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Walt Disney World’s 8 Deluxe Resorts

Who hasn’t dreamed of staying in one of Walt Disney World’s magnificent deluxe resorts?  Guests at Disney’s deluxe resorts enjoy the ultimate in conveniences, amenities, comfort and top-notch theming – and many of them are within walking distance of a theme park!  Rooms at these resorts tend to be larger than those at other resorts, plus you’ll enjoy access to fun recreation options like boat and bike rentals.  Many deluxe resorts have extras like Children’s Activity Centers, or truly spectacular pool complexes.  Here is the run-down on all of Walt Disney World’s 8 deluxe resorts.  Which is your Disney dream resort?

8. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

In terms of theming, this safari-style resort gets top billing!  It’s gorgeously designed, with an impressive collection of art that will immediately transport you to Africa.  Anyone who loves Animal Kingdom will love staying at this resort!  The savannah surrounding it is home to an array of wild animals that you can view day or night, either from your balcony (who wouldn’t want to wake up with a giraffe peering through their window?) or from the viewing areas.  There are a variety of dining options here from every tier, whether you’re looking for something quick and familiar, or want to experience a buffet of African favorites.  In fact, the only negative thing we can say about Animal Kingdom Lodge is its location – it’s a fair distance from all Disney theme parks except for Animal Kingdom.

7. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

This is a perfect deluxe resort option for guests who enjoy the great outdoors!  Disney’s Wilderness Lodge features rustic, woodsy theming, and you’ll experience this inside your resort room, and throughout the resort’s grounds, which are covered with thick woods.  It’s easy to forget you’re in Florida when you stay here!  We also love this resort’s value for the money, and the fact that it’s close to the Magic Kingdom.  Plus, when you’re finished relaxing in the pool or the woods, you can take a stroll to the giant, 120-foot artificial geyser behind the lodge and watch it erupt (every hour from 7 am until 10 pm).

6. Disney’s Beach Club Resort

There’s nothing we don’t love about Disney’s Beach Club resort!  It just has “vacation” written all over it.  It’s themed as a classic New England hotel, but isn’t as stuffy or upscale as its sister resort, Yacht Club, so you can definitely relax here. But the biggest perk for this resort, in our opinion, is the breath-taking pool complex, Stormalong Bay.  With actual sand at the bottom and a lazy river and pirate ship to enjoy, it’s hard to beat.  Not to mention, when you’re finished swimming, you can head to the Yachtsman Steakhouse or Beaches & Cream for some of our favorite food on property!  Beach Club is also within walking distance of the World Showcase at Walt Disney World’s Epcot.

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5. Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

The Yacht Club and Beach Club share amenities, which means if you’re staying at the Yacht Club, you’ll be able to enjoy Stormalong Bay (which is our favorite pool complex on Disney property).  Designed to feel like a New England marina and yacht club, this resort has a more refined, sophisticated – and less pastel – atmosphere than its sister.  You’ll find upscale nautical touches everywhere, and luxury in spades!  Its stellar dining options are similarly shared with Beach Club, as is the proximity to Epcot.  This resort is ideal for couples or families who want to be able to walk to the World Showcase, and are looking for an atmosphere of formal elegance and luxury.

4. Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

This is another deluxe resort in the Epcot area.  Its theming is turn-of-the-century Atlantic City, and its location right along Crescent Lake’s BoardWalk is simply stunning!  We love strolling along the BoardWalk, especially at night, soaking up the atmosphere of the village with its carnival games, street performers, and nightlife (if you can snag a room with a balcony overlooking the BoardWalk, even better!).  The pool area, fittingly, is also styled after a carnival, with a waterslide and spitting elephants.  The BoardWalk Inn’s Flying Fish restaurant prepares a variety of sustainable seaside meals in an elegant, contemporary setting.

3. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

If you’re dreaming of a tropical island vacation, then Walt Disney World’s Polynesian Village Resort is for you!  It’s full to the brim with fun, kitschy tiki decor and lush tropical accents – plus regular torch-lighting ceremonies featuring a fire dancer!  The Polynesian spirit also extends to the dining options; don’t miss the Hawaiian feast at ‘Ohana!  Like the Grand Floridian and the Contemporary, it’s close to the Magic Kingdom and is right on the monorail line, which makes transportation a breeze.  You can get a room here with a Magic Kingdom view – or just watch fireworks from the beach!

2. Disney’s Contemporary Resort

This is one of our favorite resort-hopping locations, mainly because Walt Disney World’s Monorail System runs right through the resort!  We love eating at The Wave and California Grill here.  While the unremarkable contemporary theming of the resort is not our favorite, especially compared to other deluxe Disney resorts, it has a big edge over other resorts: the Contemporary Resort is within walking distance to the Magic Kingdom!  As if this isn’t enough, it’s also possible to see Cinderella Castle from your room’s balcony – and watching fireworks explode over Fantasyland is more than enough to compensate for no-nonsense decor!  It doesn’t get much more magical than this.

1. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Disney’s flagship resort, the Grand Floridian, is a pricey but picture-perfect option for your next Walt Disney World vacation.  If you can afford to stay here, you’ll be surrounded by Victorian luxury on the Seven Seas Lagoon.  The extravagant – and amazing-smelling – lobby is unsurpassed in Walt Disney World!  We love visiting to take in the jazz, ragtime and Disney tunes played by the live orchestra, or lingering to hear our favorites played on the Grand Piano.  The Magic Kingdom is easily accessible by boat or monorail, and the pool complex, set right on the lagoon, is beautiful.  Then there are the dining options, which are some of the most touted on property, including Victoria and Albert’s, where you can treat yourself to an award-winning, custom-created gourmet feast.  And if you’re visiting during the holidays, you can’t miss the enormous gingerbread house in the lobby, from which you can buy holiday treats!

About Jason Dick

Jason is a Disney addict. Walt Disney World trips are an annual occurrence that his partner has had to come to terms with. In between Disney trips, he spends his time running the theatre company he started in 2007. As Artistic Director, he picks musicals to bring to his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario Canada that have never been produced in the area. Traveling is definitely a passion and in addition to his trips to the happiest place on earth, he and his partner also travel the world, most recently to India and Nepal. A carnivore by nature, Jason loves the incredible amount of steakhouses Walt Disney World has to offer - they are always at the top of his list for each and every visit.