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!

 

Friday Five: 5 Reason to Love Art of Animation Resort

5 Reason to Love Art of Animation Resort

It’s a new installment on A Little WDW Magic! The Friday Five! A little different each week, but we’re going to start with 5 Reason to live Art of Animation Resort!

1. SPACE. The family suites at this resort sleep up to 6 guests plus a child under age 6, making it a great option for larger families. You have two FULL bathrooms here. You also have a separate bedroom, making it a great option for parents of young children who want some separation. The big kids can stay awake/watch TV while the little kids to head to bed.DSC_0067

2. THEME. Look no further for the best character themed resort on Disney property. Cars, Finding Nemo, Lion King, and Little Mermaid are all well represented here. You’ll be happy no matter what themed section you stay in! Take some time to really enjoy the well themed areas (checking on the changes in grass and foliage).

3. POOL. The largest pool on Disney property with underwater speakers and a really great kids splash pad area. The 2 quiet themed pools are above average as well. Enjoy time at the Cozy Cone in the Cars themed pool and flip your fins in the Little Mermaid pool. While this resort is larger, you’ll have plenty of space to swim around.

DSC_00444. FOOD. Landscape of Flavors offers some of the best quick service food I’ve had at a resort. There was ample seating every time we enjoyed a meal there. I wish we had more time at the resort to try some of the other options like make your own pasta bar and really delicious and perfectly homemade chips. There were also some more unique options available like smoothies (SNACK CREDIT ALERT!) and some healthier options available than the standard “food court” atmosphere. Worth a little detour if you’ve got a day off or you’re staying at nearby Pop Century!

5. PRICE. In comparing size to the similar 1 bedroom villas, you’ll be saving big bucks at Art of Animation! While you only have a mini-kitchen available to you, splurge on a dining plan and save yourself time cooking. You’re on vacation after all!!

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 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!

 

 

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!

5 steps to planning an all inclusive Disney World vacation

5 Steps to Planning an All Inclusive Disney World Vacation!

So you want an all inclusive vacation, how about Disney World? Most people don’t think about Disney destinations as an all inclusive type trip, but they can be. Have everything paid for up front, reservations made for your favorite restaurants and attractions and even skip a few lines with these 5 easy steps:

1. Make your Disney World package reservation a resort that’s most convenient to your family’s wants and needs. Want to spend more time in Magic Kingdom and less time traveling? Think about Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian, or even Wilderness Lodge. Love Epcot? Think about Beach or Yacht Club. Parks not so important? How about club level service at any of the deluxe resorts to enjoy some down time in their lounge with a few snacks and drinks? With well over 20 resort options, there’s surely something for everyone!

Enjoy some of the finer resorts on Disney property: Contemporary

Enjoy some of the finer resorts on Disney property: Contemporary

2. Choosing your dining plan. Of course, the most important part of an all inclusive vacation is the FOOD! Disney offers several different dining plan options that fits your needs. Have a toddler who’s on the go? Try the quick service plan which gives you the flexibility and maximizes your park time. Like sitting down for a meal and trying new things but still want an option to grab and go? Disney’s PLUS dining is for you! Love to be adventurous and try new things? Are vacations all about the food? Deluxe dining might be the best choice for you! While it involves a lot of planning, it’s an amazing experience to try some of the finer things Disney has to offer! How about some recreational activities as well as live shows and adventures? Check out the premium dining plan! This has the same entitlements as the deluxe dining plan, but allows you to use your credits differently as well as unlimited recreational sports for the ULTIMATE in all inclusive vacations. Above that is the platinum dining plan which includes everything the premium plan has to offer plus a fireworks cruise and spa treatment. This also includes pre-arriving planning service by a Disney cast member (because you’ll need it to pack everything into your trip!)

3. Make your reservation more than 180 days in advance. This will allow you to get your choice of dining reservations when they become available for your travel dates. Do your research, take a look at menus, talk to friends and family and carefully pick your top choice dining experiences during your stay. This is only for table service restaurants, no need for reservations at any quick service dining locations.

4. Make your FastPass+ reservations. 60 days prior to your arrival, you can book all of your FastPass+ reservations! Check out popular attractions like the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Soarin’, Toy Story Mania, or meet your child’s favorite Disney characters: Anna & Elsa, Cinderella, or even Mickey Mouse himself! Remember, 3 FastPass choices per park day per person and they don’t all have to be the same!

5. Buy a few gift cards. Since Disney does require gratuity on all table service meals, to make it a true all inclusive vacation, you’ll need to stash some cash for that extra cost. Grab some gift cards whether they be the Disney or Visa variety. Either way, you won’t go home spending a dime! Maybe even grab a few more for some sounveirs!

There you have! 5 easy steps to making your Disney World vacation, all inclusive! To save you some work on the process, try out a travel agent that specializes in Disney. It’s free, it’s easy, and you don’t have to do any of the work!

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

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

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!

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!

Pros and cons of moderate resorts

 

Earlier this year, I broke down the pros and cons of each Disney World resort as a whole and compared each resort by class. Well that’s obviously not a fair fight! So by (somewhat popular) request, I will happily break down the pros and cons of resorts within their own class. We’ll start with moderate resorts since that seems to be the “middle of the road” for Disney vacations. These are also some of the largest resorts in space and capacity. For more detailed information on each resort, check out the moderate resort page and each individual resort for size, pools, and restaurants. I’ll start with my opinion of “the best of”…

Best Pool: Coronado Springs with Port Orleans Riverside in a close second

Best Grounds: Based on size, Port Orleans French Quarter; Based on overall appeal – Port Orleans French Quarter or Riverside (themes are related)

Best Location on Disney property: Depending on what you are visiting for…Coronado Springs is most accessible, both Port Orleans resorts have boat access to Downtown Disney which is a long, painful bus ride at all other resorts.

Best Bus system: Coronado Springs. Port Orleans share between the two resorts and are often crowded. While all of the resorts have multiple stops between within the resorts, Coronado has the easiest functionality of resorts

Best Dining options: Port Orleans Riverside (with a nod going to French Quarter for their New Orleans style food – beignets!) with Coronado Springs in a close second. As a resort with a conference center, it makes sense that it has good food options.

Best rooms for kids: Tie. Port Orleans Riverside Royal Rooms have an amazing princess theme. At Caribbean Beach, you can enjoy a pirate themed room for your swashbucklers!

Best rooms for adults: Coronado Springs Business class is similar to club level service at the deluxe resorts at a fraction of the price. Enjoy a conveniently located room as well as food and beverage service in their lounge included in the cost of your stay. A close second would be Port Orleans as the atmosphere can be quite romantic.

The good, the bad, and the ugly. This is all about where you want to stay for your vacation. If price is a factor, Port Orleans (both), and Caribbean Beach rooms all have the same rack (non-discounted) rates for standard rooms. The difference? Location and bed size. Beds at Caribbean Beach are still double beds vs. queens at all the remainder of the resorts. Traveling as 2 adults? You can guarantee yourself a king size bed by choosing this category room. If you’re a family of 5, you’re stuck with a room at Port Orleans Riverside or going to a different class of resort. It’s the only non-suite option that sleeps more than 4. There’s no real difference in travel time among the resorts to Magic Kingdom as they are located on the southern half of the resort.

Port Orleans resorts were renovated in 2012 and Coronado Springs renovated right around the same time. Caribbean Beach is starting renovations now in 2014 (outside of their pirate themed rooms)

In my opinion, Caribbean Beach has a bit of a confusing layout and is extremely large. While all the resorts are large, there seems to be less chaos at the other three – as they seem to go in more of a circle. If you’re concerned about extra walking in your resort, stay at French Quarter or choose a preferred room at one of the other resorts. Remember these are just my opinions, and if you have your heart set on a specific resort, GO!

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!

Disney World Hotels: On site vs. Off Site

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Another big question I get all the time from potential clients looking at a Disney World vacation is whether to stay on site or off site. I am of course biased toward on site as I know quite so much about that and have stayed at many of the Disney resorts as well. I’ve created a handy comparison chart as well as a hypothetical comparison to include Disney resorts as well as Disney’s Swan/Dolphin, and off site hotels. The comparison is very interesting!

Disney resorts Swan/Dolphin Off Site
Airport transport Yes – free No No
Discounts Typically 2-4 months available from arrival date – % off room total discounts; sometimes ticket discounts Discounts variable. At times teacher discounts available Variable by location.
Tickets Can be included in ticket packages (at times for a discount!) May be purchased separately May be purchased separately
Extra Magic Hours Included Included None
Parking Free at resorts and parks Free at parks only (additional $15 daily at resort) Typically free at hotel, $15 daily parking at parks
Park Transport from your resort Free Free Some intermittent buses at some hotels
Disney Dining Plan Available when purchasing park tickets as a part of your package Separate dining plan for Swan/Dolphin restaurants only (Disney Dining plan not available) None available – for Disney resort guests only
Average cost per night in July Value  ~$135+Moderate ~$208+Deluxe ~294+*does not include room discount, tax included ~$209+ plus taxDiscounted teacher rates available ~$149-$179 Variable ~$79 and up plus tax
Location Variable by resort – all on Disney property Epcot resort area Variable – Not on Disney property
Park transport Variable by resort – value resorts are bus only; some deluxe resorts are walking distance, monorail, or boat Boat access or walking distance to Hollywood Studios and Epcot; Shared bus service to Magic Kingdom & Animal Kingdom Your car only
Resort fee None $17 + tax per day Typically, none
Charging privileges on Disney property (to your room account) Available Only available at Swan/Dolphin and not throughout Disney resorts and parks Not available
FastPass+ Available 60 days in advance Available 60 days in advance Available upon arrival in the park
Advanced Dining Reservations Available 180 days in advance (plus 10 days into your trip) Available 180 days in advance (plus 10 days into your trip) Available 180 days in advance (must book your reservations day by day)
MagicBands Included Included None
Average cost for a 7 days, 6 night trip for a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children)Base park ticketsNo dining plan Includes park ticketsValue: $2170+Moderate: $2645+Deluxe: $3223.44*Non-discounted rates. Room discounts will be available (typically up to 30%) Room: $1530Park Tickets: $1216Resort Fee: $102Airport Transfer: $70TOTAL: $2918

(more if you rent a car)

Room: $775Park Tickets: $1216Rental Car:$300Parking:  $90TOTAL: $2381

(most conservatively with a hotel in Kissimmee)

Benefits No car necessary!No resort fee!Everything at your finger tips!Ability to add on dining plan! One of the best locations on Disney propertyOffers some teacher discounts Rooms are cheaper, but everything else is more expensive!

 


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!