When getting ready to head to Walt Disney World, the first thing that you should do upon preparation is pick which Disney World Resort is the best for you, because why stay anywhere else outside of Disney when you can stay right within Disney. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of touring around Walt Disney World to look at the resorts and speciality dining, as well as learning about some hidden gems of Disney World that made the experience one that I never had before. But before we get to Disney World dining and the Disney “hacks”, if you will, I want to share with you the different resorts around Walt Disney World that you need to know about for your next visit to the happiest place on Earth.
In considering your resort choice, my advice is to pick one that will peak your interest and focus on the type of experience that you are trying to have. Each resort has a variety of rooms, including king beds, two queens, rooms that have a master bed with bunk beds for the kids, and even suites that include a master bedroom with a completely separate room for guests or children with a main eating and lounging area. It’s all about what you are looking for.
All of the resorts are family friendly, as that is the main focus of Walt Disney World, but that doesn’t mean that there are parts of Disney World Resorts where singles and/or couples can stay where they can find the ideal quiet that you may be looking for.
A GUIDE TO DISNEY WORLD RESORTS
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge brings the sights, sounds, and tastes of Africa straight to you. Inspired by the culture of Africa, the lodge features three dining options, decor pieces handmade in Africa, and even has artifacts encased and able for you to touch that also makes this resort an African museum. This resort actually houses one of the largest collections of African art in the United States including an actual king’s door at the entrance/exit to the lobby of the resort in which cast members hope that you touch/rub as you enter and leave as a wish for good luck.
On the resort, there is also 4 lush savannas that is the home to 200 animals. If you are able to snag the right room, you can even sit out on your balcony and watch animals such as emus, giraffes, and zebras graze over the land and interact with each other. Even if you don’t get a room with sights to the savannas, you can head out to the animal viewing locations or go one of the safari options that the resort that will take you on an actual African safari that not only include information about the animals, but also gives you a tasting of some authentic African foods.
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is the resort to stay out if you are one that wants to be surrounded by Disney cartoons your entire stay. As soon as you walk in, you will find the printed sketches of all of your favorite Disney characters displayed among the color array fo decor that brings you into the animation studio of Disney.
On the resort, you have the option to stay in building all themed around the highly favorited Disney animations. You can stay around the pool and in the rooms inspired by Finding Nemo. You can also head past those annoying seagulls and find yourself amongst Lightning McQueen in Cars. Go a little further around the resort and get the ‘hakuna matata’ feels and stay in rooms inspired by The Lion King.
Being a little kid at heart, I almost wanted to cry walking around this resort. It is like you are living among the characters within your favorite Disney movie.
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
If you’re looking for a little sophistication, you’ll definitely want to stay at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. With the style and grace of a New England yacht club, you’ll be able to relax in your room/suite and take in the sights of the lake. It honestly feels as if you are not at Disney, but actually in Disney – a pleasant paradox.
The Yacht Club Resort is within walking distance to Epcot, and if you have chosen to take a day off from the resorts, there is also a variety of watercraft activities that you can take part in (well, rent) and keep yourself entertained while also enjoying that yacht club feel that you are looking for.
One of the specifics that I loved about this resort, other than the views out any of the windows, was the tub. It is fit to soak and feel as if you are in an upscale spa.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
When hubby and I walked onto Disney’s Caribbean Beach resort, we both begin having flashbacks of our time in the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic. Even the smell of the lobby brought back the memories and for a second I thought I was actually back in the Caribbean.
This leisurely resort provides you with the flavors, lush landscapes, and tropical beats of the island.
And again, for those who may be taking a day off from the parks, you’ll be able to shop the markets, hang out on a hammock on the beaches, and party at the resort beach bar.
This resort will also be one of the resorts that will be connected to Hollywood Studios by the new travel lines that they are putting in. There’s not too much information about what’s to come, but they are testing them and from what we have heard, it will be like traveling in the air with your best friends from your favorite Disney movies.
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
Being from Pennsylvania and living so close to the Poconos, when we visited Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, I found a great appreciation for this resorts true camping experience that this resort featured.
An interesting fact that we learned about this resort is that many people who come to the resort don’t often actually come to go to the parks. That is because this resort offers so much as a campground and a resort, many people just visit it for the experiences that it offers on site.
One thing that I really appreciated about this resort was not only is it family friendly when considering the children, but it’s family friendly when considering the furry family members that some of us have. I am one that feels so bad when I leave my fur baby Charlie at home, so hearing this resort allows you to bring your dog and has areas where the dogs can play with one another in activities was really exciting to hear.
On top of that this resort allows you to camp in your tent, your RV, and stay in some cabins. All while giving you the opportunity to go on horse rides, go fishing, and be surrounding by the wildlife of the frontier.
And in the stables, we were able to meet some of the horses that are actually apart of the shows of Disney. This Clydesdale is actually Merida’s horse from Brave – and honestly, he looks just like I would imagine he would outside of the movie.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Jumping on a quick boat ride across the lake from the campground, you’ll find yourself at the Wilderness Lodge. This resort is gives you the more glamping experience of the wilderness versus staying in actual cabins or tents in the woods. Both options are amazing to me, but again, it’s up to your preference.
Inspired by American craftsmanship, you’ll find yourself near the lake and also surrounded by the sounds of the murmuring creek. Then taking a walk around the resort, you may even encounter some of the wilderness wildlife of the pine forests.
You’ll have the option to stay in the rooms inside of the main building of the resort, or you can stay in one of the villas that houses its own jacuzzi out on the back patio where you can listen to your music, stay netted in, and enjoy the late night sights of the fireworks every evening.
Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
Aloha! That’s how you’ll be greeted if you decide to stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. With inspiration drawn from the home of Lilo & Stitch, you’ll find yourself on a tropic vacation amongst the spirit of the South Pacific.
Walking into the main lobby of the resort, you’ll find a hidden Mickey, a gorgeous waterfall, and you’ll feel as if you are have traveled away from the parks all the way to Hawaii and decided to take a little vacation on the beach so that you can put your feet up and relax from all that walking that you have done.
Like many of the resorts, you’ll also find South Pacific themed restaurants and bars that house the tastes that you would experience if you were in the South Pacific instead of in Florida.
The bungalows found on site are absolutely majestic. They sit over the water and have plenty of space to house at least 6 people. Those bungalows are usually booked up, so if you are looking to book one for your stay, make sure to book it way ahead of time so you don’t miss out.