Disney World Travel Tips: Where to stay
Disney World resorts are an experience all on their own, and with so many to choose from, how do you possibly decide? Every resort on Disney property has it’s own vibe, each with their own immersive experience which is what makes staying on property so great! Plus, if you stay on property, you get many benefits, such as complimentary transportation to and from the airport (with a bell service that magically delivers your luggage right to your room!), shuttle service to all the parks and resorts, the option to purchase one of the meal plans, and first dibs on fast passes. There are a few different categories of resorts that can narrow down your choices based on your budget, type of amenities you want, and your family size.
If you’re on a budget, have small children, or just don’t really spend a whole lot of time at the resort and is focused mainly on the parks, then a value resort would be a good choice for you. These resorts have larger than life decorations and are very fairly priced. Small kiddos will love the giant statues of various Disney characters, uniquely shaped pools, and bright, fun colors at one of the three All-Star resorts.
If you have a large party, Art of Animation is a great option. It sleeps up to 6 in one of their family suites that are themed after popular Disney movies (The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and Finding Nemo). While one of these rooms may cost slightly more than the other value resorts, it is still cheaper than any deluxe resort and some of the upper scale moderate resorts. Pop Century is another great choice, with reasonable rates and a bright, funky atmosphere that is fun for everyone.
Keep in mind, these resorts are the furthest away from any of the Disney parks and has longer shuttle trips. They also have fewer amenities as the other categories, for example they do all have pools but no slides, and none of the value resorts have a table service restaurant. If these things are low on the list of what you want out of your trip, then any of these value resorts will be perfect for you!
List of Value Resorts:
- The All-Star Music Resort
- The All-Star Movies Resort
- The All-Star Sports Resort
- Pop Century Resort
- Art of Animation Resort
Disney’s moderate resorts are a happy middle for those who want a more immersive experience at their resort but don’t want to dish out a whole lot of money. While these resorts have higher rates than the value resorts, they are still pretty reasonable and if you choose off-peak times, you could find a good deal. All of the moderate resorts have pools with slides, are closer to one of the 4 main parks, and have one quick service cafeteria and one table service restaurant. Moderate resorts are much more detailed oriented and each has a unique theme. So if you stay at one, make sure to keep an eye out for all the small details.
Two of my favorite resorts on the property are moderate resorts: the Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter Resorts. Even though they are two different resorts, they are so close to each other that no matter which one you stay at, you can enjoy both. Riverside is the larger of the two, with French Quarter having fewer amounts of guests and shorter wait times to catch a shuttle to the parks. These resorts also have a boat that will take you between them and will also take you to Disney Springs. This was my favorite perk. With big, beautiful mansions, princess-themed rooms, and, of course, the famous beignets at the French Quarter, it’s easy to forget you’re in Florida and not The Big Easy.
List of Moderate Resorts:
- Port Orleans Riverside
- Port Orleans French Quarter
- The Carribean Beach Resort
- Coronado Springs
- The Cabins at Fort Wilderness
If you want the most out of your resort stay and don’t mind the price, deluxe resorts are for you! These magnificent resorts are top-notch and have the best theming, biggest rooms, and most amenities of all the resorts on property. They are also the closest to any of the parks and some are just a short walk away. You’ll find the best of the best food, with restaurants like Boma-Flavors of Africa at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary, and the famous Victoria and Albert’s at The Grand Floridian.
How would you like to sip your morning cup of coffee to the site of Cinderella’s castle? Or get a private viewing of the Happily Ever After Firework show at the Magic Kingdom? Then you might want to stay at one of the three resorts located right on Seven Seas Lagoon. These are the Grand Floridian, The Polynesian, and The Contemporary. All three are not only beautifully themed but also are in viewing distance of Magic Kingdom. With your choice of shuttle, boat, or monorail, getting to the park couldn’t be easier.
One resort I must mention is the Animal Kingdom Lodge. This resort is truly one-of-a-kind, with savannah view rooms that allow you to literally wake up to the African savannah (like giraffes!) right outside your window! This resort does have the smallest sized rooms of the deluxe resorts, but if that doesn’t bother you and you love animals, then you’ll love staying here.
List of Deluxe Resorts:
- The Contemporary Resort
- The Polynesian Resort
- The Grand Floridian Resort
- The Wilderness Lodge
- The Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Saratoga Springs
- Old Key West Resort
- The Beach Club
- The Yacht Club
- The Boardwalk
- Star Wars Resort (Opening date TBD)
There are many different choices for staying on the Disney World property and there is something for every type of Disney fan. No matter where you choose to stay, Disney never fails to make their guests feel all of the magic.