Choosing Your Walt Disney World Hotel
Almost 90% of TouringPlans users stay at a Disney hotel during their trips. Beyond the convenience and amenities, users say they enjoy being in the Disney bubble the special magic and peace of mind associated with staying inside Walt Disney World.
One family sums it up like this:
I feel more a part of everything and less like a visitor.
Consider a Disney Hotel First
Weve stayed at over 100 hotels in and around Walt Disney World hotel research is one of our core areas of work. We think most families first choice should be an on-site hotel at Walt Disney World. The slightly higher cost is generally more than offset by these benefits:
Disney World Hotel Categories
Disney groups its resorts into five main categories:
- Value Resorts have the lowest rates, along with the smallest rooms and amenities.
- Moderate Resorts are a step up from the Values in room quality, amenities, and cost.
- Deluxe Resorts are Disneys top-of-the-line hotels, with extensive themeing, luxurious rooms, and superior on-site dining, recreation, and services.
- Deluxe Villa Resorts are part of the Disney Vacation Club timeshare, these are studio, 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom suites with kitchens. Most are attached to a Deluxe resort, and many equal or surpass Deluxe resorts in quality. They can also be a better value.
- Fort Wilderness Campground offers upscale tent, RV, and cabin camping.
Is It “Just a Place to Sleep”?
Disney’s Best Value Hotels
Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Victorian Theme
- Located on the Monorail Track
In my opinion, the Grand Floridian is overall the best Disney World resort for adults. Youll realize the moment you walk through the doors of the Grand Floridian resort that this isnt any old run-of-the-mill theme park hotel. This is Disney Worlds flagship resort and its the finest youll find on property. The Grand Floridian is best deluxe Disney World resort for adults and offers the ultimate grown-up getaway.
I actually like this one so much that I spent the first night of my honeymoon here before leaving for Europe.
The entire Grand Floridian property is a perfect display of Victorian grandeur. Its refined and tasteful- perfect for an adult escape from the typical Disney World themes.
The center of the main building is its five-story lobby, one of the most beautiful places in all of Disney World. It features Italian marble floors, massive chandeliers, an open cage elevator, and more. Youll see performances from the resorts pianist and performances from the orchestra at night.
Outdoors, youll find that the grounds of the Grand Floridian are as beautiful as the resorts indoor areas. Upscale pools, lounging areas, and recreation areas dot the landscape. The entire resort is situated along Disneys Seven Seas Lagoon, providing guests with a nice waterfront view. In the evening, youll also have an awesome view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks and the Electrical Water Pageant.
What Is The Best Disney Resort For The Money
If you are looking at a resort as a destination and not just a place to sleep, the Polynesian has everything you need for a wonderful and memorable getaway with fantastic pools, great restaurants, a quirky tiki bar, and a beach with hammocks.
Otherwise, the Boardwalk, at a couple of hundred dollars less per night, is a great choice since it is centrally located, has a fun pool, and lots of dining and entertainment options.
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The Swan & Dolphin Hotels
Technically not an official Disney hotel, guests of the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin hotels receive almost all of the same benefits except airport transfers on the Magical Express. We recommend The Swan, which corresponds to a Westin property. Its located next to the Boardwalk resort and shares water shuttles to Epcot and Hollywood Studios with the Epcot area Disney resorts.
This Epcot area resort is one of the best Disney World Hotels for those who can use Marriott Bonvoy points to save on a Disney vacation.
The on-site restaurants between the Swan and Dolphin are very strong, too. Blue Zoo, Kimonos Sushi are favorites.
Read about our favorite rooms at the Walt Disney World Swan.
Best Disney World Resort For A Break From Disney
We love Disney, but well admit that sometimes its nice to have a brief break from its intensity.
Disney Worlds newest hotel is also its best for travelers who want to stay near the magic without living with Mickey and friends 24/7.
To put it another way, this may be the best hotel for adults who need to balance a Disney trip with the real world.
Disneys Riviera Resort is on the Disney Skyliner, making it easy to access Hollywood Studios and Epcot. But youll almost feel like youre vacationing on the Mediterranean thanks to the decor, music and culinary program.
At this Deluxe resort, youll find all the usual Disney amenities, including a character breakfast, but its just a touch more refined and grown-up without being stuffy. With Tangled- and Peter Pan-inspired mosaics to marble bathrooms that might be the nicest in Disney, were serious Riviera fans.
Dont worry if you want to bring the kids. Theres plenty for them to enjoy, too, including poolside gelato, a tower slide and our favorite toddler splash area at Disney World.
This is also where youll find one of our absolute favorite Disney character meals brunch at Topolinos Terrace.
Another great option to feel a million miles away from the theme parks is Disneys Wilderness Lodge, which is a wooded, peaceful retreat that feels like a national park but is really just a boat ride from the Magic Kingdom.
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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Start each day by greeting giraffes, zebras, and other animals when you stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. With an African safari feel, this resort offers an experience unlike anything found elsewhere in the United States. The Deluxe resort is located near Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, but it feels like it’s part of the park thanks to the animal programs and savanna-view rooms. Other on-site amenities include themed pools and unique dining experiences showcasing African flavors.
Disney’s Art Of Animation Resort
Best for: Families
On-site amenities: 3 pools, playground, restaurant, pool bar
Pros: The theming here is strong, in particular in the suites and pools, which makes things even more fun for families. Another big perk of staying here is that the Disney Skyliner stops at the resort, which is a very efficient way to get around.
Cons: This hotel has limited dining and drinking establishments and the style of the hotel is geared towards children, so it may not be a fit for a couple on an adult vacation.
The Art of Animation resort, one of the more affordable, budget-friendly options within Walt Disney World resorts pays homage to the colorful characters of Disney and Pixar movies.
Themed rooms and suites are modeled after movies such as “The Little Mermaid,” “The Lion King,” “Finding Nemo,” and “Cars.” Rooms and grounds are a bit more standard and bare-bones and not as immersive or luxurious as other Disney properties. However, you’ll still enjoy prime Disney perks, especially being adjacent to the Disney Skyline, making this a good option for those who want easy access to the parks but don’t have the added budget to splurge on an expensive resort.
COVID-19 procedures are available here.
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Epcot Area Deluxe Resorts
Disneys Riviera Resort Review The newest Epcot-area resort is not located at Crescent Lake within walking distance of the park like the two below, but is accessible via a direct Skyliner ride. Disneys Riviera Resort is a mixed bag, with minimal theming, lazy architecture, and the location being the biggest downsides. In addition to the Skyliner, the Riviera offers a formidable slate of upscale dining, elegant rooms, and other features that will appeal to many guests. As big fans of Disneys iconic themed design, Riviera Resort is not for us. Your mileage may vary. .
Disneys BoardWalk Inn Review We love BoardWalk for its walking-distance proximity to Epcot and Disneys Hollywood Studios, plus charming turn-of-the-century Atlantic boardwalk theme. Rooms here are attractive and fairly subdued while still being well-themed. Price and bus service are the main downsides. BoardWalk also lacks a full counter service restaurant, although several alternatives exist around Crescent Lake. .
Orlando Vacation Homes Near Disney World
Impressive options for truly luxurious vacation homes exist in Orlando. Check out this 9-bedroom home we featured with a Belle themed princess bedroom, an Avengers game room, and a life size Hogwarts Express that slept six!
Encore Reunion Resort is unique in that guests experience a full service resort while enjoying their own vacation home with a private pool. Compared to other Orlando vacation home options, Encore offers check in, room service, housekeeping options for all of its home rental guests.
Houses begin at three bedroom and go up to twelve bedrooms. The resort boasts a large waterpark for children as well as four giant waterslides.
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Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts
In this section, were going to give an overview of the deluxe resorts and then move onto a location-by-location breakdown of the hotels. When we get to individual hotels, well quickly list some best and worst points for for each, but its important to remember that the below listThings Every Deluxe Resort Hasand the area-specific discussions will also be relevant to your decisions.
The Best And Worst Disney World Resorts At Every Price Point
Whether you are planning your first or your one hundredth trip to Walt Disney World, selecting the perfect resort to fit your needs is a big job. A Walt Disney World vacation can be a magical experience, and choosing to stay on property definitely adds an extra bit of pixie dust to your vacation. But with over 30 accommodations from which to choose, it can be hard to whittle it down.
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Disneys Port Orleans Resort Riverside And French Quarter
Rates start at: $227.00Transportation Options: Boat, Bus
- Pros:Just a boat ride away from Disney Springs! This is a great option for groups who plan on enjoying the shopping, dining and nightlife that Disney Springs has to offer. The theme throughout both sections are beautiful, giving a southern charm feel throughout the grounds. Plus, theres plenty of pathways for quiet strolls accompanied by beautiful landscapes and scenery. We find this to be one of the best Disney World deluxe resorts for adults.
- Cons:With such vast grounds, getting around the resort itself can be time-consuming. Even when going to or coming home from the parks, there are multiple bus stops throughout the property which essentially eats away at your time.
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Best Of The Disney World Hotels To Savor And Splurge
Families looking to pamper themselves and indulge in luxury should head to the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World. This ultra-luxury resort hotel is located near the campsites at Fort Wilderness inside the gated residential community of Golden Oak at Walt Disney World. The Four Seasons Orlando features a state-of-the-art spa with both indoor and outdoor treatments in 18 rooms and gardens.
Theres also a Tom Fazio-designed golf course on the property. Kids will enjoy the five-acre Explorer Island water park complete with a zero-entry family pool, waterslides, splash pad, rock climbing wall, and sand volleyball courts. At the end of the day, head to one of the Four Seasons Orlandos three restaurants including a 17th floor rooftop steakhouse with views of the nightly fireworks at Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
The Top 10 Disney Resorts Ranked From Best To Worst
If youre planning to stay on property during your Disney World vacation, its important to choose the right resort. There are so many different places to stay, and each resort has a unique theme and atmosphere. All resorts offer amenities like transportation, a pool, dining services, a gift shop and more. There are several other factors to consider when choosing a resort.
As you research resorts, think about:
- Price What is your budget?
- Location Are you planning on visiting one resort more than others?
- Transportation How are you planning on getting to the parks?
- Kid-Friendly What activities will keep children entertained?
- Time How much time are you going to spend at the resort?
- Dining Are you planning to eat at the resort or in the parks?
This list will give an example of a typical day that can be spent at each resort. Try to imagine you and the rest of your party staying there. As you narrow down your choices, be sure to check out the official list of Disney World resorts for a more detailed description of the ones you like and the resorts that didnt make it to this list.
Each family and group are unique, so you should find something that fits exactly what you want. The top Disney World hotels on this list have qualities that can make your vacation even more memorable.
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Davids Vacation Club Rentals Are Not Hotel Reservations
Davids vacation rentals are considered DVC reservations, not hotel reservations. They are made through the regular Disney site of DVC villas by the owner.
And the reservation will be treated like a DVC one, meaning that the resorts will not provide daily mousekeeping since it isnt classified as a hotel reservation.
Most important to note, theyre nonrefundable and non-changeable. Unfortunately the inflexibility doesnt work for everyone.
Disney Dining Plans can be added 30 days before check in. The plan must be the duration of the reservation without exception. The owner of the Disney point rental must call the DVC center and add the dining plan to the reservation and pay in full.
To avoid giving a credit card to a stranger, Davids suggests buying Disney gift cards in the amount of the plans costs.
Port Orleans French Quarter
2020 Rates : $246 – $392Review of Port Orleans Resort French Quarter
French Quarter is our go-to of the moderate resorts because its the only moderate resort to have a single bus stop. While it sometimes shares buses with Riverside in off-hours, during peak times you wont have to make the multiple stops around the resort like in the other moderate resorts. Youre also never more than a five-minute walk from the main building.
But as weve written everywhere, the moderate resorts dont do it for us. A low-priced deluxe option is a much better treat, and budget trips are just as well spent in the value resorts .
Those issues aside, the theming of French Quarter is fun, and it has a good food court. The rooms recently received a soft refurbishment, which is hiding their age a little, but theyre starting to lag behind other rooms on property.
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Best Disney Value Resorts
Value resorts can be wait for it a way to get exceptional value with Disney resort perks, close proximity to the parks and the free Magical Express Bus to and from Orlando International Airport until the end of 2021. They can also be a big disappointment.
Your mileage will vary, but if youre on a serious budget for your Disney World vacation, they should be a consideration. Prices start a little over $100 per night and go up to nearly $300 per night on peak dates. But, for most of the year, rooms typically sell for under $200 per night.
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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Best For Using Hotel Points: Swan Reserve
Walt Disney World Swan Reserve is shiny and new, having opened recently in November 2021. This is a Marriott property, so you can use loyalty points at this Autograph Collection hotel yet still end up smackdab in the middle of Disney. Epcot and Disneys Hollywood Studios are within walking distance of the Swan Reserve, which offers great views of the park from floor-to-ceiling windows in each of the nearly 350 rooms. .
Disneys Grand Floridian Resort And Spa
The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa gives you access to all of Walts favorite things like trains on tracks leading into Main Street USA or a monorail that winds through EPCOT center.
The rooms are designed with classic Victorian style furniture complete with ornate mirrors and rich fabrics for an authentic feel which makes it easy to forget where your home really was just hours before checking in.
You can also take advantage of many other amenities such as tennis courts, pools , spas services both medical grade spa treatments inside our iconic hotel lobby at HealthZone® by Electrolux s Club Level plus fitness
It is said that the Grand Floridian was originally conceived as a Victorian-style hotel and built in 1890. Its name comes from its location, which overlooks Lake Buena Vista with Walt Disney World Resort to one side of it and Downtown Orlando to the other.
Nestled between two major tourist destinations where guests can be pampered both before their respective parks then after they leave them without ever having to leave hotel!
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