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Walt Disney World Resorts: Deluxe

Updated on June 5, 2016

First Things First

Why would anyone want to spend extra money on their hotel while at Disney when there are cheaper options? Isn't the service all the same? Aren't the amenities all the same? The hotel is where a lot of people opt to save that little bit of cash. After all you are only going to be at the room while you sleep, right?

How you want your Disney vacation can dictate what resorts you should stay at, assuming you are willing to pay for them of course. If you are traveling with young children and are planning on spending the vast majority of your time at the parks then you should consider staying at one of Disney's value resorts. They are cheaper and have many amenities designed just for children. However, if you are planning on spending the majority of your time at the parks but also would like time to relax at your resort you may want to consider staying at one of Disney's deluxe resorts. All eight resorts have something different to offer their guest. In fact when you stay at some of these resorts you hardly feel like you are on a vacation in Florida.

There are eight resorts that Disney has given the categorization deluxe: The Grand Floridian, the Polynesian, the Contemporary, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Yacht Club, Beach Club, Wilderness Lodge, and the Boardwalk. All, with the exception of Animal Kingdom Lodge, have at least two different modes of Disney transportation to get you to where ever it is that you are going. All offer valet parking. All offer room service, for an additional fee of course. All have rooms decorated in theme to match the resort and views that are simply breath taking. So if they are all so amazing how do you choose which one is right for your Disney vacation?

The lobby of Disney's Polynesian Resort, as it was when it originally opened. The new lobby is much more open, but no longer has the orchids or waterfall.
The lobby of Disney's Polynesian Resort, as it was when it originally opened. The new lobby is much more open, but no longer has the orchids or waterfall.
The Grand Floridian, with the Wedding Pavilion
The Grand Floridian, with the Wedding Pavilion
The lobby of Wilderness Lodge
The lobby of Wilderness Lodge
The Contemporary, as seen from Bay Lake Towers
The Contemporary, as seen from Bay Lake Towers

The Deluxe Resorts Around the Magic Kingdom

There are four deluxe resorts that are considered to be in the Magic Kingdom area: the Contemporary, the Polynesian, the Grand Floridian, and Wilderness Lodge. All of these resorts offer bus transportation to and from the Disney parks, as well as other locations. However they do have alternate modes of transportation available to guests. All four of these resorts offer boat transportation, and the three in the monorail loop (the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and the Contemporary) have monorail stops right in the hotel. Not only can you take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom you can take it to EPCOT as well, even from Wilderness Lodge. Simply take the monorail to the Ticket and Transportation Center, or the boat if traveling from Wilderness Lodge, and hop on the first monorail headed to EPCOT.To get home at the end of the day simply travel in the reverse manner.

Did you know that it is actually faster to walk to the magic Kingdom from the Contemporary than it is to ride the bus, monorail, or boat? It is a nice quiet walk in the morning and if you aren't afraid of a little extra walking it it is the fastest way to get back to your room and to bed at the end of the day.

Each of these four resorts has a different theme. The Grand Floridian is modeled after the Victorian Era, and all of the buildings, rooms, and the grounds surrounding the resort have been specially designed to resemble a resort built during this time. The Contemporary has a very distinctive shape, it is that iconic building that the monorail runs through. Everything about that building has a sleek and modern feel. The Polynesian is modeled after the many different islands in the Pacific. Each group of hotels is named for a different island chain, and have distinctive decorations linking them to the specific islands. The main lobby even has a waterfall and dozen of tropical plants. Wilderness Lodge was modeled after the large hotels in the western US. It has a very rustic fell with modern amenities. You hardly believe that you are still in central Florida when you walk through this lobby. The pool even comes equipped with Disney's very own version of 'Old Faithful'.

Four of the Deluxe Resorts are Literally on the Doorstep of Cinderella's Castle

At which deluxe Disney resort you would most like to stay?

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Rooms in Jambo House, it really looks like you are staying in a lodge resort in Africa.The animals are able to roam freely and often have their own patterns of where they go for certain times of the day.Even if your room doesn't have a view of a savannah you can relax at one of the many lookout points and view the animals there.Each savannah is home to dozens of different animals. Sunrise over the savanna
Rooms in Jambo House, it really looks like you are staying in a lodge resort in Africa.
Rooms in Jambo House, it really looks like you are staying in a lodge resort in Africa.
The animals are able to roam freely and often have their own patterns of where they go for certain times of the day.
The animals are able to roam freely and often have their own patterns of where they go for certain times of the day.
Even if your room doesn't have a view of a savannah you can relax at one of the many lookout points and view the animals there.
Even if your room doesn't have a view of a savannah you can relax at one of the many lookout points and view the animals there.
Each savannah is home to dozens of different animals.
Each savannah is home to dozens of different animals.
Sunrise over the savanna
Sunrise over the savanna

Around Animal Kingdom

There is only one deluxe resort near the Animal Kingdom park. If you guessed Animal Kingdom Lodge you would be correct! What makes this resort unique is that is has animals. Not just any animals; giraffes, zebras, pelicans, gazelle, cranes, and many other creatures native to Africa. The way this hotel is set up is revolutionary. There are different savannas for different parts of the hotel, each has different animals, though they all have a few of the same faces that everyone loves, mainly giraffes. Each room with a savanna view is designed to have a near perfect view of their savanna. Literally every morning you wake up and there are giraffes outside of your window. Couldn't get a room with a savanna view? Not to worry, Disney has thought of everything. There are viewing stations set up in every hallway, each one is set up like a living room. There is even the main viewing area right outside the lobby where you can watch the majestic creatures from the deck.

This hotel is, at times, the priciest of the deluxe resorts. The reason: animals, plain and simple. Even the pool has its own special features. First off it has a water slide. Second, did you hear that? That's right there are flamingos by the pool! There is a pool for flamingos right next to the pool for people. The hot tubs are a little ways away from the main pool, surrounded by tree cover. What is more relaxing than sitting in a hot tub listening to flamingos? Well, a lot of things, but they are entertaining to say the least.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Beach Club is themed after seaside resorts along the new England Shore
Beach Club is themed after seaside resorts along the new England Shore
The Yacht Club Resort has a charming and refined feel and is modeled after the harbors in New England.
The Yacht Club Resort has a charming and refined feel and is modeled after the harbors in New England.
ESPN Zone at the Boardwalk is a great place to catch a game or enjoy some great ball park food.
ESPN Zone at the Boardwalk is a great place to catch a game or enjoy some great ball park food.
The Boardwalk Resort feels like you have taken a step back in time to the classic Jersey shore.
The Boardwalk Resort feels like you have taken a step back in time to the classic Jersey shore.
The Boardwalk is unique in that it has a lot of shops, cafes, and nightlife associated with the resort.
The Boardwalk is unique in that it has a lot of shops, cafes, and nightlife associated with the resort.

Resorts Around EPCOT

There are a whopping three deluxe resorts surrounding EPCOT: The Boardwalk, Yacht Club, and Beach Club. The Boardwalk is a unique resort in that it has its own boardwalk. The Boardwalk is not only a hotel, but it also has little shops, restaurants, and nightlife surrounding it. This is where you fill find Spoodles, ESPN Zone, the Boardwalk Bakery, Flying Fish Cafe, as well as many others. You can even rent a bike and go for a ride down the boardwalk.

Across the lake from Boardwalk are the last two deluxe resorts: Yacht and Beach Club. While these are two separate resorts they often get grouped together. Both are themed to have a New England kind of feel to them. Yacht Club is themed for sailing, and even has a marina with boat rentals. Beach Club is modeled to resemble staying along the coastline at a beach resort. They share a pool, which is possibly the best pool in all of the Disney resorts. This pool has several water slides, and was makes it more unique is that it has a sandy bottom substrate. It is not uncommon for other resort guest to try to pool hop to this pool, it is that popular.

The dining at these two resorts is just as nice as it is at any of the other resorts. Beaches & Cream Soda Shop is home to the world famous kitchen sink. If you and your family are fans of ice cream this is the perfect treat for you. Yacht Club is home to one of the best steakhouses at Disney: the Yachtsmen Steakhouse. As an added bonus to those staying at Yacht and Beach Club and Boardwalk the three resorts are walking distance, or a short boat ride, so guests can enjoy everything all three resorts have to offer.

An even extra bonus for guests staying at these three resorts is the private entrance/exit into EPCOT. It is located in the World Showcase area, and can mean that guests can get earlier times for fastpasses on popular attractions like Soarin' since the entrance is so close. Also guests can walk, though they do still have the option of taking the bus to any of the Disney parks, to Disney Studios. It is a short walk, and not a bad way to enjoy that morning cup of coffee or try to bring the kids down a few notches before the park opens. If guests take the bus to EPCOT it will drop them off at the main park entrance, where they can then hop on a monorail and head over to the Magic Kingdom, of course if a Magic Kingdom bus arrives first it would be faster to just take that instead.

Update: 1.7.2015

I visited the Walt Disney World Resort during the 2014 holiday season and I can say that I was very impressed with the display. I was particularly impressed with the service at Disney's Yacht Club. The staff was very helpful and friendly. I can honestly say that it was one of the best staff experiences I have ever had.

The Three EPCOT Deluxe Resorts

The World Famous Kitchen Sink at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop

WARNING!

Do not attempt this on own own! Eight scoops of ice cream, yes you heard me right eight, sixteen toppings, and one full can of whipped cream. Let me tell you there is a reason they call it the kitchen skin, because they put everything BUT the kitchen skin in this dessert. These pictures could very well be the highlight of your Disney vacation.


Enjoy!

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    • Mike Nolan profile image

      Michael Nolan 2 years ago from Sarasota, FL

      Staying on the monorail line is worth the price. So convenient.

      The Contemporary had the nicest room that I have ever stayed in.

    • profile image

      Zack 4 months ago

      It's awesome

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