Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

A Comparison of Magic Kingdom Resorts At Walt Disney World

When staying at Disney World there are a lot of options to choose from.  These resorts are designed to meet every possible theme, price point, and location.  Some of the most wonderful resorts are nestled around the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake near the Magic Kingdom. These five resorts offer a bevy of amenities to guests, so you will want to do your research on where you want to stay if you are considering a Magic Kingdom resort.  Here is what you need to now!


1. Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Grand Floridian

Arguably the most opulent resort on property, the Grand Floridian features rooms and suites spread across several buildings with views of the Magic Kingdom, the Seven Seas Lagoon, as well as the well-manicured landscaping around the resort.  This resort is themed to a sprawling Victorian estate — guests will definitely enjoy the stunning views the rooms offer, as well a spacious grand lobby in the main building, as well as amazing restaurants and lounges. 

Guests choosing to stay at the Grand Floridian should consider making a dining reservation at one of the phenomenal restaurants — Narcoossee’s, located on the water with stunning views of the Seven Seas Lagoon, as well as the Electric Water Pageant.  Victoria and Albert’s is a great choice for a special occasion or you may feel more comfortable enjoying a drink and a light meal at Citrico’s..  Guests looking for a more casual option are encouraged to try the great buffet at 1900 Park Fare or one of the great dishes at the Grand Floridian CafĂ©.  Access to the Magic Kingdom is currently offered via a boat or the monorail, but soon guests can choose to walk off their meal with a leisurely stroll to the Magic Kingdom.

2. Wilderness Lodge

Pool Wilderness Resort

Located just off of the Seven Seas Lagoon on Bay Lake, the Wilderness Lodge transports guests to a forest retreat in the Pacific Northwest.  Guests will be impressed with the natural beauty of the resort — you’ll see tall pines, notice the lapping wake of the water, and will definitely not feel like you are in the middle of Florida.  Guests are sure to enjoy the meandering footpaths around the resort, up to the lake, as well as all the way over to Fort Wilderness on a relaxing resort day. 

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The lobby offers an unparalleled experience to guests looking to feel truly relaxed — a sprawling lobby with a fireplace and a stream make guests feel at home, but also offers a place to relax enjoying a good book or a quick nap!  Food options are limited at the Wilderness Lodge — you can enjoy a character dining experience with the Seven Dwarfs, Snow White, and the Evil Queen at Artist’s Point or relax with some small bar snacks and a good drink at the Territory Lounge. 

Out near the lake, guests are encouraged to enjoy a meal at the Geyser Point Bar and Grill or just grab a quick snack at Roaring Forks.  Our pick for the best experience at Wilderness Lodge can be found at the Whispering Canyon — guests can chow down on homestyle favorites in a family-style setting ensuring that no guest will leave hungry!  After enjoying your meal, hop a boat over to the Magic Kingdom and enjoy the views offered along Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon.

3. Contemporary Resort

Contemporary Resort Monorail

This resort holds the title of being the closest to the Magic Kingdom — a short walk down a sidewalk will get you to the head of Main Street, U.S.A.  Whether you opt for a theme park view or not, no room at the Contemporary will offer a bad view — guests will look out to the Magic Kingdom or out onto Bay Lake.  Guests can choose to walk to the park or hop aboard the monorail to get to the park, but given how the Resort Loop monorails run, it is far quicker to walk to the park. 

Donald Duck Chef Mickey's

Choices abound when considering dining at the Contemporary – a classic buffet with the Fab Five can be found at Chef Mickey’s, a quick snack can be found at the Contempo CafĂ©, a special meal can be found at the California Grill on the top floor of the resort.  Downstairs, hidden away from the hustle and bustle, guests can find a great offering at the Wave of American Flavors — make sure to plan some time before your meal for a refreshing cocktail either at the Wave or looking out over Bay Lake at the Outer Rim.  Guests will also enjoy watching the monorail zoom through the resort on its way back and forth between the Ticket and Transportation Center and the Magic Kingdom.

4. Polynesian Village Resort

Disney’s Polynesian Resort Lobby

The final resort situated on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon, the Polynesian Village Resort invites guests to the islands of the South Pacific with relaxing pools, longhouses of rooms, and the tropical flavors and tastes of faraway lands.  Guests can get to the Magic Kingdom via Monorail or boat.  Before heading to the park, guests may feel inclined to enjoy the family-style all-you-care-to-enjoy breakfast at Ohana to be able to meet Mickey, Pluto, Lilo, and Stitch — we’d recommend also making a dinner reservation to enjoy the crazy tasty menu after a long day in the park. 

Guests on the run can grab something quick from Captain Cook’s or a Dole Whip on the run from the Pineapple Lanai.  If you have more timers enjoy your meal, guests can dine at Kona CafĂ© and enjoy delicious sushi or other tropical offerings.  Guests can also enjoy a wonderful dinner and show on the beach with the Spirit of Aloha dinner — advance payment and reservations are required.  Looking for a refreshing Lapu Lapu?  Head to the Tambu Lounge next to Ohana to relax before dinner!

5. Fort Wilderness

Fort Wilderness Cabin
Photo Credit: Disney

The final resort near the Magic Kingdom will require guests to rent or own an RV or choose to rough it in a cabin or tent.  However, what is lacking in amenities is made up for with a stunning setting where you’ll see wildlife, get to know your neighbors, and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere around the resort.  You can enjoy a great bike ride, a swim, roast marshmallows at night, or holiday decorations during certain times of the year. 

Guests wanting to explore the resort can do so on horseback at the Tri-Circle D Ranch or rent a golf cart and drive around taking in the sights.  Great food can be found at Trail’s End (a true hidden gem) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and amazing show (and food, too) is right next door at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue!  Guests will love the relaxed atmosphere walking along the beach, enjoying a boat rental, watching movies, or roasting marshmallows.

Depending on your budget and the amenities that you are seeking from your resort, we are confident any of the Magic Kingdom resorts will do — what is your favorite?  Which can’t you wait to stay at next?

About Tyler

Tyler is a lawyer living in South Florida who visits Disney World at least once a month. He enjoys re-living classic Disney experiences and discovering new things about the parks when he visits. Friends and family always ask him to plan their trip for maximum Disney magic!