We love the fact that we can stay on Disney property during our visits to Walt Disney World, and we highly recommend it to anybody who asks. Staying onsite means you can remain in the Disney bubble throughout your vacation. It also means less time wasted traveling to and from the parks, and—thanks to Disney transportation—you don’t have to drive anywhere. The only problem with Disney Resort Hotels? There are so many that choosing the right one for your family can feel totally overwhelming. This is especially true if you aren’t familiar with your options. Fortunately, there are ways to break things down and make the process feel a little less overwhelming. Try considering each of the attributes below to decide which hotel might be right for you.
For many, budget is the first thing that needs to be considered. After all, most of us don’t have bottomless bank accounts, and figuring out what you can pay for while still staying within your budget is a great way to whittle down your options a bit. Value Resorts such as Pop Century and the All-Star Resorts are ideal for those on super tight budgets who would still like to stay onsite. Meanwhile, Moderate Resorts are relatively affordable for most vacationers and offer more in the way of special comforts. Finally, there are Deluxe Resorts. A large budget is definitely required in order to stay in these plush hotels.
2. Room Size vs Family Size
Of course, you must also take into account the size of your family and find a room—or set of rooms—that will fit everyone. If you have a family of 4 or fewer, you should have no problem at all, and can choose from any resort your heart desires. The same is true if you have a larger family, but are willing and able to split up into two or more rooms. Meanwhile, those with larger groups that need to stay together in one room will want to consider either the family suites at All-Star Music or Art of Animation, the cabins at Fort Wilderness, a two- or three-bedroom villa at a Deluxe Resort, or a specialty suite at one of the following Deluxe Resorts including: Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club Resort, Boardwalk Resort, Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian Resort, and Wilderness Lodge.
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3. Location and Transportation
Location is another thing to consider. While many people are perfectly content staying anywhere on property and taking buses wherever they need to go, some people want to be within walking distance of a certain park (yes, that is possible). On the other hand, there are those who wish to be on the monorail loop or along the Skyliner route, or prefer boat transportation. Below are the resorts with ideal locations:
- Walking Distance: Walt to Magic Kingdom from Contemporary Resort. Walk to EPCOT & Hollywood Studios from Boardwalk Inn, Beach Club Resort, Yacht Club Resort, Swan Resort, and Dolphin Resort.
- Monorail Loop: The monorail transports guests to Magic Kingdom, as well as the other resorts on the loop including Polynesian Resort, Grand Floridian Resort, and Contemporary Resort.
- Skyliner Loop: The Skyliner transports guests to Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and the resorts on its loop including Riviera Resort, Caribbean Beach Resort, Art of Animation Resort, and Pop Century Resort.
- Resorts with Boat Transportation: Boat to Magic Kingdom from Fort Wilderness Campground, Grand Floridian Resort, Polynesian Resort, Wilderness Lodge, Contemporary Resort (does not go directly to a theme park). Boat to EPCOT & Hollywood Studios from Swan Resort, Dolphin Resort, Yacht Club Resort, Beach Club Resort, and Boardwalk Inn. Boat to Disney Springs from Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter, Saratoga Springs Resort, and Old Key West Resort.
For the most part, all Disney Resorts have very similar amenities. That said, the lower-tier resorts do have smaller beds, less space, and they lack microwaves in the rooms. Meanwhile, the Moderate and Deluxe Resorts boast better dining options and awesome pools with water slides and hot tubs. Be sure to check out which amenities your hotel of choice offers before booking, so you know what you’re getting before jumping in.
All Disney Resorts host activities. At some, poolside games, crafts, and a nightly movie are the only options, and really, this is plenty. However, if you want something a bit extra, you might look into the additional activity options offered at some resorts. For instance, many Deluxe Resorts have a nightly campfire, some offer storytimes, and few places even have character meet-and-greets. Some of our favorite resort activities include the drawing classes at Art of Animation, dancing with Cinderella at the Grand Floridian, and Campfire Sing-Along with Chip and Dale at Fort Wilderness.
Finally, if you’ve used this criteria to whittle down your options but still can’t decide which hotel is best for you, take a look at the theme of each resort. Every Disney Hotel has a very specific and well done theme. Pick one that you know your family will enjoy and let that be the final deciding factor.