Walt Disney World’s Deluxe Resorts 101

One of the many well thought out ideas Disney World Imagineers put together was the plethora of resorts to choose from when you decide to stay as a Walt Disney World Resort Guest. Whether you are looking to stay budget friendly or have saved up for an extravagant occasion, Disney World has what you are looking for! With resort categories listed as Value, Moderate, Deluxe, and Deluxe Villas, you are sure to find what is right for you and your family. Some of our favorite resorts fall under the Deluxe category. Here’s what we feel you need to know about each Deluxe resort and why you might find yourself wanting to spend less time in the parks and more time with your feet up at your Deluxe resort!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Many of us have not yet had a chance to make it to Africa for that African adventure we’ve always dreamed of. Well, great news – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge invites you to be swept away with its African safari style that makes you feel as if you have been transported into the African adventure you’ve always dreamed of. Without a doubt, this resort is particularly unique for the vast savannah filled with numerous African animals that seem to greet you through the massive windows the moment you enter the lobby. The animals are terrific but of course Disney doesn’t stop there! The award winning restaurants, the pools, the lobbies, and even the hallways emanate with African artifacts and words of wisdom as if you’ve entered an African village of your own. The style spills over into your room with the many handcrafted pieces from Africa. Tips – check out the nighttime campfire and safari viewing near the animals and don’t forget to pack your binoculars.

Disney’s Beach Club Resort

If you are looking for a casual yet sophisticated resort with incredible proximity to Epcot, Disney’s Beach Club Resort may just be the perfect place for you to call home! Set to the tone of New England style, this resort offers warmth and elegance with the comfort of sand between your toes. Epcot makes for a perfect neighbor, and Hollywood Studios is just a short boat ride away. The beachside water recreation area will keep you and your family relaxed for hours. Enjoy one of our personal favorite character dining experiences at Cape May Café or spend an evening taking a walk with a cone of delicious ice cream from Beaches and Cream Soda shop. Tips – enjoy a movie while lounging on the beach then hold tight to catch pieces of the Epcot Illuminations… of course all with some ice cream from Beaches and Cream!

Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

Greeted by a miniature carousel in the lobby, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn holds true to its turn-of-the-century Atlantic City theme while allowing entertainment to set center stage. Charm and class carry throughout the resort and project through detailed décor. Wonderfully situated close to Hollywood Studios and Epcot, you’ll enjoy the close proximity particularly if you are looking to rest midday. Step outside towards the pool area and you’ll think you have been transported to a carnival filled with glowing lights, carny style games, and an amusing pool. Saving the best for last – the BoardWalk! The incredible BoardWalk offers shopping, dining, and entertainment that will leave you strolling into the late hours of the night. Tips – be sure to ask about the BoardWalk entertainers schedule so you won’t miss any of the action and don’t forget to pick up a sweet treat from Ample Hills Creamery and/or the BoardWalk Bakery.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Stay where it all began! Disney’s Contemporary Resort is truly classic, iconic, and holds true to its name in style. Staying at the Contemporary not only allows you to be surrounded by Walt’s dream come true, but is likely on your Disney bucket list. Wake up to where all of the magic happens next door at Magic Kingdom and simply catch the monorail or walk to the gates. Did we mention the monorail pulls right through this innovative resort?! Whether you take the kids to dine with Mickey and his pals at Chef Mickey’s or spoil yourself by enjoying a dinner at California Grill during the spectacular Happily Ever After Fireworks, there is a dining option for everyone at the Contemporary. Tips – pause for a moment in awe over the famous 90-foot mural and don’t forget to check out the water activities offered in the surrounding water ways.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Stay here because you deserve it! That’s right… Disney’s Grand Floridian is most definitely ‘grand’ and lavish in every aspect. As soon as you see the resort your eyes will light up with the Victorian-style grace that could not have been designed any better if Imagineers tried. The view of the Magic Kingdom across the water is one your camera is surely going to be taking many pictures of! Dining at the Grand Floridian is just as superb as you would expect and the class of the Cast Members is among the elite. Now, if only you could enjoy some quiet time in a spa setting without leaving the resort… oh that’s right – you can! Sense, the World Class Spa at Grand Floridian, will take your breath away as they offer several packages for your “me time”. Tips – visit Mary Poppins and Alice in Wonderland, just a couple of the special characters you can dine with at 1900 Park Fare. If you get a chance, take a romantic walk around Disney’s Wedding Pavilion located right next to Grand Floridian.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Bursting with tropical foliage and an exotic tone, Disney’s Polynesian Village will make “Aloha” your new favorite word! New renovations, bungalows, and constant upkeep remove any signs of this resort being one of the original two resorts. The lobby seems to be constantly bustling with smiling faces, an unhurried pace, and floral leis. Take a moment to explore the resort’s Polynesian atmosphere in the evening under the multiple torch lit paths. One path leads to The Spirit of Aloha show that is purely the icing on the cake of a perfect stay! Enjoy the Happily Ever After Fireworks at Magic Kingdom from the Polynesian sandy beach or catch the monorail for easy access to Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Our personal favorite is indulging in the amazing food and drinks offered at Ohana. Tips – check out the incredible view of the Cinderella Castle as you exit the main lobby towards the pool and pick up a Dole Whip while you are at it!

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Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Enjoying the outdoors inside, exploring grand wood work, and rocking in front of the fireplace… all just small pieces of what Disney’s Wilderness Lodge has to offer. This resort is no rustic cabin, but rather a luxurious lodge that seems to have an immediate calming effect on the soul. Modeled after National Park Lodges, the only thing missing from this lodge that you would expect would be the snow (and we are ok with that!). Opportunities to explore the outdoors seem endless with fishing, swimming, walking nature trails, bike riding, and taking boat rides. Dining options are excellent but our personal favorite is the Whispering Canyon Cafe where there is little whispering in the rowdy atmosphere of fun and tasty food. Tips – be sure to check the Geyser times and try to stop by to see it erupt. While you’re at it, dine at Geyser Point Bar and Grill. Enjoy!

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Slightly more sophisticated than its casual sister resort (Beach Club), Disney’s Yacht Club Resort shares the New England style of elegance but steps it up a notch. Centrally located to the BoardWalk and to the Beach Club, the Yacht Club gives you the opportunity to explore all local areas easily, plus provides ease in access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Your bathing suits will barely have time to dry before you’ll be wanting to jump back in the Yacht’s pools and water recreation! The beautiful glow of the lighthouse between the Yacht Club and Beach Club seems to call you home when heading back from a day at the park. Indulge in the fine dining experience of the Yachtsman Steakhouse that allows you to taste the New England style atmosphere that surrounds you. Tips – Send your young one on the Albatross Treasure Cruise – a voyage they will never forget! Meanwhile, the friendly Cast Members and delicious adult beverages are worth enjoying at the Ale and Compass Lounge.

We hope you find this Walt Disney World Deluxe Resort 101 helpful as you plan your magical vacation. We’d love to hear any tips you would like to share!

About Jamie Sylvester

I'm a Disney nerd! A kid at heart who loves the magic and memories of Walt Disney World. I follow all things Disney and enjoy the vacations, day trips, weekend getaways, and geek out over the planning of such events. My goal is to experience as many Disney desserts and cocktails as possible! Married to another Disney nerd and blessed with a daughter and son, we thoroughly enjoy the magic at Disney and are here to help others experience the magic as well.