I wanted to start a Disney series on my blog so that I can share a lot of the Disney tips and hacks we’ve learned with you. A question I get asked frequently is what resorts are my favorite to stay at when we got to Disney World, so I wanted to start out by sharing the best hotels to stay at on Disney Property. You can make reservations for Disney hotels 499 days in advance of your stay, so you can definitely plan ahead for your trip! We have made a trip to Walt Disney World an annual tradition, and we always stay on Disney property for our vacations, so we’ve gotten to try out a lot of the resorts. So in today’s blog post, I’ll be sharing our favorite resorts at Walt Disney World, and some of the reasons why we love them. I hope this post helps you if you’re deciding which resort to stay at for your Disney World vacation. If there are any other blog posts or questions you have about Disney World, please let me know in the comments because I’d love to share more Disney tips and tricks because we’ve learned so much over the years. And if you have a favorite Disney resort, please share in the comments! I love hearing other people’s recommendations and experiences for Disney!
In my opinion, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is the best Disney World resort. For starters, it’s location on the monorail makes it perfect for getting around Disney quickly, especially if you have stroller bound kiddos. When they fall asleep in the stroller after those long days, you don’t have to transfer them out of the stroller to fold it up to get on the bus, but instead, just wheel it on the monorail, and ride back to the Poly. The atmosphere of the hotel just feels like vacation. When you walk in, the lobby smells like a balmy, Hawaiian sanctuary, and between the tiki torches and palm trees around the grounds, you feel like you’re on an island paradise wherever you walk. The pool is designed to look like a volcano, with waterfalls and a waterslide on one side of the volcano, and the views of Bay Lake with the Castle in the distance is pure Disney magic.
Another perk- the Poly is the only place besides Magic Kingdom you can get a Dole Whip, a Disney treat you cannot pass up! We also love eating at Ohana, one of the restaurants at the Polynesian Resort. The breakfast is a delicious character buffet (they have Mickey, Goofy, Pluto, Lilo, and Stitch). The dinner is family style, as “Ohana” means family in Hawaiian, which starts off with some of the most delicious rolls and honey butter you’ll ever eat, a huge salad, delicious potstickers, and then skewers upon skewers of different grilled meats and seafood. We’re always stuffed to the gills after we dine at Ohana!
The room we stayed in was so spacious, and the bathroom was big enough to put the pack and play in so that Presley could nap without interruptions if we needed to pop her in there. Even though we selected one of the lower priced rooms (a garden view), we had a great view of the additional pool (without the volcano) and tons of palm trees. This is a Deluxe resort, and the cost per night starts at $540, and you’re definitely paying for an incredible location, theme, and spacious room. We have such great memories at this hotel- between watching Landon toddle around when he was first learning to walk, to Presley crawling across the green space when you leave the lobby to head back to your room, the Polynesian truly is one of the happiest places on earth to us! And for all it’s amenities and atmosphere, it is definitely my favorite Disney hotel.
The Beach Club Resort is where we honeymooned, and you cannot find a better pool at Walt Disney World than the one here. There is sand at the bottom of the pool, so you feel like you’re truly at the beach. There’s a huge sand bar for the kids to play and make sand castles, and there’s a huge pirate ship and enormous water slide that is so much fun for kids and us big kids too! There’s also a lazy river. The entire resort is themed to make you feel like you’re at a New England ocean resort, and it just feels like a seaside getaway wherever you turn.
The location of the hotel is great, as the Beach Club resort backs into the World Showcase side of Epcot, so you can quickly pop into Epcot for dinner at any of the countries and catch the Illuminations fireworks show. It’s also across from the Boardwalk, and it’s so fun to walk the loop from the Beach Club to the Boardwalk (lots of shops and treats and fun) to the Yacht Club. There used to be pedal carts and bikes you could rent to ride around in too, that was always so much fun! The location of this resort is ideal if you’re spending a lot of time at Epcot or Hollywood Studios, since you can walk to Epcot quickly, or take a boat ride to Hollywood Studios. This is a Deluxe resort, with the cost per night starting at $479.
As far as dining goes, if you’re a seafood lover, there’s a great buffet at the Cape May Cafe at dinner, and there is a Minnie Beach Bash character breakfast if your little ones would enjoy meeting Minnie, Daisy, Donald Duck, and Goofy while they dine. There’s also an adorable ice cream shop at this hotel called Beaches and Cream Soda Shop that you have to get a treat from at least one of the nights you stay here. And just make sure to plan a day (or two) to just enjoy the pool if you’re going when the weather is nice! You won’t regret it.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is just breathtaking, and the Grand lives up to its name as you stroll around the picturesque grounds. The Victorian-era themed hotel oozes of sophistication, when you walk into the lobby you hear the tinkling jazz of instrumental Disney songs being played on the grand piano. The stunning white facade and the immaculate gardens make you feel just plain fancy. The location of the Grand is on the monorail, closest to the Magic Kingdom as far as stops, so it’s ideal for getting little ones to and from the park quickly. There’s also a boat option that runs to and from the park.
Rooms at the Grand have a royal flare, as all the bedding has a Cinderella Castle look. While our room was never as large as the Poly, if you get a room looking out on the castle or the lagoon, you have one of the coolest nighttime views of the fireworks and the electrical water parade at night. There are multiple pools on the grounds, and a huge splash pad for the little ones to enjoy too.
I’ve never used the spa amenities, but I know there are a lot of spa options at Senses, a Victorian themed spa at the Grand. Additionally, some of the best fine dining options at Walt Disney World. We’ve only eaten at the 1900 Park Fare character breakfast (which is nice, but isn’t one of our favorites, character wise), but you can eat with some amazing views of the fireworks and electric parade on the lagoon at Narcoossees. Victoria & Albert’s is a AAA Five Diamond award winning restaurant at the Grand Floridian. There is also a princess Tea Party you can attend at the Grand Floridian, if you’re interested in having tea with your little princess there. Again, everything at the Grand is high class. The Grand Floridian is a Deluxe resort, with the highest cost per night ($663) for rooms and the most luxurious reputation of all the Disney World Resorts.
We stayed at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge on our last trip to Disney with our best friends, and we absolutely loved it. It’s themed like you’re staying at a lodge in the National Parks out West, and since we’ve recently gone to some when we visited my sister in Utah, our entire family were taken right back to that trip, even though we were at Disney. I loved the proximity to Magic Kingdom, and while not on the monorail, the location along Bay Lake does provide both buses to all of the parks, as well as boats that run right to Magic Kingdom, as well as a boat that goes to the Contemporary Resort, which many people don’t know, but that’s the only resort you can walk right to Magic Kingdom from. So some days, depending which boat got to the dock first, we’d take that one, and just do the 5 minute walk to Magic Kingdom.
Again, we booked the least expensive “standard view” price point room, and even though the parking lot was below us on one side, we still had an unreal view of the castle and fireworks every night from our balcony. I was very impressed by the pool, especially the fun kids splash and slide area, and the grounds along the lake were simply awesome! There were gorgeous flowers and waterfalls, and the geyser that blasts every hour by the kiddie pool really ties in the whole national park theme too.
There is a gorgeous open air bar and grill- Geyser Point, right on Bay Lake that was one of the coolest places to hang out, grab a Frose or a quick bite (I loved the bison burger and waffle fries- yum!), that we hit up multiple times on the trip. This is a Deluxe resort, with the cost per night starting at $371, so it is a lower price point of the Deluxe resort options.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge was a resort Adam was dying to stay at, so we decided to stay here for a few nights at the start of a trip, and the view of the animals was unreal. Like no other hotel experience you could imagine. This is a Deluxe resort, with the cost per night of a Savanna view starting at $542. If you’re wanting to stay here but save a little per night, the parking lot view does start at $388, and you can still see the Savanna view from the lobby and the pool. We just took advantage of this opportunity, and we woke up early each morning and had our coffee and breakfast on the balcony and watched the animals before getting ready for the day. It was pretty epic!
There are a couple restaurants at the Animal Kingdom Lodge with cuisine that is very unique compared to any other restaurants at Disney, and with some great views. We’ve eaten at Sanaa, which has a view of the Savanna. We also ate at Jiko, which was delicious, and bit fancier of an atmosphere than we realized, but the filet and the Bobotie mac and cheese were so good! We’d highly recommend Jiko if you’re looking for a nice sit down meal. It was delicious!
We were so impressed by the pool area at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. It’s surrounded by lush trees and the Savanna, so you can see animals as you’re walking around the pool and going to the waterslide. The atmosphere is seriously so cool, designed to mimic a water hole. If you are a nature lover, you will just be blown away by the experience. The waterslide was so fun, and even our almost-three-year-old at the time loved it. I also appreciated that there seemed to be a lot more seating at this pool than other Disney pools we’ve stayed at, and we had no problem finding chairs even though we were there at a seemingly busy time of day.
One downside, we felt the rooms felt very cramped. Compared to other deluxe rooms, we had very little space around the beds, and the bathroom area was very tight as well. Compared to the Polynesian where we could fit Presley’s pack and play in the bathroom area, we couldn’t even put her pack and play next to the two beds in the room because it was so tight, and had to put it in the hallway around the two sinks of the bathroom area. I do think the rooms are probably designed to be tighter so that more rooms can have the Savanna view, but just something to consider.
Also, when it comes to the location of this resort, there are buses from the resort to every park at Disney, but it’s closest to the Animal Kingdom park. We decided to stay at this resort for two nights, and go to Animal Kingdom our first full day, since it was the closest. Then we resort hopped to the Polynesian for the rest of the trip for the monorail convenience. I do think for what you pay, unless you want breakfast with the animals on the Savanna every single day, this is a great resort to stay at for a day or two to just enjoy the perks and views of the resort.
I hope you enjoyed this article in my Disney series I’ll be posting on my blog. Please make sure you sign up for my weekly newsletter on the sidebar so we can stay connected and you know the next time I post more Disney tips and tricks. Thanks so much for reading, and if you would like me to cover any other Disney topics, please let me know in the comments!