The resorts at Disney World are so much more than just a place to rest your head at night, especially the resorts in the deluxe category. They take theming and those amazing Disney details to an entirely different level. Here are 10 facts and secrets about Disney’s deluxe resorts.
10. Hidden Mickeys
Disney fans love spotting a Hidden Mickey at the parks, and there are plenty to be found throughout the deluxe resorts. If you want to search for them on your own, the Wilderness Lodge can be of some help. Ask for the Hidden Mickey Hunt at the front desk, and they’ll give you a guide to help you on your journey.
9. Fireworks & Music
A few of the deluxe resorts have spectacular views of the fireworks at Magic Kingdom, such as the Polynesian, the Contemporary and the Grand Floridian, but are the fireworks quite the same when you’re farther away and can’t hear the soundtrack? Not to worry, because there are certain areas where the music from the park is piped into the resorts. Certain areas at the Polynesian and The California Grill at the Contemporary have the music piped in to give guests the full experience.
The deluxe resorts are all about a top of the line, truly immersive and decadent resort experience, which is why many of the deluxe resorts have spa services and health clubs available for guests. Senses Disney Spa is at both the Grand Floridian and Saratoga Springs, the Sturdy Branches Health Club is at Wilderness Lodge, and Animal Kingdom Lodge has the Zahanati Massage and Fitness Center. Spas are the place to go for total rest and relaxation. Indulge in aromatherapy massages, rejuvenating facials, and all kinds of services that will make you feel like royalty.
The deluxe resorts have some of the best restaurants on Disney property and many of them offer magical character dining experiences. This is great to remember when trying to get reservations at character dining locations in the parks, especially restaurants like Cinderella’s Royal Table, which are difficult to get reservations for, and can be on the expensive side. 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian has Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner, where guests are likely to meet Cinderella, Prince Charming, the step sisters and Madame Tremaine. Of course characters are subject to change, but it’s worth checking out the restaurants at the resorts when meeting characters is on your agenda. Ohana, Garden Grove, and Chef Mickey’s are a few other deluxe resort restaurants with great character dining experiences.
All the resorts at Disney have complimentary motor coach transportation between the parks and the resorts, but there are other types of transportation available at the deluxe resorts. Most of the deluxe resorts offer a couple of ways to reach your destination, except for Animal Kingdom Lodge, which only has buses because of their location. But the Polynesian, the Contemporary, the Grand Floridian have three modes of transportation available, motor coach, monorail and water taxi. The resorts in the Epcot area and Wilderness Lodge also have water taxis in addition to motor coaches. It’s fun to travel throughout Walt Disney World using different types of travel. Water taxis are relaxing, and the monorail is a classic Disney experience, and each provide a different view of the parks and resorts.
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5. The Carolwood Pacific Room
Walt Disney had a passion for trains, which is very evident in Magic Kingdom, but his love and appreciation for trains and the railroad extends beyond Magic Kingdom to a little ‘museum’ room at the Wilderness Lodge called the Carolwood Pacific Room. It’s a quiet room where guests can play chess, read, relax or admire two of the trains from Walt’s backyard railroad, which was called the Carolwood Pacific Railroad.
4. The Poly
The Polynesian is well worth visiting even if you aren’t a guest of the resort. You can find delicious things here like Tonga Toast for breakfast, Dole Whips, and they even offer free hula lessons daily, there’s storytelling in the evenings, and a Torch Lighting Ceremony. And don’t forget to stop by Trader Sam’s for a uniquely themed cocktail.
3. Walk to the Magic
The Contemporary is the only resort with a walking path to a park, and believe it or not, it’s probably faster than taking the monorail, especially at peak times. It staying close to the magic is appealing to you, the Contemporary is about as close as you can get, unless you’re one of the lucky few to stay a night in the suite in Cinderella Castle!
Disney has some fantastic tours in their parks, but they also have some great tours at their deluxe resorts. These tours are a wonderful way to get a different look at the inner workings of a resort, and an opportunity to learn something new. Animal Kingdom Lodge offers a free mini tour of some of their restaurants, they discuss the theming, décor and you may even get to sample something delicious! Wilderness Lodge also offers a free tour, which is about an hour long and features information about American history. Animal Kingdom Lodge also has a few tours that cost an extra fee. The Sense of Africa is a tour that includes animals, breakfast and a look backstage.
1. The Holidays
The deluxe resorts go all out when the Christmas holiday season hits, which is usually just a little before Thanksgiving. Each resort is adorned in beautiful decorations all themed to match the theming of the resorts. The Christmas trees are huge and spectacular, and the Grand Floridian even has a life sized gingerbread house, where guests can purchase gingerbread cookies. If you find yourself at Disney during this time of year, make a point of visiting the deluxe resorts, there is so much to see and take in at these resorts during November and December.