No matter what type of Disney vacation you’re planning, there is a perfect Walt Disney World Resort hotel that will compliment your trip perfectly!

There are more than 25 resort options on property and each one has its own unique theme and personality. This is something that makes staying on property absolutely magical. Not only do you experience top-notch Guest service from every Cast Member that you interact with, but you also get a chance to eat, sleep, and explore resorts that uphold the same magic and theming that you could find in a Disney Park! I personally feel like this sets Disney Resorts apart from any other stay in the area.

Disney's Grand Floridian

Below, we’ve created a guide that’s meant to help point you in the right direction to pick which Walt Disney World Resort would be the best fit for your next trip. We’ve broken it into the following categories:

  • Best Disney World Resort Hotels for Families
  • Best Disney World Resorts for a Romantic Getaway
  • Best Disney World Resorts on a Budget
  • Best Disney World Resorts for Leisure Activities
  • Best Disney World Resorts for a Laid Back Staycation
  • Best Disney World Resorts for Easy Park Access

Keep in mind that some of the resorts are mentioned twice in the guide because we think they are genuinely great options for more than one type of trip. With that being said, we’ve carefully crafted the perfect information that would be most relevant for each category, and we have also included some official Walt Disney World descriptions in hopes that you’ll have everything you need to make a perfect choice!

Disney resort
Credit: Disney

These opinions are those of us here at ITM and are not all of the amazing offerings that could go into each category. We really wanted to highlight those that we thought were the very best match for each! So, let’s get started by looking at our top Disney resort options for a family vacation.

Need help planning this amazing getaway? Learn more about Academy Travel — denoted as an Earmarked Diamond Travel Agency by Disney itself — by clicking HERE.

Best Disney World Resort Hotels for Families

The following resorts are amazing choices if you’re looking for the perfect hotel for your family trip. Each of these is impeccably themed and full of exciting recreation and pool activities that will make your time outside of the parks almost as exciting as your time in them.

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Disney World Resorts
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Official Disney description:

Discover a world where life slows to a leisurely pace and worries melt away amidst Calypso rhythms. Awash with vibrant colors and lush landscapes, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort transports Guests to a relaxing paradise that captures the essence of 5 distinct islands: Barbados, Jamaica, Martinique, Trinidad and Aruba. Celebrate the spirit of the Caribbean with blissful sights and fun-filled activities—including colonial forts, lively markets, pristine beaches, splashy florals and swaying hammocks—sure to awaken the imagination

Pools/Recreation

Hold the fort at this old Spanish citadel with a zero-entry pool, 2 slides and water cannons. Climb a spiral staircase to the top of a turret for an 82-foot trip down the larger slide, which penetrates the fortress wall! A relaxing spa with the capacity for 12 allows for sweet surrender.

Kids under 48 inches tall will love being marooned at the nearby shipwreck play area, where a barrel periodically dumps a deluge and 3 small slides delight little scallywags.

Disney World Resorts
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Pirate Adventure Cruises:

Donning pirate bandanas, young buccaneers board a seasoned vessel for a spirited pursuit of treasure. Sailing to exotic “ports of call” (Resort marinas), they’ll hear legends of pirates past and discover clues that may just lead to a bountiful treasure chest.

Children must be 4 to 12 years of age and potty-trained to join this pirate crew.

Dining Recommendation

Sebastian’s Bistro

A bright ambience and market-fresh ingredients await you at this under-the-sea-inspired eatery.
Located along the Old Port Royale promenade, this family-friendly spot offers signature dishes to please any palate. Your dinner options include a variety of fresh and savory delights such as salad, grilled jerk chicken wings and seafood entrées.
Sebastian’s also offers a satisfying selection of desserts and refreshing beverages—including a variety of fruity and frozen cocktails, as well as mocktails.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney World Resorts
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Official Disney description:

Step into the heart of Africa at this magnificent Resort hotel. Inspired by the traditional African kraal, the horseshoe-curved design provides spectacular views of 4 lush savannas that over 200 hoofed animals and birds call home. Delight in dazzling pool areas, exciting animal programs and one of the largest collections of African art in the United States as you experience your own African safari adventure with a touch of Disney magic.

Pools/Recreation

Escape to an 11,000-square-foot pool with an exciting waterslide and gently sloping, zero-depth entry point similar to that of a natural watering hole. Surrounded by large canopy trees and Floridian palms, Uzima Pool includes a children’s wading pool and 2 whirlpool spas.

You can also cool off at Samawati Springs Pool, which offers a thrilling waterslide, 2 whirlpool spas and Uwanja Camp—an animal observation site-themed water playground with squirting Venus flytraps, a rope bridge, water cannons and more. Samawati Springs Pool is located just a short walk away at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village.

Disney World Resorts
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Sense of Africa Tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Connect to the culture of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge with a backstage tour featuring animal encounters, breakfast and more. During Sense of Africa, you’ll set out on a 3-and-a-half-hour tour that begins with an introduction to the authentic African storyline of this wildly unique Resort destination—from its art and architecture to the Cast Members who help bring it all to life! Then, when your early-morning cravings come calling, you’ll be off to breakfast at Boma – Flavors of Africa where exclusive dishes inspired and served by an African Culinary team await! It’s a one-of-a-kind meal that’s sure to satisfy even the most ferocious of appetites. After breakfast, the tour continues as you climb aboard a private safari vehicle and head backstage where the compassionate Cast Members of the Animal Care staff will lead you through a series of up-close encounters with some of the savanna’s most beloved animals!

Sanaa
Credit: Disney

Dining Recommendation

Sanaa

Experience the art of African cooking with Indian flavors, as exotic animals roam the Sunset Savanna before you. No reservations are required to begin the day’s adventure with a Sanaa Kuamsha Breakfast—served from 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM. For breakfast, Sanaa transforms into a casual, quick-service restaurant with a menu designed to help you rise and shine. Sink your teeth into a carnivorous meal of boerewors sausage, bacon, eggs, and African home fries.
Before you journey out to the great beyond, don’t forget to load up on high-energy grab ’n’ go options like yogurt parfaits, fruit plates, boerewors sausage, egg bobotie pie, banana bread with house-made African chocolate hazelnut spread, African breakfast cereal and more.

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Disney World Resorts
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Official Disney description:

Escape to the rustic majesty of America’s Great Northwest. Inspired by turn-of-the-century National Park lodges, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge celebrates American craftsmanship and honors the beauty of the untamed wilderness. Soak in the splendor of the great outdoors, from nature trails through pine forests to rocking chairs that overlook a murmuring creek. Inside, discover towering totem poles, headdresses and more, and enjoy the rustic elegance of the stone hearth and roaring fireplace.

Pools/Recreation

Copper Creek Springs Pool
Follow the bubbling Copper Creek to discover a dazzling heated pool surrounded by nature. Here, you can zip down an exciting 67-foot waterslide built into rocks and relax in hot and cold whirlpool spas.
Children can have a blast exploring the newly added activity play area. Nearby, Geyser Point Bar & Grill offers refreshments and snacks for you to savor at a patio table or on a lounge chair by the pool.

Boulder Ridge Cove Pool
Bask in the laid-back charm of this watery oasis nestled within the Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. At this location, you can soak in the whirlpool spa, enjoy a swim in the zero-depth entry pool or score a first come, first served spot at one of 6 shaded seating areas.

Disney World Resorts
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Motorized Boat Rentals

Whether you have a need for speed or crave a relaxing excursion, we’ve got a boat just right for you. Cast off with your crew—enjoying theme park views and natural surroundings as you cruise our scenic lakes, lagoons and inlets.
Choose from a variety of watercraft!

Dining Recommendation

Whispering Canyon Cafe

Gallop on over to this Old Western eatery for games and good eatin’ served with attitude.
Tether your trusty steed and mosey into this log-cabin lodge with rough-hewn charm and colorfully named Cast Members who have a reputation for sassing customers. Take your seat in a cowboy or Indian chair and get into some tasty vittles. There’s plenty to go around!

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Disney World Resorts
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Official Disney description:

Be surrounded in the artistry, enchantment and magic of Walt Disney and Disney and Pixar movies. Stay at a Disney Resort hotel that invites you to explore the storybook landscapes seen in such classics as Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. From delightfully themed family suites to wondrously detailed courtyards, Disney’s Art of Animation “draws” you and your family in to become a part of some of your animated favorites.

Pools/Recreation

Take the plunge in the largest resort pool in Walt Disney World Resort.

Cool, dude! Make a splash at the Big Blue Pool, inspired by the Disney and Pixar movie Finding Nemo. You’ll also find an interactive water play area, perfect for the little ones.

Two more pools—Cozy Cone Pool, inspired by the Disney and Pixar film Cars, and Flippin’ Fins Pool, featuring the “Under the Sea Orchestra” conducted by Sebastian from The Little Mermaid—are also available to Guests looking to cool off.

Disney World Resorts
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Movies Under the Stars

Complimentary movie screenings are available to Guests of Walt Disney World Resort hotels. For movie schedules, please check with the Front Desk at your Walt Disney World Resort Hotel, or call (407) 939-2273. 

Dining Recommendation

Landscape of Flavors

Please your “palette” with quick-and-delicious fare inspired by American favorites—including burgers, pizza, salad and an array of specialty beverages.

Best Disney World Resorts for a Romantic Getaway

Every single one of these Walt Disney World Resort hotels has an elegant and upscale air. They offer multiple fine dining options that are the perfect setting for a romantic date night and some even offer spa/cabana services to keep the relaxation going all day long.

Disney’s Riviera Resort

Disney World Resorts
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Official Disney description:

Enchantment awaits you at a Resort hotel that’s inspired by Europe and imagined by Disney. Here, you can delight in exhilarating activities, delectable dining and stylish accommodations—from cozy Tower Studios to spacious villas with up to 3 bedrooms.

Pools/Recreation

A family-friendly pool area invites you to swim, splash and play—while a more serene pool offers relaxation.

At the Riviera Pool, sun umbrellas dot the grounds as the inviting waters cast a warm, golden glow upon the surrounding stucco façades. Pure vacation bliss awaits at this family-friendly pool, which also features a pool slide that winds around a stately column tower. And little mademoiselles and messieurs are sure to make a splash at S’il Vous Play, an interactive water play area for kids that’s inspired by the grand public fountains of Europe—featuring a ballet of friendly Fantasia characters.

For a quieter afternoon, Beau Soleil Pool beckons you to unwind alongside shimmering waters in a soothing setting.

Topolino's Terrace fruit
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Dining Recommendation

Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera offers French and Italian cuisine, along with sweeping rooftop views. Dining is a true experience, prepared at the exclusive expo kitchen or wood-burning grill. Pair your meal with a glass of wine from the impressive collection sourced from the Mediterranean coast. Feast your eyes on the stunning visual aesthetic, a modern interpretation of the textures, colors, carved details and stonework found in ancient villages along the Riviera.

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Disney World Resorts
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Official Disney description:

Delight in the formal grace of a grand New England-style yacht club at this lakeside hotel. Relax in the inviting elegance of a plush lobby replete with nautical touches, explore the whimsical Stormalong Bay and rent a variety of watercraft from Bayside Marina. Sharing many amenities with its pastel-toned sister, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is walking distance to EPCOTand a convenient boat ride to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Pools/Recreation

Discover a life-size shipwreck, pools, lagoons and more at Stormalong Bay—a 3-acre water wonderland.

Climb the mast and zip down one of the highest hotel waterslides at Walt Disney World Resort. Catch currents on an inner tube in the lazy river, unwind in one of 3 whirlpool spas and relax on the elevated tanning deck. Children can wade into the main pool from a gentle slope and splash about in 2 kiddie pools—including one with a miniature waterslide.

Prefer a more tranquil experience? Explore 3 all-ages quiet pools—each with a whirlpool spa—located throughout Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts.

Disney World Resorts
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Cabanas

Indulge in the comfort and privacy of premium poolside cabanas at select Disney Resort hotels. Relax in luxury and style, enjoying the day your way. You can lounge in the sun or retreat to your furnished, shaded oasis—complete with personal electronics and refreshments. To reserve a cabana, please call (407) WDW-PLAY or (407) 939-7529. Private dining is also available at an additional cost.

Dining Recommendation

Yachtsman Steakhouse

Within the airy dining room’s knotty-pine beams and nautical touches, mouthwatering cuisine awaits! High-quality, grain-fed beef is aged in-house and prepared on an oak-fired grill in the open kitchen. Feel your appetite begin to build while you watch butchers hand cut steaks to perfection in the dry-aging room. Then, give into anticipation as you delight in beef entrées like the 12-oz Prime New York Strip Steak with peppercorn-brandy sauce. Favorite sides include the Truffle Macaroni & Cheese, while the innovative kids menu pleases even the pickiest of eaters. Be sure to save room for a decadent dessert like our S’mores Sundae or Banana Bread Pudding. 

*Dress code required*

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Disney World Resorts
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Official Disney description:

Victorian elegance meets modern sophistication at this lavish Disney Resort hotel. Unwind outdoors, indulge in a luxurious massage and watch evening fireworks light up the sky over Cinderella Castle. Just one stop to Magic Kingdom park on the complimentary Resort Monorail, this timeless Victorian-style marvel evokes Palm Beach’s golden era.

Pools/Recreation

Make a splash at Beach Pool! Breeze down the 181-foot-long waterslide as it curves down the mountain, zips past trees and slips under a walking bridge before plunging you into the pool.

Sunbathe in a poolside lounge chair, or rent a plush cabana for added luxury. Steps from the white-sand shore of Seven Seas Lagoon, Beach Pool features a gently sloping entry similar to that of a natural beach, plus a water play area for little ones.

Or, relax at Courtyard Pool, the all-ages quiet pool that includes an adjacent kiddie pool and whirlpool spa.

Specialty Cruises

Charter a private pontoon or yacht from one of the marinas located across Walt Disney World Resort. Specialty cruises offer a fun way to skipper family and friends away on a relaxing afternoon jaunt or starry-eyed evening sailing. To reserve, please call (407) WDW-PLAY or (407) 939-7529. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call.

Dining Recommendation

Victoria & Albert’s

Nestled in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, this restaurant is one of the Southeast’s most prestigious and has won AAA’s illustrious Five Diamond Award, the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award, glowing Zagat reviews and a host of other accolades. Enjoy your meal in the Dining Room, the Chef’s Table in the kitchen or the more private Queen Victoria Room—whichever your prefer, prepare for an extraordinary culinary adventure that hearkens back to a genteel era, when dining was a sophisticated ritual accentuated by service from seasoned maître d’hôtels and chefs in classic white toques.

 

Academy Travel agents specialized knowledge can help you with FastPass+, Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs), RunDisney and other special or seasonal events, discounts, and so much more.

Best Disney World Resorts on a Budget

If you’re looking to save a little money when booking your trip, don’t fret. Walt Disney World offers a handful of excellent value resorts that still offer the same high level of hospitality as some of their more expensive counterparts. Below are some of my personal favorites that have bold and colorful theming and awesome pool areas for the family to enjoy!

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Disney World Resorts
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Official Disney description:

Experience the unforgettable fads of the 1950s through the 1990s all over again. From yo-yos and Play-Doh® to Rubik’s Cube® and rollerblades, this Resort hotel salutes the timeless fashions, catch phrases, toys and dances that captivated the world through the decades.

Pools/Recreation

Immerse yourself in the spirit of the 1960’s at the sprawling Hippy Dippy Pool, which features flower-shaped water jets. For the little ones, a kiddie pool area with a pop-jet water fountain is located nearby.

Two more pools, the smaller 1950’s Bowling Pool and the 1990’s Computer Pool, are also on hand for Guests looking to take the pop-culture plunge.

Disney World Resorts
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Movies Under the Stars

For even more enjoyment, Disney movies are screened on select nights at the Hippy Dippy Pool.

Dining Recommendation

Everything POP Shopping & Dining

Sate appetites large and small with delicious dishes from a variety of tempting food stations. Then, top off your meal with delectable house-made desserts.

Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort

Disney World Resorts
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Official Disney description:

Imagine yourself sharing the spotlight with some of your favorite Disney friends, as you headline your very own all-star adventure. Stay at a Disney Resort hotel that salutes the legends of Disney films—from the dotted pups of 101 Dalmatians to the playful toys of Andy’s Room— with whimsical, larger-than-life décor.

Pools/Recreation

Fantasia Pool
Inspired by the Disney classic Fantasia, this sprawling pool is home to a Sorcerer Mickey fountain. For the little ones, a smaller kiddie pool and water play area are located nearby.
The Fantasia Pool is located between the Fantasia building and Cinema Hall.

Duck Pond Pool
Go for a “splash-shot” at this pool based on The Mighty Ducks film series. Designed to resemble a hockey rink, this 105,438-gallon pool is the perfect place for families to relax and unwind before or after a visit to the parks.

Reel Fun Arcade

Go for a personal best or go head to head against a friend as you battle aliens, play sports, race cars, dance to the beat, make music, solve puzzles or try your hand at pinball, air hockey and more.
To play games, you must first purchase a Game Card and add game points using a credit card or cash at a kiosk inside the arcade. Game Cards are rechargeable and can be used at other Walt Disney World Resort arcades.
Arcades are open daily.

Disney World Resorts
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Dining Recommendation

World Premiere Food Court

Get the red-carpet treatment at this cinema-themed food court with 5 stations! Roll the opening credits each day with breakfast, then enjoy featured presentations at lunch and dinner—like pizza, pasta, grill items, specialties, bakery items and ice cream.

Best Disney World Resorts for Leisure Activities

Some of the resorts on Walt Disney World property have the added bonus of offering extra leisure activities for those who are looking for things to do outside of the theme parks. Disney’s BoardWalk and Disney Springs shopping and dining area are two prime examples of this, and these resorts are very close in proximity to them. These Disney Resorts also happen to offer some awesome outdoor activities, like sporting areas, bike rentals, golf courses, and more.

Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

Disney World Resorts
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Official Disney description:

Experience the charm and whimsy of turn-of-the-century Atlantic City at this waterfront Resort hotel. Make a splash at Luna Park Pool and delight in a massage at the state-of-the-art fitness center. Discover carnival games, unique dining and exciting nightlife on the Coney Island-style boardwalk. Strung like saltwater taffy along the shimmering Crescent Lake, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is located within walking distance to both EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Pools/Recreation

Clown around at the carnival-themed Luna Park Pool. Glide down the Keister Coaster waterslide, cool off under the spouting trunks of grinning elephant statues and sink into the whirlpool spa. Children can even splash about in their own kiddie pool.

For a more tranquil experience, relax at 2 all-ages leisure pools—each with a whirlpool spa.

Surrey Bikes

Cover more ground when you rent a bicycle to explore waterfront boardwalks and woodsy pathways. Choose a 2- or 4-person Surrey bike for an outing that’s fun for the whole family!

Disney World Resorts
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Disney’s BoardWalk

Experience the timeless charm of Disney’s BoardWalk, a quarter-mile promenade of exquisite dining, unique shops and exciting nightlife. Stroll along the water’s edge, play afternoon midway games and discover evening street performers. Evoking turn-of-the-century boardwalks in such coastal cities as Coney Island and Atlantic City, Disney’s BoardWalk is a short stroll to EPCOT and a breezy boat ride to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Dining Recommendation

Flying Fish

Feast on premium sustainable seafood and prime steaks at this contemporary American restaurant. Step inside this recently redesigned location and discover a warm, welcoming ambiance that defines luxury dining. Unexpected details—in our impeccable décor and menu—are sure to impress Guests. Each delicious dish is more mouthwatering and visually stunning than the next… we’ve fire roasted gourmet seafood into fine art.

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

Disney World Resorts
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Official Disney description:

Inspired by historic Saratoga Springs—a late-1800s’ New York retreat famous for its spas and horse racing—this charming, Victorian-style Resort hotel is nestled between rolling golf course greens and the shimmering Lake Buena Vista. Delight in stately Studios and multi-bedroom Villas, dazzling pools and a spa. You can also explore the fun activities and exciting dining options of Disney Springs, just a boat ride away.

Pools/Recreation

Discover 2 exciting feature pools—plus waterslides, whirlpool spas, aqua-play areas and more!

At The Paddock Pool, breeze down a 146-foot-long waterslide, relax in a horseshoe-shaped whirlpool spa and wade into the pool via a gently sloping, zero-depth entry point. There’s even 2 miniature waterslides built just for kids.

At High Rock Spring Pool, delight in cascading waterfalls, a zero-depth entry point and a waterslide built into the rocks. Children can splash through bubbling geysers at the Donald Duck play area and glide down the pint-sized waterslide.

You can also explore 3 additional, all-ages leisure pools—each with a whirlpool spa.

Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course

This classic country-club course winds through pastel villas, pine forests, palmettos and sparkling lakes. Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course has hosted the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour and USGA events.

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Disney Springs (A boat ride/short walk away)

Explore a bustling waterside promenade filled with unique boutiques, artisanal eateries and cutting-edge entertainment that includes live music and specialty acts.

Dining Recommendation

The Turf Club Bar and Grill

Savor classic American cuisine in a racetrack clubhouse setting with gorgeous golf course and lake views. A hidden gem complete with its own cocktail lounge, this intimate venue recalls a romantic and bygone era.

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The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Disney World Resorts
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Official Disney description:

Nestled on 750 acres of pine and cypress forest, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground evokes the timeless beauty of the American frontier. Teeming with such wildlife as deer, ducks, armadillos and rabbits, the Resort welcomes you to delight in scenic woodland trails, exciting pool areas, rootin’ tootin’ entertainment and hearty country eats.

Pools/Recreation

Meadow Swimmin’ Pool
Make a splash at Meadow Swimmin’ Pool, the feature pool with a 67-foot-long corkscrew waterslide. Adults are invited to enjoy the serenity of whirlpool spa, while little ones will surely want to splash it up in the adjacent fort-themed water play area—where young buckaroos can breeze down on their own tot-friendly slides. Nearby, a snack shop offer refreshments and snacks.

Wilderness Swimmin’ Pool
Retreat to Wilderness Swimmin’ Pool, the all-ages leisure pool with a whirlpool spa, for a more tranquil swim.

Fort Wilderness Archery Experience

Archery Guides teach Guests 7 years of age and up how to use a compound bow; then it’s time for target practice! Most of this 75-minute experience is dedicated to firing at range targets. With class sizes limited to 10 Guests, each marksman receives personalized advice from the Archery Guides to best help you hone your archery skills.

Disney World Resorts
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Carriage Rides

Travel through the lush pine and cypress forest where deer, rabbits, ducks and armadillos like to roam. You’ll board your horse-drawn carriage for a 25-minute ride at the main entrance of Crockett’s Tavern at The Cabins and Campsites of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. Carriages fit up to 4 adults, or 2 adults and 3 small children. Each horse-drawn carriage ride costs $55. Advance reservations are highly recommended. 

Dining Recommendation

Trail’s End Restaurant

Head off your hunger at breakfast, and dinnertime too, with all-you-care-to-enjoy American favorites in a rustic locale. From sun up to sundown, your taste buds are guaranteed an expedition through flavor country! Round up your settlement and sail across Bay Lake to a time of pioneers. Nestled on 750 wooded acres inhabited by enchanting wildlife, Trail’s End Restaurant is one dining destination you’ll want to allow plenty of time to reach. Getting there is a trailblazing adventure unto itself!

Best Disney World Resorts for a Laid Back Staycation

For some people, especially those more local to Walt Disney World, it’s nice to book a quick staycation-style getaway every now and then. Some people even prefer just to get a dose of magic without even visiting one of the parks! Luckily, there is truly something for everyone at Walt Disney World. While there are countless resorts on property that would be great for a staycation, these are some of my favorites. The atmosphere is fun yet laid back and the resort properties are beautiful. They fall in the middle in regards to pricing and still have great food and pool/recreation activities to enjoy!

Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter

Disney World Resorts
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Official Disney description:

Revel in the romance and pageantry of New Orleans’s historic French Quarter at this Moderate Resort hotel. Discover cobblestone streets, gas lamps, wrought-iron balconies and fragrant magnolia blossoms, along with colorful Mardi Gras characters and the sounds of jazz. Then stroll along the lushly landscaped Sassagoula River to Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, where the bayou beckons, as do Cajun and Creole specialties.

Pools/Recreation

Parade around this Mardi Gras-themed pool area where King Neptune sits astride a giant sea serpent. Scale “Scales,” as he’s affectionately known, and slide down his tongue for a splash landing. Jazz-loving gators and clamshell water features add more poolside panache while a hot tub and the nearby Mardi Grogs pool bar let the good times roll.

Disney World Resorts
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Scat Cat’s Club

Unwind in this New Orleans-style lounge with some jazz music true to the great sounds of the French Quarter!

Dining Recommendation

Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory

Dine like a true Mardi Gras reveler at this restaurant located at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter.

Disney’s Old Key West Resort

Disney World Resorts
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Official Disney description:

Experience the romance of the Florida Keys at this tranquil community of Conch Flats—a sprawling island hamlet with shimmering waterways, swaying palm trees and manicured golf-course fairways. Delight in sun-soaked pools, casual dining and such amenities as fully equipped kitchens or kitchenettes. A peaceful tropical paradise, Disney’s Old Key West Resort is also just a boat ride away from the excitement of Disney Springs.

Pools/Recreation

Sweep down a sandcastle waterslide, and discover a dry sauna at the base of a lighthouse. Relax in the whirlpool spa, and soak up the sun on a sand beach—all while your little ones splash about in the adjacent kiddie pool.

The 149,000-gallon main pool is located near Hospitality House. You can also explore 3 all-ages quiet pools in the Old Turtle Pond, South Point and Miller’s Road sections—each with a whirlpool spa.

Conch Flats Community Hall

Play complimentary foosball, pool, video games, ping-pong and shuffleboard, and check out equipment for tennis, basketball and volleyball. Create one-of-a-kind crafts, and even sign out DVDs to enjoy in your Guest Room!

Disney World Resorts
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Dining Recommendation

Olivia’s Cafe

A longtime resident of Conch Flats, Olivia welcomes diners with Island-inspired dishes. This nautical-themed eatery has the friendly, familiar feel of a neighborhood institution and is a perennial favorite of many a Guest.

Best Disney World Resorts for Easy Park Access

There are quite a few resorts in the different park areas that would offer easy park access to guests. Thanks to the amazing Walt Disney World transportation services offered to resort guests, a bus, boat, or Disney Skyliner gondola is always nearby! But if you’d prefer something even closer to the parks, so you can walk — these are a few of our favorite options. You get the perk of proximity with these and the luxury of staying at what I consider to be some of the best resorts on Disney property.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Disney World Resorts
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Official Disney description:

Retreat to this ultra-modern Disney Resort hotel and discover award-winning dining, spectacular views and dazzling pools. Whether you’re staying in the iconic A-frame Contemporary tower or the nearby Garden Wing, you can walk to Magic Kingdom main gate or catch the Resort Monorail as it breezes through the tower. Inside, a 90-foot-tall mural by Disney Legend Mary Blair—responsible for the distinct look and feel of the “it’s a small world” attraction—celebrates the Grand Canyon and the American Southwest.

Pools/Recreation

Cool off as you take your pick from 2 pools conveniently located along the shore of Bay Lake. Glide down the 17-foot-high, curving waterslide at the main pool, or relax in one of 2 whirlpool spas. Children can even make a splash in the water playground designed just for kids! You can also escape to Bay Pool—the all-ages quiet pool that juts out over Bay Lake. Soak up the sun from a lounge chair on the deck, or rent a private cabana for added luxury.

Pirates & Pals Fireworks Dessert Voyage

Your adventure starts at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, where your crew will be presented with a splendid spread of snacks—which may include cookies, cupcakes, pretzels, chips, fruit and ice cream bars. A variety of refreshing hot and cold beverages—such as coffee and Pirate Punch—is also available to quench even the most parched privateer’s thirst before hitting the high seas. Keep those cameras and your best pirate voice ready—Captain Hook and Mr. Smee want to meet the new recruits before shipping out! Join the pirate parade to the dock before embarking on an unforgettable voyage with your captain, the roguish pirate Patch. Breathe in the salty sea air as you and your crew test your knowledge of Disney trivia, sing sea chanteys and brush up on all things nautical. Drop anchor at the perfect spot to take in the nightly fireworks extravaganza—no spyglass needed!

Pricing: $83.83 per adult (ages 10 and up); $49.87 per child (ages 3 to 9), tax and gratuity included.

Disney World Resorts
Credit: Disney

Dining Recommendation

California Grill

Californian cuisine celebrates fresh, seasonal ingredients and the international, melting-pot culture of the Golden State. Via private elevator, ascend to the 15th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, where you’ll discover exquisite panoramic views of the shimmering lagoon, Floridian woodland and Cinderella Castle. Inside, enjoy the vibrant sights and sounds of the lively onstage kitchen, where chefs combine global flavors in deliciously inventive new ways.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Disney World Resorts
Credit: Disney

Official Disney description:

Celebrate the spirit of the South Pacific at this oasis of tropical palms, lush vegetation and so much more. From moonlit nights immersed in the outdoor island ambience to the exotic tastes of our world-class restaurants, discover the signature tropical atmosphere that’s made Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort a favorite Disney destination since 1971.

Pools/Recreation

Lava Pool
Make a splash at this pool which features a towering volcano, a waterfall and a thrilling 142 foot-long waterslide. A zero-depth entry point, similar to a beach, slopes gently into the pool making for easy entry and exit. Nearby, a lounge and bar offer refreshments and snacks.

Oasis Pool
Nestled amid a lush garden, this all-ages leisure pool promises a more tranquil swim for those looking to relax and unwind.

Guided Fishing Excursions

Guided catch-and-release outings let you experience bass fishing at its finest—all year round! Whether you’re a seasoned sportsman or an amateur angler, a guided fishing excursion is fun for Guests of all ages. Both 2-hour and 4-hour excursions are offered, and if available, an extra hour may be added in person at the Marina.

Ohana
Credit: Disney

Dining Recommendation

‘Ohana

Lilo and Stitch, along with other friends, invite you and your ʻohana to an American breakfast influenced by Polynesian flavors. Feast family-style as Disney Friends visit with Guests, sign autographs and pose for photos. Breakfast selections include scrambled eggs, Island-style fried potatoes, Hawaiian pork sausages, Hawaiian-style ham topped with pineapple compote, a variety of fresh fruits and assorted breads

Disney’s Beach Club Resort

disney's beach club
Credit: Disney

Official Disney description:

Discover the casual elegance of this charming, New England-style Resort hotel. Savor exquisite dining, and explore the pools, lagoons and spas of Stormalong Bay. Sail around Crescent Lake on a rented mini-powerboat, and experience the luxurious comfort of a Club Level Suite. Sharing many amenities with its more formal sister, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort is walking distance to EPCOT and a convenient boat ride to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Pools/Recreation

Discover a life-size shipwreck, pools, lagoons and more at Stormalong Bay—a 3-acre water wonderland.

Climb the mast and zip down one of the highest hotel waterslides at Walt Disney World Resort. Catch currents on an inner tube in the lazy river, unwind in one of 3 whirlpool spas and relax on the elevated tanning deck. Children can wade into the main pool from a gentle slope and splash about in 2 kiddie pools—including one with a miniature waterslide.

Prefer a more tranquil experience? Explore 3 all-ages quiet pools—each with a whirlpool spa—located throughout Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts.

fantasia golf
Credit: Disney

Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf

Delight in two 18-hole miniature golf adventures based on Disney’s classic animated film Fantasia. Walk-ups are welcome or you may book a tee time for the next day or beyond by calling (407) WDW-PLAY or (407) 939-7529.

Dining Recommendation

Beaches & Cream Soda Shop

Bring your sweet tooth to this newly renovated, boardwalk-style ice cream parlor where every day is sundae.

The Magic of Staying at a Walt Disney World Resort

Which Disney Resort is “the best” is something that is truly relative and completely depends on what you’re looking for out of your Disney vacation. There really is no wrong choice here. You can rest assured that no matter which resort you choose, you’ll be greeted with top-tier service and a memorable experience that you won’t forget. Every single Walt Disney World Resort is unique and filled with its own special kind of magic thanks to the hardworking cast members who make it! Also, keep in mind that you can benefit from the following perks when choosing to stay on property versus off:

  • Extra magic hours
  • Complimentary transportation to and from the parks, resorts, and Disney Springs
  • The Magical Express Airport shuttle
  • Disney Concierge Services
  • Early access to FastPass+
  • Disney Dining Plans
Disney World Resorts
Credit: Disney

Book your Walt Disney World Vacation free of charge with Academy Travel

Academy Travel is an excellent travel agency recognized by Disney and bestowed with the honor of earning the highest designation that Disney can bestow upon a travel agency, EarMarked Diamond.

One reason the agency attained the “Authorized Disney Vacation Planner” status is that all the frontline leisure travel agents are College of Disney Knowledge graduates. The College of Disney Knowledge is an in-depth comprehensive course that allows agents to develop their expertise regarding the Disney Destinations – knowledge that consumers can take advantage of when planning a Disney vacation.

Academy Travel
Credit: Academy Travel/Disney

Working with one of their talented and knowledgeable agents can allow you to craft the perfect Disney vacation that works for your family and their services are absolutely free of charge to you. You can save money and hassle by discussing different travel packages and specials that many people wouldn’t know about. You can relax knowing that Academy Travel is working hard to may sure everything runs smoothly for your vacation and if/when the unexpected happens in regards to trip changes, they’re there to assist you. Click here to book a trip!

Looking for more Walt Disney World Resort Guides? Check these out!

Have you had a chance to stay at any of these Walt Disney World Resorts? If so, let us know your favorite in the comments below!



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