Who says that you need to be in the Walt Disney World Parks to have a good time on your vacation to the Most Magical Place on Earth? Believe it or not, there are tons of things that you can do at Disney without a park ticket!
Some resorts in Disney are favored for their close proximity to the parks, like Disney’s Beach Club Resort or the Contemporary Resort. On the other hand, some hotels are more suitable for a staycation.
Come with us as we break down the best Disney hotels to stay in if you never want to leave your Resort!
Disney’s Riviera Resort is Disney’s newest hotel, and it is themed after the French and Italian Riviera, places that held a special spot in Walt Disney’s heart.
If you’re enjoying a staycation at Riviera Resort, know that it has several excellent dining options, such as Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera, Primo Piatto, and Le Petit Café! When you’re finished with your meal at Toppolino’s Terrace, be sure to step onto the balcony and take in those stunning views from the roof!
If you’re looking for something fun to do, you can take a ride on Disney’s Skyliner! Riviera Resort has its very own Skyliner station, and the ride from here to EPCOT is a feast for the eyes (and about 10 minutes long).
Riviera Resort also has a fitness center with technologically loaded machines, two pools (one leisure, one main), poolside activities, a pool bar (don’t miss Bar Riva!), a splash pad, and a lounge made for Disney fans.
If you want to venture out of your Resort without going too far from ‘home’, Riviera Resort is within walking distance of Caribbean Beach Resort! You can enjoy a drink at the Banana Cabana or chow down on Caribbean-inspired food at Sebastian’s Bistro! Then, just walk back to Riviera Resort (or make the short, two-minute Skyliner ride!) for some French pastries at Le Petit Cafe before bed!
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is one of the first Walt Disney World Resorts, but if you think its 1970s pedigree means it’s old fashioned, know that the Poly is far from dated!
Between the Magic Kingdom fireworks views (they pump the music onto the beach so you can hear it throughout the show!), the delightful pool (slide down a volcano? Yes, please!), and delicious dining options (‘Ohana, Capt. Cook’s, Kona Cafe, and more!), there’s a lot to love about the Polynesian Resort. One thing you won’t want to miss is the Electrical Water Pageant as it floats by on Seven Seas Lagoon!
The Polynesian Resort is also home to a watercraft rental location by the dock! Keep in mind that all motorized boat rentals are temporarily unavailable, but we’ll be sure to update you when they return! When they do, plan an excursion that’ll give you a view of the Resort and its surroundings that you’ve never seen before!
Did we mention that the Polynesian serves Dole Whip?! You can stop by Pineapple Lanai and treat yourself to this beloved Disney dessert! Or lunch! Or dinner! You know what, just get it a bunch of times while you’re there.
The Polynesian Resort is conveniently located on the Monorail loop, so you can take a lap when you want to get away for a bit. You’ll glide by Magic Kingdom, and you can stop to explore the other two Monorail Resorts: Grand Floridian and Contemporary. Or sample some foods and drinks on the Monorail crawl!
Take a ride on the Monorail!
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Rounding out our list of Deluxe Resorts that are made for a staycation is Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, located just a boat ride away from the Magic Kingdom. But for a vacation that stays away from the Disney parks, though, the Wilderness Lodge still has plenty to offer!
Besides the obvious hotel staycation activities (pool, dining, hanging out in the incredible lobby, etc.), you can also stroll next door to Fort Wilderness Resort (check out the walking trail here) to rent bikes, visit Tri-Circle-D Ranch, or go fishing!
After a day full of activities, you might work up an appetite! Luckily, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge serves plenty of good food! You can visit Whispering Canyon Cafe for a meal with some antics, Roaring Fork for some quick but quality eats, and Artist Point (temporarily closed but otherwise offering a fabulous character meal)!
Although it is currently unavailable, the Wilderness Lodge also offers wagon rides on a horse-drawn wagon! And you’ll want to check with the front desk to see if they’ve got a scavenger hunt going on; that’s a fun way to explore your Resort and maybe collect a little prize at the end!
Port Orleans Resorts
Both Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter (both reopening in October) are extremely popular Moderate Disney Resorts — and for good reason! Between the fun New Orleans and bayou theming, peaceful atmosphere, and ideal size, these resorts are a fan favorite.
In terms of things to do, you can take a Sassagoula water taxi (currently not running) to Disney Springs, and enjoy a day of shopping…
…or snack on some beignets in the French Quarter while listening to some relaxing jazz in the background.
The best part is, you can experience double the activities since both resorts are right next to each other, and guests at either Resort are able to use the amenities at the sister Resort. So if you love a themed Resort pool, you’ll get two-for-one at Port Orleans!
The food at the Port Orleans Resorts is also a draw, and if you’re staying here, you’ll have two food court options (get the jambalaya at Sassagoula Float Works at French Quarter!) and one Table Service option — plus two fun pool bars!
The Cabins at Fort Wilderness
The cabins at Fort Wilderness are great because you get a whole cabin, not a tiny little room, so there’s no tiptoeing around at night. Here you can rent bikes to explore acres of wooded trails, ride a horse at Tri-Circle-D Ranch, go fishing, or try your hand at some archery.
If you’re in the mood to take a drive, you can even rent a golf cart and explore the resort! You can’t do that at any of the other Resorts!
If you want your staycation to be relaxed and to feel like you’re really getting away from it all, the Cabins at Fort Wilderness will give you the space for that while still being in close proximity to the magic.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is a fun tropical resort perfect for island lovers!
Like the other resorts we’ve discussed, Caribbean Beach Resort offers movies under the stars at night as well as poolside activities! Plus, the main pool has not one but two slides!
One of the biggest benefits to staying at Caribbean Beach Resort is the Skyliner access! This Resort is home to the gondola system’s hub, so you can ride around on the Skyliner during your staycation and explore some of the other resorts on the Skyliner loop!
In keeping with the beach theme, Caribbean Beach Resort offers hammocks and lounge chairs, so you can spend your staycation getting a tan by the water.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is the perfect resort for you to sit back and relax during your staycation. Save us a Caribbean Beach Pull-Apart Roll next time you go!
Disney’s Pop Century Resort is a blast from the past that is super kid-friendly!
This resort is tons of fun to explore, from the shadow boxes in the lobby that contain treasures from decades past to the fun characters scattered throughout the Resort, it’s endless fun. You can also read trivia facts on signs posted around the resort, watch the Skyliner fly overhead, and check out all the different decade buildings!
During the day, you can participate in activities like tie-dying a shirt with Cast Members (for a small fee) and visiting the arcade (yes, you are a kid again!). At night, you can catch a Disney movie under the stars or enjoy an ice cream by the pool!
Pop Century Resort also has Skyliner access; there’s a station located on Generation Gap Bridge between Pop and Art of Animation, so you can hop from resort to resort and explore as many different places as you want!
Art of Animation
Speaking of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort… this Value Resort pays homage to four classic Disney animated films: The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, The Lion King, and Cars!
If you or your family like to explore, this resort has cleverly designed themed areas that don’t miss a trick; even the landscaping matches each film’s section of the Resort!
The Big Blue Pool here is… BIG. Like really big! In fact, it’s the biggest single pool on property!
On top of that, you and your family can enjoy the movies under the stars, various resort activities, and take a trip around Disney on the Skyliner, which shares that station with the Pop Century Resort!
There are so many fantastic places to stay in and around Walt Disney World, but we hope that this list helps you decide where to stay if you’re thinking of getting away for a little staycation!
What’s your favorite Disney resort for a staycation? Let us know in the comments!
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