6 Things We Love About Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts

Staying on property during your Walt Disney World vacation can be a great idea. There are extras that you will be eligible for, such as Disney’s Magical Express, free theme park parking, and Extra Magic Hours. All of the resorts are themed, but there are some resorts where the atmosphere goes above and beyond, helping to keep the magic alive even when you’re relaxing in your room. These are the Deluxe Resorts. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Disney’s Yacht Club Resort provide the ultimate on property luxury. There are signature restaurants, great shopping locations, fitness clubs, and much more. Here are six things that you might not know about the Deluxe Resorts at Walt Disney World.

6. Tours

If you are the type of person who likes to know what happens behind the scenes, you will want to look into the tours that are offered at some of the Deluxe Resorts. The tours available change from time to time, and could include a chance to head out onto the savanna, or a Segway tour around Tri-Circle-D Ranch. While many tours do cost extra, there are sometimes resort tours offered for free. Call 407-WDW-TOUR (407-939-8687) to see if any Deluxe Resort tours will be held while you’re on vacation.

5. The Best Pools

It is never a bad idea to spend one day of your Walt Disney World vacation relaxing by the pool. If you are staying at a Deluxe Resort, you might want to spend more than one day doing just that. The Deluxe Resorts have the best pools; with slides, water play areas for the kids, and plenty of places for adults to relax. The pool bars have more selections as well. If you’re looking for the ultimate pool on Walt Disney World property, make your reservation at either the Beach or Yacht Club. These two resorts share a pool area known as Stormalong Bay. With a lazy river, three whirlpools, and a shipwreck that doubles as a water slide, it’s arguably the best pool complex at Walt Disney World.

4. Better Free Dining

Free Dining is a promotion that is offered by Walt Disney World to help fill empty rooms in the slower seasons. It is usually held during the fall, and dates are often released near the end of April. If you stay at a Value or a Moderate Resort, you will most likely be eligible for the Quick Service Plan for free. If you are staying at a Deluxe Resort, it is the Standard Dining Plan that you will be able to get for no extra cost. That means that you’ll be able to enjoy table service restaurants as well as character meals, and Disney will pick up the tab. There are plenty of restrictions and requirements to be eligible for Free Dining, and they change each time the promotion is offered. Still, if you’ve always wanted to stay at a Deluxe Resort, doing it when Free Dining is available might not be a bad idea.

3. Christmas

The holidays are special at Walt Disney World. You probably already know that the parks will be decked out, but the same holds true for the resorts. While all of the resorts will have some decorations, they are the most elaborate at the Deluxe Resorts. You’ll see trees that are covered with themed decorations, but it does not stop there. You’ll find lights, garlands, and special surprises. If you visit close to Christmas, there could be carolers outside and characters visiting inside. If you like gingerbread, you’ll find plenty of that as well. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a must visit during the holiday season. Not only will you be wowed by the height of the Christmas tree, you will also want to get a few pictures of the five story tall Gingerbread House. You can even buy a shingle so that you’ll know it tastes as good as it looks.

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2. Free Extras

Walt Disney World wants to make sure that you will not get bored if you are staying at a Deluxe Resort, so there are plenty of extras that will not cost you anything. You can watch street performers nightly at Disney’s BoardWalk, enjoy the Parasol Parade at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, take a peek at the animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, or watch the Torch Lighting Ceremony at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. In the Magic Kingdom Resort Area you can watch the nightly fireworks, as well as catch the Electrical Water Pageant. The Epcot Resort Area is a great place to catch the fireworks portions of Epcot Forever or Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. If you want to know what free activities are available, ask at the front desk of your Deluxe Resort. You might be surprised by all the things going on.

1. For Guests Only?

One common misconception is that you need to be staying at a resort in order to take advantage of the activities that take place there. In some cases that is true. You must be staying at a resort in order to use its pool, no pool hopping is allowed. Some tours or areas might be available only for resort guests as well. In most cases, though, you can enjoy the resort without staying there. Make a restaurant reservation, stroll the walking trails, take in the live entertainment, enjoy a campfire and then a movie under the stars, and more. Spend a little bit of time exploring the Deluxe Resorts, even if you are staying elsewhere. You just might realize that you need to upgrade your room for your next vacation.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.