Of the three resort tiers at Walt Disney World, the deluxe resorts are the most elaborately themed. For the most immersive resort experience, choosing a deluxe will be your best option. Everything in deluxe resorts, from the lobbies to the guest rooms, and to pools and shops and restaurants are all rich in detail to support specific themes. Where the value resorts show you the themes through decorative larger than life icons, the deluxe resorts actually place you right in the middle of the story.
In general, the deluxe resorts tend to be more centrally located compared to the values and moderates. This is particularly true for the Epcot area resorts as well as the monorail resorts near the Magic Kingdom. Guests staying at a monorail resort can easily hop on the monorail to visit the lobbies, shops, and restaurants of the other resorts, and of course the Magic Kingdom. In the case of the Contemporary, guests can even walk to the Magic Kingdom. Guests staying at any of the Epcot area resorts can walk between all of the hotels, as well as to Epcot’s International Gateway and Hollywood Studios.
Depending on your own preferences as for where you’d like to stay in relation to the parks and how much this matters when selecting a resort, the location could actually be a con of staying at a deluxe resort. For instance, Animal Kingdom Lodge is an excellent resort, and I do highly recommend staying there, however if you are planning on spending most of your trip in the Magic Kingdom, and want to be close to your favorite park, Animal Kingdom Lodge might not make a whole lot of sense. Of course, for many guests, location is not one of the most important parts of choosing a deluxe resort, however it might turn out to be a con depending on which resort area you choose and where you end up spending most of your time.
It should come as no surprise that deluxe resorts include more, and generally nicer amenities compared to their moderate and value counterparts. Deluxe resorts have a lot more to offer in terms of recreational activities and pools for instance. They also sometimes have spas and club level offerings, which you would not see at most value or moderate resorts. Deluxe resorts also have more high end or specialty shops and signature dining experiences—through guests are able to take advantage of a deluxe resorts shops and restaurants without staying there themselves.
Comparatively, deluxe resorts have much more to offer in terms of dining opportunities. Each deluxe resort comes with at least one quick service restaurant and multiple table service restaurants, often including some kind of signature dining experience. With such a wide variety of dining options available, from quick service burgers to dinner shows, to AAA five diamond experiences, it’s easy to understand why the dining is so great at deluxe resorts.
Without a doubt, the biggest con to staying at any deluxe resort is the cost. Of course, if you have an unlimited budget, deluxe is absolutely the way to go. For many of us however, this is simply unrealistic, so it’s valid to point out that the cost of a deluxe resort is by far the biggest con. If you can easily afford to do so, or at least plan and budget in a way that makes it more doable, looking into a deluxe resort stay might not be a bad idea. However if staying at a deluxe resort will cause major stress in your finances, your best bet is do choose a moderate or value instead. You’ll want to keep in mind you also pay more for overnight resort parking at a deluxe resort than you would at a moderate or value resort. Don’t forget—you do not need to stay at a deluxe resort to visit the shops and restaurants. You are welcome to visit resorts that you are not staying at, and walk through the lobby, get dinner, and do some shopping. Just remember, while you are able to visit the main central areas of the resort, the pools, and fitness centers are reserved for guests who are paying the premium to enjoy amenities by staying at those resorts.