When you want to go on vacation, you want to go somewhere the whole family will enjoy. Disney World is perfect for this with its wide variety of activities, including rides, shows, and water parks! Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, and Disney World has been growing since. The friendly team members, or Cast Members as they’re called in Disney, come from all over the world, and they can make special magic happen behind the scenes, whether you want a wake-up call from Mickey, or even get to meet the big man himself. While it first opened some 45 years ago, expansion is still occurring, with new areas opening as recent as two months ago. The company itself has grown from 5,100 cast members when it first opened, to over 74,000 cast members currently employed. Three important factors to take into consideration when you visit any resort include hotels, parks, and the shows and special events.
When you are visiting any resort, an important aspect to take into consideration are the hotels, either on-site or nearby. At Disney World, there are nearly thirty hotels on property, and they all have unique theming that differs from every other resort, while still managing to keep a Disney feel. The twenty-eight hotels, or resorts as they’re called by cast members, fall under three main categories, based on price and amenities.
The most basic of these are Value resorts. These include the All-Star Resorts, Art of Animation, and Pop Century, among others. Pop Century has 5 buildings, each representing a decade from the 1950’s-90’s, and themed inside to fit whatever decade the building is themed after. The name seems a little excessive when you first look at it, because the buildings only represent a half century. The reason for this is that there were originally supposed to be another 5 buildings, but 9/11 occurred while they were building them, so they were never finished due to the funding dropping almost 50%. Eventually the buildings were transformed into Art of Animation. Art of Animation takes you inside some of your favorite animated films, including The Little Mermaid, Cars, 101 Dalmatians, and others.
The next level of resort are the Moderates. These are slightly larger hotels, and their amenities are nicer, but they are accordingly a little more expensive. These include Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, and the Port Orleans resorts, as well as a few more. The Port Orleans resort is broken into two parts, French Quarter, and Riverside, both based on the areas from New Orleans, so accordingly the whole resort has a very Southern feel. French Quarter has definite theming throughout the area, and you feel like at any moment you might walk around the corner and find yourself in Mardi Gras. Riverside is a little more spread out, but it has a 1930’s New Orleans vibe, similar to the retro theming of Pop Century.
The most expensive are the Deluxe resorts, and these have some very unique feels among them. Wilderness Lodge is a perennial favorite as it transports you into the Pacific Northwest, from the totem poles and the fireplace where you first walk in, to the small, winding creek that actually travels through the hotel itself. The Polynesian Village Resort is themed entirely around Pacific islands, like Hawai’i, Tuvalu, and Pago Pago, among several others. Animal Kingdom Lodge is near the park of the same name, and if you get the right room, you can look out and see animals grazing early in the mornings and late at night, as the places where the animals are kept can be viewed from the hotel. The Contemporary and Grand Floridian are, while still both being Deluxes, definitely on the higher end price range. Both have extremely nice facilities, and, while it may not be as evident, the theming is more modern than the other resorts, even though they may not be the newest resorts. With extreme proximity to Magic Kingdom, you can take the Monorail, a high end train system that also runs through the Polynesian, or you can even walk from the Contemporary.
Come back next week to read part 2 where I talk about the parks themselves and the special events available at Disney World!
About Our Guest Blogger:
Ethan is a military “brat” and has lived in in five states—Washington, Kansas, Delaware, Virginia, and twice in Hawaii. In his free time, he participates in Civil Air Patrol, a Science Olympiad team, and is active in his chapel youth group. He loves astronomy and hopes to one day work for NASA.
His mom, Susan Burks, is a Wishdrawals Disney Travel Planner!