Accommodation at Walt Disney World

On-site or off-site?

This will be the first question to ask and answer. 

On-site Advantages 

There are many advantages to staying on site.

  • Atmosphere
    • You are right in the midst of the magic. The hotels are Disney themed and you remain immersed in the whole Disney atmosphere. 
  • Convenience
    • If your children are a little tired (or if you are, come to that!) you can take the complimentary, regular shuttles between the parks and the hotels and have a quick siesta, swim in the pool etc. before going back to the parks. No trekking to find your car and driving 30 minutes (or more) back to your accommodation.
  • Early (and late) admission - now called "Extra Magic Hours"
    • The "Extra Magic Hours" have been expanded to include "after-hours" opening as well as early admission. This allows on-site guests only to enter one theme park a day one hour before general admission. One park a day is also open for up to 3 hours later in the evening, again only for on-site guests.
  • Dining Plan
  • Extras
    • Any merchandise that you choose to buy (will you be able to resist it all?!) will be delivered back to your room. It's one way to spot those who are staying off-site - they're the frazzled-looking ones with all the Disney carrier bags hanging off every available limb.
      All Moderate and Deluxe resorts now have fridges and coffee-makers as standard in-room equipment. Recently all DIsney resorts have finished upgrades to wifi access, which is now available in every room.

 

On-site Choices

What are my accommodation choices on site?

There are four broad categories of Disney Hotels.

  1. Value
  2. Moderate
  3. Home-Away-from-Home
  4. Deluxe

Each hyperlink from the hotels will link you directly to the appropriate page on the Disney World website, for further information.

Please note that many of the hotels have a maximum room occupancy of 4 bodies. The only exception to this general rule is if you have two small children (both under 3 years) in which case 5 bodies can be accommodated. Families with 3 children DO have some options, and they are listed here.

When there are Disney specials, prices can be less than those mentioned below... these prices are very approximate, but do include the local taxes.

Value Hotels

Disney's All Star Movies, Music and Sports Resorts, and Disney's Pop Century Resort abd the brand new Art of Animation resort.

Large hotel blocks with many cheerfully-decorated rooms. Food court dining. Fun-shaped, heated pools. Max room occupancy is 4, except the Family Suites at Disney's All Star Music Resort and Art of Animation, which sleep up to 6.

The regular prices, accommodation only, ranges from around $100 USD per unit per night to $200 USD per unit per night, depending on the season and the type of room. Suites at the Art of Animation are new, large and feature many innovations, and are more expensive than other value resorts.

Moderate Hotels

Disney's Caribbean Beach ResortDisney's Port Orleans Riverside ResortDisney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort and Disney's Coronado SpringsResort

Larger rooms, more food choices than the Disney's Value Resorts. Each resort has pools with themed waterslides, and offers rather more in the way of sporting facilities and other resort amenities. The Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort can accommodate 5 in a room (one must be a child under 10 years), all the others have a max occupancy of 4. Disney's Coronado Springs  and  Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter resorts have completed upgrading all rooms to contain 2 queen beds. Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort has converted some beds, plus they also have some rather beautiful "Royal Rooms". At Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort there are a number of awesome "Pirate Rooms" which are a lot of fun too.

The price, accommodation only, ranges from around $180 USD per unit per night to $360 USD per unit per night, depending on the season and the type of room.

Home-away-from-home hotels

Disney's BoardWalk VillasDisney's Old Key West ResortDisney's Fort WildernessThe Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, the Disney's Beach Club Villas and the Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort.

These typically offer kitchens and separate living areas and accommodate larger families or groups. There are studio apartments, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom suites, even super-exclusive "Grand Villas" and "tree houses".

The price, accommodation only, varies significantlydepending on the resort. It ranges between $340-2500+ USD per unit per night, depending on the season, resort, and size of apartment. It's best to call for a specific quote on these resorts.

Deluxe Hotels

Disney's BoardWalk InnDisney's Yacht Club Resort,Disney's Beach Club ResortDisney's Wilderness LodgeDisney's Contemporary ResortDisney's Polynesian ResortDisney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, and Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Each of these resorts offers the very best of Disney hospitality. Each is imaginatively themed, and can offer concierge services and large 1 and 2 bedroom suites as well as standard hotel rooms. All Deluxe resorts have fridges and coffee-makers as standard. High-speed internet is available at all of the "Deluxe" resortsexcept Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney's Wilderness Lodge resort and Disney's Polynesian resort.

The price, accommodation only, varies significantly depending on the resort. It ranges between $300-1000+ USD per unit per night, depending on the season, resort, size of suite etc. Again, it is best to call to get specific rates for these hotels.

 

Are you starting to get an idea of which category you are looking for? I hope so!

For passes and tickets you can take this shortcut, or read on to compare the off-site experience.

 

Off-site Advantages

There are some advantages to staying off-site.

  • Cost. The main advantage may be cost. It is possible to find less expensive rooms in hotels off-site. These hotels may be further afield and may involve some hidden costs - car rentals etc. but they can be cheaper for an similar standard of accommodation. Of course, there are also hotels that are the same price or more expensive too!

  • Flexibility. If you don't wish to spend your whole time in Florida actually in Walt Disney World® Resort, then you may be happier with a hotel off-site which will enable you to "break up" the Disney experience with a day at Universal Studios, Sea World, the Kennedy Space Center, at the beach etc. To be fair, you can always add these days at the beginning or end of a Disney on-site vacation, but if you want to alternate Disney with other attractions, staying off-site may make sense.

  • More space. For larger families or families/groups travelling together, some very nice 1, 2 and 3 bedroom hotels (with or without kitchens) are available, at very reasonable costs throughout the area. You can also rent a complete 2/3/4/5 bedroom houses with pool, full kitchen, and other amenities saving you money and giving you additional flexibility.

Our recommendations

There are some hotels off-site that we thoroughly recommend for families. The best ones are only marginally cheaper (or perhaps even more expensive) than the Disney Moderate Hotels, but give you the flexibility noted above as well as some extras like kid's clubs, free breakfast for kids, and free shuttles to one or more of the Walt Disney World® Resort parks for example.

Continue on with our Disney quest, with information on the various passes available.

 

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