On property. Off property. Value. Moderate. Deluxe. DVC. If you are planning a Walt Disney World Vacation, you are probably wondering what the best hotels for a Disney World vacation are. Whether you choose to stay on property or off property, there are lots of great hotel options for families in the Greater Orlando area. Here are the best Disney World hotels (in our opinion) – both off property and on property, including the best places to stay at Disney World with kids.
The Best Hotels for a Disney World Vacation
Disclosure: Over the years, I’ve been hosted at some, but not all, of these properties. Affiliate links within. If you make a purchase or click through one of these links, we may make some affiliate revenue that helps us run this site. I used to be a member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel, but all opinions are my own.
The Best Hotels at Walt Disney World: Best Disney Resort for Kids
Friends are always asking about the best hotels on Disney property. That isn’t as easy a question to answer as it may seem. Depending upon the ages of your children, your budget, and your family’s plans, different resorts in the Disney World area may be best for your family. There’s no best Disney resort for kids – there are multiple great Disney resorts for kids that you’ll be able to choose from. This post can help you figure out how to choose the best Walt Disney World resort.
Now, if you ask me where I typically stay at Walt Disney World when I’m with my kids, I would give you a very straightforward answer – Disney’s Beach Club. Along with it’s sister resort, Disney’s Yacht Club, the Beach Club offers the best access to Epcot’s World Showcase. While these resorts aren’t on the resort monorail loop, they have easy access to both Epcot (walking or boat) and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (a longer walk or a boat ride). The three-acre pool area – Stormalong Bay is the best of the Disney resort pools. It includes a water slide, lazy river, and sand bottom pool. Most of the rooms at the Beach and Yacht Clubs have two queen beds and a pull-out couch. These two resorts are considered “deluxe” resorts and are among the most expensive. We love staying at the Beach Club and dining in the Epcot or Boardwalk area. There are so many delicious options! Read reviews and book here.
Disney’s Polynesian Resort
Disney’s Polynesian Resort (recently renamed to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort) is the most convenient hotel on property for families with young kids, in my option. Since it’s located on the monorail loop, it’s also one of the most expensive. Guests can take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom right from the resort, and walk to the Ticket and Transportation Center for buses to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, and a monorail to Epcot. Most rooms have two queen beds with a pull-out couch suitable for a family of five. The resort also offers several great restaurants, multiple pools, a kids’ club, a gift shop, and a counter service restaurant (serving the always popular Dole Whips!). This isn’t one big hotel – instead there are separate, individual buildings. Call the hotel to request a specific building if you have a location preference. While these requests aren’t guaranteed, they’ll always make an effort. Read reviews and book here.
For the best views around, splurge for a savannah-view room at this deluxe resort. Animal Kingdom Lodge is the best hotel (probably in the US) for families with animal-loving kids. Guests can actually see animals like giraffes and zebras right from their savannah-view hotel room and from the common areas of the hotel. The biggest negative with the Animal Kingdom Lodge is the access to the parks, because guests need to take buses to all of the parks. It’s definitely more remote than some of the other deluxe resorts. We stayed here when my kids were really little, and my son spent every waking minute in the room with his nose pressed against the glass. It’s an impressive resort – check out this video for my video tour. There are also some delicious restaurants on property. Read reviews and book here.
The newest Disney World resort is perfect for larger families or for those on a budget. Completed last year, Disney’s Art of Animation includes standard rooms and family suites. With kid-friendly themes (Finding Nemo, the Lion King, the Little Mermaid, and Cars) and decor, this is the type of hotel that your kids will immediately be drawn to. It’s in the value category, and you will need to take a bus to all four parks. This bustling resort offers a busy food court, several fabulous, fun pools, and appealing kids’ activities. Read reviews and book here.
The Best Off Site Disney Hotels
If you’d prefer to stay off property, there are loads of really great options that are suitable for any family budget. From vacation homes to roadside motels to deluxe resorts, you’ll certainly find something that will work for your budget. While I haven’t been to all of the best off site Disney World resorts, here are the off site Disney hotels that I’ve visited and recommend.
The JW Marriott Grande Lakes, or its sister resort, the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes, is exactly where I would stay for a luxurious vacation off Disney property. These two hotels, which share amenities, offer a Greg Norman Signature Golf Course, a Ritz-Carlton spa, a Lazy River, and many fabulous restaurants. The property sits at the foot of the headwaters of the Florida Everglades, and guests can book a kayaking eco-tour through these tranquil and beautiful waters. My favorite amenity is the lazy river – it’s fun for kids, but peaceful at the same time. Read reviews and book a stay here.
Upon entering the main atrium of the Gaylord Palms, you’ll immediately know this is not your standard hotel. Featuring a small family water park, arcade, spa, and several restaurants, the Gaylord Palms offers so much for families to do. Like the other Gaylord Resorts, popular DreamWorks characters can be seen throughout the resort, but unlike the other Gaylord Resorts, they can be seen year round. Shrek himself hosts a weekend “Shrek-fast” breakfast that families can reserve. (Editor’s update, these characters are no longer at the Gaylord Resort). It’s a great place to stay if you think you’ll want to spend at least a day or two of your vacation away from Walt Disney World. It’s difficult to explain exactly unique this resort is – so I put together a little video. Read reviews and book a stay here.
The largest Marriott-branded hotel in the world, the Orlando World Center Marriott is one of the busiest hotels I’ve ever stayed it. Despite that, I was never overwhelmed. The hotel has just completed a major renovation, including the gorgeous pool area featured above. The hotels offers 10 different on-site restaurants, a food court, an arcade, a spa, and much, much more. It feels like a small city, and is a fun place to stay. Read reviews and book a stay here.
If your plans also include SeaWorld, I’d definitely recommend staying at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld. It offers a fabulous pool area/water park for kids, an arcade, several restaurants, and a spa. The rooms are a bit larger than a standard hotel room, and some offer views of SeaWorld. You can walk right across the street to SeaWorld, making it so convenient if you plan to visit there. Read reviews and book your stay here.
The Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek is actually located within the Disney gates, and is so convenient for a Walt Disney World vacation. Some rooms even have a Walt Disney World fireworks view, so you can see them right from your window. In addition to a shuttle right to the parks, you’ll also find a nice pool area with a lazy river. There are several restaurants on property, and kids can get the restaurant’s breakfast buffet at 1/2 off – making it a great, reasonable way to start your day.
Click here to read more reviews.
Both On and Off Property
Can’t decide whether to stay on or off property? Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resorts offer some of the same benefits that on-property Disney resorts do, like Disney transportation through the parks and access to early magic hours. But, the hotels have more of a business-hotel feel, and usually offer better prices than on property hotels. There are also some delicious restaurants in both properties. You can walk to Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the Boardwalk (or catch a boat), making at stay there very convenient. Read reviews and book here.
Have you stayed at any of these hotels? Which are your favorite hotels for a Disney vacation? Read Disney Hotel reviews on TripAdvisor.
You can also save up to 28% on Disney Resort hotels here, and see various discounts on Walt Disney World tickets here.