I am so excited to formally introduce you to Stacey aka Mrs. Dr. Dreiz! She has an amazing resort overview for you I know you will love it!
Hey you guys! Mrs. Dr. Dreiz here, I decided to hijack Kyle’s blog post this week. As some of you may know, I’ve been in bed for the past 6 weeks and today Baby Guru has decided to ease up on me so I thought I would share a few of my mouse-pinions on the best places to stay on Disney property! It’s a long read, but I hope you enjoy it! Also check out the latest picture of Baby Guru. He/she is ready to head to Pirates of the Caribbean and get a Dole Whip.
I get asked all the time about where to stay. With kids, without kids, with grandma. My answer is always the same: on property.
Not only does not having to drive home at the end of a long day appeal to me but the hospitality offered at a Disney hotel is unlike any other in the world. Cast members at a Disney hotel definitely go out of their way to make sure that your stay goes perfectly. And I mean perfectly. We have only ever switched rooms once while staying on property due to our displeasure and it was as a result of unplanned construction that woke us up one morning at about 8AM. We usually head to the parks before then but didn’t want to risk that anyone would decide to feel groggy, get to work early, and rev up the jack hammer before my husband finished his beauty sleep. But to Disney’s credit, when we alerted them of our issue they told us to throw everything back in our suitcases and they would pick them up for us and we would have a new room waiting for us when we got back at the end of the day. Problem solved!
So I wanted to share with you some of the best places to stay at Disney World, broken down by group size and budget! (also, there is no reason why you should have to stay in a gigantic villa just because you’re having a Grand Gathering you guys. Disney will make it seem like you need to have your own chateau and that life will be miserable otherwise, but don’t buy it. Planning is what’s important!) So without further adieu, here is a definitive list of the best places to stay at Disney and still have money left over for extra Mickey bars!
Pal Mickey Note: as a rule, at the value resorts it is worth the little bit extra that you pay to stay in a “premium” room, which puts you nearest the lobby and bus pick up point!
2-4 guests: Disney’s Pop Century Resort: In my opinion Pop Century (or “the Pop”) is best for guests who are on a tight budget and want a value resort without the feeling of being at a value resort. Ya dig? My issue with the other value resorts is that they all have themes: music, movies, sports, So you tend to have a lot of children’s group vacations staying there, cheerleaders at the sports resorts, bands at the music resort, and so on and so forth. Pop Century attracts just your average family looking for a good price. And the tye dye cheesecake in the Everything Pop food court is delicious! (Pal Mickey note: the other three value resorts all share a common bus system, due to it’s size the Pop Century resort has it’s own transportation which can drastically cut down on your travel time!)
5-7 guests: Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort: Chances are that if you have 5-7 people with you, you’ve probably got a nice age range going on. The All-Star Movies Resort has something for people of all ages. My brother in law, his mother, and my nieces all stayed in the Toy Story building and my husband and I stayed in the 101 Dalmatians building and we were all happy with our accommodations Even in June I found that the rooms were quiet despite there being like, a million people there.
8 or more guests: Disney’s All-Star Music Resort: Unless you want to start entertaining the idea of getting a villa I have two words for you: adjoining rooms. That one is pretty much a no brainier, but the family suites at the All-Star Music Resort are what put this value resort above the rest. They feature a queen sized be along with an arm chair and ottoman that turn in to two more beds! Both the chair and the ottoman are “junior” sized beds so if your little one is a kicker at night then this is the perfect way for you guys to share a room and make sure that mom and dad get enough sleep and won’t be all cranky the next day! There are two bathrooms, a kitchenette area, a microwave, and a sink. These rooms will sleep up to 6 people, but I feel like stuffing a room to it’s maximum limit is just asking to have a bad time. If a room will sleep six I wouldn’t put in any more than 4, and then you have all kinds of free space for luggage and souvenirs! These rooms are not spacious and accommodating like what you would find at Bay Lake or Animal Kingdom Lodge, but they will give you a comfy, albeit, small space, to relax after a long day at the parks.
2-4 Guests: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort: Each building at the CBR offers it’s own pool and gives you the look and feel of the deluxe Saratoga Springs Resort without the high price tag! Because the CBR looks a little more like a Miami retirement community, it isn’t especially tailored towards the interests of children (not that kids wouldn’t love it because hey it’s Disney World!) but you can request a special pirate themed room which features beds that look like pirate ships! I feel as though the interior of the rooms look about the same as what you would find at the value resorts but in a much prettier setting and a much more adult theme.
(Pal Mickey Note: Due to there being different buildings within this resort that are very spaced out the transportation to the parks makes about 5 different stops before heading towards its final destination, so keep this in mind when trying to manage your time!)
5-7 Guests: Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-French Quarter: I had a really tough time deciding whether this one should go under the 2-4 heading or not. But in the end I think it’s a little more appropriate for those traveling with more than one or two kids. The outside is reminiscent of a Louisiana river boat, which tends to make it feel a little more upscale than your average moderate resort. The rooms are beautifully decorated, and it boasts a giant water slide made to look like a sea serpent! The riverside views and beautiful landscaping make this and ideal place for smaller families or people who want a more sophisticated feel to their resort without paying Bay Lake prices.
8 or more Guests: The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort: Two words you guys: bunk beds. Let me say that again in case it didn’t completely set in. Bunk. Beds. Having that old time log cabin feel isn’t for everyone but I’m a huge fan. If it were socially acceptable I would build my whole house out of cedar trees and wear plaid ALL.THE.TIME. Hosting a Grand Gathering can be expensive and exhausting, and nothing puts that feeling at ease more than being in a setting rich with conifers and dirt. As long as you are half an hour from a Target. Just to be safe y’all. Anyway, an important feature of the FWR is the grocery store. Basic stuff like milk, bread, sandwich meat, juice, etc. is available at the on site grocery. But as with everything you will pay Disney prices. With that being said $3.00 for a box of Mickeroni & Cheese may be totally worth it. The rooms sleep up to six people (like I said before, two rooms and in this case cabins, is a necessity) and the kitchens have all major appliances including a stove and a refrigerator (to keep your left over Mickeroni & Cheese in). They even include all your dinnerware!
2-4 Guests: Disney’s Contemporary Resort: I’m going to be completely honest with you guys, I have an unhealthy obsession with completely LOVE the Contemporary. In my opinion it is the best hotel on all of Disney property. It’s the first one I recommend to anyone that is going to Disney for the first time and the first one that I price check when planning a vacation. We stayed there on our last visit, and every night I fell asleep looking at Cinderella Castle change color. It is without a doubt my most favorite memory only to be surpassed by the birth of my first child (and even that is iffy, I’ll calls it when I sees it). I could go on and on about all the things that make the Contemporary a great place to stay but at the end of the day all I have to say is that it’s the best there is. Period. The monorail runs right through the hotel and it’s as quiet as the mouse who’s hosting dinner downstairs. The Contemporary plays host to Chef Mickey’s restaurant which features a character dining experience for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So after waking up to a view of Cinderella Castle, we would step outside the door and be greeted by a view of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto entertaining guests at the buffet. The resort is connected to the Magic Kingdom by a walkway so every night we skipped the bus and monorail and took the short 5-minute walk home (usually with a hot dog from Casey’s Corner). If you were to think of your ultimate Disney World experience I guarantee that most of the requirements would be met by a stay at the Contemporary Resort. If you ever get the chance to stay there, even for a day, I would take it.
5-7 Guests: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa: I love this for more than just the fact that it was featured on an episode of Full House. The Grand Floridian looks about as upscale as it can get and hosts Victoria & Albert’s restaurant which features award winning cuisine. If you want fancy, then look no further than the Grand Floridian. The GF has it’s own marina and from the beach or your own patio you can view the nightly Magic Kingdom fireworks. There is also an exclusive Electrical Water Parade that takes place in Seven Seas Lagoon for guests of the Polynesian, Contemporary, and Grand Floridian. The bathrooms are beautiful, with lots of marble counter space and the marble on the floor even features subtle images of Tinkerbell, Pluto, Mickey, Minne etc. Elegant is really the perfect word to describe the Grand Floridian. The suites can sleep up to 10 adults comfortably and in my experience the one thing that is never lacking at a Disney deluxe resort is space! The Garden View Tea Lounge hosts a My Disney Girls Perfectly Princess Tea Party featuring Sleeping Beauty where young guests are treated to afternoon tea (apple juice), an 18-inch Sleeping Beauty doll, a ribbon tiara, bracelet, and all kinds of other goodies. Young princes are given a Duffy Bear and a pirate Mickey hat. All for the low low price of $174.00 plus tax! No expense is spared at the Grand Floridian.
8 or more Guests: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: there are a couple things I love about Animal Kingdom Lodge, the lobby is by far the most interesting of all the Disney properties and when you wake up in the morning you are face to face with a legit zebra. AKL features four giant savannahs which feature up close and personal encounters with animals from all over Africa. Imagine being able to go to sleep at night right in the middle of the Kilimanjaro Safari. That’s essentially the theme at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Also, bunk beds, which automatically adds a star to any rating system I’ve established. For those not able to book a room with a savannah view, there are common viewing areas for all guests. Another cool thing that the AKL features is a zero-entry depth pool (a walk in pool with no stairs for those of us that aren’t in to using fancy words n’ such). The reason I think this particular resort is much more fitting for groups of 8 or more is because it’s warm, inviting, and creates the perfect atmosphere for togetherness. If you can, call and request the Arusha Savannah. It’s the closest to the lobby (Jambo House) and is widely accepted as being the best savannah view of the four, it’s also the only savannah that features zebras. Each savannah has a species that is unique to that specific savannah. All savannahs have giraffes. Overall this resort is recommendable to any size party, and my husband and I will actually be experiencing it first hand next week so I’m sure I’ll have much more to rave about after that!