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.
NO MATTER WHAT RESORT YOU CHOOSE, BOOK EARLY TO GET YOUR ROOM TYPE CHOICE. TRY TO RESERVE UP TO 6 MONTHS IN ADVANCE.
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:
INTERCOT RESORT DISCUSSION
The following is a video showing some of the fun activities at various Disney resorts.