Not sure which Walt Disney World resort is right for you? Our hotel reviews feature room photos, strengths and weaknesses of each hotel, our opinion as to whether they are worth the money, and an idea of what type of guests (families, honeymooners, commando tourists, etc.) will like or dislike each hotel. We also include reviews of Walt Disney World-area hotels in and around Orlando, Florida. (Last updated January 1, 2018.)
In addition to room photos, each full Walt Disney World hotel review contains photos of main common areas of the hotel, pools, restaurants, etc. to give you an idea of whether the decor and the theme of the hotel will appeal to you. In addition to this, the reviews offer Walt Disney World resort hotel tips, information about amenities, and dining recommendations at the hotels.
We have personally stayed at every on-site hotel at Walt Disney World, most numerous times. We stayed at over half of the hotels on this list last year, and have an update on ongoing construction at the various resorts for those planning 2018 Walt Disney World vacations. In January 2018, we will return to Walt Disney World with nearly a dozen hotel stays booked, including many more Disney Springs Area Resorts (which now offer Extra Magic Hours) to offer even more off-site hotel reviews…
Unlike many hotel review sites that crowd-source or aggregate information from other sources leading to inconsistent ratings or uninformed “opinions”, our reviews are all first-hand accounts of our personal stays at each of the hotels at Walt Disney World. You may totally disagree with our opinions, but at least you’re getting the actual opinions of the same two people who have stayed at each of the hotels.
Aside from our hotel reviews, another helpful resource if you’re debating between two of these hotels–as is often the case–is our Walt Disney World Resort Comparison Series. In that, we do posts comparing the amenities, rooms, and strengths of various hotels that people commonly debate. For example, should you stay at Grand Floridian or Polynesian? French Quarter or Riverside? Coronado Springs or Caribbean Beach? And so on…
Below we have blurbs with quick-hit pros and cons of each Walt Disney World hotel if you just want basic information. If you want to know more about each hotel and see Walt Disney World hotel photos, click the name of the hotel to go to its full review. (Links will open in new tabs.)
WDW Hotel Reviews
Disney’s Beach Club Resort Review (Deluxe Resort) – The lighthearted sister resort to Yacht Club, Beach Club has a lot going for it. The theme is lighthearted, fun, and well-executed. The Storm-Along Bay pool is by far the best at Walt Disney World. (It has its own lazy river!) It’s a short walk from Epcot, and a walk or boat ride to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. On-site dining is excellent, with the exception of mediocre counter service. Weaknesses are price and shared bus transportation to the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. We also think the rooms are superior at Yacht Club, but aren’t bad here by any means. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn Review (Deluxe & Deluxe Villa Resort) – BoardWalk is the hotel at which we stay most regularly, and we love it for its walking-distance proximity to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, plus charming turn-of-the-century Atlantic boardwalk theme. Rooms here are attractive and fairly subdued while still being well-themed. In terms of cons, price and the shared bus service are the main ones. BoardWalk also lacks a great full counter service restaurant, although you really can’t complain too much about the excellent BoardWalk Bakery! Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort Review (Deluxe Resort) – Yacht Club is the more ‘sophisticated’ sister hotel of the Beach Club, and is more or less the same aside from a slightly more refined theme. Like Beach Club, the pool, convenience to Epcot & Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and dining options are major strengths. We’d also give the slight nod to Yacht Club in terms of room design. Weaknesses are nightly price, shared bus service, and on-site counter service. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s Contemporary Resort Review (Deluxe Resort) – The Contemporary approaches theming from a minimalist perspective, so it’s a good option for those wanting a respite from the Disney feel of the parks. Thanks to its A-frame design and the monorail running through it, it still has a distinct look. The monorail is another pro, as it offers convenient access to the Magic Kingdom (which is also within walking distance) and Epcot. Great dining options are another plus, as is the compact layout. Weaknesses are high nightly rates, generic pool, and a theme that may not appeal to Disney fans or kids. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (Deluxe & Deluxe Villa Resort) – We have stayed at the Grand Floridian once, and were very underwhelmed by our experience, finding the rooms woefully inadequate (I’ve frequently referred to them as 1990s Country Living Magazine mixed with Victorian). However, we toured the new rooms at the Villas and they are beautiful, and the main buildings are in the process of having a top to bottom overhauls. General strengths are excellent on-site dining (best at Walt Disney World), location near the Magic Kingdom on the monorail loop, and a nice ambiance in general around the resort. Weaknesses are that it is the most expensive resort at Walt Disney World, and shared transportation to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Price is the big issue, though. It’s seriously expensive. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Review (Deluxe Resort) – The Poly as it’s known by fans, this resort celebrates tiki culture, meaning that it’s more of a 1970s caricature than an authentic portrayal. This is not a knock on the hotel, as it’s a fun environment. Strengths of the Polynesian are its beautiful grounds, great restaurants, and location on the monorail, making it a short ride to the Magic Kingdom. It’s also a short walk to the Ticket & Transportation Center. Weaknesses are that it’s one of the most expensive resorts at Walt Disney World, is dated in some regards, and utilizes shared transportation to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Review (Deluxe & Deluxe Villa Resort) – One of my favorite (if not my absolute favorite) resorts at Walt Disney World, Wilderness Lodge scores huge points for its accurate, idealized take on a US National Park lodge. Other highlights include its gorgeous grounds, underrated dining options, compact layout, location near the Magic Kingdom, great boat transportation, and lower price point than other Deluxes. It also is second to none at Christmas in terms of ambiance. If you like the rustic theme here, Wilderness Lodge is tough to beat. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House (Deluxe & Deluxe Villa Resort) – We have stayed in Jambo House (the main building) of Animal Kingdom Lodge and Kidani Village. We prefer Jambo House, but love both. This is one of our favorite resorts at Walt Disney World, and pound for pound one of the best value for money options on-site. Pros of Animal Kingdom Lodge are its encompassing “resort” feel, with a litany of great dining options, plus on-site “entertainment” in terms of animals to view and a high quality art collection. Thematically and culturally authentic, Animal Kingdom Lodge is perfect for guests looking for a resort that, itself, offers something to do. Its biggest con is its remote location; it also has only an average pool area.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village (Deluxe & Deluxe Villa Resort) – Very similar to Jambo House above, but with some slight differences in location and amenities. Particularly in pools and dining, but really, if you’re staying at one, you have access to the features of both. This is particularly useful for Disney Vacation Club members who may want to conserve points by staying at Kidani Village.
Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort Review (Deluxe Villa Resort) – The Disney Vacation Club wing of the Contemporary, this is the closest resort to any theme park at Walt Disney World. It’s less than a 10 minute walk to the Magic Kingdom, and a monorail ride (it connects via a skybridge to the A-frame of the Contemporary) to Epcot. Room design here is superior to the Contemporary with more touches of Disney. Due to its clean, modern design with flourishes of Disney and proximity to the Magic Kingdom, this is Sarah’s favorite resort. Its strengths and weaknesses are the same as the Contemporary. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Beach Club Villas Review (Deluxe Villa Resort) – We just stayed at the Beach Club Villas a couple months ago for the first time since its top-to-bottom room refurbishment was completed. The results are a bit mixed, with an over-correction being made to the previously-dated and “busy” room designs. We love Beach Club in general and this tough-to-score Disney Vacation Club resort still ranks highly for us, but the rooms could use a bit more character. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge Review (Deluxe Villa Resort) – The Disney Vacation Club wing of Wilderness Lodge, Boulder Ridge Villas are a popular choice for Disney fans, particularly at Christmas. We like the style of the recently-redone rooms here, and recommend this resort as a cost-effective way to enjoy Wilderness Lodge. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Cascade Cabins at Wilderness Lodge Review (Deluxe Villa Resort) – These newly-opened waterfront cabins at Wilderness Lodge are among the most expensive rooms at Walt Disney World. Unlike the Bora Bora Bungalows, they do not disappoint. While the price is steep, the rooms do an exceptional job of marrying modern luxury with rustic and thematically-appropriate design. This review also covers changes–some for the worse–that were made to the scenery around Wilderness Lodge as a result of this expansion project. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Villas Review (Deluxe Villa Resort) – Since our first stay here last year, the Villas at Grand Floridian have quickly won our hearts. While the exterior of the building underwhelms and looks sloppy, the inside is a stark contrast, with rooms that are actually nicer and more detailed than the main Grand Floridian–and at a fraction of the cost (in DVC points, that is). This has quickly jumped to the top of our list of Disney Vacation Club resorts! Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s Old Key West Resort Review (Deluxe Villa Resort) – Old Key West is the original Disney Vacation Club resort, and that was actually its name when it first opened. A lush environment themed to Key West, Old Key West features the largest rooms of any Disney Vacation Club resort, which is a big plus if you want space. The theming here is very well done, but whether a resort themed to Florida in Florida is for you (I love it) is another matter. On-site dining and amenities are great. The biggest downside is how spread out Old Key West is, which means a long walk to dining and an inefficient multi-stop bus system. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s Polynesian Villas Review – Similar to the Polynesian Village Resort Review above, this review focuses specifically on the new Disney Vacation Club rooms at the Poly. These Deluxe Villas iterate further on what DVC room designers have learned from previous efforts, and make excellent use of space. Some people may not like the vibrant, arguably clashing color scheme, but we find it to be fun. Location and view are another big plus. Cost isn’t. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s Polynesian Bora Bora Bungalows Review – Over the water bungalows in the style of those found in the real Bora Bora, but without the crystal clear waters underneath…and at a higher price point. These units don’t offer a ton of upside, and are best suited for those who have tons of Disney Vacation Club points, and are looking to flaunt that fact. Our quite negative personal experience didn’t help their cause… Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa Review (Deluxe Villa Resort) – Saratoga Springs is another resort that was constructed as a Disney Vacation Club resort, meaning that it’s built with villas in mind. The theme here is subdued, and the resort overall feels very new and fresh. It’s also within walking distance or ferry distance of Disney Springs. On the downside, it’s the largest and most spread out resort at Walt Disney World, utilizing multiple bus stops which makes transportation to the parks a chore if you don’t have a rental car. On-site dining is also weak. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort Review (Moderate Resort) – The vibrant, tropical feel of this resort seems to be a bit divisive–it even is among the two of us. I find it to have a fun theme with interesting rooms, while Sarah isn’t a big fan. It is the oldest of the Moderates, which is good and bad. Good in the rooms being larger than the norm, bad in it being a bit dated. The pool here is arguably the best of any Moderate. This resort is great for families who want an upgrade from the Values. One downside is that a multi-year refurbishment project will impact many amenities at Caribbean Beach through late 2018 or early 2019. Just like other moderates, it has multiple bus stops and inefficient transportation. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort Review (Moderate Resort) – Coronado Springs has the room quality of a Deluxe Resort for the price of a Moderate. It also has dining options on par with a Deluxe. This is because it is the primary convention hotel at Walt Disney World, which is both a good and a bad thing. On the plus side, its amenities are on par with what conventioneers who aren’t interested in theme parks would expect. On the downside, many vacationers don’t appreciate the “convention crowd” at their resort. This resort is good for adults traveling without kids and bad for families. Other weaknesses are its spread out nature, and a theme that is overall sort of bland. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground Review (Moderate Resort) – In my early childhood, camping at Fort Wilderness was a yearly tradition. As adults, we have stayed at the Cabins at Fort Wilderness (these are why it’s a Moderate Resort). Fort Wilderness is unlike any other resort at Walt Disney World, and if you didn’t know better, you might have no clue that a theme park was across the lake from it. Great outdoor activities like fishing, boating, archery, campfires, and more. Inefficient internal bus system is biggest weakness. Either Fort Wilderness is for you or it isn’t. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort Review (Moderate Resort) – We recently stayed in a refurbished cabin at Fort Wilderness, which we think is a great option if you have a large party and enjoy the secluded ambiance of the resort. It’s a good way of “roughing it” except in a beautiful room that merges a rustic style with modern amenities (so not really roughing it at all, but whatever!). Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter (Moderate Resort) – French Quarter is a romanticized version of New Orleans, and that’s a definite plus. Beyond that, its biggest strength is its compact size and single bus stop, which is a stark contrast to other Moderates. The pool is also cool, as are many areas of the resort. Weaknesses are that it shares some amenities with Riverside (French Quarter has no table service restaurant because of this). Due to its small size, it is also rarely discounted, meaning that–as a practical matter–it often costs much more than the other Moderate Resorts. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside Review (Moderate Resort) – Riverside has the theming of a Deluxe Resort for the price of a Moderate Resort. It has the entertainment offerings of a Deluxe Resort for the price of a Moderate Resort. We consider it the perfect Walt Disney World hotel for honeymooning on a budget because of its romantic atmosphere. The only downsides are its spread out layout, which leads to long (romantic?) walks and multiple bus stops. If you don’t rent Disney Vacation Club points, this is our pick for the “best value” of any hotel at Walt Disney World. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s Art of Animation Suites Review (Value Resort) – Art of Animation is the newest hotel at Walt Disney World, and already one of the most popular. The majority of its rooms are cartoony (you’ll see what we mean when you look at the photos) family suites, which is either a pro or a con depending upon your perspective. Design throughout the resort can be both a pro and con (likely a pro for families and avid Disney movie fans and a con for adults looking for a romantic or relaxed escape). Across the board pros include the food court and transportation. Cons are the spread out layout and price, which is above the rest of the Value tier. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s Pop Century Resort Review (Value Resort) – A good Value Resort choice because it costs less per night than Art of Animation and some rooms are within walking distance of the Art of Animation food court. Pop Century has divisive, oversized icons adorning the property, and many of these will resonate less with kids because some are pop culture references that are over their heads than the icons at the other Value Resorts. Pop Century also has dedicated bus service and a fairly nice food court of its own, plus Disney amenities at a reasonable nightly rate. This makes it a good option for “commando touring” trips where the hotel is only for sleeping and showering. Weaknesses are that it’s basically a Disneyfied motel and is spread out. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s All Star Music Resort Review (Value Resort) – Each of the All Star Resorts has the same basic strengths and weaknesses. Theme is one thing that will be divisive, and the larger than life icons will be considered a pro by some while it’s a con by others. See the photos of the resorts to judge that for yourself. In general, the All Star Resorts are Disneyfied motels, and are fairly spread out. Strengths here are the price and the fact that you can still take advantage of Disney on-site amenities. Of the All Stars, we find Music to be the most relaxed and best laid-out. Weaknesses are transportation, overall quality, and design (for some). Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s All Star Movies Resort Review (Value Resort) – Like All Star Music, the greatest strength of All Star Movies is its price point. It also has a fun theme for kids and movie fans, although many others will find it tacky and over the top. All general strengths and weaknesses are the same here as Music. Of the three All Star Resorts, Movies is our least favorite, as it is the last stop on the bus route (meaning it gets skipped sometimes) and because it’s the most dated. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Disney’s All Star Sports Resort Review (Value Resort) – Exactly the same general pros and cons of the other All Stars. Additionally, All Star Sports benefits from having a nicer food court than the others, and being the first stop on the shared bus loop. Its biggest downside is that it is the hotel most frequently used for large youth groups. If you don’t think this is a big deal, you’ve never had a group of cheerleaders practicing their chants at 11 pm outside your room. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Other Walt Disney World Area Hotels
This is our selection of “other” hotels near Walt Disney World. Some of these hotels are located on-site, some are off-site in the Disney Springs area, and some are off-property but a very short drive of Walt Disney World.
Many more off-site hotel reviews are coming soon, as we have stayed at a lot of hotels near Walt Disney World recently. If you have questions about a particular hotel not covered here, please ask about it in the comments, as there’s a decent chance we’ve stayed there.
Here are the hotels we have reviewed thus far…
Swan & Dolphin Resort (Epcot Area) Review – My favorite non-Disney hotel option, Swan & Dolphin are great options if you’re looking for a luxury experience or walking-distance proximity to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at a lower price point. The resort fees here do bug me, but the fact remains that prices at the Swan & Dolphin are significantly better than comparable Disney-owned hotels even with added costs factored in, and the amenities give virtually every Disney-owned hotel a run for its money. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress (Disney Springs Area) Review – This hotel takes resort to the next level, with the most robust slate of activities and amenities at any hotel at which we’ve stayed in Orlando. Beyond that, this Hyatt offers chic style, top-notch service, and great rooms. It’s a luxury resort hotel that will most likely appeal to conventioneers and honeymooners, or families wanting an alternative to staying on-property at Walt Disney World. As far as luxury hotels go, this is a pretty good value. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Villas at Grand Cypress (Disney Springs Area) Review – This is a AAA Four-Diamond luxury golf resort: sort of like Disney Vacation Club on steroids, and set on a golf course. It’s the #1 hotel of them all in Orlando, with an average score of 5/5. The Villas at Grand Cypress absolutely lived up to the expectations set by its prestige. The problems are two-fold: price and golf. It’s expensive, and unless you or someone in your party is a serious golfer, you aren’t going to be taking advantage of its main amenities to its fullest. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
B Resort & Spa (Disney Springs) Review – B Resort feels like a hip boutique hotel, one that is unlike anything else I’ve seen at Walt Disney World. It’s a really ambitious hotel, with very attractive prices considering its quality and on-site location at Walt Disney World. However, this style probably is not for everyone, namely, families with small children. It seems better suited to conventioneers or younger folks looking to go out after the parks close and have a good time at Disney Springs. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Best Western Lake Buena Vista (Disney Springs) Review – This is a nice budget hotel that is worth consideration if you want a good location and solid accommodations, and a walkable location to Disney Springs. This hotel won’t “wow” you, but the rooms are better than expected, the amenities are strong, and there are some modern flourishes in common areas that give the hotel a bit of an upscale feature. It’s a somewhat of a pleasant surprise as an above-average 3-star Best Western that doesn’t just rest on the laurels of its location. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace (Disney Springs) Review – The Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace is a far more ambitious hotel than you’d expect. It has an impressive slate of amenities, is an easy walk to Disney Springs, and has some of the absolute best rooms at Walt Disney World. It’s certainly not perfect, having some dated areas, and the nightly resort fee is absurdly expensive, but even considering that, this has to be among one of the best ‘bang for buck’ hotels at Walt Disney World. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Waldorf Astoria Orlando (Bonnet Creek) Review – Given the quality of the hotel, the Waldorf Astoria’s ~$300/night prices are not bad. The hotel is superior to a Deluxe Resort at Walt Disney World in nearly every regard aside from theming and also less expensive than most of them. One of the most luxurious hotels in all of Central Florida, this is a hotel at which all luxury-minded guests should take a hard look. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista (Disney Springs) Review – The Wyndham is a very basic, albeit reasonably nice, off-site option that is primarily going to appeal to those who do not want the theming of a Disney resort, or have rewards they can use or earn at the Wyndham. It offers fair value, especially for those who will be venturing off-site. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Floridays Resort Orlando Review – Floridays is a less expensive villa, timeshare-style resort that is farther off-site (making it convenient to SeaWorld, Universal Orlando, and Walt Disney World). Floridays offers some incredibly nice villa accommodations for shockingly low prices. Rooms that are far nicer than they have any business being at this price point. To be sure, it’s not a hotel that’s going to be featured on any Travel Channel specials covering the ritziest hotels in the world, but the value here is too good to ignore, especially given the solid quality. Click here to read our full review and see room photos.
Other WDW Hotel Resources
In addition to our reviews, we have some other resources that compare Walt Disney World hotels or help you save money at them. Here are some helpful reading materials:
Tips for Renting Disney Vacation Club Points – Renting DVC points is a great way to stay at Deluxe Villa resort hotels for about the price of a Moderate Resort. Save a ton of money over booking these resorts directly from Disney.
Off-Site v. On-Site Walt Disney World Hotels – The pros and cons of staying in an on-site Walt Disney World hotel, versus staying at a hotel outside of Walt Disney World. Largely comes down to convenience v. cost, but here are other things to consider!
Best Walt Disney World Resorts for Free Dining – Walt Disney World’s frequent “Free Dining” promotion is not the same for all resort hotels, and it’s not offered at all of them either. This post looks at the best hotels for maximizing the value of the promo.
Value Resorts v. Moderate Resorts – Exactly what it sounds like. An article that helps you determine whether Value Resorts or Moderate Resorts might be right for you, if you’re unsure.
Value Resort Rankings – Post ranking the Value Resorts based on our opinions. Looks at amenities and quality versus cost.
Moderate Resort Rankings – Post ranking the Moderate Resorts based on our opinions. Each Moderate Resort has strengths that could make it #1, so this sorts out those strengths and weaknesses.
Deluxe Resort Rankings – Same idea as the Value and Resort ranking posts. A considerably more difficult tier of hotels to rank, this definitely depends upon personal preference and “goals” in large part.
Disney Vacation Club Resort Rankings – Post ranking Deluxe Villa Disney Vacation Club resorts. Takes into account cost, size, amenities, and other features to give an idea of best bang for buck and overall quality.
Best Disney Vacation Club Resorts at Christmas – Rankings of the various Disney Vacation Club resorts during the Christmas season. Considers point cost, convenience, and decor.
If you are unsure of which Walt Disney World hotel might be best for you–or need personalized help with planning any aspect of your vacation–we recommend contacting a no fee “Authorized Disney Vacation Planner” (Disney’s term for a travel agent) to get a quote and to help you plan. They get their commission from Disney, so none of the authorized (key word) planners will charge you for booking their trip and helping. Here’s one such recommended Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.
For Walt Disney World trip planning tips and comprehensive advice, make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide and related articles.
At which Walt Disney World hotels have you stayed? Do you have a favorite hotel? A least favorite hotel? Please provide some feedback and share your thoughts or questions in the comments! If you’re a first timer with some questions, feel free to post them and we will do our best to answer!