Pros and cons of Disney World Value resorts

Continuing the comparison of each resort class, today’s in depth look is at value resorts. These resorts are comparable in size to moderate resorts (some a bit smaller). Disney’s newest value resort, Art of Animation, makes it difficult to equally compare all of the resorts in this category, but here goes nothing! All value resorts have 2 double beds (Art of Animation suites have a queen size bed), exterior entry (outside of Art of Animation), bus only tranportation to and from the parks, only one dining option in each park, and one main pool with at least 2 quiet pools. Once again I’ll start with my opinion of “the best of”…

Best Pool: Art of Animation’s main pool has a built in sound system to make the experience even more magical. Pop Century’s Hippy Dippy pool also have fun activities and a bright and fun theme.

Best Grounds: This depends on what your family’s preference is. All resorts follow a similar T-shaped building layout. Pop Century is the only resort that allows you to choose your view (standard, pool view, preferred room). Check out the theme of each resort and decide what works for your family!

Best Location on Disney property: Tie: Pop Century & Art of Animation. These are located in the “Wide World of Sports” area and are close to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios. The All Star resorts are located in the Animal Kingdom area which makes for a long bus ride to Magic Kingdom!

Best Bus system: Pop Century & Art of Animation. Each resort have their own bus system (the All Stars have shared bus service between the three of them). I can speak personally for Pop Century that it was extremely efficient and we rarely waited for more than a few minutes.

Best Dining options: Landscape of Flavors at Art of Animation has some great quick service options. Many people like the dessert options at Pop Century as well.

Best rooms for kids: Depends on what your kids like! I think most value resorts are more geared toward kids than adults. You can choose your theme: Disney movies, Disney favorite animated films, Music, Sports, or Pop Culture of the 50s-90s.

Best rooms for adults: All resorts except for Art of Animation offer rooms with king beds (sleeps up to 2). At Pop Century you will end up with less tour groups, family reunions, and and sport groups which make for a somewhat quieter experience. Lakeview rooms (which can be requested after you book at no additional cost) make for a very peaceful experience.

The good, the bad, and the ugly. There’s a lot of similarities in this category. The three All Star Resorts are very similar in size and location. Their distance away from 3 of the 4 parks and the shared bus service deters some people from these resorts. Additionally, these resorts often host tour groups, cheer competitions, a soccer tournament in 2014, and family reunions since they are large and they are the lest expensive resorts on Disney property. The good about this trio? They are the least expensive on Disney property and are typically plentiful when discounts become available. All Star Music has a family suite that will sleep up to 6.

A very small upgrade ($10-ish per night) to Pop Century affords you benefits like solo bus service, a better location on Disney property, and some typically quieter accommodations. I felt that the walk around this resort seemed more relaxing and faster than my stays at the All Star resorts. Pop Century also allows you to choose a pool view room if you so choose. This is not something you can choose at any other resort!

Disney World Pop Century Resort

Disney’s Pop Century brings adults back to their childhood!

Art of Animation is great for larger families. Their theme is fun for anyone who loves Disney and seem more like a moderate or deluxe resort experience than a value. If you are looking to share space with 2 families, you are better off booking 2 rooms at one of the value resorts as the cost is generally less. The downside of this resort are the Little Mermaid rooms. These rooms are fairly far away from everything and have never been included into a Disney discount/special offer since their opening.

If you’re looking for a place to lay your head at night and only having one transportation option, a value may be a great option for you. These locations also have families with kids, so if you’re looking for a romantic, adults only vacation, this may not be the best type of resort for you. 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!

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!