The 14 Best Disney Resorts for a Perfect Family Vacation
Thinking about your next trip to Disney with your family? We rounded up the best disney resorts for every need: value, amenities, themes, and luxury. Time to start planning!
Disney Resorts with the Best Value: Disney’s All-Star Resorts
The three value-priced Disney resorts are the All-Star Music Resort, All-Star Movies Resort, and All-Star Sports Resort. Starting at just $99 per night, this triplet of hotels is decked out in larger-than-life decor based on each theme, making it perfect for families with young kids. Consider the All-Star Resorts if you’ll be spending more of your time (and money) in the parks than in the resort—there aren’t many amenities within the resorts themselves.
Disney’s Pop Century Resort
Do you find yourself succumbing to nostalgia and thinking about the “good ‘ole days” whenever you’ve hit the 2 p.m. slump? For a cure, take a trip back a few decades at the Pop Century Resort. Experience everything from the ’50s through the ’90s across this widespread resort, complete with an old-fashioned Mickey, popular catch phrases from each era, Rubik’s Cubes, and rollerblades. And the prices remind us of the old days, too, starting at $116 per night. Hold off on staying here if your kids are less than enthusiastic about your frequent trips down memory lane; they just won’t appreciate it like you will. Here are 14 other ways to save on your Disney vacation, besides just choosing value-priced lodging.
Caribbean Beach Resort
This resort combines the best of both worlds. Adults get the feel of a luxe Caribbean resort, perfect for those who would rather be beachside than on a rollercoaster, while the kids get the entirety of Disney world at their fingertips. The Caribbean Beach Resort is built around a bay and features palm trees, beautiful grounds, and plenty of hammocks for when you need to unwind. Rooms are pirate-themed, the pool has a water slide, there are frequent “Movies Under the Stars,” and rooms start at $172 per night. The only downside to this resort is that it’s very spread out, so bring your walking shoes.
Disney Resorts with the Best Amenities: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
The Animal Kingdom Lodge will have you feeling like you’re in the middle of a sub-Saharan savanna—but without the airfare that normally comes with it. The Lodge is surrounded by a 45-acre wildlife preserve with dozens of animal species (yes, real animals) and plants. The award-winning on-site dining establishments serve African cuisine, and the 11,000 square-foot pool has a huge waterslide. This resort is fun for everyone, but if you have a jam-packed schedule and won’t be able to fully immerse yourself in exquisite surroundings of the Animal Kingdom Lodge, it’s probably not worth the sizable price tag.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
The Wilderness Lodge feels like a ski lodge in the middle of Aspen with its gorgeous rustic decor, appreciation for untouched wilderness, and handful of nature trails. This sprawling resort is perfect for the quieter families, as it’s not teeming with activities. There are plenty of grounds to explore and a huge fireplace to relax by after a long day in the theme parks. Don’t miss the Fire Rock Geyser, which erupts every half hour––kids will love it! Here are 8 more secret spots around the Disney parks.
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Upon checking in at the upscale Yacht Club Resort, you’ll feel as if you’ve transported to the timeless towns of New England. Windmills, lighthouses, and docks dot this beautiful resort, and it has arguably the best pool of all of the Disney resorts. Plus, it’s only a short walk to EPCOT and a boat ride away from Hollywood Studios. You’ll also find a water recreation area with a life-sized shipwreck and lagoons, a health club, and a delicious steakhouse.
Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Interconnected to the Yacht Club, the Beach Club offers all of the same amenities, but with beachy decor and a seafood cafe where you can eat breakfast with Disney characters. Plus, on the grounds of the Beach Club lies the best ice cream parlor in Disney World, Beaches & Cream. Stop by for a perfect post-parks treat at the end of the day. Big family? Order the Kitchen Sink: eight scoops of ice cream served in a real kitchen sink and topped with an entire can of whipped cream. Don’t miss these 10 other must-try foods when you’re visiting Disney World.
Best Themed Disney Resorts: Art of Animation Resort
There’s no question—Disney’s animated movies are some of the best films out there. Take your family to the Art of Animation Resort to immerse yourselves into movies like Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and more. Not only is the hotel itself themed, but each individual room is themed to a specific movie. The resort has an on-site arcade, the largest pool in Walt Disney World, and a food court that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Art of Animation is Disney’s newest value-priced hotel, and it includes access to the Blue Pool, a Finding Nemo-themed pool with underwater speakers. Even adults will have a blast! Check out more ways to experience Disney without splurging on a park ticket.
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort–Riverside
The sprawling Port Orleans Resort has two parts: Riverside and French Quarters. We love Riverside because each room is beautifully Princess-themed. Your kids will feel like they entered a palace once they’ve seen the gilded decor, winding staircases, a headboard with light-enhanced fireworks, and carriage rides around the resort. You’ll find cottages, quiet pools, and southern New Orleans charm at this resort, but be careful not to get lost. Port Orleans is the most difficult resort to navigate. However, there are plenty of people to ask for help, especially the custodians.
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
Reminiscent of early 20th century Atlantic City, the BoardWalk Inn will have you reflecting on your beachside days and boardwalk nights when you were a kid. All of the attractions are located on the boardwalk, which makes it slightly inconvenient, but the theming is perfect. Expect taffy-colored shops and cottages, a carousel, gardens, surrey rentals, and plenty of other outdoor recreation activities. And for the health-minded folks, there’s an on-site fitness center and a large pool for early morning laps.
Best Deluxe Disney Resorts: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Perhaps the most luxe of all of the Disney resorts, the Grand Floridian boasts towering hotels, opulent decor, and exquisite dining. This resort is geared more toward adults, with an in-house spa, live orchestra, and quiet vibe. Relax by the pool in one of the private cabanas, rent a boat to float along the lagoon, check out a movie under the stars, and exercise at the world-class health club. There are so many options that you might just forget about the parks. Prices are steep—go with your in-laws so they can foot the bill. (Kidding! Sort of…)
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Grab your hula skirt, lei, and coconut bra, because we’re heading to Hawaii (well, still Florida, if we’re being technical) at the Polynesian Village Resort. Prepare to be surrounded by palms, sandy beaches, and an incredible landscape. Take in the arty Hawaiian decor, which Disney has managed to incorporate tastefully. Kids can hang out at Lilo’s Playhouse and take a dip in the pool. And you can’t miss the Spirit of Aloha dinner show; it sets the Polynesian Village apart from the rest of the resorts. Here are 8 more insider tips for the best Disney vacation.
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Retreat to the Contemporary Resort after a long day at the parks for the least Disney-ish resort of all. The modern decor and room layouts are just what some guests need for the perfect vacation. The A-frame tower and its neighbor, the separate three-floor Garden Tower, include award-winning dining, a gorgeous mural by the designer behind “It’s a Small World,” and a Pixar Play Zone that’s perfect for the kiddos. Plus, the monorail glides right through the hotel, which the little ones will get a kick out of. This resort might seem like it caters to adults, but be aware: the in-house arcade, gift shops, and bustling lobby make it one of the louder resorts to stay in.
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Saratoga Springs is last on our list, but certainly not least. The villas sit among the trees (or atop, if you choose to stay in one of the Treehouse Villas), making your stay feel more like a trip back in time to 1800s New York. Tell the hubby to bring his golf clubs; Saratoga is home to the lush Lake Buena Vista golf course. Enjoy sunrise yoga, surrey rentals, fishing, outdoor sports, and arcades when you’re not exploring the nearby Disney World attractions. Most villas come with fully-equipped kitchens, which means you could certainly lower the bill by not constantly eating at restaurants. Next, check out these 23 secrets Disney employees won’t tell you.