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Important Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Disney Resort

So, you’re in the midst of planning an upcoming Disney vacation. Whether you’re bound for Disneyland Resort in California or Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, you’ve decided that staying onsite at an official Disney Resort hotel is the best way to go. But which one do you choose? You find that there are just so many different Disney hotel options out there, each one offering up its very own unique callouts and niches. As you weigh all of the options before you, it may be helpful to ask yourself these important questions when choosing a Disney Resort.

Related: 5 Quick Questions For Choosing the Right Disney Resort

What Can I Afford on My Budget?

Naturally, you’ll want to configure and calculate all the total costs of visiting Disney World or Disneyland. That means the decision on where to stay has to fit within your overall working budget plan. Can you splurge on a Disney Deluxe Resort? Perhaps you are Disney Vacation Club Member with points and possibilities galore at your disposal. Or maybe money is tight and you really can only do the bare minimum by booking a Value Resort. Don’t worry, even those go above and beyond where impeccable standards are concerned. Still, other folks may seek out terrain that’s somewhere in the middle. And for them, the answer comes in the form of Disney’s Moderate Resort selections.

Deciding on a Resort

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How Many Are Going?

Are you headed to Disney with just the immediate family? Or perhaps you’re on an intimate escape for two in celebration of an anniversary or honeymoon. Maybe you’re even traveling with an extended group consisting of family and friends who are also planning on staying within close quarters of you. The number making up the final headcount may just influence where you end up choosing to stay. Need a family suite? If you’re headed to Disney World on a budget, for instance, you should know that most Value Resorts with the exception of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s All-Star Music do not offer suites. Furthermore, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is the only Moderate Resort designation that has family suites available. Another option in the Moderate category (sort of) is the selection of Cabins to choose from over at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort.

 Large Families

Credit: Disney Rewards

What Type of Room(s) Do I Want/Need?

Just as the total number of members in your traveling group may influence your final decision on where to stay, it may also start you on the course of proactively evaluating all the different room options available at each and every Disney Resort. You’ll of course find standard room accommodations at every designation. And in some cases, even larger parties can do just well by booking multiple standard rooms at the same Resort. Others, however, seek roomier accommodations, like those with kitchens or kitchenettes, separate living areas, and multiple bedrooms and bathrooms. Suites have been mentioned prior, but some other truly impressive options can be found via Disney Deluxe Villa accommodations, which can be found at Disney Deluxe Resorts and Disney Vacation Club Resorts, respectively.

Larger Options

Credit: Disney Rewards

Related: What You Need to Know About the Different Disney World Resort Levels

How Long Will I Be Staying?

Your vacation timeframe may just be the ultimate deciding factor on whether you stick with the standard room or consider an upgrade to a suite or villa. If you’re staying longer, you may want to have a full kitchen, especially if you plan to utilize grocery delivery services.

The duration of your Disney vacation may also directly reflect on the total cost calculations for what you can reasonably do within your slated budget. The irony is that sometimes staying longer actually earns you a better nightly rate at certain Disney hotels.

Art of Animation Suite

Credit: Disney

What Sorts of Recreations Can Be Found Onsite?

Every Disney Resort has its fair share of onsite recreational pursuits. Some of the most common ones include arcades and everyone’s favorite pastime—swimming. And it’s pretty much a given that you can count on campfire activities and Movies Under the Stars. But some Disney Resorts have additional activities, some of which are exclusive to a particular location. Archery, for example, is only offered at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort in Walt Disney World. This is also the place where Tri-Circle-D Ranch can be found and all the many activities that come with it. Resorts that are situated at marina locations offer up boat rentals and private fishing excursions. Bike riders also take note that there are many locations that proudly boast both bicycle and surrey bike rentals as well.

Whether or not you are staying at a Resort location with a specific offering that’s of particular interest to you, do remember that you are entirely free to visit any Resort and pursue most recreational offerings there as well. Pool and hot tub hopping are exceptions to the rule, and such marvels as Stormalong Bay are in fact reserved only for Guests staying at either Disney’s Yacht Club Resort or Disney’s Beach Club Resort.

Recreational Collage

Related: Making the Most of Walt Disney World Resort Recreations

Are There Any Unique Amenities?

Much like the recreational endeavors that each Disney Resort boasts, it’s also worth mentioning that some have additional onsite amenities. These may sometimes include fitness centers, salon and spa services, and many others. Again, you are not bound to your Resort and can certainly go on over to a Resort that offers such if the one you are staying at does not. But you cannot deny the convenience of having such amenities right onsite.

Disney Spa Services

Credit: D23

What Are the Dining Options? 

Every Disney Resort has onsite dining, although you should know that Value Resorts are limited to only housing quick-service food courts with versatile serving stations. But truth be told, some of the very best food courts at any Disney Resort can in fact be found at Value Resort designations. While Moderate and Deluxe accommodations also have food courts, their offerings tend to be less varied than those at Value Resorts. However, the aforementioned do also feature additional table-service restaurants right onsite to compensate.

Snow White Storybook Dining

Credit: Disney

Related: We Just LOVE These Quick Service Restaurants at Disney World Resorts

Do I Have a Preference for Theming or Resort Motif?

It may just be a secondary notion that isn’t too significant or meaningful in the greater scheme of deciding on a viable Disney Resort. But it’s still fun to think about, especially if you have small children or somebody else in your group with a particular themed interest. Each and every Disney Resort takes on its own unique style and motif. At Disney World, for instance, you can step into the grandeur of the Victorian era at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Or you can get lost in the South Pacific with the Polynesian Village Resort. A different way to experience island life can be found by staying at the Caribbean Beach Resort. And still, there is the Old Key West Resort. Want to stay in a far-removed wilderness in the heart of Disney Magic? Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is just the place. Or how about a truly wild adventure situated right on savannas and grasslands teaming with real-life African animals? That’s what you get over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. The possibilities are just endless!

Different Resorts

Is the Resort Lively or Laidback?

In addition to the thematic differences that exist between the various Disney Resorts are the differences in popularity and preference among certain age groups. In truth, there are just some Resorts that are more kid-friendly, and such options oftentimes come with elevated noise levels and possibly more splashing and wilder poolside behavior. So, if you’re an adult group or even a couple on a getaway destination, a livelier option may not be very appealing. On the flip side, if you have kids who want to unleash all that happy energy and possibly make new friends, such options are perfect!

Swimming at Coronado

Credit: Disney

Related: Popular Walt Disney World Resorts for “Disney Adults”

Where is it Located?

Do you have a favorite Disney theme park or one you’re planning to spend more time at? Then you may want to pick a Resort in close range to your Disney Park of choice. At Disney World, for example, you have such divisions as the Magic Kingdom Resort Area, those in the EPCOT/Hollywood Studios Resort Area, and the Animal Kingdom Resort Area. There are also options that are closer to the Disney Springs Area, like Saratoga Springs.

Disneyland has only three official Disney Hotels but even they have location distinctions. Both Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa as well as Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, for instance, even have direct entrances that lead straight into Disney California Adventure Park.

Walt-Disney-World-Grand-Floridian-and-Cinderellas-Castle

Credit: Ear To There Travel

What Forms of Transportation Do They Offer? 

You may already know that staying at a Disney Resort comes with complimentary transportation services to get you to the Parks and back again to your Resort. But depending on where you stay there may just be more profuse offerings than just shuttle buses. If you are vacationing at Disney World and are staying at either Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the Polynesian, or the Grand Floridian, for instance, you are directly on the Monorail line. This is your main transport to Magic Kingdom Park. There are also options to take a boat across Seven Seas Lagoon or even walk from these locations. Folks staying at certain Resorts in the EPCOT/Hollywood Studios Area may be able to access the Disney Skyliner. There are just so many unique ways to commute back and forth between Disney Parks and Resorts, and these should most certainly be considered while contemplating your final decisions.

Different Transportation Services

Credit: Disney

Related: Know Your Disney World Transportation

Are There Any Scheduled Refurbishments Coming Up?

Here is some very important advice to heed. While the Walt Disney Company is forever looking to enhance the overall Disney experience for Guests staying onsite, this sometimes leads to planned refurbishments and lots of onsite construction taking place at certain intervals. As a result, some featured recreations, amenities, dining venues, and other experiences may be halted temporarily. But the good news is that plenty of notice is always given well in advance, and the Disney Website is always updated with such alerts accordingly. It is then up to you to do your research and note whether or not any of these interruptions will coincide with an upcoming trip and potentially interfere with some of the hoped-for perks you were counting on when essentially deciding on a particular accommodation.

Refurbishment Creation

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Depending on all the other issues that matter most to you personally, you may have additional questions you need to ask yourself while essentially trying to decide which Disney Resort to stay at. There’s so much to consider when discovering which options will initially optimize all of the Disney Magic awaiting you on your next visit.

About Laura

Laura Catherine aka “LC” is a writer who resides in Maryland with her family and several pets. She visits Walt Disney World whenever she can. Additionally, she is a published author of three novels, a children’s book, and has a passion for gardening.