Oh, Disney World.
Just the thought of it makes me feel calm yet giddy, childlike yet glamorous. Visiting Walt Disney World is every child’s dream, but it has so much to offer adults as well. It appeals to the child in us all while also fulfilling what we seek in a vacation.
The best example of this is seen in their hotels which include: The Contemporary Resort, The Yacht Club Resort, The Grand Floridian Resort, The Animal Kingdom Lodge, The Saratoga Springs Resort, The Polynesian Resort, The Boardwalk Inn, and Disney’s Old Key West Resort epitomize Disney charm in every way and beg you to come be their guest.
#8.) Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Stay at one of the first Disney Hotels, built in 1971, and the only hotel to have a monorail track run straight through it. The resort is idolized for its modern, chic design and is home to Chef Mickey’s, the most sought-after character buffet.
The location of the resort is ideal for no-fuss travel. Take the monorail directly to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, or Downtown Disney, or take the water taxi to nearby resorts. Buses are also available to bring you to the other parks.
The view from your room is guaranteed to be amazing as well, overlooking the bay, garden, or even Cinderella’s Castle! You will enjoy award-winning dishes at the resort’s many restaurants and lounges, and you will never be more than steps away from some sort of Disney magic.
Retreat to a nautical paradise at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. The New England style hotel is nestled near Crescent Lake, surrounded by beautiful, manicured grounds and pools. Its 19th century themed elegance will woo all guests who enter the lobby and truly make you feel like you have gone back in time, ready for a sea-faring voyage.
Stormalong Bay will delight everyone in the family with its 3-acres of water entertainment. Enjoy the sand-bottomed pool, lazy river, and a life-size shipwreck replica. If you desire more leisurely pool wading, there are 3 pools just for that purpose.
A stay at the resort isn’t complete until you have dined at the Yachtsman Steakhouse. Enter the dining room and you will think you are having dinner with the captain of the ship. Relax and savor delicious wines, premium steaks, and succulent seafood. There are also a handful of other restaurants available to chose from, including ones that are part of Disney’s Beach Club Resort, so you are basically getting the perks of two resorts in one!
Another huge perk of this resort is that it is pet-friendly, and even has daycare facilities for your dogs! With that being said, of course, there are also childcare options. The Sandcastle Club, a supervised child activity center, is a blast for kids to spend their time in Disney fashion while the grown-ups go out and play!
Identified by its distinct red roof, The Grand Floridian exudes Victorian elegance. Step into the marvelous lobby and travel back to Palm Beach’s golden age of ragtime and jazz music. This is what timeless Disney magic looks like.
Guests will enjoy the 181-foot water slide that sends them into the resort’s beach pool. There is also a more quiet pool, the Courtyard Pool, equipped with whirlpools for immense relaxation. You are also only steps away from the white, sandy shores of Seven Seas Lagoon.
Experience unrivaled cuisine at any of the resort’s restaurants. Enjoy waterfront dining or sip high tea (pinkies up!), as well as many other options. Indulge at Victoria & Albert’s, a sight to see all on its own, and a recipient of the famed AAA Five Diamond Award for the past 17 years.
Influenced by Victorian London and Paris, the restaurant is adorned with ornate furnishings, a grand fireplace, and artwork of Europe’s royalty. It has only four tables for parties of two each, where food is expertly prepared at your table and you have your own waiter serving as your butler from start to finish. It’s an intimate affair, perfect for a celebration or special occasion. You could also choose to dine in the heart of the kitchen at the Chef’s Table, which can accommodate up to 8 people.
Lastly, you must visit the world-renowned Grand Floridian Spa, Senses. A full service, Victorian-themed spa, evocative of a 20th-century garden. Escape to this calming oasis, and choose from a variety of spa treatments, including ones specifically catered to men, teens, and even children. After all, this is Disney World, and here everyone is a prince or princess.
Imagine waking up and seeing a giraffe walking past your window. Well, that is a reality and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. If you have ever wished to stay overnight in a zoo, this is your ideal choice. The lodge is located on a 43-acre wildlife preserve, home to 30 exotic animals as well as native African foliage.
Upon entering the main lobby, you will marvel at the thatched roof, mud fireplace, African artifacts, and hand-carved furniture, then retreat to your room which just may lead you to an animal encounter on your balcony. Go to sleep right after witnessing the sunset over the resort’s four heavenly savannahs, home to over 200 animals.
Spend your day lounging by the 11,000-square foot pool with similarities to a natural watering hole, but with a massive waterslide. There is also another pool with a waterslide and whirlpool spas, as well as Uwanja Camp, where the kids will want to spend their time, playing and jumping through the water playground.
Themed after 1800s’ Saratoga Springs, an upstate New York destination for natural springs and horse-racing, this resort has the feel of an ideal community.
The heart of the resort is the Lake Buena Vista Golf Course, an award-winning course that is also a lush wildlife sanctuary. Golfers will delight at the peaceful nature of the course, submerged in greenery and glistening lakes. The resort also boasts five pools, including High Rock Spring Pool where cascading waterfalls and slides are beckoning you to jump in.
The coolest part of this resort is the option of staying in a treehouse villa. 10 feet off the ground, in the trees, and located along the Sassagoula River, these villas include fully equipped kitchens, private decks, and even charcoal grills. Water taxis or a short walk will bring you into the heart of the resort, but while you are here you are in your own private wonderland.
Established in 1971, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has been a family favorite ever since. Revel in the spirit of the South Pacific, island life while savoring the exotic ambiance at every turn.
Even if you don’t stay here, make sure you make it to their Spirit of Aloha Dinner show, complete with a luau, fire dancing, and an authentic feast. Make sure to take a dip in either the Lava or Oasis Pool. The Lava Pool is appropriately named for its towering volcano, waterfall, and a 142-foot waterslide. If you want a more relaxing pool experience, head over to the Oasis Pool where you can lounge in a shaded poolside area.
Unique to only a few Disney hotels, the monorail makes a stop at this resort and takes guests to any of its other hubs. The monorail is a much more enjoyable travel experience than waiting for the buses.
Go back in time to early 1900s Atlantic City at this waterfront hotel, right in the midst of Disney’s Boardwalk. Dotted with lights and full of excitement, the location couldn’t be better.
Delight in the quirkiness of the carnival-themed pool and slide down the clown waterslide while getting sprayed by elephant statues. For quieter pool time, relax in either of the resort’s two leisure pools and whirlpool spas. Make sure to rent a bike from the hotel for a true boardwalk experience.
Savor a multitude of dishes, drinks, and snacks at any one of the 13 options the resort offers. The Flying Fish is the resort’s most acclaimed restaurant, offering seasonal fare and delicious seafood. The ESPN Club will delight all sports fans with nearly 100 video monitors, each featuring global satellite feeds meaning no matter what team you root for, chances are you will be able to watch them. You don’t even have to miss the game for a full bladder because there are TVs in every stall. No lie.
Relish in the romantic atmosphere of the Old Key West Resort. Disney pays homage to the most idealistic parts of the island in this private oasis.
Located on an island hamlet, glittering rivers, streams, and swaying palm trees surround you. Choose from an array of water activities including fishing and boating, or rent a bike to ride around the small community. The resort hosts four pools, three of which are leisure pools. The Sandcastle Pool has a large 125-foot waterslide which glides through a large sandcastle replica and into an expansive pool where dolphin statues spout water.
Be sure to make a stop at Old Key West’s hotspot, the Gurgling Suitcase, and try a specialty cocktail. The place has that “hole in the wall” vibe while still being classy. And, it serves lunch and dinner!
These resorts, in no particular order, will give you the full Disney experience you are looking for!