Things have certainly changed a lot since Walt Disney World first opened more than 50 years ago, when there were just a handful of hotels to choose from and one theme park. Now, you have the magic — and the challenge — of lots of choices to make about which hotel to pick, which park(s) to visit and more when you embark on planning a Disney vacation.
Related: The best travel credit cards
Choosing the best Disney hotel is a fun part of the challenge, but a challenge all the same. The resorts at Walt Disney World range from those with views of live zebras and giraffes to treehouse villas and even log cabins in the woods.
And, of course, there are ample off-property hotels, too. But when you choose a Disney World hotel, you not only stay in the “Disney bubble” but you gain access to the parks 30 minutes early each morning and have the ability to purchase individual Lightning Lanes for newer rides like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Tron / Lightcycle Run before non-resort guests, starting at 7 a.m. This means you’ll have a better chance of snagging those coveted ride passes.
Still, not all on-property resorts are created equal. Fortunately, TPG is here to help sort through the best hotel options at Walt Disney World. We’ve tried dozens of Disney-area hotels and carefully considered the top (and less-than-stellar) features of nearly every on-property resort to bring you this list.
Whether you’re looking to be treated like a fairy-tale princess or a grown-up who happens to be staying near a theme park, Disney World has you covered.
Related: 14 reasons to stay at a Walt Disney World Resort property
- Best Deluxe Disney World resorts: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
- Best Moderate Disney World resorts: Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
- Best Value Disney World resorts: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s Pop Century Resort.
- Best Disney World resort pools: Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
- Best Disney World resorts for large families: Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney Vacation Club properties.
- Best Disney World resorts for easy access to the theme parks: Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Walt Disney World Swan, Walt Disney World Dolphin, Walt Disney World Swan Reserve, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney’s Riviera Resort.
- Best Disney World resorts for a Disney escape: Disney’s Riviera Resort and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
- Best Disney World resorts for using hotel points: Walt Disney World Swan, Walt Disney World Dolphin, Walt Disney World Swan Reserve, Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace Disney Springs Area, Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista – Disney Springs Area, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando – Disney Springs Area, Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites – Waterpark, Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs Resort Area, B Resort & Spa, Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando – Disney Springs Area, Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, Waldorf Astoria Orlando, JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa, Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek and Club Wyndham Bonnet Creek.
- Best Disney World resort for a budget-busting vacation: Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
FOR NO-COST ASSISTANCE WITH PLANNING AND BOOKING YOUR NEXT DISNEY VACATION, CHECK OUT TPG’S DISNEY BOOKING PARTNER, MOUSE COUNSELORS.
What are the 3 tiers of Disney World hotels?
Disney World offers hotel choices not only with different themes and locations but also different pricing bands, dividing resorts into three distinct cost and amenity tiers.
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Value Disney resorts
Value Disney resorts are the most affordable Disney World hotels.
Nightly rates start around $125 and go up to about $300 on peak dates. None of these hotels are walkable from any of the theme parks, but some are close to the Skyliner while others require bus transportation.
Value Disney hotels don’t have full-service restaurants or fun extras like waterslides, but they do offer grab-and-go food outlets, lively pools and colorful themes.
Moderate Disney resorts
If you want a balance of price and amenities, the Moderate category of Disney resorts can be a sweet spot. At Moderate Disney resorts there are some full-service restaurants, more on-site amenities, waterslides at the pools and a great variety of themes and locations to choose from.
Expect rates at these hotels to range from $250-$400 on most nights for a standard room.
Deluxe Disney resorts
The cream of the crop among Disney World hotels in terms of amenities, quality and price are the Deluxe resorts. These resorts have multiple on-site full-service restaurants and extensive pool areas with waterslides, and some are within walking or monorail distance of the theme parks.
But all of this comes at a cost, and Deluxe Disney resorts can start at $400-$700 per night for a standard room. Renting Disney Vacation Club points can help bring this cost down at times, but a Deluxe resort stay will be an investment compared to the other tiers of Disney hotels.
Best Deluxe Disney World resorts
As mentioned, Deluxe resorts are the most expensive of Disney’s hotels.
While some offer luxury amenities like spas and fine dining venues, others emphasize great themes and proximity to the parks. You also get access to select parks two hours later than everyone else when staying in a Deluxe resort on eligible nights.
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Orlando, Florida, USA
Best for: Families who want to stay on the monorail loop in a tropical-themed oasis.
Why stay here: The Polynesian was recently renovated and is one of Disney World’s most extensively themed hotels, plus it offers easy access to the Magic Kingdom and some of the most popular dining options.
One of the original Disney World resort hotels inspired by Walt Disney himself, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort sits on the monorail only a few minutes from the Magic Kingdom, yet it transports you to a lush Pacific island from the moment you enter. It’s such a great property we almost warn against staying at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort because it’s going to set the bar pretty high for future Disney resort stays.
After undergoing an extensive “Moana”-themed renovation in 2021, the property welcomes guests once again with a fresh, modern look and feel.
At “the Poly,” you’ll find a couple of our favorite Disney restaurants. Notably, there’s Ohana, a Polynesian-inspired dining venue located within the resort’s main building that serves delectable noodles and a mouthwatering bread pudding, among other options on the family-style, all-you-care-to-enjoy menu.
There are plenty of activities and amenities on the grounds, too, including free outdoor movies at night and a 142-foot waterslide that drops riders into the main Lava Pool.
The Polynesian is also where you’ll find the Polynesian Villas and a number of overwater bungalows. You can reserve these (and some other studio rooms) with rented Disney Vacation Club points, but it’s still going to be a splurge for the limited overwater options. You can also use fixed-value miles from a card like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to help offset the expense.
Rates for standard rooms at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort often start at $600 per night.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Orlando, Florida, USA
Best for: Families who want to stay in an African-themed lodge with views of wildlife and don’t mind being slightly more removed from the theme parks.
Why stay here: Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of Disney’s most architecturally stunning resorts — and the only one where you can have “savanna” views from your room. It is also one of the more affordable Deluxe resorts, primarily because it isn’t within walking distance of any of the theme parks.
A true safari involves incredibly long flights and the possibility of malaria pills. For a safari-style vacation closer to home, there’s Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Offering an unforgettable wildlife experience within U.S. borders, Animal Kingdom Lodge is its own ecosystem away from the hustle and bustle of most of the Disney World complex.
The soaring ceilings at Jambo House are adorned with traditional decor. All you’ll need to do to see giraffes, zebras, ostriches and a whole host of other animals is to merely walk past the lobby’s expansive windows.
Dining at this Deluxe resort is another highlight of a stay here. Boma and Jiko are excellent choices if you want to experience an authentic African meal at the resort.
Look into the nighttime Starlight Safari, which comes with loaner night vision devices, for a unique experience.
The property is an example of an excellent use of rented DVC (Disney Vacation Club) points, especially if your family wants more space while saving money. During low seasons, rooms start at just 7 points per night, with DVC points typically available to rent from David’s Vacation Club for $21 to $23 per point.
Rates for standard rooms at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge often start at $500 per night.
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Orlando, Florida, USA
Another original Disney World resort from the 1971 opening is Disney’s Contemporary Resort — and it’s about as close as you can get to the Magic Kingdom without pitching a tent inside the gates (and subsequently getting kicked out by security).
It may have been built over five decades ago, but the amenities inside have been recently updated, with rooms now sporting an incredible new look. But while the theme and renovations are a big step up, the main draw of this property is undoubtedly its monorail design and Magic Kingdom-adjacent location.
We prefer tower rooms over garden-wing options as they are more centrally located to the amenities and monorail, and many offer superb views of the Magic Kingdom’s nightly fireworks.
When you’ve worked up an appetite, you’ll find a few of our favorite Disney World restaurants on-site, including Chef Mickey’s. This popular eatery is where you can dine with characters like Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto. For something more upscale, there’s California Grill, which if you time it right, has some of the best views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks around.
Related: The 3 best Disney World character meals you’ve never heard of — and how to book them
If you’re ready for a splurge-level stay at the Contemporary, there is also a club level where bites and beverages, courtesy of the aforementioned restaurants, are available and included.
Rates for standard rooms at Disney’s Contemporary Resort start at $550 per night.
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Orlando, Florida, USA
With the amazing Stormalong Bay pool complex (which Disney’s Yacht Club Resort shares with its sister property, Disney’s Beach Club Resort), you won’t need to leave your hotel for water fun.
Older kids will love climbing the shipwreck and zipping down the 230-foot waterslide, while younger ones can navigate the zero-entry pool from the “beach” just outside the hotel.
In addition to having the best pool complex at Disney World, both properties are centrally located and offer a ton of transportation options, including boats and walking trails that connect the properties with both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. And if you like burgers, the Bacon and Vermont Cheddar Burger available at Ale & Compass is one of Disney World’s finest.
Rates for standard rooms at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Disney’s Beach Club Resort start at $530 per night.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Orlando, Florida, USA
Best for: Fancy trips where you want to channel your inner Cinderella by staying in a Victorian-themed Disney resort.
Why stay here: The Grand Floridian is the place to stay for traditional holiday decor, easy access to the Magic Kingdom and some of the resort’s fanciest dining venues.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is arguably the most traditional and iconic of Disney World’s high-end hotels. You won’t find a ton of bright in-your-face character themes here, but you will have access to some of Disney’s most upscale amenities, including a spa and the fanciest (and priciest) restaurant at Disney.
It’s one of Disney World’s most expensive resorts thanks to its proximity to the Magic Kingdom, top-notch facilities and over-the-top Christmas displays that include a gingerbread house in the lobby.
Fortunately, the Grand Floridian is undergoing a resortwide renovation that involved converting one of the hotel buildings into all-new DVC studios that are absolutely beautiful, so there’s now one more reason to visit.
Dining is another highlight here. The acclaimed Victoria & Albert’s is truly an unparalleled experience, with a dress code and a no-little-kids policy to match. For an equally excellent but more affordable option, grab a cocktail or mocktail at the “Beauty and the Beast”-inspired Enchanted Rose bar on the second floor of the Grand Floridian’s lobby.
Related: Disney World without kids: 9 ways to enjoy an adult trip to Disney
Rates for standard rooms at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa start at $600 per night.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Orlando, Florida, USA
Best for: A Disney vacation where you want a nature-inspired refuge without being too isolated from the parks.
Why stay here: Be just a boat ride away from the Magic Kingdom while sleeping, dining and playing in a resort that takes clear inspiration from national park lodges.
A short drive or boat ride away from the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is equal parts Great Wolf Lodge, Yellowstone National Park and Disney magic. There are great attractions and restaurants on-site, including a water feature that starts in the lobby and becomes a creek that feeds into one of two outdoor pools.
For a fun, reasonably priced family dining experience, try Whispering Canyon Cafe — and be aware that if you ask for ketchup, you may get a lot of ketchup. If rare Disney characters are more your jam, enjoy dinner with the Evil Queen at Story Book Dining at Artist Point.
Those who want more space and ambience than a standard hotel room should reserve one of the Copper Creek Cabins in the woods adjacent to the Wilderness Lodge or the truly spectacular two-bedroom Yosemite Suite. Both are pricey, but we promise you’ll love staying in either of these options.
If you do opt for standard rooms (or even club-level rooms), the good news is that Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is generally one of the more affordable of the Deluxe Disney resorts, so you can rest easy knowing you’re paying a little less than average for Disney’s high-end properties.
Rates for standard rooms at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge start at $450 per night.
Best Moderate Disney World resorts
Moderate resorts at Disney World represent something of a challenge when it comes to vacation planning. Accommodations at some of these properties are certainly better than the Value resorts (and a notch below Deluxe resorts), but they tend not to be as immersive when it comes to their themes.
Additionally, while some Deluxe and Value resorts have been the beneficiaries of recent renovations, other Moderate properties are overdue for a refresh.
Still, there are standouts in every category — and we definitely like some moderate resorts more than the others in this group.
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter
Orlando, Florida, USA
Best for: Visitors who don’t need to be within walking distance of a park, value accommodations full of charm and are sticking to a tighter budget.
Why stay here: On-site beignets, manageable room rates and theming inspired by New Orleans make this Moderate property well worth a visit.
One of the best Moderate resorts at Disney World is Port Orleans — and we’re especially partial to the French Quarter side with its charming wrought-iron railings, bubbling fountains and an eatery serving tasty Mickey-shaped beignets.
This property is much more compact than other Moderate resorts like Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, which makes everything from parking and catching a Disney bus to grabbing dinner that much easier.
It isn’t the newest or fanciest option in Disney’s resort portfolio, but it is a calm and lovely balance of theming and easily accessible amenities. Although you’ll need a bus or car to get from this resort to any of the Disney World theme parks, you can catch the free boat to Disney Springs for shopping and dining.
In addition to the property’s relaxing vibe and manageable size, the greatest asset of Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter is the price.
Rooms here are often more affordable than what you’ll find at other Moderate properties, most likely because it’s not connected to the theme parks by anything other than ground transportation (and Minnie Vans).
Rates for standard rooms at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter start at $270 per night.
The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
Orlando, Florida, USA
Best for: Families who need a little more space than a standard hotel room and enjoy a dose of nature to go with their roller coasters.
Why stay here: Get an entire cabin to yourself on the grounds of Fort Wilderness, where you can ride horses, see a dinner show and row a canoe between trips to the parks.
One of Disney World’s lesser-known Moderate resorts is also one of its most entertaining.
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort has plenty of campsites for tents and spots for recreational vehicles.
However, if you’re not interested in either, The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort is an excellent choice, as it gives you the best of many worlds when it comes to space, price and things to do at the resort, especially if you aren’t planning to spend all your time at the theme parks. The cabins sleep up to six and offer a queen-size bed, a set of bunk beds and a relatively comfortable pullout sofa bed.
Related: How to enjoy Disney World without park tickets
But trust us, you’ll want to budget for this one essential Fort Wilderness expense: golf carts.
Renting one will cost you $63 to $79 per day. However, you should definitely reserve one to make getting to the Meadow Trading Post for snacks, the docks for transportation to the Magic Kingdom, and other parts of the 700-acre property a lot easier. Lock yours in as far in advance as possible since they’re known to sell out.
Fort Wilderness has a nonstop list of activities you probably didn’t know you could do at Disney World, including pony rides, archery, fishing and rides in wagons and horse-drawn carriages.
When the day winds down, you can also check out the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, a lively performance full of dancing, singing and comedic moments.
Rates for standard cabins at The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Lodge start at $430 per night.
Disney’s Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs
Orlando, Florida, USA
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is the poster child of a Moderate Disney property. It’s an older resort with two-story buildings spread across a large area.
Complimentary theme park transportation is limited to buses, and on-site dining venues are mostly quick-service options, given the resort’s large convention clientele. Additionally, the rooms are on the smaller side, though they were recently renovated.
But one thing changed a couple of years ago that catapulted part of this property onto our favorites list: the new Gran Destino Tower.
This “hotel within a hotel” has a stunning lobby and an equally snazzy lobby bar. If you’re looking for a completely different perspective, let an elevator whisk you up to the 16th floor, where the rooftop Dahlia Lounge awaits — along with an award-winning wine list. Gran Destino Tower is light on a Disney theme, but otherwise, its accommodations are on par with many Deluxe resorts.
Gran Destino also has the distinction of being the only Moderate option at Disney World that has a club lounge, should you prefer an exclusive space to visit and grab snacks and drinks throughout your stay.
Rates for standard rooms at the Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort start at $350 per night.
Best Value Disney World resorts
Value resorts are light on those coveted Disney resort perks, such as a jump-start on purchasing Lightning Lanes and proximity to the parks. They can also be a bit of a disappointment if you don’t know what to expect.
These resorts don’t have waterslides, full-service restaurants or room-service menus. However, several of the Value resorts have been renovated in recent years.
If you’re looking to plan a more cost-effective Disney vacation, here are some of our favorite budget-friendly resorts.
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Orlando, Florida, USA
Best for: Families who want affordable digs full of bright, happy Disney cartoon characters.
Why stay here: Disney’s Art of Animation is our top Value resort pick as it has themed rooms and is right on the Skyliner loop, so you will have easy access to Epcot, Hollywood Studios and several other Disney resort hotels.
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is the king of Value resorts at Disney World.
The resort features bright colors and memorable Disney cartoon characters. It’s also accessible from both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios thanks to the Disney Skyliner gondola system.
Art of Animation really shines with its family suites, which provide a lot more room and have three beds in each suite (one traditional bed, one Murphy bed and a pullout sofa bed). The family suites have your choice of “The Lion King,” “Cars” and “Finding Nemo” themes, while standard rooms feature decor inspired by “The Little Mermaid.”
When it comes to pools, the Big Blue Pool at Art of Animation is actually the largest option available at any Disney World resort.
While the food here won’t blow you away, Landscape of Flavors is a reliable cafeteria-style venue that can be a nice, easy option for families.
Rates for standard rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort start at $175 per night.
Disney’s Pop Century Resort
Orlando, Florida, USA
Best for: Trips where you want one of the most affordable Disney resorts while still being on the Skyliner loop.
Why stay here: Pick Disney’s Pop Century for its low rates, relatively updated rooms and easy access to Epcot, Hollywood Studios and several other Disney resort hotels.
Disney’s Pop Century Resort is across from Art of Animation. While it doesn’t have our favorite theme (it’s themed to bygone decades), it is usually the lowest-priced Disney resort that isn’t one of the All-Star properties.
We generally prefer it to the All-Star resorts, as Pop Century is a stand-alone property that doesn’t have to share bus service and is less likely to be packed with thousands of cheerleaders and children’s sports groups. In addition to the included bus service to the parks, it also sits on the Skyliner route so that you can soar in a gondola to various parks and resorts.
Rates for standard rooms at Disney’s Pop Century Resort start at $160 per night.
Best Disney World resort pools
Nothing beats an afternoon dip in your hotel’s pool, so if you want to know which Disney resort hotels have the best pools, here are our top picks.
Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club
Disney’s Beach Club Resort and its sister property, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, share access to Stormalong Bay, which offers top-notch poolside fun for the whole family.
Both resorts have the distinct feel of a beach in an otherwise landlocked resort thanks to sand-bottomed pools, a lazy river, a pirate ship and a wicked waterslide, among other amenities that will keep young swimmers entertained for hours.
The Yacht Club is marginally more convenient to the large pool complex, but the Beach Club is a little closer to Epcot, so choose accordingly. No matter which property you pick, don’t miss the huge sundaes at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, steps from the pool.
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
If you’re traveling with younger kids in tow, you may prefer the pools at Art of Animation, where you’ll find the largest on-property pool: Big Blue Pool. It has a zero-entry area, plus a separate water play space for smaller children.
There’s no waterslide, but you can check out two other pools, the Cozy Cone Pool and the Flippin’ Fins Pool, should you desire more swimming variety.
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
There’s also a large splash area with several smaller waterslides for younger guests, plus a zero-entry section, a separate quiet pool and a nearby stand to grab Dole Whip. The icing on the on-site Dole Whip is being able to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the pool in the evenings as the perfectly timed music is piped in.
Best Disney World resorts for large families
Large families and groups can really rack up a bill when visiting Disney World since most on-property rooms are designed for no more than four or five people. As a result, your choices tend to be limited if you have at least five or six people in your group. Fortunately, there are a few resorts that offer plenty of space for larger families.
Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
In the woods behind Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa are a number of Treehouse Villas that sleep up to nine people. Offering three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a kitchen, these spacious accommodations can easily fit an extended family.
While the elevated treehouses are no doubt a memorable twist on stereotypical theme park accommodations, keep in mind that these villas are not in the most convenient location. A bus comes through periodically to take you to Saratoga Springs, where you can catch other buses to the theme parks. There’s also a boat launch that connects the Treehouse Villas to Disney Springs.
A small pool is in the Treehouse Villas area, too, though you’ll likely want to check out the main Saratoga Springs pools, which are a long walk or bus ride away.
Rates for standard rooms at the Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa start at $1,000 per night.
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
The Art of Animation Resort has already come up a few times — and for good reason. While it isn’t the nicest hotel out there, it’s really great for some families.
The family suites at Art of Animation can accommodate six guests and often cost less than $500 (a cheaper rate than what two separate rooms will cost you), making them a good deal by Disney standards. With this affordable price, you’ll get access to two full bathrooms, as well as three beds spread across two separate rooms.
Disney Vacation Club properties
Disney Vacation Club is Disney’s version of a timeshare.
There are excellent opportunities to rent Disney Vacation Club points and save a ton of money at Disney properties, even if you’d never consider owning a timeshare. As a general rule, when renting DVC points, you’ll pay the approximate cost to stay at a Moderate resort but get the benefits of a Deluxe resort, along with the chance to book much larger rooms.
DVC rooms at most properties range from studio villas to three-bedroom spaces. The one-bedroom units that usually come with a kitchen and, sometimes, an extra half-bathroom are a great value for families who need more than a standard room.
In many cases, DVC properties are attached or adjacent to existing Disney World resorts, such as Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
The only real downside is that changing or canceling a reservation can be much trickier if you’re renting points from an owner. So, be sure your dates are fixed. If you don’t have a friend to rent points from, we recommend renting your points from David’s Vacation Club Rentals.
Best Disney World resorts for easy access to the theme parks
Some hotels at Disney World are designed to give guests easy access to the parks. When your kids are younger, proximity to the parks can be crucial for midday naps (for adults as well — no judgment from us).
These properties have especially great access to the parks.
The following properties are all connected to the monorail, which means they’re only a few minutes away from the Magic Kingdom (and a quick switch to get to Epcot):
Other resorts sit close enough to one or more theme parks that you can walk to the park gates within 10 minutes:
Disney Skyliner resorts
Additionally, a few resorts make it possible to reach Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios via the Skyliner gondola system:
Best Disney World resorts for a Disney escape
We love Disney, but we’re not afraid to admit that it’s sometimes nice to have a brief break from its intensity.
Luckily, there are a couple of options ideal for those who want to stay near the magic without living with Mickey and his friends 24 hours a day.
Disney’s Riviera Resort
On the Disney Skyliner route, Disney’s Riviera Resort offers easy access to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot without placing you right in the heart of all the theme park action.
The real highlight of this easygoing property, though, is its Mediterranean vibe. The blue-and-white decor, music and cuisine will transport you to the Mediterranean coast.
At this Deluxe resort, you’ll find all the usual Disney amenities, but it’s just a touch more refined and grown-up without being stuffy.
We’re serious Riviera fans thanks, in part, to its design, which includes everything from “Tangled”- and “Peter Pan”-inspired mosaics to marble bathrooms that may be the nicest in all of Disney.
Don’t worry if you want to bring the kids, though. There’s plenty for them to enjoy, too, including poolside gelato, a waterslide and our favorite toddler splash area at Disney World.
Rates for standard rooms at Disney’s Riviera Resort start at $600 per night.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Another great option that will have you feeling like you’re a million miles away from the theme parks is Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
At this wooded, peaceful retreat, you’ll feel like you’re at a national park instead of a lush Florida oasis that’s only a short boat ride away from the Magic Kingdom.
Rates for standard rooms at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge start at $300 per night.
Discounts for booking Disney World resorts in 2023
Related: Is a Disney annual pass worth it?
Best Disney World resorts for using hotel points
Sometimes no discount is good enough, and it’s time to use hotel points to make that Disney dream come true. There are hundreds of hotels in Orlando where you can use points, but the number of properties where you can redeem traditional hotel points and still access valuable Disney World perks is much smaller.
Walt Disney World Swan, Walt Disney World Dolphin and Walt Disney World Swan Reserve
Smack-dab in the middle of the larger Disney World complex are three properties all linked to the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program: Walt Disney World Swan, Walt Disney World Dolphin and Walt Disney World Swan Reserve.
While all three have their pluses, the newest of the three, the Swan Reserve, offers the nicest digs, though it’s the farthest from Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Prices for these Marriott Category 6 resorts range from $200 to around $600 per night, depending on the season, or from 40,000 to 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night for standard rooms.
You can certainly use an annual 85,000-point certificate (which you’ll receive with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card) to cover your stay at any of these three properties, but a lot of nights, you can use a 50,000-point certificate or even a 35,000-point certificate plus some additional points.
Related: The best Marriott credit cards
You won’t find heavy Disney World theming here, but there are advantages beyond just saving money. All three hotels recognize Marriott Bonvoy elite benefits.
As long as there’s not a big conference in town, you may have a decent shot at a suite upgrade if you have Platinum Elite status and are using Suite Night Awards.
Plus, you’ll receive breakfast benefits — at these properties, that means complimentary continental breakfast, which you can enjoy in your room at the Swan Reserve — as a member with Platinum Elite status or higher. Should you crave something more substantial, you can pay a fee to upgrade to the full breakfast buffet at Swan and Dolphin.
When you’re ready to venture off-site, you can take a relatively short bus ride to any of the parks. If you’re going to Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can also walk or hop on the boat.
Don’t forget to take advantage of the 7 a.m. start time for purchasing individual Lightning Lanes, too, and remember that these are the only non-official Disney resorts where you can take advantage of the late evening theme park access guests of Deluxe resorts can enjoy select nights.
Disney Springs properties
The other hotels on Disney property that combine some Disney benefits with the ability to redeem points are referred to as “Official Disney World Hotels.” Know, though, they’re not true Disney resort hotels. These properties are adjacent to Disney Springs.
Related: The best Disney Springs hotels: How to get Disney benefits at bargain prices
While each Disney Springs hotel has its pluses and minuses, there are some obvious advantages to staying in a brand-new hotel, so from that perspective, the Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando – Disney Springs Area may be the best of the bunch. As an added perk, there’s no resort fee, yet the price includes a whole bunch of free food and drinks for the whole family.
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If you want the best pool for kids in the Disney Springs complex, consider the Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs Resort Area, as it has a 189,000-gallon heated pool with a rock waterfall.
Otherwise, factor in proximity to Disney Springs when choosing a property. The closest two are the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista – Disney Springs Area and the Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs Resort Area (both of which are within walking distance of Disney Springs).
Bonnet Creek properties
Those who don’t mind paying a little extra for on-site amenities should consider Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, which has a great water park and sits on a 482-acre nature preserve. Rooms here start at 50,000 Hilton Honors points per night.
Another noteworthy option in the Bonnet Creek area is the high-end Waldorf Astoria Orlando, where nightly rates start at 80,000 Hilton Honors points.
If you decide to pay with cash, consider using a Platinum- or Centurion-branded card like The Platinum Card® from American Express. With this card, you’ll receive perks such as free daily breakfast for two and a space-available upgrade thanks to the American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts program.
Your family can also stock up on Hilton Honors points with cards such as the Hilton Honors American Express Card, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. (Here’s why the Hilton Amex Aspire is the best premium card for families.)
The information for the Hilton Amex Aspire Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Lastly, be sure to check out the newest addition to the Bonnet Creek area where you can make your Marriott points work for you: the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa.
This hotel, which opened in 2020, often costs 40,000 to 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night, has lots of great amenities for kids and offers a bus that will take you to the Disney theme parks.
Best Disney World resort for a luxury vacation
If you come across a big stash of money you are willing to spend on your Disney World accommodations, there’s only one property to consider in my book.
Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
At Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, the Copper Creek Cabins are more than just typical cabins. More accurately, these are akin to little high-end homes you can rent on Disney property. Despite the incredibly high price tag (expect to spend thousands of dollars per night to stay in one of Copper Creek’s cabins), you’ll get everything you could possibly need during your Disney World vacation.
You’ll have access to two bedrooms, an epic living room with a fireplace, a full kitchen and an impressive screened-in outdoor living area with a private hot tub and piped-in fireworks music every evening.
Rates for standard rooms at the Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge start at $2,500 per night.
Choosing the best resort hotel at Disney World gets easier once you identify your budget and priorities.
Do you want a great pool, more space, proximity to the parks or perhaps an immersive theme? No matter what is most important to you, you’ll find a Disney property that will likely satisfy your needs.
Whether you’re itching to splash around in the Stormalong Bay pool complex at Disney’s Yacht Club and Beach Club resorts, stretch your budget at Disney’s Pop Century Resort, retreat to a cabin at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort or get an iconic eyeful of the monorail coming through Disney’s Contemporary Resort, there’s a Disney resort that will have every member of your family excited to be on vacation at Walt Disney World.