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How to Choose a Disney World Resort For Your Family

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Picking a Disney resort for your family can be daunting. There are so many options that you can get overwhelmed just trying to pick two or three. Narrowing those down can be even worse. It can almost make you want to throw in the towel and give up on the whole vacation. So you want to know how to choose a Disney World resort for your family? We have some tips to hopefully make the choice a little easier.

How to choose a Disney World Resort

Affiliate image disclosure (5)The first thing you need to do is ask yourself the following questions:

 

1.What is your budget? Disney resorts go from value to luxury. Can you afford to splurge on a luxury resort or is a value resort more in line with your finances? Answering this vital question can narrow your choices down considerably and make it much easier to choose from there.

2. Why are you going to Disney? If you are going for just a vacation with no special events then you are still looking a vast array of choices. But, if you are going for the Christmas party which is held at the Magic Kingdom or going to Food and Wine Festival held at Epcot you may want to pick a resort that is near those parks for easy access.

3. Are you cooking or dining out? If you plan to cut your budget by eating most of your meals outside the park you will want to stay somewhere that has a full kitchen or at the very least a microwave and refrigerator. If you have meals scheduled for every park and the dining plan you may want to skip the huge villas and suites.

4. Will you be in the room a lot? If you are looking for a lot of downtime in addition to the parks and will be spending quite a lot of time at the resort, you may want to pick something that has a lot of activities and amenities. If you are looking to be in the parks from the time they open till they close, you may need just a little space to lay your head and clean up.

5. How many people are going with you? If it is just you, your spouse, and two kids you can pick just about anywhere. If you are a family of five your options gets limited. Eight or more means you will most likely have to go luxury if you need to stay together. So the amount of people you bring can cut your choice down a lot.

Disney offers three levels of resorts. Value, Moderate, and Luxury. Value resorts give you the most room to play with your budget, while luxury will give you all magic but at a much higher cost and can bust your budget significantly. All of the resorts offer these amenities:

  • Complimentary resort transportation
  • Complimentary Parking
  • Extra Magic Hours
  • Advance Dining Reservations (ADR)
  • Package delivery service
  • Room charging privileges
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Disney’s Magical Express
  • Mini refrigerator
  • Pak-n-Play cribs

Of course, the more money you spend on a place to stay the more amenities you get. For example, with the value and moderate you get shuttle transportation but if you stayed at a luxury resort like the Grand Floridian you would get monorail transportation.

Value Resorts

Value resorts offer you the most for your money but come with some drawbacks. The rooms are small at barely 260 square feet and you can feel like you are tripping over something every time you move. These are great if you are not going to be in your room a lot. Also, they have the most over-the-top decorations. Extremely colorful and huge. However, they do offer some plusses. They all have pools, food courts, and playgrounds but the pools do not have slides.

One thing you have to be careful of is added expenses. An in-room refrigerator can cost $10 a night and if you have more than two adults you will need to pay an extra $10 a night. So make sure you read all the fine print.

Another thing to look at is that value resorts hold the most appeal to touring groups and high school trips. If you are going during major holidays or events you may want to stay somewhere else because it can get very crowded and very loud.

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Disney Value Resorts

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Disney’s All-Star Music Resort

Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort

Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Moderate Resorts

These are a considerable step up from value resorts. They have a bit more space with added amenities. There is not a lot of surcharges and you can enjoy some of the usual resort offerings like water sport rentals, organized activities, and themed areas like the pool.

The rooms are larger, around 320 square feet plus a lot of them are themed, adding to the magic. There are also food courts and the moderate resorts all have a sit down restaurant to choose from. Which is really cool if you want to take a break and not eat in the park.

One drawback that I hear a lot is that the moderate resorts grounds are really large. It can be a significant walk to all of the action, including the busses to get to the parks. If you are traveling with someone that can’t walk far you may want to ask for a room closer to everything.

Disney Moderate Resorts:

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside

The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Luxury Resorts

You may notice that this section is a little longer. That is because when you go luxury, you get a lot. Is it expensive? Yes. But, you get a lot of bang for your buck. Disney’s luxury resorts are centered around comfort and convenience. They are in close proximity to the parks, you get first class transportation, on site child care centers, and a lot of personalized services.

The pools are water park style and you may have to fight your kids to get them to the park because the pools have a lot of appeal. They also offer room service and some world class sit down restaurants. Each luxury resort is in close proximity of at least one park. Transportation could include boat, monorail, or walkway.

If you want a highly personal experience several of the luxury resorts have a concierge level with access to a private lounge that has complimentary food and drinks. You can also take advantage of private tours that other guests don’t get.  Another great feature to the concierge level is that you will have a private caretaker that can take care of things like: rearranging the furniture in the room, shop for supplies, and really bring the magic if you need it. It is like having your own personal Tinkerbell.

One of the best features, in my opinion and especially if you are traveling with kids, is that the luxury resorts are like staying in a hotel. Everything is inside and it is centrally located. That means less walking and you are closer to the action.

Disney’s Luxury 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 Wilderness Lodge

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Pro tips:

Hire a travel agent. They can help you pick a level of resort that is right for you and may even be able to get one that is out of your budget cheaper.

If you want luxury but would like a cheaper option stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. It is a little easier on the budget without skimping on the magic. If you do stay there eat at Boma during breakfast. It is AMAZING! Also, you can look out your window and see the animals, a huge plus with the kids!

Even though we don’t encourage it, if staying on property is really out of budget consider staying off site. You will still be close to Disney, offered a variety of amenities, and it will be a little cheaper. Just know that transportation can be spotty and it may take you longer to get to the parks. Plus you won’t receive any of the magic you would if you stayed on property.

Hopefully with these tips you will be able to pick a Disney resort that is right for your family. Just remember it doesn’t matter where you stay, all that matters is the magic and memories. Your family is going to love Disney no matter where they sleep at night!

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About the author

Diane Nassy

Diane is a New Jersey-based writer and blogger. She is a wife and the mom of a 9-year-old little boy. Through her blog, she wants to inspire moms to find Zen in their lives while offering practical tips and other valuable information to help families deal with everyday issues. Check out Diane's Google+ profile "