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Which Disney World Hotel Is Right for You?

SmarterTravel

There are lots of great reasons to visit Orlando, but if spending some quality time at a Walt Disney World Hotel is among them, choosing where to stay should be a no-brainer. Disney World resorts offer perks that you simply won’t be able to match with non-affiliated hotels.

Which Disney World Hotel is Right for You?

With so many Disney World resorts to choose among, you’ll have to be strategic about choosing which Disney World hotel is the right fit for you. From luxury stays with light Disney touches to full-on immersions in all-things-Disney, the choices are wide and varied.

Here’s a guide to help narrow your choices and find the right Disney World hotel for you.

Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort

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This 443-room property seamlessly combines Walt Disney World access with a luxury experience. If not for the small touches (character breakfasts, monorail access, and a rooftop dining view of the fireworks at Magic Kingdom) you might forget where you are. A Tom Fazio-designed golf course and 13,000-square-foot spa add to the getaway feel at this Disney World resort. Families will love the three pools and lazy river set in a five-acre water park, plus the sports facility with tennis, basketball, a rock wall and more.

Amenities: Well-appointed bathrooms with soaker tubs, free Wi-Fi, free kids’ camp, gaming center, and two 242-foot-tall waterslides.

Book it: Get prices for Four Seasons Resort, Orlando, and other Orlando resorts

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

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Animal lovers will get a kick out of this upscale, African-safari themed Disney World resort where exotic animals roam a 46-acre wildlife reserve right outside room windows. Staying here keeps you close to the Animal Kingdom theme park; but even on-site, you can participate in flamingo and pelican feedings, games with savannah guides, storytelling, night-vision tracking, and more animal adventures.

Amenities: Zero-depth-entry outdoor pool with a 67-foot-long slide, separate children’s pool, game arcade, free transportation to the Walt Disney World theme parks, free Wi-Fi, supervised children’s center, and connecting-room options.

Book it: Get prices for Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando, and other Orlando hotels

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

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This resort, the newest in Walt Disney’s Value category, includes 1,120 family suites that can sleep up to six people. Designed in tribute to Disney and Pixar classics, you’ll find areas dedicated to Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid. Three swimming pools—including the largest in any Disney World hotel—provide plenty of opportunity for water play.

Amenities: Free Wi-Fi; free shuttle service to theme parks, water parks, and Downtown Disney; playground, arcade, movies under the stars, and jogging trail. (Dog-friendly.)

Book it: Get prices for Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Orlando, and other Orlando hotels

Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows 

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This AAA Four-Diamond Award resort was one of the original Disney World hotels, but upgrades over the years have kept the mid-century modern architecture and Polynesian details fresh. The two-bedroom, two-bath overwater “Bora Bora Bungalows” come with private plunge pools and a view of Magic Kingdom fireworks from the back deck. Don’t miss the Spirit of Aloha “Luau” Dinner.

Amenities: Complimentary MagicBands, Fastpass reservation priority (up to 60 days in advance), Extra Magic Hours, grocery delivery, barbecue grills, self-service laundry, and character breakfasts.

Book it: Get prices for Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, Orlando, and other Orlando hotels 

Disney’s All-Star Music Resort

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A Value category offering, the All-Star Music Resort will be most popular with families who can appreciate the musical touches—pools shaped like instruments for example. This Disney World hotel’s location close to Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park and Animal Kingdom may also be attractive.

Amenities: Family Suites that sleep up to 6 people, free Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, free area shuttle, in-room refrigerator, quick-service food court, three heated pools, playground, arcade, and movies under the stars.

Book it: Get prices for Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, Orlando, and other Orlando hotels

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

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Among Disney’s value-priced resorts, Pop century—with its theme of 20th century pop culture (Think: yo-yos and Rubik’s Cubes)—remains a popular favorite. Newly remodeled rooms offer a fresh, updated—but still nostalgic—look, and the property includes dedicated bus service to the parks. Three pools with water jets are also a hit with kids.

Amenities:  Room service pizza delivery, playground, arcade, and free film screenings pool-side.

Book it: Get prices for Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Orlando, and other Orlando hotels 

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

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This grande dame of Disney Hotel Resorts offers a classic, Victorian feel and a focus on refined, elegant service. At this iconic Orlando resort, enjoy live orchestras playing ragtime or jazz in the lobby, then step outside where you’re just monorail ride away from all the Disney action.

Amenities: Complimentary MagicBands, Fastpass reservation priority (up to 60 days in advance), Extra Magic Hours, Electrical Water Pageant/Cinderella Castle viewing areas, self-service laundry, portrait photographer, and in-room refrigerator.

Book it: Get prices for Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Orlando, and other Orlando hotels

Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

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Formerly known as the Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, this Disney World resort was reimagined and reopened in summer 2017. New additions to the resort include an expanded sun deck and a zero-depth-entry pool. The resort offers studios and villas complete with kitchens or kitchenettes.

Amenities: Complimentary MagicBands, free transportation services to Disney parks, early access to Fastpass+ planning, Extra Magic Hours, private beach, barbecue grills, supervised children’s center, and laundry facilities.

Book it: Get prices for Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Orlando, and other Orlando hotels

Old Key West Resort

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The 761 villas of Disney’s Old Key West Resort are meant to evoke a low-key Florida Keys feeling. And the Disney World hotel succeeds, with pastel colored building, rooms with porches or balconies, and a layout that includes a 1.5-mile jogging path around the sprawling resort. Four outdoor pools, playgrounds, and a separate children’s pool keep families happy.

Amenities: Kitchenettes/full kitchens; fitness center, free Wi-Fi; laundry facilities; premium TV channels; DVD players; blackout drapes; bike trails; water-sport rentals; tennis, basketball, volleyball, and shuffleboard courts; and arcade.

Book it: Get prices for Old Key West Resort, Orlando, and other Orlando hotels

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  • Original reporting by Heather Greenwood-Davis

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