Disney resort of choice...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 7:24 PM

Hi all, I couldn't find a terribly recent topic on this; I'm currently plotting a trip to Disney for next May. We're a family of four...the daughters will be 2 ad 6 when we travel, and there's just one big question remaining; where to land when we get to Disney. I know some of you have frequented Disney World's resort, and this will be our first of hopefully many trips to come in the coming years. We're planning on about 6 -7 days, and we're really open price-wise.

So it's not so vague, what I'm really wondering is...

What your favorite resorts at Disney are, and why...

What places you would recommend avoiding...(if any?)

and...

What the big differences are between the categories of resorts (value, moderate, etc.). My 5 year old sees the "Art of Animation" place and drools, but this is one of the "Value" locations...but maybe at Disney even the Value resorts are decent places?

Guidance, wise ones...thanks!

And of course, any Disney-esque advice you just need to share, I'm "all ears".

Last edited by OhioStater, Wednesday, May 8, 2013 7:37 PM
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Wednesday, May 8, 2013 7:26 PM

I prefer Port Orleans mainly because it has a connection to Downtown Disney that isn't a bus.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013 8:33 PM

I've stayed across the lake at Pop Century a half-dozen times. Value resorts are still solid. It's Disney.

6 is an ideal age for Magic Kingdom, but I think the grown up in you will love Epcot. If you like good food, being near Epcot is choice. I stayed at Beach Club last November, and my room was literally 1,000 feet from the Epcot back entrance. Loved it.

Would like to try Animal Kingdom Lodge, but like the park itself, it's do damn far from everything.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013 8:34 PM

My family and I recently returned from a Disney cruise/Disney World vacation. We stayed at Art of Animation for part of our vacation and absolutely loved it. It's just beautiful. Trust me, you will have no idea your at a "value" resort. We're already planning our next stay there.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013 9:19 PM

Thanks all so far. I had an inkling that even the value resorts would be decent places because it is Disney, but I just wanted to make sure.

We're definitely lovers of great food, so that is a variable for us.

And Jeff, a friend of ours had similar advice about AK; they absolutely, hands-down fell in love with the place, but their two negatives were the distance from everything else, and also the sheer size. That is, it was so mammoth, it was like navigating a giant Wal-Mart. Of course, a beautiful Wal-Mart in Disney. :)

Maybe just a coincidence, but the places we have heard about about from friends is the Art of Animation, Port Orleans Riverside, and Animal Kingdom resorts.

Is there a certain type of transportation to and from the parks that is better than the rest? Of course, keep in mind we have a 2 and 6 year old in tow.

Last edited by OhioStater, Wednesday, May 8, 2013 9:43 PM
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Wednesday, May 8, 2013 9:35 PM

I always find the “Disney resort” debate interesting to follow, but in the end, if you ask 100 people, you will likely get 100 different answers.

My wife and I (no kids) visit Disney around 1-3 trips a year and have stayed at most of the resorts over the years. My two cents.

If money is no object, any of the monorail resorts are fantastic when you factor in all of the variables. I personally think the Polynesian is the best resort on property.

For a little cheaper, the Yacht/Beach Club and Boardwalk Resort in the Epcot resort area are also great options. As Jeff said, these are within walking distance of Epcot and the Studios which is really cool if you want to avoid the busses at the end of the night.

Another great option is the Swan and Dolphin, also in the Epcot resort area. However these resorts are “kind of” Disney resorts and are actually managed by Starwood so do some research before booking there. They lack the “Disney magic” and are much more business class hotels in nature, and for many guests, that is fine. They are also not part of the Magical Express program, so you will either need to rent a car or take a cab to/from MCO.

Animal Kingdom lodge is one of my favorites. Yes, a little far away, but it really equates to an extra 10 minutes on the bus. While a little pricey, spring for a room overlooking the savanna. It is so cool to hang out on your balcony in the morning watching a bunch of wild animals while sipping on some coffee.

The moderates will set you back $150-$200 a night and are more affordable. I have stayed at all of the Moderates and they are pretty much all the same. It really is a matter of personal preference with what moderate to stay at.

If money is an object, the Pop-Century Resort is a hidden gem in the “value” category. I am a bit of a “hotel snob” and travel quite a bit, mostly on my company’s dime. For around $100 a night, the Pop Century is a great value all things considered.

Finally, while I have yet to stay there, the Art of Animation has two room “suites” for a fairly reasonable rate. If you and the wife want your own room, and want the kiddies in another room (connected), this is a great option.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013 9:48 PM

Hanging n' Banging said:
Another great option is the Swan and Dolphin, also in the Epcot resort area. However these resorts are “kind of” Disney resorts and are actually managed by Starwood so do some research before booking there. They lack the “Disney magic” and are much more business class hotels in nature, and for many guests, that is fine. They are also not part of the Magical Express program, so you will either need to rent a car or take a cab to/from MCO.

Stayed at either swan or dolphin last visit and it was awesome, but having to find your own way to the resort is a bummer. Being within walking distance or a boat ride away from Epcot, Studios, and The Boardwalk is a huge plus for me.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013 10:17 PM

We stayed at Beach Club two summers ago and loved it. Kids loved the pool/beach/water slide area of Beach/Yacht Clubs. Being able to walk to Epcot and Hollywood Studios was great. Probably not a great option if your kids are walking but may work if they will be in a stroller.

Monorail access with young kids is nice. But buses and boats are very efficient as well.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013 10:41 PM

where to land when we get to Disney.

What sorts of places do you stay at when you travel with the family? The answer to that will help give suggestions. The Value resorts are well-regarded, but you might (or might not) find the rooms to be small for the four of you.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Wednesday, May 8, 2013 10:41 PM
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Wednesday, May 8, 2013 10:45 PM

I love Port Orleans Riverside, but I've never done any of the Values.

Get the sippy cups. Free bevs at your resort's food court everyday all day.

Look into the meal plan. We loved it.

Leave the kids with Grandma. :-)

My partner has a meeting at Disney next year and we're getting a decent rate at Grand Floridian. To me, the holy grail of hotels! I'll let y'all know, but I bet I come back all spoiled...

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013 10:58 PM

The BF and I always stay in a cabin at Fort Wilderness. We get all the comforts of a hotel room + a deck + a grill + housekeeping comes round every day, makes the beds, cleans the grill and washes the dishes.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013 11:03 PM

Going with kids, the hotel will probably just be a home base and sleeping quarters. Value resorts have always suited us fine for this.

If it's an adult trip I'd splurge for a nicer hotel, as you may spend more time there.

I am intrigued by Art of Animation. I'd seriously consider staying there myself next time we go.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013 11:05 PM

I would get a resort near Epcot. It's a lovely park and IMO the best Disney Park. You cannot miss Soaring. It's just incredible.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013 3:49 PM

Well thanks everyone for your ideas and advice; I knew this would be helpful. We had some ideas before, and this really helped us narrow it down.

I think we're down to two choices, with one being the Art of Animation:

What sorts of places do you stay at when you travel with the family?



Great question, and with our 2 kids, we usually get double rooms, and the Art of Animation has family suites with 2 bathrooms, etc...this is our pick here

And the second being the Beach Club, which sounds impossible to beat with regards to access.

Not to mention the rooms have a look of a luxury condo...just beautiful.

Any other words of wisdom always welcome. :)

Last edited by OhioStater, Thursday, May 9, 2013 3:56 PM
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Thursday, May 9, 2013 4:51 PM

Had a great time at Wilderness Lodge a couple of weeks ago. I think it's the cheapest deluxe resort near the Magic Kingdom.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013 7:35 PM

Animal Kingdom Lodge with the savanna view is wonderful if you are spending more time in your room than the parks. Otherwise, you could just get a regular room and hang out in the public areas where you can still take in the main savanna.

As for value vs moderate vs deluxe in general: I haven't made it over to Art of animation, but the other value resorts usually have the more cheesy theme, right up the little ones alley.

As you noted, the Beach is more of an adult-friendly theme, which is common of most moderate and deluxe resorts.

One other option is to do both. Due to availability issues, one trip we stayed a couple of nights at Animal Kingdom Lodge, then transferred to the Boardwalk. I think Bell Services may have even helped get our luggage moved between the two resorts.

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Friday, May 10, 2013 1:38 AM

I personally would avoid the All Star resorts. We ended up having to change rooms last January at All Star Music because of a broken bed that we reported in the morning, were told would be fixed by the evening and was not. House keeping cleaned the room, but maintainance never fixed the bed. So we ended up changing rooms at when we got back at 10:30 pm. The new room smelled horrible - like a ton of dis infectent had been dumped in it- but by that time it was around midnight so we dealt with it. We moved again the next day to a room that smelled almost as bad. By then we were tired of spending our time moving around and just got used to it.

We have never had any issues at any of the moderates or Pop Century.

And I recommend renting a car. It's by far the easiest way to move around The World.

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Friday, May 10, 2013 1:54 PM

We are actually going to have our own vehicle there, so the getting around variable is almost a non-issue for us.

I must say, I think I'll give Pop-Century a second look.

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Friday, May 10, 2013 2:09 PM

My personal favorite is Port Orleans French Quarter. It's much smaller and intimate than many of the other resorts, and the entire complex is extremely beautiful. I was down there for part of my stay last September, and I honestly enjoyed just walking around the place.

Really, though, I prefer the moderates in general. I love Carribbean Beach and Coronado Springs as well as both Port Orleans resorts, but they're massive.

I thought Pop Century was nice, and I've really not had an issue with any of the values, but they're a bit campy for my tastes. If you can spare the coin, the moderates are the way to go.

Oh, the deluxes are nice as well, but I don't know that they're worth the expense over the moderates. The only real benefit I saw to those was the outdoor balcony at each room.

Last edited by sirloindude, Friday, May 10, 2013 2:09 PM
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Friday, May 10, 2013 2:13 PM

Coronado was very nice. Wish I had a day just to spend at the resort. The hotel room was your basic fare, but very clean and well decorated, but who spends time in the room at Disney World?

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