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Our Favorite Places at Walt Disney World Resorts

Disney World Resort die-hard fans know that the fun of The Most Magical Place on Earth extends past World Showcase, Main Street, U.S.A., or Walt Disney World Park gates. As a Disney insider that grew up during the Disney Renaissance and called Walt Disney World Resort my second home, I have plenty of opinions on Disney Resort.

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

Credit: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

From the Disney value resorts to Disney deluxe resorts and those with monorail service or Disney Skyliner access, a Walt Disney World Hotel is much more than just a place to stay. It can play a huge role in your family vacation. My family has made some unforgettable memories on Christmas vacation visits to the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, summer getaways to Disney’s Beach Club Resort, and long weekend vacays to Disney’s Port Orleans Resort.

Now and then, you find a spot at a Disney Resort hotel that resonates with your family, where you create core vacation memories. We all love little details about Disney Resorts. Choosing is tough, but here are our my favorite places at Walt Disney World Resorts.

Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory, Port Orleans Resort French Quarter

 Sassagoula Floatworks Port Orleans French Quarter Sign

Credit: DisneyDining.com

The incredible Mardi Gras-inspired décor makes Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory a Resort favorite for me. Port Orleans Resort French Quarter exudes southern charm with NOLA flair. The decor, food, and vibe of this spot transport Guests straight into the New Orleans French Quarter. I love how seamlessly the fun, southern Mardi Gras theming is carried out with touches from that fantastic movie The Princess and the Frog.

Sassagoula Floatworks Princess and the Frog Decor

Credit: Disney

Sassagoula is a great place to stop for delicious southern soul food like Buttermilk Fried Chicken or Shrimp & Grits. This quick service dining space is the perfect spot for families to reconnect after a fun Park day or the place to stop for a quick breakfast on your way to Magic Kingdom Park.

Fuentes del Morro Pool, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Caribbean Beach Resort Del Morres Pool

Credit: Disney

Diving into the themed pool at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort feels like swimming in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Surrounded by the remains of an old Caribbean fort, this pool comes complete with crumbling walls and cannons peeping through to spill water over the pool. Palms, bright umbrellas, and close vicinity to Centertown Market mean you can easily pop out of the pool or hot tub to grab a snack or snag more sunscreen from the gift shop. Disney does themed pools well, and this is one of my favorites!

Related: Foolproof Packing for Your Family’s Disney Park Bag

Tambu Lounge, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Nothing can beat leaving Magic Kingdom Park and relaxing with a cocktail at a nearby Disney hotel. Tambu Lounge at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is my go-to spot to snag a tropical Lapu Lapu drink after a long hot day in the Park. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is a popular but crowded spot, so I prefer to visit Tambu Lounge.

Tambu Lounge Polynesian Village Resort

Credit: Disney

Outside Ohana, Tambu Lounge is the perfect location to escape the heat during the day, relax with after-dinner drinks, or await the fireworks and extra magic hours in The Magic Kingdom.

Lobby, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

grand-floridian-pianist

Credit: Disney

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort lobby makes this list becuase of the grace, elegance, and Victorian charm of the space. The atrium is filled with relaxing music that flows from a grand piano in the lobby as Guests meander through gorgeous seating areas on the way to dining reservations, spa appointments, and Resort shops. Taking in the beauty of this Resort is one of my favorite activities. Visiting during the holidays means you’ll be treated to even more beautiful views of holiday gingerbread houses or gigantic decorated eggs on display at Easter each spring.

Bayview Gifts & Fantasia Market, Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Bayview Gifts, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Credit: Disney

Shopping at Disney Resorts is an underrated activity. The entire floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort that holds dining and shopping makes my Disney Resort favorites list because of the convenience, location, and fun factors. Pressed penny stations, Fantasia Market, Bayview Gifts, The Contempo Café, Chef Mickey’s, and Outer Rim are all located near each other directly below the monorail platform.

Shopping, enjoying a cocktail, or relaxing on benches to watch the monorail pass is a great way to break from the Parks and wind down as you await a dinner reservation at Chef Mickey’s or California Grill.

 Animal Viewing Platform, Animal Kingdom Lodge

If you are looking for a relaxing way to view beautiful wildlife in a serene setting, look no further than Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. In fact, visiting this Disney deluxe Resort is my favorite hack for seeing animals at Disney World without purchasing an Animal Kingdom Park ticket!

Animal Kingdom Lodge Animals

Credit: Disney Tips

The viewing platform behind Animal Kingdom Lodge is open and equipped with Cast Members available to answer questions about the animals and their habitats. An outdoor fire pit, seating, great views of the animals, and a breathtaking Resort are all great reasons to enjoy Animal Kingdom Lodge. Visit Boma for a bottomless dinner, or enjoy a glass of South African wine at Victoria Falls Lounge during your visit.

Stormalong Bay Pool, Yacht Club & Beach Club

stormalong-bay-disney

Credit: Disney

This next place is home to my all-time favorite Disney pools. Most die-hard Disney World fans will quickly agree that The Yacht & Beach Club boasts some of the most incredible pools on the property. A giant water slide, kiddie waterslide, lazy river, rock waterfalls, and a sand-covered pool floor make a poolside vacation day incredibly relaxing.

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Finally conquered this slide. It’s definitely fast. #disneypools #stormalongbay #disneysbeachclub #disneysyachtclubresort #disneypoolday #waterslide

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Hungry? Hurricane Hanna’s Waterside Bar and Grill nearby, and Beaches & Cream Soda Shop are a short walk from the pool, so there is no chance Guests will go hungry during their stay. The pool is worth a visit at either of these Disney deluxe Resorts. You’ll even find Disney Vacation Club accommodations at Beach Club Resort.

These are just a few of my favorite spots at Disney Resorts. What Disney Resort hotels have you visited with your family to make those core Disney memories?

About Katie Chapman

Hey There! I am a Georgia native with a passion for writing, traveling, cooking, decorating, pugs and of course all things Disney. Growing up in South Georgia just a few hours from Walt Disney World made for a magical childhood. Some of my best memories were made on Main Street U.S.A. with my sister watching SpectroMagic nighttime parade or beside my grandparents, parents and extended family at Chef Mickey’s celebrating on a family vacation. Epcot was my favorite park from a young age and I credit it with my interest in and love for international travel. As a kid I loved meeting characters and watching films around World Showcase and could spend hours exploring each of the countries in Epcot. These days, my husband and I get away to explore a new country whenever we can and even incorporate trips to The Disney Store and Disney Parks around the world in our travels. One of our travel goals is to visit every Disney Park in the world. I love writing about Disney restaurants, park tips, Disney outfit inspiration and Disney history. Pocahontas is my favorite Disney Princess (90s kid here!) but Mr. Toad is my spirit animal. When I’m not at Disney I’m reading about park history, watching Disney documentaries and shopping vintage Disney merch for park outfits. I never pass up a reservation to Ohana, an empty seat on Living with the Land or a Violet Sake.