Walt Disney World offers an array of hotel accommodations, all varying in theme, size, amenities and price. They are divided into four categories: Value, Moderate, Deluxe, and Deluxe Villa.
Here’s a comprehensive overview of the four Walt Disney World Resort hotel categories.
Value: Starting at $85 /night
Disney’s Value resorts are the most cost effective of the four categories. The Value Resorts are: Disney’s All –Star Movies, Disney’s All-Star Music, Disney’s All-Star Sports, Disney’s Art of Animation, and Disney’s Pop Century Resort.
The standard room size is made to accommodate up to four people. The resorts include basic amenities such as a food court, pool, pool bar, video game room and gift shop. They do not offer full-service dining, an indoor bar/lounge, room service (except pizza delivery), or valet parking. Also, not all pools have a water slide as they will in the other three categories.
These resorts are highly themed, more laid-back and have a brighter color scheme than the higher priced resort categories, thus making them good for young families and large groups. They are very spread out with exterior, motel-style room entries. One thing to note is Disney Transportation (busses) come to these resorts less frequently than any other resort category, so access to the parks can be slightly more difficult.
Moderate: Starting at $162/night
Moderate resorts are the best value of the four categories as they offer high quality theming, more amenities, recreation areas, and more food options than the Value Resorts. The Moderate resorts are: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, and The Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort.
The rooms house a mini-fridge and safe and can hold 4-5 people depending on the layout. Amenities include a food court, full-service restaurant, one themed feature pool with a water slide and hot tub, unthemed “quiet pools,” a pool bar, indoor lounge, video game room, gift shop and on-site recreation such as boating.
Transportation by bus is relatively frequent. You can expect a bus at least every 20 minutes or so. Port Orleans offers boat transportation to Downtown Disney.
These resorts are a good balance if you want to spend some time recreating at the hotel, but don’t feel like you have to spend all your time there to get the most out of it. If you’re planning to spend most of the time in the parks, this is the best value with less of a ‘kid’ or ‘motel’ feel as the Value resorts.
Deluxe: Starting at $284/night
Deluxe Resorts are without a doubt, high in luxury and quality theming. They are architecturally interesting with beautiful grounds and offer all the amenities you would expect at a five star hotel. The Deluxe Resorts are Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Wilderess Lodge Resort.
The themed feature pools are more elaborate than their Moderate Resort counterparts, and are complete with a hot tub, spa, outdoor pool lounge, and etending quiet pools. The resorts offer upscale full-service restaurants, one moderately priced full-service restaurant, a quick service food option, room service, and an indoor lounge.
All of the Deluxe resorts have high-end gift shops, kids’ clubs and babysitting services, a video game room, health club and valet parking. Beach Club, Yacht Club, Contemporary, and Grand Floridian all offer salon/spas.
Transportation from these resorts varies. All offer bus transportation. The Contemporary, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian Village all have monorail and boat service to the Magic Kingdom. Wilderness Lodge offers boat service to MK. Beach Club, Yacht Club, and Boardwalk are within walking distance to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, and offer boat service to these two parks, as well.
Deluxe Villas: Starting at $355/night
The Deluxe Villa Resorts are also known as the Disney Vacation Club Resorts. On par with the Deluxe Resorts in terms of quality theming and amenities, these hotels are purchased as timeshare locations through Disney’s Vacation Club. If you’re not a timeshare holder, you can also rent rooms at these resorts, just as you would a regular hotel.
The Deluxe Villa Resorts are Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village, Disney’s Beach Club Villas, Disney’s BoardWalk Villas, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
Aside from the same beautiful amenities as the Deluxe Resorts, the Villas offer at-home facilities such as in-suite kitchenettes, a dining table, and an entryway with a closet. Like the Deluxe Resorts, the Villas have a themed feature pools with a hot tub, spa, outdoor pool lounge, and quiet pools. Each resort has an upscale full-service restaurant, one moderately priced full-service restaurant, a quick service food option, room service, and an indoor lounge.
All of the Deluxe resorts have high-end gift shops, kids’ clubs and babysitting services, a video game room, health club and valet parking. All resorts offer bus transportation. Beach Club, Yacht Club, and BoardWalk Villas (located within the Deluxe Resorts of the same name) offer the same transportation as the Deluxe Resorts they are located within. Bay Lake, The Villas at Grand Floridian and The Villas at Disney’s Wildernerss Lodge also offer the same transportation as the Deluxe Resorts.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa are more isolated from the parks. Bus service is offered, but they are physically furthest away from the theme parks on property. Saratoga Springs is however, within walking distance to Downtown Disney and offers boat service, as well.
There are many factors that can go into choosing the best resort for plan Disney vacation. If in doubt, it’s best to consult a vacation planner specializing in Disney Destinations. For more Disney tips or vacation help contact me here and follow me on Twitter @suz_garcia.