So suppose you want to stay at your dream Deluxe Resort, but just can’t swing the $340 a night or more, no matter how much you save.  Does this mean that you’re relegated to the Value or Moderate side of the World?  Not necessarily.

As I’ve mentioned before, a good way to afford a Deluxe, even if you can’t afford to stay there your whole trip, is to split your stay–spend some or most of your trip in a Value, then transfer up to the Deluxe for a few days.  But maybe you don’t want to be bothered with moving in the middle of your trip, or maybe you have more than four people in your party, and a single Value or Moderate room won’t cut it.

Two of Disney’s Deluxe resorts are much more affordable than the rest (to the tune of more than $100 a night less expensive).  The Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge go for as low as $240 a night during Value seasons.  They’ve been characterized as “Deluxe Moderates” or “Moderate Deluxes.”

The Wilderness Lodge is one of my family’s favorites.  While I wouldn’t say it’s tops in any one category, it does well in them all.  It’s pool isn’t as nice as Stormalong Bay at the Yacht and Beach Club, but it’s very nice and well themed, with a geyser, even.  It’s location isn’t as convenient as the monorail resorts, but it’s only a short boat ride away from the Magic Kingdom and within walking distance (or another boat ride) of Fort Wilderness.  But its theming is one of the best of any Disney resort.  The same goes for the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Animal Kingdom Lodge, while remotely located, is one of the most elaborately-themed resorts at Walt Disney World.  Where else can you wake up to watch giraffes outside your window?  It also has two of the most popular restaurants in the World, Jiko and Boma.

Maybe you had your heart set on staying in the Boardwalk/Epcot area, though, and the prices of the Beach and Yacht Club and Boardwalk Inn are out of your budget.  Consider staying at the Swan or Dolphin.  They’re also Deluxe Resorts located on the Boardwalk, with easy access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.  But their rates for a standard room start at only $229 per night, compared to the other resorts’ $340 in Value seasons.  And if you qualify for one of their many discounts (nurse, teacher, government employee, military, AARP) you can get a Deluxe room for as low as $139 a night.  That’s less than half the cost of the other Epcot resorts!

If you’re like me, you’ve always been fascinated by the Contemporary Resort and the monorail going right through your lobby.  It’s probably the most convenient resort to the Magic Kingdom, definitely a plus if you have small children who will need to go back to the room for a nap.  Its Tower rooms are also, unfortunately, some of the most expensive on property, at $400 a night during Value seasons, and $550 a night during Peak seasons.  Ouch!

But a standard view room in the Contemporary’s Garden Wing is only $285 a night during Value seasons, not much more than the Wilderness and Animal Kingdom Lodges.  And you still get all of the Contemporary’s amenities–the pool, the beach on Bay Lake, the restaurants, quick and easy access to the monorail, and walking distance to the Magic Kingdom.  You can take the short walk over to the Tower and sit in the lobby and watch the monorail all day long if you want.

As you can see, by thinking outside the box, you can make your dream resort stay a reality.   With proper planning, almost anyone can afford at least a couple nights of “deluxury.”

Contributed by: Mark (NDD #102). Mark is our resident “how to save money while living the Disney Driven Life” expert.

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