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Everything You Need to Know About WDW Hotels

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So many resorts – so little time! With so many different hotels to choose from at Walt Disney World how do you decide where to stay. Locations – Size – Theme – what is most important to you?

WDW hotels

Many of us choose by cost but others choose by location or size. Personally, I visit so often and usually without much notice or pre-planning, that I decide based on what’s available when I’m ready to go.

This information you will give everything you need to know (except price) to make a decision based on location or size.

Magic Kingdom Area

Disney’s Contemporary Resort (Deluxe) – 633 rooms, 23 suites and 428 villas. Guests choosing Club Level accommodations at the Atrium Club and Tower Club receive personalized concierge service and lounge with continental breakfast, midday snacks and evening wine, hors d’oeuvres, cordials and desserts. 

Inside, a 90-foot-tall mural by Disney Legend Mary Blair celebrates the Grand Canyon and the American Southwest. Dining options include California Grill, The Wave…of American Flavors, Contempo Café and Chef Mickey’s Fun Time Buffet, lounge serving appetizers, poolside snack bar and room service.

Recreational amenities include two heated pools with slide, whirlpools, interactive water feature, leisure pool and poolside cabana rentals. Health Club, beach for sunbathing, tennis, fishing, an interactive children’s character and dining experience and recreation activities including Disney movies under the stars and a jogging trail.

The Resort is walking distance from Magic Kingdom Park and includes Monorail service to Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot and select Disney Resort Hotels, plus motor coaches and watercraft providing easy access to the theme parks. Disney’s Contemporary Resort Convention Center features state-of-the-art audio and video equipment, full catering services and 115,000 square feet of event and meeting space to fit all your business needs.

Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort (Deluxe) – This Disney Vacation Club resort features 295 units (2-bedroom equivalents) including studio, one- and two-bedroom villas and is located next to Disney’s Contemporary Resort. 

Most of the rooms boast modern artwork, flat-screen TVs, full kitchens complete with granite counter tops and modern appliances, separate bedrooms, washers and dryers, and other home-like amenities. 

A rooftop lounge promises to deliver some of the most dramatic views available anywhere at Walt Disney World Resort.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (Deluxe) – 842 rooms, 25 suites and 147 Villas. Victorian elegance meets modern sophistication at this lavish Disney Resort hotel.

Dining at Cítricos, Victoria & Albert’s, Gasparilla Island Grill, Grand Floridian Cafe, 1900 Park Fare, Narcoossee’s and two lounges. Recreation and amenities include boat rentals featuring the Grand 1 Yacht, swimming, poolside cabanas, fishing activities, playground, health club, basketball courts, jogging trail, campfire activities, game room, shopping, Disney movies under the stars and laundry facilities. Meeting facility with nearly 40,000 square feet of meeting and convention space.

Easy access to theme parks via watercraft, motor coach and monorail. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort Convention Center is perfect for events large and small, featuring 40,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space on one contiguous level.

The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (Deluxe) – This Disney Vacation Club resort – reminiscent of the golden age of a bygone Victorian era – resides alongside the picturesque shores of Seven Seas Lagoon, steps away from the myriad world-class dining and recreation offerings available at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Deluxe studios and 1-bedroom villas sleep up to 5 Guests and 2-bedroom villas sleep up to 9—so there’s plenty of room for the family to unwind after an exhilarating day in the middle of the magic.

Expansive grand villas sleep 12 guests and feature a large kitchen, multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as a media room with a home theater system.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (Deluxe) – 478 traditional hotel rooms, 6 suites in addition to 20 over-the-water bungalows and 360 deluxe studio villas as part of the Disney Vacation Club Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Villas and bungalows.

The resort is designed with South Pacific Island theming along the beach of Seven Seas Lagoon. Dining options include ‘Ohana, Kona Café, Captain Cook’s, the “Spirit of Aloha” dinner show, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, room service. 

Recreation and amenities include swimming, boating, jogging, playground, game room, shopping, child care, laundry facilities. Transportation by monorail, watercraft and motor coach.

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (Deluxe) – 340 guestrooms, 1 suite, 10 deluxe rooms and 365 villas all reflecting a “woodsy” national park-like setting. Reminiscent of Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone Park — with distinctive Disney touches. A spectacular six-story lobby, replete with tee pee-topped chandeliers, totem poles and an 82-foot-tall stone fireplace. 

A bubbling hot spring in the lobby expands outside the building into a roaring waterfall flowing into the swimming area (featuring hot and cold spas). A geothermal “geyser” erupts hourly from a rocky outcrop at the edge of Bay Lake. Recreation and amenities include bike and boat rentals, swimming, playground, laundry, game room and on-site child care. Dining options include Artist Point, Whispering Canyon Café, Roaring Fork, Territory Lounge, pool bar and room service.

Easy access to theme parks via watercraft and motor coach.

Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (Deluxe) – 114 units (2-bedroom equivalents) including studio, one- and two-bedroom villas, located next to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. This five-story Disney Vacation Club ownership resort surrounds visitors with the grandeur of the Old West and stories of the people who settled there. Art and architecture tell the tales of pioneers who built and stayed in late 19th century railroad hotels in the national parks region of the American West. Rooms include wet bar, microwave and small refrigerator, or a full kitchen. 

A unique feature of the resort is its themed living room area that features railroad memorabilia, including a special exhibit on loan from the Disney family of two of Walt Disney’s personal scale-model train cars and a piece of the original track. Also found at the resort is a quiet pool and state-of-the-art health club open to guests of both the lodge and villa properties.

Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (Deluxe) – This idyllic retreat evokes a rustic-elegant vibe—a perfect nod to the rich and pioneering heritage of the Pacific Northwest. Consider this your new go-to vacation base camp when pining for serene surroundings located just around the river bend from Magic Kingdom park. Standout features include a full range of accommodations with modern amenities—from Deluxe Studios to 26 waterfront Cabins with wraparound porches. 

Choose from a Deluxe Studio, 1- or 2- Bedroom Villa, 3-Bedroom Grand Villa or a private waterfront Cabin—all infused with nature-inspired design elements. Dip into a pool area that suits your mood—choose from the playful Copper Creek Springs Pool or the easygoing Boulder Ridge Cove Pool.

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground (Moderate and Value) – 784 campsites, 409 Wilderness Cabins all set in a relaxed 750-acre wilderness setting. Campsites are level, paved pads with electric, water and sewer hookups, charcoal grills and picnic tables. 

All campsites have close access to air-conditioned comfort stations with private showers, coin laundry facility, vending machines and telephones. Wilderness Cabins are air-conditioned accommodations that sleep up to six guests and feature vaulted ceilings, fully equipped kitchens, full bathrooms, television, DVD players, outdoor grills, picnic tables and a private patio deck. 

Wilderness Cabins also come equipped with hairdryers, foldaway cribs and ironing equipment, and daily housekeeping is offered. Amenities include watercraft, beach, fishing, tennis courts, two heated swimming pools, arcade game room, laundry facilities and kennel. Groceries and camping supplies at Meadow and Settlement Trading Posts.

Dining options include Crockett’s Tavern, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, Trail’s End Restaurant and “Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue” nightly dinner show at Pioneer Hall. Campfire and marshmallow roast with Disney characters and a Disney movie. Motor coach and boat transportation links campground with all Walt Disney World Resort areas.

Epcot Area

Disney’s Pop Century Resort (Value) – 2,880 room “time capsules” are available at this resort that pays homage to 20th century pop culture. This value-priced resort features lodge buildings and furnishings inspired by the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. 

Larger-than-life icons from each decade are found all over the resort, from four-story Rubik’s Cubes to bowling pins that tower more than 65 feet high. Recreation includes three pools, a kiddie pool, the Pop Jet Playground and the Fast Forward arcade.

Guests can feed their hunger and slake their thirst at the Everything Pop food court area or Petals Pool Bar. The resort is located near ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort (Moderate) – colorful Caribbean-themed resort villages featuring 1,536 rooms located on 200 acres surrounding a 42-acre lake. Guestrooms include mini bars and coffee makers. Recreation includes a lakeside recreation area with a themed slide, boat rentals, swimming, playground, game room, bicycling, nature walks, jogging track, laundry facilities and shopping. 

Dining available at Centertown Pavilion or Spyglass Grill for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Transportation to theme parks available by motor coach.

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort (Deluxe – 623 rooms and suites in oyster-gray clapboard buildings set around 25-acre Crescent Lake feature hardwood floors and rich millwork in a nautical theme reminiscent of New England seashore hotels of the 1880s. 

All rooms feature French doors that open onto porches or balconies. The nautical theme carries through in the restaurants — Ale & Compass Restaurant, Yachtsman Steakhouse and two lounges. An expansive croquet lawn and marina lighthouse add to the resort’s ambiance. 

The Yacht Club is the perfect complement to its neighbor, Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Centrally located to each resort is a 73,000-square-foot convention center that includes a 36,000-square-foot ballroom which seats up to 2,800 for dinner.

Disney’s Beach Club Resort (Deluxe) – 577 rooms and suites in buildings of pale blue and white stick-style architecture inspired by New England beach cottages of the 1860s. The lobby features white wicker furniture, 24-foot-high ceilings and natural French limestone floors. 

The Beach Club is the perfect complement to its neighbor, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. Centrally located to each resort: Stormalong Bay features three lagoon areas and a thrilling water slide; the Ship Shape Health Club with steam bath and sauna, and massage, weight and aerobics rooms; a marina with motorized watercraft; and Beaches & Cream, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. 

Dining in Cape May Café and two lounges. Both hotels provide transportation via watercraft and motor coach. Child care, beauty and barber shop, and laundry facilities are available.

Disney’s Beach Club Villas (Deluxe) – Featuring an ambience of casual elegance, Disney’s Beach Club Villas (part of Disney Vacation Club) was designed by noted architect Robert A.M. Stern. Situated next to Disney’s Beach Club Resort, the 576-unit (2-bedroom equivalents) property offers studio, one- and two-bedroom vacation villas. The resort features Cape May-inspired theming characterized by the use of whimsical “stick-style” architecture, pastel colors, porches and other decorative elements.

Disney’s BoardWalk (Deluxe) – The BoardWalk Inn includes 352 guest rooms and 20 suites and is located alongside Crescent Lake and includes shopping, children’s activity center, health club, tennis courts, themed pool and a 20,000-square-foot conference center. Surrounding Crescent Lake and steeped in 1930s nostalgia and old-fashioned Atlantic seaboard charm, Disney’s BoardWalk restaurants include Flying Fish Café,  Big River Grille and Brewing Works, ESPN Club, Trattoria al Forno, Atlantic Dance nightclub, Jellyrolls dueling piano bar, Seashore Sweets’ and BoardWalk Bakery.

Disney’s BoardWalk Villas (Deluxe) – This 532-unit (2-bedroom equivalents) vacation ownership resort (part of Disney Vacation Club) is a place where guests can experience the romance and playfulness of a bygone era, both inside the elegant salt water taffy-colored vacation villa community and outside amidst the carnival sights and ragtime sounds of the boardwalk. Accommodations are available in studios and one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas which offer kitchens, living areas and a variety of amenities.

Disney Springs Area

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa (Deluxe) – This Disney Vacation Club resort features 1260 units (2-bedroom equivalents) that recall the late 1800s heyday of America’s first vacation destination – Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Victorian-style cottages line the streets and the historic influence of horse racing is found throughout the resort.

Also featured is a full-service spa and health club and The Artist’s Palette – a counter-service restaurant and market. Bus transportation is provided to all four Walt Disney World theme parks. The resort is located across the lake from Disney Springs and adjacent to Disney’s Lake Buena Vista golf course.

There are 60 three-bedroom Treehouse Villas, built on pedestals amid forested glens. The villas offer two baths, an open kitchen, flat-panel TVs and a barbecue grill.

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-French Quarter (Moderate) – 1,008 moderately priced, French Quarter-style accommodations adjacent to Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-Riverside. Located on a 325-acre woodland site between Epcot and Disney Springs. Sassagoula Floatworks food court and pizza delivery. 

Themed pool, boat rentals, lounges, game room and retail shops. Riverboat to Disney Springs. Linked by motor coach to all other Walt Disney World resorts and entertainment facilities. 

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-Riverside (Moderate) – 2,048 rooms in three-story southern-style mansions and two-story rustic bayou dwellings. Dining includes Riverside Mill food court and Boatwright’s Dining Hall. Recreation includes Ol’ Man Island, a 3 ½-acre old-fashioned swimming hole with slides, rope swings and playgrounds; quiet pools; boat rentals; game room; lounges and gift shop. 

Riverboat to Disney Springs. Transportation via motor coach to other Walt Disney World attractions and resorts.

Disney’s Old Key West Resort (Deluxe) –761 units (2-bedroom equivalents) in a Key West setting (part of Disney Vacation Club). Accommodations include deluxe studios, one- and two-bedroom homes and two-story, three-bedroom Grand Villas that sleep up to 12. 

Dining includes Olivia’s Café, poolside fare at the Gurgling Suitcase, and Good’s Food to Go quick-service restaurant. Rooms include wet bar, microwave and small refrigerator, or a full kitchen. Health club, tennis, swimming pool, sauna and planned recreation. Linked by motor coach to all other Walt Disney World resorts and entertainment facilities.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Area

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (Deluxe) – Deluxe 955-room, six-story resort styled in a horseshoe shape after a kraal African village design, features 24-hour views to its own 46-acre savanna of free-roaming mammals and tropical birds. The resort features hand-carved furnishings, African art and a giant fireplace in a soaring lobby. 

Guests can stroll along a rock outcropping and enjoy nearly panoramic views of roaming animals and flowing streams. Features two full-service restaurants – Boma-Flavors of Africa and Jiko-The Cooking Place – plus a mezzanine lounge and a quick-service eatery with poolside dining. The resort is west of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. 

The Villas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (Deluxe) – This Disney Vacation Club resort offers 449 units (2-bedroom equivalents) featuring studio, one- and three-bedroom vacation villas at Jambo House and Kidani Village. The resort boasts its very own 21-acre reserve  where over 30 species of wildlife roam.

Accommodations feature intricate African-inspired details and home-like amenities, and most offer sweeping views of an expanded savanna inhabited by a variety of African animals.  Sanaa restaurant features “the art of African cooking with Indian flavors” and remarkable views of the resort’s savanna through nine-foot windows.

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort (Moderate) – 1,840 moderate-price guestrooms, inspired by the American Southwest and regions of Mexico, encircling a 15-acre lagoon. Three “quiet” pools. A five-story Mayan pyramid serves as the splashy centerpiece for a family-fun pool with a water slide. 

Dining includes the Maya Grill full-service restaurant, Las Ventanas, Pepper Market dining court, Rix Sports Bar & Grill, Laguna Bar lounge, Siestas Cantina poolside bar and limited room service. Special services include in-room coffee makers and ironing equipment, La Vida Health Club, hair-styling salon, bike rentals, watercraft rentals, arcade, sand volleyball court, kiddie pool and playground. 

A 220,000-square-foot convention center includes 2 ballrooms, an exhibit hall and 45 breakout rooms. The facilities can hold over 6,500 people and are equipped with state-of-the-art lighting, audio and projection systems.

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort (Value) – 1,120 family suites and 864 standard guest rooms make up this family-friendly resort. The big blue world of Nemo and friends, the Pride Lands of Africa, under the sea in Ariel’s grotto, a super-charged adventure through Radiator Springs all come to life for vacationers in four distinctly designed wings.

The resort celebrates rich storytelling, spirited characters, original sketches and playfulness with colorful icons and whimsical theming inspired by classic Disney and Disney Pixar films. Family suites include two bathrooms, a kitchenette and three separate sleeping areas that can sleep up to six; while standard rooms at The Little Mermaid can sleep up to four.

Dining options in the main Animation Hall include a poolside snack bar, pizza delivery and Landscape of Flavors food court featuring many made to order offerings.

Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort (Value) – Features 1,920 value-priced rooms in buildings festooned with larger-than-life sports icons representing surfing, basketball, tennis, baseball and football. Located on a 246-acre site at the northwest quadrant of World Drive and U.S. Highway 192 interchange. 

Features a commercial center with check-in and guest service facilities, a food court, retail store and game room. Two swimming pools and a kiddie pool, a pool bar, pizza delivery and laundry facilities. Use of Walt Disney World transportation system is included.

Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort (Vallue) – 1,920-room resort with facilities and amenities that mirror Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort. Giant icons from favorite Disney movies set the scene, and images from “101 Dalmatians,” “Toy Story,” “Fantasia,” “The Mighty Ducks” and “The Love Bug” adorn the resort hotel.

Disney’s All-Star Music Resort (Value) – Features 1,489 value-priced rooms and 215 family suites in buildings with larger-than-life icons representing jazz, rock, Broadway, calypso and country music. Facilities and amenities are the same as Disney’s All-Star Sports and Disney’s All-Star Movies resorts. The family suites sleep up to six and offer two bedrooms, two full baths, a kitchenette and two 27″ flat screen TVs.

And Then There’s . . .

Shades of Green at Walt Disney World Resort – 586 rooms in a relaxed, country atmosphere overlooking golf courses, gardens or pools. Full-service dining available, plus snack bars, lounge and room service. Meeting space includes 1,000 square feet. Tennis, swimming, fitness center and game room. Walt Disney World continues maintenance of golf operations on the two PGA championship 18-hole golf courses and nine-hole walking course located adjacent to this property, and golf is available to all Disney resort guests. 

Shades of Green is operated as an Armed Forces Recreation Center for the exclusive use of military members and their families. For reservations: 407/824-3600.

Walt Disney World Swan and Walt Disney World Dolphin – 2,265 luxury rooms and 254,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space. Seventeen restaurants and lounges, four swimming pools, two health clubs and a wide area of recreational activities. Connected to Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s BoardWalk via water and walkway.

Four Seasons – The 444-room Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort is located within the gates of the luxury residential community, Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort, just five miles from Magic Kingdom and four miles from Epcot.

Accommodations include 68 suites with versatile connecting options ideal for families and groups of friends traveling together. A Tom Fazio-designed golf course will be refurbished and managed by Four Seasons. Indoor and outdoor treatments will be enjoyed in the spa’s 18 treatment rooms and gardens.

Three restaurants will include a modern Italian ristorante, a southern poolside BBQ experience, and a 17th floor rooftop steakhouse with views of the nightly fireworks at Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

With so many choices, where do you like to stay? I have a favorite in each price range – Pop Century for value, Port Orleans French Quarter for moderate, and Polynesian in the deluxe category. What’s your favorite?