The pros and cons of every Disney World resort

(Article last checked: AprilΒ 1, 2017)

There are several WDW resorts that you could choose for your trip.

Here's a breakdown of the pros and cons of every Disney World resort, who is best suited to stay at each, plus some tips if you decide to book a reservation.

Deluxe Resorts

Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas

animal kingdom lodge
Pros:

  • Dedicated buses
  • Less expensive than most Deluxe resorts
  • Great on-site restaurants for people with an adventurous palette
  • Beautiful theming
  • Savanna View rooms have view of animals
  • Zero-depth entry pool
  • On-site childcare for kids 3-12 available
  • Every room above ground level has a balcony
  • Free daily cookie decorating at Boma

Cons:

  • Not within viewing/walking distance of any theme parks
  • Standard View could be disappointing
  • On-site restaurants are African and the spices may not appeal
  • Low lighting in rooms
  • Rooms are smaller than the average Deluxe room size

Standard bed size: Queen

Tips: Book Savanna View if you want to see the animals (visiting during a less busy time and willing to take your chances? Book a Standard Room and request a Savanna upgrade), take advantage of night vision goggles at the resort to spot animals at night (located near Uzima Springs Spa)

Ideal for: Adventurous animal lovers

Other info:

 


 

Beach Club Resort and Villas (my favorite Disney World resort!)

beach club
Pros:

  • 5-10 minute walk to Epcot
  • Best pool of the Disney resorts
  • Can walk or take boat to Hollywood Studios
  • 50 minute specialty cruise for up to 10-12 people available at the dock
  • Illuminations cruise available at the resort's marina
  • Albatross Treasure Cruise for kids ages 4-10 departs from marina
  • On-site childcare
  • Disney trivia scavenger hunt available at guest services

Cons:

  • Buses are shared with other resorts and often lead to long commutes

Standard bed size: Queen

Tip: To get a room that's the best of all things offered at The Beach Club, request a room with a full balcony on an upper floor close to Epcot

Ideal for: Families who love Epcot and want access to a great pool

Other info:

 


 

Boardwalk Inn and Villas

boardwalk inn
Pros:

  • 10-15 minute walk to Epcot
  • Some rooms have views of Epcot and Hollywood Studios
  • Can take a boat or walk to Hollywood Studios
  • Gorgeous theming
  • Illuminations cruise available at the resort's marina
  • Albatross Treasure Cruise for kids ages 4-10 departs from nearby marina

Cons:

  • No restaurants inside the resort (have to walk out on the Boardwalk to get to them)
  • Shared buses often mean long commutes to Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom and Disney Springs
  • Can be very long walks to rooms (especially Villas rooms)

Standard bed size: Queen

Tip: Request a room close to the elevators

Ideal for: People who want easy access to Epcot but like elegant theming

Other info:

 


 

Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower

contemporary resort
Pros:

  • Can walk to Magic Kingdom
  • Less expensive than several Deluxes
  • Views of Magic Kingdom fireworks
  • Can view Electrical Water Pageant from hotel
  • Monorail accessible from inside Contemporary
  • Pirate and Pals Fireworks Voyage departs from hotel
  • 50 minute specialty cruise for up to 10-12 people available at the dock
  • Large rooms
  • Salon on-site

Cons:

  • Pool isn't anything special
  • Theming seems sterile to some people
  • Bathrooms don't have separate sinks and showers
  • Bus transportation is shared with other hotels
  • Can be noisy from Chef Mickey's
  • Less storage in rooms compared to other resort rooms
  • Bay Lake Tower rooms are smaller than at other properties

Standard bed size: Queen

Tip: Request a Magic Kingdom view (costs more) on a higher floor on the opposite end of Chef Mickey's

Ideal for: Families who will spend most of their time at Magic Kingdom

Other info:

 


 

Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

grand floridian
Pros:

  • 1 monorail stop away from Magic Kingdom
  • Very elegant theming
  • Great on-site dining options
  • Can take boat to Magic Kingdom
  • View of Magic Kingdom fireworks and Electrical Water Pageant
  • 50 minute specialty cruise for up to 10-12 people available at the dock
  • Captain's Shipyard Cruise for kids 4-12 departs from marina
  • Turn down service
  • Has a spa on-site

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Transportation to parks other than Magic Kingdom can take awhile (shared buses, have to transfer monorails to get to Epcot)
  • Not as kid-friendly as other resorts

Standard bed size: Queen

Tip: If you don't pay for an upgraded view, request a dormer room which gives you vaulted ceilings

Ideal for: Couples who like a more formal theme and access to fine dining

Other info:

 


 

Polynesian Resort

polynesian resort
Pros:

  • Easy access to both Magic Kingdom and Epcot by monorail (can walk to the TTC to get Epcot monorail if you like)
  • Also have boat option to Magic Kingdom
  • Theming
  • View of Magic Kingdom fireworks with music piped in
  • Very popular/delicious on-site restaurants
  • Beautiful grounds
  • 50 minute specialty cruise for up to 10-12 people available at the dock
  • On-site childcare
  • View of Electrical Water Pageant

Cons:

  • High cost
  • Shared buses which can mean long bus rides to places other than Magic Kingdom and Epcot
  • Resort can feel too spread out

Standard bed size: Queen

Tip: Consider a Studio in the Villas section instead of a Standard Room in the regular resort. Here's a comparison of the rooms to help you decide.

Ideal for: People who want easy access to Magic Kingdom and Epcot and enjoy the Poly theming

Other info:

 


 

Wilderness Lodge and Villas

wilderness lodge
Pros:

  • Most affordable of the Deluxes
  • 1 of the most beautiful at Christmas
  • Great theming
  • Beautiful grounds
  • Quick boat ride to Magic Kingdom
  • Can view Electrical Water Pageant

Cons:

  • Shared buses
  • Rooms are smaller and will only accommodate 4 people (can have a 5th person if they are under 3)
  • Under construction until sometime in 2017

Standard bed size: Queen

Tip: Request a room on a higher floor facing Magic Kingdom for a chance at seeing fireworks (the trees have gotten pretty tall so it may not be as possible now as it once was)

Ideal for: Families of 4 or less who want the benefit of a Deluxe resort without paying top prices

Other info:

 


 

Yacht Club Resort


Pros:

  • Location is about a 5-10 minute walk to Epcot
  • Boat ride or walk to Hollywood Studios
  • Every room has a balcony
  • Stormalong Bay is the best on-site pool
  • Cast Members get higher praise than most other resorts
  • A bit more of an adult feel than other resorts
  • 50 minute specialty cruise for up to 10-12 people available at the dock
  • Illuminations cruise available at the resort's marina
  • Albatross Treasure Cruise for kids ages 4-10 departs from marina
  • On-site childcare

Cons:

  • Not as well-suited for families with small children
  • Quick Service is located at Beach Club
  • Shared buses with a few other resorts can mean long bus rides

Standard bed size: Queen

Tip: Request a room with a full balcony on an upper floor

Ideal for: Adults without children who want easy access to Epcot

Other info:

 


 

Moderate Resorts

Cabins at Ft. Wilderness

cabins at ft. wilderness
Pros:

  • Accommodates up to 6 per cabin with separate bedroom and 2 TVs
  • Full kitchen
  • Peaceful, away from the theme park noise
  • Lots and lots of on-site activities (archery, campfire, fishing, pony rides, etc.)
  • Can park right next to cabin
  • 50 minute specialty cruise for up to 10-12 people available at Ft. Wilderness dock
  • View of Electrical Water Pageant from beach
  • Lots of special events held during holidays

Cons:

  • Transportation - buses have to be taken everywhere (including internally at the resort where they take you to the bus stops to the parks). You can take a boat to Magic Kingdom and nearby resorts.

Standard bed size: Full/Double

Tip: Request loops 2100 or 2200 to be closest to main pool, Meadows Trading Post and campfire area. If you want to rent a golf cart, look at non-Disney options to save money.

Ideal for: Families of up to 6 who have a car and want the benefit of being on-site but also want the ability to get away from it all

Other info:

 


 

Caribbean Beach Resort


Pros:

  • Beautiful grounds
  • Good pool
  • Option to book a pirate room
  • Marshmallow roasting at the beach
  • Island of the Caribbean Pirate Adventure for kids 4-10 departs from marina
  • Slightly larger rooms than other moderate resorts
  • Recently refurbished rooms can accommodate up to 5 people per room

Cons:

  • Rooms are often noisy
  • Resort is large and spread out
  • The most internal bus stops of any Moderate Resort
  • Preferred Rooms put you close to food court and main pool, but not next to building with the lobby and Magical Express pickup

Standard bed size: Queen (except for Pirate Rooms and King Bed rooms)

Tip: Pay for a Preferred room which will get you a room in Trinidad North or Martinique, the closest villages to the food court, main pool and shops

Ideal for: People on a budget who like Caribbean theming

Other info:

 


 

Coronado Springs Resort

coronado springs
Pros:

  • Beautiful grounds
  • Less of a Disney feel and more adult-friendly than other resorts
  • Has a salon, health club and room service (these options are not available at other moderate resorts)

Cons:

  • Large and spread out which can mean long walks
  • Convention hotel which can mean large groups
  • Not as kid-friendly as other resorts
  • Preferred Room doesn't put you right next to the pool like it does at many resorts

Standard bed size: Queen

Tip: Book a Preferred Room at a slightly higher rate to be in Casitas 1, 2 or 3 which are close to El Centro (main building where the food court and lobby are located). If you book a Standard Room, request Cabanas 8A to put you close to the pool, a bus stop, and the path to El Centro.

Ideal for: Adults who want a few extra amenities without paying Deluxe prices

Other info:

 


 

Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter

port orleans french quarter
Pros:

  • Beautiful grounds
  • Great theming
  • Compact size
  • Can take a boat to Disney Springs
  • Carriage rides available

Cons:

  • No Table Service restaurant (can walk to Port Orleans - Riverside to eat at a restaurant)
  • Buses are sometimes shared with Port Orleans - Riverside which means they are more crowded and commutes can be long

Standard bed size: Queen

Tip: The upgrade from Preferred to River View can result in some really beautiful views at this resort. Request building 5 for the most convenient location.

Ideal for: People who like a smaller resort with less walking who can live without an on-site Table Service restaurant

Other info:

 


 

Port Orleans Resort - Riverside

port orleans riverside
Pros:

  • Beautiful grounds
  • Great theming
  • Can take a boat to Disney Springs
  • Both a food court and restaurant on site
  • Some rooms accommodate up to 5 people
  • YeHaa Bob performs in the lounge area
  • Bayou Pirate Cruise for kids 4-12 departs from marina
  • Carriage rides available
  • Catch and release fishing can be done at the resort or on a fishing excursion
  • Royal Guest Rooms are an option

Cons:

  • Spread out
  • Buses are often inconvenient

Standard bed size: Queen

Tip: Paying for a Preferred room will get you a room in a building close to the main areas, saving a lot of walking

Ideal for: Families of up to 5 people who appreciate the beautiful grounds and theming (having a car doesn't hurt)

Other info:

 


 

Value Resorts

All-Star Resorts - Music, Sports and Movies

all star movies
Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Fun theming especially suited for young kids
  • All-Star Music has family suites available

Cons:

  • Small rooms
  • Spread out
  • Shared buses between all All-Star resorts

Standard bed size: Full/Double (except All-Star Music suites which are Queen)

Tip: The small upcharge for a Preferred room will save a lot of walking and keep you close to the main building

Ideal for: Families who are on a budget but want all of the benefits of being on-site

Other info:

 


 

Art of Animation Resort

art of animation
Pros:

  • Newest resort
  • Great theming
  • Dedicated buses
  • Most rooms are suites
  • Bigger, better food court than other Values

Cons:

  • Spread out
  • Spotty cell phone service and wifi
  • Most expensive of the Value resorts

Standard bed size: Full/Double in standard rooms, Queen in suites

Tip: You can't pay for a Preferred Room here but you can book a Finding Nemo suite which is slightly more expensive, but located closest to the main building. The closest buildings for the other suites are 1 & 3 (Cars buildings), and 6 & 10 (Lion King buildings).

Ideal for: Families who prefer a suite and enjoy the theming in the various sections

Other info:

 


 

Pop Century Resort


Pros:

  • Fun theming especially for younger kids
  • Dedicated buses

Cons:

  • Spotty cell phone service and wifi connection
  • Spread out
  • Can be noisy

Standard bed size: Full/Double

Tip: Pay for a Preferred room to be closer to the main building. If you don't want to pay for the upgrade, request 70s Building B or the 80s Building B for the next best thing.

Ideal for: Families on a budget who want on-site perks and great transportation

Other info:

 


 

Other Resorts

Old Key West

old key west
Pros:

  • Largest rooms of all of the DVC properties
  • Least expensive of the DVC resorts
  • Great theming
  • Good on-site eating options
  • Volleyball, shuffleboard, basketball, golf and three lighted tennis courts are available
  • "Unbirthday Party" is offered for kids 5-10 (schedule varies)

Cons:

  • Can feel isolated
  • Bus rides can be long
  • Maintenance and mousekeeping get more complaints here than most other resorts

Standard bed size: Queen

Tip: Book in the category "near Hospitality House" to be nearest the main building and reduce walking

Ideal for: People with their own car who want DVC amenities, more space and want to spend less money

Other info:

 


 

Saratoga Springs

saratoga springs resort
Pros:

  • Can walk or take a ferry to Disney Springs
  • Can rent bikes and surrey bikes, as well as tennis, basketball and shuffleboard equipment
  • Spa located on-site
  • Beautiful grounds

Cons:

  • Remote location
  • Smallest rooms of all of the DVC properties
  • Theming isn't as good as other resorts
  • Bus rides are long
  • More outdated than other resorts

Standard bed size: Queen

Tip: To be closest to Disney Springs, request the Congress Park section. To be closest to the main building, request the Springs section.

Ideal for: People traveling last minute who want a DVC property (most DVC resorts aren't available last minute but SSR usually is)

Other info:

 


 

Swan/Dolphin

dolphin resort
Pros:

  • Guests get many of the same benefits of people staying at Disney resorts - even though it isn't one - such as Extra Magic Hours, Disney transportation, and the ability to book FastPass+ reservations up to 60 days beforehand
  • Can book with Starwood Preferred Guest points
  • Great location near the Boardwalk
  • Can walk or take a ferry to Epcot and Hollywood Studios
  • Large 3 acre pool "playground"
  • On-site childcare for kids 4-12
  • National/Alamo Car Rental desk in lobby of Dolphin
  • Much more affordable than Deluxe Disney World resorts, but with similar amenities
  • Dolphin has a spa

Cons:

  • Can't use Magical Express to get from airport to hotel
  • Doesn't feel like Disney
  • Can't charge to your room from the theme parks like Disney resort guests can
  • Often large convention crowds
  • Hotels look more outdated than many others

Standard bed size: Swan has Queen beds, Dolphin has Full/Double beds

Tip: Request a room on a higher floor for the best views

Ideal for: People with Starwood Preferred Guest points and/or people willing to give up a bit of Disney theming to spend less money while getting a great location

Other info:

 


 

Ft. Wilderness campsites

ft wilderness campsites
Pros:

  • Pets are allowed (and there's a leash-free dog park here)
  • All campsites come with a charcoal grill, picnic table, electricity and city water (full hookup sites also provide sewer)
  • Lots and lots of on-site activities at Ft. Wilderness (archery, campfires, carriage rides, fishing, etc.)
  • Watercraft rental available at marina
  • Views of Electrical Water Pageant from the beach
  • Ferry to Magic Kingdom is available
  • Can view Magic Kingdom fireworks from beach

Cons:

  • Transportation can be confusing and take a long time
  • Can be long walks to get to things within the campground area

Tip: Get a Preferred Campsite to be closest to the main area. If you want to rent a golf cart, look at non-Disney options to save money.

Ideal for: People with their own car who enjoy the outdoors

Other info:

 


 

Shades of Green


Shades of Green is not a Disney World resort, but it is an on-site resort available to military personnel. Please read my post on tips and discounts for military personnel for more info. You can also visit MilitaryDisneyTips.com.

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For info on things to do at all of the Disney World resorts (even if you aren't staying there), see my article on that topic.

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Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Leas

Hi – taking my 6 and 4 year old daughters to Disney for the first time, right before Christmas. Epcot, magical kingdom are mists and we have various reservations. Animal kingdom or beach club?

This is a gteat article but now I am questioning my resort choice. We arr doing a surprise trip in June for our sons 16th bday. We have been to Disney a dozen times but always stay at Shades og Green. We decided this time we wanted the full Disney experience for such a special event. We chose Port Orleans Riverside to stay at but after reading the cons it has me wondering if I made the right choice. It sounds like the commute times can be lengthy. We are staying 5 nights 6 days and don’t want any of our time wasted on a bus. Is it really that bad? Should I consider a different resort? If so, which one? Thoughts? Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Jenn

We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside September 2016. Beautiful resort, unfortunately, the last stop for all buses. We waited almost an hour sometimes because the bus would be full and we’d have to wait until another came, and it seemed like we were always waiting the longest to leave the parks also. Many times we’d see multiple buses come and go for other resorts before one came for us. If it’s not too late to switch, it might be a good idea. We’re booking the polynesian or the contemporary next because we will not waste our vacation in line for transport again

Christina

I will be taking my mom with me for Marathon weekend in January 2018. She is in relatively good health (73 years young), but she tends to get a little tired at times and can be a bit overwhelmed by new surroundings. Any suggestions for a moderate or deluxe hotel that would suit her? Although I plan on taking her into the parks and to DS, I would also like a hotel resort that she can feel comfortable “exploring” so she doesn’t get bored while I am at my races that weekend. Thanks so much. πŸ™‚

Cchneiter

I have stayed at the beach club several times and love it. I already have reservations for 2018 marathon weekend. If you can afford it, get a 1 or 2 bedroom villa so you will it wake her at 3:00 am when you leave.

Diana

I’ve been struggling to find the best resort, it’s my kids first time at Disney (age 6 and 5). We’ll go to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. My son has autism so I’m thinking after a stimulating day at the park, we’d need some quiet. But, I want a “Disney” experience. Something kid friendly and that they can only do there. I can’t afford the most expensive but don’t want the Disney Springs area. Would like something with multiple transportation options.

Frank

Hi Diana, I have son that is autistic as well and we’ve stayed at the PO-French Quarter, which was quite and relaxing for him and I when returning from a long day at the parks. The pool was never crowded and all the rooms are relatively close to the main building and bus stops. We are going back to Disney World this fall and we have elected to stay at PO-Riverside. Good luck with your decision.

Cshneiter

The yacht club or beach club are quiet but are also very Disney. The beach club has character dining. If you watch the website, the rooms will eventually go 25 percent off.

Emily

Hello! We are planning a trip to WDW. It is myself, my husband and our 8 year old son. My husband and son have never been. My son loves a good pool and my husband and I enjoy a great pool bar. Recommendations on where to stay? I’m also super picky about hotel bathrooms:). Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Cshneiter

Beach club. It has a great pool and the best ice cream shop at Disney.

rachael

My 40th birthday coming up. Any recommendations for the best hotel for the food and wine fest? there are 4 girls staying 3 nights.

Carissa Roe

I spent my 40th at Disney too! Deluxe closest to Epcot: Beach Club. I’d do Coronado if you’re going moderate. Pop or AS Movies if you’re going value. Have a magical trip!

Hi

My wife and I have 6 kids. 5 girls who will be ages 11, 9, 4, and twin 1 year olds. We also have a 6 year old son. We’re looking for a resort that can accommodate us and be kid friendly. We’ve stayed at Shades of Green in the past and also at the Wilderness Lodge (Wilderness w/o kids). We’ve heard that the Art of Animation is pretty good. What are your recommendations?

Jennifer Santos

I feel the Art of Animation would be great for your family. We stayed with 6 and just having 2 bathrooms was fantastic. I love its a dedicated bus and the food court was really quite good.

Michelle M

Hi – my husband, my 10 year old twins and I will be going to Disney World this summer for the second time. We are trying to decide between staying the Port Orleans Resort – Riverside or the Caribbean Beach Resort. Can advice that can be given would be great – thanks!

Patti Houston

The reply you received from Nicholas was a bit misleading. The princess rooms are at Port Orleans Riverside and the pirate rooms are at Caribbean Beach. We stayed at and liked both resorts very much. Caribbean has a very beachy feel and Riverside has a canal running through it with lots of lush trees, nice gardens and fancy mansions. The princess rooms are at the farther end, closer to the Frech Quarter. The walk from the main lobby, pool and restaurants isn’t bad and you can also walk a bit farther to the pool at the French Quarter, which is really kid friendly with a colorful sea serpent slide. The princess rooms have a lot of special touches that any little girl will love. We stayed there in November. We never stayed in the pirate rooms. They are at the farthest end of Caribbean, which is very spread out to begin with. We always stay in the Martinique section. It is closer to busses, main pool, food court, etc. You really can’t go wrong with either choice. Enjoy!

Nicholas Abu-Janb

I have been to both and my preference is definitely Port Orleans Riverside. Both have great theming, but I found that the walk can be extremely long in Caribbean Beach, depending on where your room is. Do you have girls or boys? In Port Orleans Riverside, they have special pirate rooms which definitely add a special touch, and in Caribbean Beach they have royal guest rooms which is also a great addition. Note that the pirate rooms in Caribbean Beach are very far from the main food court. Either way, you’re getting a great resort:)

Madelin

Hi

My daughter turns 9 on New Year’s eve. I want to do something special for her. Trying to decide where to stay. We also have a 11 years old and a 3 years old.

anna

hello
My friend and I (2 female friends ; no kids) are going to Orlando for about 2 weeks. We want to go to most parks (Disney Universal Sea World etc )and we are not sure where to stay. We would prefer to use a shuttle and not rent a car. We want to share a bedroom to cut costs…so ideally 2 queen beds.
any suggestions would be appreciated.
thank you so much
A.

Sara

We just stayed at the All-Star Music resort and it was such a disappointment. The Disney touches were few and far between in the decor, there was mildew in the shower, the fridge wasn’t cold. The pizza delivery to the room was convenient after a long day at the park. We had no issues with the buses to or from the parks.I would say if you are making a long journey and will not be able to get back to Disney for a few years you should pay the extra money for a nicer hotel.

Christine

Hi
My husband & I would like to celebrate our 45th Anniversary in either late September or early November….skipping October as a choice b/c we are not fans of Halloween themes.
What hotel would you suggest for active adults? We’d like to take advantage of the free meal plan & aren’t sure which hotels are included.
Also would like to rent DVC points from a broker, any help with that? Thx for your help?

James

Me and my husband are planning our wedding renewal at Disney World and will have about 18 people attending. The ceremony will most likely take place at the Wedding Pavilion at the Grand Floridian Resort, but we don’t really want to stay at that resort due to our budget. Luckily my husband does work for Disney World so we do get discounts on the resorts. We were wondering what you would suggest for our guests to stay.

The ages range from 3yrs all the way to over 70yrs old. We will most likely just be going to Magic Kingdom for those that want to go to the parks. We were thinking about the Art of Animation or the other resorts close, but I don’t want the older adults to have to walk as much. We have never stayed at a Disney World Resort yet, so we have no info on what resort we should choose.

Gemelee

Hello,
I am planning to go to WDW with my family from 11/27/16 – 11/29/16 (very short trip) – my daughter is 15 and my son is 10 – myself and my husband will be going. I cannot choose between AOA Family Suite and Disney Yacht Club – with your experience and expertise – can you help me to choose?
Thanks!

RPM

Hi, We are planning our trip to Disney and will have 4 adults and 3 children (1yr, 4 yrs, 6 yrs old). Do you have any suggestions on where to stay. We hope to spend 2 days at Magic Kingdom, and also visit Hollywood Studio and Animal Kingdom. I would also likely need to return back to the hotel mid -day for a nap for the 1yr old. Moderate pricing should be ok.

milly kay

if you can i would stay at the contemporary. its in walking distance from the magic kingdom. very accommodating to all party sizes and is only of my favorite resort to stay at beside the grand floridian.

Laurie

Hello!
I’m planning our first ever WDW trip March of 2017 as an early graduation gift, both girls will be 18. Do you have a suggestion as to the best option for getting around / convenience and also something a little more mature? None of us have been and it’ll just be the three of us. They’re afraid it’ll all be geared towards children and I’m hoping to prove them wrong. I’m looking for something that will appeal to them and be nice enough to be a real vacation for myself. Nicer dining options and relaxing for an adult.
Thanks!

Shayla

Hi Laurie!
I suggest The Yacht and Beach Club as my number choice for older children/adult children. The resort is beautifully themed and has gorgeous grounds. It is less expensive than many of the deluxe resorts as well. The resorts share many restaurants and lounges (9 in total) ranging from fine or character dining to casual or quick service. But let’s talk about Stormalong Bay, it is a waterpark in itself! Hosting a man made beach/pool, lazy river, whirlpool with artificial current, many spas/hot tubs, and shipwreck where the waterslides are located. In addition the resorts share 3 leisure pools! The overall feel is more on the mature side and are within walking distance to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, which are the theme parks that are more geared toward a more mature crowd.
And if the girls aren’t interested in the water all that much and really love animals, then I suggest Animal Kingdom Lodge. Nothing beats waking up and sipping your morning coffee on your balcony while watching giraffe, zebra, wildebeasts and many other exotic animals roam the grounds below (Arusha Savannah Rooms are the only rooms with views of the zebras). While you are there you need to make reservations at Boma and Sana, both are fantastic and Sana has exquisite views of the animals! Bear in mind that the restaurants on site are African themed and may not be suitable for the unadventurous palette. And do be sure to request an Arusha Savannah View room, if not then make certain to get a Savannah view room or you may be disappointed there.
Good luck and have magical day!

Caytie

Laurie,
I totally agree with Shayla! I worked at Disney World as a 19 year old and I love both of her suggestions.

I loved the The Floridian and Polynesian Resorts when I was there, but as a old mom now, I realize how expensive those are! πŸ˜‰ Plus if you’ve been to Hawaii, Polynesian isn’t as special. I have MANY friends that stay at the Yacht and Beach Club just for the pool and surrounding dining/entertainment.

Christy Davis

We are in the early planning stage and just gathering notes and information right now…we are planning our first trip to Disney as a family next year (2017). I love the break down of information on all of the hotels, very helpful. I have a question though…we are a family of 5 (kids ages at travel will be 11, 8 & 6) so we already seem to be limited as far as room choices, but there is also a chance that my MIL will want to go with us as well and if that turns out to be the case we will have 3 adults and 3 children in our party. What is the best option for us? Will we have to go with 2 rooms? What will be the cheapest route? I have been to Disney but it has been years ago and I have forgotten a lot and I’m sure a lot has changed. Do they have connection rooms at any of the resorts by chance? Just trying to know all of our options before booking whether it is as a party of 5 or 6.

Shayla

I highly suggest a villa or bungalow. The deluxe resorts offer villas and it would be more economical for you to get a villa as compared to two rooms. The villas sleep 8-10 and there will be plenty of for you to spread out. I highly suggest the Treehouse Villas in Saratoga Springs! Give them a look and I think you would agree. It is like you are somewhere else entirely! They truly are amazing and very spacious and fairly affordable.

If you have some extra cash to spare and book FAR in advance then I suggest a bungalow at the Polynesian Village, give them a gander and you’ll see why. But….they are expensive, however in my opinion worth every, single penny!

Keep in mind that the bungalows are not usually part of the rooms offered in the free dining plan if you plan on taking advantage of that. Not sure when you are planning your trip, that may be of no concern of you anyways.

Julie

While the tree houses are great you should consider the travel involved. Once you get back to your resort at night you need to transfer buses to get to the tree houses. If you are the kind of family who likes to go back to the room for a rest during the day that is an extra bus ride 4 times a day. It gets old quickly! The rooms are nice and spacious for the price. If you go that route I would recommend you bring a stroller for the 6 year old. I know he doesn’t need one at home but you have a good chance of getting off busses with both your 8 and 6 year old asleep if you do any late nights at the park. We kept a stroller that was rated up to 100 lbs that we used only for Disney until my son was 7. It saved our backs when we came back to the room with him asleep and the under carriage was great for hauling gear during the day. We traveled with friends who laughed at us when we packed it and then kept asking to share it when the kids were 5.

Get a 2 bedroom villa for sure but you will find there are better themed options with less commute than the tree houses. Our family likes Animal Kingdom (a little farther out there but only one bus) we have stayed at most of the DVC properties and the tree houses were our least favorite. I would rather get a 2 bedroom in the main part of Saratoga.

R.C.

Hello…we have been traveling to WDW every other year since 2004. We got an itch to go again this year. We have a 12 year old boy and 8 year old girl. We are looking at 4 resorts. Wilderness Lodge, Boardwalk Villas, Polynesian and Port Orleans – Riverside. Two are cheaper and two are more expensive. we would like to experience the boat ride to the theme parks versus the shuttles this time around. Which ones do you suggest would be the best picks? I also saw that some are undergoing refurbishments…We are planning to travel this July….thanks for your help!

Gary James

Hi
First off thank you for a terrific and informative website .
Advice welcome please on a Disney resort hotel for a family of four , our girls are 4 and 6 and as we’re travelling from the uk and this isn’t an every year experience I need to get this right ! Been to Orlando a few times previous usually staying international drive but it’s always an add on to a Florida fly drive (no kids then ) .
Need a good hotel and looking at art of animation , port Orleans , wilderness or animal kingdom . Which would be better please or perhaps you have other suggestions, any opinions ? I don’t want strictly budget as this really is a big holiday for us and likely won’t be repeated for a good few years and I’ve been put off by some reviews of the budget hotels. If we were every year trippers it probably wouldn’t bother me but we’re not so it needs to be as good as can be without being ridiculously expensive please .
Also would like to get out and about to different restaurants occasionally so would we need a car ? Not a deal breaker as. Busch gardens appeals for a day trip and may take children down to keys for a few days too , thinking 7 days in Orlando would do it !!!
Thank you

Shayla

Hi Gary, I would absolutely rent a car! It really isn’t that expensive (with insurance it’s around $300.00 US for an SUV for a week) and is truly convenient and I wouldn’t feel all that bad about it not even moving for a day or two, it just is that convenient to have when you need it.
I suggest Animal Kingdom Lodge or Wilderness Lodge. AKL is my personal favourite as it’s theme is simply untouchable compared to all other resorts, you simply can’t beat the exotic animals! However, don’t bother staying in this resort unless you can get a Savannah View Room as they are the rooms with animal views. The pools are amazing and the food is fabulous however it is African themed and some less adventurous palettes may not enjoy the food, so keep that in mind. But AKL is truly amazing.
Where Wilderness Lodge has Animal Kingdom Lodge beat is accessibility. WL is within the Magic Kingdom and is a short water taxi away. The pools are at par with AKL as is the dΓ©cor, but is definitely not a feminine hotel so it may appeal to boys a bit more than girls. Also, this resort is under construction until some time in 2017. And if you have the funds, spend 10-14 days in Florida. There is so much to do you could be there for months and not see it all! We were there for 10 days last November and hit Disney hard for 9 out of the 10 and STILL didn’t get a chance to see everything and do everything just in Disney! Sun up until sun down going like crazy, very little down time even with the extra magic hours still didn’t get a chance to do everything we wanted and this time didn’t even make it to Universal, so we are doing 14 days next time.
I hope you have a magical trip with whatever you decide to do, take care!

Diney Dad

Hello Gary James,
Sounds like you have big plans for your vacation! I’ve recently taken my two kids in the same age range as yours on two trips to Disney in the last two years. We stayed at Art of Animation both times in a family suit in the Finding Nemo buildings. It worked for us as a party of 5 then as a party of 6. We like having the two bathrooms which won’t be available as most on site hotels. The theming and pools were great for the kids at this age range. Some things to consider is how many days will you be staying and which parks do you plan to visit? If you plan to hit the “big four” then Art of Animation is a good middle ground. If it’s just the Magic Kingdom, this is the furthest park away can take about a half hour or more travel time. At that age trying to stay a park from open to close might be too much stimulation. So if you think you’ll be staying at the hotel more Wilderness or Port Orleans might be a better choice for amenities to keep entertained. In the end they are all great places but it’s just what is most important for you and your family. Have a great trip!

Gary James

Thanks , hadn’t considered the distance to the parks , we’d most likely be looking at the ones that aren’t water parks , so I guess magic Kingdom, Epcot , Hollywood and animal kingdom. Most likely try and get to universal studios and islands of adventure as well , won’t do sea world as I went once before and promised myself I’d never go back until the whales have gone.
I’m beginning to think perhaps wilderness is the best cell now for all round quality and convenience , other recommendations along these lines are welcome though

Rebecca lohr

Anyone staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge can go on the Wanyama safari. I stayed in a savanna view room in February and I did the safari. Enjoyed the safari and the meal afterwards. Pricey but worth it in my opinion.

Jane

We are planning a trip to WDW Nov. 20 -26,2016. This will be our 1st time. We’ve been to Disneyland multiple times. We are a family of 4, kids ages 15 and 10. We will have our own vehicle and my husband is miltary so we can get a discount. My 2 kids probably don’t want to share a bed so I’m not sure where to stay. We want to stay at a Disney Resort. What do you suggest? Looking at Value to Moderate rooms.

Rebecca

You can stay at the Shades of Green. Very nice resort stayed there in 04.

Tiffany

My family of 5 has stayed at Port Orleans Riverside several times and loved it. Since the rooms sleep 5 there is an additional single bed that folds out of the wall, which would solve your problem of separate beds for your kids.

Lindsay

Hello! Great article. πŸ™‚ I will be traveling to Disney for the first time as a MOM (!) and will have my 4.5 and 15 month old with me. We are looking to go at a slower time at the end of September or early to mid October. I was looking at the Art of Animation or the Wilderness Lodge. What do you suggest?? I am looking for convenience with the little ones (sometimes easier= happier!) and know this would probably be the Wilderness. I am also on a budget so I’m wondering if the AofA would still provide ease of transportation, quick bus lines, easy access to MK and Epcot, as I anticipate us spending most time there. Thanks in advance everyone!

Holly B.

We stayed at AofA on our last trip – our son was turning 4 during that trip. I would recommend if your budget allows getting a suite and saying away from the Little Mermaid Suites, unless you are willing to drive to the parks. We found ourselves exhausted at the end of the day, heading back to our report, a 4yo on our shoulder asleep, and walking what felt like a mile to get back to our room. We are planning another trip in October and I purposely stayed away from this resort because we wanted a regular room and I did not want to stay in the Little Mermaid rooms again.

Tracy

Thanks for the great reviews. This really helped narrow down for me the choices. We are bringing our 4 year old son for his first time to WDW and I am down to Art of Animation or the Contemporary.

Originally, I though the AoA was the best choice with the themed suites, giving a separate space where my husband & I can still have an evening after the little one is off to bed. However, after reading the reviews and looking closer there is only 1 restaurant onsite and its a quick service. Also the concerns about buses.

The Contemporary although not as ideal rooms for a child, the resort itself with multiple restaurants and proximity to the MK and ease of transportation makes me lean towards this resort instead.

So my question is, with a 4 year old boy – what would you recommend? Price aside .. but just pure enjoyment of Disney with a 4 year old.

Let me know!
Thanks πŸ™‚

Rachel

We stayed at AoA last January when we went with my then 1, 3, & 5 year old – and the theming was great – don’t get me wrong – but if I were to do it again – I would go with Contemporary because there’s a lot to be said for just pushing the stroller straight onto the monorail without having to fold it up and being closer to Magic Kingdom when you want to buzz back to the hotel real fast for some down time or whatnot. We had the same thought as you as far as having a separate space for my husband & myself after the kids went down early – but we were so wiped that we pretty much all passed out at the same time each night πŸ™‚ – so I would cast my vote for the contemporary – plus my now 4 year old is OBSESSED with the monorail πŸ˜‰

Em

We’re currently on site at Pop Century, sister resort to AoA.
We’ve been using food courts in both resorts and enjoying both – busy but reasonable choice. Although my kids are teenagers there was the same jaw dropping effect walking around AoA with the theming. Serious pool envy as we can’t use ‘the’ pool there.
We choose the value resorts (have also stopped in all 3 all stars) as use rooms as a place to sleep and would rather spend savings on other stuff than a room in a fancier place. We are long haul travellers with 3 big bags plus golf clubs which we can stash reasonably well in the room, so we can cope with this amount of space easily.
Don’t find the bus journeys to be arduous from any resort but AoA/PC feels pretty close to Hollywood, Epcot & Animal.

Bobbie

I disagree with Grand Floridian not being as kid- friendly as other resorts. I think GF is appealing to couples without children and a bit of an older crowd, because of the elegance and amenities offered. But, there are so many amenities offered that makes it very appealing to families with children; ease of transportation – quick boat ride, quick monorail ride -to the parks is a huge benefit, quick service restaurant is open really late which is convenient when returning from the parks hungry, you can watch the fireworks from the hotel which is convenient if you don’t want to fight the crowds, they have bonfires on the beach and smores, movies on the lawn, a fun beach pool with a great slide, a splash pad which is new and a lot of character dining experiences are at the GF ( princess tea party, tea party with Alice, Pirate cruise, character breakfast and character dinner). They also do a parade of parasols. We’ve even had family portraits done at GF with a Disney Fine Art photographer, because they will come to certain resorts- this makes getting family photos done very easy!

Caroline

We recently got back from a stay at the Yacht Club. We have three children-7, and turned 6 and 3 while at Disney. We LOVED it. If you like a true resort-feel, you will like the Yacht Club. It was so peaceful and lovely. I was nervous because some don’t rate it so highly and prefer other resorts…but it was great. If you can afford the Grand Floridian or Contemporary/Poly…I am sure they are lovely as well. The Yacht Club had a small feel to it and we requested to be in the main building. We were so happy there and I hope to stay there on our next trip…when ever that will be! πŸ˜‰

Patricia Gorski

Thank you so much! This was the best review ever! All the information in one article. Prefect!

Brook

Hello,

My husband and I are planning a trip in December 2015. Easy, quick accessibility to the parks is important, and we’d prefer to not spend more than 250/night. Is that even possible?

Thanks,

Brooke

Sally O.

You may have already booked a hotel by now, but for future reference
WDW Swan and Dolphin Reaorts are great choices for adults who want to be right in the center of the parks with lots of transportation options, wonderful restaurants, gorgeous views and everything within walking distance. Also,
Swan and Dolphin Resorts often have really good specials and lower rates.
They have a teachers and nurses discount along with the usual military discount. Call or check their website for info on specials. I often call the resort
directly and hope for a helpful agent who can advise me on their lowest rates.
Also, ask for a view of the waterway that the Disney launches glide by on, it is lovely especially at night. There are lovely pathways to the Studios and Epcot
and even the mini golf courses. The pool complex is to die for with its hidden
jacuzzis and views of the Dolphin’s cascading waterfalls. I have stayed at almost
every Disney resort and I have my favorites too. In addition to Swan Resort,
( Swan’s rooms are bigger than Dolphins with bigger beds), I love Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Port Orleans Riverside,Wilderness Lodge, and Yacht Club. The others are nice too, but these are the best of the best.
Best WDW restaurants are: Yacht Club Steakhouse, the big restaurant at Polynesian ( Hana ?), any restaurant at the Contemporary, Artists Point at Wilderness Lodge, and the Mayan Grille at Coronado Springs Resort. In Epcot Center, best restaurants are Canada, Rose and Crown Pub for Illuminations viewing, France, Italy, Germany,and Norway. The food at China is inedible, and Mexico always upsets my stomach. In Magic Kingdom, Liberty Tree Tavern, Cinderella’s Castle are very good. In the Studios, Sci-Fi Dine In Theatre is absolutely the best !
Favorite rides: Soarin at Epcot, impressions of France ( Epcot), Canada’s 360 degree film, Norway’s and Mexico’s Boat rides.
By the way, the real downer is that he American pavilion at Epcot has the WORST food in all of WDW, just inedible fast food, no atmosphere either.
Why not showcase the regional tastes of America in a great sit down restaurant with Crab Cakes, New Orleans favorites, and so on.
I hope you enjoy all WDW has to offer, it’s awesome !

Kelly

We are going to Disneyworld for the first time as a family this Dec. Although we have done alot of international travel our boys (and my husband) have never been to anything like Disney. We also don’t watch alot of TV, the odd movie, so I am a bit worried about them not know the characters etc.. but I am sure they will still love it. I went as a kid and have VERY fond memories!
My questions are: 1) How long do you suggest going for? The max we have is 8 days around Dec.12-21. 2) Where do you suggest staying on site – we have two very active boys, 6 and 8? 3) We will of course do all of Disney. Likely Universal. Where else are your “must sees”? and how many days do you recommend at each park (including disney)? 4) Can you rent a car on site? So we can go without while doing Disney and then rent for the last portion of the trip to get out and do the other parks.
Thanks SO much!

Kris

By the way for anyone who was ever wondered…
There are restaurants ( pizza pasta sandwiches ) and grocery stores off Disney property that will deliver to the resort you are staying at, you must meet them in the lobby for delivery as they are not allowed to deliver directly to your room. You can pay cash or credit.
Ask the front desk for names numbers and menus. DO NOT USE PHONE NUMBERS OR MENUS THAT ARE LEFT AT YOUR ROOM DOOR . I HAVE BEEN TOLD THEY HAVE HAD ISSUES WITH FRAUD. SO BE SURE TO GET THE PHONE NUMBERS FROM FRONT DESK ,PHONE BOOK, OR FROM YOUR OWN PHONE/ TABLET DEVICE.
Great for the tired early to bed or park closes early nights.
ENJOY !

Danielle

Good tip about the flyers and menus left under or on your door….never order from those places! Ask the concierge for recommendations. However, Garden Grocer (and maybe others) will deliver your items to the front desk/Bell Services..and you can pick up from there, or at some resorts, they will deliver it to your room for you. You don’t need to meet them in the lobby to pick up your groceries.

I am planning a trip for May 21-26 at Disney World. It will be 4 of us a 7 year old and a 1 year old. I am having a hard time choosing a resort. We will be driving but I would like to stay close to the Magic Kingdom or Epcot Which resort would you recommend. I would like to stay somewhere easily accessible to the monorail or buses and somewhere that includes a fridge

Kris

Stay at the Contemporary.
They are on the monorail that drops you off at Magic Kingdom and you can also walk to the MK from there ( 5min).
The monorail runs through the main building which children love,they have Chef Mickeys (character dining)
And out of all the resorts along the monorail they carry out the Mickey/ Disney theme throughout the resort the most, keeping it exciting and magical for everyone.
Totally take advantage of fast passes and dining reservations. Oh and the photo pass you make not think at $199.00 is worth in but in the end totally is ! (I think if you pay for it prior to your trip it’s $169.00.
Enjoy and have the time of your life !

Kelly fletcher

Hi, it will be our first and probably only trip to Disney. We are a family of four with two 6 year old boys – we have been saving a good two years for this and I want it to be a great experience – which hotel would you recommend as best for us for our two week stay x

Kris

It depends. Along the monorail, Contemporary would be my first pick then Polynesian. Still in the same area although by boat or bus to Magic Kingdom, I would say Wilderness Lodge. The All Star resorts are a great option also especially with little ones. The only downfall is the only transportation is by bus.
Keep in mind meals no matter where you go are on average 15.00 per person ( not always including a drink) dinner may be a bit more and character meals run $30.00-70.00 depending on if it’s breakfast or dinner.
They do offer refillable mugs at the resorts (only to be refilled at resorts) for $16.00 ea. for your entire stay.
The parks also offer a refillable mug only to be refilled at the parks. Keep in mind YOU are carrying the mug with you all day.
We have been in your shoes with the little ones and saving for this dream vacation. You have picked the perfect age to take them.
Remember to relax and enjoy !
( We are so excited for you )

William L

Great resource for vacation planning. You may want to mention that Swan/Dolphin charge a daily resort fee as well as a daily parking fee if you have a vehicle.

Judy Wallace

FYI – We got a deal at Swan/Dolphin through Costco travel and it waived the resort fee. They also have kids under 12 eat free in a couple of the restaurants with an adult. That helped save $. Boat to Epcot and Planet Hollywood was nice. Still got the magic hours, but couldn’t do a dining plan while staying there.

Judy Wallace

OOPS – Hollywood Studios not Planet Hollywood…. πŸ˜‰

Richelle Fahler

You are always so good about keeping your site updated, so I wanted to let you know that you might want to change your Poly longhouse recommendation now that Tokelau is DVC.

Debbie

Thank you for sharing all this invaluable information, Shannon. I will be staying for the first time at the Beach Club Resort in August with my 2 daughters (15 and 11). Before I do the online checkin at My Disney Experience, I’d love to hear your advice/recommendation on which area would be best to request for convenience and quiet. Is there an ideal location, in your opinion, that would put us close to where the Disney mugs can be refilled, yet possibly give us a view of Illuminations and/or close to the Epcot walking path? Do you have a favorite area to stay in this resort? Thank you!

Jenniffer Sheldon

At AKL, some standard rooms do have views of the savannah so ask at check-in. Some rooms are in an area that are recessed back or remote area so they only classify them as standard. We had a recessed room and had a wonderful view of giraffes and zebras every day. Our sister were by the pens that some of the animals are moved to at night, and they were frequently seeing zebras.

angela

I can’t find this addressed in any comparison lists, but are the value resorts louder / rooms more packed together than the moderates? We stayed once at port orleans riverside (and loved it!) and it was the low season, but it was very quiet there. We are planning our second trip with more (and younger) kids, including one who will be one and a half, so I am wondering if a family suite at art of animation might be a better choice. My concern is that when I hear value I think more rooms, closer together, with paper thin walls. Does anyone have an opinion on the noise situation at AoA?

Kelly

I cannot speak for the Art of Animation, we did stay at Pop Century right next door and loved it! I have stayed at a moderate resort before, and it is a little quieter, but not really that much. I am a light sleeper, and I did not have any problems with the noise. The lines for breakfast were not outrageous, and the staff was very friendly. I loved that Pop and Art of Animation have their own buses, so the wait to get back to your hotel is not nearly as bad as at a moderate. My favorite thing about staying at Pop Century was that it has three pools. The pool right next to our room was never very busy, which made swimming all that more enjoyable. I think for the money saved between Pop Century and the Moderate we have stayed in before, it is well worth it.

dusty

im planning a trip for may 2016 there will be 3 adults and 8 kids i’m trying to find out the best hotels to accomidate all of us . I would like to stay at a resort I have been doing tons of research and I know I would like to fly and be able to stay at a resort but im having trouble finding where could fit us all

Kris

Definitely do the adjoining rooms .
Make sure you request it when making your reservation. I have never had a problem with that yet, plus it’s not summer It’s May, you shouldn’t have any problems at all.
Or if you are really looking to stay in one room try Saratoga Springs, I think they might be your best bet.

Alejandro Irizarry

I have been going to Disney world for many years now even before I got married with kids. I have been to the Contemporary, Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter. I looked into going to different hotels, but went I do the math, location, and amenities that they provide. I always go back the Port Orleans French Quarter. It is still the best bang for the buck overall. I have been to this resort 5 time in a row. And I tried to go to different hotels, but I feel that it doesn’t give me the value as this hotel does. Now why? Number 1. The location of this resort is in the middle of all the theme Parks. The Bus rides are quick and the least crowed. When leaving a theme park our Bus line is always the shortest. I feel. Number 2. The Theme. You real feel like you are in New Orleans and the pool and hop tub are fun for the kids and their are a lot of life guards. Number 3. You can take a boat from the hotel to Downtown Disney.
Now there is no sit down restaurant only a food court which is fine, you can go to riverside for that. But there are very good restaurant all over Disney that you can go to.

Krista

Look into a hotel with adjoining rooms. I’d do that vs. paying for a suite any time. You spend so little time in your room, it’s silly, in my opinion, to waste money on the suites.

Sharon

We are planing our first WDW trip for the first week in June 2016. There will be 5 of us–2 adults and 3 kids (12, 10, 8 at the time of the trip). We have been to Disneyland twice and LOVE it. We realize this will be a very different experience. We have been doing research on hotels for some time (more specifically my 9 year old has been doing the research). We really like the Polynesian and it seems that my oldest 2 would like to be there because of the monorail and because the hotel is an original with some great things to see and experience. We plan for 5 days in the parks (with probably 2 of those days in MK), but also want to visit the water parks. I received our quote and the Polynesian was a little more than I was thinking about spending. We also received a quote for AOA because. I like AOA because of the suites. We do plan to take breaks (mainly because of the heat) and so the Poly seems easier to get to, however the $2000 difference in price just seems like a lot to pay for a monorail and the sights in a hotel we could just visit if we really wanted to. I have been doing some research on renting DVC points which would may the Poly a little more reasonable. So, questions–thoughts about renting DVC points–cons of this? Is the bus system easy enough to use if we just went with A0A. We will get up for Early Magic Hours. We are more of an early rising family rather than staying out late family. I also had a question about packages–do you suggest getting everything through the TA or I have also heard of Undercover Tourist to save some money on tickets. It looks like I can save about 100 on tickets. Now, that is not a lot so it may be better just to go through the Travel Agent for everything to save the hassle. Thanks!

CinColo

Hi Sharon! I can’t vouch for the Disney Vacation Rental sites but I was looking at using them during our visit last October. I took my daughters then aged 10 and 12. I ended up getting a room through my credit card because I could apply points from it towards stays at the Disney Caribbean Beach Resort. While I would love to spend more for the nicer hotels, I don’t feel like it’s worth it in my case since we really don’t spend much time at the hotel. I’m also a timeshare owner at Wyndham and we stayed at Bonnet Creek the rest of the time-very nice. I am seriously considering using the DVC rental for part of our stay next year-maybe just 2 or 3 nights. Based on my research, there are 2 sites that are highly recommended for renting DVC points. One is dvcrequest.com. I can’t remember the second one. The Davids DVC site is highly recommended by Mouse Savers. http://www.mousesavers.com/davids-vacation-club-rentals/. As far as the buses, I never bothered with them. I preferred to be able to get to the parks quickly and leave when I wanted (it’s free parking anyway if you’re staying onsite). I’ve read too many complaints about the buses taking too long. If your main goal is to save money (which is mine. Lol!), get the tickets through Undercover Tourist. That is where I got mine. It was very simple once they arrived. You just log into the My Disney Experience, enter the ticket code and apply it to one of the guests. If you have an Entertainment book, you may also want to check their Disney tickets. I got my Universal Studios tickets through them, and they had the best deal (buy 2 days get 2 days free). You may still find the Undercover Tourist deal is the best though. If you need a tool to plan your daily treks in the parks, I recommend Touringplans. I used it to schedule each day at the park (we hit all 4 plus a water park). I then printed them to a smaller size (literally) PDF and kept them in my pocket for easy reference. You do have to pay a $12 fee. If you join Mousesavers though, you can get a couple dollars off.

Ann

We have used Davids Vacation Club for 3 different reservations (once was for a split trip to Vero Beach and WDW) and I would highly recommend them!! Reservations work a little different than a normal reservation. You must put a small deposit down and they will look for your reservation. They will ask for your reservation preference (eg. First choice: Animal Kingdom: 1 bedroom, savannah view, second choice: Old Key West, studio, standard view, etc.). They will look for your reservation according to your choice of what is available (what is available for DVC vs Disney is different and DVC sells out quicker and they will try to get your top choice first and so on). If your choice is available it will get booked. If your choices are not they will contact you with what is available and you then get to choose if you want that reservation or not. If not they will refund you your deposit.
The downside of renting point is you might not get your first choice depending on when you book. The popular resorts book up quickly. Because of this they charge an extra $2 per point for these resorts (if you look on the website they will tell you which ones they charge extra for). Another downside is if you need to cancel a reservation. They recommend travel insurance because it’s not easy to cancel a reservation because you are actually renting a DVC members points.
Their website is very good and can answer many questions you might have. If you are driving there are grocery stores not too far so you can save money by having breakfast in your room (other meals as well if you want). If you get your tickets through Undercover Tourist it will save you money as well. Renting through Davids Vacation Club will bring the price of a deluxe room to about a moderate price (or a cheaper deluxe depending on the resort and room type).

Ashley

This will be our families first disney trip. Currently booked at POR in a RR for 7 nights in Oct. We have 3 kids ages ranging from 11-1. Would you recommend switching to AOA? I’m concerned about the busses. We plan to drive to all parks except MK. Just wondering if you think we will have quicker travel times at AOA? Theme/property wise would we be better off at POR? Thanks for your help πŸ™‚

Ashley

We’ve also considered POFQ to help with bus transportation.

Jenna Christmas

Hi,

I booked flights and reservations for this month. Last year we stayed at the Nick hotel which is a really great hotel because of the outdoor pool and slides. But I’m really afraid to stay there again because of the bad reviews (bedbugs). Can you suggest a hotel for two adults and 2 kids (boys 6 & 7)? I heard great reviews for PC but I’m a little nervous.

Paula

Hi! I would love your input…
We are taking a Royal Caribbean cruise over the 4th of July and our itinerary just happens to work out where we will have almost 2 full days in Orlando. (July 6th and 7th)
I have 3 daughters (15, 10 and 4). My two oldest have been to Disney before so I am really looking to do something that caters more to my 4 year old.
Your recap of all of the resorts is awesome! I think I have narrowed my choices to: Beach Club, Caribbean Beach, Port Orleans Riverside, Art of Animation and Pop Century.
Important factors are pool, price and proximity to downtown Disney. Given our limited amount of time – we will have a 1 night stay – my thought is that we will spend time at hotel, pool, and downtown Disney and not go to a park. What do you think? I personally have never been before πŸ˜‰

And in addition to my previous post above, we’ll be driving and will have our own car. I don’t know if that makes a difference or not…

–Ram

Well, we just went ahead and booked the “Arusha view” room at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for six nights with their dining plan, photo pass, and insurance for two adults, a teenager, and a seven year old. Also got a park hopper. Thank you so much for this informative web site.

My seven year old loves the animals. The agent said we’re going to have great views of animals from our balcony. I hope she gets to see that…

I went to WDW when I was 19 or so and I stayed at the All Star Music Resort and I liked it a lot. Now I’m taking my family (wife, two kids ages 17 and 7) there and I’m wondering if that or the Pop Century or one of the more higher end resorts should be an option.

While it’s always tempting to spend on a nice hotel, I’ve always found that we rarely do anything other than sleep in it. So are Pop Century rooms nice and clean? Anything simple but with nice and clean rooms would be what’s desired.

Beth

When we were booking our room for our upcoming trip, the agent pointed out that all 3 of the All Star Resort hotels share a bus (which I now remember from our last stay at All Star Movies) and that Pop Century has its own dedicated bus to the parks. Also my best friend always stays at Pop Century and has never had a problem with the cleanliness. Like you, we look for a place to lay our heads at night in order to spend our limited funds elsewhere. πŸ™‚

Leo

we are having a big family vacation including 12 kids and 11 adults where would be a good place to stay where all of us can be close together. This trip is for July 2016 and we fell we have time to book rooms together but I think even a year is too soon cause I see when it comes to Disney world there are people who book like a year or two in advance. So I’m kinda leaning towards the villas cause we each have cultural diversity that causes us to want as much space as possible while being able to be within walking distance. I feel like I’m so overwhelmed. I’m usually the planner of things and even I feel there’s too much. Help!!!

CinColo

I second Patty’s recommendation about renting DVC points for your large group. This one is recommended by Mousesavers.com. http://www.dvcrequest.com/

Leah

Hi! I can see your point & agree your best bet is probably a Villa. If you want to be able to walk to Magic Kingdom, check out Bay Lake Towers at the Contemporary. A Villa facing MK offers UNBELIEVABLE fireworks viewing & you feel as tho you could reach rt out & pick the Monorail off it’s track like a toy. If you’d like to walk to Epcot (& perhaps more importantly- walk back!), there are Villas at both Boardwalk & Beach Club; BC has the fewest so hardest to come by. Animal Kingdom Lodge has Villas which are great for visiting, you guessed it–AK! Also perhaps of interest- Saratoga Springs offers the traditional Disney Villas PLUS the Tree House Villas. While perhaps not walkable, they are considered the same resort & are nxt to one another, and would def allow for dif personalities/preferences. Close enuf, far enuf kinda thing. POFQ is also a stones throw from THV as well, if some preferred a Moderate Resort; I’d say car required tho. In addition to space, the Villas offer other benefits like full size refrigerators (& kitchens!), addl TVs, & washer/dryers, which can really come in handy/save on packing. 2 BR Villas typically sleep up to 8 adults, 1 BR Villas 4. Coronado Springs has Casitas, but you’ll almost always do better w/Villa pricing/amenities IMO. If you wish to consider off-property lodging, I might suggest Floridays Resort. They offer 3BR 2BA suites for unbelievably affordable rates…but will not provide quite the same Disney Magic. Finally, how long do you plan to visit? Some adults in your party may wish to consider purchasing an Annual Pass. It may cost little more than a multiday hopper & provide quite a discount for on-site resort reservations. I’ve had it save me as much as 50% on rm rates, and rarely saves less than 30%. They can then plan a trip for next year 1 wk earlier & use their pass again (or every wk until if they like!!!) Research first to decide if it would be productive for you/your situation. Most importantly, try not to stress too much…no matter the choice, resort level, or sleeping arrangements…your family will make memories to last a lifetime!!! πŸ™‚ Happy mouse hunting!

~(8:> AnnualPassHolder ’92-’15, 1st visit ’72, HS Grad Nt-MK, engaged-Polynesian, Honeymoon-POR (as Dixie Landings), 2 WDW raised β€˜adult’ kids, renewed vows-Dolphin, stayed @: FWcamp, FWcab, ASM, ASS, PC, CB, DL/POR, POFR, CS, Poly, Contemp, BCR, YC, BWI, Swan, Dolphin, OKW, BCV, BWV, SS, BLkT…and loved every single minute! πŸ™‚

Patty

You might benefit greatly from renting vacation points with such a large group. I’m working with Lauren at DVC Rental store right now and she has been so helpful getting our multi room reservations for December. Plus, the rooms are almost half the price of booking directly through disney.

Sandra Meneses

We’re taking our family of five (kids ages 9, 7, 3) to wdw for the first time this fall. Our TA wasn’t successful in applying free dining to our reservation at POR. She did however find us a free dining option at a value resort All-star Music in a family suite. It only saves us about $60 vs. Paying out of pocket for a dining package at POR. Where do you think we’d have a better experience?

Leah

If you’re in the position to do it, I’d recommend POR over the All Star resorts. For me, the added value in the extras you’ll have available to you will easily offset that $60: the pool area, water craft rental options, carriage rides, casual sit down dining options, etc. Additionally, a stop at an area Walgreens BEFORE checking in will save any family mega-coin! Huge array of Disney-licensed apparel, souvenirs, light-up thing-a-mabobs (trust me, parents-you want these BEFORE you enter!), mist spraying fans, etc. Once you’ve secured your rm, you’ll have a mini fridge. Can’t tell you over the yrs how much $$ I’ve saved (esp brkfst & late nt snacks) w/bottled h20, juices, fruit, pb&j, etc in rm. So again, $60 could prob be made up quickly in other ways & still allow you the upgrade in resort. Either way you go, your kids will have a blast & you will have memories to last a lifetime! Have a wonderful trip! *Me = APH, 1st visit ’72, HS Grad Nt-MK, engaged-Polynesian, Honeymoon-POR (as Dixie Landings), 2 WDW raised ‘adult’ kids, renewed vows-Dolphin, stayed @: FWcamp, FWcab, ASM, ASS, PC, CB, DL/POR, POFR, CS, Poly, Contemp, BCR, YC, BWI, Swan, Dolphin, OKW, BCV, BWV, SS, BLkT…and loved every single minute! πŸ™‚

Stacey

So I have had a horrible time with free dining. We are going during the time it is being offered and staying at a moderate resort that has free dining, however they are out and we can no longer get it. I did some tweaking and it looks like I can get free dining but only at the pop century. I have never stayed at a value resort but it’s over a 2,000$ savings. Is this worth it?

Jeff Smith

The Pop Century is definitely worth it. My family has stayed in moderates and shades but we have gone back to PC because it is a great experience . We found that PC has a great atmosphere for kids and is very convenient as far as transportation goes. The fact that PC is cheaper is a bonus. One thing I would highly recommend is to get a preferred/pool view room. Those are closest to the main building and most importantly, the bus stop.

Amanda

I’m traveling with my 21 month old daughter to Disney at the end of May and I’m having trouble deciding between the Contemporary resort and Animal Kingdom Lodge. We will probably spend the afternoons (after lunch and nap) at the hotel pool before heading back to Disney for night. I want to make sure we feel safe at the resort (arriving back at night and walking around the hotel). What do you suggest?
Thanks!

Leah

Hello! Do you think you’ll spend more time at Magic Kingdom or at Animal Kingdom? If your answer is MK, I’d suggest the Contemporary. Additionally, the Contemporary is at the ‘heart’ of the transportation center of WDW, while AK is somewhat an island unto itself, albeit a beautiful island! You’ll be literally walking distance to MK, but only if you WANT to walk to MK. Also (nearly) right nxt door is the Polynesian Resort which is lovely simply to walk around, lots of sights & sounds for some downtime for a little one (& Mom!). And on the same Monorail loop/circle is the elegant Grand Floridian. Princess Diana stayed here w/her two boys! (Yes, that boy who has a boy and now a girl of his own! *sigh* Time, it does indeed fly…) That said, I think you can feel secure at any of the Disney properties. As secure as one can feel these days, I suppose :/ Just remember the basics: lock your door-all the locks, don’t open the door for ‘maintenance’ unless you called maintenance, i.e., call the front desk if anyone shows up at your door for whom you didn’t call, etc. Disney takes their security seriously…it may be the only thing they take more seriously than fun πŸ™‚ Have a magically wonderful time with your oh-so-lucky little one, Mom!!!

~(8:> AnnualPassHolder ’92-’15, 1st visit ’72, HS Grad Nt-MK, engaged-Polynesian, Honeymoon-POR (as Dixie Landings), 2 WDW raised β€˜adult’ kids, renewed vows-Dolphin, stayed @: FWcamp, FWcab, ASM, ASS, PC, CB, DL/POR, POFR, CS, Poly, Contemp, BCR, YC, BWI, Swan, Dolphin, OKW, BCV, BWV, SS, BLkT…and loved every single minute! πŸ™‚

debbie

What resort has 3 individual beds for 3 adults? All 3 of us want our own beds. Thanks!

CinColo

This site lists the hotels that sleep 6 or more (or 3 beds). https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/planning-guides/in-depth-advice/groups/

Leah

Okay…I’ve really thought about this, because I HATE the idea of not knowing everything Disney! lol The Cabins at Ft Wilderness, if one of you doesn’t mind a bunk bed. I believe AK & Wilderness Lodges offer stndrd rms w 2 Qns + bunk bed. A 2BR Villa at any of the Villa offerings (Boardwalk Villas, Beach Club Villas, etc), but someone will end up on a sleeper sofa. NOTE: Disney has some of the most comf sleeper sofas you’ll encounter, eg, Saratoga Springs. 2BR Suite offerings, like at Grand Floridian or Beach Club Resort, while pricey would seem to offer the most comfortable 3 bedded/separate adult sleeping arrangements, w 1 king, 2 queen + sleeper for any TV nt owls. Some resorts offer 2 Queens + day bed (Yacht Club, Polynesian). Perhaps a connecting room at a Value or Moderate, but that’s never ‘guaranteed’. Requested, indeed. Guaranteed, not. Finally, I can recommend off-property Floridays Resort. Their 2BR 2BA has 1K, 2Dbls + sleeper sofa, a 3BR offers 1K, 4Dbls + sleeper sofa (+full kitchens, w/d, furnished balconies). Their rates simply cannot be beat. But you’ll have to decide how much you’d miss The Mouse πŸ™ And Extra Magic Hours. And Extra Magic in general. Just remember: It’s not the sleeping but the waking hours that are for dreaming at The Mouse House…you’ll have a great time no matter your decision!!!

~(8:> AnnualPassHolder ’92-’15, 1st visit ’72, HS Grad Nt-MK, engaged-Polynesian, Honeymoon-POR (as Dixie Landings), 2 WDW raised β€˜adult’ kids, renewed vows-Dolphin, stayed @: FWcamp, FWcab, ASM, ASS, PC, CB, DL/POR, POFR, CS, Poly, Contemp, BCR, YC, BWI, Swan, Dolphin, OKW, BCV, BWV, SS, BLkT…and loved every single minute! πŸ™‚

KATE WALSH

I’ve been on hold for over an hour to add free dining and the website keeps freezing up. I have a feeling that it will be all used by the time I get through. Will Disney do anything to account for the long wait times if I miss it? This process is frustrating. I seriously had to take a half day at work to do this, and will be pretty disappointed if I don’t get the promotion. Any tips or suggestions? Has anyone been though this?

Stacey

I had the same issue with the free dining. Today I was finally able to get free dining but had to switch to a value resort because the moderate hotel I reserved was out of free dining. I hope it is worth it. I have not stated at a value resort before so I’m hoping I won’t regret this

Mike R

Question: I am planning to bring my family (Wife, 16 year old son, 14 year old daughter, 27 year old son and his 25 year old fiancee) to Disney for a week. I don’t want to come off as being arrogant, but I’m not concerned about the cost of the trip. What is the best place for us to stay if we want to take advantage of all that Disney has to offer. It’s only our second trip to Disney World so we’re not too familiar with all of the theme parks, best places to stay, eat, etc.

Thanks in advance.

– Mike R

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