Over the last two weeks I have discussed the benefits of staying at the Walt Disney World Value and Moderate Resorts. If you still aren’t sure where to stay, then read on for some information about WDW’s top of the line Deluxe Resorts!
Price: These are Disney’s top of the line Resorts, which means the price is (quite a bit) higher per room than at either the Value or Moderate Resorts. The room rates at these Resorts starts at around $260 per night, and going up to $800 or more per night (depending on the type of view and time of year), and then there are suites/villas of all sizes and types, in the $1000-$2000 plus per night range. NOTE: The pricing in this category is very subjective – each Resort’s priced a little bit differently, so you might want to check out WDW’s Official Resorts Website for more information on specific pricing for each type of room.
Location: These Resorts are the closest to the Parks you can get without sleeping right in the Castle (a dream for many of us, I am sure!). Many of them offer monorail or boat and all offer bus transportation to the Theme Parks as well as water parks and Downtown Disney. If being close to a specific Park is important to you, you might want to consider the extra cost of a Deluxe Resort – because getting from your room to the Magic Kingdom in under 10 minutes via monorail is pretty magical if you ask me!
Dining Options: Some of the best table service restaurants on WDW property can be found at these Resorts – my personal faves being Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort, and Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. In addition to each having at least one (in some cases more than one!) great sit-down restaurant, each Resort also has some type of counter service dining option, where you can grab sandwiches/burgers etc (these usually aren’t as big as the food courts at the Value Resorts, but they are adequate and usually have something for everyone)
Rooms: These are the biggest rooms on property with the best decor and the best views around! Most are standard with 2 queens, a King can be requested. There are also various views available – for a fee you can get a garden, water, or even castle view at certain Resorts, plus some rooms even have balconies/patios! In addition to great views, the rooms are all pretty nice – well decorated and spacious, with large closets, and larger bathrooms
Amenities: Besides being mere steps away from great restaurants, these Resorts also have nicer lounges/bar areas where you can grab a cocktail and relax and take in the scenery. You can rent bikes, boats, or swim the day away in their gorgeously themed pools. Many of the Resorts offer “concierge service” – deluxe rooms with additional amenities like robes and nightly turn down service
So now that you know a little more about the Deluxe Resorts, let’s dig a little deeper to figure out which one would best suit you:
Animal Kingdom Lodge – Step into this beautiful African Themed resort and take in the dark wood and high ceilings of the lobby, and then step out back into the Savannah viewing area – where animals freely roam, and you can even get a room with a view of the Savannah, so that the animals are literally right outside your window! The gift shop here is amazing and offers some unique souvenirs, and you can choose to dine at three full service restaurants (Sanaa, Jiko, and Boma), or at their counter service eatery – Mara, all of which serve some form of authentic (and delicious!) African cuisine
Beach Club Resort & Villas – This quaint Resort is styled after the turn of the century New England seashore, a theme which is carried throughout the entire Resort – from landscaping to room design. You can take a Water taxi to Disney’s Hollywood Studios or walk to Epcot through the transportation services which are shared with the adjacent Yacht Club Resort. This Resort is home to the Beaches and Cream restaurant, which serves up delicious burgers, sandwiches and ice cream – including the famous Kitchen Sink
Boardwalk Inn & Villas – Modeled after an old fashioned 1920’s Atlantic Ocean Boardwalk, this Resort really lights up at night, when the boardwalk area comes alive with street performers, carts, and games. It is home to Jellyrolls, a fun dueling piano bar, as well as some awesome restaurants. They have a fitness center, tennis courts, pools, bike and surrey rentals, and the accommodations include villas, suites, and rooms – some of which overlook the Boardwalk!
Contemporary Resort & Bay Lake Tower – One of WDW’s original Resorts, and it might be one of the most recognizable too – as the monorail runs directly through the middle of the Resort! That has to be one of the biggest perks – the fact that you can board the monorail right in the Resort and be over to the Magic Kingdom in no time! You can rent boats, go fishing and parasailing here, and this resort is home to some great restaurants – including the family friendly character meals at Chef Mickey’s, and the California Grill where you can enjoy an upscale meal and a great view of the nightly fireworks from the Magic Kingdom (if you time it right!)
Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – This is WDW’s flagship resort, it’s the one that’s always pictured in movies and TV shows, and with good reason – its big and beautifully themed after a Victorian style turn of the century Resort. It’s on the monorail line which means easy access to the Magic Kingdom, and it is also home to WDW”s Wedding Pavillion, where they make all your bridal dreams come true! A place this “Grand” also comes with a grand price – it’s the most expensive Resort at Walt Disney World – but is arguably one of the best, too!
Old Key West Resort – Lose yourself in the relaxed, tropical feeling of the Florida Keys at this Resort, which has Disney Vacation Club Studios and Villas available for guests – perfect for your big group, and you can save money on food by preparing your own meals in the in-room kitchenettes. Play volleyball, golf, shuffleboard, tennis or basketball here – or lounge in one of their four pools. Enjoy a sit down dinner at Olivia’s, complete with conch fritters and key lime pie (yum!), and finish off the day with a delicious cocktail at one of their bars or lounges
Polynesian Resort – The ultimate in tropical themes – this South Pacific style resort will make you feel like you are staying on a tropical Hawaiian island (which would be great, but getting this feeling while at Disney World is even BETTER!). This Resort opened with the Park in 1971, and it’s on the monorail line, giving you easy access to the magic. They have some great dining options here – Ohana, Kona Café, The Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, and they even have a Dole Whip machine in their counter service restaurant! If I had to choose a Deluxe Resort to stay it, it would be the Polynesian for sure – it’s just so peaceful and beautiful here!
Saratoga Springs Resort – This is another one of Disney’s Vacation Club Resorts, where there are no standard rooms, but instead the Resort is comprised of studios (rooms with kitchenettes), and then larger villas with multiple bedrooms. This Resort is themed after a turn of the century New York town, with strong Victorian and Equestrian influences. You can walk or take a boat to Downtown Disney from here, and bus transportation is available as well. This Resort also has some pretty cool Treehouse villas as well as an award winning spa
Swan & Dolphin Resorts – These Resorts are located on WDW Property but are NOT owned by WDW, which unfortunately means that the guests aren’t able to use the Magical Express, BUT they are still able to use Disney Transportation, and the Resorts are just a short boat/bus ride from Hollywood Studios and Epcot. The Resorts boast extensive conference facilities, some amazing restaurants, and the Swan’s guest beds are super comfortable
Wilderness Lodge – This log cabin-esque Resort has a feeling of the Pacific Northwest, as well as some Native American influences (including large totem poles in the lobby!) It tends to be slightly less expensive to stay here than at other Deluxe Resorts – mainly because it is the only Deluxe Resort in the Magic Kingdom area that doesn’t offer monorail service (it does offer boats and buses though!). They have a really well themed geyser pool here, and some restaurants worth trying, including the family friendly Whispering Canyon Café and Artist Point
Yacht Club Resort & Villas – The New England/Cape Cod theme carries a nautical feel throughout the rooms and areas of this Resort. The location of the Resort is a big perk of staying here, as it is within walking distance of Epcot, the Boardwalk, and a short boat ride away from Hollywood Studios. There are some great food options in and around the Resort, and there are several sleeping options – from standard rooms, to rooms with a view, to Captain’s Suites. The Resort shares a pool area and transportation with the Beach Club Resort
NOTE: Many of these Deluxe Resorts are “Disney Vacation Club” Resorts – meaning that a lof of the rooms/suites/villas are reserved for those who are members of the DVC. BUT don’t fear – you can still stay at most of these Deluxe DVC Resorts. The following are DVC Resorts: Bay Lake Tower At Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Animal Kingdom Villas, Beach Club Villas, BoardWalk Villas, Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Old Key West Resort. (Is the Disney Vacation Club a good idea for you and your family? Click Here to learn more about it)
So there you have it, WDW’s Deluxe Resorts – in a nutshell! I know many people refuse to stay anywhere but a Deluxe Resort, and I don’t blame them, as they are beautiful Resorts. Personally, for what my needs are, it’s not a priority to me to stay at a Deluxe Resort, but I think it would be a great place to stay for a special occasion (like an anniversary or honeymoon, for example)
Not sure any of these Deluxe Resorts are right for you? Then check out my previous articles on the Value and Moderate Resort options at Walt Disney World
- Which Disney World Value Resort Is Right For Me? (chipandco.com)
- Disney World Resorts – Which Moderate Resort Is Right For Me? (chipandco.com)