With 26 resorts on the Walt Disney World property run by Disney, there are plenty of options to choose from for all price ranges. It wasn’t easy, but we pared down the list to our ten favorite resorts, with something for all budgets in mind. All Disney resorts include transportation either by bus, boat or monorail to all four theme parks, Disney Springs, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, so no matter where you stay, you’ll still be just a ride away from all the action.
Art of Animation: Perfect for families who visit the Walt Disney World Resort with multiple generations and extended relatives along for the ride, the Art of Animation provides suites for guests to stick together in four distinct themed sections: Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King and the Little Mermaid. Each section highlights the animation of its respective movie, including storyboard artwork and themed rooms. The newest resort in Walt Disney World, the Art of Animation also has traditionally sized hotel rooms for smaller families just looking to enjoy the art.
Animal Kingdom Lodge: Animal Kingdom gets you so up-close-and-personal with the animals that you never want to leave. Thankfully, Disney’s Imagineers built a hotel that ensures you don’t have to leave the animals behind after a day at the park. Animal Kingdom Lodge is built in a horseshoe shape with rooms looking out onto a 46-acre savanna of giraffes, zebras, ostriches and many other types of free-roaming animals and birds. And the resort itself is one of Disney’s deluxe hotels, which means the rooms are beautifully decorated with African art, and there are two inventive cuisine options. Take your pick from either Jiko – The Cooking Place, for a more formal dining occasion, or Boma, a buffet full of flavors from across the African continent. Nearby Sanaa in the Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas offers up African dishes with an Indian flair, and is well-worth the walk.
Contemporary Resort: Most people might know the Contemporary as the hotel that the monorail runs through, but this 14-floor deluxe resort combines a modern aesthetic with luxurious accommodations. While Chef Mickey has character dining for the kids, the California Grill offers a more upscale dining experience while providing a great view of the nearby Magic Kingdom fireworks show. The rooftop lounge at the Bay Lake Tower, a Disney Vacation Club addition to the resort, has some of the best views of Walt Disney World around.
Grand Floridian Resort: The stately Grand Floridian Resort and Spa harkens back to a Victorian era of intricate, soaring architecture and beautifully decorated accommodations. It’s no accident that this resort has its own wedding pavilion on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon, as well as one of the finest dining experiences in all of Florida at Victoria & Albert’s. But don’t think that this resort doesn’t welcome children: We’re still in Walt Disney World, and nowhere is that more evident at the Grand Floridian than the My Disney Girl’s Perfectly Princess Tea Party, a courtly tea with theDisney princesses. For something a bit more offbeat, there’s the Wonderland Tea Party, hosted by the Mad Hatter and Alice.
Yacht & Beach Club: This hotel is actually two resorts connected together by Stormalong Bay (three lagoons with a pirate ship waterslide) with two unique but complimentary styles. The Yacht Club was modeled after the sumptuous New England seashore hotels of the 1880s, while the Beach Club has more of a New England beach cottage feel. The Yacht Club has fine dining with the Yachtsman Steakhouse, while the Beach Club has a bit more of a laid-back vibe, featuring an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. Both resorts offer a walkway to the World Showcase section of Epcot, which is extremely convenient for taking in an evening meal at one of the pavilions, watching Illuminations, then exiting out the back while the rest of the park’s visitors throng towards the front exit.
BoardWalk: Stroll along the Atlantic-style boardwalk lining the BoardWalk resort, with funnel cakes and carnival games stretching the length, and you’ll soon realize that there’s more than enough to do at your hotel, let alone the theme parks. Along with restaurants like Trattoria al Forno and the Flying Fish Café, the BoardWalk has some of the best entertainment for adults around Disney World, with the Atlantic Dance nightclub and Jellyrolls, a dueling piano bar. Across the lake from the Yacht & Beach Club, the BoardWalk also has a convenient walk to Epcot’s World Showcase, as well as boats both to Epcot and the Hollywood Studios.
Saratoga Springs: Named for one of America’s first vacation destinations, Saratoga Springs in New York, the Disney version recreates the same Victorian style, with cottages lining the streets and horse-racing motifs springing up around the resort. The full-service spa on premises will relax you before a trip to Disney Springs, reached either by walking path or by boat, or a quick nine holes on the nearby Lake Buena Vista golf course. Since Saratoga Springs is part of the Disney Vacation Club, the rooms offer either a kitchenette or a full-kitchen, and groceries are available for purchase within the resort’s store.
Wilderness Lodge: Modeled in spirit after Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone National Park, the Wilderness Lodge even has its own spouting geyser that erupts hourly. Hot springs run through the lobby, only to tumble into the swimming pool area as a waterfall. Artist Point offers up Pacific-Northwest cuisine, while the kid-favorite Whispering Canyon Café will delight anyone just looking for a little fun with their food. While the typical resort buses run guests to Epcot, the Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, a boat will ferry Magic Kingdom visitors to the park and back from a launch below the pool area.
Treehouse Villas: Officially part of Saratoga Springs Resort, the Treehouse Villas feel very much like their own small oasis, set apart from the crowds and lines. The Treehouses each contain three bedrooms, an open kitchen and two baths, making them perfect for families wanting a bit more peace and quiet on their vacation. Each villa is built apart from the others on a pedestal and surrounded by trees, creating an experience unlike any other on Disney property, with Saratoga Springs’ pool and restaurants nearby whenever you want to jump back into the fun.
Polynesian Resort: The third resort accessible by monorail (including the Grand Floridian and the Contemporary), the Polynesian brings a South Seas feel to the Seven Seas Lagoon with tiki decorations and the Spirit of Aloha dinner show, complete with dancing, a fire-knife performance and all you can eat island favorites. The Polynesian is one of Disney’s deluxe resorts as well, ensuring that each room is both luxurious and comfortable. The new bungalows run by the Disney Vacation Club even give families an opportunity to stay on the water, literally.
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Published by usatoday.com
September 26, 2016 — 7:46 AM EDT
Written by USA Today Travel News
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