The Disney World Deluxe resort difference

 

It’s no secret that Disney World deluxe resorts are the top of the line in terms of available accommodations around their property. While they come with a larger price tag, I do feel like they are absolutely the ONLY option for me! After getting recharged with 2 amazing deluxe resorts over the past few days and it gave me a huge recharge of how much I absolutely love them! Don’t get me wrong, I love (almost) all Disney World resorts, but deluxe resorts are just a cut above the rest! So what makes them so amazing? Let me count the ways…

Service. All Disney cast members are trained to help traveling guests but deluxe service takes it to another level! I was greeted at Disney’s Grand Floridian at 10 am to check into my resort by a wonderful gentleman who had a conversation with me and truly engaged in the process. I was greeted by another wonderful cast member who walked me through the check in process. Now, I’m a frequent Disney goer, so the check in process is nothing new to me but this experience brought a new light to the experience and how wonderful it can be! I had an issue with my MagicBand (which my husband laughed at because it’s a pretty typical scenario for me) and I had another two cast members come to my rescue. In 10 minutes, I had touch points with FOUR different cast members who magically remedied this situation!

Dining. All Disney resorts have a quick service/grab and go dining option, but deluxe resorts have a minimum of THREE dining experiences (table service, quick service, and signature dining). That’s at minimum. You’ll likely see more than just 3 dining locations. And these are some of the best dining experiences you’ll find either inside or outside of the park INCLUDING character dining! How nice would it be to go from your room to enjoy a world class dining experience and then head back to your room to change back into park clothes to head back to the park.

Location, location, location. Almost every single Disney World deluxe resort has more than one mode of transportation to get you to and from the theme parks (exception – Animal Kingdom Lodge). This means you’ll be spending less time getting to and from the theme parks and more time enjoying them. This is great for many reasons – families that want their toddlers or young children to have a nap in the middle of the day, families that want to enjoy their resort’s amenities and not spend the entire trip inside the parks, interest in a great pool experience, or additional recreational activities. There is more to Disney than just theme parks and the deluxe resort offer some amazing opportunities to explore the surroundings and even watch fireworks right from your resort (or even your room).

Club Level Service. I’ve talked about club level service at Disney World resorts in several previous posts. I was lucky enough to stay at Beach Club and enjoy their club level service. I always enjoy the club level offerings and it really gives you a more upscale feel. This is definitely luxury travel! You have a continental breakfast each morning, light snacks and

Club level snacks offered at Beach Club resort (similar offerings at most other resorts)

Club level snacks offered at Beach Club resort (similar offerings at most other resorts)

refreshments mid-day (and this is a very quiet place to relax and work for those of us traveling on business), hot and cold appetizers in the evening and an array of lovely desserts in the evening. These meals are not meant to take over your daily meals (I still needed a dinner each evening, but it was nice to have access to drinks and some snacks while I was arriving). This is a fantastic resort opportunity for guests who want more out of their Disney World experience beyond just theme parks. Cast members are available daily to answer questions (and I put them to the test) as well as help guide you with transportation and making recommendations for dining and park plans. While there is a concierge at every Disney World resort, these special cast members are available to help on a more intricate level. For more on club level service…Club Level Service Overview and The Best Walt Disney World Club Level service.

Additional activities. If you’re looking for more to your Disney experience than just theme parks, look no further than deluxe resorts (and Disney deluxe villas). This amazing locations have water sports, special evening activities – roasting marshmallows on the beach, a view of fireworks right from your resort, upgraded pool experiences. These are really uniquely themed pool complexes with elaborate kids splash play areas and spacious pools so that every family has a great experience. In resorts like Grand Floridian, you can also book High Tea! We’ve made vacations at deluxe resorts with really limited time inside the theme parks because there is just so much to do and explore!

Space! In addition to the best locations on property, you’ll also get the most square footage in your room and even options for 1 and 2 bedroom spaces on club level floors as well as expanding your horizons to the villas. The rooms at Grand Floridian allow plenty of space for a family of 5 with 2 queen beds plus a day bed and still plenty of space for 5 suitcases (or a crib/pack n play if you are traveling with little ones) without feeling like you are tripping over each other. It’s a huge difference in the experience, especially coming from the tiny rooms at the All Star resorts!

I can’t wait for my next deluxe resort stay! I know it’s an additional cost out of pocket, but the benefits are perfect for our family! We are a fairly frugal family and I’m fairly plain as it relates to the clothing/name brand I purchase, but these “name brand” Disney experiences are absolutely worth the upgrade! If you’re looking to upgrade from your usual value or moderate resort stays, you can “try out” the lower cost rooms at either Wilderness Lodge or Animal Kingdom Lodge before you go on the very high end of the puzzle like a club level or theme park view room!

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)

Ready to get started planning your 2016 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 vacation 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!

 

Pros and cons of Disney World deluxe resorts

Continuing the comparison of each resort class, today’s in depth look is at deluxe resorts. These resorts are smaller than the moderate resorts, and have several differences than the moderates. All have interior hallways and entry doors and most are located in close proximity to at least one of the Disney theme parks. All have multiple dining opportunities including quick service, table service, and signature dining. Pools also have water slides and kiddie slides. Once again I’ll start with my opinion of “the best of”…

Best Pool: Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Yacht Club & Beach Club. This pool is more of an experience than a pool. There’s a whirlpool, deep end,

“quick sand” a little mini beach with a zero depth entry and more.

Best Grounds: This is a tough one. Animal Kingdom Lodge probably has a slight edge on Wilderness Lodge. At any point in time, take a stroll around the Animal Kingdom Lodge property and see animals roaming the savannah. This is all part of the experience.

Best Location on Disney property: Three way tie: Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian. If I had to break the tie, Polynesian wins the overall prize. These three resorts are located in very close proximity to Magic Kingdom and have monorail access to Magic Kingdom. Polynesian is set apart by the other two as it is walking distance to the Ticket & Transportation Center (TTC) which provides monorail access to Epcot. Grand Floridian and Contemporary also have monorail access to the TTC, however, it’s via transfer from the resort/Magic Kingdom monorail.

Honorable mention: The three Epcot area resorts – Yacht Club, Beach Club, and Boardwalk. These three resorts are within walking distance of Epcot and Hollywood Studios (you can also take a boat to both locations as well).

Best Bus system: Each one has their pros and cons as at times bus service is shared (especially depending on the time of year). Some guests have complained that the bus to Magic Kingdom from Yacht/Beach Club is slow and monorail area resort guests have said that the buses are slow to Hollywood Studios. The only resort of the group that is ALL bus: Animal Kingdom Lodge has good bus service, but it’s shared with the Villas down the way (which is the first stop).

Best Dining options: TOUGH choice! Contemporary has some of the most loved locations: Chef Mickey’s with a view of the monorail running through the building, Contempo Café and California Grill. I personally love the dining at Polynesian as it’s different and absolutely delicious. Grand Floridian has some great character and signature dining (Victoria & Albert’s – the only restaurant that’s no kids allowed and 2 other signature restaurants on property). The Boardwalk resort area provides a large array of dining options just steps away from your resort as well. For unique dining, Animal Kingdom Lodge has African and Indian style food that guests rave about over and over! So in short, I can’t make a concrete decision.

Best rooms for kids: Wilderness Lodge is consistently rated as the favorite resort of children. The woodsy atmosphere and fun activities for kids are probably a big reason. Plus, this resort has boat access to Magic Kingdom which is a fun and different mode of transportation for kids.  For the animal lovers, Animal Kingdom Lodge has great activities and a fun pool area. Kids can be entertained for hours at this location at no additional cost. The only downside is the travel time to three of the four parks.

Best rooms for adults: Any club level room at any of the resorts is great for adults. For those looking to save a bit of cash, try a theme park view room at Contemporary. While it doesn’t scream ‘Disney’, it’s a nice relaxing and modern design. The conveniences and dining options make it a great adults only vacation resort. For those looking for a more extravagant vacation, the beautiful Grand Floridian and Spa have the most lavish amenities plus an on-site spa for a relaxing break to a busy vacation.

The good, the bad, and the ugly. Once again, it’s really about what is important to you for your vacation. If you’re thinking of staying deluxe, you really can’t go wrong with any location on property. With all the available dining, amenities, great service, and locations, close your eyes and pick one. You can either go based on theme or location.

At all deluxe resorts you have the choice of stay club level giving you concierge service and a nice lounge for breakfast, snacks, and beverages throughout the day. Beach Club is testing their lounge open 24/7. The others are typically open from 7 am – 10 pm.

Polynesian is currently undergoing major renovations including the pool beginning this summer through spring of 2015 and the Great Ceremonial Hall (the main building) beginning in March through the end of the year. This also includes some of the walkways, beautiful scenery and tropical feel of Polynesian as they introduce Disney Vacation Club property to this resort. My advice? Stay away until the renovation is complete. If you’re going to stay at a beautiful location like Polynesian, you want the complete experience!

Boardwalk is scheduled to undergo some renovation in June of this year and Beach Club has some conversations about updating their rooms as well. While this shouldn’t affect your stay as much as Polynesian, it may make a difference in your interest in staying at these resorts.

Cost wise, from lowest to highest goes like this…Animal Kingdom Lodge, Wilderness Lodge, Contemporary (Garden View rooms), Beach Club/Yacht Club, Boardwalk Inn, Polynesian, Contemporary (Tower rooms), Grand Floridian.

Not much “ugly” to report here. Some bus service can be slow or shared, but other than that, I find it difficult to really fault these great resorts!

Ready 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!