When you think about Disney resort hotels, you probably think about the high-profile, iconic hotels like Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, or Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa (also known as the monorail resort loop trifecta of resorts).

Those resort hotels are well known for good reasons – they are in a great location, they have amazing detail and atmosphere, and they offer excellent service.

Unfortunately, they are also very expensive and are also often booked up.

Aren’t there other options?

Fortunately, Disney offers a wonderful range of quality hotels. Many are underappreciated and often overlooked, even though they still are well-themed resorts. Some of these resorts can’t live up to the iconic resorts when it comes to their location – they tend to be out of the way, and it takes a bit more time to get where you want to go. However, they can still be great choices.

Let’s take a look at five of the most underappreciated Disney Resort Hotels:

1 – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

The Animal Kingdom Lodge is a terrific resort. The rooms have wonderful theming touches. The dining options are some of the best on Disney property, including The Mara, Jiko, and Boma. The resort has amazing views of live animals on the savanna. What’s not to like? Mostly the location. As you would expect, the Animal Kingdom Lodge is very conveniently located near Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, but it’s otherwise out in the boonies and removed from nearly everything else at Disney World. Of course, the rest of The World is just a short drive or (slightly longer) bus ride away. As a Deluxe Resort, the Animal Kingdom Lodge is a bit on the expensive side. Still, you are assured a wonderful stay in a resort that feels like a completely different world.

The Animal Kingdom Lodge deserves it's deluxe designation.

The Animal Kingdom Lodge deserves its deluxe designation.

2 – Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is a fine Moderate Resort with a fun and colorful Caribbean theme. The grounds are wonderfully landscaped, and all the building are grouped around the tranquil 45-acre lake called Barefoot Bay. The Old Port Royale Food Court offers a variety of food choices, although many are fairly typical. The pool is one of the better ones on Disney property.

Colorful and fun, the Caribbean Beach is unfortunately overlooked.

Colorful and fun, the Caribbean Beach Resort is unfortunately often overlooked.

3 – Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter and Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside

You could jump in a time machine and set the dial to Louisiana, 1940, or you could book your next vacation at one of the two southern themed resorts – Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter or Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside. If you like the city and the bustle of the Big Easy, check out the French Quarter. If you enjoy the relaxation of the country, head to Riverside. The architecture of both resorts is wonderful and detailed, and you are just a short and scenic boat ride on the Sassagoula River away from Disney Springs.

Visiting Port Orleans is like going back in time to a simpler era.

Visiting Port Orleans is like going back in time to a simpler era.

4 – Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Often stuck with the unfair and uninspiring “convention hotel” label, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort offers the charm of Spanish-colonial Mexico without the risk of Montezuma’s revenge. Just like with Caribbean Beach Resort, the buildings of the Coronado Springs Resort are grouped around Lago Dorado (which means Lake of Gold). It offers a really fun pool and a much-better-than-average food court in the Pepper Market, which offers unique entrees like a Jalapeno Turkey Panini and Fish Tacos.

The Pepper Market food court is one of the best.

The Pepper Market food court is one of the best.

5 – Disney’s Old Key West Resort

If you take a vote for the least known Disney resort, I think that Old Key West would win. That’s too bad. When you think of Key West, on word comes to mind: laid back. OK, that’s two words. Still, this resort is all about relaxation and features lush landscaping and plenty of water views.

What says "relaxed" more than Key West?

What says “relaxed” more than Key West?

Do you stay at a Disney Resort when you visit Disney World?  Which one?
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