When we travel to Walt Disney World, we often choose a moderate resort for the portion of the trip that we plan to spend most of our time in the parks, and hop to a deluxe resort for some more relaxing down time. In general, Deluxe Resorts have the benefits of interior room entry, private patios, and upgraded dining and recreation amenities. It’s hard for me to choose a favorite; each has its own unique theming and ambiance.
Stay Close to the Magic (Kingdom)
Grand Floridian Resort
Polynesian Village Resort
Monorail Deluxe Resort Pros: easy access to Magic Kingdom by foot or to Epcot on the monorail via the transportation center, classic Disney theming at resorts (especially during the winter holidays), views of the fireworks and Electrical Water Pageant from your resort.
Monorail Deluxe Resort Cons: Bus transportation only to Hollywood Studios and a lengthy bus ride to Animal Kingdom, some resort rooms haven’t been remodeled and may feel a little more dated than other options.
Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World
Grand Floridian Resort at Walt Disney World, December 2018
Pros: easy (and unique) access to Magic Kingdom by boat, grounds and lobby have a “National Park” feel that makes for a relaxing escape from the Disney Parks, a quick boat ride to dining and activities at Wilderness Campground
Cons: Magic Kingdom boats are subject to inclement weather; Bus only transportation only to all other resorts, the pool is a bit smaller than many other Deluxe resorts
Storybook Dining at Wilderness Lodge
Walk or Boat to Epcot & Hollywood Studios:
Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
Boardwalk Inn Resort
Swan & Dolphin Resorts
Top Tips for Staying at the Boardwalk Area Resorts:
Choose Yacht or Beach Club when you plan to spend a lot of time at the pool during warm weather.
Choose Boardwalk Resort if you are trying to rope drop Hollywood Studios and want to walk instead of waiting for transportation.
Choose Swan and Dolphin resorts for if Disney Properties aren’t an option due to availability or affordability.
Yacht Club Resort
Boardwalk Resort area at Walt Disney World is ideal for families who want to be close to the more “grown-up” attractions at Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Use of the monorail, the boats, or a 15-30 minute walk gets you to the gates with minimal waiting. Early entry into Epcot is more convenient if you plan to head straight to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure or Frozen Ever After, as you enter on the World Showcase side of the park between France and the UK.
Animal Kingdom Lodge & Kidani Village
Animal Kingdom Pros: Easy access to Animal Kingdom by bus and not too far from Epcot and Hollywood Studios, Savanna views are easy to find from both resorts with a wide variety of animals, Cultural Ambassadors are available for tours and activities, guests have access to two spacious pools, restaurant options are plentiful.
Animal Kingdom Cons: Bus transportation only to all of the Parks and Disney Springs, and it’s a long ride to Magic Kingdom.
Animal Kingdom Lodge, Kidani Village, 2022
Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby
Additional Deluxe Resort Options
Disney Springs Resorts: Old Key West and Saratoga Springs are both primarily Disney Vacation Club resorts, but can be booked as normal packages also. They are good options for large families looking for suite accommodations. One con is that, although you can walk to Disney Springs, bus transportation to the parks often takes awhile.
Riviera Resort: This new DVC resort can also sometimes be booked as a package, and offers convenient access to the skyliner.