Disney is by far one of the best creators of childhood fantasy, bringing its beloved characters to life throughout a plethora of themed hotels and resorts around the world. On the top end, there’s the lavish Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, inviting guests to enjoy the best Disney has to offer in terms of luxury. But the tropical Disney Resort & Spa and all of Disney’s hotel properties are equally interesting, presenting the same level of detail as the theme parks or the movies. If your family’s ideal vacation involves meeting Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck, then read on, because we have some great ideas to share.
Rides Are Important, But So Are Beds
It’s difficult to choose which attraction to ride first on your visit at Walt Disney World. But do you know what’s even tougher? Deciding where to sleep after the fun ends. Given that the Magic Kingdom offers 25 different resorts to bed down, it can be rather overwhelming to pick the perfect one. Families with young kids will love the movie-themed suites at the Art of Animation Resort, while couples will prefer strolling through the parks and lawns of Port Orleans Riverside. And let’s not forget about the timeless elegance of the Grand Floridian, a resort that caters to all, whether you have children or grandparents in attendance.
The good news is that there’s an ideal property out there for you, no matter what you’re looking for or the kind of trip you’re planning. So we’ve crunched down the details to determine which resort is right for your Disney World vacation. For family reunions or fun-infused escapes, school vacations with primary kids or trips with the in-laws, these are the best hotels for your next Disney getaway.
So if you’re just starting to put together your vacation to Disney World, don’t book a hotel without reading the following guide. For your convenience, we have added booking links to TripAdvisor and Booking.com. Happy magical vacationing!
The most expensive offer of Disney, the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is an upscale option for anyone with enough money. Modern sophistication shakes hands with Victorian elegance at this lavish Disney Resort hotel. All you have to do is relax in the sumptuous lobby and enjoy the live orchestra, which plays jazz, ragtime, and popular Disney tunes. Take a walk, indulge in a luxurious massage or watch the fireworks light up the sky over Cinderella Castle – all of this is possible.
Don’t miss: Disney’s Wedding Pavilion is an absolute wonder to behold. If you time it right, you might just see a Disney bride emerging from Cinderella’s carriage on her wedding day.
2. Disney’s All Star Resorts
Five value-priced resorts similar in design and different in décor, the All Star Resorts are particularly family-friendly. Each of the five destinations has multiple themed buildings, with all rooms within walking distance to the main lobby. Rooms offer standard amenities, while the décor is minimal. However, each building is covered in large-scale theming, depending on which resort you chose. The five categories are Movies, Sports, Music, Pop Century, and Art of Animation. Giant specific objects decorate each of the resort, making them fun and kid-friendly vacationing choices.
Disney’s All Star Resorts are great for families and friends who plan to maximize their time in the parks and don’t mind where they stay the night. They are also the perfect choice for park guests who prefer spending their money on park rides and magical experiences rather than fancy lodging.
This is the newest (and by far the nicest) of Walt Disney World’s value-priced hotels. You get what you pay for, such as suites themed to popular animations and free access to the Blue Pool. The Finding Nemo water wonderland is thoroughly enjoyable by children and adults alike. The Animation Resort caters especially to young children who love Disney animated classics, as well as tweens who want to explore. The large-scale décor is a piece of art, making you feel like you’re walking in movies like The Little Mermaid or The Lion King while heading to the lobby each morning.
This destination is ideal for you if you’re looking for moderate-priced lodging paired with small manmade beaches and plenty of greenery. The resort offers six themed villages surrounding Biscayne Bay. Great for anyone who compromised going to Walt Disney World when they secretly wanted to spend their vacation on a relaxing beach trip. The overall vibe of this Disney resort does indeed feel like you’re on a Caribbean getaway.
Don’t miss: The spas and the Spanish-themed pool, which has two slides; the Caribbean Beach Resort is perfectly entertaining for any member of the group who skipped the day at the amusement park.
Are you into gorgeous, African safari-inspired experiences? Then this deluxe hotel is the perfect destination for you, with its multiple dining options and hotel rooms that look over the savannah. Children and adults alike will enjoy staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, but it’s an especially smart choice for couples on vacation who look for a hotel that’s as exciting as the parks themselves. The fact that the resort is so close to the wildlife preserve makes you feel like you’re spending the night on a safari.
Don’t miss: The iconic Victoria Falls Lounge just below the lobby are a sight to behold, as well as the amazing flamingos an arm’s length away on the far side of the Uzima Pool.
Winding staircases and large-scale hotel buildings – this is what Disney’s Port Orleans offers its guests. The waterfront resort is designed to look like sweeping Southern mansions, making it great for young children who are obsessed with princess and castle rooms. The Royal Guest Rooms, for instance, come with genie bottle faucets, light-enhanced fireworks headboards, and fairytale touches everywhere. The property appears far more high-end than it actually is simply because of its golden theming. In other words, a stay at this resort won’t make a whole in your wallet.
Don’t miss: Make sure you take a casual walk on the main pathway through the superb property, enjoying the gilded surroundings. A leisurely ferry ride down the Sassagoula River is, however, equally entertaining.
Located close to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, this resort has an atmosphere that’s reminiscent of the North America’s national parks. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is a high-end hotel that utilizes rock structures and giant waterfalls to evoke a quaint mountain town chalet. Book a room here if you hate wasting time on your vacation. Many of Disney’s hotel properties are wildly spread out, forcing travelers to walk great distances simply to catch the bus. That’s not the case at the Wilderness Lodge. Thanks to its modest size, you take just a short walk between dining, pools, ferry pick-up, transportation, and your room.
Don’t miss: If you are in the right place at the right time, you can watch the eruption of the life-like Fire Rock Geyser (it explodes every half hour).
Two of the most upscale offers in the Disney portfolio, these interconnected resorts evoke old school New England with a location that can’t be beat. Great for families who place a lot of value on convenience, both hotels are a quick boat ride or walk to Disney’s Hollywood Studio, and a very short walk to Epcot’s World Showcase.
Don’t miss: You must visit Beaches & Cream, the best ice cream parlor at Walt Disney World. We challenge you to order the massive Kitchen Sink, which is topped with an entire can of whipped cream.
A deluxe-priced resort, the Disney’s Contemporary includes a large-scale mural by Mary Blair and a monorail track through the lobby. What a crazy idea! The resort is perfect for old-school Disney fans, or anyone planning to spend all of their evenings at Magic Kingdom. In addition to its history, the Contemporary is also the only hotel within easy walking distance of the Magic Kingdom. The proximity is also the reason why many night owls prefer to stay at this resort.
Don’t miss: The fireworks from California Grill, the rooftop restaurant of the Contemporary. If you can’t get your hand on a reservation, simply grab a table in the lounge or a seat at the bar. The view is equally spectacular.
A high-end hotel, the BoardWalk Inn comes with an attached entertainment area that features many turn-of-the-century Atlantic City amusements. It’s the ideal accommodation for families who want to have plenty of activities and options. The boardwalk is – evidently – the best part of BoardWalk Inn. Dining, shopping, and seaside sweets are all in walking distance from the lobby.
Don’t miss: The Luna Park Pool, with its waterside wooden coaster and Coney Island-inspired pool, is a must-see.