When planning a Walt Disney World vacation, it’s hard to narrow it down to just one of their great resort hotels to stay at – there are so many that it can be confusing to keep them all straight!
The best way to narrow it down is to figure out what you’re really looking to get out of your WDW Resort experience – Do you want a big fancy room with an amazing view or just a place to sleep at night? How important is location to you? What is your price limit? Those are really the big questions to ask, and once you have answers to them, you can move on to making your choice
As for price, you can pay anywhere from $80 a night to over $500 a night for a room in Walt Disney World. They divide their Resort Hotels up into 3 categories:
Value – the cheapest category of rooms, most of the rooms contain 2 double beds (king size can be requested but usually not guaranteed), and are relatively small. You can expect to pay $80-$160 per night (depending on the time of year you are traveling) The hotels in this category are:
-All Star Music: Musically themed with giant instruments and a different melody at every turn
-All Star Sports: Sports fans of all ages will enjoy the oversized gaming equipment and sports memorabilia decorating this resort
-All Star Movies: My personal fave of the all star’s, the common areas contain movie posters and autographed photos, and the buildings are themed
after Disney Movies – I stayed in the Fantasia 2000 building on my honeymoon which was fun!
-Pop Century: As with the All Star Resorts, Giant memorabilia decorate this resort’s buldings – but it’s themed by decade, and reminds us of how
different things used to be “way back when”
-Art of Animation: This resort pays homage to some of the great Disney films, like The Little Mermaid and the Lion King, and is a hotel consisting
mostly of family suites (as well as some standard rooms). This is Disney’s newest resort and will be opening in the Spring of 2012
Moderate: These are the ‘middle of the road’ in terms of price/size of the rooms, but the experience there is anything but ‘middle of the road’. The resorts are beautifully themed (and slightly less tacky than the Value Resorts), and the rooms are larger, and while many still have the standard 2 double beds, more of the rooms at this price point are moving towards having 2 queen beds (which is a nice upgrade in my opinion!). The price range for these Resorts is about $150-$300 per night (depending on what view you want, the location of the room, and the time of year). The hotels in this category are:
-Caribbean Beach: So tropical it will make you feel like you’re in Bermuda or the Bahamas! This resort is relaxing and tranquil (two things you definitely
want on a vacation!)
-Coronado Springs: This Resort draws its theming and inspiration from Colonial Mexico as well as the American Southwest, and is classified as a ‘convention resort’, as well as a family resort.
-Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground/Cabins: I camped here many times as a child, and loved the nature of the campground and how quiet it was.
You can choose to camp here, or if that isn’t your style, you can rent a cabin, which sleep 6 people, and come with their own kitchen.
-Port Orleans Riverside/Port Orleans French Quarter: Old Time New Orleans at it’s finest – both resorts offer a romantic escape from the hustle and
bustle of the Parks, and they also have a boat shuttle service to Downtown Disney. I stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter last month and loved it,
from the rooms to the grounds to the pool to the food – this is hands down my favorite resort, and I would stay here again in a hearbeat!
Deluxe: This is Disney’s fanciest and therefore most expensive category of resorts, with rooms and suites ranging in price from $300-$3000 per night (this is dependent on what type of room you want, the location, and of course the time of year you are traveling). But don’t let the price scare you off! These are some truly amazing rooms in truly beautiful resort settings, it really does not get any more beautiful or special than these Resorts:
-Animal Kingdom Lodge: African themed, with beautiful rooms and an amazing lobby filled with dark wood arches and soft lighting. Best of all, you are
literally in the middle of a safari full of animals – you can look out your window and see a giraffe or an elephant….talk about a breathtaking experience!
-Yacht and Beach Club Resorts: Themed after early 20th century homes you would find on Martha’s Vineyard, these resorts are an elegant day at the
beach, with their nautical theming and sophistication
-Contemporary Resort: The Monorail literally runs through this resort, so the location couldn’t be more perfect – its close (walking distance!) to the
Magic Kingdom, and bonus: all the rooms were recently renovated! They also have some of the best restaurants – with Chef Mickey’s being a family
favorite, and the California Grill serving up some seriously delicious sushi with beautiful views of the Magic Kingdom’s nightly fireworks
-Grand Floridian: This is the classic Disney Resort – it’s Victorian elegance and romantic air make it the perfect honeymoon Resort, and its truly a
picture perfect place to stay. (it’s so beautiful that when TV shows or movies are shot in Disney World – the characters will more than likely be staying
at this resort – like when Full House went to Disney World, they stayed at the Grand Floridian!). It is also a monorail resort – so you could step outside
your room and be meeting Mickey in no time!
-Polynesian Resort: This tropical, hawaiian themed Resort is personally one of my favorites, and is a great place to take a sunset stroll with its white
sand beaches and torch lit pathways. It’s just a stop away from the Magic Kingdom on the monorail, and it’s nightly luau is great entertainment for the
-Wilderness Lodge: This resort was inspired by early american national park lodges – and has the biggest fireplace in it’s lobby that I have ever seen!
the giant totem poles in the entry area are awe-inspiring, and the rooms have a rustic yet cozy feel to them.
To summarize, the more you pay, the bigger the room, the nicer the theming at the Resort, and the closer you will be to all the action.
Personally, I always book a Value category room, and should a deal/special promotion come up that allows me to change to a moderate resort, then great. If not, then I still have my original room at the Value Resort.
If you are having trouble choosing a Resort and are worried you are making the wrong choice, just remember this: No matter where you decide stay, you will have an amazing time, because you are vacationing in the place where Dreams Come True!