Top 8 Disney Pro Tips For Deluxe Resorts

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

I hear it from so many Walt Disney World clients who try a deluxe resort for the first time: they can’t go back to a moderate or value resort for their vacations. Not that there is anything wrong with the moderate or value properties—some of my favorite resorts fall into those categories. But there are some special things about the deluxe resorts that really spoil you. Walt Disney World’s Deluxe Resorts include: the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian Village Resort, the Contemporary Resort, Wilderness Lodge, the Yacht Club, the Beach Club, the Boardwalk Inn and the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Here are my top 8 Disney Pro tips for making the most out of your deluxe resort stay:

8. Room Size

While the deluxe resorts all vary in size from the smaller rooms at the Wilderness and Animal Kingdom Lodges to the larger rooms at the monorail resorts—they are all bigger than the value and moderate non-suite rooms. This is nice if you have a larger family or if you just want more space to spread out. You really notice the space if you have a stroller or a scooter that you need to “park.” Most deluxe rooms accommodate families of 5 (standard rooms at the Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge excluded). My favorite thing about the deluxe resort room size is the extra real estate outside. Most (but not all) of the rooms have a “private” balcony or patio. This is particularly nice if you have little ones who go to bed earlier or if some of your party sleeps later than others. I can’t tell you how many mornings I have enjoyed out on my balcony taking in the peace, quiet and beauty of the resort while the rest of my crew sleeps. And when my little one was still napping it was nice to have that extra space to step outside with a beverage and a book.

7. Club Level Option

All of the deluxe resorts offer the option to upgrade your reservation to a Club Level stay based on the availability of those specific rooms. This extra level of service and luxury makes sense for a lot of people. A Club Level stay includes the services of the Itinerary Planning Office who can arrange several things for you before you travel including dining reservations, special event reservations, and perhaps some in room amenities. Once you arrive for your Club Level stay you have a private check in at the Club Lounge. The Lounge itself is at your disposal throughout your stay and offers a continental type breakfast, beverages & snacks through the day, wine and beer in the afternoon/evening, hors d’oeuvres, and cordials & desserts at night. If you plan properly to take advantage of the lounge offerings you could cut back on some of your food costs during the trip—but mostly it is just the convenience of having the food accessible and the additional space of the lounge to take advantage of. Not all lounges are created equal as far as location and view. The Lounge at the Polynesian Village Resort is particularly coveted for its 2 story windows and view of Cinderella Castle (and Happily Ever After!). Another perk for Club Level at the deluxe resorts is that there are some suite options if you have a larger family or if you just like to have plenty of space.

6. Lounges & Bars

Most of the resorts at Walt Disney World have at least a pool bar and several have a lounge, but the deluxe resort lounges are something special. If you are staying at one of the resorts you should plan on visiting one, they have the feeling of a nice restaurant. Many offer specialty drinks to that resort (particularly the Tambu Lounge at the Polynesian Village Resort), and they have creative menus with delicious offerings. For instance, you can get the wings and ‘Ohana Bread Pudding at the Tambu Lounge, the Territory Lounge at Wilderness Lodge has truffle fries, a Northwest charcuterie, and the Artist Pointe cobbler, and you can feast on African Tapas, “Breads and Spreads” and tandoori chicken wings at Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Victoria Falls.

5. The Pools

Again, every Walt Disney World resort has a fabulous pool, but when you stay at the deluxe properties you have some amazing pools—be sure you plan some time to spend there. The obvious deluxe pool to mention is the Yacht and Beach Club’s Stormalong Bay. This mini water park with its sand bottom, lazy river and twisting/turning slide will have your kids wanting to skip the theme parks and lounge by the pool all day. At the Polynesian Village Resort there is the amazing Lava pool complete with a volcano along with the kids’ splash play area. Several of the deluxe resorts feature the splash pads that are perfect for younger kids, and have a fun theme suited to the resort. But don’t think it is all for the kids—these pools can be relaxing getaways for adults too with pool bars serving up drinks and food, and sometimes they have waiter service to your pool chair.

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For a no obligation, FREE Quote with new bookings contact our sponsor Magical Vacation Planner by calling: 1(407)442-0289 Or for a free no obligation quote with new bookings you can fill out the form by Clicking HERE!

4. Restaurants

The table service restaurants at the deluxe resorts are definitely something to experience whether or not you are staying at one. But if you are staying at a resort it makes it so convenient! You can find character meals at the Polynesian and Beach Club (breakfast only), along with the Grand Floridian and Contemporary resorts for breakfast and dinner (and sometimes lunch). If fine dining is what you are after then the deluxe resorts are the place to find it—in my opinion the best signature restaurants are found at the deluxe resorts. You will find that most of the deluxe properties offer multiple table service options, at least one that is more casual for families and one or more that are finer dining experiences. And don’t forget at the deluxe resorts you can take advantage of in room dining with many options on the menus. Did you know that at the Polynesian Village Resort you can have the ‘Ohana feast delivered directly to your room?

3. Location, Location, Location

With the exception of the Animal Kingdom Lodge (which in its own right is close to the Animal Kingdom), the deluxe resorts are positioned in excellent locations to get you to and from the parks quickly. If your vacation is centered around the Magic Kingdom you can’t beat the convenience of the monorail resorts. The Grand Floridian, Contemporary and Polynesian Village Resorts are all a quick monorail ride away. Guests at the Contemporary can even walk to the Magic Kingdom. The Grand Floridian and Polynesian have boat transportation to the Magic Kingdom as well. The Wilderness Lodge is also in the Magic Kingdom resort area and you can enjoy a relaxing boat ride over to the park. If Epcot and Hollywood Studios are your top priorities then the Epcot area resorts are the best picks for you: Yacht Club, Beach Club and the Boardwalk Inn. They all offer walking paths to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios or you can take a Friendship Boat to either park. You can also walk over to Fantasia Gardens mini golf from the Epcot Resorts.

2. The Activities

The recreation staff at Walt Disney World is top notch and it seems like there is always something going on at every resort—particularly around the pool. I have found that some of the deluxe resorts have a few “bonus” offerings that you should really consider taking advantage of during your stay. Several of the resorts offer tours of the property that tell you about the story, history and artifacts at that resort. They really give you a greater appreciation of the design details. Some of the tours include a culinary aspect as well. At the Animal Kingdom Lodge you can find many activities that are unique to the culture and story they are telling there. There is a nightly viewing of the animals using night vision goggles, animal tracking games, storytelling, drumming, and you can always engage one of the ambassadors from Africa in a conversation about their homeland. I’ve found that the resorts that are connected to a Disney Vacation Club property have a few extra offerings for activities that are open to all guests, not just members. These are usually for an additional fee but there is often a take home craft. The resorts around the Magic Kingdom and those at Epcot all have marina options to rent pontoon boats or the faster SeaRaycers for a fun time on the water. Some of the resorts offer bicycle or surrey bike rentals as well. In addition, many of the deluxe properties have a child care center with nightly activities (and food) so that you can drop your kids off and then go enjoy one of those signature restaurants (there is a fee for the childcare and some restrictions, advance reservations are recommended). So many fun things!!

My #1 Tip: Schedule at least a day at your resort!

As you can tell from numbers 2-8 there is so much to do, see and enjoy right at your resort. You are paying good money to stay at these deluxe resort properties, so schedule some of your time to stay right at the resort and take advantage of everything it has to offer. It will give you a break from the hustle and bustle of the parks, give you some relaxing down time—and it will be fun! Some of the most memorable moments from my family’s vacations have taken place at our resort.

What are your top Disney Pro Tips for staying at a Deluxe Resort?

About Sarah Chapman

I am a long time Disney fan since I was hooked on Walt Disney World with my first trip in 1987. Since that time I’ve tried experiencing everything I can in the parks, with a total of 30 visits and counting (I’m always planning my next trip) to Walt Disney World—not to mention Disney Cruise Line and even (shhh!) Universal Orlando and Sea World. I’ve turned my Disney obsession into a profession helping others plan their magical vacations as a Dream Vacation Maker at LBAC Travel. I am a work at home mom to three wonderful boys, and each one has been properly indoctrinated with all things Disney. Walt Disney World is definitely our “Laughing Place.” Look for me on Facebook at Facebook.com/SarahLBAC for updates, discount announcements, tips, tricks and planning advice for your next vacation. You can also find me on Instagram (sarahdreamvacationmaker) and Pinterest (sarahlbactravel).