For as huge as Walt Disney World is, only a small portion is devoted to the theme parks. If you’re not giving the resorts a look, you’re missing out!
From amazing dining to unique attractions, you’ve got to incorporate these resorts into your vacation plans. Best of all, you don’t need to pay a cent for admission!
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn is named for its most iconic attraction: a turn-of-the-century style Boardwalk packed to the gills with shops, dining, and beautiful views.
Located a short way from Epcot, this is an underrated Disney gem. Restaurants like ESPN Club, The Flying Fish, and Trattoria al Forno (home to some of the best breakfast at the resort) line the boardwalk, while kiosks offer churros, drinks, and the occasional midway game. You can grab a She Sells Sea Shells Cone from Ample Hills, or just relax on the perfectly cut grass and watch the seagulls fly by. It’s a perfect, low-key Disney stop.
Speaking of classic nautical styling, Beach Club is a must-visit for several reasons. Yes, there are fun activities, a great character meal, and some lovely vistas… but we’re really here for the ice cream.
Beaches & Cream has the most elaborate ice cream sundaes at Disney, including the famous Kitchen Sink… which includes an actual sink. Even if you just come to the snack window, this is a resort worth a visit.
This resort is one of the most gorgeous spots at Disney, with tropical flowers everywhere, an incredible luau show, and views of the Electrical Water Pageant. One of the best parts, however, is ‘Ohana; one of the best restaurants at Disney, bar none. Rated incredibly high by reviewers and readers alike, ‘Ohana is one of the best meals at the resort. Drinks at Trader Sam’s, with its retro-tiki aesthetic, aren’t so bad either. The proximity to the Magic Kingdom also makes it great for a quick stop after a day at the park.
There isn’t a ton of luxury dining or shopping at this resort, but it’s definitely the most Disney of all the Disney resorts. With sections dedicated to Cars, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and Finding Nemo, this place is perfect for a casual stroll and some unique photo ops. The Skyliner station also makes it a quick trip to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
What other hotel includes a whole savanna? You don’t need to be a guest to enjoy the wildlife here, making it a great stop for animal lovers… or folks who couldn’t get a Kilimanjaro Safari FastPass. Plus with dining spots like Jiko and Sanaa, this is one of the best stops for foodies at the resort.
This is a two-for-one special because if you’re staying at one and don’t visit the other… what are you doing? Method acting as a pioneer? You’re at Disney World. Ride the pony, eat the beans, experience the air conditioning.
In all seriousness, this is probably the most beautiful property at Disney World. Not only is there plenty of wildlife, but you can do things you’d never expect to do at Disney. You can kayak, fish, go horseback riding, or even rent a carriage for a romantic ride through the forest. The Lodge features some amazing accommodations like Artist Point, and that enormous fireplace. Meanwhile, Fort Wilderness itself includes popular places to eat like Trail’s End and Pioneer Hall. It’s a bit out of the way, but if you can get here, definitely make it a stop during your trip.
It’s so hard not to recommend the monorail resorts because they just have so much to offer. Fine dining, afternoon tea… but the star attraction here is the new Enchanted Rose… or as I like to call it, Beauty and the Bar.
Enchanted Rose takes the Beauty and the Beast flair from Be Our Guest and channels it into a more subdued lounge environment, with details inspired by the live action film. While you won’t find The Grey Stuff, you will find an amazing bar and a selection of elegant starters that will tickle your taste buds.
Some of you have probably been through the Contemporary Resort, thanks to its monorail station… but have you ever gotten off there? You should.
In addition to having one of the most iconic character dining experiences EVER, the Contemporary is the best place to watch Happily Ever After outside the park, with the Lounge at California Grill being prime real estate. Enjoy a cocktail, eat some snacks, and watch the sky light up.
There are so many other resorts with amazing things to offer that this is just a small sampling. What are your favorite spots? Let us know in the comments!
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