Friday, March 9, 2018

How to Choose the Right Disney World Resort!

Last week, we talked about beginning the process of booking a Disney vacation! Now that you've decided you're ready to visit Disney World, one of the first things we need to choose is your resort. This week we're going to explore the various resort types and pros and cons of each!

Counting all the resorts and the villas, there are 27 properties at Walt Disney World! That's 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 and most 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 bus transportation to all parks and a food court. 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!

Pop Century is currently undergoing a full room refurbishment scheduled to be finished in summer 2018. These new updated rooms are modern and updated with hardwood floors, lots of storage, a queen bed, and a new full-sized Murphy bed!

Pop Century Resort pool

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:
  • Most affordable option
  • Fun, over-the-top theming really appeals to kids
  • Food courts have lots of variety
Value Resort Cons:
  • Rooms are fairly small
  • Property is large and spread out
  • No sit down restaurant options
  • 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 definitely an overall theme! Bus transportation is provided to all parks; boat transportation is available at Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter to go to Disney Springs (shopping and dining district). These resorts include Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter, Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach and Fort Wilderness Cabins. 

Caribbean Beach Resort
Coronado Springs and Port Orleans French 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 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. 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
  • Good compromise between Value Resorts and Deluxe Resorts
  • More dining options
  • Nicer linens and pools
Moderate Resort Cons:
  • Property is still fairly large and spread out
  • Multiple bus stops (may be a pro and a con!)
  • Only bus transportation to the parks


Room with two queens at Beach Club Resort
Deluxe Resorts are the next step up. They are generally located very close to one of the 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. The resorts have a food court, a sit down restaurant, and a signature (higher end) restaurant. Some also have character dining. Pools have slides with pool towels available and chairside bar staff. The Deluxe Resorts are 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 have the monorail to Magic Kingdom and buses to other parks (or transfer monorails to the Epcot line for Epcot). 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; 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. 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:
  • Lots of dining options
  • Larger rooms
  • Balconies or patios and interior hallways
  • Rooms with views of lakes or parks are available
  • Close proximity to at least one park
  • Nice pools
Deluxe Resort Cons:
  • More expensive
  • Smaller food courts
  • Resort restaurants attract other guests making lobby busier
  • Resort theming may feel less kid-friendly

Deluxe Villa Resorts are comparable to the Deluxe Resorts but set up a little differently. These were built for Disney Vacation Club members but anyone can use them. 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 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 a party 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, Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, and Bay Lake Tower. 

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.

Living room at Saratoga Springs

Deluxe Villa Resort Pros:
  • Many configurations available
  • Full kitchen
  • Lots of space with living rooms and kitchen tables
  • Often more resort activities
Deluxe Villa Resort Cons:
  • Fewer dining options on property
  • Spread out properties that may be more difficult to traverse without a car
  • 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!

Susan Burks is a Disney travel planner at WishdrawalsTravel, a military wife, and a homeschooling mom to a space-loving, 13 year old mini-travel agent!  

She and her family love visiting Disney World and taking Disney cruises. With nine Disney cruises under her belt and many Disney World trips, she is now planning her next adventure: Aulani, A Resort and Spa in Hawaii!