8 ‘Must Read’ Tips For Choosing The Perfect Disney Resort

Grand Floridian Resort
Grand Floridian Resort

There are several things you want to think about when choosing a Disney resort. Having stayed at Disney numerous times throughout the years, I have found that there is so much to consider when choosing the right place to stay. Whether it is price, location, or even a specific theme you had in mind, Disney has plenty of options for your family. Here are a few factors that you may want to consider.

1. Price

For most people, budget is a huge part of any vacation. Disney definitely understands that and has come up with a series of categories for their resorts, based on room rates and cost.

Value Resorts – This category consists of five resorts, Disney’s All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, All-Star Movies, Pop Century, and Art of Animation. These resorts offer comfortable rooms at affordable prices.

Moderate Resorts – Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Coronado Springs Resort, The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness, and Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter offer slightly larger rooms and grounds for a slightly higher price.

Polynesian Resort

Polynesian Resort

Deluxe Resorts – These are the most expensive resorts on Disney property and include Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Boardwalk, and Disney’s Beach and Yacht Club Resorts. These properties feature large guest rooms, numerous pools, and some of Disney’s most popular restaurants.

Deluxe Villas – These properties are primarily for Disney’s Vacation Club members (Disney’s version of timeshares), but regular guests may stay here as well. Villas usually sleep more people than regular hotel rooms and feature kitchens and other in-room amenities. The Grand Floridian, Animal Kingdom, The Boardwalk, Wilderness Lodge, and Beach Club Resort all offer villas. In addition, Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, and Disney’s Old Key West Resort also offer villa accommodations.

2. Location

Once you decide what type of resort you want, the next thing you want to decide on is location. Does being able to jump on the monorail and ride straight to Magic Kingdom sound good to you? Would you like to be able to walk to Epcot from your hotel or take a short bus ride to Animal Kingdom?

Below is a list of resorts categorized by Park location:

Magic Kingdom – Deluxe resorts like the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, or Contemporary, if you can afford the deluxe resort price tag. The Wilderness Lodge and The Cabins and Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness are near by Epcot – Resorts like Disney’s Boardwalk Inn and Beach and Yacht Club are within walking distance to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Caribbean Beach Resort is also a great option at the moderate price point.

Animal Kingdom Lodge

Animal Kingdom Lodge

Animal Kingdom – Animal Kingdom Lodge may be the obvious choice, but there are many other resorts in that area as well. Disney’s Coronado Springs, a moderate resort, is also located in the Animal Kingdom area as are each of the budget friendly All-Star Resorts.

Our picks – One of my favorite areas to stay in is the Downtown Disney area because of the dining and shopping options available. Both Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are situated in the Downtown Disney area and just a boat ride away as are the Saratoga Springs Resort and Old Key West Resort.

ESPN Wide World of Sports – Both Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation are located here. This is the perfect place to stay if you’re planning on catching an event at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

3. Transportation

There are several ways to get around Walt Disney World Resort. The most popular, and possibly my favorite mode of transportation of all time is the monorail. Chances are you will encounter the monorail at least once on your Walt Disney World vacation. If you are staying at one of the three monorail resorts, you can take the monorail straight to Magic Kingdom from your hotel. If you are staying in the Downtown Disney area, you can take the boat to and from your resort to Downtown Disney. Same with the Epcot area resorts. If you are staying in the Epcot area, you can take a short boat ride to Epcot and even Hollywood Studios. On top of all these options, every single resort has a bus that runs to anywhere on Disney property. This option is awesome if you do not have a car during your trip.

4. Size of your traveling party

The size of your travel party definitely makes a huge difference when deciding where to stay on property. Most of the rooms at Disney resorts can sleep four to five people. But if you’re traveling with a larger group, you may want to consider a few specific resorts. The majority of the deluxe villas can sleep anywhere from four to nine people. If you’re looking for a unique option, the Treehouse Villa’s at Saratoga Springs Resort can sleep up to nine people and include a full kitchen, living area, and two full bathrooms. The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness are a great option that sleeps up to six people, unlike the other moderate resorts. If you’re looking to save a little money, both Disney’s Art of Animation and Disney’s All-Star Music Resort offer family suites. Each of these family suites sleep up to six people and come with a reasonable price tag.

Beach Club Resort

Beach Club Resort

5. Recreation

There are so many things to do while staying at a Walt Disney World Resort. Each resort has at least one pool. Many resorts have a main pool as well as a few leisure pools. Bike rentals, fishing, playgrounds, sports courts, and arcades are just a few of the recreational activities offered at many of the resorts. It’s definitely a good idea to check out available amenities at the different properties when choosing the perfect Disney resort for your family.

6. Dining

Although you can visit any of the restaurants on Disney property, it’s always nice to have some of your favorites right downstairs. For example, if you’re staying at the Polynesian, you can enjoy a meal at Ohana without leaving your resort. Same goes with Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary. These are two of Disney’s most popular restaurants, so make sure you book your reservations early! If quick service dining is more your style, most resorts have a quick service food court. Food courts can offer a variety of choices from cheeseburgers to shrimp pasta! They often serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner and stay open fairly late. Try the beignets at Port Orleans French Quarter! They’re delicious!

7. Theme/Atmosphere

Okay, so this might not be the most important thing to consider when choosing a resort, but it’s definitely something to think about! Disney is big on themes and they do it very well! All of the value resorts have fun themes to choose from. You’ll definitely be able to pick one that fits your family best – whether it be All-Star Sports for your little guy or The Little Mermaid room at Art of Animation for the princess in your family, there is always something for everyone. Moderate resorts have fun themes too, such as a New Orleans theme at French Quarter or beach theme at Caribbean Beach Resort. Personally, I think the Polynesian has one of the best themes ever. The resort itself is just beautiful. Even if you’re not staying there, it’s definitely worth visiting for dinner or a simple stroll around the grounds.

Beach and Yacht Club Pool

Beach and Yacht Club Pool

8. Amenities

Just incase you couldn’t decide whether to stay on property or not, there are a few amenities that every resort has to offer. One of the most important amenities of every Disney resort, in my opinion, is the bus transportation which can take you anywhere on Disney property. Another great benefit of staying on-site is Disney’s Magical Express. This is the completely free bus service that will pick you up at the airport and drive you straight to your resort. It will even bring you back to the airport when your stay is over.

Another great perk is free Wi-Fi! Yep, that’s right! Wi-Fi is free at all Disney resorts and in the theme parks! Free parking is also a huge cost-saving bonus. As long as you are staying on Disney property, you don’t have to pay for parking at the parks. You also don’t have to pay for parking if you want to visit other Disney resorts. One of my favorite amenities is merchandise delivery and pick up. So you bought all these wonderful things in the park, but you don’t want to carry them around with you? No problem! Just let the cashier know and they can have them sent back to your resort for you. You can also have them held at the main entrance of the park so you can just pick them up on the way out.

So no matter what is important to your family for your next Disney World vacation, Disney is sure to have something that works for you. Wherever you choose to stay, every on-site hotel has that Disney magic where you will be able to create priceless family memories that will last a lifetime. Disney has that special way of bringing you into this whole new magical world. I mean, they call it “The Most Magical Place on Earth” for a reason!

Disney Resort Reviews:

Beach and Yacht Club Resorts

Disney Resorts – Can I Afford To Stay There?

Bonus Tip!

BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Disney travel deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius! Discover More >

About Meghann McFadden

Writing has always been my passion. I have had an interest in writing ever since I was young. Similarly, I have always loved Disney. There is not a day that goes by that I'm not reading or watching something about Disney. I am currently finishing up my bachelor’s degree and working as well. I live right outside of Chicago, but visit Walt Disney World Resort several times a year.

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