The Best Walt Disney World Resort for Every Type of Traveler

So you’re going to Walt Disney World… HOORAY! But where should you stay? With more than 20 resorts on property, it can be hard to choose the one that’s right for you.

Wilderness Lodge Lobby

That’s why we’ve put together this list — to help you decide which resort is the best place to stay on your vacation, based on what kind of vacation you’re aiming for.

BEST RESORT FOR FOODIES: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby

Animal Kingdom Lodge hosts a lot of great features — where else are you going to wake up with a giraffe outside your window? But one of the best parts is the food!

Dining includes signature restaurant Jiko (read a recent review here!), the buffet at Boma, and the underrated but fabulous Sanaa. For lovers of fine dining and wine, Animal Kingdom lodge is the place to stay.

Check out our recent video of “9 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do at Animal Kingdom Lodge.”

BEST RESORT FOR FAMILIES: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Art of Animation Big Blue Pool

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is SO MUCH FUN. Each of the four sections (The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Cars, and Finding Nemo) bring favorite movies to life in a very large sense. The rooms are themed incredibly well, and three of the sections are family-style suites complete with two bathrooms and a kitchenette, perfect for families.

BEST RESORT FOR NIGHT-LIFE LOVERS: Boardwalk Inn

Boardwalk Inn

If you are a night owl who wants activities after dark, then head to the Boardwalk Inn! Not only is the Boardwalk walking distance to Epcot, it has its own unique entertainment that extends well past park hours. From a dueling piano bar at Jellyrolls to mysterious drinks at AbracadaBar this is the place to stay for nightlife just a few steps from your room.

BEST RESORT FOR OUTDOORSY FOLKS : Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground

Fort Wilderness Cabin

Do you love the outdoors? Then this is the hitchin’ post for you! At Fort Wilderness, you can hook up your camper, pitch a tent, or stay in an awesome 6-person cabin. There are TONS of activities for the whole family at Fort Wilderness you won’t find anywhere else — from the hoe-down dinner fun of the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue to horseback riding, and s’mores at a campfire sing-along! You could spend a week at Fort Wilderness and never need to step foot in a theme park — but that would be silly, especially because Magic Kingdom is just a boat ride away.

BEST RESORT FOR MAGIC KINGDOM ENTHUSIASTS: Contemporary Resort

Contemporary Resort

If Magic Kingdom is your favorite place to be, then book a stay at the iconic tower right next door! The Contemporary is the only resort that’s walking distance to the park, which is a huge time-saver and a great convenience. It’s also the first stop on the Resort Monorail Line on the way back, in case you’re tired from all that MK fun (which, in our experience, you will be!). The Contemporary also offers great dining, including the incredibly popular character buffet Chef Mickey’s and the top-of-the-world views at California Grill, making this truly a one-of-a-kind resort.

BEST RESORT FOR ROMANTICS: Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter

Port Orleans French Quarter

Both sections of Port Orleans offer a quiet, quaint vibe that several members of our team said make them the most romantic spots in Disney World! You can stroll along the river, take a horse-drawn carriage ride, or hop on a boat to Disney Springs for a delightful meal. The Port Orleans hotels are two of the most delightful and off-the-beaten-path places that have deluxe feels at moderate prices.

BEST RESORT IF YOU WANT OVER-THE-TOP DISNEY THEMING: All Star Movies Resort

All Star Movies Resort

All Star Movies brings to life giant characters in a fun, family setting. From The Love Bug to Toy Story, you (and your kids!) will have so much fun wandering around and seeing giant versions of your favorite characters. The All Star Movies Resort is also in the value resort category, making it a great deal for the price. Also, while it may not have the most exciting dining options, the bakery case is usually home to some of the best and most fun cupcakes in Disney!

BEST RESORT IF YOU WANT LESS DISNEY THEMING: Coronado Springs Resort

Coronado Springs

We get it — not everyone wants magic and pixie dust in their face the WHOLE time they’re on vacation (we don’t judge). If you want the high-quality Disney service and luxury, but maybe less Mickey Mouse at night, check out Coronado Springs. The resort is undergoing a large transformation right now, with new dining opening soon, so this is also a great one for adults to try new upscale restaurants!

BEST RESORT IF YOU “REALLY” WANT TO FEEL LIKE YOU’RE ON VACATION: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Polynesian Beach

I mean, sitting on the beach drinking a Dole Whip margarita while watching fireworks from the castle… does it get more vacation than that?! Plus the lush grounds with the tropical theming make you feel that you’re several thousand miles away from the real world.

These are just a few of our favorite resorts! There are so many to choose from — which are your favorite resorts and why? Let us know in the comments!

Molly is a lifelong Disney enthusiast, and former Walt Disney World Guest Relations Cast Member and tour guide. Her Walt Disney World favorites include Festival of the Lion King, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Fantasmic!, Mickey-shaped pretzels and rice krispie treats, and anything with Buzz Lightyear! She lives in Orlando with her husband (who she met in Guest Relations) and their two rescue dogs, Kronk and Cruella de Vil (Ella for short!)

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13 Replies to “The Best Walt Disney World Resort for Every Type of Traveler”

  1. Value is in the eye of the beholder. The cheapest hotel in which we would stay in NYC was $450 per night off season. The Hotel Del Coronado was $630 for a view of an air conditioner with none of the benefits of a Disney hotel. If you want to save money stay off site. It saves space for the rest of us

  2. I, too, complained about the cost of on site Disney properties until I compared prices to Jackson, WY, NYC, Chicago, etc. I then started to better see the “value” of the resort. No other hotel picks up my luggage from the airport, provides transportation, and allows me to avoid I4 and local traffic. I’ve stayed off site once in 30 yrs but the true vacation experience of staying on site brings me back every time.

    1. You place a very high dollar value on someone picking up your luggage and driving you to your hotel. You could probably rent a limo and driver to do the same thing at an off-site hotel and still save big $$

  3. I dunno, I would think the Grand Floridian might edge out AKL for best hotel for foodies, since it has 3 signature restaurants (Citricos, Narcoossee’s, and Victoria & Alberts) while AKL has just Jiko.

    Note, I haven’t actually eaten at Citricos & Narcoossee’s — the last trip I had originally planned to eat at Narcoossee’s but we changed our minds.

    That being said, I love the food at Boma and Saana. I’ve eaten at Jiko a few times in conjunction with the sunset safari, and it just isn’t my cup of tea.

          1. Not bad. I had to give my left kidney, my first born child and my toenail clipping collection to stay at the contemporary some years ago. So ya, that’s a bargain.

        1. It varies between $125 and $225 depending on the season. That is not cheap but on par with other hotels outside the park like the Hampton Inn or Hilton Garden Inn. Only the rich can afford to stay at a place like the Polynesian for $800 per night. Member of the middle class can afford to stay at All-Star or Pop Century.

          1. $800. Is that not just insane? How does one even begin to justify paying that price other than with “because I dang well feel like it.”

          2. The thing is, I can stay off property in a much nicer room with a more comfortable bed for that price. Let’s not forget that now we have a parking fee tied in with that value resort. I just can’t pay that for a themed cinder block building and a tiny room. Back when they gave you huge discounts for being a passholder, you could get a room for $49 a night! Now THAT was a value. Disney used to give you no reason whatsoever to stay off property, but now they give you no reason to stay on. I remember the only reason I ever stayed at a deluxe was because with the annual pass, I was able to get a savannah view room at AKL for $130 a night!!! Never happened again once they cut the perks of having an AP. They basically make AP’s just for locals and suckers now.

      1. I stayed at Pop Century for years and I would have agreed with you. But in the last year or so, the prices have skyrocketed, if you can get a reservation at all. You can get a much nicer room off property for the same or less money.