The Basics - Walt Disney World Hotels

Should I stay on WDW property?

Pop Century - Value
First and foremost, you’ll need to decide whether you want to stay on Disney property. I often hear comments about Disney hotels being expensive, but it’s important to weigh the cost of the room with the value of what you’re getting for that price. My family loves to stay on property because it allows us to stay within the WDW bubble. The feeling I get when am enveloped in the “World” just cannot be described. There are magical touches everywhere you look when you stay at a Disney hotel. From the campground to club level, you know you’re going to find little bits of magic everywhere. Also, Disney is legendary for their service and staying on property means you get that service 24/7 during your stay.
There are so many extras that come along with booking a Magic Your Way package (Disney hotel room + park tickets).  One of the most popular benefits is the all-inclusive transportation; Disney has an extensive web of buses, boats, and monorail tracks that are all free! There’s even a shuttle, called the Magical Express, that will pick you up and drop you off at the Orlando International Airport (MCO), no charge.  From the time you land to the time you return home, you won’t have to worry about how to get around.  For those who prefer to drive, parking at the parks is also free (normally around $17/day).

Another guest favorite is Extra Magic Hours that allow Disney resort guests exclusive access to extended park hours, either one hour before the park opens or two hours after closing (these vary by day). In addition, Magic Your Way packages include a variety of discounts and special surprises not available to anyone else, like a free round of mini golf at one of Walt Disney World’s uniquely themed courses. The excitement is endless when staying with the mouse.

Which hotel should I book?

Walt Disney World includes a variety of options that cover a wide array of budgets and preferences.  There are four main categories of resorts at WDW: value, moderate, deluxe, and deluxe villas.  I’ll discuss the pros and cons of each of these, in turn.
  • Value level resorts are the most budget-conscious and include whimsical, larger-than-life theming. The value resorts include All-Star Movies, All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, Art of Animation, and Pop Century. Each value resort offers themed pools and quick-service (fast food) dining options. The standard rooms in this category are approximately 260-277 sqft and sleep up to 4 adults.  In addition to the standard-sized rooms, All-Star Movies and Art of Animation boast Family Suites that are almost double the size (565 sqft) sleep up to 6 adults, include 2 bathrooms and a kitchenette for a more at-home feel.
  • Coronado Springs - Moderate
    Coronado Springs – Moderate
    Moderate level resorts are a bit larger in size and include a few more amenities. The moderate resorts include Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans – French Quarter, Port Orleans – Riverside, and the Cabins at Fort Wilderness. Each moderate resort includes intricately themed pools with water slides and both quick-service and table-service options – the Port Orleans hotels share Boatwright’s table-service option. The standard rooms are a bit larger than value level, at 314 sqft each, sleeping up to 4 adults (Port Orleans – Riverside offers a child-sized drop-down bed to accommodate up to 5).  For the kid (or kid-at-heart) in your family, Disney offers two unique offerings: Royal Guest rooms are available at Port Orleans – Riverside and Pirate-themed rooms are an option at Caribbean Beach.
Grand Floridan - Deluxe
Grand Floridian - Deluxe
  • Deluxe level resorts are for those who want to be right in the middle of it all.  Resorts at the deluxe level include Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian Village, Wilderness Lodge, and Yacht Club. These resorts offer intricate theming, waterpark-esque pools, and dramatic views ranging from beautiful to magical to animal!  The deluxe resorts provide a variety of dining options, most even play host to one of Disney’s signature restaurants. In fact, the Grand Floridian is home to one of the few AAA Five Diamond awarded restaurants in Florida – Victoria & Albert’s. Rooms at this level range from a standard (345-375 sqft) to deluxe (500 sqft) and provide optional views of theme parks, savannas, and waterways.
  • Deluxe villas are available at all of the aforementioned deluxe resorts, as well as Old Key West and Saratoga Springs. The villas offer a combination of the perks of deluxe level with the amenities of home.  Disney villas provide more spacious accommodations (up to 2300 sq ft), with options such as partitioned bedrooms, full kitchens, and more.  Villas can also be an excellent choice when planning a trip for a group since certain villas can sleep up to 13 people.
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when deciding on a hotel at Walt Disney World.  There are so many options available, you’re sure to find one that meets your needs with the help of your favorite travel agent!
Never Grow Up!
Miranda

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