Top 5 Disney World Resorts

I am a big fan of Disney Resorts so staying on property is always a priority for me. Disney World Resorts offer the detail, theme, quality, and magical experiences, just like the parks do! After all, how cool is it to fall asleep and wake up in the heart of the Disney magic? Since Disney resorts add to the Disney World experience, and there are so many to choose from, choosing a resort is often a difficult decision. Therefore, I have decided to list those which I think are the best in my Top 5 Disney World Resorts.

1. Wilderness Lodge-This may sound like a strange choice since this resort is not on the monorail and its rooms are smaller than other deluxe resorts; but many guests claim that this is their favorite Disney resort and I have to agree.

Lobby: Incredible. You just have to see it. It’s cavernous with huge log columns and beams, plus giant chandeliers resembling teepees. There’s also a bubbling spring and stream in the lobby that runs under a footbridge and actually flows into the resort’s pool outside! You can also sit next to a huge fireplace that is meant to represent the layers and colors of the Grand Canyon.

Dining: Wilderness Lodge is home to two popular restaurants: the delicious and entertaining Whispering Canyon Cafe and the classy, sophisticated Artist Point. For a quick meal or snack, you can visit the Roaring Fork.

Rooms: While the rooms here are a bit smaller than other deluxe rooms, the lodge’s motif continues and you can even get log bunk beds for the kids. You can also have a balcony as well. Overall, this is a great resort if you want the deluxe experience and are traveling with kids.

Transportation: While this resort is the only Magic Kingdom deluxe resort not on the monorail, there is boat transportation to the Magic Kingdom and a walking path to the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground.

2. Grand Floridian-This resort is Disney World’s flagship resort and definitely the most luxurious offering the most dining and shopping opportunities. The only reason why the Grand Floridian is not my top pick is due to the fact that it can be a little stiff and lacks some personality; but otherwise, it’s a fantastic resort.

Lobby: This lobby is elegant and beautiful with massive chandeliers, a domed ceiling, and even Disney characters and icons in the luxurious carpets and tilework. There is even an orchestra and pianist that plays in the lobby!

Dining: Where to start? The Grand Floridian’s restaurants consist of Victoria and Alberts, Narcoosees, Citricos, the Grand Floridian Cafe, 1900 Park Fare, and Gasparilla Grill and Games. The only downside is that many of these restaurants can be pricey.

Rooms: The Grand Floridian’s rooms are cetainly grand and spacious with a victorian motif. You will also have a balcony and maybe even a grand view? It’s pretty hard to go wrong with rooms here.

Transportation: The Grand Floridian provides monorail transportation, as well as bus and boat transportation.

3. Animal Kingdom Lodge-This is a very popular Disney World resort and definitely one of the most unique! This resort transports you to Africa and lets you stay next door to African wildlife!

Lobby: This lobby is similiar to that of Wilderness Lodge’s; however, instead of a Northwestern theme, this lobby has an African theme with giant tribal mask chandeliers, a thatch roof, African artifacts, and tall, massive windows that give you a view of African animals roaming just outside!

Dining: Animal Kingdom has some popular dining choices, such as Boma, Sanaa, Jiko, and The Mara for quick meals and snacks.

Rooms: The rooms at this resort carry on the African theme with carved woods, colorful bedspreads, and even bunkbeds for the kids! What really makes these rooms great is that some offer a balcony and view of the animals roaming just outside! You may have a hard time leaving your room!

Transportation: This resort offers only bus transportation. It’s a quick trip to the Animal Kingdom park, but it’s a bit longer to the other parks.

4. Beach Club: This deluxe resort offers a beach vacation along with a Disney vacation! The Beach Club offers the best resort pool, Stormalong Bay, along with a view and quick access to the Boardwalk. Also, you can walk to Epcot in minutes and Hollywood Studios is just a short boat ride away.

Lobby: Beach Club’s lobby is a blend of both elegance, whimsy, and a pastel palette, perfect for adults and kids.

Rooms: The rooms at the Beach Club are beautiful and bright with delicate seaside touches. Many balconies also provide picturesque views too.

Dining: The Beach Club offers Cape May Cafe and the popular Beaches and Cream. Also, guests can eat at the Yachtsmen Steakhouse and Captain’s Grille at the Yacht Club next door.

Transportation: At the Beach Club, you can walk over to Epcot or the Boardwalk or take a Friendship boat. Hollywood Studios is also a quick boat ride away and there is bus service to the other parks.

5. Port Orleans Riverside: While this is a moderate resort, it’s very popular with Disney guests and pleasantly more affordable. Port Orleans Riverside offers a taste of life on the river in the Deep South with a great pool and boat access to Downtown Disney.

Lobby: While it doesn’t offer the grand scale of Wilderness Lodge or Animal Kingdom Lodge, this lobby is bright, airy, and has giant paddle fans hanging from the ceiling.

Dining: This resort has one table service restaurant, Boatwrights, and a large quick service restaurant for quick meals and snacks.

Rooms: Port Orleans offers two different room sections: Magnolia Bend and Alligator Bayou. Magnolia Bend houses warm, elegant rooms in buildings resembling old Southern mansions. Meanwhile, the Alligator Bayou cottages offer comfortable rooms with log furniture. Also, you can now book new Royal Guest Rooms at Riverside for next year that allow your family to experience what it’s like to live like Disney royalty.

Transportation: There is convenient boat transportation to Downtown Disney from Port Orleans Riverside, as well as bus transportation to other Disney parks.

So these are my Top 5 picks for the best Disney resorts. Did your favorite make my list? Let me know!

Related Articles:

  • Ask a Disney Question: Best Deluxe in Disney World
  • Resorts: What is Your Resort Personality? (aglassslippervacation.com)


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18 thoughts on “Top 5 Disney World Resorts

  1. I think most people who stay off property are just kidding themselves. Our fave is the Poly, we request a longhouse down by TTP and have all of the park transportation options at our fingertips, which we love. Grand Floridian ranks up there for ambience, but it took too long to get to EPCOT with the Monorail transfer. If I must stay at a moderate, I choose POFQ 🙂

  2. I think most people who stay off property are just kidding themselves. Our fave is the Poly, we request a longhouse down by TTP and have all of the park transportation options at our fingertips, which we love. Grand Floridian ranks up there for ambience, but it took too long to get to EPCOT with the Monorail transfer. If I must stay at a moderate, I choose POFQ 🙂

  3. My favorites are Yacht Club, Contemporary, Fort Wilderness, Beach Club, and Swan/Dolphin, although I have heard so many good things about the Wilderness Lodge, and I have been curious about Port Orleans, too.

  4. We stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge one night and loved it, but I can not see spending the money to stay there for 8 nights that would make the trip pretty pricy.

  5. All look wonderful. I would love to stay at any of them but our budget always lands us at a value resort. My dream is to one day be able to stay at the Wilderness lodge.

  6. I stayed at Port Orleans Riverside, and loved it there. I haven’t tried the others. I actually love Shades of Green, and I know you need to be somehow connected to the military or federal government to stay there, but even just going over there on a resort hop is worth it. It’s in the middle of Magnolia and Palm golf courses, has a table service restaurant, Mangino’s Bistro, with great food with great prices, beautiful decor, huge rooms, on site spa, the list goes on and on. I went to Disney for Thanksgiving with my husband, daughter, and parents in 2009, and we went and had Thanksgiving dinner and got way more food than we could eat for less than $20 a person at Mangino’s. There is also a great rock and water feature that leads to the bus stop and actually hides the bus stop so that you don’t even see it as you approach the building. In fact, when you pull up, the rock formations hide all vehicles so that you don’t see them on your initial approach. I would highly recommend at least visiting, because most people skip it. It’s a short bus ride from the T&TC, AK, or HS or you can walk from the Polynesian.

  7. My budget makes the Pop Century my top resort. If I had the money to spend I would love to stay at the Polynesian or the Contemporary. I have eaten at the Grand Floridian Cafe, at Boma, Beaches & Cream and Artist Point. Surprisingly, Artist Point was where I had one of the few bad meals on property.

  8. My budget makes the Pop Century my top resort. If I had the money to spend I would love to stay at the Polynesian or the Contemporary. I have eaten at the Grand Floridian Cafe, at Boma, Beaches & Cream and Artist Point. Surprisingly, Artist Point was where I had one of the few bad meals on property.

  9. I have actually never stayed at the top 5. I love to visit all of them, but budget restraints have kept us from ever staying there. My goal is to some day go and be able to stay anywhere but a value resort.

  10. I have actually never stayed at the top 5. I love to visit all of them, but budget restraints have kept us from ever staying there. My goal is to some day go and be able to stay anywhere but a value resort.

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