[Updated December 2016]
If you’ve ever stayed at one of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels, or even just researched them, you know that the 20-plus properties are all different. Each has its own theme, dining options, recreation, and level of service. Plus, the properties are broken down into four categories (Deluxe, Villas, Moderate, Value, and Campgrounds) to accommodate guests’ different budgets, needs, and preferences. If you’re on the fence about which Disney hotel to choose, we’re here to help. Just match yourself up with the type of traveler you identify with most to find your ideal hotel.
Large families or multi-generational travelers:
More families than ever are traveling with multiple generations in tow. If grandma and grandpa are tagging along, consider staying at the Art of Animation Resort, which offers Cars, Finding Nemo and The Lion King-themed Family Suites. The suites accommodate up to six guests and allow them to spread out, offering a bedroom with a queen-size bed, a table that converts into a double bed, a sleeper sofa, living room, kitchenette, and two bathrooms. Another option is the All-Star Music Resort, which has the same room features as the Art of Animation’s Family Suites, except a “sleeper ottoman” replaces the table-bed.
Not everyone comes to Disney World for leisure. If you’re working while you’re staying in the House of Mouse, consider a property that offers easy convention center access, and has a business center. Those convention center properties are the BoardWalk Inn, the Contemporary, the Grand Floridian, Coronado Springs, and the Yacht and Beach Club, which share a business center. The centers offer pay-as-you-go Internet access, imaging services like faxing, photocopying, and printing, as well as booklet stitching and poster printing. The centers will even send and deliver packages and notarize documents. It should be noted, however, that all of the Disney hotels offer complimentary Wi-Fi, and you do not have to be a guest staying at one of these hotels to use the business centers.
Families with small children:
If you’re visiting with kids, you’re likely going to spend much of your time in the Magic Kingdom. We recommend staying at one of the nearby hotels that are on the monorail loop: the Grand Floridian, Polynesian Village, and the Contemporary. With just a short ride, you’ll have quick access to the most popular park. The monorail even provides a neat view of the resorts. The Wilderness Lodge is also in the area and provides a scenic boat ride on Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon to the Magic Kingdom.
The best part about taking a solo trip to Walt Disney World is that you can hop on the single rider lines at many attractions, which often means significantly shorter wait times. But what about lodging? Try the BoardWalk Inn, which is just steps away from the lively BoardWalk, offering street entertainment, a dueling piano bar, and a bevy of dining options. And maybe you’ll consider the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which lets you view more than 30 species of animals including zebras, giraffes, and gazelles from a special area in the hotel.
Fact: Walt Disney World is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in the world. Sweethearts may want to stay at Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, which has a more intimate vibe than many of the other Disney resorts. The cobblestone walkways, gas lamps, and greenery evoke tranquility and are great for early morning and late night strolls. You’ll also have access to horse-drawn carriage rides at its sister property, Port Orleans Resort – Riverside.
Those who enjoy the comforts of home:
Some may find the walls of a hotel room a little confining. For those who like to feel right at home when they’re away, think about staying at any one of the Disney Vacation Club properties. Walt Disney World is home to 10 of these properties, which have accommodations ranging from one- to three- bedroom villas that are equipped with multiple bathrooms and kitchens. The units even have in-room washers and dryers -- and vacuums!
Want to rough it while you’re visiting Mickey Mouse? The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort will let you do just that. You can pitch a tent or even hook up your RV. Each campsite has landscaping for privacy, water, cable TV and electrical hook-ups, a picnic table, and a charcoal grill. Most have sewer hook-ups and some allow pets. For guests who don’t want to be too close to nature during their stay but want a rustic feel, try The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. You’ll have a living room, full bathroom, patio, kitchen, and charcoal grill for six people. The Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs take camping to another level, literally. The three-bedroom villas are elevated 10 feet off the ground and offer a kitchen, deck, driveway, and grill.