8. It’s always in style! - Contemporary Resort
Ironically, it is one of the two oldest Walt Disney World Resort Hotels, yet Disney’s Contemporary Resort has faithfully lived up to its name for always being modern and never out of style. Ever since its opening in conjunction with Magic Kingdom Park in 1971, guests have been making this Deluxe Resort one of Disney World’s most iconic fan favorites. The chic style and design here is hard to define, as the overarching theme personifies in the most concrete way imaginable what it means to be ultra-modern, even in changing times. As expected, the rooms feature up-to-date furnishings and all the latest amenities. What’s more, guests have plenty of accommodations to choose from, including standard and deluxe rooms, Club Level rooms and suites, and even deluxe studios and villas found within the hotel’s adjoining Disney Vacation Club Resort—Bay Lake Tower, connected to the main resort via Sky Way Bridge.
While Bay Lake Tower does feature certain perks and amenities exclusive to vacationers staying there in particular (like the use of Bay Cove Pool, for instance), guests choosing to stay anywhere else on-premises at Disney’s Contemporary Resort can benefit from all the same general recreations and amenities. These include swimming at two great pools with waterslides, spas, and cabana rentals; fishing and motorized boat rentals; tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts; jogging trails; campfire activities; outdoor movies; the kid-only Pixar Play Zone experience with character appearances, and a whole host of other possibilities that are sure to please. And don’t forget about all those decadent dining possibilities right on location, ranging from casual comforts to more upscale approaches to cuisine. The Wave…Of American Flavors is one such well-loved favorite, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Chef Mickey’s is another, presented as a lavish buffet during breakfast, brunch, and dinner hours and featuring character dining with Mickey Mouse and friends. California Grill is a more upscale option—a restaurant located at the resort’s zenith and presenting diners with stunning views overlooking Seven Seas Lagoon. It’s also an excellent vantage point for viewing the nighttime fireworks spectacular at Magic Kingdom Park, right next door. California Grill is open for dinner daily and brunch every Sunday. Other dining options you will find at the resort include Contempo Café, Contemporary Grounds, and various bar and lounge locations. More than once we’ve mentioned the close proximity of this resort to Magic Kingdom Park, and on that note we have to emphasize that it doesn’t get any closer than this. Not only can you hop aboard the convenient monorail that rides through, but did you know that this is the only Magic Kingdom Area Resort that features a walking path right to the park? That’s right, you can actually walk to the Magic Kingdom from here! Ongoing shuttle service is also available to take you to any other Disney World Resort Parks and locations.
9. A Hawaiian Haven - Polynesian Village Resort
From my personal experience, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is hands-down the friendliest resort I’ve ever had the honor to stay at in all of Walt Disney World. The Hawaiian hospitality and island ideology can’t be beat, and a stay here is the truest way to experience the South Pacific without ever leaving Florida. What’s more, since Disney’s Polynesian Village is another resident in the Magic Kingdom Area Resort lineup, you get to be close to all the magic of Disney’s most iconic park! Guests staying here may choose from a wide range of accommodations.
For starters, there are standard rooms that are anything but standard, Club Level rooms and suites, deluxe studios, and even stand-alone bungalows overlooking Seven Seas Lagoon. The latter of all these options feature a phenomenal host of amenities, including fully equipped and furnished kitchens, two full bathrooms (and TV mirrors), appliances, all the essentials of home, plus so much more. But one of the optimal featured favorites all bungalow guests tend to favor most of all is the private deck and plunge pool each one comes with. Just remember, whichever option you decide upon for your stay, you will get to experience all the same onsite recreations and general amenities. These include fun things like swimming, playing volleyball, fishing, motorized boat rentals, campfire activities, nighttime movies, beachfront or poolside fun, and loads of other possibilities. There are even special ongoing resort activities, like making leis or learning to dance hula, held at select times as well. And for the ultimate combo in entertainment and feasting, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is also home to one of the most sought out experiences in all of Walt Disney World Resort—Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show.
Taking place most evenings within the resort’s own open-air theater in Luau Cove, this mesmerizing culinary undertaking presents diners with whimsical performances of traditional island dancing and music making, fire dancing, knife stunts, and stunning acrobatics, all interlaced into a heartwarming storyline. The food is presented in a bountiful buffet setup of traditional South Seas indulgences you’re sure to love! And in addition to this scrumptious feast, the Polynesian is also home to a vast array of other enticing eats as well. Kona Café is one of the resort’s most well-loved table service restaurants, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily and delivering on traditional American cuisine with an Asian flare.
Ohana is another great pick, which serves up family-style breakfast and dinner with a side of engaging entertainment at each meal. Dinner has ongoing games, music, and activities to enjoy while breakfast is an opportunity for character dining with the Best Friends Breakfast Featuring Lilo & Stich, who are onsite along with other Disney friends. Other places to eat around the resort include Captain Cook’s, Chin ‘n’ Dale’s Deli, Oasis Bar & Grill, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, Tambu Lounge, and Pineapple Lanai. And again, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is right on the monorail line, taking guests quickly and conveniently to neighboring Magic Kingdom Park. Remember a soothing boat ride across Seven Seas Lagoon is also an option. Then there are also ongoing shuttle services available for those visiting other parks and local Disney destinations throughout the day.
10. Adventures with animals - Animal Kingdom Lodge
Staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is perhaps the most amazing and somewhat surreal resort experience you can possibly have at Walt Disney World. How many other resorts located in the United States can boast lush, surrounding savanna grasslands and hundreds of resident animals native to the African continent? But that’s just what you get when you book a stay here. And because it doubles as both a Deluxe Resort as well as a Deluxe Villa Resort, plenty of options are yours for how you choose to stay. There are, of course, standard rooms ranging from standard views, pool views, and savanna views. But there are also Club Level suites with savanna views. Deluxe Villa options can be found at both the resort’s Jambo House area as well as at Kidani Village, with accommodations in this category ranging from studio and deluxe studio options to more spacious villas with bedrooms. And of course, all the same great guest benefits and amenities are yours for the taking throughout your stay.
Some of the greatest on-premises pastimes and activities guests most often pursue here include two refreshing zero-depth entry swimming pools, campfire activities at both Jambo House as well as at Kidani Village, playgrounds, arcades, outdoor sports like tennis and basketball, pool tables, watching nighttime movies, and much, much more. The resort is also home to the Zahanati Massage & Fitness Center where you can pamper yourself with massages, facials, and other full-service spa treatments, as well as take the opportunity to work out with the latest state-of-the-art fitness and exercise equipment. Among other distinctions on a more culinary note to be found on-premises at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge are several Walt Disney World-renowned favorite restaurant options, which even attract visitors far and wide. First there’s the stellar buffet at Boma—Flavors of Africa, open for breakfast and dinner daily and featuring a profuse selection of possibilities in distinguishable African cuisine and familiar American favorites alike.
Sanaa is another delightful choice, open all day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and allowing diners unique up close and personal views of the Sunset Savanna where more than 200 animals from among 30 diverse species roam freely. But it is still Jiko—The Cooking Place that offers, hands-down, the most alluring culinary quest of all. This stunning restaurant, renowned for its indulgent traditional cuisine and award-winning wine selections can already stand on its merits as an exceptional dining destination, but what makes a meal here even more optimal is the Wanyama Safari and Dinner combo package you may choose to sign up for as well. This means you get the option to pair your premium meal with a premium onsite guided safari where you will meet and mingle with exotic African animals in ways you never imagined possible.
All in all, each and every Walt Disney World Resort offers memorable magic and exclusives that set it apart from all others. While we’ve highlighted our very favorites, we encourage you to check them out for yourself and decide on your own personal favorites when considering where to stay. Whatever your own unique style, interests, and slated budget, you may rest assured that Disney has the perfect accommodation just for you.