Comparing Our Favorite Walt Disney World Resorts (+Tips From a Disney Insider)

Staying at one of the Disney World Resorts makes a great Disney World vacation supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. The Walt Disney Company pulls out all of the stops! But trying to navigate all those options can be like chasing Alice through Wonderland.


That’s why we turned to our friend, and Disney Moms Panel expert Lindsey Paris to give us some insider information about what to do at the Walt Disney Resorts including some little known secrets, like finding a spiked dole whip (you know you’ve always wanted one), meeting legendary cast members, and how your resort choice can effect wait times, especially helpful for Disney first timers. Read on for Lindsey’s expert insight, because you can never know enough about navigating Disney.


I adore my trips to Disney World Resort and theme parks. I really do. I love my solo trips, adult-only trips, family trips, and work trips! I strive to do one new thing each time I visit to keep it interesting, but for the first time in 2016, I took it easy with my little family and spent the day at our Resort Hotel. It was wonderful to have some downtime exploring the property, activities, and amenities. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t spent more time at my hotel before; there were enough activities to keep us entertained for days without touching the parks!

By digging through Resort calendars and touching base with Cast Members, I’ve compiled a list of Disney World Resort activities that your family will love. I’ve made special trips to several of the Resort Hotels to verify their existence and to research the fun level! Keep in mind that Disney’s offerings may change, so you’ll want to check with your Front Desk Cast Member for a times guide. While at the Front Desk of any of the WDW Resorts, ask Cast Members about pin trading. Read on to make the most of your Disney vacation.

WDW Value Resorts | WDW Moderate Resorts | WDW Deluxe Resorts | A Review of Animal Kingdom | A Review of Yacht & Beach Club | A Review of Art of Animation |WDW Resorts Map


Disney World Resorts - Pop Century Resort

At each of the WDW Value Resorts, you’ll typically find a playground themed to the imagineering style of the Resort, at least two pools, a 24-hour self-service laundry room(s), a full-size arcade, and various lobby activities. Be sure to check with your Front Desk for the monthly calendar that will detail all the special activities during your trip!


The WDW All-Star Music Resort is blaring your song! The only All-Star Resort to offer Family suites, this musical resort will have you whistling all the way to the popular Calypso Dance Extravaganza, happening three times a week, plus cool off at the piano-themed pool. Find the staples of a Value Resort set to a swingin’ tune!

Why you’ll love it:

  • This is the only Disney All-Star Resort that offers family suite options
  • There are two outdoor pools, Calypso Pool & Piano Pool, plus a children’s water play area
  • Oversized musical icons are fun for music lovers and band fans
  • Disney’s All-Star Resort Hotels are the least expensive of all the Disney resorts
  • Close to shopping and dining off Disney property
  • Make time to visit the All-Star Music Hall of Fame in the lobby with memorabilia from current and past legends
  • Dance surprises
  • Arcade
  • Movies Under the Stars
  • Jogging trail around the resort


The WDW All-Star Sports Resort is a touchdown for fun! The sporty members of your family will love the two pools, a Surfboard Bay-themed pool or a baseball field-themed pool, and the jogging trail that leads in and out of all three All-Star properties. Ready, Set, Enjoy Your Stay!

Why you’ll love it:

  • Large sports icons and themes, did someone say photo op?
  • Disney characters playing sports around the resort
  • The football field is perfect to let the kids run around and play catch
  • There are two outdoor themed pools – Surfboard Bay Pool & Grand Slam Pool
  • Disney’s All-Star Resort Hotels are the least expensive of all the Disney resorts
  • Close to shopping and dining off Disney property
  • The Hoops section is home to 45-foot-tall megaphones
  • End Zone Food Court
  • Movies Under the Stars
  • Jogging trails around the property
  • Arcade on site


My personal favorite of the All-Star Resort Hotels, this star-studded property has a gigantic Perdita and Pongo, a Fantasia-themed courtyard and pool, as well as Movies Under the Stars several times a week. If you’re here for activities, I hope you’re ready for your closeup!

Why you’ll love it:

  • Larger-than-life characters and statues of favorite Disney characters across the property – more great photo opportunities
  • There are two outdoor pools – Fantasia Pool & Duck Pond Pool, the feature Pool has a Fantasia theme
  • Disney’s All-Star Resort Hotels are the least expensive of all the Disney resorts
  • Close to shopping and dining off the Disney property
  • Fun photo ops at each resort section — you definitely shouldn’t skip Toy Story!
  • All Star Movies Campfire Activities
  • Movies Under the Stars events
  • Reel Fun Arcade: on-site arcade
  • One-mile jog around Disney’s All-Star Resort


Pixels, cells, and color, OH MY! Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is one of the most colorful resorts with tons of personality from your favorite characters. You’ve simply got to swim in the Big Blue Pool, but listen carefully! You’ll hear Dory, Mr. Ray and others calling for Nemo as you swim about!

Why you’ll love it:

  • Standard rooms are the largest of all the Value Resort Hotels
  • Suites and Family Suites: Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid
  • Family suites sleep up to six and feature three sleeping areas, two bathrooms and a kitchenette
  • Three pools including The Big Blue Pool, the single largest hotel pool at Walt Disney World Resort
  • Big Blue Pool is the largest pool on property with underwater speakers and zero-entry edges
  • Food court offers a create-your-own-pasta bar, freshly-made smoothies and gelato options
  • It’s the only Value Resort Hotel to offer a business center
  • Easy access to Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and other resorts via the Disney Skyliner gondola system
  • Dog-friendly accommodations are available
  • There is an arcade (note, it’s cashless)
  • Visit the lobby mural and see the evolution of beloved Disney animations all the way from sketches to final art

Read more: The Best Disney Pools at the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels


The WDW Pop Century resort features some fabulous late 20th century vibes from all your favorite decades. Reminisce on your youth as you pedal a family surrey bike around HourGlass Lake and back. Don’t forget to pick up a pop-art personal-size cheesecake for dessert. Those colors are far out!

What you’ll love (according to Frog Family review, plus a few of our suggestions):

  • Oversized pop icons (plus Disney characters too!)
  • Feature pool has 1970’s theme, children’s pool, and pop jet water fountain play area
  • One of the best food courts on property, including some comfort foods of yesteryear
  • Dedicated bus service with direct access to the parks
  • Lobby features memorabilia through the decades — from the 1950s to 1990s
  • Less walking than Disney’s All-Star Resort Hotels because the buildings are more compact and there is another floor of rooms
  • This hotel is on the Disney Skyliner gondola system, so you can approach Epcot or Hollywood Studios with a birds-eye view
  • Fishing at nearby marina
  • Pop Century Campfire
  • Movies Under the Stars

Want to learn how your family can do it too? Click here to grab 7 Secret Hacks for flying free that the founder of Families Fly Free personally uses to take her family of 4 all over the world!


Disney World Resorts - Coronado Springs

Kicking it up a notch from Disney’s Value Resorts, the WDW resorts with a moderate price range offer plusher amenities with all the Disney service you’ve come to expect.  Along with the kid-favorite playgrounds and spacious themed pools, you’ll find New Balance sponsored jogging trails, health clubs, and campfires, and specialized water transportation dotting the landscape. As always, be sure to inquire with your Front Desk Cast Member for the monthly activities calendar during the dates of your magical vacation!


Hola, and welcome to the WDW Coronado Springs Resort, with its colorful casitas! Here, you’ll enjoy the style of the Southwest, which makes spins on a family Surrey Bike muy bueno! The sprawling Lost City pool complex wins the heart of the families that visit.

Why you’ll love it:

  • Spa & fitness center, and full room service – unavailable at other moderately priced Disney World Resorts
  • Feature Pool has 5-story Mayan pyramid, 123-ft. waterslide, splash pad and sand digging area that is perfect for explorers
  • Beautifully landscaped property offers some of the best views overlooking the lake
  • Suites available, the most refined rooms of the Moderate Resort Hotels
  • Siesta pool bar serves hot food
  • Volleyball beach area (volleyballs that can be checked out for fun in the sand)
  • Sliding partition provides privacy between the sleeping areas and bathrooms
  • Colors of Coronado – a master-led painting class (additional fees apply)
  • Iguana Arcade
  • Movies Under the Stars


The six spacious villages of Caribbean Beach Resort beckon guests to explore. It’s worth checking out the Islands of the Caribbean Pirate Cruise, where kids 4-12 can find freedom to explore, hunt treasure and swashbuckle with supervision.

Why you’ll love it:

  • There are seven pools onsite
  • The pirate themed feature pool has waterfalls, water slides, and water cannons
  • Sebastian’s Bistro, Caribbean family-style restaurant – for Under the Sea dining
  • Water play area at the Spanish fortress – Fuentes Del Morro – is perfect for the kiddos
  • Pirate adventure theme cruises
  • Murphy beds added to most standard rooms will sleep up to five for larger families
  • Lush, tropical vibe landscaping
  • 1.2-mile running trail around the property
  • Internal resort bus will take you to all villages and Custom House
  • Market Street food courts, with a good variety of hot and grab-and-go items 
  • This hotel is the only Moderate hotel on the Disney Skyliner gondola system
  • Movies Under the Stars
  • Bike rentals and surrey bike rentals


The recreation gem of the large Disney Port Orleans Resort (Riverside) is certainly Ol Man Island. With a huge dump bucket and laser-focused lifeguards, your kids can play for hours. For some family fun, rent a pole and bait at The Fishin’ Hole for catch and release fun that is sure to strike a bond.

Pro Tip: Stop into the River Roost Lounge to listen to legend YeeHaw Bob crow wacky and entertaining songs at the piano. It’s a lot of fun and a lesser-known hangout that’s sure to please.

Why you’ll love it:

  • Five leisure pools—3 in Alligator Bayou and 2 in Magnolia Bend—are available throughout the Resort.
  • Have a good ol’ time at Ol’ Man Island, a 3.5-acre refuge with a swimmin’ hole and a fishin’ hole
  • The swimmin’ hole features a rushing waterfalls and a rustic 95-foot waterslide fashioned after an old mill
  • Nearby, a whirlpool tub, pool bar and a kiddie pool provide entertainment for all ages
  • Some standard rooms sleep five, with a trundle bed
  • A 20 minute to resorts by bus and a short boat ride or watercraft transportation to Disney Springs™
  • Manicured magnolias and bayou “swamps”
  • Princesses and princes will love the theming of the royal rooms
  • Horse & carriages rides along the Sassagoula River
  • Enjoy the sounds of jazz singer and pianist Tom Casey at Scat Cat’s Club
  • Daily pool party plus, evening campfire, and movie screening
  • Medicine show arcade
  • Bike rentals and surrey bike rentals


Beignets all day! Sit for a caricature with your family and toss a wishing coin in the beautifully styled NOLA fountains as you are welcome by the Krewe leader. The lobby smells amazing just like the delicious smell of New Orleans-style cuisine itself… trust me on this one!

Why you’ll love it:

  • Dive into Mardi Gras at Doubloon Lagoon with sea serpent theme and waterslide
  • Stop by Sassagoula Floatworks for fresh beignets served all day long
  • Smallest, most compact resort hotel on property gives it a more intimate feel
  • Less walking to the lobby, pool, dining area and bus stop
  • Mom and dad (and the tadpoles too!) can enjoy a romantic horse-driven carriage ride along the banks of the Sassagoula River (additional fee)
  • Take the boat ride over to Disney Springs® Area for an afternoon or evening of shopping and dining
  • South Quarter Games Arcade
  • Bike rentals and surrey bike rentals


For the most resort fun you can stuff in a ranch, visit Fort Wilderness. You can easily spend a few days here, between archery lessons, horseback and pony rides, wagon trails, smores campfires and the popular Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue (reservations required). Top it off with a leisurely kayak rental and you’re starting to look a whole lot like Davy Crockett!

Why you’ll love it:

  • American Frontier theme at the Meadow Swimmin’ Pool and the Wilderness Swimmin’ Pool
  • The feature pool with a 67-foot-long corkscrew waterslide
  • Adults can relax in the whirlpool while the kiddos splash it up in the adjacent fort-themed water play area
  • Tot friendly slides in the fort-themed water play area
  • Chip ‘N’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long with s’mores
  • Guests 7 and older can enjoy the Fort Wilderness Archery Experience
  • Tri-Circle D Ranch: pony rides, horseback riding, and wagon rides
  • Movies Under the Stars
  • Kayak and canoe rentals
  • Bike rentals available at the Bike Barn
  • Daniel Boone’s Wilderness Arcade
  • This is one of the WDW Resorts with Fishing
  • Basketball and Volleyball Courts
  • Playground
  • Wilderness Back Trail Adventure via Segway
  • Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue


Disney World Resorts - Animal Kingdom Resort

As you might expect, Disney’s Deluxe Resorts are where you’ll find the most added value options. To get the most out of these Disney World resorts, plan to spend a day away from the parks enjoying all the property has to offer.

While you won’t find the playgrounds of the Value Resorts, you will find plusher options like Fireworks Cruises, Boat Rentals, Monorail rides, hosted scavenger hunts and organized activities like Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Bead Bracelet. Each Resort’s “flavor” is present in it’s offerings, so it’s a fantastic opportunity to analyze your vacation style and find the perfect fit for your family.


Get ready for the wildest stay in the wilderness! Escape to the rustic scenery of America’s Great Northwest. You’ll feel closer to nature and the native art and American craftsmanship that honors the beauty of the untamed wilderness. Visit the Fire Rock Geyser as it spouts or takes the architecture tour around the resort!

Why you’ll love it:

  • Discover towering totem poles, headdresses and more that decorate the lodge
  • Enjoy the beautiful stone hearth and roaring fireplace – cozy right?
  • Take a dip in the playful Copper Springs Pool or the easygoing Boulder Ridge Cove Pool with shaded seating areas
  •  Zip down an exciting 67-foot waterslide built into rocks
  • Relax in hot and cold whirlpool spas
  • Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White (additional cost for character dinners)
  • Fire Rock Geyser erupts hourly from 7 am to 10pm (see times guide upon arrival)
  • Movies Under the Stars
  • Sturdy Branches Health Club with fitness center and sauna
  • Buttons and Bells Arcade
  • Electrical Water Pageant on the lake (see times guide upon arrival)
  • Guided fishing excursions
  • Wilderness Lodge Campfire and marshmallow roasting
  • Jogging trails through the pine woodland surrounding the lodge
  • Romantic restaurants on site for parent date nights
  • Onsite salon for those who want some extra pampering
  • Wonders of the Lodge Art and Architecture Tour (check with front desk staff for dates/times)
  • A calendar full of daily events such as: tours, sunrise yoga, cruises, fireworks, kids activities, pool parties and more (check with front desk for a schedule and plan accordingly!


These twin Epcot area Resorts share a lot of amenities and recreation options. The Stormalong Bay Pool is one of the largest draws for guests of this resort as it is sprawling and entertaining. Resort campfires, hair wraps, boat rentals and more dot the landscape. Be sure to make a group reservation at Beaches N Cream, the original spot for the towering Kitchen Sink Sundae.

Why you’ll love it:

Note: the main difference between these two resorts is that the Beach Club Resort is better for families, while couples wanting a more romantic experience might prefer the Yacht Club Resort. But both are great for families!

  • Quieter than the Beach Club Resort, this one may be a better choice for couples without kids
  • It’s a short walk to Disney’s BoardWalk (the entertainment district)
  • Within walking distance or a short boat ride to Epcot
  • Catch a wave at Stormalong Bay—a 3-acre water wonderland—or go for a swim in one of 3 leisure pools.
  • If you do bring kids, there is a breakfast with Goofy and friends at Cape May Cafe
  • Tennis courts on-site
  • Volleyball courts on-site
  • Jogging trails
  • Beaches & Cream Soda Shoppe (50’s style soda fountain) – the home of the Kitchen Sink Sundae
  • Disney Skyliner Transportation – ride aerial gondolas
  • Resort campfire activities
  • Poolside cabana rentals
  • Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf is nearby
  • Movies Under the Stars
  • Motorized Boat Rentals and fishing
  • Lafferty Place Arcade
  • Themed Cruises


Step right up for some entertainment! Disney’s Boardwalk Inn and it’s namesake walkway have lots to do! Guests from around Walt Disney World Resort visit the WDW Boardwalk resort for it’s tempting restaurants, water fun, surrey bikes and the oh-so-fun dueling piano bar!

Pro Tip: Joe’s Margarita stand on the water’s edge is the perfect place to grab a custom made ‘rita or frozen beverage. If you’re of age, partake in a cold one post surrey-bike ride.

Why you’ll love it:

  • It’s a short boat ride or walk to Epcot and Hollywood Studios
  • Surry bike rentals available for riding along the Boardwalk
  • Fishing in the nearby lake
  • The Boardwalk location offers close proximity to amazing restaurants, breweries, shopping, and more
  • Two leisure pools remind you of the turn of the century Atlantic City
  • Carnival themed Luna Park Pool with a Keister Coaster waterslide
  • There are spouting trunks of grinning elephants
  • Whirlpool spa for adults, kiddie pool for the little ones
  • Disney Skyliner Transportation – get a bird’s eye view as it whisks you and your family away to Epcot and Hollywood Studios
  • Boardwalk Campfire Activities
  • Movies Under the Stars
  • Fantasia Gardens Mini-golf
  • Children can climb, slide and have a ball at the Luna Park Crazy Play Area
  • Side Show Games Arcade
  • Spa and Fitness Center, Tennis Courts
  • Jogging around Crescent Lake
  • Wet your whistle at Joe’s Marvelous Margarita Stand
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth at the Funnel Cake Cart – because what’s a trip to the carnival without a funnel cake?
  • Leaping Horse Libations –  a whimsical carousel-themed bar by the Luna Park Pool


Step into the heart of Africa. The Animal Kingdom resort offers an opportunity to see wildlife up close and personal. Peer off the observation deck during the day to see giraffes, zebras, and more, evening observations can be done with night vision goggles! Participate in the primal parade, the pool parties, and even the occasional drum lesson.

Why you’ll love it:

  • It’s home to more than 30 species of wildlife and more than 200 animals
  • There are four lush savannas that animals and birds call home
  • The resort is specifically designed for maximum views of the animal habitats
  • Uzima Pool, a 100,000 square foot pool, surrounded by trees and palms features an exciting water slide
  • Identify species with the Wildlife Field Guide
  • Participate in several tours led by Animal Specialist
  • Jambo House Campfire Activities
  • Movies Under the Stars
  • Kids can monkey around on the Hakuna Matata Playground
  • Pumbaa’s Fun and Games Arcade
  • Wild About Painting activity
  • Zahanati Massage & Fitness Center
  • Consider booking the Dine with an Animal Specialist experience
  • Check the calendar for tons of daily events/activities: Primal Parade, Kids’ coloring and crafting events, Animal Viewing with Night Vision, African Drum Circles, wildlife games, and TONS of animal enrichment activities.


This Resort is practically perfect in every way. Relax in style with the Parasol Parade, the complimentary Gone Mad Fireworks Party, and plenty of live music twinkling in the lobby. When you’re finished, hop on the monorail to visit the other two resorts on the line!

Why you’ll love it:

  • Close access to Magical Kingdom Park by walking, monorail, or boat
  • Crystal-clear Beach Pool or enjoy a more tranquil swim at the Courtyard Pool
  • Grand Floridian Campfire Activities
  • The Grand Floridian Spa and Health Club
  • Movies Under the Stars
  • Private poolside cabanas available for rent
  • Motorized boat rentals and fishing
  • Fireworks Cruise: world-class fireworks during an ever-enchanting nighttime cruise
  • Arcadia Games: classic and contemporary
  • Electrical Water Pageant on the lake, see times guide upon arrival
  • Basketball Courts
  • Poolside bars and restaurants
  • High Tea in the Grand View Tea Room
  • Private dining options in-room options are available
  • Lawn Games
  • Victoria & Albert’s Fine Dining (reservations required)


Celebrate the spirit of the South Pacific! Aloha fellow travelers! Stop in for a luscious Dole Whip from Pineapple Lanai or mix it up with a spiky one from Trader Sam’s Grotto at the resort.

Pro tip: If you arrive for a Spiky Pineapple by 5:30, you’ll have enough time to secure a seat on the Great Ceremonial Lawn to watch the Torch Lighting Ceremony!

  • Most rooms offer views of the lagoon or Magic Kingdom park
  • Lava Pool with its popular volcano and water slide
  • Enjoy the peaceful waters of the Oasis Pool
  • Oasis Patio offers a bar and grill and delicious snacks and drinks
  • Polynesian Kids Splash Pad
  • Movies Under the Stars
  • Polynesian Village Campfire Activities
  • Motorized boat rentals and fishing
  • Senses Spa and Fitness Center
  • Ride the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom and two other Resorts
  • Electrical Water Pageant on the lake, see times guide upon arrival
  • Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto – Volcanic eruptions of flavor
  • A very active calendar of events with event such as: pool parties, dinner shows, and more!
  • Lawn Games, Bingo, Crafts. see times guide upon arrival
  • Learn how to Hula Dance from Celebrity Cast Member Auntie Kaui


The original monorail hotel, visiting the modern, sleek resort is a bunch of fun as you exit Magic Kingdom. The Contemporary offers an unparalleled dock area with watercraft transportation to the Fort, watersports of all kinds, fishing cruises, a modern splash pad for the kids, lawn games, complimentary morning Yoga, and views of shimmering Bay Lake.

Pro Tip: No buses run from this resort to the Magic Kingdom. It’s only a five-minute walk on a nice sidewalk and you’ll encounter a very short security line instead of the bottle neck outside the transportation entrance. This short-commute makes Disney’s Contemporary Resort one of my favorites!

  • Cool off as you take your pick from 2 pools conveniently located along the shore of Bay
  • There’s a water playground for the kids
  • 17-foot-high, curving waterslide at the main pool and two whirlpool slides
  • Bay Pool offers poolside cabana rentals with amenities and personalized service
  • Ride the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot
  • Movies Under the Stars
  • The Game Station Arcade
  • Olympiad Fitness Center and jogging trails
  • Lawn Games: Connect 4, checkers, cornhole, etc.
  • Motorized boat rentals and fishing
  • Tennis and volleyball courts
  • LakeElectrical Water Pageant on the lake, see times guide upon arrival
  • Fireworks Cruises – Drop anchor for world-class fireworks during an ever-enchanting nighttime cruise!
  • Sammy Duvall Watersports Centre. Located at the marina, the centre offers parasailing, water skiing, wakeboarding, family tubing and watercraft rentals. For reservations and information, please call 407-939-0754.


Inspired by historic Saratoga Springs—a late-1800s New York retreat famous for its spas and horse racing—this charming, Victorian-style Resort hotel is nestled between rolling golf course greens and the shimmering Lake Buena Vista.

  • Pool with gushing waterfalls, zero-depth entry, and a 128-foot-long slide built into the rocks
  • Donald Duck aqua-play areas with miniature water slide for the littles
  • Two Whirlpool spas
  • On the Rocks pool bar for the adults
  • Three leisure pools are also on site
  • Optional Deluxe Villa with amenities like a kitchen, washer, dryer and separate bedrooms
  • Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course
  • Saratoga Springs Spa and Health Club
  • Saratoga Springs Campfire Activities
  • Movies Under the Stars
  • Community hall: ping pong, foosball, arts and crafts, video games, DVD collection, board games and more
  • Surrey Bike Rentals
  • Three playgrounds for the kids
  • Win, Place or Show Arcade
  • Tennis and Basketball Courts
  • Jogging trails along the manicured golf course


Disney World Resorts - Animal Kingdom Lodge

The Animal Kingdom Lodge at Walt Disney World has been on my bucket list for a while. The idea of being able to sit on your balcony and watch the animals on the savanna sounds wonderful. A few years ago, I visit Walt Disney World for the New Fantasyland Grand Opening and was treated to a few nights at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, one of the favorite deluxe Disney World resorts. It’s an ideal place to stay for families that are into animals and want something a little quieter away from the main hustle and bustle. Check here for discounts and specials. 


Although my room didn’t have a balcony overlooking the savannah, it did have bunk beds, a queen bed and a Graco pack-n-play already in the closet. Although I didn’t have my kids with me on this trip, there was ample room to set up a travel bed, something we end up doing to accommodate our family of five. The room did have a balcony, which is always nice. I like having somewhere to escape when the kids go to sleep.


There are nine dining area at The Animal Kingdom Lodge, including a large open bar area. We mostly grabbed something quick to get out to the parks or other events. There is character dining at Animal Kingdom Lodge with Safari Donald Duck and his friends. There is also a special Sunrise Safari breakfast and Sunset Safari that takes you out on the savanna.


The main reason to stay at any of the luxury resorts at Walt Disney World is to take advantage of all the extra-curricular activities available within the resort. Animal Kingdom’s main draw is the savannah. There are four savannas that you can view from the hotel with more than 30 species of wildlife including gazelles, wildebeests, pelicans and flamingos. Ask for a viewing guide and see how many of the animals you can find. View the flamingos from a far. They can be a bit smelly.

All along the savanna are Safari Guides to answer any questions you might have. Also ask for a monthly Guest Activity calendar to find out when you can watch the animals through night vision goggles or when docents are around to showcase African instruments or do crafts during the day.

In addition to an expansive pool with a water slide, and cozy hot tubs secluded in the trees, there is a kid’s game room and numerous fire pits to warm up a cool evening. Ask about campfire activities.


Animal Kingdom Lodge was quite a different resort experience. It offers a more secluded location and feels very private. I would make sure to save at least one day to explore the resort and take advantage of all it has to offer. It’s one of the reasons for the premium price.

I’m glad I stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, but not sure I would book it for a future stay unless I was going to take advantage of more activities at this premium resort. I arrived in the evening and between all the dark furnishings and the night sky, it was quite dark. Because of the location, the only option for transportation is the bus system. Buses run frequently, but I like to have other options and prefer the bright, cheery turn-of-the-century Yacht Club where you can walk to EPCOT Center.


Disney World Resorts - Art of Animation

The Art of Disney Animation is part of the Walt Disney World value resort lodging portfolio in Orlando.  Within the Art of Disney Animation are four themed hotels. The first to open has a Finding Nemo theme. Other themes include Cars, Lion King and Little Mermaid. Look for discounts at the Art of Animation here.


The Finding Nemo rooms are mostly family suites with three distinct sections, two full bathrooms and a kitchenette. Each suite sleeps six with enough room for a pack-n-play for the youngest family member. The coolest feature and the most fun for kids is the Murphy bed that doubles as a dining table. It’s easy to pull down, my boys could do it without help. Adding to the cool factor, kids sleep under a picture of Marlin and Nemo. The sitting area also has a pull out coach. These beds are a bit smaller than your normal bed, which is fine for small children, but two teens or older children might be a bit uncomfortable.


Outside the rooms is a wonderland of under-the-sea fun. As you emerge from your anemone home, you are greeted by a giant Crush or Mr. Ray. Head to the splash  fountains for more fun with other Nemo characters like Dory or Flo. The Corral Reef playground is perfect for youngsters and includes a tunnel and small slides. The Finding Nemo pool is the largest in the Art of Disney Animation complex and includes beach entry and a pool bar. There are two smaller pools in the Cars and The Little Mermaid courtyards. There is also a video arcade, food court and grab and go market located within the main building.


The only downside to The Art of Disney Animation is the configuration of the family suite. The kid’s beds are all in the living area. Once kids go to bed, parents are stuck in the bedroom, which doesn’t include a sitting area or a balcony. You do have your own bathroom, and the bedroom is a nice size, but I’d prefer walking into the adult room with the kitchenette and seating area and being able to close off the kid’s room.


Disney World Resorts - Yacht Club

One of these days I’m going to visit Walt Disney World, never go to a park and just explore all the hotels. I love a beautiful hotel and Walt Disney World has so many to choose from. One of my favorites is the turn-of-the-century Yacht Club Resort. There are so many things to love at about the Yacht Club, it’s cheerful bright seaside décor, Stormalong Bay, the best pool in all of Disney World and my favorite, a short walk to World Showcase at EPCOT center. Check here for discounts at the Yacht Club.


Our room had two double beds, as well as a daybed, big enough to accommodate our tween. A spacious balcony was perfect for getting away from the kids for a little bit after they went to bed. We also had a nice desk where my older son finished his homework before embarking on our Disney adventure. If you’d like, Disney can also stock your fridge for you so everything is there when you arrive. For a less expensive option, have Amazon to deliver and have the box waiting for you when you arrive.


*All photos are courtesy of Disney World Resorts.

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