Sporty, ultra-modern, elegant, exotic, and even a bit wild, the diversely-styled resorts at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida provide their guests with a magical escape from reality. With 23 individually-themed resorts, how do you choose the one that will make your wishes come true?
Ten Tips for Choosing a Walt Disney World Resort
1. Know Your Traveling Party.
How many kids will be in your group? All Disney resorts welcome children but some are better for younger kids, teens, and families on a budget. For example, if your party includes two children under the age of ten that love any game played with a ball, The All-Star Sports Resort would be a great choice and is suited to a young family’s budget. Larger families may like the Disney’s Beach Club Villa Resort with extra living space and kitchen accommodations. For a romantic stay, try the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa or a cozy hideaway for two at the Caribbean Beach Resort. Is your group a bit wild and loves all creatures great and small? The Animal Kingdom Lodge offers a late afternoon safari tour followed by dinner at its famous Jiko restaurant, but these special is only available to guests staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
2. Determine Your Vacation Dates.
If you are visiting Walt Disney World during the Value Season (Jan. 1-Feb. 13, Aug. 3-Oct.1, or Nov. 30-Dec. 18), resort prices are at their lowest and you might be able to upgrade to another resort that in the Peak or Holiday Season would not fit your budget. If you are planning a trip during the winter holidays, be sure to book far in advance as some resorts will book quickly during that season.
3. Know Your Budget.
Disney offers four price levels of resorts and each resort has complimentary resort transportation, free parking, Disney’s Magical Express Service, and extra Magic Hours to all resort guests.
Value Resorts: Big on everything but price, they range from $82 to $97 per night and include the following themed resorts: PopCentury, All-Star Movies, All-Star Sports, and All-Star Music.
Moderate Resorts: With amazing themed pools, slides, and recreation activities these include The Caribbean Beach Resort, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside, and start at $149 a night. The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness are also included as a Moderate Resort but their pricing begins at $265 a night.
Deluxe Resorts: Starting at $240 a night for the Animal Kingdom Lodge or the Wilderness Lodge and run as high as $399 a night for The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Other Deluxe Resorts include The Contemporary, Disney’s Beach or Yacht Club Resorts, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, and The Polynesian.
Deluxe Villa Resorts: Complete with kitchens or kitchenettes and extra living space, these six Villa resorts offer guests the comforts of home with the magic of Disney. They include the Animal Kingdom Villa, Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, Old Key West, Beach Club Villas, Boardwalk Villas, and the Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Prices range from $295 per night to $335 per night.
Camping: From as low as $43 a night, camping is available at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campgrounds.
4. Location. Location. Location.
Online you can check out the map of the Walt Disney World properties and see the locations of each resort in comparison to each theme park. If you know your family is going to spend most of your stay visiting the Magic Kingdom, check out the resorts located in that area: Disney’s Contemporary, Fort Wilderness, The Grand Floridian, The Polynesian, The Wilderness Lodge, or the Villas at the Wilderness Lodge. If your Disney vacation is a romantic holiday, you may enjoy the southern charm of the Port Orleans Resorts with their direct boat service down the Sassagoula River to Downtown Disney and its fantastic dining, shopping, and evening entertainment.
5. Order a Free Vacation Planning DVD.
Go to www.disney.com and click on Parks in the upper right-hand corner. Follow the link to request your free planning DVD.
6. Virtual Tours.
Gather the family around the computer and take virtual tours of each Disney resort online to get a feel for each unique theme and style.
7. Get Recommendations.
Talk to several different people and hear which Disney Resort they enjoy most. Talk to friends, family, and especially the Reservation Specialists at (407) 939-7500. You can call and talk to a Disney Reservation Specialist even before you are ready to book your trip. The Reservation Specialists are always helpful and will offer recommendations on resorts and pricing options.
8. Read Reviews.
A valuable resource for information on how to find your perfect Disney resort is just a click away at www.disneyworldmoms.com. This site is home to the Disney Moms Panel and they are there to provide insight and information on Disney vacations. At the site you can read reviews and even post your questions.
Determine which amenities is a must-have for a magic visit. All resort rooms are air-conditioned, have cable/Satellite TV and internet access. Pak-n-Play cribs are available and each room is non-smoking. Each resort offers in-room babysitting, housekeeping, voice mail, wake-up calls and is wheelchair accessible. For a complete list of resort features on an easy to read comparison chart, check out the Compare Disney Resorts page at Disney.com
10. Visit Other Resorts.
During your Disney vacation, stop by the other resorts and see first-hand if they might be your choice for your next Disney vacation. Talk to other guests in line while you’re waiting to visit the Haunted Mansion. Ask which resort they’re at and what they like about it.
Finding the perfect resort for your Disney vacation should never be stressful. Planning for your Disney extravaganza should be as memorable and fun as the trip to see the world’s most famous Mouse.