What’s the Best Walt Disney World Deluxe Resort for You?

What's the Best Walt Disney World Deluxe Resort?

What’s the Best Walt Disney World Deluxe Resort for You?

A Walt Disney World Luxury Hotel Selector

Whether you enjoy sophisticated surroundings, a tropical paradise or a sandy beach beneath your toes, there’s a Walt Disney World Deluxe Resort hotel that’s right for you.

Disney fans pretty much know that Walt Disney World is the ultimate Disney travel resort destination. On sheer size alone, it’s hard to rival the breadth of 43 square miles covering four theme parks, two water parks, a shopping and entertainment district and much more. It is the single most popular Disney resort destination, bar none.

But within that world there is a wide range of offerings. I won’t say that there’s something for every budget, because despite the plethora of how-to-do-Disney-on-the-cheap websites and gurus out there, Walt Disney World is not a budget destination. Period. And that was by design by Walt Disney himself, who valued staying true to his vision for the ultimate guest experience, no matter what the cost (much to the dismay of his brother Roy, who had the challenge of managing the flow of dollars for many years).

But that’s another story…

So if you’re planning an upscale Walt Disney World vacation and you’re wondering where you should stay, this handy post breaks down eight of the top Deluxe Disney Resort hotels to make it easier for you to decide which one (or ones) sound like they might be best for you.

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, Water View

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort on Seven Seas Lagoon.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Ideal For: The luxury Disney traveler

Without debate, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is the place to be when it comes to the best-of-the-best of Disney Deluxe Resort hotels at Walt Disney World. This hotel truly has it all, from dining and shopping, to activities for the kids and lounging space for parents. There’s not much (if anything) that you’ll be lacking when you stay here.

So if you just want to know which is the most luxurious Disney-owned resort at Walt Disney World? Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is the answer.

More about Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Disney's Contemporary Resort, Monorail at Sunset

Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Monorail at Sunset.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Ideal For: Travelers who value convenience

As one of the two Walt Disney World original resort hotels, Disney’s Contemporary Resort holds a special charm among those who frequented this magical place in the early years. What the hotel may lack in creativity or Disney theming, it makes up for in its prime location only steps from the front gate of Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park. It’s the only hotel that offers guests the ability to walk to and from the park, something that will come in handy after the nightly fireworks show when transportation lineups can sink even the heaviest of magically buoyed hearts.

More about Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, Luau Cove Sign

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Luau Cove Sign.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Ideal For: The laid back traveler who seeks the island life

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is the other original Disney Resort hotel and it has managed to retain much of its island charm over years, even with all of the building and growth that has gone on all around it. Ideally placed on or near to two separate monorail lines, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is steeped in island ambiance, making it ideal for the Disney traveler who seeks a tropical vibe with their Disney Magic.

More about Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Disney's Wilderness Lodge Woodland

The woodland ambiance of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Walt Disney World.

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Ideal For: The traveler who likes rustic charm and upscale accommodations

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is a Deluxe Disney Resort hotel that manages to delicately straddle the line between rustic woodland theming, while still providing a premium upscale vacation experience. Located in the Magic Kingdom Resort area, but not attached to the monorail line, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge will appeal to guests who enjoy its Northwest Lodge style of theming )and who want to be in the Magic Kingdom Resort neighbourhood), but who still prefer to be just a little off the beaten path.

Disney's Yacht Club Lobby area

The decor in Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is more refined and wood toned — club like — versus the blue and brights of the Beach Club next door.

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Ideal For: The traveler who enjoys the private club ambiance and the Epcot area

While Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is connected to Disney’s Beach Club Resort, it has a very distinct ambiance and guest composition. This resort will appeal to those who like the darker wood ambiance, reminiscent of a private club feel. This property is also connected to a conference centre so it can have more of an adult/corporate skew in the lobby. It also recently became the first Disney Deluxe Resort to allow dogs, so if you want to bring your own Pluto along for the ride, then this is your choice in the Deluxe category. On the plus side, club level rooms here all feature balconies (not so next door at Disney’s Beach Club Resort) and you will get all of the privileges of the Stormalong Bay pool complex.

Stormalong Bay Fun at Disney's Beach Club Resort.

Stormalong Bay Fun at Disney’s Beach Club Resort.

Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Ideal For: Travelers who enjoy the ambiance of a beach vacation resort

If fun-in-the-sun in a Disney version of a beach paradise sounds appealing, Disney’s Beach Club Resort is an excellent choice. While connected to Disney’s Yacht Club Resort next door, these two properties are very different in their feel and guest composition. Families with kids will migrate to the Beach Club for obvious reasons. Its color palette and general style is upbeat and kid-friendly (not that the Yacht Club isn’t kid friendly, just not in the same way). The legendary Stormalong Bay — complete with its sand-bottom pool, lazy river and pirate ship water slide — is a big draw for kids of all ages.

Disney's Boardwalk Inn

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn.

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn

Ideal For: Traveler’s who like refined elegance with a whiff of Gatsbyesque history

Across Crescent Lake from Disney’s Yacht and Beach Clubs, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn holds its own unique appeal. Modelled after the Atlantic City seaside boardwalk in its prime, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn is a refined and upscale property that is ideally situated right on the water on the very popular (and lively) boardwalk.

Note: All three of the hotels on the shores of Crescent Lake (Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts and Disney’s Boardwalk Inn) are located within close proximity to two Disney theme parks: Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot, making these Deluxe Disney Resort hotels very popular with guests.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Savannah View

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Savannah View.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Ideal For: Those who enjoy an African-inspired ambiance complete with vibrant savannas right onsite

Located farthest from the hustle and bustle of activity nearby other Deluxe Disney Resorts, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge stands alone as a unique-themed Disney resort with a focus on the wildlife, art and culture of Africa. This is a top-tier resort that will appeal to any guests interested in an immersive experience on any of those themes. The only drawback to staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is that it is relatively isolated compared to all other Deluxe Disney resort hotels at Walt Disney World. So if you do decide to stay here, you will be facing longer commute times to most Walt Disney World activities (unless you have a car).

Walt Disney World Deluxe Hotel Comparisons

To help you decide between some of the most popular hotels, I have created several head-to-head luxury Disney resort hotel comparisons. Feel free to read these to help you make a more informed decision as you narrow down your choices.

Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation?

As a Luxury Travel Blogger and author of The Very Best of Walt Disney World Resort, I blog regularly about Disney vacations of all shapes and sizes.

Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook for the latest news and insights on luxury Disney travel.

Be sure to read my Definitive Guide to Planning Your Walt Disney World vacation, which features the seven steps that will get you started in the right direction.

Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Deluxe Disney Travel Specialist