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Disney World Castle

How to Choose Your Perfect Walt Disney World Resort

When it comes to experiencing the enchantment of Walt Disney World, there’s no better recommendation than staying on Disney property.  Just as Disney is renowned for weaving captivating stories and creating immersive experiences, their on-property resorts are no exception.  Each resort is meticulously designed to transport you into a unique narrative, adding an extra layer of charm to your stay.  Moreover, the perks that accompany staying on Disney property are unparalleled and unmatched by off-site hotels, truly enhancing the value of your vacation.

With over 25 remarkable resorts to choose from, the task to choose the perfect Walt Disney World resort for your family might seem daunting.  But fear not, for we are here to guide you through this magical selection process, all while keeping the essence of the storytelling experience in mind – often hinted at in the resort names themselves. 

Embark on a Magical Journey Through Disney Resort Categories

Disney has thoughtfully categorized its resorts into four distinct tiers: value, moderate, deluxe, and villas (which are typically associated with the Disney Vacation Club but can also be booked directly).  This classification not only reflects the pricing structure – where value offers a more budget-friendly option compared to deluxe – but also extends to on-site features and the availability of exclusive amenities.  Let’s embark on a brief exploration of each category to better navigate your resort journey.

Disney Resort Bed
Art of Animation
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Value Resorts: Affordable Enchantment

The journey begins with Value Resorts, where enchantment and affordability intertwine.  The bulk of rooms in this category are standard and approximately 260 square feet.  There is a basic bath setup (sink often in the open and toilet and shower/tub in a separate room) and bedding could be two doubles or a king.  For families seeking more space, some rooms in this category are family suites coming in at approximately 520 square feet.  They have a similar set up as a standard but double the baths and add in some convertible sleeping options.  

Views can differ from parking areas and wooded areas to swimming pools – and naturally the better the view the higher the price.  Speaking of swimming pools, the pools here are typically themed and could be interactive, but no slides.  Other forms of recreation can be a limited – think poolside games, a playground, and an occasional movie outside at night. Dining options are slim too with your only options being a food court or pool bar.  Finally, transportation provided by Disney (a perk of staying onsite!) will usually be via bus.  The only exceptions to this are the Art of Animation Resort and Pop Century, which are on the Skyliner route.

Value resorts includes: All Star Movies, All Star Music, All Star Sports, Art of Animation, Pop Century, and Campsites at Fort Wilderness.

Moderate Resorts: Charm and Comfort

Moderate Resorts offer a blend of charm and comfort, inviting you to indulge in captivating experiences.  Standard rooms in this category are in the 300 square feet range.  They have a similar bath set up as a value resort, but some with an additional sink.  Two queen beds or one king is the standard, with four people max.  Some rooms do have potential for a fifth person.  Views can be similar as well.  Some have the possibility of a view of a nearby natural body of water, which can add an extra layer of serenity to your stay.  Recreation includes “quiet pools,” water-based activities, bikes and a health club (Coronado Springs). Culinary delights are elevated with at least one table service restaurant and lounge. Transportation options are typically bus, but some have boat services to enhance your adventure beyond the resort.

Moderate resorts includes: Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans French Quarter, Port Orleans Riverside and Cabins at Fort Wilderness.

Disney World Boat
Disney Skyliner
Disney Monorail

Deluxe Resorts: Opulent Grandeur

Elevate your enchantment with Deluxe Resorts, where opulence and grandeur redefine your Disney vacation.  Ranging from 344 to 440 square feet, these accommodations cocoon you in luxury.  The bath configurations in these resorts vary.  Some of the larger rooms have several baths.  Bedding configuration can be similar to that of a moderate property with nothing smaller than a queen bed.  

The views, recreation, dining, and transportation options really set the Deluxe Resorts apart from the rest.  Views become masterpieces, offering panoramas of lush landscapes, shimmering waters and even the parks.  Pools feature thrilling slides, water features and hot tubs, while some properties offer indulgent spa services to add a touch of relaxation. Culinary artistry thrives with an abundance of table service restaurants, room service and character dining experiences.  Proximity to the parks is a hallmark of Deluxe Resorts, with walking paths and monorails enhancing transportation options along with the Skyliner, buses and boats.

Deluxe Resorts includes: Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn, Contemporary, Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Polynesian Village, Wilderness Lodge, and Yacht Club.

Villas: Exclusive Elegance

Lastly, step into the realm of exclusivity and opulence with Villas, part of the Disney Vacation Club program.  These retreats offer accommodations ranging from studios to three-bedroom sanctuaries.  Each Villa is curated with amenities that redefine luxury, creating an atmosphere of unparalleled elegance.  Whether it’s a studio or a larger sanctuary, the enchantment mirrors that of Deluxe properties, ensuring a captivating stay.

Villas includes: Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary, Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge, Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Villas at Jamba House and Kidani Village, Beach Club Villas, Boardwalk Villas, Old Key West, Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, Riviera Resort, Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, Villas at Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

Disney's Boardwalk Resort
Grand Floridian Resort

As you navigate these captivating categories, evaluate each one based on your family’s needs and desires.  Delve into the enchantments and narratives that resonate with you – whether it’s the allure of animation, tropical charm, serene landscapes, or opulent luxury.  This should help you choose the perfect Walt Disney World Resort that harmoniously aligns with your family’s dreams and desires.

Ready to Embark on Your Disney Dream? Let's Create Magic Together!

Reach out to our expert team at Compass Rose Leisure and let us help you choose the perfect Walt Disney World Resort that caters to your family’s dreams.  Whether you’re seeking the elegance of Deluxe Resorts, the charm of Moderates, the allure of Value options, or the exclusivity of Villa retreats, we’re here to craft a captivating narrative.  Unlock the magic today and let us guide you on a journey of unforgettable memories and unparalleled enchantment.  Contact us now to start crafting your Disney story!

Picture of Ame Girouard

Ame Girouard

Founder and CEO of Compass Rose Leisure Travel Agency.

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Ame Girouard CEO
hi! I'm Ame!

I am the Founder and CEO of Compass Rose Leisure Travel Agency, where we help families plan travel with ease.  

My team and I enjoy sharing our knowledge, insights, and stories from across the globe. Join us here each month as we bring you valuable travel tips, remarkable experiences, and the joy of discovering new destinations.

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