Note: All travel is subject to frequently-changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state, and local advisories before scheduling trips. All of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels are open as of writing, though some amenities and services may be altered. Always check the official Walt Disney World website for the most up to date information regarding resorts.
Walt Disney World in Orlando is home to more than 21 resorts, all of which have a distinct theme ranging from larger-than-life movie icons to an African safari lodge with real animals just outside your window. After traveling to Walt Disney World for a quarter of a century, I’ve been lucky enough to stay at every official resort the sprawling theme park complex has to offer, and have made an unofficial ranking of the resorts from lesser to most favorite taking into consideration location, proximity to the parks, modes of available Disney transportation, dining options, theme, and on-site amenities. Each resort has its pluses and minuses, of course, and just because a resort is at the bottom of our list of properities doesn’t mean it’s not worth a stay (after all, price is also really important).
21. Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort is themed after sports like football and baseball. Around the resort you’ll find team colors and a fun sport-themed pool. The food court is basic, and the only park it’s close to is Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This is a nice resort for families on a budget who are looking for a place to sleep and shower because they will be spending most of their time at the parks.
20. Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
Disney’s All-Star Music Resort is one step up because of the family suites at the resort that can accommodate a larger group and have a small kitchenette for making easy meals. The resort is filled with colorful icons like drums and maracas that kids will love (as for parents, no comment). Disney’s All-Star Music Resort is located within the same complex as the other two All-Star Resorts so it is quite far from three of the parks.
19. Disney’s Old Key West Resort
Disney’s Old Key West Resort is known for its pastel-colored buildings and proximity to Disney Springs via boat. The resort is very spread out and buses to the parks can be full before reaching the back set of rooms, so this isn’t the best spot for families who are looking for ease of getting around. On the other hand, travelers looking for a quiet resort with a nice pool and walkable grounds will enjoy this resort.
18. Disney’s Pop Century Resort
One of our favorite value resorts at Walt Disney World is Disney’s Pop Century Resort. The hotel is themed to different decades, and recently underwent a major room refurbishment bringing new modern amenities to the guest rooms. This resort also has access to the Disney Skyliner, making it easy to get to Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
17. Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter is modeled after the French Quarter in New Orleans and features wrought iron gates, pretty gardens, and a view of the river that typically takes guests to Disney Springs via boat. The resort is known for its Mickey Mouse-shaped beignets served throughout the day. This hotel does not offer extra transportation to the parks besides the bus, but it’s just a quick ride to Magic Kingdom.
16. Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort is currently the best of the All-Star Resorts because it has newly refurbished rooms that include an all-new bathroom set up and one of the beds is actually a Murphy bed that turns into a table. The resort has basic amenities like a pool and food court, as well as bus transportation to the parks.
15. Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa
Just steps away from Disney Springs is Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. The deluxe resort features rooms that go from basic studios to three-bedroom villas. The resort is very spread out due to a golf course running through the middle of it, but the grounds are beautiful and an equestrian theme is prominent throughout the common areas and rooms.
14. Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is within walking distance of both EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and offers boat, skyline, and bus transportation to various places around Walt Disney World. The resort is themed after a traditional East Coast boardwalk, and features many shopping and dining locations. It’s also home to a fantastic dueling piano bar that brings in people from around Orlando.
13. Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
One of the more unique resorts at Walt Disney World is Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. The hotel is broken up into two sections: an older part with standard rooms, and the newer Gran Destino Tower, featuring both standard rooms and suites. The resort has a stunning rooftop bar called Dahlia Lounge, where you can grab a drink and watch the sunset over Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Coronado Springs is centrally located to most of Walt Disney World, but lacks transportation besides the bus.
12. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
The highest ranking value resort on the list is Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, where you can step into highly themed rooms and common areas based on movies like Cars, The Little Mermaid, and The Lion King. The resort has access to the Disney Skyliner, but is priced more like a moderate resort. One major plus to this hotel is the family suites that give bigger groups more room to spread out.
11. Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
Of the two Port Orleans Resorts, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside is the best. The resort is split into a few distinct sections based on the Louisiana bayou, and this is where you’ll find rooms themed after Disney royalty. The resort offers boat transportation to Disney Springs, but lacks secondary modes of transportation to the parks besides the buses.
10. Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Disney’s Beach Club Resort is located around the same lake as Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Disney’s Yacht Club, making it easy to get to the two other resorts and to both EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The resort is known for its sand bottom pool that it shares with Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. One major downfall to this resort is the noise that can happen late at night due to the fireworks at EPCOT, which could be a nuisance if you’re traveling with small kids who go to bed early.
9. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is the major hub of the Disney Skyliner, a gondola with five stations that serve various resorts and theme parks. This makes it a desirable spot to stay, though the resort is somewhat spread out and room clusters can be far from the front of the resort where the restaurants are, but that shouldn’t be an issue if you are driving your own car. One thing kids will love at this hotel is the pirate-themed rooms, where they can sleep inside a pirate ship.
8. Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to go camping or glamping at Walt Disney World, staying at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground is the spot to be. The resort offers both cabins and campgrounds to stay at, depending on how much you want to “rough it.” There are ample outdoor activities like fishing and canoeing, along with pools and nightly outdoor movies. Fort Wilderness is a short boat ride to Magic Kingdom, while the other parks are accessible by bus, which can take a longer time.
7. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of the most uniquely themed hotels at Walt Disney World. The African safari lodge motif is carried throughout the resort and into the guest rooms, where you can sit on your balcony and view animals like giraffes and zebras. Dining at the resort is amply available and has a distinct African flair. The one downside to this resort is that it’s very far away from every park except Animal Kingdom.
6. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Barely missing the top five is Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The hotel recently underwent a complete refurbishment of guest rooms and its monorail station. Each of the guest rooms not affiliated with Disney Vacation Club now have a Moana theme. The resort has boat and monorail access to Magic Kingdom and all of the other theme parks are accessible by bus. Dining at the resort is plentiful, and you should make a point to go to Tambu Lounge where you can get the famous Back Scratcher cocktail and a slice of Ohana bread pudding.
5. Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Edging its way into the top five is Disney’s Contemporary Resort. This is one of Walt Disney World’s original resorts and is known for the monorail cutting right through the middle of the building. The resort is just a five minute walk to the entrance to Magic Kingdom, making it super convenient for families who will spend most of their time at that park. The resort does get very noisy in the main building because of the monorail, but that could be overlooked because of its proximity to Magic Kingdom.
4. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is a Walt Disney World icon. The resort has access to Magic Kingdom via boat, monorail, and a newly opened walking path, while other parks can be accessed via bus. The resort is home to a Beauty and the Beast-themed lounge, and a Mary Poppins Returns-themed restaurant. One minus is that not everything is housed in the main building, so if your room is in one of the outer garden wings it can be a long walk to the front of the resort.
3. Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Breaking into the top three is Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, which is within walking distance of both EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The resort has a nautical theme that is carried into rooms in subtle ways. The hotel pool is shared with Disney’s Beach Club, which can make the pool busy at peak times. One major perk of staying here are the beachfront views of the nightly EPCOT fireworks.
2. Disney’s Riviera Resort
Disney’s Riviera Resort is the latest to open at Walt Disney World. This stunning hotel has nods to Walt Disney’s time vacationing and visiting the European riviera. Each of the rooms are filled with custom artwork featuring beloved Disney characters, and have luxury amenities like a spa tub and rainforest show. The restaurants at the resort have creative menus with items not found at other Disney hotels. The resort does have access to the Disney Skyliner, but can have longer waits for the buses to Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
1. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
My number one pick among resorts at Walt Disney World is Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. The resort is themed after iconic National Parks lodges around the country. Rooms at the resort are divided into three sections—the main building, the DVC tower, and the DVC cabins—and dining at the resort is plentiful with lounges and both quick service and table service options. The best part about this resort is depending on where your room is located, you may never see another part of Walt Disney World, which truly immerses you into the National Parks and wilderness theme.
Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.