Updated: Dec 8, 2020
The planning stage of your Walt Disney World vacation is a very exciting time, but several questions are bound to pop up, and one of the biggest is where you should stay. I have recommendations for each category of Disney resort from value to deluxe. More than that, I can tell you from personal experience the best things about these resorts, which make these resorts great for making memories for your vacation.
First off, we will be looking at the value resorts you can find on the Walt Disney World property. I thought it over, and while there are a few good value resorts that you can stay at, the Pop Century and Art of Animation are the best for both price and theme. One of the bonuses that makes these resorts worth their stay is that they both have access to the Disney Skyliner, a form of transportation that lets glide above the Disney property on cable cars to get to select parks. There are many reasons you want to stay at these properties, so let's take a look.
Disney's Pop Century
Pop Century is one of my favorite Disney resorts. This hotel is one of the best value resorts that Disney offers for guests between the theming and the price. In terms of theming, everything here is centered around from the fifties onward. Each section looks different in accordance with this. There are disco figures and crazy colors in the seventies that you would often see in that decade. In the 80's you see reminders of things like rock and roll with a guitar and a giant computer that vaguely resembles the Apple II from the '80s. You get the point.
In addition to the fantastic theming located around the Resort, there are the standard resort amenities with the resort's twist. Everything Pop is both the name of the resort's cafeteria and the resorts gift shop. The gift shop is a nice place to pick up souvenirs and gifts when leaving the resort. The gift shop can also find some refrigerated items and other essentials that you might have forgotten on your trip. The cafeteria servers quality quick-serve food, there are better restaurants in Disney World, but if you are looking for a quick sandwich, salad, or pizza, then this will suit your needs just fine.
Disney's Art of Animation
Art of Animation can best be described as a newer version of the Pop Century. The intense theming that is often found in the value resorts is also here, the entire resort having been themed to the animation of a few Disney and Pixar classic movies. The resort itself has multiple sections, just like Pop Century, in this case, four. The sections are Lion King, Finding Nemo, Little Mermaid, and Cars. Only the Little Mermaid has regular rooms. All of the others have family suites. I have stayed in the suites, and trust me. They are worth the price if you want some privacy and space with your family vacation.
The food court for Art of animation is called Landscapes of Flavor, and it is a unique quick-serve for a resort. It serves the usual fair of pizzas and sandwiches during the lunch hour, which are some of the best sandwiches that you can get on Disney property. The turkey and cranberry sandwich and the Caprese sandwich are two of the best that I have had. For dinner, the food court offers an impressive and diverse dinner menu. My recommendation is the Asian chicken bowl as the first pick for anyone who is staying there. The gift shop here is very similar to the one over at Pop, but it is themed to Art of animation.
The Disney Moderate resorts are cross between the high cost but high value vs. the low cost but basic value of the value resorts. So, for example, you will often have both a quick-serve and a restaurant at a moderate but only one of each. The theme is also less intense at the moderate resorts but is still present. You will also find extra options for travel, such as the Skyliner and boat service on the Disney Works rivers. While they may be more expensive than the value resorts, you will also see more for that money, especially if you won't be spending all day at the parks.
Disney's Port Orleans
The Port Orleans resort comprises two different hotels, but both are great fun to stay at. Port Orleans French Quarter is a hotel modeled off the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. This choice of style means that there are many brightly colored buildings and french inspired architecture and food at the resort. At the Port Orleans Riverside resort, you will stay on the beautiful Sasagula river in rooms located in beautiful mansions. Both of the resorts are great fun to stay at, and since they are located next to each other, you can try the feature of both when you are staying at either.
Both Port Orleans Resorts features several features that make them valuable as someone staying on property. The first of these is the boat access that both resorts have access to since they are on a river. You and your group can hop on one of these boats and take a quick cruise down to Disney springs for great dining and activities. For getting to the parks, the bus service that Disney runs is efficient at getting you to the parks and back. At French Quarter, you can get real beignet from there quick-serve, while at Riverside, you can find both a bar and lounge as well as the Boatwrights restaurant.
Disney's Coronado Springs
Disney's Coronado Springs is one of their mid-grade resort, but unlike the other resorts in the moderate category, this resort is meant for conventions. As it is a convention resort, it is easy to see why so much room is at this resort. Above that, this resort was originally themed, and to Mexican and Aztec culture, but after the recent refurbishment to the resort, this has more or less given way to the more modern styles found in the new Gran Destino Tower. With this refurbishment, there has been an increase in the resort's amenities, so let's take a look at those.
The first big change is the updating of the rooms. This is something that I know has been done, but I had not stayed here since before it was redone, so I have not personally seen it. The fact that they have redone the rooms gives me some faith to stay there because, in my last stay, the room would have earned a hard fail because of its damage. Another positive is that the dining of the resort has been greatly expanded via the updates. In particular, I would highly recommend Three Bridges Bar & Grill as both the food and the views are fantastic. Another advantage is that Coronado uses Skyliner as a mode of transportation.
The Disney deluxe resorts are the top of the line resorts to get to stay at on Disney World property. Many people think that you shouldn't stay at the Disney deluxe resort because of the price. Others swear by the upscale service that is provided by these hotels. I think that the deluxe resorts are as varied as you can believe, but the two that I picked for these articles recommend to friends and families.
Disney's Grand Floridian
The Grand Floridian resort is by far and away one of the best resorts that I have stayed on the Walt Disney World property. It is filled with great restaurants, and entertainment and the rooms are some of the most comfortable that I have ever been in on the property. The resort is located on seven seas lagoon, so that you are only a boat ride away from the Magic Kingdom and the Polynesian Resort. This location gives you so many options for your location, so close the ride around would take less than fifteen minutes. That doesn't even cover the monorail and with the ability to go to the Contemporary or the Ticket and Transportation Center.
To get the most out of a stay at the Grand Floridan, I would highly recommend staying in either a lake view room or if you can get a theme park view that would be even better for your vacation. My next big tip would be to leave the resort as little as possible. There is so much to do while you at the Grand Floridian. I recommend this for vacationers who love Disney but also love to spend time at the hotel. Dinning is a big thing at this resort as it has six different eating Venues, and that does not include the in room dining at the resort. The two most worth your time and money are Narcosses and the Grand Floridian Cafe; both are sitting down, but Narcooses is a signature, and the cafe is not. If you want a quick bite, the quick-serve is excellent and even has a freestyle soda machine. The pool bar is also great. I recommend getting a lobster roll and then sitting out on the sand beach to find next to the pool area and watch the ferries to magic kingdom go by.
Disney's Animal Kingdom lodge
The other contender for the best resort is Animal Kingdom Lodge. The lodge is less expensive than other deluxe Disney resorts, but this because it is the furthest away from the other parks and is closest to Animal Kingdom. This hotel's quality is immaculate with dark woods everywhere, and African art adorns the walls of the hotel as you walk through. The resort is just as self-sufficient as the other deluxe hotels, maybe even more considering how far the other parks are. Understand that this is not s super long distance; it is just longer than average for a Disney hotel.
Animal kingdom lodge has several amenities that make it worth staying at for Disney guests. The biggest draw of this particular resort is that it has a savanna with African animals just outside the resort. The rooms on the savanna offer views of these animals all day long from your room. There several restaurants at animal kingdom lodge, and they are all worth a try because the food is fantastic. If one restaurant is one that you should try first, it is Boma. Boma is an all you can eat buffet that serves African food in a warm and cozy environment that is great for your family.
This is has been my article to help you find the very best resort for you and your family on your vacation. If you need more information about planning your theme park vacation, you can look around our site and see what you need for your vacation. We have articles for restaurants, hotels, rides, and more so that you can know what you want to do for your trip.