Did you know that there are over 20 different Walt Disney World Resorts to choose from? That is a long list to consider, how do you figure out which one is the best Disney World Resort for your family and budget?
When clients approach me to help them plan their vacation, they initially fill out my quote request form. In the form, I ask what category of hotel that are interested in. More than half of the time, people are not sure what they want. Unless you understand what each category has to offer and what it costs, how could you possibly know? Well, that is what you have me for!
I provide personalized help to everyone that books their vacation with me, but below I am going to break down what each level of hotel will offer you. It will give you a general idea of which one falls in your budget and what is offered at each different type of resort so you can decide which is the best Disney World Resort for you!
The Disney World value resorts are your entry level hotel. Don’t let the word “value” scare you off though, as the quality at ALL the Disney resorts are top notch. For anyone that wants to keep the cost of their vacation as low as possible, this will be the level you want to consider. Depending on what time of year you travel, the range of the per night cost could be anywhere from $120/night to a little over $200/night, with the exception of the family suites. Family suites can range between $250/night to $550/night. That is the rack rate cost, and rates can even be slightly lower when Disney releases discounts. These are the resorts available in the value category:
- All-Star Music (re-opening September 16, 2021)
- All-Star Sports (re-opening December 9, 2021)
- All-Star Movies
- Pop Century
- Art of Animation
Rooms – The value resorts all have rooms that enter from the outside, as seen in the picture below. Standard rooms are generally 260 square feet in size, but the Art of Animation and All-Star Music do have Family Suites that range from 520 to 565 square feet. The beds are mostly queen sized, with some rooms with a king sized bed. If you want a king sized bed, you can add the request to your reservation, but it is not guaranteed. It will all depend on availability on the day of your check-in. Most rooms sleep maximum 4 people, but the suites accommodate up to 6 people. All rooms also include a coffee machine and a mini fridge.
Amenities – The value resorts will have the least amount of amenities out of all the category of resorts. Value resorts offer feature pools, wireless internet access, arcades and self-serve laundry facilities.
Transportation – At the 3 All-Star Resorts, only bus transportation is offered. At Pop Century and Art of Animation, you have bus transportation and access to Disney’s Skyliner. The Skyliner gondolas will take you to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
Dining – Only quick-service dining is offered at all the Disney value resorts.
The Disney World moderate resorts are for families that want a few extra amenities and space at a slightly higher budget. The standard moderate resort rooms range from $220/night to $400/night. Again, it all depends on what time of year you plan to visit. With the right time of year and a Disney room discount, you can even find moderate rooms at under $200/night. These are the Disney resorts available in the moderate category:
- Caribbean Beach
- Coronado Springs
- Port Orleans French Quarter (re-opening October 28, 2021)
- Port Orleans Riverside (re-opening October 14, 2021)
- The Cabins at Fort Wilderness
Rooms – Rooms at the moderate resorts range in size from 300-314 square feet, so you get more space to spread out. Coronado Springs also has some suite options with space as large as 628 square feet. The Cabins at Fort Wilderness are located at Disney’s campground, but the cabins offer you over 500 square feet and they do also include a full kitchen. Unlike the value resorts, you can book a king size bed room at a moderate resort so that it is guaranteed you get that type of bed. The moderate resorts are a great option for families of 5 since they have standard rooms that sleep up to 5. The suites and cabins sleep up to 6 people.
Like the value resorts, the rooms also enter from the outside, with a slight exception at Coronado Springs. Coronado Springs has a tower building, and if you book a room in the tower, those rooms enter from inside, like a deluxe resort. The tower rooms (as seen below) are very comparable to a deluxe experience and it is a great way to get that deluxe experience at a moderate price.
Amenities – The amenities you will get at a moderate resort are wireless internet access, arcades, self-serve laundry facilities, more elaborate pools with waterslides and additional dining options. Coronado Springs also offers a health club and club level rooms in the tower (re-opening Dec. 16, 2021).
Transportation – All of the moderate resorts offer bus transportation to all the theme parks. Caribbean Beach additionally has access to the Skyliner for transport to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Both Port Orleans Resorts have boat transportation to Disney Springs only. The Cabins at Fort Wilderness will give you access to the boat launch at Fort Wilderness, which gives you boat transportation to Magic Kingdom only.
Dining – All of the moderate resorts offer quick-service dining, and most of them also include at least one table-service option. The only moderate resort that does not have a table-service restaurant is Port Orleans French Quarter, but you can always walk over to Riverside and dine at their table-service restaurant.
The Disney deluxe resorts are just as they sound – deluxe! They offer the rooms with the most space and the most amenities on property. Most of them are also closer to certain theme parks, it depends on the resort. There is a big range in cost in the deluxe category, so it is important to price out all the options. Standard deluxe rooms can start round $400/night all the way up to $1,000/night and more. With such a wide range in price, the deluxe resorts can often be the toughest ones to choose between. It’s one of the reason why working with a travel agent specializing in Disney, such as myself, is important. A travel agent will help you narrow down the best dates and resort for the budget you are comfortable with. These are the resorts available in the deluxe category:
- Animal Kingdom Lodge (re-opening August 26, 2021)
- Boardwalk Inn
- Grand Floridian
- Polynesian (re-opening July 19, 2021)
- Wilderness Lodge
- Yacht Club
- Beach Club
Rooms – The standard rooms at the deluxe resorts range in size from 340 square feet to 448 square feet. Wilderness Lodge has the smallest rooms, while Grand Floridian has the largest, and it reflects that in their difference in pricing. Standard rooms sleep between 4 and 5 people, depending on the resort. There are a few that also have standard rooms that sleep up to 6.
All of the rooms in the deluxe category enter from an inside corridor and the rooms have balconies. Rooms also include a coffee machine and mini fridge.
Amenities – If you like to have all the bells and whistles, then the deluxe category is right up your alley! The deluxe resorts feature the most elaborate pools on property, with the best one being at Beach & Yacht Club (in my opinion). The pools all have water slides, and some even feature a lazy river and splash pads. You will also get wireless internet access, self-serve laundry facilities, arcades, club level rooms (some re-opening in late 2021), health clubs, and some properties have full-service spas.
Transportation – There are several options for transportation from the deluxe resorts, but it really comes down to which resort you choose because they vary by property. You can have access to buses, monorail or boat. There are even some resorts where you can walk to a theme park. The Contemporary and Grand Floridian have walking paths to the Magic Kingdom. Beach & Yacht Club and Boardwalk Inn have walking paths to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. If proximity to certain parks is important to you, then it will be important to closely look at the exact location of the resort you are considering so you know what transportation is offered.
Dining – All of the deluxe resorts have quick-service dining options, but they also have a good variety of table-service dining options. These are the properties where you will find the most amount of choice when it comes to food. You will also find Signature restaurants at the deluxe resorts for any guests that enjoy fine dining. When character dining is brought back in full capacity, a lot of the deluxe resorts also have character meal options.
Deluxe Villa Resorts
If you want to go all out, or if you are traveling with a big party, the deluxe villas might be something to consider. These are the most expensive rooms on property, but they also offer the most space. The smallest rooms are deluxe rooms, which are similar in size to a standard room. They also have 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom grand villas. This category of room can start at $400/night and go to over $2000/night for the most luxurious accommodations. These are the Disney resorts available in this category:
- Animal Kingdom Villas
- Boardwalk Villas
- Bay Lake Tower
- The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian
- Old Key West
- Saratoga Springs
- Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
- Boulder Ridge Villas
- Copper Creek Villas & Cabins
- Beach Club Villas
Rooms – The size of the rooms in this category varies A LOT. It really comes down to what type of room you want since they have several options with separate bedrooms. The smallest room (at the Riviera) is 255 square feet, and the largest accommodation is 2800 square feet which is the 3 bedroom grand villa at the Grand Floridian. All of the rooms enter from an inside corridor, with the exception of the overwater bungalows at Polynesian and the cabins at Wilderness Lodge.
The 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom layouts have kitchens and also have washer/dryers in the room. These units reflect more the look of a personal apartment rather than a hotel room.
Amenities – The amenities are the same as a deluxe resort since most of them share the same property. For example, Copper Creek and Boulder Ridge share the same property as the Wilderness Lodge, so everyone staying at those resorts have access to the same amenities.
Transportation – Just like the deluxe resorts, you will have access to either buses, monorail or boat. At the Riviera, you get access to the Skyliner. Every property is different with their transportation options, so you will need to verify those details before booking to make sure it suits your family’s needs. Saratoga Springs and Old Key West only provide bus transportation to the theme parks, but they also provide boat transportation to Disney Springs.
Dining – The dining is exactly the same as the deluxe resorts. You will have access to quick-service, table-service, character meals, and Signature meals at many of the deluxe villa properties.
Disney does have a campground property, however it does book up very far in advance. If you do want to travel with your trailer/RV, then this might be a great option for you. The campsites are similar in price to what you would pay at a value resort, so if you are looking to save money, it won’t save you much. Only their tent/pop-up campsites are priced lower than a value, and it really comes down to if you want to sleep in a tent during your stay at Disney. If that is what you prefer, then all the power to ya!
So which Disney resort would be your preferred choice? Do you like to stick to a strict budget or go all out for that once in a lifetime vacation? Tell us in the comments below!
Our preferred travel agency is Click the Mouse. They specialize in Disney destinations and will help you plan out all the little details. Best part is that their services are FREE when you book your vacation with them. Personalized service at no extra cost to you! To get a quote from a Click the Mouse travel agent, simply click on the quote button below and they will be back in touch with you:Get a Quote from CLICK THE MOUSE
Laura is a mom of one adorable girl with a love of all things Disney. She traveled to Disney World with her family in 2010 and was hooked. They have since been a total of over 15 times. With all her knowledge of planning Disney trips, she now wants to share that with others. She loves giving guidance, tips and advice to others planning their magical vacation!