What are the Best Hotels at Disney World?
The Best Hotels at Disney World
The best hotels at Walt Disney World are those in the Deluxe Disney resort hotels category. With over 25 Disney hotels from which to choose, this subset includes Disney’s best hotels, followed by hotels in the Moderate and the Value categories.
The best hotels at Walt Disney World are:
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Disney’s Old Key West Resort
- Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Even among this elite group of Deluxe Disney hotels, they’re not all created equal. With more than 10 Deluxe Disney Resort hotels and Villas from which to choose, it’s not always an easy decision to make. See below for the shortlist of the very best.
As of December 2019, Disney’s Riviera Resort will also become part of this list.
What are the best hotels at Walt Disney World?
The Best Hotels and Villas at Walt Disney World
The best hotels at Walt Disney World are those that deliver the perfect combination of the following:
- upscale rooms,
- a wide range of activities and amenities,
- many dining options, including table service dining,
- good proximity to the parks,
- expansive and well maintained properties, and
- an overall immersive themed resort experience.
With all of this in mind, these are my picks for the best hotels at Disney World. I have stayed in every Deluxe Disney resort and villa numerous times since 1971, so my recommendations are based on repeated first-hand experience.
Also, bear in mind that you can’t go horribly wrong by choosing any one of Disney’s Deluxe hotels or villas, but among that elite group, there are a few properties that stand out above and beyond the others.
The Very Best Hotels at Disney World
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
The Grand Floridian became the immediate Crown Jewel of the Vacation Kingdom as soon as it opened its doors in 1988 as the third resort hotel at Walt Disney World. Since then, it has continued to reign supreme among all onsite Disney properties. With unbeatable dining, shopping, entertainment and activities, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is the clear choice for any discriminating Disney traveler. If you’re looking for the best-of-the-best in a truly upscale and immersive Walt Disney World experience, look no further than the Grand.
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
As one of the original two Walt Disney World hotels, Disney’s Contemporary Resort holds a lot of sentimental charm and continues to earn top marks as one of the best places to stay at Walt Disney World. While it may be showing its age in some areas (nothing a little refurbishment can’t fix), the property itself checks all of the boxes that you would want in an upscale onsite Disney World resort property. From top-rated dining and amenities, to a stellar location just steps from the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Contemporary Resort is worth exploring as a top pick for your upscale Disney vacation.
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Over in the Epcot and Hollywood Studios neighborhood, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is a refined upscale Walt Disney World Deluxe Resort hotel that offers a more club-like ambiance reminiscent of the wood tones of a waterside yacht club. This is a great hotel to pick if you’d rather stay closer to the two aforementioned theme parks. You can easily walk to Epcot from the Yacht Club and Disney’s Hollywood Studios is just a short boat ride away (by complementary Disney water craft).
Disney’s Beach Club Resort
As the sister resort to the Yacht Club, Disney’s Beach Club Resort is another popular choice among upscale Disney travelers. The two hotels share virtually all of the amenities and dining options, including the very popular Stormalong Bay pool complex. Plus, they are an easy stroll to the Disney Boardwalk area across the waters of Crescent Lake.
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort is a sprawling 65-acre community-like complex of Disney Vacation Club Villas. It’s location within walking distance of Disney Springs and its quiet and relaxed atmosphere make it a great choice for those who want to get away from it all, while still staying in an onsite Disney property. Villa accommodations offer kitchen facilities and much more, as compared to traditional hotel rooms. Plus, with five separate pools and seemingly endless space to walk or ride a bike, Disney Saratoga Springs is a lesser-known but very worthy option as a top pick among the best hotels at Disney World.
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (particularly the Bora Bora Bungalows)
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is the other original Disney World hotel, along with Disney’s Contemporary Resort. It is a popular property with lush island theming, but the main reason that it is on this list is for the Bora Bora Bungalows. These are arguably the very best single accommodation that you can find at Walt Disney World. A stay in a Bora Bora Bungalow is not something that you’ll soon forget.
What’s Not on This List
Absent from this list are a few other very nice Deluxe Disney resort hotels, but most notably Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. These are both beautiful resorts that are well worth a visit, but for various reasons they are not among my top picks for where to stay at Disney World. If you’re trying to choose between these two hotels, you may find this post very helpful.
Having Trouble Trying to Choose Between Two Disney World Hotels?
Read more about these and all Deluxe hotels in my post on This or That: Choosing between any two Deluxe Disney resort hotels.
Planning an Upscale Disney World Vacation?
As a Luxury Disney travel expert and author, I blog regularly about upscale Disney vacations of all shapes and sizes. Read more about what defines an upscale Disney vacation.
Listen on the go with 1923 Main Street: A Daddy Daughter Disney Travel Podcast, where my daughter Amelia and I cover everything to do with Disney travel from two perspectives. New episodes released every Tuesday.
Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Deluxe Disney Travel Specialist