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How to Choose the Right Disney World Resort Hotel

Choosing the right Disney World Resort hotel can feel like a daunting task! At the time of writing, counting all the resorts and the villas, there are 29 properties at Walt Disney World! While some of the DVC properties are co-located with other resorts, that\’s still a lot of resorts to explore, and it\’s hard to choose one! 

Luckily there are resorts for all budgets and needs. Maybe price is most important to you, or maybe you\’re willing to pay for the convenience of being close to a park. We\’ll find an option for you! Let\’s jump right in!

Value resorts are the most economical resorts on property. The rooms are fairly small but functional. Those that have recently been refurbished include All Star Movies and Pop Century; All Star Music is in process now. These Value resorts have one queen bed and a queen sized Murphy bed. The other Value resorts not yet refurbished have two full-sized beds. The theming here is over-the-top Disney with large icons and fun colors! The pools do not have slides. All Value Resorts have a nice food court and provide bus transportation to all parks. These resorts include All Star Movies, All Star Sports, All Star Music, Pop Century, and Art of Animation Little Mermaid rooms. These rooms will sleep up to four people plus a little one under age 3. Value Resorts are best for people on a tighter budget or those who just want a place to sleep because they\’ll be in the parks all day!

The new updated rooms at Pop Century, All Star Movies, and All Star Music are modern and updated with hardwood floors, lots of storage, a queen bed, and a new full-sized Murphy bed!

Art of Animation family suites and the family suites at All Star Music do have different layouts than the other Value Resorts. Both can sleep up to 6 plus an infant with a suite setup. These have two bathrooms and a kitchenette with mini-fridge, microwave, coffee pot and bar sink.

Art of Animation: Cars Family Suite

Value Resort Pros:

  1. Most affordable option

  2. Fun, over-the-top theming really appeals to kids

  3. Food courts have lots of variety

Value Resort Cons:

  1. Rooms are fairly small

  2. Property is large and spread out

  3. No sit down restaurant options

  4. Only bus transportation to the parks

Moderate Resorts are a step up from the Value resorts with larger rooms, plusher towels and linens, queen sized beds, and pools with slides and several have splash pads. Additionally, the rooms will have ceiling fans. Most have a food court and a sit-down restaurant. The theming is more subtle–not quite so IN YOUR FACE Disney–but more of location theme! Bus transportation is the primarily mode of transportation to all parks; the Skyliner gondola system is available at Caribbean Beach Resort to get to Hollywood Studios and Epcot while boat transportation is available at Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter to go to Disney Springs (shopping and dining district). Boat transportation is also available from Fort Wilderness to get to Magic Kingdom; an internal bus is required to reach the boat dock. Moderate resorts include Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter, Coronado Springs (as well as Gran Destino tower), Caribbean Beach, and Fort Wilderness Cabins. 

Caribbean Beach Resort

Coronado Springs and Port Orleans French Quarter rooms primarily sleep four in two queen beds plus an infant under age 3; Port Orleans Riverside and Caribbean Beach have the ability to sleep up to 5 with a small twin-sized Murphy bed. The Cabins at Fort Wilderness can sleep up to 6 and have a full kitchen. The cabins run a little bit higher in price than the other Moderates. Except for Port Orleans French Quarter, all Moderates have a table service restaurant as well as quick service location; French Quarter guests can quickly get over to Riverside to use their restaurants as well. The Moderates are best for people who want a little nicer accommodations or for those who plan to spend some time at their resort and want a nicer pool or dining options. 

Moderate Resort Pros:

Coronado Springs Resort Pool

  1. Good compromise between Value Resorts and Deluxe Resorts

  2. More dining options

  3. Nicer linens and pools

  4. Some alternate transportation options

  5. Some king bed room options available

Moderate Resort Cons:

  1. Property is still fairly large and spread out

  2. Multiple bus stops (may be a pro and a con!)

  3. No balconies

  4. No character meal options

Deluxe Resorts are the next step up. They are generally located very close to one of the four main parks. The rooms are larger and all have queen beds, nicer towels and linens, better shampoo and conditioner, and balconies or patios. Some have a bunk bed option. 

These resorts have a quick service option, a sit down restaurant, and a signature (higher end) restaurant. Some also have character dining. Pools have slides and chair-side bar staff. The Deluxe Resorts include Grand Floridian, Contemporary, Polynesian Village, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Boardwalk, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Wilderness Lodge.

Grand Floridian Resort

For the Deluxe Resorts, transportation options vary depending on the resort. Grand Floridian, Contemporary and Polynesian Village each have the monorail to Magic Kingdom and Epcot (must transfer monorail lines) buses to other parks. Sometimes they run boats to Magic Kingdom as well. Wilderness Lodge has a boat to Magic Kingdom; buses to other parks. Beach Club, Yacht Club, and Boardwalk have boats and walking paths to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios in addition to the new Skyliner gondola to Hollywood Studios; buses to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Animal Kingdom Lodge has buses to all parks, but it is a very short bus ride to Animal Kingdom.

Deluxe Resorts primarily can sleep up to 5 people plus an infant under age 3. Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge are the exceptions; they only sleep four plus an infant. Deluxe Resorts are best for people who are looking for higher end accommodations, want easy transportation to at least one park, and/or want to spend more time enjoying their resort and amenities. These resorts also have club level options for those who want even more out of their resort stay with special concierge, snacks, drinks, and a lounge.

Animal Kingdom Lodge lobby

Deluxe Resort Pros:

  1. Lots of dining options

  2. Larger rooms

  3. Balconies or patios and interior hallways

  4. Rooms with views of lakes or parks are available

  5. Close proximity to at least one park

  6. Nice pools

Deluxe Resort Cons:

  1. More expensive

  2. Smaller quick service locations

  3. Resort restaurants attract other guests making hotel and lobby busier

  4. Resort theming may feel less kid-friendly

Deluxe Villa Resorts are fairly comparable to the Deluxe Resorts but set up a little differently. These were built for Disney Vacation Club members but anyone can book these and stay here. They have studios and 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom options. Pools are nice and have slides; several of the properties sit adjacent to Deluxe Resorts and share the pools and dining. Studios have a queen bed with a queen sofa bed and kitchenettes; the larger villas have full kitchens and many have laundry facilities within the villa, too. Some have multiple bathrooms and can sleep a variety of options from a party of four up to parties of 9. 

Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge

These properties include Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, Villas at the Grand Floridian, Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas (Kidani Village and Jambo House), Beach Club Villas, Boardwalk Villas, Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge, Copper Creek Villas & Cabins, Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, Riviera Resort, and Bay Lake Tower. 

Transportation options vary by property. Saratoga Springs and Old Key west rely on buses except for boats to Disney Springs. Kidani Village and Jambo House villas use only buses. Beach Club, Yacht Club, and Boardwalk have walking paths to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios as well as boats and the Skyliner to access those parks; they use buses to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Boulder Ridge and Copper Creek have a boat to Magic Kingdom but utilize buses to all other parks. Riviera has the opportunity to use the Skyliner to Epcot and Hollywood Studios; buses to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Finally, Bay Lake Tower, Polynesian Villas, and Villages at the Grand Floridian have the monorail to Magic Kingdom and Epcot (must transfer to Epcot line) and buses to Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.

The Villas are best for large parties and/or extended families, those who want to cook some or all of their own meals, those who prefer more home-like accommodations, and those who may be doing fewer days inside the parks and wanting more time at the hotel with more space.

Disney\’s Riviera Resort studio

Deluxe Villa Resort Pros:

  1. Many configurations available

  2. Full kitchen in 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom villas

  3. Lots of space with living rooms and kitchen tables

  4. Often more resort activities

Deluxe Villa Resort Cons:

  1. Fewer dining options on property

  2. Spread out properties that may be more difficult to traverse without a car

  3. May be further to walk to bus stops

If you still feel overwhelmed by all the options, your travel agent is happy to make suggestions based on your budget, travel party, and needs!

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