A major perk to staying on property at Disney is that transportation to the parks is included with your stay. If you stay for seven days this can save you $98 in parking. That’s a lot of money! Another great thing about transportation is they will pick you up at the airport so you don’t have to spend the money on a car service or renting a car. They also wait for your luggage and transport it to your room, how awesome is that?! This perk is called Disney’s Magical Express, when you book your reservation they will ask you if you wish to use this and will give you more detailed info.
Now let’s get to the resorts! I’m going to break it down by price range, I wish I could include prices, but it changes based on the seasons. Here’s a big tip, come during the slow times when there are no major holidays you will get the best room rates. Also, if you are on Facebook, fan Walt Disney World, they promote their deals on there all the time, or you can check their special offers on their website.
According to Disney’s site these rooms start at $82 a night plus tax. To be honest I’ve seen the rates lower during the slow times, so always watch for the specials and deals! The value resorts include:
- All of these resorts have an expansive food court featuring just about any kind of food you can imagine. At the All Stars you can even have pizza delivered to your room.
- The pools are family friendly and are designed with younger kids in mind.
- The rooms are colorful and themed to the specific hotel. For example, All Star Movies has an entire building that is 101 Dalmatians.
- Most of the guests in these resorts have younger children.
- If you drove to the resort you can park right outside your building, giving you easy access.
- At the All Stars you are minutes from Animal Kingdom and at Pop Century you are fairly central to everything.
- These resorts are HUGE! The main building with the food court and bus transportation is located at the front of the complex, if you are in one of the back buildings you have quite a hike ahead of you.
- These resorts can be a little, well, crazy. Like I said before there are a lot of kids at this resort, as well as groups (choral, dance and bands).
- Not all buildings have elevators. It is important for us families with multiples to ask for a ground level floor, or to be in a building with an elevator, this way you are not trying to juggle all the kids AND a stroller up the stairs. Also, don’t be afraid to request a room close to the main building, I can’t guarantee you will get it, but it never hurts to ask!
According to Disney’s site these rooms start at $149 a night (again try to book during the slow times for the best rates!). The moderate resorts include:
- The Cabin’s at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside (formerly called Dixie Landings)
- There is a food court AND a sit down restaurant located in the main building.
- The pools here are still really kid friendly.
- Caribbean Beach offers two new room options (FYI there is an upgrade price, but totally worth it if you ask me, especially if your kids are really into these themes) a Pirates of the Caribbean style room with beds in the shape of pirate ships, and a Finding Nemo style room. You can also park near your building. The buildings are also really spread out, but there is a shuttle service to take you to and from the main building. My sister and niece recently stayed here and upgraded to a pirate room, it was so neat!
- Disney’s Coronado Springs is similar in the set up to Caribbean Beach in the sense that there are separate themed buildings. You can park right outside of your building, but there is no shuttle service. Another great feature at Coronado Springs is the .9 mile jogging/walking track. I’ve stayed here and it is very relaxing, and the pool is perfect for kids!
- Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter and Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside are connected by a walking path and show all the charms of New Orleans. French Quarter showcases the fun of Mardi Gras and Riverside showcases the bayou feel of New Orleans. Both resorts also offer boat transportation to Downtown Disney (you may need to take your kids out of the stroller, it depends on the driver). I’ve stayed at both and they are beautiful resorts!
- The Cabin’s at Disney’s Fort Wilderness are going to give you the most bang for your buck. Each cabin is approximately 500 square feet—with one bedroom, one full bath, living area, private patio, charcoal grill, picnic table and a fully equipped kitchen. If memory serves the bedroom has a bunk bed, queen size bed and there is a sofa sleeper in the living room. You are in the “wilderness” so to speak, so keep that in mind in case you are not necessarily one with nature. I’ve stayed here several times, and when my parents came down with my 5 older brothers and sisters this is where they stayed. Another great thing at this resort is they have campfires every night where you can roast marshmallows under the stars.
- Caribbean Beach and Coronado are really spread out, unless you are close to the main building you will be hiking to the food court.
- At the cabins please keep in mind that you are in a nature setting, therefore there are animals (think snakes). No worries, they won’t come in the room, but keep your door closed at all times.
According to Disney’s site these rooms start at $240 and can go all the way up to $410 a night. These resorts include:
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
- Disney’s Polynesian Resort
- If you are staying at the Contemporary, Grand Floridian, or Polynesian you are only a monorail ride away from the Magic Kingdom. If you really wanted you could walk from the Contemporary. Plus you have a clear view of the fireworks every night.
- If you are staying at the Boardwalk, Yacht Club or Beach Club you are a boat ride, or walking distance to both EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. You can also view the fireworks from EPCOT from your resort.
- Animal Kingdom Lodge has a savanna where you will see many of the animals (around the clock) that you would see on the safari in the park.
- All of these locations have quick service/snack locations as well as the creme de la creme of fine dining restaurants.
- With the exception of the Contemporary and Polynesian, all of these resorts are contained to one building.
- If you are into celebrity spotting at Disney this is where to do it (not that I just told you that).
- Wilderness Lodge is a short boat ride from Magic Kingdom and has a very family friendly restaurant called The Whispering Canyon (be warned, if you embarrass easily maybe don’t go here). Their upscale restaurant is called Artists Point and features items you wouldn’t typically find on a regular menu, like buffalo and venison.
- The Contemporary is home to Chef Mickey’s which is a full service buffet character dining location. If you are even considering the idea of eating here you need to make reservations ASAP. This place books up fast! They also have a new restaurant called The Wave, which is more casual dining, and California Grill which is located on the top floor and is your fine dining option (ridiculously delicious!).
- The Polynesian is home to ‘Ohana a family friendly restaurant that serves you family style, this one books up fast too so make sure you have reservations. Other restaurants at The Polynesian are Kona Cafe (casual dining with a South Seas flair that is out of this world!) and Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Show (a family style meal with a traditional laua).
- The Grand Floridian has four sit down restaurants. 1900 Park Fare is your character dining option, and is buffet style. Characters include, Mary Poppins, Alice, Cinderella, Lady Tremaine, the stepsisters, Prince Charming and more. Citricos is a casual dining option (as in business casual) that features a Mediterranean themed menu. There is an option to be seated in the Chef’s Domain, which can hold up to 12 guests, for an additional price. Narcoossee’s is the second casual dining option located on the waterfront, and specializes in seafood. Finally, Victoria and Albert’s is the fine dining restaurant. Men are required to wear dinner jackets (tie optional) and women must be in either dresses or pant ensembles. Also, no children are allowed in this restaurant.
- The Animal Kingdom Lodge has two sit down restaurants, Boma and Jiko. Boma is buffet style featuring traditional African foods. Jiko is your fine dining option (think average over $100 a person) and features American style meals with African flairs. A really cool feature in this restaurant is that the lighting reflects the time of day in Africa. So let’s say when you are eating there it’s midnight in Africa, the room will be very dim (it’s so neat!).
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort and Yacht Club Resort have 3 sit down dining locations. Cape May Cafe is a character dining breakfast buffet, and evening clambake. Yachtsman Steakhouse is a fine dining location (average between $39.99-$59.99 a person) that specializes in steaks, seafood and lamb. Captain’s Grille is a casual dining location that is set up buffet style for breakfast and at night features steaks, seafood and chops. Another great place to eat, if you love ice cream, is Beaches & Cream. They are known for a sundae called the kitchen sink that uses two cans of whip cream (seriously). Seating is limited inside though.
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn has four sit down restaurants. Big River Grille & Brewing Works is a casual dining location that serves pub like food and brews their own signature beers. Kouzzina is the newest addition and is owned by celebrity chef Cat Cora (Iron Chef America). Kouzzina is a casual dining location that features traditional Greek cuisine. Flying Fish Cafe is a casual dining location that specializes in seafood that prepared in the onstage kitchen. Finally, ESPN Club is your super casual dining that features all the food you would find at a tailgate plus all the TVs one could desire. Special note, if there is a big game on, good luck finding a spot to sit! BoardWalk also has a dueling piano bar called Jellyrolls (fun fact Lani was a bartender there) which is a great spot at night if you can sneak away from the kids.
- Price obviously. These are definitely up there, but there are many more amenities at these resorts.
- The BoardWalk, Swan, Dolphin, Yacht and Beach Club all share buses. It can be really tricky to fit on a bus early in the morning and you may have to wait awhile.
- At the Contemporary you are not guaranteed a room in the main building, you may be in the outer concourses. These are the same rooms, but many people become upset because they think they will be in the main building.
- A lot of these hotels have extremely long hallways, if you’re not up for a super long hike ask to be near the elevators.
These are rooms that are part of the Disney Vacation Club (DVC). These rooms are much larger than a standard hotel room and start at $295 a night. Room types include, studio (sleeps up to 4), one bedroom (sleeps up to 4 and has a full kitchen), two bedroom (sleeps up to 8 and has a full kitchen), three bedroom (sleeps up to 12 and is practically the size of my house) and a three bedroom tree house villa (sleeps up to 9 and are located only at Saratoga Springs). These resorts include:
- The kitchens, obviously! You have a fridge, microwave, coffee pot, stove/oven, and dishwasher. Scott and I stayed at Kidani for our mini-vacation and this made all the difference in the world. We were able to give the kids breakfast before heading out and enjoy a cup of coffee while looking at the animals outside of our room.
- These rooms are spacious! We had more than enough room in our one bedroom. We set the kids up in the living room in pack and plays and had the bedroom all to ourselves.
- Price, again. To me though, the price is worth it if you want the extra room, or kitchen.
- At Kidani Village there are no quick service locations, only snacks in the gift shop, or you have to walk over to Jambo House.
- At Saratoga Springs unless you are one of the first bus pick up locations you may not make the bus.
- Old Key West does not have elevators in every building. Request to stay on the ground level or to be in a building with an elevator.
Disney has a service called Kids Night Out that offers child care services if you want a night out. Here is the information from Disney’s site:
Kid’s Nite Out Caregivers can provide one-on-one, in-room childcare in the comfort of your Walt Disney World Resort room. The professional staff of Kid’s Nite Out gives your child individual attention by playing a variety of fun-filled activities including reading books, coloring, or playing “I Spy” games. Kid’s Nite Out can also provide a fun, well-trained sitter to just hang out with your family if you need a father’s/mother’s helper. Kid’s Nite Out also plans and works children’s parties, camps, and children’s theme conventions. Services are available 24/7.
Kid’s Nite Out Caregivers provide a memorable and nurturing atmosphere and have hands on training and childcare experience. The sitters are over the age of 18 years and are certified in child/infant CPR and basic first aid. Each applicant is interviewed and required to provide detailed references and a thorough background check. Kid’s Nite Out is insured and bonded.
In Room Child Care is available for guest 6 months to 12 years old.
Guests should call Kid’s Nite Out for additional details. Phones are answered from 8am to 9pm daily. (407) 828-0920
Advance reservations are required. All rates are hourly based. There is a four hour minimum charge for all reservations. Reservations that begin after 8:59pm require an additional fee. Holidays and special events require an additional fee. A transportation fee is added.
I really recommend checking out all of the links and looking at the rooms online to find the one you really want. Also, don’t feel that you need to spend $300 a night to get the full Disney experience. You get the same great Disney service at the value resorts as you get at the deluxe. I really recommend saving your money on the room so you can spend it elsewhere. You really don’t spend much time in the room, so you’re not missing much.
If you need cribs, bed rails or highchairs simply request them when you make your reservation and they can be placed in your room for you. Do not be shy when on the phone making your reservation, Disney is there to help make this the best stay possible!
Request a vacation planning DVD from Disney’s website. It will have a lot more information than this post.
I hope this post has been helpful for you and has given you some good pointers and tips. For those of you who have been to Disney with your multiples, where did you stay and what other recommendations do you have?