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Tips for Choosing a Walt Disney World Resort

I am always asked questions about traveling to Walt Disney World, and I enjoy answering them. However, it’s always difficult when someone asks where they should stay at Walt Disney World. It’s not a simple question, because there are so many different options for Walt Disney World resorts.

There are so many different considerations. Depending on your budget, the type of trip you want to have, the ages of your kids (if you are traveling with children), and the number of people in your party, there’s likely to be several great options to choose from. If you are choosing a Walt Disney World Resort for your vacation, here are some tips to consider.

I am a former member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel and have been on some complimentary press trips at Walt Disney World, but all opinions are my own.


Tips for Choosing a Walt Disney World Resort

This article is assuming that you have already decided to stay on property at Walt Disney World. There are loads of different hotel options in the Greater Orlando area, so you’ll first need to make sure that you want to stay on property.

Read this article about the benefits of staying on property at Walt Disney World when making your decision. If you decide to stay off Disney property, here’s what you’ll need to know.

Figure Out Your Walt Disney World Resort Budget

Before choosing a Walt Disney World hotel, you’ll want to determine your vacation budget. Walt Disney World offers three different resort categories – deluxe, moderate, and value.

All of them offer great benefits for guests, but the price points and amenities are quite different. I’ve stayed at most resorts at Walt Disney World, and have enjoyed my stay at each and every one of them, despite the category.

Disney's Beach Club

Location of Your Resort Choice

Once you’ve figured out your budget and the ideal price category, you’ll need to think about your vacation plans. Walt Disney World is a gigantic property, and it’s impossible to be near all of the parks, even when choosing a deluxe resort.

My family, for instance, likes to have dinner at Epcot. So, we usually choose to stay near Disney’s Beach Club Resort, which is right near the International Gateway entrance of Epcot, so that we can walk back to our room at the end of the evening. Be sure that you have the park hopper option on your ticket so that you can go to a different park during the day.

Other families want to stay on the monorail loop because they want to spend most of their time at the Magic Kingdom. Keep in mind, however, that you will need to take a bus to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

While you will have to take a bus to the parks if you stay at a moderate or value resort, some of the moderate resorts have boat transportation to Disney Springs (and guests at the cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness can take a boat to the Magic Kingdom).

In addition, the new Skyliner system goes to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios from the Caribbean Beach Resort, the brand-new Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.

For additional convenience to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, look at the Boardwalk Inn, the Beach and Yacht Clubs, and the Swan and Dolphin. You can walk to either park from these resorts, or take a boat.

The monorail resorts are the best option for convenience to Disney’s Magic Kingdom, and guests at Disney’s Contemporary Resort can walk to the Magic Kingdom.

The Food at Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

All of the resort hotels at Walt Disney World offer at least one restaurant/food court. If you are planning to eat one or more meals at your resort, it’s definitely worth looking at the different food options at the resort. Of course, you can absolutely go to any resort to eat at their restaurant, but that may not be the most convenient.

For instance, if you don’t like Mexican food, it’s probably not a great idea to stay at Disney’s Coronado Resort, which offers delicious Mexican cuisine (if you are hoping to eat several meals at the resort). But if you love Mexican food, it’s a fabulous, moderately priced option.

The deluxe hotels also offer some premium restaurants that are absolutely delicious, as well as some character dining experiences. Again, you don’t need to be staying at the specific resort to dine there, but it is easier.

The Dig Site pool

Amenities and Themes at Disney Resort Hotels

Every one of the Walt Disney World resort hotels offer fabulous amenities and themes. Depending on the ages of your children and their interests, you’ll want to evaluate the various options.

You should also consider how much time you’ll actually spend in the room and at the resort. If it isn’t going to be much time, the amenities will be less important, and you may prefer to save money.

For the best pools, consider Disney’s Beach Club and Yacht Club Resorts, and Disney’s Art of Animation.

Disney's Art of Animation surrey bikes

Your Family Size

Like many hotels, the majority of hotel rooms at Walt Disney World will accommodate families of four. If you’ve got a larger family, however, there are still some great options. The DVC (Disney Vacation Club) resorts offer family suites, and you can book them even if you aren’t a vacation club member.

There are also the family suites at Disney’s Art of Animation and Disney’s All Star Music. Some deluxe resorts can also accommodate five people. Just be sure to double-check the resort and room type when booking. Even if some of the rooms accommodate five or more, it’s not a given that all of them will.

What is your process for choosing a Walt Disney World Resort hotel?

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