Disney Resort Hotels for Every Family - Family Traveller (USA)
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Staying on a Disney Resort property has been nicknamed the “Disney bubble.” This bubble offers a premium price to be immersed in hidden Mickey shapes and you'll pay top dollar, often even more than the area's five-star properties. Is it  worth it to stay at the best Disney Resort hotels?

The most critical perk of staying at a Disney resort is the extension of a 60-day window prior to your arrival to reserve your fast passes for Disney park rides. Others receive a 30-day window. Free parking, Wi-Fi, and airport shuttles are also included in the price of Disney resorts.

Disney resorts offer phenomenal family amenities and the deluxe resorts offer excellent access to their nearest parks by monorail or boat. But Disney resorts usually run at full capacity, so rooms are rarely available early; the bell stand typically requires extra time to deliver bags, and room service is slower then at off property resorts.

Disney resorts are not five-star; they are four-star properties. For those who really care about a nice hotel room, the most beautiful rooms on property are their villas within their deluxe resorts. These villas are part of the Disney Vacation Club, because they're the newest rooms within each resort. They offer mini kitchenettes in their studio units and full kitchens in all others.

  • The Villas at the Grand Floridian resort transport you to the world of Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland. The resort amusingly fuses a celebration of British Victorian fairytale classics in a resort modeled after the grand Victorian resorts in United States.
  • The Grand Floridian offers the most festive lobby with live piano or a ragtime band, and the resort is home to several of Disney’s best restaurant like Victoria and Albert's, Citricos, and Narcoossee’s.
  • The Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort houses the Disney Vacation Club Villas in a newer building mere steps from Magic Kingdom. Specialty suites in the Bay Lake Tower that offer Magic Kingdom views is one of the more deluxe experiences one can have while staying on site. (If the price tag for park view villa suites is too high, you can still enjoy penthouse views of the fireworks from Magic Kingdom from the California Grill restaurant during dinner or drinks.)
  • Disney's Beach Club is a favorite of Disney World regulars for it's walkable location to Epcot and easy boat ride to Hollywood Studios. It sits in between the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin resorts and the Disney Boardwalk for many additional restaurant within walking distance. It boasts one of the favorite pools on Disney world property shared with the Yacht Club next door. Stormalong Bay offers a pirate ship waterslide, a lazy river, sandy beach, and zero entry areas for swimming.

Villas at any of the three resorts will surely please, and offer convenient access to parks and excellent restaurants for dinner.

 

The Best Bets for Spreading Out with a large Group

Sometimes a Disney vacation involves the extended family or several other friends. In those circumstances getting larger villas and condos located near Disney World that offer comfortable design and service make sense.

The benefit of the Villas at Grand Cypress is that their rows of condo units can open up and extend several side-by-side. Our favorite is the two bedroom, two-level corner unit with an extended patio where the families can fish right from their patio.

All units come with full kitchens but if you don't feel like cooking, all you have to do is call room service or ask the resort to bring the chef to you for a beautiful brunch lunch or dinner.

The Villas at Grand Cypress are known for its famous golf school and course, and there’s not much on site besides golf, pool, and exploring the beautiful grounds by bike or golf cart. The resort shares amenities, however, with the much larger Hyatt Grand Cypress across the street should you want extensive resort amenities.

If you simply require the space to gather, sleep, and cook in between a busy park schedule, Magic Village is practically next door to Animal Kingdom and offers high design bi-level three and four bedroom villas.

On site concierge services, a pool, a toddler playroom, and fitness center fill out the amenities of this resort, and a Brazilian and Italian influenced restaurant offers lunch and dinner.

Some villas in Magic Village offer views of the Hollywood Studios fireworks, and access to Disney World is a breeze. The concierge is happy to arrange private car service (or Uber/Lyft) should you choose to skip car rental. Major grocery stores and Target are minutes away, too.

 

The Best Value

Everybody loves to find a good deal on a Disney World vacation, and for those who want the most luxurious hotel for the least amount of money, the Waldorf Astoria fits the bill.

The Waldorf Astoria and it's adjacent Hilton Bonnet Creek are not officially on-site hotels, but the resort grounds are adjacent to Walt Disney World property and offer fast access to Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Disney Springs.

The Waldorf Astoria delivers friendly, five-star service, an excellent spa and several restaurants when considering options at the Hilton property next door, connected by meeting space.

The Waldorf Astoria is known for additional family and dining events during the summer weekends, food and wine weekends in the fall, and holiday weekends from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve. You can expect champagne and dessert pop ups in the lobby, poolside games, or special ice cream and cupcake experiences.

The most coveted rooms at the Waldorf Astoria are the massive corner family suites. Guests do not get the official Disney bus transportation to parks which operate continually, and instead have the option of taking scheduled resort buses run by the Hilton and Waldorf.

 

The Most Luxe

The Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World resort is really in its own league. It's the only Mobil five-star property in Central Florida, and it offers a level of service, design, and food that you won't find anywhere else in Orlando.

What makes this resort stand out and deserves its praise includes spectacular rooms and grounds unmatched by any other Orlando resort and very personalized service. Guests receive a personal welcome by guest reception out in the porte-cochere or main entrance and this staff member will escort you to your room.

The massive pool complex is phenomenal and serves everyone from infants to adults with pools created for every recreational purpose. Poolside service is tequally attentive in either the family or adult only areas, and the resort restaurants are worthy of the Four Seasons brand.

During a phone call to the concierge one evening, I apologized for my quiet, scratchy voice I was losing from the day’s festivities. A knock on the door a few minutes later, he had sent up a tray of chamomile tea and honey to soothe my throat.

Be sure to book the Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy instead of a character meal at the Disney resorts for a better quality, less rushed meal with characters, and enjoy dinner at Capa during the fireworks.

Its eastern location from Disney World means all four parks as well as spectacular sunsets are visible from the hotel’s balconies on the west side of the building. Spring for the park view rooms.

The Cuban influenced menu at Plancha, within the Four Seasons Golf Club next door, is a fantastic foodie secret for a last-minute lunch or brunch when you forget to make a reservation in the destination filled with guess who make their dining plans 180 days in advance.

Robin Hutson features the best luxury hotels for families at Luxe Recess and is passionate about finding the best luxury experiences in Orlando.

Images courtesy of resorts.