney's Old Key West Olivia's Restaurant
  • Olivia’s Cafe – Table-service restaurant serving comfort food for brunch and dinner. 
  • Good’s Food to Go – Quick-service restaurant featuring grab-and-go options such as burgers, salads, snacks, and desserts.
  • Turtle Shack Poolside Snacks – Snack bar featuring pizza, sandwiches, and salad as well as some adult beverages.
  • Gurgling Suitcase – A cozy Key West-style bar that serves a variety of cocktails. You can also get food from Olivia’s served here.

Don’t Miss

Conch Flats Community Hall – Be sure to visit this fun community hall! A great way to kill some time on a rainy day. Here at Conch Flats Community Hall, you’ll find ping-pong tables, shuffleboard, video games, pool tables, and foosball tables. Take the family down and play some games, it’ll surely be a memorable day.

16. Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside Resort

mansions at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside
  • Cost: A Standard room costs between $278 – $451. (including tax)
  • Category: Moderate
  • Location: Near Disney Springs 
  • Theme: Rural Louisiana 
  • Amenities: Visit the pools and other shared facilities at both Riverside and French Quarter, including access to both sets of pools. There are 6 pools in total! Relax on a horse-drawn carriage ride, enjoy movies under the stars, enjoy a good old-fashioned campfire, rent a bike, go fishing, run or walk along the Sassagoula River on a unique jogging trail. 
  • Transportation: Water transportation to Disney Springs and other nearby resorts including Saratoga Springs and Old Key West. To visit the Disney Parks, you will need to take a Disney bus. 
  • Best For: Families that love the “Old South” atmosphere. A great and tranquil atmosphere for those that want to escape the Disney craziness and get some quiet.

Pros

Tiana Rooms at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside

Newly Refurbished Tiana Rooms – With some of the newest rooms in all of Disney World, these newly-refurbished Tiana Rooms will surely make your little prince or princess happy! Room decorations are tastefully done and aren’t exclusively for girls. There is amazing detail in each of the rooms.

Dog-Friendly Resort – Riverside Resort is one of the four Disney Resorts that are dog-friendly, allowing guests to bring their dog to stay with them!

Unique Theming – The beautifully landscaped grounds and gorgeous architecture make for a lovely and unique atmosphere.

Visit the River Roost and Yeehaw Bob – Ask anyone who has stayed at Riverside and almost always one of the highlights is seeing Yeehaw Bob perform at the River Roost. Yeehaw Bob is a tremendous performer that plays piano while putting on a show for guests. It’s unlike anything you’ll see!

Access to Disney Springs – Having boat access to Disney Springs makes it more fun, convenient, and thematic as you cruise down the Sassagoula River.

Rooms Fit 5 – Those staying in the Alligator Bayou section of the resort have access to a 5th sleeper bed. This fold-down twin bed allows families of 5 the cheapest options in all of Walt Disney World to stay in one room.

Cons

walking around Disney's Port Orleans Riverside

Huge Property – With over 2,000 rooms, Riverside is huge! While it’s quite enjoyable to take in the beautiful sights and landscaping, it also presents a major walking problem! That is of course if you don’t enjoy walking long distances.

Four Bus Stops – Figuring out which bus stop is closest to your room is vital. If not, you’ll end up walking far too much. With four bus stops, be prepared to be sitting on the bus for a long time to/from the parks each day.

Main Pool Gets Packed – The main pool area in the middle of the day can be very difficult to find any space. Be prepared to feel like you are packed like a sardine when swimming in the pool. You are better off using one of the five leisure pools scattered throughout the resort.

Dining Options

Yehaa Bob performing at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside
  • Riverside Mill Food Court – Visit different stations to get a variety of different food offerings for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • River Roost – A charming lounge found inside the resort. You’ll find a full bar as well as some tasty snacks.
  • Muddy Rivers – A fun poolside bar that features a wide variety of specialty drinks.
  • Boatwright’s Dining Hall – A table-service restaurant that serves dinner specialties that one would expect to find in the Bayou.

Don’t Miss

Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides – Other than Fort Wilderness, Riverside is the only other resort where you can take a beautiful carriage ride. At Riverside, you can enjoy a serene and peaceful ride on the banks of the Sassagoula.

This is a lovely way to surprise a loved one and a perfect romantic end to an evening and is surely something you’ll never forget! Carriage rides are about 25 minutes long and fit 4-5 people.

15. Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

horse riding jockey statue at Saratoga Springs Resort
  • Cost: A Deluxe Studio room (fits 4 people) ranges in price between $451-$770 per night (Includes tax).
  • Category: Deluxe Villas
  • Location: Near Disney Springs
  • Theme: Historic Saratoga Springs, New York which was made famous for its spas and horse racing
  • Amenities: A DVC-Only resort which means the rooms have additional amenities including a kitchen, washer, and dryer. The resort also features an award-winning, country-club-style golf course. Other amenities include four pools in total, bike rentals, fishing, tennis, multiple jogging trails, a basketball court, tennis courts, and 3 exciting playgrounds for kids!
  • Transportation: Boat transportation to Disney Springs and other nearby resorts including both Port Orleans Resorts and Old Key West. To visit the Disney Parks, you will need to take a Disney bus.
  • Best For: Families or individuals that enjoy outdoor activities. This resort is also conducive to guests that want to be close to Disney Springs.

Pros

walking around Saratoga Springs Resort

Golf Course – If anyone in the family enjoys golf, Saratoga Springs has the easiest access to one of the best Disney Golf Courses. The clubhouse is attached to the main lobby of the resort. I love this course, and a pro tip: if you play in the afternoon you can save some money.

Proximity to Disney Springs – There’s no better resort to stay at if you want to be at Disney Springs a lot than Saratoga Springs. A simple walking pathway makes it a relatively short commute from most of the Saratoga Springs buildings. There’s something nice about having a cocktail or two and not having a ride back to your resort.

Ask to stay at the Congress Park area if you want to be the closest to Disney Springs. You can always take the boat if you’d like to as well.

Senses Spa – Enjoy one of the two Senses Spas in Walt Disney World. This spa has all the treatments you can possibly imagine including massages, body wraps, and facials! After your treatment is over, enjoy the whirlpool area or some time in the steam room. Trust me, this spa will not disappoint!

Community Hall – Just like with some of the other community halls, Saratoga Springs Community Hall has several fun activities including indoor and outdoor activities. This is the perfect way to spend some family time without necessarily being at the parks.

Cons

Saratoga Springs Resort 2 bedroom villa

Theming Isn’t Interesting for Kids – While it’s true that kids can have a great time at Saratoga Springs with its wide variety of activities. But the truth is, the theming of horses and historic Saratoga Springs isn’t overly captivating for young kids. Don’t expect to see Disney characters or giant Disney artifacts all over the property.

Be Prepared to Walk – Five different communities make up the Saratoga Springs Resort. Some of them are closer to the main lobby area and others are closer to the Disney Springs walkways, and frankly, some aren’t close to much of anything. I’d request to stay in Congress Park or the Springs if you want to be close to either the lobby area (Carriage House) or Disney Springs.

Not Great Transportation Options – Unless you’re planning on spending all your time at the resort or in Disney Springs, transportation options to the Disney Parks are limited. Basically, you are limited to using Disney Buses or providing your own transportation to the parks. As always, waiting for Disney Buses in a place like Saratoga Springs with multiple bus stops can be long and frustrating.

Dining Options

pastries at The Artist’s Palette Saratoga Springs Resort
  • The Turf Club Bar and Grill – A table-service restaurant that serves dinner, specializing in steaks and other seasonal dishes.
  • The Artist’s Palette – A quick-service location that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eat it here or bring a snack with you to go.
  • The Paddock Grill – Another quick-service location that features a full bar and a selection of sandwiches, salads, and burgers.
  • The Turf Club Lounge – The lounge associated with the restaurant. A good place to grab a drink before dinner.
  • On the Rocks – The pool bar is located outside the High Rock Spring Pool.
  • Backstretch Pool Bar – A pool bar that features several different beers, cocktails, and some snacks.
  • Chip ‘n Dale’s Cafe – A sandwich stand at the golf course that offers several snacks and breakfast options.

Don’t Miss

The Treehouse Villas – Splurge and stay at one of the 60 three-bedroom units where you can feel like you’re living in your own Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse! These fun and unique treehouses can be expensive but they are absolutely worth the experience.

At the very least, check them out on your walk or the boat as you ride up the Sassagoula River.

14. Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter Resort

Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter at night
  • Cost: A Standard room costs between $278 – $451 (includes tax).
  • Category: Moderate
  • Location: Near Disney Springs
  • Theme: The French Quarter in New Orleans
  • Amenities: Take in the pools and other shared facilities at both Riverside and French Quarter, including access to both sets of pools. French Quarter has one pool, Riverside has another 6. Relax on a horse-drawn carriage ride, enjoy the smooth sounds of jazz music at Scat Cat’s Club, enjoy movies under the stars, enjoy a good old-fashioned campfire, rent a bike, go fishing, run or walk along the Sassagoula River on a unique jogging trail.
  • Transportation: Water transportation to Disney Springs and other nearby resorts including Saratoga Springs and Old Key West. To visit the Disney Parks, you will need to take a Disney bus.
  • Best For: The smallest and quaintest moderate resort in Disney, French Quarter feels serene. It is ideal for families that want to escape the hustle and bustle of being in Disney. Those who love New Orleans and the classic Mardi Gras feel will LOVE this resort.

Pros

rooms at Port Orleans French Quarter

Renovated Rooms – Back in 2018, French Quarter updated all of its rooms. They are cleaner and more modern while adding a significantly refreshed look.

Terrific Quick-Serve Options – French Quarter has two of the most underrated quick-service locations, Sassagoula Floatworks and Factory and Scat Cat’s Club Cafe.

Theming – In my view, there is no moderate resort with better theming than The French Quarter! You’ll truly feel like you are in the historic French Quarter of New Orleans with its larger-than-life Mardi Gras Characters. Even the Doubloon Lagoon pool area is terrifically themed with its fun and comical characters.

Access to Disney Springs – Having boat access to Disney Springs makes it more fun, convenient, and thematic as you cruise down the Sassagoula River.

Cons

playing with the alligator statue Port Orleans French Quarter

No Table Service Restaurants – This is the only moderate resort that does not feature a table-service restaurant. While that is disheartening, Riverside is just a short walk away, not to mention Disney Springs.

Lack of Transportation Options – If you’re not visiting Disney Springs, your only option for visiting the parks is to utilize Disney Buses. And since Riverside and French Quarter often share the same bus, you can make up to 5 stops each time you come and go from the parks. This can make bus trips long!

Dining Options

beignets at Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter
  • Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory – Enjoy a number of Mardi Gras-inspired dishes at this quick-service location.
  • Scat Cat’s Club Lounge – A fun and stylish New Orleans-style jazz lounge featuring a number of themed cocktails.
  • Scat Cat’s Club Cafe – Mickey-shaped beignets and different drink offerings.
  • Mardi Grogs – The pool bar features a number of specialty cocktails and some simple snack and sandwich offerings.

Don’t Miss

Mickey Beignets – Go to Scat Cat’s Club Cafe to try one of the different Mickey-shaped beignets! They make them fresh on the spot, they are covered in powdered sugar, and can even be infused with alcohol for an additional cost. Trust me, you don’t want to miss these!

13. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from high
  • Cost: A Standard room costs between $258-$479 (Includes tax).
  • Category: Moderate
  • Location: EPCOT Resort Area
  • Theme: Captures the spirit of the Caribbean
  • Amenities: Take part in movies under the stars, guided fishing excursions, volleyball, a jogging trail, and campfire activities. Caribbean Beach also features 6 pools in total!
  • Transportation: Disney’s Caribbean Beach is the hub for the Disney Skyliner. This makes getting to some of the Disney Resorts, Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT incredibly convenient! If visiting Disney Springs, Animal Kingdom, or Magic Kingdom, you will still need to utilize a Disney Bus.
  • Best For: Those that enjoy the Caribbean Ambience! For guests that enjoy the island vibe, including the music and Caribbean fare, you’ll love this resort!

Pros

fountain at night at Caribbean Beach Resort

Completely Renovated Hotel – Not only did the rooms get a fresh upgrade, but the lobby area and also the restaurants have been renovated! It’s almost a brand-new resort since the update.

Pirate Rooms – These adorable rooms were spared no expense on their addition, delighting kids with fun decor for young and aspiring pirates! Disney did a great job of adding fun details throughout the rooms!

The Pool – The Fuentes del Morro Pool is a beautifully themed zero-entry pool that delights kids with its pirate theme. It’s got forts, cannons, water slides, and a water playground! There’s also a large hot tub in the pool area that fits up to 12 people. If this pool area gets too crowded, there are 5 other quieter pools you can take advantage of.

The Skyliner – Being on the connection hub of the Disney Skyliner is a major positive for guests of Caribbean Beach! It’ll save you significant time on your trip. Plus the Skyliner is so much fun!

Walking Distance to the Riviera – Yes you can take the Skyliner but you can also walk around the lake! What better way to start your day than to walk to the Riviera to get a coffee at my favorite cafe on property, Le Petit Cafe.

5th Sleeper Rooms – Caribbean Beach can accommodate families of five with a 5th sleeper bed. This bed is a junior-sized murphy bed that easily folds up and down.

Cons

bridge and skyliner over Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort

Huge Property – Depending on where your room is located, you could easily have a 10-minute walk to the Skyliner or the Old Port Royale. This can be exhausting after a long day in the parks!

No Elevators – If you’re staying on the 2nd floor, it can be a pain in the butt having to carry luggage or bags up and down the flights of stairs in addition to walking significant distances to catch a bus. Keep this in mind if you have any mobility issues so you can let them know at the front desk to keep you on the 1st floor.

Long Wait Times for Buses – If you’re visiting one of the places that the Skyliner does NOT go to, be prepared to wait a long time for a bus. The buses here drive around all the villages and make more stops than most other resorts. You will wait a long time for the bus and you will sit on the bus for a long time before you get off.

Dining Options

pull-apart rolls from Sebastian's Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Sebastian’s Bistro – Celebrate the spirit of the Caribbean with this table-service restaurant.
  • Centertown Market – A quick-service location that features a number of unique Caribbean-inspired quick options.
  • Centertown Market Grab & Go – A casual market that has a number of easy on-the-go snacks.
  • Banana Cabana – A fun walk-up poolside bar that offers tropical concoctions and a variety of different quick-bite snacks.
  • Spyglass Grill – A quick-service food location that features a number of different American dishes with a Caribbean twist. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Don’t Miss

The Caribbean Pull-Apart Rolls at Sebastians’s – While Sebastian’s has some unique and completely different Caribbean items on its menu, it’s the pull-apart rolls that stand out more than the rest. We really enjoy Sebastian’s and think it’s one of the more underrated restaurants in Walt Disney World. Give it a try.

12. Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Disney's Pop Century Resort Giant Roger Rabbit statue
  • Cost: A Standard room costs between $174 and $367 per night (Includes tax).
  • Category: Value
  • Location: EPCOT Resort Area
  • Theme: A nod to the unforgettable fads of the 1950s through the 1990s
  • Amenities: Complimentary wi-fi, three pools pools scattered, a one-mile jogging trail, campfire activities, laundry, and dry cleaning services. Enjoy movies under the stars and the fast-forward arcade.
  • Transportation: Disney Skyliner and Disney Buses. You can utilize the Skyliner to get to other Disney Resorts in addition to Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. Buses are used for Disney Springs, Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom.
  • Best For: Pop Century is a great family resort for budget-conscious travelers. In our view, it is a small step up from the All-Star Resorts with the biggest benefits being that it’s more centrally located and it has the Skyliner now!

Pros

Pool at Disney's Pop Century Resort

One of Best Values – While staying at Pop Century certainly isn’t a luxurious vacation, it’s hard to beat the value. Behind the All-Star Resorts, it’s the most affordable resort on property. If you’re planning on spending most of your days in the Disney Parks and don’t mind sacrificing a little bit of luxury, Pop Century is an excellent way to go!

Disney Skyliner – Sharing the Skyliner with the neighboring Art of Animation hotel, Pop Century is significantly cheaper than Art of Animation and the other Skyliner hotels.

Having the Disney Skyliner nearby makes visiting the parks much easier, especially if you can avoid the early morning rush and it also allows you to easily visit the other Skyliner resorts to grab meals.

Great Food Court – The Everything Pop food court at Pop Century is one of our favorite food courts in Disney. There are so many options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that gives even the fussiest of eaters options!

Newly Updated Rooms – Pop Century recently upgraded all of their rooms and removed their carpets and added beautiful wood floors. Beds were also raised allowing for more storage space for guests. The beds were changed from doubles to queens.

Cons

Disney's Pop Century Resort Bedroom

Long Bus and Skyliner Lines – Be prepared to wait in long bus lines and Skyliner lines if attempting to get to the parks first thing in the morning. I’ve seen the Skyliner line wrapped around the entire resort at times if trying to get to Caribbean Beach to transfer to get to the parks.

Noisy – Due to the sheer number of people and large groups at the value resorts, these hotels can get very rowdy. It can be frustrating to hear people hooting and hollering outside of your room late into the evening while you’re trying to sleep.

Large and Spread Out – Similar to the other value and moderate resorts, Pop Century is massive and if you’re at one of the furthest buildings, you can have a LONG walk to both the lobby and the Skyliner. 

Limited Dining Options – If you are looking for a nice table service meal, you won’t find it here at Pop Century. There is the food court and pool bar and that’s it.

Dining Options

Pizza from Everything Pop at Disney's Pop Century Resort
  • Everything POP – A large food court that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Petals Pool Bar – Outdoor pool bar that features a number of different cocktails and beer.

Don’t Miss

The Hippy Dippy Pool – This large pool in the center of Pop Century is a fun 1960s-inspired pool that features flower-shaped water jets. Kids will also love the kiddie pool area which contains a pop-jet water fountain.

11. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Disney's Art of Animation sign in front of hotel
  • Cost: A Standard room costs between $201 – $392. Family suites range between $459 and $912 per night. (Prices include tax)
  • Category: Value
  • Location: EPCOT Resort Area
  • Theme: An homage to Disney art, exploring both Disney and Pixar movies.
  • Amenities: Complimentary wi-fi, three pools scattered throughout the resort, a one-mile jogging trail, campfire activities, laundry, and dry cleaning services. You can also enjoy movies under the stars and the Pixel Play Arcade.
  • Transportation: Disney Skyliner and Disney Buses. You can utilize the Skyliner to get to other Disney Resorts in addition to Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom.
  • Best For: The best value resort for larger families, allowing you to fit up to 6 people in a family suite. These rooms provide plenty of room! Also, fans of Disney animation will love it.

Pros

Mater figure at Disney's Art of Animation Resort

Themed Lands and Rooms – Each time we’ve stayed here, we’ve tried staying at the different themed lands. All of them are fun and unique, whether it’s the Little Mermaid section, the Cars-themed section, the Finding Nemo section, or the Lion King-themed section. Each area is filled with a lot of fun artifacts for kids to explore.

Great Food Court – The Landscapes of Flavor Food Court is impressive. Not only does it have standard food court fare, but you’ll also have some above-and-beyond options such as Curry Chicken, Tandoori Chicken, and Surf and Turf Burgers.

The different stations throughout the food court allow each member of the family to find something they like.

Dog-Friendly Accommodations – One of the four resorts in Walt Disney World that are dog-friendly allowing you to bring your pooch.

Disney Skyliner – Art of Animation shares a Skyliner stop with the neighboring Pop Century resort. Having the Skyliner on property where you are staying makes things so much more accessible. Plus, it makes it fun!

Interior Hallways – This might sound trivial, but it’s the only value resort that features interior hallways when walking to your room. Unlike the motel setup at Pop Century and the All-Star Resorts.

Cons

Little Mermaid figures Art of Animation Resort

Most Expensive Value Resort – These rooms are significantly more expensive than the neighboring Pop Century and the All-Star Resorts. The standard Little Mermaid rooms are very difficult to get and are always excluded from Disney promotions.

If you want to stay at Art of Animation, you likely will need to stay in a Family Suite. It can get expensive however, and you might end up paying more money than staying in a Moderate Resort.

Huge and Everything is Far – Similar to the other value and moderate resorts, Art of Animation is massive and if you’re at one of the further out buildings, you can have a LONG walk to both the lobby and the Skyliner.

A Ton of Kids – Like all the Disney Value resorts, Art of Animation is packed with families and small kids. If you want to stay at a resort with fewer kids and more adults, opt for the moderate or deluxe resorts.

Dining Options

Chili bread bowl at Disney's Art of Animation Resort
  • Landscape of Flavors – Five themed areas with a large variety of different food offerings for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • The Drop Off Pool Bar – Typical Disney Pool Bar with a number of different drinks to sip by the pool.

Don’t Miss

The Big Blue Pool – This zero-entry pool is the largest pool on Disney World property! It features scenes and characters from Finding Nemo and even plays music underwater. Listen carefully, you might even hear Nemo and Dory talking to each other. There are an additional two quieter pools.

10. Disney’s Riviera Resort

Disney's Riviera Resort at night
  • Cost: A Standard Tower Studio (fits 4 people) costs between $453 to $814 per night (includes tax).
  • Category: Deluxe Villas
  • Location: EPCOT Resort Area
  • Theme: Themed after the French and Italian Riviera
  • Amenities: Each room includes a kitchen, washer, and dryer. Take part in Riviera Campfire activities, play a round of Bocce Ball, or enjoy movies under the stars. There are two pools, a family-friendly pool and a quieter one.
  • Transportation: Disney Skyliner and Disney Buses. You can utilize the Skyliner to get to other Disney Resorts in addition to Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. Buses are used for Disney Springs, Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom.
  • Best For: Those wanting a more luxurious stay while feeling like they are somewhere far removed from Disney. It is reminiscent of a fancy European resort.

Pros

Disney's Riviera Resort rooms

Newest Disney Resort – Being that the Riviera is the newest Disney World resort, it has a certain up-to-date feel and modernness that some of the older hotels lack. It is absolutely pristine and feels classy and unblemished.

Disney Skyliner – The Riviera Skyliner stop is quiet and incredibly simple to get to both Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. The trip to EPCOT is direct, whereas the trip to Hollywood Studios requires a change over at Caribbean Beach Resort.

Food Options – I wholeheartedly adore every single food option at the Riviera. From the coffee shop to the quick service locations to the pool-side bar to one of the best all-around restaurants in Disney World, Topolino’s.

view from terrace at Topolino's restaurant Riviera Resort

The Views – The rooftop terrace is absolutely beautiful to enjoy, giving you some of the best views in all of Disney. There are few things better than enjoying a nice dinner at Topolino’s and then going out to enjoy the sunset while overlooking views of the entire Walt Disney World Resort. The rooms overlooking the lake also have gorgeous views and I’ve gotten some incredible photos in both places.

Character Dining – In addition to being tremendous for dinner, Topolinos also has a top-notch breakfast, which includes visits from some of your favorite Disney Characters including Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy.

Walking Path to Caribbean Beach Resort – If you’re in the mood to explore and want some beautiful views of the lake, take the walking path to the Caribbean Beach Resort. You’ll have another resort you can explore. Don’t leave without trying some Caribbean-inspired food!

Cons

Riviera Resort pool and kids play area

Doesn’t ‘Feel Like Disney’ – While some might enjoy that it doesn’t feel as over-the-top Disney and is more subtle, others might be upset and feel that it lacks the Disney touches. At times the Riviera can feel like any other standard hotel chain resort in the world and it lacks that “Disney magic.”

Cost – There’s no denying that the Riviera is beautiful, but the cost of staying here can be astronomical for families. And considering that it lacks some of the Disney uniqueness that others higher on our list have, is it worth paying the steep price?

Location – While being on the Disney Skyliner is awesome, unlike many of the other Deluxe Resorts, you can’t walk directly into one of the parks. Plus you are situated directly next to a moderate resort (Caribbean Beach), which lacks a certain level of exclusiveness that other Deluxe Resorts have.

Dining Options

filet at Topolino's Riviera Resort
  • Bar Riva – Open-air pool bar that features unique drink offerings with some tasty snacks.
  • Topolino’s Terrace – Inspired by Europe’s top cliffside restaurants, Topolino’s has a stellar breakfast and dinner.
  • Le Petit Cafe – An authentic Parisian-style cafe with some tasty snacks and coffees.
  • Primo Piatto – A quick-service location that offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Don’t Miss

Le Petit Cafe – My absolute favorite place to grab a coffee in all of Disney World, even better than going to Starbucks! This unique cafe found on the main floor of Riviera not only features amazing coffee but also has some great pastry offerings as well. Try the different tasty treats such as croissants and pastries as an unforgettable way to start your morning.

9. Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Coronado Springs Resort Gran Destino Tower
  • Cost: A Standard room costs between $250 and $511 per night (Includes tax).
  • Category: Moderate
  • Location: Animal Kingdom Resort Area (but not overly close to any park).
  • Theme: Celebrates the blend of Spanish, Mexican, and Southwest American culture.
  • Amenities: Many fun outdoor activities including campfire activities, movies under the stars, four pools, Colors of Coronado Painting Experience, Spanish mosaic art, volleyball, a jogging trail, a fun archaeological playground, 24-hour fitness facilities, spa and beauty services, and a fun themed arcade. Also an impressive 220,000 square feet of meeting space in their convention area.
  • Transportation: Coronado Springs Resort guests need to take Disney Buses to every destination within Disney World.
  • Best For: A wide variety of people. It is frequently a draw for convention guests since it holds a large convention area. It is also a beautiful property with its recently added Gran Destino Tower that can be a nice romantic getaway for couples. The common areas, including the playground and the pool area, are so much fun for kids as well.

Pros

looking out on the lake Coronado Springs Resort

Rooftop Dining – Two of the best rooftop dining spots are also two of the newest resorts, Gran Destino Tower and Riviera. Here at Gran Destino, you can take advantage of the restaurant Toledo or the Dahlia Lounge, both of which are found at the top of the tower. You’ll find beautiful views while enjoying a nice cocktail with delicious food.

Dining and Lounge Options – Coronado has excellent food options, both with quick service locations and sit-down table-service restaurants. In total, they have 10 dining options! Two of our favorites are Three Bridges Bar & Grill, which is found right on the Lago Dorado, with beautiful open-aired views of the lake. Their food and homemade sangria are fantastic and extremely underrated.

We also love Toledo, which is at the top of Gran Destino Tower. It’s a Spanish-Style restaurant that features some terrific food and cocktails. Don’t miss the quick service location El Mercado de Coronado either! It’s one of the best food courts in Disney, with tremendously varied offerings.

Coronado Springs Resort Dig Site Pool area

Pool Area – With one of the greatest pool areas on the property, Coronado’s main area is called ‘The Lost City of Cibola.’ It’s surrounded by a huge 50-foot Mayan pyramid with cascading water and serpents. You’ll also have the ability to take the fun jaguar waterslide 123 feet into the pool. There are an additional 3 quieter pools as well.

This pool area also features the largest hot tub in all of Walt Disney World – fitting 21 people! If you want something quieter, you can of course visit one of the smaller leisure pools scattered throughout the resort.

Massive Health Club – With a 24-hour fitness center that features great gym equipment to work out at any time of day. The health club also features the ability to relax at the salon, allowing you to get a number of different hair, makeup, or nail treatments.

Cons

Bus stop at Coronado Springs Resort

Transportation Options – Coronado is NOT on the Disney Skyliner nor is it on the monorail. Its location is somewhat in the middle of everything but not tremendously close to anything. This means that your only option for transportation is Disney Buses. And with four bus stops, this can be a timely ordeal for guests.

Buildings Are Far – If you’re not staying at the Gran Destino Tower, you will have a long walk to the hotel lobby! The other hotel buildings are spread out and around Lago Dorado in the center of the lake and can easily require 15-20 minute walks back to the lobby.

Convention Guests – Considered by many as ‘the convention resort,’ Coronado Springs is frequently home to large numbers of convention travelers. This can be frustrating at times when large amounts of people crowd the lobby, dining locations, or other common areas, making it more difficult for other hotel guests.

Waiting for the Disney buses can be frustrating as it is, let alone when hundreds of people are in front of you!

Not Ideal for Small Kids – While the pool area and some of the common areas are fun for older kids, this hotel lacks the typical Disney-theming that some of the other moderate resorts have. If you have smaller kids that want Disney characters and theming, they could be disappointed here.

It is certainly more geared toward convention guests, making many of the amenities focused around their business travelers.

Dining Options

ribeye steak at Toledo's Coronado Springs Resort
  • Toledo – Table-service restaurant with Spanish-inspired cuisine at the top of Gran Destino Tower.
  • Three Bridges Bar & Grill – Beautiful and serene setting on the lake with terrific sandwiches, appetizers, and shared plates.
  • Rix Sports Bar & Grill – A great and underrated sports bar that features a large menu and handcrafted cocktails
  • Dahlia Lounge – Beautiful lounge at the top of Gran Destino Tower. Enjoy beautiful views with tasty cocktails.
  • Barcelona Lounge – On the bottom floor of Gran Destino, you’ll find pastries, a variety of coffee drinks, and light fair for breakfast while transitioning to a full bar in the afternoon.
  • Siestas Cantina – The poolside quick-service location that features a variety of lunch-type foods, including specialty cocktails as well.
  • Maya Grill – Mexican-style table-service restaurant which features Nuevo Latino cuisines
  • Cafe Rix – Small cafe that features a large number of sweet treats and coffee.
  • El Mercado de Coronado – Quick-service location with a large variety of offerings for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Laguna Bar – Fun lakeside bar where you can find an impressive menu of cocktails.

Don’t Miss

Watch the Game at Rix – If you or any of the family are sports fans, watching the game at Rix can be a fun experience! There aren’t many great sports bars in Disney World these days, but Rix is one of the few hidden gems where you can enjoy typical sports bar-type food while in a nice setting.

8. Disney’s Boardwalk Inn

Disney's Boardwalk Inn interior hallway
  • Cost: A Standard room costs between $597 and $1044 per night (Includes tax).
  • Category: Deluxe Resort and Deluxe Villas
  • Location: EPCOT Resort Area
  • Theme: Turn-of-the-Century Atlantic City, New Jersey
  • Amenities: A favorite wedding resort that features a beautiful gazebo outside for stunning lakeside pictures. It features campfire activities, movies under the stars, 3 pools (one large and two small leisure pools), multiple miniature golf courses, 2 and 4-person bike rentals, guided bass fishing excursions, tennis courts, jogging paths, and more! Also, a popular convention site that features large halls and convention space, often attracting larger groups of people.
  • Transportation: For those going to Hollywood Studios or EPCOT, there is a relatively short walking path to both. Hollywood Studios is a little longer (15 minutes or so). You can also take the ferry boat on Crescent Lake to either park, or the Disney Skyliner to Hollywood Studios. If you want to visit Disney Springs, Magic Kingdom, or Animal Kingdom you will need to wait for a Disney Bus.
  • Best For: A great option for families that want to be close to the action, while also having terrific on-site activities. If you enjoy the Jersey Shore or beach vacations, this resort will allow you to feel like you are back there!

Pros

Disney's Boardwalk Inn sign

Great Location – Not only are you right next to Hollywood Studios and EPCOT but you are also located right on the Disney Boardwalk! The Boardwalk features a ton of entertainers performing each night, loads of great shopping, and excellent dining options.

If you enjoy music, absolutely pay a visit to Jelly Rolls. The Boardwalk is a lively and happening place, especially on the weekends!

Dining Options – In addition to great restaurants that are located right next to the Boardwalk, there are also a ton of other excellent restaurants around the Boardwalk. You can visit The Swan and The Dolphin hotels on one end of the Boardwalk, which are packed with tremendous options for food.

You can also visit Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, which also have several good dining spots. And if you still can’t find something you want, take a 5-minute walk and enjoy some of EPCOT’s best restaurants.

Disney's Boardwalk Inn across the lake at night

Proximity to Parks – There are few things better than being able to walk to both Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. Waiting on Disney Buses can be a nuisance. Walking allows you to time your day better and start as early as you want, without worrying about wasting an hour waiting for or on the bus.

Regular Rooms and Villas – The Boardwalk Inn is both a regular hotel resort and a DVC resort, meaning that there are several different rooming options for your stay. You can stay in a traditional room or choose to stay in a DVC room, which features additional amenities. Prices of course will vary depending on the room type you choose.

Skyliner Access – Take a short walk around the Boardwalk and you have access to the Disney Skyliner. This can allow you to get to Hollywood Studios easier as opposed to walking. It also can allow you to visit some of the other Disney resorts, including The Riviera, Caribbean Beach, Art of Animation, and Pop Century.

Cons

painting of Disney's Boardwalk Inn

Tacky Decorations – Maybe I’m in the minority on this one, but I’ve never been a huge fan overall of the theming of this resort. The pool area and the decorations can come across as a little tacky or cheesy. Think Coney Island Boardwalk or one of the New Jersey Boardwalks. If that is your thing, you will like it but it takes away some of the allure in my opinion.

Clowns – This may sound stupid but I know many kids are afraid of clowns and the main pool area, Luna Park Pool, is themed with clown decorations.

Very Loud – While some might view the nonstop activities and entertainment on the Boardwalk to be a nice perk, others might not like that it isn’t quiet at night. And if your room is located on the lakeside, you might be kept up at night by loud performers and people walking the Disney Boardwalk, especially after they’ve had a few drinks.

Expensive – As with all of Disney’s Resorts, the prices do not necessarily compare to comparable other non-Disney resorts nearby. The Boardwalk Inn is a very popular resort for DVC members and other guests due to its proximity to the parks and convenience. This means the prices can sometimes be far too high for what you get.

Dining Options

Flying Fish scallops
  • Flying Fish – An excellent table-service dinner restaurant that features great seafood offerings.
  • Trattoria al Forno – Offering both a character breakfast in the morning and Italian Culinary Classics for dinner.
  • Big River Grille & Brewing Works – Open for lunch and dinner, this working microbrewery features several different soups, salads, and entrees.
  • BoardWalk Deli – Offering snacks and deli favorites at all times of the day.
  • Pizza Window – Outdoor window that allows you to purchase a hot slice of pizza or an entire pie.
  • AbracadaBar – Fun lounge that focuses on the heyday of magicians and illusionists.
  • Leaping Horse Libations – Carousel-themed pool bar.
  • BoardWalk Joe’s Marvelous Margaritas – This margarita stand offers a number of different margaritas.
  • The To-Go Cart – A snack cart that offers a variety of different hot dogs, burgers, and sandwiches.
  • Belle Vue Lounge – A 1930s-style sitting room where you can enjoy a nice cocktail while relaxing on a comfy chair.
  • Funnel Cake Cart – Get a fresh funnel cake with all the toppings outside at this cart.

Don’t Miss

drinks at Abracadabar on the Boardwalk

Belle Vue Lounge – This unique and consistently ranked Top-10 lounge in Disney World, Belle Vue Lounge brings you back to the 1930s. Bring grandma and grandma here and they will love all the decorations and collectibles where you can even listen to radios that play programs from this era.

Be sure to look out for all the hidden details. A really cool place where you can relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of the Boardwalk or the Disney Parks while enjoying a nice traditional American Cocktail.

7. Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Disney's Contemporary Resort outside
  • Cost: A Standard room costs between $550 and $988 per night (includes tax).
  • Category: Deluxe Resort and Deluxe Villas (Bay Lake Tower)
  • Location: Magic Kingdom Resort Area
  • Theme: One of the two original Walt Disney World resorts. It is a futuristic and modern-day look at tomorrow.
  • Amenities: A number of fun amenities including movies under the stars, a fun arcade for all ages, a full-sized basketball court, two pools, Cabana Rentals, guided fishing excursions, motorized boat rentals, volleyball, tennis, jogging trails, or the full-service fitness center.
  • Transportation: Monorail access to Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Polynesian Village Resort, and the Grand Floridian Resort. You will need to take a Disney Bus or private transportation to Disney Springs, Animal Kingdom, or Hollywood Studios.
  • Best For: The Contemporary Resort is the most affordable of the Monorail Resorts. It is ideal for families with small children that want the most convenient and easiest way to access Magic Kingdom.

Pros

monorail going through Contemporary Resort

On the Monorail – The Contemporary is one of three Disney Resorts on the monorail, allowing you to visit Magic Kingdom in a breeze. Or hop off at the ticket and transportation center, and transfer over to EPCOT. The monorail is a fun experience that is a rite of passage all Disney World guests should experience!

Cool Factor – Did we mention this resort has a monorail that goes right through the middle of the atrium? Enough said!

Magic Kingdom Proximity – The Contemporary is the ONLY resort in Disney that you can walk directly to Magic Kingdom. It is an extremely leisurely walk. This allows you to be amongst the first guests to arrive at the park if you so choose.

Dining – The Contemporary has excellent dining options for people of all ages! The famous Chef Mickey’s is one of the best character meals to see Mickey and the Gang. California Grill is one of the most unique and upscale dining experiences in all of Disney, with tremendous views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks shows.

Steakhouse 71 is a new and underrated restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And Contempo Cafe is one of our favorite quick-service locations at a resort.

Electrical Water Pageant returning to Walt Disney World

Views of Fireworks and Electrical Water Pageant – Many spots, including in some hotel rooms, throughout the resort feature excellent spots to watch both the Magic Kingdom Fireworks and the Electrical Water Pageant. 

Both Regular Rooms and Villas – The Contemporary is both a regular hotel resort and a DVC resort (Bay Lake Tower), meaning that there are several different rooming options for your stay. You can stay in a traditional room or choose to stay in a DVC room, which features additional amenities. Prices vary on the room type you choose.

Large, New-Themed Rooms – All Contemporary rooms and hallways have gotten a brand-new stylish and modern upgrade featuring all of your favorite Incredibles Characters. The rooms blend a sleep monorail motif with custom Incredibles artwork.

Great Shopping – Guests regularly say that the Contemporary has some of the best resort shopping in all of Disney. There are three shops on the 4th floor, selling just about everything you need.

Cons

the beds in The Incredibles themed rooms contemporary resort

Overpriced – While it just finished a recently and badly needed refurbishment, Disney’s Contemporary Resort still feels old. And considering it’s a Deluxe Resort that is upwards of $500 a night, it still feels overpriced considering how outdated significant parts of the resort still are. And assuming it is a futuristic look at tomorrow, it is kind of ironic how outdated this 1971 original Disney resort still is.

A Lot of Kids – If kids aren’t your thing, staying at a Magic Kingdom Resort is probably not going to be your best option. And since the Contemporary is the most affordable of the Magic Kingdom Resorts, it attracts many families with small children.

Noisy – Coupling the number of small kids and the fact that Chef Mickey’s is almost always jam-packed, the main 4th floor of the Contemporary gets VERY loud at almost all times of the day. If you want peace and quiet, it’s hard to escape the noise at this resort, especially in the common areas.

Pool Area is Disappointing – While the DVC-side Bay Lake Tower has a nicer pool area, the main pool at the Contemporary is underwhelming. It is one of the more disappointing pools out of the Deluxe Resorts.

 

Dining Options

chocolate cake at Steakhouse 71
  • Steakhouse 71Breakfast, lunch, and dinner table-service restaurant.
  • Steakhouse 71 Lounge – Lounge adjacent to the restaurant of the same name.
  • California GrillFancy table-service restaurant at the top of the Contemporary.
  • California Grill Lounge – Lounge adjacent to the restaurant of the same name.
  • Chef Mickey’s – All-you-can-eat character breakfast and dinner.
  • Contempo Cafe – Quick-service location serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Contemporary Grounds – Coffee and snacks are served at this 1st-floor location.
  • Cove Bar – Private pool bar if you’re staying at Bay Lake Tower or if you’re a DVC member.
  • Outer Rim – A 4th-floor lounge that has a lot of seating areas to take in the beautiful outdoor sights.
  • The Sand Bar – A poolside quick-service bar and lounge.

Don’t Miss

Fireworks cruise Magic Kingdom fireworks

A Speciality Cruise – There are very few things better in Disney than celebrating a special day on a specialty cruise aboard a private pontoon boat. You can take leisurely afternoon cruises or beautiful evening fireworks cruises.

My family and I did this several years ago to celebrate an anniversary and it was a memorable occasion we will never forget!

6. Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Yacht Club Lighthouse at night
  • Cost: A Standard room costs between $537 and $986 per night (Includes tax).
  • Category: Deluxe
  • Location: EPCOT Resort Area
  • Theme: New England-style Yacht Club
  • Amenities: Resort campfire activities, movies under the stars on the beach, poolside cabana rentals, multiple miniature golf courses, motorized bike rentals, guided fishing excursions, tennis, volleyball, jogging, four total pools, and a fun arcade.
  • Transportation: A short walk to EPCOT (10 minutes) and Hollywood Studios (20 minutes or so). You can also take the ferry boat on Crescent Lake to either park. Or you can take the Disney Skyliner to Hollywood Studios. To visit Disney Springs, Magic Kingdom, or Animal Kingdom take a Disney Bus outside the front of the resort.
  • Best For: Families and adults that want a nice and fancy getaway from the parks while at the same time being very close to the action. Those that enjoy nautical themes and boats will love the rustic colors and darker shades of wood throughout this resort. Also, ideal for families that prioritize relaxing as the Yacht Club and the Beach Club share the best pool on Walt Disney property, Stormalong Bay.

Pros

Yacht and Beach Club Resort Pool

The Pools – Stormalong Bay is shared with Disney’s Beach Club Resort as well but with good reason, it has over 800,000 gallons of water! Stormalong Bay includes a lazy river, 3 whirlpool spas, a sand-bottomed pool, and one of the largest water slides in all of Walt Disney World. Trust me, this is the best “pool” in all of Disney and it isn’t close. There are also 3 quieter leisure pools.

Proximity to Hollywood Studios and EPCOT  – There are few things better than being able to walk to both Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. Waiting on Disney Buses can be a nuisance. Being able to walk right into the parks allows you to time your day better and start as early as you want, without worrying about wasting an hour waiting for or on the bus.

Great Location – Not only are you right next to Hollywood Studios and EPCOT but you are also located right on the Disney Boardwalk! The Boardwalk features a ton of entertainers performing each night, loads of great shopping, and excellent dining options. If you enjoy music, absolutely pay a visit to Jelly Rolls. The Boardwalk is a lively and happening place, especially on the weekends!

Yachtsman Steakhouse Yacht Club Resort

Dining Options – The Yacht Club has one of my favorite Disney Resort Hotel restaurants, Yachtsman Steakhouse. It is arguably the greatest steakhouse in Disney and is well worth a visit! In addition there are also a ton of other excellent restaurants at the Beach Club and around the Boardwalk.

Skyliner Access – Take a short walk to the Disney Skyliner. This can allow you to get to Hollywood Studios quicker as opposed to walking. It also can allow you to visit some of the other Disney resorts, including The Riviera, Caribbean Beach, Art of Animation, and Pop Century.

Dog-Friendly Resort – The Yacht Club is one of four resorts on Disney property that is dog-friendly. For fans of bringing Rover on their vacation, this is one of your best resort options.

Cons

Globe in Yacht Club Resort Lobby

It’s Expensive – As with all of Disney’s Resorts, the prices do not necessarily compare to comparable other non-Disney resorts nearby. While the Yacht Club is a beautiful resort, it is very hard to get a discounted rate on these rooms.

These rooms are highly popular due to their proximity to the parks while being in a prime location, and with the limited number of rooms and the lack of a DVC presence at this resort, the rooms are almost always full-priced.

Feels a Bit Stuffy – Comparing it to the Beach Club which has vibrant and colorful vibes, the Yacht Club feels more sophisticated and stuffy. It feels more refined and elegant while being less playful and relaxed. I’m personally drawn away from that style while others might love it.

Convention Hotel – You’ll often see large groups of business travelers gathering around the many common areas of the Yacht Club. This can sometimes be an annoyance when you need help with a problem or you need to wait in line behind dozens of business travelers for a meal.

Shared Bus Service – While the easy access to Hollywood Studios and EPCOT is amazing, buses can be a hassle when waiting in line for Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, or Disney Springs. You’ll often end up waiting additional time, plus you’ll need to share the bus with guests at the Beach Club. And for some reason, it always feels like your stop is last!

Dining Options (for both Yacht Club and Beach Club)

Ale & Compass breakfast waffles
  • Ale & Compass – Table-service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Ale & Compass Lounge – Cozy lounge just outside Ale & Compass, offering snacks and drinks.
  • The Market at Ale & Compass – Quick-service location at the Yacht Club offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Hurricane Hanna’s Waterside Bar and Grill – Pool walk-up bar that features refreshing cocktails and some different snacks.
  • Yachtsman SteakhouseTable-service steakhouse at the Yacht Club that is only open for dinner. They have a dress code.
  • Crew’s Cup Lounge – Lounge just outside of Yachtsman Steakhouse. They share a kitchen and have several good drinks.

Keep in mind, you are only a 5-minute walk away from the Baech Club restaurants which includes Cape May Cafe and Beaches & Cream Soda Shop.

Don’t Miss

Oreo Bon Bons Yacht Club

Oreo Bon-Bons – Often inside The Market at Ale & Compass, they sell in tiny plastic containers in the refrigerator section, Oreo Bon-Bon’s. They are a hidden gem and one of my wife’s favorite snacks in all of Disney World.

They don’t have them all year round but be sure to look for them the next time you’re visiting or staying at the Yacht Club.

5. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

giraffes playing outside at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Cost: A Standard room costs between $469 and $842 per night (Includes tax).
  • Category: Deluxe Resort and Deluxe Villas
  • Location: Animal Kingdom Resort Area
  • Theme: Step into the heart of Africa with an African-themed lodge in the middle of the savannah.
  • Amenities: 2 beautiful and themed pools, campfire activities, movies under the stars, a playground and arcade for the kids, painting activities for an additional cost, and a massage and fitness center.
  • Transportation: Bus transportation is the only way you’ll get to any of the parks or Disney Springs unless of course you pay for a ridesharing vehicle or you bring your vehicle.
  • Best For: Animal lovers that love visiting zoos and seeing wildlife in action. This hotel is incredibly unique and will grant anyone the wish that’s always wanted to step inside a real African Safari or stay inside an African Lodge. Kids absolutely love this resort, and it is truly a unique experience.

Animal Kingdom Lodge is split between two buildings, Jambo House and Kidani Village. Kidani Village is a DVC-only resort that is a separate bus ride from the main building. Animal Kingdom Lodge (Jambo House) is an African Savannah within a hotel, featuring over 30 species of African wildlife.

Pros

Animal Kingdom Lodge Pool

Theming – The uniqueness of this resort is unmatched. Every single knick-knack is authentically African, from the chairs to the fireplace to the light fixture dangling from the ceiling. The lobby itself is one of the most impressive in Walt Disney World, with visitors standing in awe while looking around. Cherish it!

Safari Rooms – If you can afford to pay a little extra for a Safari Room, it is absolutely worth it! Having your morning cup of coffee while sitting outside and watching the animals is an incredibly good memory.

Cheaper Than Other Deluxe Resorts – While Animal Kingdom Lodge is by no means cheap, it is one of the more affordable deluxe resorts. You will sometimes see reasonable promotions to save you a little bit of money on a room here.

Excellent Restaurants – Animal Kingdom Lodge boasts some of the most underrated restaurants with top-notch food offerings. Jiko, Sanaa, and Boma are all excellent! And if you have a diverse palette or are willing to try new things, you won’t regret it!

2 bedroom villa at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

It’s Educational – If you’ve been to Animal Kingdom park in the past, you’ve likely seen Disney’s commitment to conservation. Animal Kingdom Lodge is an extension of that, and you will learn a tremendous amount if you take the time to speak to cast members and take part in some of the daily activities the resort has. A great way to teach your kids in a way they will enjoy!

Close to Animal Kingdom – You are just up the road from Animal Kingdom while staying at the lodge. It’s a quick bus ride away, and you’ll never wait long to hop on a bus to Animal Kingdom.

Shopping – The Zawadi Marketplace on the main floor at Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of the best resort shops in all of Walt Disney World. You can find unique and interesting gifts you can’t find anywhere else.

Countless Activities – Animal Kingdom Lodge’s staff does a tremendous job of making plenty of unique activities to keep guests busy all day long. Check out the Wildlife Field Guide in your room, where you can try to identify different animals from the guest viewing areas.

 Also, participate in some of the African crafts or cooking workshops. Another fun thing you can do is take part in animal spotting by using the night vision goggles provided by the front desk!

Cons

Jiko restaurant interior Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Restaurants Might Not Appeal to Everyone – If you are a fussy eater or someone else in the family is, the African-inspired restaurants might not appeal to less adventurous eaters. We personally love them, but we understand some might not.

Far From Everything – Besides Animal Kingdom, Animal Kingdom Lodge is far from virtually everything else on Disney property, including the other Disney Parks and Disney Springs.

Bus-Only Transportation – Due to being far from everything, you are mostly limited to bus-only transportation as your only complementary way to get around the Disney property. Be prepared to sit on the bus for long periods due to the distance needed to drive to some of the other locations.

Disappointing Rooms – Compared to other deluxe resorts, Animal Kingdom Lodge standard rooms are amongst the smallest. And for guests that assume every room is a Savannah room, this could be disappointing that most standard rooms will not have much if any views of the Savannahs.

Long Walks Due to Resort Layout – Whether you’re staying at Jambo House or Kidani Village, you could have a really really long walk. The hotel is laid out in a semicircle design, making many rooms an incredibly long walk back to the lobby areas.

Dining Options

Sanaa Bread Service Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Jiko – Upscale table-service dining that brings out the bold flavors of African Cuisine.
  • Boma – All-you-can-eat buffet serving both breakfast and dinner.
  • The Mara – Quick service location that contains a number of tasty food and snack offerings.
  • Cape Town Lounge and Wine Bar – Lounge outside of Jiko restaurant.
  • Victoria Falls Lounge – A relaxing and enjoyable lounge located on its own floor between the lobby and the bottom floor.
  • Uzima Springs Pool Bar – Pool bar that allows you to have a cocktail while watching the animals.
  • Sanaa – Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Sanaa serves Eastern African cuisine.
  • Sanaa Lounge – The lounge area of the Sanaa restaurant.
  • Maji Pool Bar – Grab a cocktail or enjoy lunch at this outdoor pool bar.

Don’t Miss

animal figures at Boma restaurant Animal Kingdom Lodge

Take Advantage of the Two Free Culinary Tours – There is a culinary tour of Jiko and Boma that allows guests to take a 30-minute excursion into the cultural aspects of these two restaurants at Jambo House. They’ll even let you try a few sample items!

There is also another 30-minute cultural tour of Sanaa, over at Kidani Village which allows guests an inside look at the restaurant while also tasting a few of the menu favorites. Find out what time each night they are starting to take advantage of them!

4. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

Wilderness Lodge lobby chairs
  • Cost: A Standard room costs between $453 and $916 per night (Includes tax).
  • Category: Deluxe Resort and Deluxe Villas (Copper Creek and Boulder Ridge)
  • Location: Magic Kingdom Resort Area
  • Theme: America’s Great Northwest
  • Amenities: Wilderness Lodge is packed with outdoorsy activities for the whole family including two themed pools, campfire activities, movies under the stars, fishing excursions, views of the Electrical Water Pageant, jogging trails, a fun arcade, and a full-service fitness center and sauna.
  • Transportation: Ferry boats to Magic Kingdom. The rest of the Disney Parks and Disney Springs will need to be visited utilizing the Disney Buses.
  • Best For: Families and adults that love the outdoorsy vibes of the National Parks! If your family enjoys camping or the rustic feel of the Wilderness, it’s hard not to be blown away by this beautiful resort.

Pros

Disney's Wilderness Lodge Lobby

Beautiful Theming – Featuring one of the most beautiful lobbies in all of Walt Disney World, Wilderness Lodge’s lobby is a sight to see! It’s decorated with beautiful hardwood floors, 55-foot totem poles, a rustic 82-foot fireplace, and a diversified set of Native American artifacts.

It’s hard not to be blown away when walking inside for the first time by the pure impressiveness of it all. This theme is evident throughout the resort and a pleasure to see.

Room Variety – Unlike other Deluxe Resorts, Wilderness Lodge is 3 resorts in one. There’s the hotel side, the Boulder Ridge Villas, and the Copper Creek Villas. Each “resort” offers completely different room types with different perks and amenities in each.

Be sure to check which side you are staying at when booking your room. We prefer Copper Creek, due to the views of Bay Lake and the fact that they are the newest rooms on the property.

Reasonably Priced – Wilderness Lodge is one of the more reasonably priced Deluxe resorts and considering its beauty and the uniqueness of the resort, that to me feels like VALUE.

Character Dining – With the addition of Storybook Dining, there is now a fun character dining spot here that allows you to meet Snow White, the Evil Queen, and Dopey and Doc. The menu is a Prix five menu, featuring some good choices for a character restaurant.

Keep in mind that this character dining spot is ONLY for dinner unlike some of the other character dining locations.

Territory Lounge Wilderness Lodge

Great Lounges – Both Territory Lounge and Geyser Point are outstanding! Territory Lounge is an inside lounge with great drinks and memorable small bites. And Geyser Point is a fun and beautiful open-air lounge with awesome drinks and stellar food options!

Natural Beauty – Just taking a stroll around Wilderness Lodge is a unique experience unlike anywhere else on Walt Disney property. You’ll feel hundreds, if not thousands of miles removed from Florida and the relentless activity of Disney World.

Some of the scenery, including the trees and foliage, feels authentically from the Northwest part of the United States. Don’t be surprised if you see some wildlife running around the lush landscapes.

Close to Magic Kingdom – While the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Contemporary get all the love as being thought of as the only Magic Kingdom resorts, Wilderness Lodge is actually a Magic Kingdom resort too! And it’s SO much quieter than those other ones.

Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t have monorail access so it’s not quite as convenient.

Cons

Wilderness Lodge beds

Smaller Standard Rooms – These rooms are amongst the smallest standard rooms for a deluxe resort and are comparable to a moderate resort. The good news is, there are several different room types and options at Wilderness Lodge.

Shared Buses and Boats – Unfortunately when staying at the Wilderness Lodge, you will often have to share the bus and the boat with guests from other resorts. This means it takes longer to come and go to and from the parks.

The positive thing though, is that this allows you to visit some of the other Disney Resorts, including Fort Wilderness, the Polynesian, and the Contemporary. Wilderness Lodge is much more enjoyable if you have access to a car!

Feels Far and Removed – While some might say this is a positive, Wilderness Lodge feels far and removed from Disney World. Even though it’s just a short boat ride away from Magic Kingdom, it seems very distant.

Dining Options

Wicked Queen from Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White Wilderness Lodge
  • Story Book Dining – Character Dining for dinner with Snow White and the Dwarfs.
  • Whispering Canyon Cafe – This table-service restaurant is a hidden gem in Disney and is a great place to have fun with the whole family! This restaurant serves family-style dishes all-you-can-eat.
  • Geyser Point Bar & Grill – Serving lunch, dinner, and a full-service bar, this open-aired restaurant is a great place to visit on a nice day!
  • Roaring Fork – The quick-service location that features a small menu but generally has good things. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Territory Lounge – The indoor lounge that has a great list of appetizers and small bites.

Don’t Miss

Carolwood Room Walt Disney Train set Wilderness Lodge Boulder Ridge

Visit the Carolwood Room in the Boulder Ridge Villas – Get a little bit of Walt Disney history with this elegant area that is dedicated to Walt’s love of trains. It shows the map of his first exposure to trains while growing up in Marceline up to his ⅛ scale, half-mile-long Carolwood Pacific Railroad that lived in his Holmby Hills estate.

3. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Grand Floridian Resort dock near Seven Seas Lagoon
  • Cost: A Standard room costs between $780 and $1279 per night (Includes tax).
  • Category: Deluxe Resort and Deluxe Villas
  • Location: Magic Kingdom Resort Area
  • Theme: Victorian-style elegance evoking the golden era of Palm Beach
  • Amenities: A beautiful full-service spa, salon, and health club offering all kinds of treatments. There are several fun outdoor activities including two pools, campfire activities, movies under the stars, poolside cabana rentals, motorized boat rentals, guided fishing excursions, specialty cruises, a fun arcade, basketball courts, a viewing area for the Electrical Water Pageant, and more!
  • Transportation: Monorail access to Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Polynesian Village Resort, and the Contemporary Resort. In addition, small water ferries take you directly to the Magic Kingdom. Disney Bus or private transportation to Disney Springs, Animal Kingdom, or Hollywood Studios.
  • Best For: Those that want the ultimate in Disney luxury and style and love the Victorian-style setting of this modern resort. Ideal for families that also want to be close to Magic Kingdom, as it is just one monorail stop away.

Pros

walking path from Grand Floridian Resort to Magic Kingdom

Proximity to Magic Kingdom – It’s hard to beat the limited amount of distance between the Grand Floridian and Magic Kingdom. For guests taking the monorail into Magic Kingdom, it’s the very first stop. You can also take a walk and be there in 10 minutes. Talk about convenience!

The Lobby Experience – There’s something special about the Grand Floridian lobby. Whether it’s the piano player, the background music, the setting, or something else. It just puts you in a good mood almost immediately. I could just sit in here, people-watch, and listen to the piano player all day.

Outstanding Table-Service Restaurants – The Grand Floridian has arguably the best table-service offerings out of any resort in Disney World. Whether it’s the fancy Citricos and Narcoossee’s or the renowned fine-dining masterpiece of Victoria and Alberts, it’s hard to not find a table-service restaurant for you and your family’s needs.

Grand Floridian Resort monorail

On The Monorail – The Grand Floridian has bragging rights of saying it’s one of the three Disney Resorts on the monorail. Being on the monorail is amazing, not just for Magic Kingdom, but also for the ability to visit EPCOT easily and the other Disney resorts on the monorail.

It also allows you to do a popular not often talked about favorite of guests, and that’s the monorail pub crawl. The monorail pub crawl is a popular way to visit all three of the monorail resorts while stopping at a lounge/bar/restaurant at each resort while making your way to the next resort. Be careful not to overdo it though!

Both Regular Rooms and Villas – Grand Floridian is both a regular hotel resort and a recently added a new DVC side of the hotel, meaning that there are several different rooming options for your stay. You can stay in a traditional room or choose to stay in a DVC room, which features additional amenities. Prices of course will vary depending on the room type you choose.

The Spa – The Senses Spa is a terrific full-service spa and health club that offers a wide array of different massages, facials, body and skin treatments, aromatherapy, and more! This spa will is themed to a calming Floridian Garden from the early 1900s, giving guests an experience they won’t soon forget!

Excellent Views – Guests staying here can get some remarkable views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks and the Electrical Water Pageant. You’ll also have some beautiful views of the Seven Sea Lagoon while enjoying the spiral walkways between buildings.

Cons

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort grand stairwell

It’s Expensive – This goes without saying, but Grand Floridian is expensive! Typically it is the most expensive resort in all of Disney. There are outliers and certain rooms in other hotels that are more expensive, but as a general rule, Grand Floridian is going to cost you a pretty penny, and that’s putting it mildly.

Very Busy and Crowded – During peak holiday times of the year, the common areas of Grand Floridian can feel absolutely jammed-packed! It’s hard to hear much of anything if you’re in the lobby area during these times.

Lots of Kids – As with all the Magic Kingdom-area resorts, Grand Floridian is packed with kids! Families strive to be as close to the magic as possible, and there are few places closer to that than the Grand Floridian.

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

Disappointing Quick-Service Options – For as many great restaurants as they have, Grand Floridian lacks offerings for breakfast, lunch, and just snacks throughout the day. Most of these times, you’ll end up having to visit Gasparilla Island Grill.

Shared Buses – Be prepared to share buses with the other Magic Kingdom resorts when visiting Disney Springs, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. This will significantly slow down your journey and can be frustrating!

Can Feel Stuffy – The Grand Floridian, similar to the Yacht Club, can have a bit of a stuffy feel to it for some guests. Whether it’s the Victorian-style theming or just the fact that most everyone knows it’s the most expensive Disney resort, it can turn some visitors off who prefer a more relaxed and laid-back vibe.

Dining Options

apple rose dessert Citricos Grand Floridian Resort
  • Citricos – Fancy table-service restaurant setting inspired by Mary Poppins.
  • Narcoossee’sUpscale table-service restaurant focused on seafood with excellent waterfront views.
  • Grand Floridian Cafe – Table-service restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A very underrated and solid choice for all times of the day.
  • Enchanted Rose – Beauty and the Beast-inspired bar that features an awesome ambiance, expensive drinks, and good appetizers.
  • Gasparilla Island Grill – Quick-service location that serves typical quick food.
  • Beaches Pool Bar & Grill – Outdoor pool bar that serves delicious cocktails and American snacks.
  • Courtyard Pool Bar – The other outdoor pool bar that offers signature cocktails and snacks.
  • 1900 Park Fare – Character meal in a carousel-themed dining room. They serve breakfast, brunch, and dinner.
  • Citricos Lounge – The lounge is connected to the namesake restaurant.
  • Garden View Tea Room – A traditional tea room where you can indulge in your favorite teas.
  • Victoria & Albert’s – Fancy multi-course meal that is the most expensive signature restaurant in all of Disney World.

Don’t Miss

Grand Floridian Garden View Tea Room

The Traditional Tea Room Experience – This often-overlooked experience inside the Garden View Tea room is an experience unlike anywhere else! The tea and selections of desserts are incredible! You’ll feel you’re in London, enjoying this wonderful setting while overlooking the gardens and pool.

2. Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Disney's Beach Club Resort lobby
  • Cost: A Standard room costs between $534 and $1186 per night (Includes tax).
  • Category: Deluxe Resort and Deluxe Villas
  • Location: EPCOT Resort Area
  • Theme: New England-Style Beach Club
  • Amenities: Fun activities include resort campfire activities, movies under the stars on the beach, four pools in total, poolside cabana rentals, multiple miniature golf courses, motorized bike rentals, guided fishing excursions, tennis, volleyball, jogging, and a fun arcade.
  • Transportation: A short 5-minute walk to EPCOT and a 20-minute walk to Hollywood Studios. If you can’t walk, you can take the ferry boat on Crescent Lake to either park. Or you can take the Disney Skyliner to Hollywood Studios. To visit Disney Springs, Magic Kingdom, or Animal Kingdom you need to wait for a Disney Bus outside the front of the resort.
  • Best For: A laid-back and relaxed atmosphere that feels well removed from the parks. Families that want a break from the parks in the middle of the day will love its convenience from EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. We love visiting this resort during hotter times of year because we spend more of our days out by the pool.

Pros

Disney's Beach Club Pool with a drink

The Pool – Stormalong Bay is shared with Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. It has over 800,000 gallons of water and includes a lazy river, 3 whirlpool spas, a sand-bottomed pool, and one of the largest water slides in all of Walt Disney World. This is the best pool in all of Disney and it isn’t close. There are an additional three leisure pools that are quieter.

Proximity to Hollywood Studios and EPCOT  – There are few things better than being able to walk to both Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. Waiting on Disney Buses can be a nuisance. Being able to walk right into the parks allows you to time your day better and start as early as you want, without worrying about wasting an hour waiting for or on the bus.

On the Boardwalk Loop – Not only are you right next to Hollywood Studios and EPCOT but you are also located right on the Disney Boardwalk! The Boardwalk features a ton of entertainers performing each night, loads of great shopping, and excellent dining options. If you enjoy music, absolutely pay a visit to Jelly Rolls. The Boardwalk is a fun and lively place to visit, especially on the weekends!

guest rooms at Disney's Beach Club Villas

Both Regular Rooms and Villas – Unlike its sister hotel, the Yacht Club, the Beach Club is both a regular hotel resort and a DVC resort, meaning that there are several different rooming options for your stay. The Villas side is connected in the back through a small outdoor walkway.

You can stay in a traditional room or choose to stay in a DVC room, which features additional condo-like amenities. Prices of course will vary depending on the room type you choose.

Skyliner Access – Take a short walk to the Disney Skyliner. This can allow you to get to Hollywood Studios quicker as opposed to walking. It also can allow you to visit some of the other Disney resorts, including The Riviera, Caribbean Beach, Art of Animation, and Pop Century.

Dining Options – In addition to great restaurants that are located at The Yacht and Beach Club like Cape May Cafe and Yachtsman Steakhouse, there are also a ton of other excellent restaurants around the Boardwalk.

Try Flying Fish on the Boardwalk, Il Mulino at the Walt Disney World Swan, or Shula’s at the Walt Disney World Dolphin, all great excellent choices.

Cons

outside Disney's Beach Club Resort

It’s Expensive – Disney’s Beach Club is one of the more expensive options in Disney due to its popularity with guests. There are very few places that have a better location in all of Walt Disney World than the Beach Club.

Rooms sell out here at almost all times of the year and rarely will you be able to get a discounted rate on a room.

Limited Quick-Service Options – Other than the Beach Club Marketplace, there are very few options for a quick snack or breakfast at the Beach Club. You can of course order something over at Hurricane Hanna’s over by the pool once they open at 11:00, but compared to other Deluxe Resorts, there isn’t a plethora of options.

Shared Bus Service – While the easy access to Hollywood Studios and EPCOT is amazing when waiting in line for Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, or Disney Springs, buses can be a hassle. You’ll often end up waiting additional time, plus you’ll need to share the bus with guests at the Yacht Club. And for some reason, it always feels like your stop is last!

Dining Options

milkshake Beaches and Cream Beach Club
  • Cape May Cafe – Table-service character dining restaurant that serves all-you-can-eat breakfast and a signature seafood dinner.
  • Beaches & Cream Soda Shop – 50s-Themed Eatery that serves old-fashioned ice cream and a variety of different sandwiches.
  • Beach Club Marketplace – Beach Club quick-service marketplace that offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.
  • Martha’s Vineyard – A casual lounge found in the Beach Club, featuring many cocktails and some appetizers.
  • Hurricane Hanna’s Waterside Bar and Grill – Pool walk-up bar that features refreshing cocktails and some different snacks.

Keep in mind, you also have access to the Yacht Club restaurants like Yachtsman Steakhouse and Ale & Compass.

Don’t Miss

waterside at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resort

The Water Slide – Whether you are 5 years old or 65 years old, the Stormalong Bay water slide is fun! There’s nothing like climbing to the top of the slide and flying down the long slide while landing softly in the sand-bottomed pool! If you’re like me you’ll probably want to go again and again!

1. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Disney's Polynesian Resort lobby
  • Cost: A Standard room costs between $662 and $1184 per night (Includes tax).
  • Category: Deluxe Resort and Deluxe Villas
  • Location: Magic Kingdom Resort Area
  • Theme: Celebrating the spirit of the South Pacific
  • Amenities: Several fun outdoor activities such as campfire activities, movies under the stars, two pools, motorized boat rentals, guided fishing excursions, volleyball, jogging trails, specialty cruises, a fun arcade, basketball courts, and a viewing area for the Electrical Water Pageant. A short walk from the Senses Spa at the Grand Floridian Resort, which features full-service spa offerings. 
  • Transportation: Monorail access to Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Grand Floridian Resort, and the Contemporary Resort. There are also small water vessels that will take you directly to Magic Kingdom in addition to the monorail. You will need to take a Disney Bus or private transportation to Disney Springs, Animal Kingdom, or Hollywood Studios.
  • Best For: Vacationers that love the island feel and want to stay in a more relaxed and laid-back atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of the parks.

Disney’s Polynesian Resort is our overall best Disney World resort in 2023. Here are a few of the things we love about it:

Pros

front of Disney's Polynesian Resort

Theming – Immediately when you walk into this resort you’ll be transformed into island life. From the outdoor island ambiance to the exotic tastes of the restaurants, the theming at the Polynesian is amongst the best in all of Disney World.

Proximity to Magic Kingdom – Simply take the water taxi or the monorail over to Magic Kingdom and you’ll be there within a couple of stops!

One of the Original Two – Along with the Contemporary, the Polynesian was one of the first two Disney World Resorts. It also takes credit for being the resort where the Beatles broke up! Legend has it that John Lennon signed the paperwork here that officially broke up the band.

On The Monorail – The Polynesian has bragging rights of saying it’s one of the three Disney Resorts on the monorail. You can easily get to Magic Kingdom, or transfer over to the ticket and transportation center and hop on the other monorail and go to EPCOT.

Yoda Dole Whip Pineapple Lanai Polynesian

Dole Whip – The Polynesian is the ONLY resort that allows you to get Dole Whip at the resort! No need to go to one of the Disney Parks or Disney Springs, you can get it at your resort at the Pineapple Lanai stand on the bottom floor just outside the doors in the back of the resort.

Larger Rooms – The standard rooms at the Polynesian are a little bigger than most of the other Deluxe resorts. Many of them accommodate families of 5 with a drop-down twin bed.

Regular Hotel Rooms and Villas – The Polynesian is both a regular hotel resort and a recently added a new DVC side of the hotel, meaning that there are several different rooming options for your stay. You can stay in a traditional room or choose to stay in a DVC room, which features additional amenities. Prices of course will vary depending on the room type you choose.

Trader Sam's volcano Polynesian Resort

Tremendous Bars and Lounges – Between Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace, Trader Sam’s Greg Grotto, and the Tambu Lounge, there are some fun lounges at the Polynesian to get all your favorite tiki drinks. Be careful they might seem sweet but they’ll catch up to you!

Unbeatable Views of Magic Kingdom and the Fireworks – Walk along the beach or better yet, grab a lounge chair and lay down while listening to the music and watching Cinderella’s Castle light up directly in front of you. Get here early, many people have the same idea!

Cons

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort Lobby

It’s Expensive – As you can imagine being on the monorail loop, the Polynesian is expensive! The two-bedroom bungalows on the water are amongst the most expensive rooms on Disney Property and cost between $3,300 and $6,000 per night! Even regular rooms during off-peak times are over $650 a night!

Very Busy and Crowded – During peak holiday times of the year, the common areas of Polynesian can feel absolutely jammed-packed! This resort is also packed with visitors staying at other resorts that are coming to eat at one of the restaurants or just admire its natural beauty.

Lots of Kids – As with all the Magic Kingdom-area resorts, the Polynesian is packed with kids! Families strive to be as close to the magic as possible, and there are few places closer to that than the Polynesian.

Shared Buses – Be prepared to share buses with the other Magic Kingdom resorts when visiting Disney Springs, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. This will significantly slow down your journey and can be frustrating!

No Signature Dining – Sure there are some great restaurants like ‘Ohana, Kona Cafe, or Trader Sam’s, but unlike the other Deluxe Resorts, there are no restaurants we can classify as fine dining. Thankfully, the Contemporary and Grand Floridian are just a monorail ride away.

Dining Options

Tambu Lounge sign with Pineapple drink Polynesian Resort
  • Barefoot Pool Bar – The outdoor pool bar features several different cocktails and food.
  • Captain Cook’s – An excellent quick-service location that features a good variety of food.
  • Pineapple Lanai – The little outdoor window that serves different flavors of Dole Whip.
  • Kona Cafe – Table-service restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Tambu Lounge – Fun lounge upstairs that is connected and shares the bar with ‘Ohana.
  • ‘Ohana – One of the most popular restaurants in Disney World. They serve all-you-can-eat breakfast and dinner. The breakfast is also a character experience.
  • Oasis Bar & Grill – Outdoor pool bar and grill.
  • Trader Sam’s Greg Grotto – The small indoor area of Trader Sam’s. Get here early to put your name in when it opens at 3:00.
  • Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace – The less popular outdoor terrace area of Trader Sam’s.
  • Kona Island – Grab a coffee, pastries, and other snacks at this indoor quick-service location that stays open all day long.

Don’t Miss

chocolate covered bacon Polynesian Resort

The Chocolate Covered Bacon – Stop by at Kona Island and grab yourself some good Kona Coffee and try one of the many different flavors of chocolate-covered bacon! It’s a tasty treat that mixes the best of sweet and salty!

Best On-Property Non-Disney Hotels

Four Seasons Orlando Disney World rooms

With the diminishing returns of staying on Disney property, it is worth taking a quick look at some of the non-Disney hotels that are on Disney property. If value is something you prioritize while being incredibly close to the magic, these hotels are absolutely worth taking a look at!

You could save thousands of dollars and better yet, you could even be in better locations than some of the Disney World resorts. Keep in mind, though, that most of these resorts contain costly resort fees nightly that can rack up quickly!

My list will be ranked from top to bottom factoring in value, convenience, location, and some of Disney magic. Keep in mind, many of these hotels have similar names but they are ALL different. All of them offer complimentary transportation to the Disney parks, in most instances, every hour.

*(I did NOT include Shades of Green Resort, since it is only available to members of the military.)

Here are the best non-Disney hotels on Disney World property:

  1. Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World – It’s hard not to rank the Four Seasons as the best overall resort inside Disney World, which isn’t technically “Disney” despite being on the property. The resort is situated between EPCOT and Magic Kingdom and is the definition of luxurious.

    You’ll have spectacular views of the lake, beautifully landscaped gardens, a fantastic golf course, and a beautiful pool area for families. They also provide complimentary shuttles to all the Disney parks. Just be prepared to spend upwards of $1,000 a night for most times of the year.
Walt Disney World Swan Reserve
  1. Walt Disney World Swan Reserve – The newest of the resorts on this list, the Swan Reserve just opened up at the end of 2021 and we’ve already fallen in love. The Swan Reserve, the Swan, and the Dolphin resorts are all situated right next to each other.

    The Swan Reserve is the smallest of the 3 but is the most upscale, sleekest, and modern in its design. And for just a few more dollars than the other two sister resorts, for us, we recommend it!
  1. Walt Disney World Dolphin – The Dolphin is the largest of the three sister resorts by far and it’s often where the best values can be found, due to the sheer number of rooms it contains. You can’t go wrong with any 3 of these resorts, primarily because of location.

    They are situated right on Disney’s Boardwalk and a convenient walk to Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. And for a fraction of the cost of the other Disney Resorts on the Boardwalk, they are all a tremendous value!
Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
  1. Walt Disney World Swan – Not as grand as the Dolphin but smaller, quieter, and quainter. Even though all three resorts are under the ‘Marriott’ umbrella, the Swan is managed by Westin, and the Dolphin is managed by Sheraton.

    The Swan has arguably the nicest beds on the property called the ‘Westin Heavenly Beds.’ You can’t go wrong with either but since they are almost identical, and Dolphin is typically a tiny bit cheaper I’ll rank Dolphin higher.
  1. Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace – Formerly the Buena Vista Palace, Hilton has since bought it. Hilton has done an excellent job investing in the property and making it nicer and more updated.

    Conveniently located within a short walking distance of Disney Springs, this hotel is an excellent value and in our view the nicest of the Disney Springs hotels. The rooms are spacious, the landscaped grounds are ideal, and the pool area is very nice.
Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista outside
  1. Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista – One of the closest hotels to Disney Springs. Similar to the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace in quality, but without as good a pool area. It’s a very nice location, offering good restaurants and even offers a Disney character breakfast.
  1. Doubletrees Suites by Hilton Orlando – The only Disney Springs hotel that has huge-suited rooms. For larger families of up to 6 people, having just one room can save you significantly. While the hotel and the grounds are just ‘OK’, it’s hard to beat having appliances in your room.

    This resort is the furthest away from Disney Springs and is about a 20-minute walk. One of the only Disney Springs hotels WITHOUT resort fees.
  1. Wyndham Lake Buena Vista – There are two Wyndhams now since the resort split. Stay in the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista and NOT the Garden, it’s where the nicer and new tower is. The rooms are much nicer and it’s a convenient walk into Disney Springs.

    They also serve a character breakfast on certain days of the week. They also have arguably the best pool areas out of all the Disney Springs hotels.
B Resort and Spa Orlando
  1. B Resort and Spa  – A stylish and very modern hotel that has larger and very comfortable rooms, fitting up to 5 people. It’s conveniently located within a short walk to Disney Springs.

    While the theming isn’t ideal for kids and feels more like an adults or couples hotel, the hotel as a whole is very stylish and has excellent rooms and beds. They also have a full-service spa on-site if you need some downtime.
  1. Holiday Inn Orlando – Another Disney Springs hotel, the Holiday Inn recently finished a multi-million dollar refurbishment with noticeable differences in quality. The rooms are contemporary with elegant bathrooms. They also offer a Kids’ suite which features bunk beds and a living area. Their breakfast buffet is known to be very good!

Best Hotels in Walt Disney World for Families & Kids

Wilderness Lodge waterslide at the pool

Our top 21 Disney World Resorts are based on a number of factors, one of them being their appeal to families and kids. But when exclusively deciding the best resorts and hotels with families in mind, how do they rank?

Here are our picks for the Best Hotels in Walt Disney World for Families and Kids:

  1. Yacht and Beach Resort – I’m combining these adjoining hotels together. Every kid loves these resorts, due to Stormalong Bay, the most fun pool area at any Disney World hotel. Be prepared, your kids and you might prefer being at the pool to being at the parks!
  2. Animal Kingdom Lodge – Staying at a resort that is in the middle of a Savannah with awesome views of exotic animals, what’s better than that? Kids and families alike will not soon forget this resort!
  3. Art of Animation  – With fun and exciting details and larger-than-life characters all over the resort for kids, Art of Animation now has the added benefit of being on the Disney Skyliner. Their family suites also accommodate up to 6 people. Not to mention the largest pool on the property, the Big Blue Pool!
  4. Fort Wilderness Resort – For outdoorsy families, there are few things that compare to being in Disney World while camping! Fort Wilderness is a unique experience that will provide families with nonstop activities, both at the resort and while going into the parks.
  5. Pop Century – The most reasonably-priced hotel on the list, Pop Century, is a fun and entertaining time for kids. Now with it being on the Disney Skyliner, it has added appeal.

Best Disney World Resorts for Large Families?

Goofy in hockey goal All Star Sports

Certain hotels go above and beyond when it comes to being accommodating to larger families. They are uniquely designed to handle more people in rooms while not feeling cramped for your entire stay. 

Here are our picks for the Best Disney World Resorts for Large Families:

  1. Art of Animation – In addition to being fun, Art of Animation has accommodations for large families. Their suite hotel rooms can fit up to 6 people.
  2. All-Star Music – The only All-Star resort that has Family Suites that can fit up to 6 people. While you certainly aren’t in the lapse of luxury, they give you the opportunity to be in Disney without being overly expensive.
  3. The Cabins at Fort Wilderness  – Priced like a moderate resort, The Cabins at Fort Wilderness are fun and feel like a home away from home. They sleep up to 6 adults in a room.
  4. Doubletrees Suites by Hilton Orlando – While not technically being “Disney”, this resort falls on Disney property and is just a short walk away from Disney Springs. It is an all-suites hotel and it can be found incredibly cheaply while squeezing up to 6 in a room.
  5. Old Key West – Old Key West, while being a DVC-only resort, has excellent options for rooms. If you’ve never looked into renting DVC points, it can be an incredible value. We’ve mentioned this option many times on our site. And Old Key West has the most affordable rates and they even have 3-bedroom villas!

Best Budget Disney World Resorts?

Disney's All Star Movies 101 Dalmatians

Balancing out the desire of staying on Disney property without sinking yourself financially can be a burden. Sometimes, the best option is to stay in a budget-friendly Disney World Resort. Hey, something is better than nothing!

Here are our picks for the Best Budget Disney World Resorts:

  1. Fort Wilderness Campsites –  While bringing your own tent isn’t the definition of glamorous, there’s no better way to save money than to bring your own tent and fit up to 10 people on a Fort Wilderness Campsite!
  2. All-Star Resorts (Sports, Movies, and Music) –  Since all 3 of the All-Star Resorts are right at the same price point, I’d recommend booking whatever one is cheapest on the days you want to go. There’s very little separating them other than the theming.
  3. Pop Century –  On the Disney Skyliner, centrally-located, and good fun for the whole family. Pop Century is a solid value, although it is a little pricier than the All-Star Resorts.
  4. Art of Animation – A little pricier than All-Star and Pop Century, but for the additional cost, you get bigger rooms! Most of the Art of Animation rooms are Family Suites, meaning they can fit up to 6 people.
  5. Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin – These aren’t technically Disney, but they feel every bit as good as Disney, being on Disney’s Boardwalk. Plus, they are the fanciest hotels on the list and can sometimes be found for as little as $200 per night! Typically the Dolphin is cheaper. And if you have Marriott Hotel points, you can use them at these hotels!

Best Disney World Resorts for Adults?

Grand Floridian main building

Going to Disney World as an adult can be incredibly rewarding and fun! Let’s face it, sometimes you just want a relaxing atmosphere without a bunch of kids running around you and that can be a challenge at Disney World. But it’s not impossible.

Here are our picks for the Best Disney World Resorts for Adults:

  1. Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin – If you really want to escape from kids, there is no better option than staying at the Swan or the Dolphin. It’s strange being in Disney by the pool with no kids in the foreseeable distance. It’s like that though every time we stay here and it’s inexpensive for what you get.
  2. Four Seasons Resort – If you are all about being pampered and sitting in the lap of luxury, look no further than the Four Seasons. This is a great escape from the kids and it will have you in total relaxation mode.
  3. Coronado Springs – Being the convention center hotel on Disney World property has perks, and one of those is the lack of children that conventions bring. The lack of Disney theming here minimizes the appeal to families with small kids.
  4. Yacht Club Resort – Although they share the best pool area in Disney, the Yacht Club typically has a lot fewer children than the Beach Club does. Part of that is that the Yacht Club is a convention hotel, and the other is that the older theming brings about fewer kids. Plus they don’t have a character dining location as the Beach Club has.
  5. Riviera Resort – The newest Disney World Resort, Riviera is geared towards more luxury travelers who want to escape from the parks. The European theming caters more to adults here.
  6. Grand Floridian Resort – While there is no escaping children while staying at the Grand Floridian, there is something special about coming to the Grand Floridian as an adult. In fact, it is definitely more enjoyable as an adult!

Best Hotels Near Magic Kingdom

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

If being near the heart of all the magic is your number one priority, there are a few hotels that do it better than anyone! 

Here are our picks for the Best Hotels Near Magic Kingdom:

  1. The Contemporary – The Contemporary has the designation of being the closest resort that you can physically walk into Magic Kingdom from! You can of course also take the monorail if you so choose.
  2. Grand Floridian Resort – Just one stop away on the monorail, the Grand Floridian cannot bring you much closer to the magic! You also have the option of taking a water taxi or strolling down the new walking path.
  3. Polynesian Village Resort – Just two stops away on the monorail, the Polynesian brings you incredibly close to Magic Kingdom. You can also take a water taxi for some incredible views.
  4. Wilderness Lodge – A short water taxi ride away, Wilderness Lodge is so close that you can view the Electrical Water Pageant on the Seven Seas Lagoon!
  5. Fort Wilderness Resort – Also connected to Magic Kingdom by means of the Seven Seas Lagoon, Fort Wilderness is a convenient boat ride away.

Best Hotels Near EPCOT

walking around the Beach Club at night on walking path

Many guests enjoy the wonderful perks of being able to come and go to EPCOT as much as they’d like over the course of their trip. The EPCOT Resort area has a good amount of hotels nearby, and some are better than others, primarily due to proximity and ease of getting into EPCOT. 

Here are our picks for the Best Hotels Near EPCOT:

  1. Beach Club Resort – Physically the closest resort to the World Showcase entrance of EPCOT, there’s no better resort to be at. You are only 5 minutes away from snacking around the world or drinking around the world. Or maybe both!
  2. Yacht Club Resort – Situated on the opposite side of the Beach Club, the Yacht Club is your next closest resort and less than 10 minutes away from the International Gateway.
  3. Boardwalk Inn – With just a short walk about ¼ of the way around Disney’s Boardwalk, you’ll find the back entrance to the Boardwalk Inn. It can be just over 10 minutes if you are staying in the rooms on the far side of the resort.
  4. Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin – The furthest hotels on Disney’s Boardwalk from the back entrance to EPCOT, but still very very close and you can walk there in 10-15 minutes.
  5. Riviera Resort – Just one stop away on the Disney Skyliner, it’s hard to beat the convenience of being at the Riviera.

Best Hotels Near Hollywood Studios

bench on Disney's Boardwalk

With some of the best thrill rides in Walt Disney World and exciting themed areas such as Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land, it’s likely you’ll want to spend a good amount of time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Here are our picks for the Best Hotels Near Hollywood Studios: (Excluding Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser)

  1. Caribbean Beach Resort – With a direct connection on the Disney Skyliner, there is no quicker way to get to Hollywood Studios.
  2. Boardwalk Inn – The most cut-and-dry way to get to Hollywood Studios is to walk from the Boardwalk Inn. It’s the shortest walk from the Boardwalk Inn, at about 10-15 minutes. No need to worry about lines when you walk! You can also take the Friendship Boats as well.
  3. Art of Animation – Take the Disney Skyliner to Caribbean Beach and then transfer over to the Hollywood Studios line. Assuming no lines, it can be very quick!
  4. Pop Century – Since Art of Animation and Pop Century share the same Skyliner station, this applies to Pop Century as well.
  5. Beach Club Resort – A little bit of a longer walk than the Boardwalk Inn, but you can get there in 15-20 minutes, or you can also take the Friendship Boats if you don’t want to walk.

Best Hotels Near Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort floor mat

If prioritizing time at Animal Kingdom is near the top of your list, then figuring out the closest resorts can save your family time. And while Animal Kingdom is to the far end of Disney World’s property, there are a few resorts that aren’t too distant.

Here are our picks for the Best Hotels Near Animal Kingdom:

  1. Animal Kingdom Lodge – The closest resort by far. Whether you’re staying at the Jambo House or Kidani Village, it doesn’t matter.  You are just a short bus ride up the road.
  2. All-Star Resorts – After the Animal Kingdom Lodge, the All-Star Resorts are the next closest to Animal Kingdom.
  3. Coronado Springs Resort – Considered an Animal Kingdom Resort, Coronado Springs is only 2 miles away from the entrance to Animal Kingdom.
  4. Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin – Another mile up the road from Coronado Springs, while not technically Animal Kingdom Resorts, the Swan and Dolphin are only about a 10-minute drive.
  5. Yacht Club Resort – Similarly to the Swan and the Dolphin, the Yacht Club is about 10 minutes away.

What are the Best Luxury Hotels in Walt Disney World?

Four Seasons Orlando Disney World

While Disney prides itself on theming its hotels, making a resort family-friendly takes away some of its luxuriousness. Still, there are a few hotels that stand out when it comes to luxury, both owned and operated by Disney and elsewhere nearby.

Here are our picks for the Best Luxury Hotels in Walt Disney World:

  1. Four Seasons Resort – The ultimate choice in luxury hotels at Disney World. Within Disney’s gates, the Four Seasons Resort is convenient to the Disney Parks while having the definition of class and elegance.
  2. Ritz Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes – This 500-acre nature-inspired luxury resort is a 15-minute drive up Route 4 from the Disney World gates.
  3. Waldorf Astoria Orlando – At about a 10-minute drive outside of Disney’s gates, this 5-star resort sits atop a beautiful golf course and features 12 restaurants.
  4. Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – When people picture luxury in Disney World, their very first thought is Grand Floridian even though it’s behind the top 3 on our list.
  5. Riviera Resort – This brand-new Disney resort captures the essence of European culture while having beautiful touches of the French and Italian Riviera.

Most Romantic Hotels in Walt Disney World

playing the piano in Grand Floridian Resort lobby

Walt Disney World has done a fabulous job of building its resorts to cater to all members of the family, and that includes married couples. Some spectacular resorts do romance like no other! 

Here are our picks for the Most Romantic Hotels in Walt Disney World:

  1. Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – The perfect blend of luxury and class, nothing says romance better than a nice spa treatment at the Senses Spa! Or the plethora of high-class dining options.
  2. Polynesian Village Resort – You may not be able to get to the real French Polynesia, but Disney’s version is almost as beautiful and the tropical atmosphere is perfect for a romantic getaway.
  3. Coronado Springs Resort – There’s something special about being at the new and beautiful Gran Destino Tower! Getting a room in the tower is a great value for the money and it combines that with some awesome and romantic dining spots. Coronado is a great pick for couples!
  4. Riviera Resort – The theming of this resort coupled with rooftop dining at Topolino’s makes for a romantic stay for couples.
  5. Yacht Club Resort – The dark theming and the rustic feel of the Yacht Club combined with some excellent dining options make it an ideal romantic destination.
  6. Contemporary Resort – One of the best date nights for couples is at the California Grill at the top of the Contemporary. Viewing Magic Kingdom fireworks from the top of the Contemporary makes for a special occasion.

Best-Themed Resorts & Atmosphere

Rey and Kylo Ren fighting on Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser

When it comes to theming and ambiance, no other company does it better than Disney. If you want the very best in theming and experiences, pick from our list. 

Here are our picks for the Best Themed Resorts & Atmosphere in Walt Disney World:

  1. Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser This unique 2-day experience is unlike anything you could imagine. This isn’t a ‘hotel’ per se but more of a 2-day itinerary designed to keep you active from morning until evening. While it will cost you a small fortune, you’ll likely never experience something like this anywhere on earth.
  2. Polynesian Village Resort – The theming of the Polynesian is so well done that you feel like you’ve been transported instantaneously to a Pacific Island.
  3. Wilderness Lodge Resort – The rustic nature of this resort and the intricate details scattered throughout will make you feel as if you are at a beautiful Northwest USA National Park.
  4. Animal Kingdom Lodge – Putting you in the middle of an African Savannah is quite an experience! Having exotic animals outside of your hotel room while you sip on your morning coffee isn’t found anywhere else on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.
  5. Port Orleans – French Quarter – Disney’s Imagineers did such a fantastic job with the theming of the Port Orleans’ Resorts. I particularly love the theming of the French Quarter as it instantly teleports you to New Orleans.

Best Resorts for Relaxation

Boulder Ridge lobby Wilderness Lodge

Many adults come to Disney World in need of a vacation and unfortunately, they end up running around endlessly in their attempts to keep up with their kids. Don’t make that mistake! There are some Disney Resorts that are fantastic in regards to allowing for peace and quiet.

Here are our picks for the Best Resorts for Relaxation:

  1. Wilderness Lodge Resort – Get one with nature at the Wilderness Lodge! There’s something tranquil and relaxed when walking around the grounds of the Wilderness Lodge.
  2. Beach Club Resort – When our family stays at the Beach Club, we don’t do long days at the parks. Our days consist of unwinding by the pool and having some food and pool drinks.
  3. Caribbean Beach Resort – Nothing says relaxing better than laying out on a sandy beach with Caribbean Island music playing in the background. This resort just makes you feel at ease.
  4. Old Key West Resort – Take a serene boat ride to Disney Springs or relax at this Florida Keys-themed resort. This resort beats to its own drum, and in this case, that’s a relaxing thing!
  5. Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – Whether it’s the lakes sprinkled all over the resort or being surrounded by a golf course, Saratoga Springs just feels calm and peaceful.

Most Convenient Disney World Resorts

a hammock on the beach at night at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort

When it comes to convenience, it completely depends on what’s convenient for you and what your interests are on your Disney World Vacation. In this section, we will touch on the resorts that scream CONVENIENT and accessible.

Here are our picks for the Most Convenient Disney World Resorts:

  1. Caribbean Beach Resort – Being the central hub for the Disney Skyliner, you have direct stops to multiple different resorts and EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.
  2. Contemporary Resort – The only resort where you can walk into Magic Kingdom not to mention it’s on the monorail, allowing you to also get to EPCOT easily.
  3. Boardwalk Inn – A short hop, skip, and jump away from both Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. Not to mention it’s the hub for Disney’s Boardwalk with access to all of the activities nearby.
  4. Beach Club Resort – The closest resort to EPCOT and right next to the Disney Skyliner. You can walk to Hollywood Studios in about 20 minutes or you can take the Disney Skyliner.
  5. Saratoga Springs Resort – One of the reasons our family stays here a lot is because it’s the only resort you can walk into Disney Springs from. And when half of your meals are in Disney Springs on your vacation, it’s very convenient to walk back to your hotel room.

Which Disney World Resorts Have the Best Pools?

Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resort Pool

Few things are harder to deal with than Florida heat! Factoring in a good pool at your resort is very important for some families that want a nice place to unwind after spending their day getting burned up. 

Here are our picks for the Disney World Resort with the Best Pools:

  1. Disney’s Yacht and Beach Resort – This is hands down the #1 pool at Disney World and almost a water park all by itself. Since these two resorts share Stormalong Bay, I’m including them both together. Nothing comes close to matching Stormalong Bay.
  2. Polynesian Village Resort – The Lava Pool at the Polynesian is tremendous! It’s a zero-entry pool that features waterfalls, a splash play area for kids, and a 142-foot water slide!
  3. Caribbean Beach Resort – Another awesomely-themed pool area, the Fuentes del Morro Pool is themed after a colonial Spanish Fortress. It included a 102-foot-long slide, and it allows you to be a pirate!
  4. Animal Kingdom Lodge – The Uzima Springs Pool is a zero-entry pool that feels like you’re in an African setting. In fact, if you look close enough you might even see some animals from the pool!
  5. Coronado Springs Resort – The Lost City of Cibola pool at Coronado Springs has an incredible origin story and the 50-foot pyramid structure in the center is an awesome backdrop. Make sure to take a plunge in the 123-foot waterslide as well.

Which Disney World Resorts Have the Best Lobbies?

Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby

Nothing is more captivating than walking into a hotel and seeing a stunning lobby. Disney World has some of the most beautifully themed lobbies anywhere you’ll find!

Here are our picks for the Disney World Resorts with the Best Lobbies:

  1. Wilderness Lodge Resort – The top 3 on this list were very hard to rank. I could have gone in any direction. The Wilderness Lodge contains a jaw-dropping rustic lobby that will awe visitors and it has a majestic feel.
  2. Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Step back in time in this lobby with the beautiful Victorian-style setting that brings you back to a different generation. I could sit here for hours and listen to the live music playing!
  3. Animal Kingdom Lodge – The African-inspired theming of the lobby brings about authenticity, unlike any other hotel lobby. It’s a little darker than the first two but we love the intricate details that further tell the story!
  4. Coronado Springs Resort – Since changing the lobby to the Gran Destino Tower, Coronado Springs has a stunning and beautifully-modern look that doesn’t feel overly Disney but it’s beautiful nonetheless.
  5. Polynesian Village Resort – Immediately teleport yourself to a Pacific Island as soon as you walk into the Polynesian Lobby. It’s not as grand as the others on the list, but it’s extremely well done.

What are the Best Pet-Friendly Hotels in Walt Disney World?

Dogs at Disney World

Many people are surprised to know that Disney now has four pet-friendly resorts. There are also a few others just outside Disney that are pet-friendly as well.

Here are our favorite pet-friendly resorts in Walt Disney World:

  1. Yacht Club Resort – Designated sections and floors are pet-friendly, allowing for up to 2 dogs.
  2. Port Orleans Riverside – Designed sections of the resort are pet-friendly, allowing for up to 2 dogs.
  3. Art of Animation – Designed pet-friendly buildings include #2 (Cars suites), #5 (Finding Nemo Suites), and #7 (The Little Mermaid).
  4. Fort Wilderness Resort – Pets are not allowed in pop-up trailers or tents. Pet-friendly loops can be requested. In the Cabins, only some are pet-friendly and must be requested.
  5. Four Seasons Resort Orlando – They allow for one dog or cat under 25 pounds per guest room.

Best Monorail Resorts

Monorail pulling into the station

For those wanting to be on the monorail, there are only 3-specific monorail resorts. Each of them has positives and negatives. 

Here are our favorite monorail resorts in order:

  1. Polynesian Village Resort – Ideally situated between Magic Kingdom and the Ticket and Transportation Center that takes you directly to EPCOT, the Polynesian is our favorite Monorail Resort.
  2. Grand Floridian & Spa – Only one stop away from the Magic Kingdom, the Grand Floridian is placed perfectly to get to the Magic Kingdom first thing in the morning.
  3. Contemporary Resort – While you can of course walk to Magic Kingdom, you also have access to the monorail if you so choose. Did we mention the monorail actually goes through the middle of the hotel?

Best Skyliner Resorts

Disney Skyliner Riviera Resort station

Being on the Disney Skyliner is an incredibly rewarding experience for those that haven’t had an opportunity. It’s fun, easy, and super convenient and there are a number of resorts that are either ON the Skyliner or very close to it.

Here are our favorite Disney Skyliner Resorts:

  1. Caribbean Beach Resort – Being the main hub for the Skyliner, Caribbean Beach gives you direct access to all the resorts on the Skyliner in addition to Hollywood Studios and EPCOT.
  2. Riviera Resort – A beautiful resort that is ideally situated between EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. It’s just 1 stop away from EPCOT and 1 stop away from Caribbean Beach.
  3. Beach Club Resort – Home of the EPCOT Skyliner station, staying at the Beach Club allows you to hop on the Skyliner and go to Riviera in a flash. Or get off at Caribbean Beach and transfer to Hollywood Studios.
  4. Art of Animation – Sharing a station with Pop Century, you can easily hop on and take it to Caribbean Beach before deciding if you want to head to Hollywood Studios or EPCOT.
  5. Pop Century – Shares the same station as Art of Animation.

How to Decide Where to Stay at Disney World?

Hallway to breezeway at Disney's Beach Club Resort

Figuring out where to stay at Disney World is not always an easy decision to make. Do I stay at a Value, Moderate, or Deluxe Resort?

When figuring out ‘where’ the important things to figure out are:

  • What is my budget?
  • What size room do we need?
  • Do we have kids, and how old are they?
  • What is the transportation and convenience of the resort?
  • Will I use the extra amenities and perks of the resort that I’m paying for?

Let’s touch on each of those now:

What Is Your Budget?

Unfortunately, the prices of deluxe and even moderate resorts are incredibly costly even for middle and upper-class families these days. How much can you reasonably afford per night?

Paying for the resort is just one aspect of your Disney vacation. You’re going to want money for shopping, food, park tickets, airfare, and many other things! Don’t get into debt by going to Disney World.

If you need to stay outside of Disney or stay at a value resort and pay significantly less money, do what you need to do!

To help you get a better idea for your budget, read our article: How much does it cost to go to Disney World?

What Size Room Do You Need?

Grand Floridian Resort guest room 2 bedroom villa

Another significant aspect of your trip is deciding what size room you need. If you have a smaller family, your options are much more abundant and you can easily fit into a standard room at any Disney resort.

There are a number of great options that are reasonable both inside and outside of Disney.  If you have a larger family, you will want to look at some of the larger rooms found within Disney World or even look into staying in two value rooms.

And if you need something even larger, there’s nothing wrong with checking VRBO or Airbnb to check vacation homes in the area. It will save you significantly and it certainly has its pros.

How Old Are Your Kids?

kids at Art of Animation Resort

When reviewing and examining the different themes and my above ranking of the Top 21 resorts, if you have small kids, they may be interested in some of the more “Disney-themed” resorts even though we put them lower in our ranking.

For instance, if you have small kids they might love the theming of the Art of Animation Resort. But if they are a little bit older, such as teenagers, they might find them to be corny and “too Disney.”

Figure out which outdoor activities, pool areas, and other appealing amenities your kids would like the most before choosing.

Transportation and Convenience

Disney Vacation Planning Guide buses

When it comes to transportation and convenience, it’s important to calculate how much time you want to spend in the parks.

If you plan on spending a lot of time at the parks, how important is it to be closer to them? You may save significant amounts of time as opposed to waiting for the Disney buses all the time.

Is there a particular park that interests you more? If so, check out the resorts that are closest to that specific park.

Having access to the monorail or the Disney Skyliner can make your trip SO much more enjoyable! Once again, don’t break the bank, but if you’re deciding between two resorts that are close in price, pick the one that is more convenient and has better transportation options.

Will You Use the Extra Amenities and Perks?

All-Star Sports Resort pool

With each hotel class (Value, Moderate, and Deluxe) you are paying for its included amenities which can bring significant additional costs per night. Are you actually going to use them all? Are they worth it to you?

If you’ve been to the parks a number of times and aren’t bent on being in the parks from rope drop until park closing each day, staying at a nice resort may be worth it. However, if you plan on hitting the parks hard and long each day, staying at a cheaper resort is likely the better option.

If you don’t plan on utilizing the resort to the full or taking advantage of all the different amenities, you are better off staying somewhere less expensive. Saving money can be quite satisfying, even if you CAN afford it.

Making Resort Hotel Reservations

Once you have decided which resort you want to stay at, you have two booking options:

  1. Book directly through Disney
  2. Book with an Authorized Disney Travel Planner
Port Orleans Riverside Resort pool

Booking through Disney – If you feel confident and you don’t need any help, you can book your stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel directly on the Disney World website or by calling (407) 939-4357.

Booking through Disney Travel Agent – This is the easiest way to book your hotel as a friendly Disney vacation planner will help you every step of the way. They will answer any questions about your needs and help you decide which resort is best for you.

They will also help you with dining reservations, booking special events, and more. The best part is that they are 100% FREE and it doesn’t cost you any more money to use them than it does to book directly through Disney. They will even help you save money by still looking for new deals months after booking your trip.

We highly recommend using René Cittadino at Show you the World Travel for your Disney World reservations. You can get a Free Quote and her amazing team will give you the best treatment around. We use them on almost every trip and they are always super helpful!

That wraps up our ranking of the top Disney World resorts. We hope that we gave you enough info to figure out which one you want to stay at on your next trip!

If you are going to Disney World soon, make sure to read our Disney World Planning Guide for all the tips and info you will need to cover everything! Also, check out our Disney World Crowd Calendar so you know when the best time to visit is!

Your Thoughts

I want to know what you think about our ranking of the best resort hotels at Walt Disney World…

  • What are your favorite Disney World resorts to stay at?
  • Which do you think is #1?

Let us know in the comments section below!

If you enjoyed this article, as always I appreciate it if you’d share it with others via social media.  I work hard at making this website into a useful resource for you and your family to plan your visit to the Disney Parks and I hope it can help you! Thanks 🙂

Meet the Author of Ziggy Knows Disney!