The last time we talked, we were just starting a series on the basics of Walt Disney World.
(check out my previous post on the basics, “When to Go“)
Today, I want to talk a little bit more about the basics, “Where to Stay”.
OK, so you have nailed down the best time to go, now it’s time to start planning. Where in the “World” could you stay??
Off property vs. On property
The first thing we probably need to discuss is staying on “property” or off “property”. What do I mean by that? There are more than 20 unique resort hotels right on Disney property. So, what are the advantages to staying “on property”?
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages:
Like with all things, Disney’s quality service doesn’t stop at the turnstiles to the parks. You can expect the same Disney touches right in their resort hotels.
By staying at a Disney Resort Hotel, you will be able to spend more quality time with your family and friends. Since you will be close to the magic, you can come and go as you please. This is ideal for taking those mid-day breaks that “the kids” so desperately need. [Shh, don’t tell anyone, but I look forward to these too] 🙂
And, so you will be able to maximize your time in the parks, on most days one theme park will open early, or stay open late. These Extra Magic Hours are available to Disney Resort hotel guests only.
When arriving at Orlando International airport, you can skip baggage claim, and take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express service. This service provides complimentary transportation for you, as well as luggage delivery service right to your resort hotel room.
While staying at your Disney Resort hotel, you could also make your way to all 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, and the Downtown Disney shopping district via Disney’s complimentary transportation system. The options include monorails, ferryboats, and motor coach transportation.
Not interested in using Disney’s transportation? Rather drive yourself? Disney also provides free parking at all of the theme parks, to all resort hotel guests.
Did you pick up something large and bulky? Don’t feel like hauling it through the parks, and all the way back to your hotel? Not to worry, Disney has you covered. Many of your purchases can be delivered right to your Disney Resort hotel.
Worried about traveling through the parks with a large amount of cash, or credit cards? While staying at a Disney hotel, you can charge that large bulky item directly to your room.
While at your resort, watch for opportunities to catch a movie under the stars, experience a Character Dining Meal, or visit the resorts child activity center. (All of these available at select resorts).
By booking a package, and staying at a Disney Resort, you will also be able to take advantage of the very popular Disney Dining Plan where you can save while enjoying a variety of dining experiences.
So, doesn’t it cost a fortune to stay at a Disney Resort? Luckily Disney offers a wide array of options to fit any budget. Disney classifies their resorts into one of several categories.
We’ll look at each:
Resorts in this category range from a typical standard room that sleeps 4 (about 260 square feet) to family suites that can sleep up to 6 (about 520 square feet). The distinctive characteristic in these resorts is the larger than life icons you will find throughout. They also offer you an experience big on fun, but small on cost.
- All-Star Movies – Find yourself immersed in larger than life icons that salute classic Disney films
- All-Star Music – As the name implies, this resort is all about the love of Music
- All-Star Sports – For the sports fan. You will be feel part of the “BIG” game
- Art of Animation – Disney’s newest resort invites you to become a part of your favorite animated films.
- Pop Century – Whether it’s larger-than-life Cell Phones, Rubik’s cubes, or Big Wheels, you will find it here. You will feel like you stepped back in time at this fun resort.
Resorts in this category offer rooms that sleep up to 4, and range about 314 square feet. These resorts offer a little more space, and comfort for your family. The resorts in the category invite you to escape to enchanting, wonderfully affordable locales
- Caribbean Beach – Feel like you are relaxing in the Caribbean as you visit this tropical beach side paradise set upon the 45-acre Barefoot Bay
- Coronado Springs – An American Southwest themed Resort hotel that evokes the spirit and romance of Spanish-colonial Mexico
- Port Orleans-French Quarter – Inspired by the romance and pageantry of the historic French Quarter in New Orleans
- Port Orleans-Riverside – Enjoy the picturesque waterfront while surrounded by the tranquility of the Louisiana Bayou
- Cabins at Fort Wilderness – The cabins provide all the comforts of home and offer an American Frontier theme
Deluxe Resorts / Deluxe Villa Resorts
There are a vast array of room options available within this category. Standard rooms range from about 340 square feet, and can go up to around 440 square feet. No matter the option, you can experience the ultimate in luxury, style and service at each of these Deluxe resorts.
- Animal Kingdom Lodge – An amazing African lodge-style hotel set on a 43-acre wildlife preserve
- Bay Lake Tower – Set near Magic Kingdom, this resort promises to deliver some of the most dramatic views of Walt Disney World
- Beach Club – A New-England style lakeside hotel with a sand-and-surf motif
- Boardwalk Inn – An elegant lakeside hotel fashioned after the seaside buildings of 1940’s Atlantic City
- Contemporary Resort – A modern lakeside hotel located within walking distance of Magic Kingdom
- Grand Floridian – A Victorian-style hotel that conjures the splendor of the Sunshine State’s golden era
- Old Key West – Enjoy the leisurely romance of the Florida Keys
- Polynesian – From the thatched roofs to the koi ponds, this resort celebrates the spirit of the South Pacific
- Saratoga Springs – Inspired by the historic Saratoga Springs, the New York retreat famous for it’s spa and horse racing
- Wilderness Lodge – Captures the adventurous and romantic spirit of the grand National Park Service lodges found in the Great American Northwest
- Yacht Club – A Martha’s Vineyard-themed hotel on Crescent Lake with authentic nautical details
Other Deluxe Resorts
- Dolphin – Inspired by Florida itself, this resort was designed by award-winning architect Michael Graves
- Swan – The sister resort to the Dolphin, also designed by Michael Graves, sits across the lake from the Dolphin
Wow! That’s a lot of places! As you can clearly see, there are so many options to choose from!
Interested in hearing more about any of the Walt Disney Resort hotels? Drop me a line. I look forward to hearing from you.
Until next time…sleep tight! 🙂