Welcome to part two of my series on planning your first trip to Disney World. Fellow neurotics, I need your help, please comment on your favorite place to stay and why!

Let’s start with the first options you have:
Some people stay off-property, others choose to stay in one of the Disney Resorts. Yes, the Disney resorts are a little higher priced but you gain the free bus or boat transportation to all the Disney Parks, resorts, and Downtown Disney. You also will receive room charge privileges (your room key becomes your charge card in the parks), Disney hospitality and service, and during certain parts of the year-free Disney Dining Plan (discussed later in this continuing series). Don’t forget bonus hours at the parks for visitors staying on Disney property; that is right– each day one park will stay open later or open early for Disney resort guests. By staying off property you will no doubt save money, although you will have to drive yourself to the parks and have to find and pay for parking, carry cash or credit cards, and take your chances with your service.

Now choosing a resort:

Disney resorts fall into three categories: Value, Moderate, and Deluxe.   Aren’t you glad I told you that.


The overall best resort is The Grand Floridian (a deluxe resort): it is beautiful, pretty quiet, connected by monorail to Magic Kingdom and also very expensive. My favorite resort is The Wilderness Lodge (deluxe), another pretty quiet resort with a nice pool, with only a short boat ride to Magic Kingdom. This is also the property my family recently purchased our Disney Vacation Club property, so you can see how much I think of this particular resort.

On our first trip we took as a family in 2004 we stayed at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter, this moderate resort was nice if not a bit of a tight fit for four people. The moderate resorts I would say compare to a decent Day’s Inn and will suffice for a place to sleep and shower. The moderate resorts tend to have further transport times to and from the parks due to their distance.

The quietest place to stay is The Cabins at Fort Wilderness, very nice log cabins that can sleep up to 6 and have a kitchen. If you know you have rambunctious or squeaky children or simply on a budget, the various All-Star resorts might be your choice. These are the budget resorts at Disney World but do a great job of catering to younger children with activities for all ages. For the best view, you can’t beat Animal Kingdom Lodge-wild animals out your windows, but it is one of the farthest from the parks so long bus drives await you.

My weakness (ouch! that hurt) in planning is my ability to help people who want to stay off the resorts. I have no experience with this so if anyone can do some recommendations please leave some information in the comments.


Our Favorite (non-vacation club) Room: Bunk Bed room at Wilderness Lodge. Each child had their own bed and a lot of fun.

Know the resort before you book. Many people come back not happy about their resort so read reviews and discussion boards to find the right resort for your budget and travel situation, this will help make your Disney World vacation a more magical experience.

See the following link for an honest breakdown of each resort:


The following is a video showing some of the fun activities at various Disney resorts.

Resort Activities Video from Insidears


4 thoughts on “Where to stay at Disney World or where do I pass out. Part 2 of Planning your First Disney World Trip

  1. I have to completely disagree with your comparison of Port Orleans with a Days Inn, especially given the recently completed upgrade with beautiful new furnishings and queens beds in every room. In addition, both Riverside and the French Quarter grounds are very beautifully done on with the mansions, the fountains, the bayou buidlings, and the giant alligator in the pool. It’s just a beautiful place. Are the rooms really roomy? Not really, but most of the rooms in the deluxe resorts aren’t that much bigger. In all the resorts, you’re paying for the entire immersive experience as much as the room.

  2. I am glad to hear the recent upgrades are quite nice. I didn’t mean the comparison as negative, as I have no problem staying in a Day’s Inn while traveling. I was trying to give the sense of the quality of furnishings along with the size. I have recommended Port Orleans to visitors in the past and they sound even better now. Thanks for the response Leslie, nice to know someone is paying attention:) My questions for you-do you prefer French Quarter or Riverside?

  3. I prefer Riverside, just because the amenities are more convenient, but I really like them both.
    I will agree that if Port Orleans were outside of WDW, without all the extras the resort has to offer (down to the Mickey towel created by the maid in your room 🙂 ), and it were solely the room, it would be comparable to a Days Inn or another clean, but inexpensive hotel.
    Just as an aside, and I’m sure you know, all the Disney rooms probably cost a good bit more than the hotels with comparable rooms not far off the property. We stay there partly for the perks and partly to be completely immersed in Disney while taking a break from the real world. We specifically choose Port Orleans time and again because it’s not insanely expensive like the deluxe resorts and it’s quieter and less crowded than the values. We choose it among the moderates because we just love the property.

What do you think?

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