My Definitive Choices: The Top Hotels at Walt Disney World

A Definitive Guide to the Top Hotels at Walt Disney World

My Definitive Choices: The Best Hotels at Walt Disney World

Wondering where to stay on your Walt Disney World vacation? If you’re interested in an upscale accommodation that’s onsite and filled with Disney Magic, these are my top picks and definitive recommendations for any luxury traveler on a Walt Disney World vacation.

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

It’s no secret that Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is considered to be the top tier hotel at Walt Disney World (a reputation well deserved), but what is a secret to some is that once inside, this hotel isn’t nearly as prim and proper or stuffy as many people believe.

In fact, when you stay at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort you really do get it all. Well-appointed rooms, premier service, shopping, dining, resort activities, pools, kids activities, a spa, golfing and sporting activities, you name it. It’s all right at your fingertips. And all of this is captured within the very well maintained upscale Victorian themed grounds and structures, all of which combine to ensure that you’re well aware that you’re staying at a luxury resort hotel property. Plus, this is the perfect Disney property for families with kids.

So if you have been considering staying here but weren’t sure whether it would be good for a family…couple…honeymoon…young kids…etc., let me put your mind at ease. There’s something for everyone here and you won’t be disappointed in the abundance of amenities all within easy access.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Some people may think that Walt Disney World is all about the Disney Parks, so it doesn’t really matter where you stay. That kind of thinking would be a mistake, at least for any guest who prefers to stay at an upscale resort property when they travel. All Disney Deluxe Resort hotels have unique themes, but one of the best themed of all is Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

One of the original Walt Disney World hotels, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has stood the test of time and remains a strong guest favourite. More than any other Deluxe Disney Resort hotel, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort seems to have the strongest allegiance of loyal fans and repeat visitors (something that I have noticed over the past nearly 50 years of Disney travel).

Guests of this resort are immersed in a South Pacific Island culture that helps to bring a sense of calm and tranquility to any Disney Day (unless you’re hanging around the Volcano Pool; then all bets are off). With low rise buildings, luxurious overwater bungalows and winding tropical pathways that meander throughout the property, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has maintained a very unique and distinct ambiance quite different from any other luxury Disney property at Walt Disney World.

Disney's Contemporary Resort.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

In the category of most underrated Deluxe Hotel at Walt Disney World, Disney’s Contemporary Resort is the easy winner here. This hotel often gets an undeserved bad rap in my opinion. Most of the knocks stem from the fact that its design and theming are not quite “Disney” enough for some travelers. Be that as it may (personally, I don’t mind the futuristic “Tomorrowland” inspired look), the unique design and “contemporary” A-frame structure have stood the test of time. If you ask me, Disney’s Contemporary Resort is almost as iconic a landmark as Cinderella Castle or Spaceship Earth. When you see it, you know it’s Walt Disney World.

Theming aside, Disney’s Contemporary Resort has a lot going for it and should not be dismissed by any naysayers. First of all, its location is second to none. You can walk to the gates of Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park (the only hotel that boasts that benefit) and it has exceptional views of Bay Lake, Seven Seas Lagoon and Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park. Dining and shopping are quite good here and transportation access is also quite convenient. It also has some of the largest and quietest rooms at Walt Disney World, so if that is important to you, add another checkmark to your list.

All in all, Disney’s Contemporary Resort is a very strong contender and in my opinion is one of the top choices among Deluxe Resort hotels at Walt Disney World.

Disney's Beach Club Resort.

Disney’s Beach Club Resort.

Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Over in the Epcot and Boardwalk Resort area, Disney’s Beach Club Resort is a top pick for anyone looking to stay in this area of Walt Disney World. Disney’s Beach Club Resort is a popular upscale property with families, mainly because it’s home to the legendary Stormalong Bay pool complex (a three-acre pool area that’s more water park than it is hotel pool). But there is much more to Disney’s Beach Club Resort than Stormalong Bay.

While it may feel a little busier than the first three properties on this list, Disney’s Beach Club Resort has a lot going for it. First of all, it’s in an ideal location, close to two Disney theme parks (you can walk to Epcot from here and take a short boat ride to Disney’s Hollywood Studios). Secondly, it has some pretty great dining options right onsite (Beaches & Cream, Cape May) and—when you add its sister resort next door (Disney’s Yacht Club Resort), there are even more options. There are multiple pools here (in addition to Stormalong Bay) and lots of activities for kids and adults alike.

Overall if you decide not to stay in the Magic Kingdom Resort area, Disney’s Beach Club Resort would be my next recommendation.

Are You Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation?

Be sure to read my Guide to Planning A Walt Disney World Vacation and my post on the Five Golden Rules of Walt Disney World Vacation Planning.

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Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Disney Travel Expert – Deluxe Disney Travel Specialist
The Finer Side of Travel™ #LuxuryDisney