Saturday, June 25, 2022

Best Onsite Disney World Hotel

Renting A House Can Be More Comfortable

Onsite Vs Offsite Disney World Hotels

Going with a big group to Disney World? Then staying off-site in a house may be more comfortable than a Disney World hotel room. On a recent extended family trip we debated staying at Pop Century or splitting a house.

The house was less expensive per person plus gave the kids extra room to play both inside and out. One potential downside to sharing a house with family is you are together all day every day of the trip. For some extended families this works great. For other families a hotel is better because each family unit has their own dedicated space.

Enjoy More Time In The Parks

Early Theme Park Entry

As part of The Worlds Most Magical Celebration, Guests of Disney Resort hotels can get a 30-minute jump on their Disney day with early theme park entryavailable at all 4 Walt Disney World theme parks.

Early theme park entry gives you a head start in the parks, so youll have access to select attractions, shops and dining before regular hours. And, you can enjoy this benefit on each day of your stayin any park, subject to capacity.

For early theme park entry, youll need valid admission, a park reservation and Key to the World Card or MagicBand.

Extended Evening Theme Park Hours

Also beginning in October, Guests staying at Disney Deluxe Resort Hotels or Disney Deluxe Villas can enjoy extended evening hoursexperiencing select attractions, shops and dining after regular park hoursin select theme parks on select nights.

Together with early theme park entryavailable to all Disney Resort hotel Guestsyoull get to arrive earlier and stay later so you can maximize your time in the parks during the Worlds Most Magical Celebration!

Walt Disney World Swan And Dolphin Resorts

Like a few other properties on this list, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts aren’t Disney-owned properties, but their close proximity to the parks and on-site Disney resort benefits make them worth checking out. Plus, Marriott Bonvoy members will be happy to know that they can earn points here because these are Marriott-managed hotels. Guests can enjoy perks like early entry and extended hours at Disney parks and complimentary transportation . The hotels offer a range of suites and guest rooms, six pools, and 18 restaurants and lounges. Plus, the brand-new Walt Disney World Swan Reserve opens in fall 2021.

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The Four Seasons Orlando

Central Floridas only true five-star Mobil resort, The Four Seasons is in its own league for service, design, pool amenities, and room comforts. This is the best Disney World hotel if it is within your budget.

The park-view rooms face all of the Disney parks as well as beautiful sunsets and fireworks in the distance. Standard rooms come with a king bed and queen-sized sleeper sofa. We love the intimate feel of hotel and the luxurious rooms.

We think it offers the best character meal in all of Disney World, the Goofy & Friends Breakfast offered Saturdays and Thursdays. The pool complex is one of the best in Florida for kid-friendly options, attentive service, and design. The kids club is free of charge. Four Seasons guests now qualify for Extra Magic Hours and a 60-day Fastpass booking window. Park transportation is provided by luxury coaches that run on a set schedule.

Read Four Seasons Orlando 11 Reasons We Cant Stay Away . And this is a resort where we have access to extra special amenities for guests.

Best Disney Resort Hotel For Multigenerational Family Vacations

Best &  Worst Disney World Value Resorts Ranked: Onsite vs. Offsite ...

Families looking for a hotel that appeals to multiple generations should try Disneys Beach Club Resort . This deluxe-level hotel has one of the best pools at Walt Disney World, Stormalong Bay, a sandy-bottom pool with three different lagoon areas, a waterslide, and a shipwreck. Disneys Beach Club is inspired by 19th century New England beach cottages, and older generations will appreciate the one- and two-bedroom home-away-from-home vacation villas.

Theres easy theme park access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios by boat, as well as bus transportation to the Magic Kingdom and Disneys Animal Kingdom. After a day at the theme park, indulge in a decadent treat at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, where families can share the Kitchen Sink, eight scoops of ice cream smothered in every topping you can find.

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Other Differences At The Value Resorts

Here are some other differences between the value resorts:

  • The theme at movies is slightly more Disney in the traditional sense that you have giant Woody, Buzz, and Dalmatians sitting around

  • Pop Century has a slightly better food court than the All-Stars Art of Animation has the best food court of the value resorts

  • All-Star Sports is just a wild west of teens and tweens that we avoid at all cost

  • You can walk easily among the All-Star Resorts you can walk easily between Pop Century and Art of Animation

And just for completeness, here are some quick profiles of the value resorts.

Disneys Beach Club Villas

Guests at Disneys Beach Club Villas receive exclusive access to Stormalong Bay at Disneys Yacht Club Resort, a 3-acre park with pools, lagoons, waterslides, a shipwreck and more. Disneys Beach Club Villas also provides Sandcastle Club, a supervised activity center for kids, as well as villas with fully equipped kitchens and in some cases, room for up to eight people. Nightly clambakes, volleyball and campfires round out the fun for families.

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No: Disneys Port Orleans Resort Riverside

The highlight of a stay here is booking a Royal Room at Port Orleans Riverside.

The Royal Room has all the gilded touches required by a Royal Queen, or little Princess or Prince.

Think golds, royal blues, and royal reds, complete with ornate swirls and decoration on all surfaces and youll be right on target.

Dont miss the Ol Man Island pool swimmin hole ride the 95-foot old mill themed waterslide among the waterfalls or spin in the whirlpool spa.

Kids love the rustic timber pole playground inspired by riverboat life.

This is the best Disney World resort for kids who love to swim and climb, and who are always on the go.

Image credit: Lara Danielle via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

Disneys Pop Century Resort

The Best Offsite Resorts for Your Disney Vacation

Giant yo-yos, floppy discs and mood rings adorn the buildings and will bring back a wave of nostalgia for parents and a deluge of questions from kids like, Whats an 8-track, Mommy?

The layout of Disneys Pop Century is very similar to the property just across the lake, Art of Animation. Theres a central building with check-in, bus stops, shopping and a cafeteria-style food court. The main pool, the Hippy Dippy Pool, is just outside. Unlike the Moderate and Deluxe resorts, you wont find slides or heavy theming in the pool areas.

The low-rise buildings spread across the complex are themed for different decades. The guest rooms are small but make efficient use of space with a fold-up Murphy bed that converts into a desk when not in use. All the rooms have been refreshed, so you wont have to worry about really old carpeting and funky smells. One highlight is the newer connection to the parks via the Disney Skyliner.

Still, your primary reason for choosing Pop Century probably isnt the 20-foot tall 8-track tapes: Its the price. If the bottom dollar is what youre after, Pop Century is likely one of your top picks. And in that case, enjoy. The Skyliner really does elevate things a notch or two.

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Perks Of Staying At A Disney Hotel

Now, the perks! Things have changed the last few months, so if youre getting back to planning a postponed trip or you just havent kept up to date on things, be prepared for some surprises.

We also might mention the non-Disney hotels a few times in this section. Its important to remember, though, that the specifics of the non-Disney hotels change frequently, so you always need to confirm the latest set of benefits directly with your hotel when you book.

Last thingalmost all of these perks are consistent across all Disney hotels. The big exception is Extended Evening Hours, which is available only to guests of Disney Deluxe Hotels and DVC resorts. For the other perks, it doesnt matter whether youre staying at All Star Sports or Grand Floridian.

Disney Deluxe Resort Benefits And Amenities


Aside from the luxury of the resorts themselves, distance to parks and ease in transportation is a huge benefit of the Disney deluxe resorts. A majority of them are significantly closer to one or more of the Disney parks than value or moderate resort hotels. Also, there’s a variety of transportation options, including boats, monorails and the new Disney Skyliner.

Disney’s Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian Resorts are all just a monorail ride away from Magic Kingdom. The Contemporary offers a short walking path to Magic Kingdom and the Grand Floridian has a new walking bridge, as well. The Polynesian, Grand Floridian and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge also offer boat access to Magic Kingdom. Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts and Disney’s BoardWalk Inn are within walking distance to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Guests staying on the BoardWalk can also make the quick walk to the EPCOT Skyliner transportation hub for a magical flight to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is the closest deluxe hotel to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. All Walt Disney World Resort hotels offer bus service around the property. Keep in mind that your favorite park may play a part in which resort you pick!


Each of the Disney deluxe resorts has a little market that allows you to purchase essentials, from toothpaste to a pint of ice cream. These small stores are a great place to stock up on snacks.



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No: Disneys Beach Club Villas

Book your Disney Vacation club stay here at this New England style resort and youll have access to the Stormalong Bay shipwreck water wonderland:

  • ride the pool slide
  • lay back for a leisurely cruise along the lazy river, or
  • laze your time away in the whirlpool spas.

You can also book a Goofy character breakfast at Cape May Cafe.

Close to both EPCOT and Disneys Hollywood Studios .

This is the best Disney hotel for families who love water parks as its up there in the best Disney pools for kids list.

Image credit: Loren Javier via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

Best Disney Cruise Ships

Best &  Worst Disney World Value Resorts Ranked: Onsite vs. Offsite ...

There are more Disney places to stay than the hotels.

Theres Disney Cruise ships rooms to experience too.

The Disney Cruise Ship names are:

  • Disney Dream
  • Disney Fantasy
  • Disney Wonder

The Brand New Disney Wish boat is due to set sail for the first time in the Summer of 2022 with all new Disney experiences and Disney workshops.

Booking a Disney Cruise holiday is a complete all-in-one vacation with:

  • Disney characters
  • Disney entertainment and shows, and more.

These floating Disney kids hotels are everything you imagine, and MORE!

Its a great way to enjoy Disney for toddlers too, without the worry of them wandering off in the parks.

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Grand Floridian Resort And Spa

Disneys Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is considered the flagship resort of Walt Disney World.

With its magnificent architecture, white sandy beaches, Victorian-themed lobby , red gabled roofs, and stark white walls, the Grand Floridian exudes a classiness not found elsewhere in Disney World.

The resorts rooms are some of the largest at Disney and are full of luxurious details.

But with this elegance comes a steep price the resort has the most expensive standard rooms in the park.

Despite the ultra-classy feel, Grand Floridian manages to have some simpler elements. The Alice in Wonderland themed childrens pool area and the Arcadia Games arcade are great for kids. Plus, there is a host of other on-site activities geared towards the young and restless.

At the Grand Floridian, the finer things dont disappoint.

Dining options include the Five Diamond Award-winning Victoria & Alberts restaurant, the Mediterranean-influenced cuisine of CĂ­tricos, and other amazing cafes, grills, lounges, and pool bars.

Guests can indulge at Senses, a Victorian-themed, full-service spa, and health club that offers massages and body treatments.

The resort is just one monorail stop away from Magic Kingdom, a boat ride away from Wilderness Lodge, and easily accessible to nearby Magic Kingdom Resorts. Epcot is also accessible by monorail. However, bus transportation is necessary to reach other destinations.

Bottom Line:

If money was no object, then this would be the place to stay.

Rooms: 857

How To Rent Dvc Points From Davids Vacation Club

Fill out a form with your top resort choices and dates and make a refundable deposit to start the booking process. Davids team begins seeing what owners and points match, and they respond with availability. You can tell them to keep looking, choose something, or ask for your refund.

In my times using them, the first time they came up with nothing I wanted, but I asked to be put on a wait list. I did get a call from them with availability and booked at that time. The second time I asked for a refund, and it was issued quickly.

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Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Best for: Families, couples

On-site amenities: Multiple pools, tennis, volleyball, boat rentals, fishing, bars, fine dining, and casual restaurants.

Pros: The resort has a relaxed vibe and really captures New England style. If you are a seafood fan, a visit to the Ale & Compass with offerings such as their signature New England seafood pot pie or the fresh catch-of-the-day is a must.

Cons: The resort is refined and may not be as enticing for children compared to some of the other resort options.

Located alongside Disney’s Boardwalk, which is teeming with dining and nightlife, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is an ideal match for guests looking for a relaxed yet sophisticated experience with easy access to other attractions.

Inspired by classic New England-style yacht clubs, this waterfront hotel features tasteful nautical touches and a sand-bottom pool. It’s a short walk from Epcot and a leisurely boat ride to Hollywood Studios and is located on the Disney Skyliner line, making it a convenient choice for visiting multiple parks in one visit.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Best for: Families, couples

On-site amenities: 3 pools, bars and restaurants, salon

Pros: The hotel is right next to the Boardwalk where there is a variety of dining, drinking, and entertainment options,

Cons: The rooms can seem a bit dated, but there’s so much to do, you probably won’t be in the room much.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Best for: Families, couples

Rent Dvc Points To Save Lots

Onsite Vs. Offsite Hotel at Disney World (WDW Planning part 2)

Because of the on-property convenience fee built into the deluxe Disney resort prices, its always a good to use every saving strategy. The best money saving tip we use is to book the Disney Vacation Club rentals by renting DVC points from owners. The other benefit besides saving money is that the DVC rental options are often newer and more comfortably appointed than the hotel rooms.

Rather than booking from strangers, we use Davids Vacation Club as the intermediary service that protects renters and represents the owners.

You can rent Disney Vacation club points to stay at the best onsite Disney hotels provided that they can match you with an owner. Aulani, the Grand Californian at Disneyland, and the Vero Beach property are also options as Disney Vacation Club villas.

The Davids DVC rental site has a point and cash calculator that shows the point and cash amount based on your travel dates at the DVC properties. Using points offers a considerable discount. Seriously, check out your stay dates for yourself on Davids DVC calculator vs. on TripAdvisor as a hotel reservation.

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The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Best for: Families, couples, extended families

On-site amenities: 2 pools, beach, spa, salon, shop, fitness facilities, bars, gourmet restaurants, casual dining

Pros: This iconic resort is close to the Magic Kingdom and is one of the most luxurious hotels in all of Walt Disney World. Staying here is highly memorable.

Cons: The hotel is sophisticated and may not be a match if you looking for something more akin to your children’s style. If you don’t plan on spending much time at the hotel, this might not be worth it since it is more expensive that most other resorts.

The most regal of all the Walt Disney World resorts, the Grand Floridian Resort reflects Victorian elegance and lavish style. As such, it’s also expensive. But despite being a luxury property, it still can cater to families, weddings, and couples looking for a romantic escape.

Inspired by the legendary Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, California, this sophisticated resort features a majestic lobby, manicured grounds, a white-sand beach, a spa, and is just one stop away from the Magic Kingdom on the Monorail. The resort is also home to the award-winning Victoria & Albert’s, considered to be one of the finest dining experiences in central Florida. I am also a big fan of the relatively new Enchanted Rose, a whimsical “Beauty and the Beast” themed bar in the main building.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Best for: Families, couples

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Best Budget: Disneys Art Of Animation Resort

Disneys Art of Animation Resort

This fun hotel truly feels like youre immersed in a Disney movie and has the largest pool of any Walt Disney World hotel.

  • Evening pizza delivery to rooms

  • Long walks to some rooms

  • Cafeteria-style dining only

  • Large resort can be hard to navigate

For a hotel that truly makes you feel like youre in a Disney movie, choose Disneys Art of Animation Resort. This sprawling property features two kinds of rooms: standard value studios that sleep up to four people and family suites that sleep up to six.

There are four distinct areas of Art of Animation, each themed to a beloved Disney film. “The Little Mermaid” area has a smaller themed pool and enormous, 35-foot-tall statues of King Triton, Ursula, and Ariel. “The Lion King” area features its own Pride Rock. The “Cars” area is themed like the Cozy Cone Motel and features statues of characters light Lightning McQueen and Mater, and a themed pool. The “Finding Nemo” area at the center of the property features the Big Blue Pool, a gorgeous ocean-inspired swimming area with statues of Nemo and his friends, which is under refurbishment until at least the end of April 2021.

  • Great vibe with lots of entertainment

  • Lots of pedestrian traffic

  • Not officially a Disney resort

  • Limited transportation to theme parks

  • High price point

  • Can be pricey

  • Not officially a Disney resort

  • Daily resort fee

  • Original Disney resort with classic Disney touches

  • Busy resort with many non-guests on the property

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