The Pros and Cons of Every Disney World resort!

There’s a lot of information out there about all of the Disney World resorts. So how do you choose? How do I make suggestions for my many wonderful guests? Typically, it’s easiest to start with price point. If you’re unsure of a budget, think about what most important: saving a bit more money and spending a little bit more time getting to and from the theme parks OR saving a bit more time and spending a bit more money to be in a more convenient location.

This at a glance guide is here to help get you closer to making that leap and choosing your resort! This is the second hardest part of any Disney World vacation (the hardest being actually waiting for your trip!!) Resorts are listed in alphabetical order.

All Star Movies, Music, Sports

PROS:

  • Least expensive resorts on property
  • Themes caters to families with young children
  • Close proximity to Animal Kingdom

CONS:

  • The 3 resorts share bus service
  • Location is remote which make trip to Magic Kingdom extremely long

Animal Kingdom Lodge & Villas

PROS:

  • Great Theme
  • One of the best pools on property
  • Standard and pool rooms among the cheapest on deluxe resorts
  • Some of the best dining on property

CONS:

  • Remote location in far southwest corner of property
  • Only deluxe resort that only has one method of transportation (bus only)

Art of Animation

PROS:

  • Great lodging for large families
  • One of the best resort quick service dining options (as rated by guests)
  • Newest Resort
  • Excellent and recognizable theming
  • Only value resort with the option of a queen bed
  • Family suites sleep up to 6
  • Only value resort with a zero entry pool
  • Each suite has a kitchenette with refrigerator, microwave and sink
  • Family suites have 2 full bathrooms
  • Interior doorways (all other value resorts have outdoor entry)

CONS:

  • Little Mermaid rooms not included in Disney Special Offer Discounts (including room only discounts and free dining)
  • Little Mermaid Rooms (non family suite) are far away from Animation Hall and buses
  • More expensive than other value resorts
  • Often busy as it is the newest Disney resort
  • Many guests report bad cell phone reception

Beach Club & Beach Club Villas

PROS:photo 3

  • Good on site dining
  • Boat service to Epcot and Hollywood Studios
  • 5-10 Minute walk to Epcot and Boardwalk
  • 15 minute walk to Hollywood studios
  • Best Pool on property
  • Great room views
  • Relaxing and tranquil theme

CONS:

  • Lack of counter service meals in the area
  • No transportation to Epcot front entrance
  • Bus to Downtown Disney is slow and shared with other resorts in the area

Boardwalk Inn & Villas

PROS:

  • 5-10 minute walk to Epcot or Beach Club/Yacht Club
  • 10-15 minute walk to Hollywood Studios
  • Boat Service to Hollywood Studios & Epcot
  • Near Boardwalk nightlife
  • Large selection of dining

CONS:

  • No restaurants in hotels
  • No children’s character meals
  • No direct transportation to Epcot main entrance
  • Shared bus service to Downtown Disney

Caribbean Beach

PROS:

  • Bright and exciting theme
  • Good for young children
  • Convenient parking
  • Good lakefront setting

CONS:

  • Large layout that can be confusing
  • Not great on site dining
  • Intermittent bus service
  • Some buildings are a long way away from main building
  • Only moderate resort with double beds

Contemporary (and Bay Lake Tower)

PROS:Pros and Cons of DIsney's Contemporary Resort

  • Proximity to Magic Kingdom – within walking distance
  • On Magic Kingdom monorail line
  • Views from Bay Lake or Theme Park View rooms are unlike any other resort
  • Able to view Magic Kingdom fireworks from upper floors
  • Recently renovated guest rooms
  • Additional restaurants available along monorail

CONS:

  • Lack of theme in comparison to other Disney resorts
  • At times, bus system is shared with other resorts along the monorail
  • Garden view rooms are somewhat of a walk to get to monorail
  • Walking to Magic Kingdom day after day can get tiring (your only other option is to take the 15 minute monorail ride all the way around)

Coronado Springs

PROS:

  • Nicely decorated guest rooms
  • Water view rooms are relaxing and romantic
  • Several dining options on site
  • Good main pool area
  • Business center/business class rooms
  • Good self park
  • Ranchos section is quiet and secluded

CONS:

  • Large resort
  • Business travelers
  • Some families complain that it’s smokey
  • Not all buildings have elevators

 

Fort Wilderness Cabins

PROS:

  • Rustic atmosphere
  • Being at Disney without feeling like you are
  • Special shows/live events
  • Boat service

CONS:

  • Isolated location
  • Large layout
  • Confusing transportation service
  • Limited dining (with no quick service option)
  • Small bathrooms
  • Some locations are very far away from amenities

Grand Floridian & Villas at Grand Floridian

PROS:

  • Great location on Disney property
  • Ample table service dining options
  • Least amount of time spent travelling to Magic Kingdom
  • Excellent customer service
  • Great beach
  • Many recreational/water sport options
  • Spa available

CONS:

  • Large layout
  • Outer building can be a decent walk to main building
  • Not a good theme for children
  • Not many good dining options for kids
  • Most expensive option on Disney property
  • Villas not included with discounts or special offers

Old Key West

PROS:

  • Very Nice Villas (especially the kitchens)
  • Quiet resort
  • Convenient parking around property
  • Quiet pool area
  • Boat service to Downtown Disney
  • No general resort traffic

CONS:

  • Large sprawling layout
  • Only ok bus service
  • No easy access to and from resort for drivers
  • Not in a great location on property
  • Limited meal options


Polynesian Village

PROS:

  • Beautiful property and theme
  • Excellent restaurants on property and more along monorail
  • Proximity to Magic Kingdom
  • Walking distance to TTC to get to Epcot monorail
  • Beach
  • Ability to watch Magic Kingdom fireworks from beach
  • Great pool

CONS:

  • Open walkways exposed to elements
  • Ongoing construction/renovations through early 2015
  • Some outlying buildings are a 6-8 minute walk from Great Ceremonial House
  • Villas will be excluded from new promotional rates and discounts when open

Pop Century

PROS:

  • Proximity to Hollywood Studios and Epcot
  • Inexpensive
  • Walking distance to Art of Animation
  • Quick walking access to Classic Hall and Bus Stop from all roomsIMG_1100

CONS:

  • Uncovered bus lines
  • Only one dining option

Port Orleans French Quarter & Riverside

PROS

  • Great food courts
  • Nice scenery/landscaping
  • Boat service to Downtown Disney
  • Romantic atmosphere
  • Small in comparison to other moderate resorts (French Quarter)
  • Convenient service to Downtown Disney

CONS

  • Very large resort (Riverside)
  • Busy busy service
  • Some rooms are very far from main building/dining options (Riverside)

Saratoga Springs (and Treehouse Villas)

PROS:

  • Very Nice Villas
  • Convenient parking around property
  • Quiet pool area
  • Boat service to Downtown Disney
  • Lively atmosphere
  • Treehouse Villas sleep the most among any of the Disney resorts
  • Among the least expensive villa options

CONS:

  • Lack of theme and Disney feel
  • Large resort
  • No wheelchair access to Treehouse villas

Wilderness Lodge & Villas at Wilderness Lodge

PROS:

  • One of the best themes in all of Disney
  • Favorite resort of children
  • Romantic setting for adults
  • Good dining options
  • Boat access to other resorts and parks
  • Beautiful view from guest rooms
  • Studio villa sleeps up to 5 guests

CONS:

  • Standard rooms only sleep up to 4 guests
  • Transfer to monorail to get to other Magic Kingdom area resorts

Yacht ClubPros and Cons of Beach Club & Yacht Club Resorts

PROS:

  • Good on site dining
  • Boat service to Epcot and Hollywood Studios
  • 5-10 Minute walk to Epcot and Boardwalk
  • 15 minute walk to Hollywood studios
  • Best Pool on property
  • Great room views
  • Relaxing and tranquil theme

CONS:

  • Lack of counter service meals in the area
  • No transportation to Epcot front entrance
  • Bus to Downtown Disney is slow and shared with other resorts in the area
A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

RReady to get started planning your 2015 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free cruise opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

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4 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Every Disney World resort!

  1. This information is so helpful! Do you have any experience with the bus times from AKL? Our daughter has her heart set on staying here, and it seems like one of the best options to fit our large group, but I’m concerned that with two small kids (7 and 2) if the ride is really long (more than 20-30 minutes), that may be pushing it? Thanks!

    • Hi Erin! Great question. From Animal Kingdom to Magic Kingdom, it’s probably 20-25 minutes. You’re going from one end of property to the other so it’s one of the longest trips. I’ve done it with a 2 year old and it hasn’t been completely horrible! We’ve had better trips though 🙂 I wouldn’t expect actual transit time on the bus to be longer than 30 minutes anywhere on property even with any “traffic”! I’d love to talk in more detail about your planning experience and help answer questions! If you’re interested, you can contact me through: https://alittlewdwmagic.com/quote/

      Hope to hear more from you soon!! And it’s definitely helpful to have an extra set of eyes and ears on the planning with a large group. It can get confusing!

  2. Hi, Melissa,

    Thanks so much for the quick response! One more quick question if you don’t mind 🙂 Meal plans are the other big thing I’ve been researching (and your articles on them have been super helpful!), and it looks like Disney usually puts out a free dining promotion around April/May for fall visits. We’re looking at going in November, the week before Thanksgiving week, so if they did, I think we’d qualify for it. If we booked a trip now with you and the offer became available in the coming weeks and applied to our dates, would we be able to modify the reservation to take advantage of it?

    Thanks!
    Erin

    • Hi Erin, Disney has moved away from spring free dining and it was limited dates in fall – the last 2 years it has been September, and select dates in October, November, and December. Any sort of dining promotional offer is not a guarantee until Disney announces it so I always hesitate to be very speculative about things. If you choose to book a trip ahead of time to guarantee your dining reservations (which is important with a large group), you may apply a promotional offer to your existing reservation. Keep in mind that because you have a reservation does not guarantee a promotional offer. Disney uses promotions to fill booked rooms so you may have to jump to a higher room category or even look at a different resort to be included in a promotional rate. There’s really no exact science to it (and free dining is the biggest promo Disney has offered, so it’s the most highly sought after).

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