Walt Disney World is home to a large number of on-property resort hotels. There are hotels at every price point, generally classified as value, moderate, deluxe, and deluxe villa accommodations. But all these hotels are not created equal. Most frequent Disney guests definitely have their favorites. So, what are the best hotels in each grouping? Here are our top hotel picks in each Disney category to help you narrow down hotel choices within your budget.
Overview of Disney World Resort Categories
Disney categorizes its on-property hotels in four categories, from least to most expensive: value, moderate, deluxe, and deluxe villas. All of these hotels have the benefits of on-property stays, but the amenities and accommodations vary quite considerably. Be sure to listen to Episode 23 where we discussed the differences between Disney value, moderate, and deluxe resorts.
It’s important to note that lines betweens these categories are blurring quite a bit with each passing year. Some value and moderate hotels now have transportation options or amenities that used to be available only at deluxe properties. Conversely, some deluxe properties are priced on the low end of all the deluxe hotels, putting them in the price range of a guest who might otherwise be considering only moderates. So, use these categories as a guideline but always investigate your options on a hotel-by-hotel basis.
Best Disney World Value Hotel
The value resorts at Disney World are the least expensive hotels available on-property. Rooms have motel-style set ups, with doors opening on to outdoor corridors. But they don’t necessarily look like a typical motel. Expect over the top bold Disney theming that most kids will love.
Value resorts tend to be quite large so walks from your room to the hotel’s common areas or transportation can be long. Value resorts also have large pools, but they don’t have extra features like splash pads or waterslides available at higher category hotels. Restaurants are quick service only (including a food court).
Disney is currently in the process of renovating the rooms in all the value resorts. While previous value resort rooms with two beds featured two doubles, all will soon have two queens (one regular and one Murphy-style bed). With more bed space, this makes value resorts work better for many families.
Value resorts have access to all the usual on-property benefits of Disney hotels: Magical Express ground transportation, 60 day Fastpass booking, and Extra Magic Hours (related: Benefits of On-Site Disney Hotels).
Disney value resorts include:
- Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort
- The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
Leslie’s & Joe’s Pick for Best Value Resort: Pop Century
While we tried to pick different hotels to highlight in each category, we just couldn’t do it for value resorts. Pop Century is the clear winner in this hotel category!
Pop Century’s two bed rooms have all already been converted to the two queen bed setup, making the hotel work better for families. Plus, Pop Century is conveniently located on the new Disney Skyliner, making transportation to Epcot and Hollywood Studios a breeze.
Pop Century has always been a bit more expensive than the All-Star Movies, Music, and Sports resorts, but the new transportation advantage may widen that price gap even more. Even still, we think the hotel’s location and amenities justify the higher price.
Best Disney World Moderate Hotel
Moderate Disney World Resorts have quite a few more amenities than value resorts. Several moderate pools have special features like water slides and splash pads, and both table service and quick service restaurants are available. Disney theming is available throughout but it’s a little more subtle and understated.
Entry into rooms is still motel-style from outdoor corridors (with the exception of the Grand Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs). Hotel rooms are a bit more spacious, with two queen beds. Some properties even feature rooms that sleep 5 with a special couch/trundle bed in addition to two queens. Bathrooms are also a little larger, often with dual sinks.
Moderate Disney hotels include:
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
- The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
Leslie’s Pick for Best Moderate Resort: Port Orleans French Quarter
Port Orleans French Quarter has a much smaller footprint than the other moderates, meaning less additional walking after a long day in the parks. The New Orleans theming is whimsical and fun for adults and kids alike. The pool is one of Disney’s best, with a full water playground and sea serpent water slide. It is also still one of the less expensive moderates.
Joe’s Pick for Best Moderate Resort: Coronado Springs, Gran Destino Tower
The new Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs brings a deluxe level feel to a moderate resort. Offering some club level rooms, internal corridor room entry, and a well-located bus stop, this hotel works well for a wide variety of travelers. It is a bit pricier than the other moderate resorts, but you get what you pay for.
Best Disney World Deluxe Hotel
Disney World’s deluxe resorts are Disney’s more luxury resorts with full service amenities. Pool complexes are more elaborate with features like water slides. Guests enter their rooms from internal corridors. Rooms are even larger, usually sleeping 5. These hotels have a wide variety of dining choices, often with several highly-rated table service restaurants on property or character meals available.
Most (but not all) Disney Deluxe Resorts have a location or transportation advantage of some sort. Many are either on the monorail loop or within walking distance of Epcot’s International Gateway. Most of them are smaller than value or moderate resorts, meaning less walking once you get back to your hotel.
Disney’s Deluxe Hotels are:
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Leslie’s Pick for Best Deluxe Resort: Polynesian Village
With its South Seas theming and amazing restaurants like Ohana and Trader Sam’s, the Polynesian stands the test of time. The volcano pool is always one of the most popular on Disney property, making it a great fit for families.
The Polynesian also has arguably the best location and transportation of any Disney resort. Located on the monorail loop, it has easy and direct access to the Magic Kingdom. But it’s also just a few steps from the Transportation and Ticket Center, making the other monorail to Epcot easily accessible.
Joe’s Pick for Best Deluxe Resort: Yacht & Beach Club
Beach & Yacht Club have a location advantage all of their own – walking distance to Epcot’s International Gateway entrance (as well as Hollywood Studios). The new Skyliner there adds even more transportation convenience.
The understated nautical theming of both properties is luxurious and relaxing. The hotel’s pool, Stormalong Bay, is usually Disney’s highest ranked pool. But best of all, these two properties are often still a bit less expensive than other Disney deluxe resorts.
Best Disney World Deluxe Villa Hotel
Disney World also offers Deluxe Villa properties. These are Disney Vacation Club timeshare units. Some are located on the same property as the regular deluxe hotels, often in separate buildings. Three of these properties are Deluxe Villa only hotels: Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, and the new Riviera Resort. This means they have no regular hotel rooms but only have DVC units for rent. (If you want to learn how to save money on these rooms by renting DVC points, see our DVC rental post and podcast episode.)
Room types at deluxe villas vary from property to property but range from studio villas up to 3 bedroom grand villas. All have kitchens and some have additional living space and amenities like in-unit laundry.
Deluxe Villa Properties include:
- 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 Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
- Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Copper Creek Villas & Cabins
- Disney’s Riviera Resort
Leslie’s Pick for Best Deluxe Villa: Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary
Family travelers are the type of guests who can often get the most value out of a DVC stay and its condo accommodations. And Bay Lake Tower’s location within walking distance of the Magic Kingdom – the most popular park for families – makes it a great pick. The Contemporary Resort is also home to a lot of fantastic restaurants from California Grill to the Wave to Chef Mickey’s, so it give guests a lot within the property itself. The advantage of monorail access also can’t be overstated!
Joe’s Pick for Best Deluxe Villa: Kidani Village, Animal Kingdom Villas
While Animal Kingdom Lodge is often knocked for its more remote location, the location is precisely what makes it a good fit for a DVC stay. Guests who are paying for villa accommodations are doing so precisely because they expect to spend time at their hotel. Animal Kingdom Lodge has so much to offer at the hotel – excellent dining at Sanaa or Boma, animal-watching on the hotel savannah, and lots of on-site entertainment.Connect with Disney Deciphered!