There are many benefits to staying on property. There’s free transportation, fun decor, great pools, Extra Magic Hours, the list can go on and on. Once you’ve made the choice to stay at a Disney Resort you might feel like your big decision is done. And it is, kind of. However you now get to sort through all the many varied resorts and find the one that’s best for you. Here’s a quick checklist to get you started.
- What’s more important cost or location? The first tip to narrow down your search is deciding which matters more. Let’s say you have 2 toddlers who will go back the room mid day every day for a nap. Do you want to have to take the bus or find your car in the huge lot every time? Traveling to and from resorts can take up to an hour each way, that’s not even including the time from your car/bus to your room! Jumping on a monorail or even walking (like from MK to the Contemporary) would be quicker, so maybe you can limit your search to monorail resorts or ones with direct boat access. But if budget is your most important criteria then you may decide to cut transportation time by taking your own car and staying at a value resort (which is bus only). I’ve also found a good compromise by renting DVC points through the DVC store or David’s. I can get a deluxe room for moderate prices. If you are going just for food and wine festival you may want to stay at the resorts within spitting distance of Epcot.
- How often will you be in the room? Let’s say it’s just you and your partner visiting the world. You probably want to soak up all the action in the parks and around the resort, so room size may not be a factor if it’s just for sleeping. On the other hand if it’s you, your honey and 3 kids you might be turning in early and wanting space for the adults to relax after the kids are in bed. Or maybe you just want a little breathing room so you aren’t tripping over luggage every time you stand up. Rooms for 5 in some resorts include a fold away bed under the tv. Which is great for economizing but not so great if you’re spending time in the room much. Everyone is on top of each other. Suites at the Art of Animation may be a bit better for spreading out-the two bathrooms alone is a huge selling point.
- Who is going? The number of people on your trip may also limit your choices, if it’s 5 or more you have fewer options. You can always request adjoining or neighboring rooms but there is no guarantee. This is another thing that favors renting points or joining DVC. You can get a 2 bedroom suite which is generally a 1 bedroom and suite with an adjoining door.
- What kind of group is it? Besides party size, the ages and interests of your guests should be a factor. Is this an adults only trip? Then you may want to head to the Polynesian for Trader Sam’s Grotto and enjoy some cocktails. Or you would enjoy the 18 and up entertainment at Jellyroll’s on the Boardwalk. Perhaps you are bringing a princess obsessed kid and they would go crazy to stay at the Royal Suites in Port Orleans. Maybe you have a Cars enthusiast who would lose their mind to stay at the actual Cozy Cone Motel. Many hotels have a huge draw with their pools, the Yacht and Beach Club share Stormalong Bay-home to one of the best pools in WDW. With a slide and sand bottom pool among other amenities it appeals to all ages. The Nemo pool at AoA on the other hand is aimed at the kids-with games, a giant splash pad and even Nemo and friends being heard under water. Hotels all have themes, but some are more in your face then others. The value hotels are over the top in theming so kids adore them. Resorts like the Yacht Club and Grand Floridian are a bit more grown up. Everything is welcome to littles, it is still Disney. But some may prefer the more understated decor.
- Last but not least, how much do you want to explore? Some resorts are small and manageable, like Port Orleans French Quarter. Some offer buses within the resort because it’s so far from the main building to your room, like Coronado or Caribbean Beach. I find the values and deluxes to both be manageable for walking almost anywhere, although some complain it’s a far walk at the Values. Most resorts have activities, from movies under the stars to marshmallow roasting at the campfires. Many on the lagoon offer marina options like boat rental or fishing excursions. The pools at many resorts are worth visiting, most have cocktails nearby! Check out the website and see what appeals to you. You might something new to discover that will seal the deal for your hotel choice-like being able to view (and hear the music!) the fireworks shows from a monorail adjacent resort. Possibly a campfire sing-a-long with your favorite friends Chip and Dale will tickle your fancy and you’ll feel most at home at Fort Wilderness.
Whatever you chose Walt Disney World will be happy to welcome you “home” there! Bon Voyage!