Our top pick is Wilderness Lodge. People have different needs and driving forces when it comes to picking a resort so this may not be the perfect resort for everyone. First of all, all of our top picks are Disney Resorts. There are so many reasons for this but among them are Disney transportation, Magic Your Way Packages (including Magical Extras), dining plans, my magic plus, and a continuation of the magic.
Here are our top picks for a resort based on who is in the traveling party and lowest cost. I will also give you the rack room rate during regular season. The actual price you pay may be more or less depending on what season you are there (value, regular, peak, holidays, or summer), what night of the week, what view your room has, and a package deal or discount offer. These prices are just meant to be a comparison so you can see the price difference between different options. We are comparing the standard room at each resort for comparison sake but some resorts offer a variety or rooms and suites.
Families with Young Children would love Wilderness Lodge. This resort is about $300 a night and sleeps 4 plus an infant. It is the cheapest resort that is closest to Magic Kingdom.
Families with Older Children would prefer the Beach Club or Boardwalk Inn. Both these resorts are considered Epcot area resorts because that is the closest park. These resorts are located between Epcot and Hollywood Studios and you can access both these parks by friendship boats. They are located on Crescent Lake and there is a beautiful path around the lake for biking and walking. With older children you may not be spending as much time in the Magic Kingdom or hunting down every character meal so you may be happy that you can easily get to two of the other parks. Both these resorts offer awesome swimming pools. The Beach Club has the most elaborate pool in all of Walt Disney World. It is 3 acre swimming area with a lazy river and water slides called Stormalong Bay. The pool even has sand on the bottom. For little ones there is a part of the pool/sand area where they can play and build sand castles. Be aware that Stormalong Bay is only for guests of the Yacht and Beach Club and you will be required to show your magic band in order to get in. Boardwalk Inn also has a great pool that is a lot of fun with a 200 foot water slide called “Keister Coaster” and it looks like an old wooden roller coaster. Whichever resort you decide on you can enjoy walking around the Boardwalk where there is lots of entertainment, food, and shopping options. Beach Club and Boardwalk Inn would both be about $390 a night and can sleep 5 plus a child under 3.
Adults without Children can truly stay anywhere. The best idea is to pick a resort closest to your favorite park. A good choice can be Port Orleans. It is broken into French Quarter (think New Orleans) and Riverside (the romantic mansions of the south and the rustic bayou). This resort is in the Disney Springs area and you can get there by water taxi. (You can even just go for a water taxi ride on a nice evening after dinner) All the other parks can be reached by bus. This resort has two areas so there are 2 food courts and lots of pools. There are beautiful bike/walking paths around the whole area. This is a moderate resort so it does not have all the amenities of the resorts mentioned before but is still a beautiful option. A night at the mansion houses of Riverside are about $170 and sleep 4. Be aware there will be two queen beds or one king. Of course if money is not an issue then the Grand Floridian or Polynesian are fantastic options also. They are both in the Magic Kingdom area and on the monorail. The GF is $550 and Poly is $425. Both can sleep 5.
Anyone on a TIGHT budget would enjoy Pop Century. There are 4 options in the value category but Pop Century offers the best transportation since you don’t have to share a bus with another resorts. The frills are less but there are still pools, a food court, playgrounds, and a video arcade. This hotel is in the Animal Kingdom area so transportation to the other attractions may be a bit longer. The best part is you still have all the perks of resort guests. You have Magical Express, extended park hours, and transportation thoughout Disney World to name a few. This resort will only cost about $105 a night and each rooms sleeps 4. Be aware that if the room has 2 beds they will be doubles not queens.
Families of 6 or more have several options. You can stay anywhere by getting two adjoining rooms. Of course that can get really pricey at some of the moderate or deluxe resorts. Several resorts offer villas with 2 or 3 bedrooms. One of the lower priced 2 bedroom villas start at $655 a night, but would include a full kitchen and washer/dryer. All the resorts that have villas are deluxe resorts. There are 2 more economical options. The first is a cabin at Fort Wilderness. They sleep six. Four can sleep in the back sleeping area on a bed and bunk beds and 2 can sleep in pull out bed in the main area.There is a kitchen, a deck, and bbq. The cabin is nice but the resort is a campground and is more rustic. I grew up going there in our trailer and would love to take my kids there. It is like an oasis in the busy theme park world. There are playgrounds, swimming pools, daily campfire, sing along with Chip and Dale, and outdoor movie, trail rides, pony rides, boat rentals, and lots of trails. Fort Wilderness has a great location right next to Wilderness Lodge. There is a direct boat to the Magic Kingdom as well as to the Contemporary. It is in the Magic Kingdom area which is good placement in Disney World. The cabins are about $325 a night. The cabins are each on their own campsite so it would be hard for one family to be in more than one cabin. If you have more than 6 (unless you are bringing other adults to man the other cabin) the rest of your party would be separated from you a bit. There are also family suites at All Star Music and Art of Animation. These sleep 6 also. There is a queen bed, a double sleeper sofa and 2 twin sleeper chairs, 2 bathrooms, a kitchenette, vanity area, table, and chairs. It is really 2 rooms put together into one. These cost about $240 a night. All Star Music is a value resort located near Animal Kingdom. It shares a bus with the All Star Sports and All Star Movies Resorts which can make bus rides even longer.
No matter what resort you decide to stay at you will receive all the same benefits as every other resort guest. When bundled into a plan with tickets, plus the special offers, you will find your daily rate will be less.
If you have traveled as a family to Disney let us know what resorts worked well for you or didn’t.