There are more than two dozen Walt Disney hotels. These hotels include a full range of options from Disney value resort hotels through Disney deluxe resort hotels. There are many things to consider when choosing the hotel that is best for you.
For many visitors to Walt Disney World, the most obvious consideration would be the price of the hotel. As mentioned above, there are deluxe resort hotels that include every imaginable amenity and lower priced hotels that provide the basics – with just a touch of Disney magic – for a comfortable stay.
Disney’s Web site has the information on Walt Disney resort hotels thoughtfully arranged into three categories: deluxe, moderate, and value. You can even do a side by side comparison of the various features offered at each hotel along with the price of each.
While the price is an important factor in choosing a hotel, it is not the only consideration.
When it comes to Walt Disney World Resort hotels, there is no such thing as a bad location. Still, the proximity of each hotel to your favorite attractions may be a consideration. For example, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge places you right smack in the middle of a wilderness preserve where you can observe a variety of wildlife in their natural environment and immerse yourself in the wilderness. If you choose a room with a balcony, you can enjoy your morning coffee while watching antelope and other beautiful creatures as they start their day. It’s like a wild, natural world within a world of vacation destinations. If the Animal Kingdom Park is your personal favorite, then it would make sense to want to stay in the hotel that puts you closest to that attraction – you will be just minutes from the Animal Kingdom theme park front gate.
If you plan to spend most of your time at the Magic Kingdom or Disney golf courses, consider the Contemporary Resort, the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, or the Polynesian Resort. These are all hotels on the more expensive side, but they offer monorail service to both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
That being said, shuttle service is provided to and from the parks from many Disney properties so if it just a matter of getting around, this would not be a factor. If however, you want to observe the animals, or want a beach front view, such as is available at the Caribbean Resort, then the proximity of each hotel would be a factor in your decision.
Disney Partner Hotels
If you enjoy activities like eating at signature restaurants, shopping for Disney merchandise, taking in entertainment like the amazing Cirque Du Soleil La Nouba show, splashing in the action of Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park, or jumping into the fun Disney Quest indoor theme park, consider making your room reservations at one of the Disney partner hotels in the Disney Springs area. While they may not have all the perks Disney benefits of a Disney hotel, they are conveniently located and affordably priced. They include the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista, Buena Vista Palace Spa, Hilton, Holiday Inn Best Western, Double Tree, and the Royal Plaza.
The amenities available at each hotel are an important consideration. Obviously, the higher the category of room that you choose then the more amenities that will be available to you. Because Disney World Resorts cares about the experience of EVERY guest, you will find that even some of the value hotels offer a variety of amenities such as pizza delivery, extended Disney theme park hours, and the convenience of having purchases made throughout the park delivered to your room.
Moderate and Deluxe hotel options includes extra amenities such as a supervised kids club, spectacular spa and health club services, and VIP concierge services.
The amenities available vary at each property, so be sure to compare features to make sure that the hotel that you select has all of the amenities that are important to you.
Some Disney hotels offer special experiences that are only available to guests of that hotel. For example, some hotels features free watercraft usage. Others offer behind-the-scenes tours that are not available to other guests. The Animal Kingdom Lodge offers a sunrise safari to its guests. The Wilderness Lodge offers a tour of the property that helps you discover interesting architecture, landscape, and back story items. These experiences are not available to other Disney guests and, for some visitors, this is reason enough to choose a particular hotel.
How you plan to handle meals is another consideration when choosing a hotel. Some hotel rooms in all categories offer kitchenettes or even full kitchens. Choosing a room with this feature would allow you to eat at least some of your meals in your room – which can save both time and money.
If you do not want to prepare any meals in your room, then you need to consider the restaurant and Disney dining options available near your hotel. Some questions you may want to consider:
Is there a good spot for breakfast nearby?
Is room service available?
What is the cost of the hotel’s dining options?
Are the restaurants in the hotel included in Disney’s dining plans?
This is Disney World, so that means EVERY hotel is kid-friendly, right? Well, yes, but some more than others. Also, kid-friendly means something different to each family. If you want a hotel with special amenities for children such as a playground, kid’s club, or kids-only pool, then you will have to include those requirements in your search.
Most Disney hotels have an available baby-sitting option, so it is easy to get a little adults-only time to enjoy a nice dinner or a quiet, relaxing stroll in the evening. Fortunately Disney offers options for kids of all ages.
How to Afford the Hotel of Your Dreams
What if you find the hotel of your dreams, but it is just a bit outside of your price range? While you certainly do not want to blow your vacation budget to stay at a certain hotel, there are some ways to trim your budget so that you may be able to afford to stay in the hotel that is your first choice. Below are a few tips.
• Meals in Your Room
One of the best ways to save money on a Disney vacation is to eat some of your meals in your room. This is not to say that you have to pass up all of the fabulous dining options in the park. You can plan to eat just one meal per day in your room. Remember which meal mom said was most important? It’s breakfast, which is an easy meal to prepare yourself in your room. A family of four could save hundreds of dollars during a week-long stay.
• Choose a Vacation Package Deal
Another great way to save is to choose a package deal – including hotel, Magic Your Way tickets, and transportation – rather than having to buy each element of your vacation separately. You will be able to realize a savings with a package price that might allow you to bump up to the next level of Disney World Resort hotels. You may also be able to customize your package and take advantage of special offers that Disney occasionally offers. Another bonus is that your travel agent can help you learn about vacation options and build a total package, including options might not have otherwise considered. They might even help you get some bonuses like a gift cards. Plus, once you are on your vacation you will be glad all the planning and components of your holiday are settled – you can focus on having fun.
• Tickets To The Theme Parks
Finally, choose your theme park tickets carefully. Some visitors add options that they do not need, such as no expiration date or visits to the water park. Of course, if you DO think that you need such options, by all means add them. If, however, you do not think you will use them, save the money to use toward the hotel of your dreams.
One of the wonderful things about Disney World is that you will have a great experience even if you stay in a value hotel. Still, since the hotel is such an important part of your stay, be sure to choose carefully so that you have the best possible experience – and see the sights while you build your vacation memories that will last a lifetime.