Disney’s Deluxe Resorts
So, you’re planning a visit to Walt Disney World and want to stay on-site. With nearly two-dozen options, ranging from moderate to deluxe, there are a lot to choose from! Each resort has a unique twist offering great pool areas, dining options and activities.
All of the Walt Disney World resorts are wonderfully themed, and boast lots of amenities. Guests at all Disney resorts receive tons of great benefits. Some of the perks include:
- Extra Magic Hours, when a park opens early or stays open late for Disney resort guests only
- FREE airport transportation via Disney’s Magical Express
- Complimentary transportation via bus, monorail or boat to Disney’s theme parks and Downtown Disney.
- Priority Advance Dining Reservations (allowing resort guests to book meals for their entire stay, 180 days prior to arrival date)
- Merchandise delivery to your room from the parksMagicBands, which serve as your room key, park ticket, Disney dining plan access card
- FastPass Plus – offering the ability to reserve up to 3 rides/attractions per day at one park, up to 60 days in advance!
Guests can choose from nicely priced Value Resorts – big on everything except price; Moderate resorts with magically themed settings; beautiful Deluxe resorts with incredible pool complexes and waterslides, and a premium location near the theme parks. Deluxe Villa resorts provide kitchenettes and multiple bedroom options, and there is even a campsite and resort for those who’d like to “rough it” in Disney style.
This time I’ll focus on Walt Disney World’s Deluxe Resorts.
Disney’s Deluxe resorts offer beautifully-appointed guest rooms, both quick service and table service dining options, shopping, tons of recreational activities and amazing pool complexes! Most Deluxe resorts are also located in close proximity to the Disney theme parks, and offer other transportation options in addition to bus service. Choosing between these incredible resorts is tough, but comes down to preferred theming and which parks you’d like to be closest to.
Magic Kingdom Area Deluxe Resorts
If you’re looking to be close to the magic, it doesn’t get closer than Disney’s Deluxe Resorts in the Magic Kingdom area. All but one of these are on the monorail line, offering quick service between the Magic Kingdom, the resorts and the Transportation and Ticket Center (where you can switch to the Epcot monorail line).
Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Featuring modern architecture (when it was designed and built in the 70s), the monorail goes directly through this resort (kids love this!). This resort is also a 10-minute walk to the Magic Kingdom. Shopping and dining options abound here, including the very popular character meal with Chef Mickey and friends.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – If you’re looking for luxury and elegance – you will find it at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The resort is elegantly decorated and furnished in a Victorian theme, and guests can enjoy some of the finest dining on Disney property at Narcoossee’s, Citricos, or even a multi-course formal meal at Victoria & Albert’s. Senses, the on- site, world-class spa, offers the ultimate in relaxation to guests.
Disney’s Polynesian Resort
You will feel like you are vacationing on the Hawaiian islands at this resort, adorned with palm trees, koi ponds, white-sand beaches, and hearing “Aloha” at every turn. This resort features the “volcano pool,” great quick service and table service dining options – including family style dining at ‘Ohana (which means family) and a traditional Hawaiian luau at the “Spirit of Aloha. This resort is also home to the self-serve Dole Whip machine (try it for yourself).
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Inspired by National Park lodges, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge has the feeling of the Pacific Northwest. The incredible lobby, with towering totem poles and a gorgeous fireplace, is something you have to see for yourself. Outside you can explore nature trails or watch the geyser as it erupts. Throughout the resort, you will find plenty of nooks and crannies with rocking chairs and big comfy seating, to enjoy some quiet away from the Disney crowds.
Though not on the monorail line, water taxi service is available from the resort to Magic Kingdom, as well as Disney’s Contemporary Resort (which is on the monorail line).
Boardwalk Area (Epcot/Hollywood Studios) Deluxe Resorts
The Boardwalk area features three Disney resort hotels: Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, and Disney’s Beach Club and Yacht Club. This area is filled with great dining and entertainment options, including carnival games and performers. One of my favorite things about staying in the Boardwalk area is the proximity to TWO Disney theme parks: you can walk or take the water taxi to both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
This resort will make you feel like you are staying on the Atlantic City boardwalk in the early 1900’s. Right outside your door, you will find countless dining and entertainment options, from carnival games to magicians! The whole family will love the Luna Park Pool (modeled after a traditional wooden roller coaster), and the younger kids will love the kiddie pool and splash pad.
Disney’s Beach and Yacht Club Resorts
Disney’s Beach Club Resort has a casually elegant, New England beach-style theme. There are wonderful quick service and table service dining options at this resort. Cape May Café is home to a character breakfast with some of your favorite Disney friends, as well as an excellent nightly seafood buffet.
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is the Beach Club’s sister resort, with a slightly more formal feel. These resorts are literally connected and share resort amenities, including Stormalong Bay! Stormalong Bay, more like a mini-waterpark, is the most impressive pool complex on Disney property. Stormalong Bay is made up of multiple pools (including one with a sand bottom that the kids will love), lagoons, spas and 2 waterslides (including an unbelievable pirate boat slide that spans the boardwalk walkway). Your kids may never want to leave the resort.
Downtown Disney Deluxe Resorts Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
This resort is inspired by historic Saratoga Springs and horse racing in the late 1800’s. This Victorian-style resort has great restaurants, golf courses, multiple pools and a state-of-the art spa.
Disney’s Old Key West Resort
You’ll feel like you are in the Florida Keys at this relaxing resort with great pools, dining options and manicured golf courses.
Guests love the relaxing feel of these two resorts, and all of the amenities. Downtown Disney is just a short boat ride away for more great dining and shopping.
Animal Kingdom Area
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
You will feel like you are in Africa at this incredible resort hotel. The lobby is breathtaking, wonderful dining options abound, there is a fabulous feature pool, and there are more than 200 animals and birds on 4 lush savannas right outside the window! Even if you don’t pay for the upgrade to a savanna view room, there are animal viewing locations around the resort.
This resort is a little more remote than some of the other Disney Deluxe resorts, but offers bus transportation to the Disney theme parks.
Many of Disney’s Deluxe resort hotels offer Children’s Activity Centers for ages 3-12. Kids can enjoy arts and crafts, games, movies and a buffet dinner, while the parents enjoy a night out.
Studios and multi-room villas are also available at many Walt Disney World Deluxe resort hotels.
All of Disney’s Deluxe resort hotels are amazing, so it’s hard for me to pick a favorite. I’ve stayed at several of them, and have enjoyed them all! I do prefer staying at the resorts where a Disney park is just a quick walk, monorail or boat ride away, but each resort has something special to offer guests. My advice: find the theme and location that is most appealing to your family, and you will not be disappointed!
But with that said, here are a few of my favorites:
Disney’s Polynesian Resort: Just walking into the lobby of this iconic, original Disney resort makes me nostalgic. I love the Hawaiian feel, the volcano pool, coffee and Tonga Toast at Kona Café, breakfast with Lilo & Stitch and friends, and watching Magic Kingdom fireworks and the Electrical Water pageant from the Polynesian Beach with a Dole whip in hand!
Disney’s Beach Club Resort: Stormalong Bay! There is no comparison! My kids would have been content staying here for the entire trip, even without visiting theme parks. I love the laid back, beachy feel, kids meals that come in sand pails (great for playing in the sand bottom pool) and the Boardwalk location is so convenient! We enjoyed the breakfast character meal at Cape May Café as well as the seafood dinner buffet – and ice cream from Beaches & Cream is a must!
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge: While I was initially disappointed this resort was not on the monorail line, the water taxi service to and from the Magic Kingdom and the Contemporary Resort was relaxing and efficient. And since it’s not on the monorail line, this resort often prices out a little lower than the other Magic Kingdom resorts. The interior and exterior of the resort are gorgeous, and though Magic Kingdom is a short distance away, you feel like you have escaped the crowds for a relaxing getaway.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: I’ll admit, I was not that excited about staying here initially. I was spoiled by being close to the Disney theme parks (via monorail or a short walk from other resorts). But from the moment I walked in, I was wowed! This resort is absolutely gorgeous, and having animals right outside your window is incredible!
Those are just a few of my favorites. Your family will find your own favorite Deluxe Disney resort hotel. With all of the wonderful amenities – you cannot go wrong!
Quality Guest Services
No matter which resort you choose, from the minute you arrive at your Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you will receive Disney’s unparalleled guest service. Your resort hotel staff will ensure a comfortable stay, provide a schedule of your resort’s activities and assist in making reservations for dining and special experiences when you are on-site.
Need help choosing the resort that’s right for you? Contact me and I can help!
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