Disney World Hotel Reviews (+GIVEAWAY)


Thinking about staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel, but not sure which is right for you? In our Disney hotel reviews, we share the strengths and weaknesses of each hotel, give our opinion as to whether they are worth the money, and offer an idea of what type of guests (families, honeymooners, commando tourists, etc.) will like or dislike each hotel.

Each full Walt Disney World hotel review contains photos from the hotels, including room photos and photos of main areas of the hotel, to give you an idea of whether the decor of the rooms 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 stayed at every on-site hotel at Walt Disney World, so unlike many hotel review sites that crowdsource 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.

We are missing full reviews for a couple of Walt Disney World hotels because we either forgot to take room photos of the hotel or last stayed at the hotel before we started taking room photos (hey, how many of you take hotel room photos?!). Additionally, Disney has been aggressively refreshing its hotel rooms in the last year or so, and we haven’t yet had a chance to stay in every new room and update the photos. Our goal is to have this completed by early 2015.

Off-site and third party hotels at Walt Disney World like the Swan & Dolphin, Waldorf Astoria Orlando, Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels, and other similar hotels are next on our list of places to start staying at and reviewing, so check back regularly and stay tuned for those reviews! To kick off our coverage of these hotels, we’re doing a giveaway of a 3-night hotel stay at the Downtown Disney Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, so scroll below the hotel synopses and reviews to enter the giveaway!

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! (more…)

Disney’s All Star Music Resort Review

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Disney’s All Star Music Resort is a value hotel in Walt Disney World that is one of three All Star hotels, along with Sports and Movies. Music generally seems to us like the least popular of these (based upon our highly unscientific observations), and is also quieter as it generally sees fewer groups (this doesn’t mean it sees no groups). The All Star Resorts are typically the cheapest way to stay on-property at Walt Disney World, which many guests like because it allows them to take advantage of on-property perks. As you will read in this review, this comes with some trade-offs, but we are generally in favor of All Star Music, so long as you have reasonable expectations for it and are comfortable with what you’re getting–or aren’t getting.

Whether the All Star Resorts are right for you comes down to your goal and expectations. If you’re taking a commando-style, “the room is only for sleeping” trip during which you want to be in the parks as much as possible, the All Star Resorts are great because they’re (usually) less than $100 night. Essentially, the Value Resorts are all standard rooms that cater to parties looking to experience Walt Disney World on a tight budget while still enjoying the full on-site experience, including benefits like Disney’s Magical Express, Extra Magic Hours, and “free” Disney transportation. The All Star Resorts are each also good for those with kids who will be intrigued by the concept of the resort (music, movies, or sports) and will like the larger than life icons. As is the case with all Walt Disney World on-site hotels, All Star Music is fully integrated in the MyMagic+ system, which means that guests receive MagicBands and can make FastPass+ reservations. Learn more about this in our MyMagic+ FAQ.

By contrast, if you plan on spending a lot of time at your resort, and would like to be able to use a nice pool, eat at nicer restaurants, and enjoy other nice amenities, the Value Resorts may not be the best fit for your touring style. Likewise, if you want to save money and will not utilize those perks mentioned above (especially true if you’ll be renting a car), you will likely save more money in accommodations of similar quality off-site. This is true for all of the Value Resorts. For more on what might be right for you, check out our comprehensive On-Site v. Off-Site Hotels at Walt Disney World article.

If you’ve read our Disney’s All Star Movies Resort Review or Disney’s All Star Sports Resort Review, this review doesn’t really bring much new to the table, besides showing some minor differences. Like I mentioned in that review, the Value Resorts are incredibly divisive in the Disney fan community. Some people think they are tacky and cheap, offering worse accommodations than comparably-priced off-site hotels, while other people think they offer a cheap alternative to Moderate and Deluxe Resorts that allow Guests to take full advantage of on-property benefits (just read the comments from the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World that readers if you don’t believe me!). Although the Value Resorts are far from our favorite resorts, we come down on the side of liking the Value Resorts for what they are. We frequently stay at them on short trips when the parks are our main priority and we want the perks of being on-site. We also think they’re fairly fun in terms of their style, especially for kids.

With all of that said, let’s take a look at All Star Music… (more…)

Walt Disney World Memorial Day Trip Report – Part 5

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We had the Star Wars Character Breakfast scheduled for that morning (click here to start from the beginning if you haven’t read the previous parts of this Walt Disney World Trip Report), but fortunately I had booked one of the later seatings—props to me for actually looking at the park hours calendar before arbitrarily booking at early seating. I’m finally getting the hang of Walt Disney World trip planning 101!

I’ve already covered the Star Wars breakfast in our full review, but suffice to say, we really enjoyed the experience. The food was good, but it was more about the ambiance and quality of interactions that made it worthwhile…or at least close to worthwhile. In terms of value for money, both Star Wars meals required great experiences, as the food alone did not even come close to being “worth it” at either venue. Obviously our thoughts on these Star Wars meals are moot since Star Wars Weekends have concluded and now the meals are over, but I strong suspect they will return next year. If not sooner…Star Wars meals have many guests screaming “PLEASE TAKE MY MONEY, DISNEY.”

We were at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater until right about the end of breakfast, getting our moneys’ worth both in terms of experience and food. When we finally left, I think it was around 11:30 am, at which time Sarah came to the conclusion that she wasn’t feeling well, and needed to head back to our hotel to take a nap. We had switched to the luxurious All Star Music Resort (& Spa?) for the final two nights of our trip, and I didn’t want to mess with getting back there, so I just decided to stay in the park, despite being fairly tired. (more…)

Disney’s Contemporary Resort Review

Disney’s Contemporary Resort is a Deluxe Resort hotel at Walt Disney World, located within walking distance of the Magic Kingdom on the monorail loop. Ironically, it is the oldest hotel at Walt Disney World, but despite this fact, it does have a modern look and a general design-aesthetic that will likely appeal to affluent guests accustomed to luxurious real-world hotels, and not interested in the typical theming found at other Walt Disney World hotels.

This makes the Contemporary a fairly divisive hotel: guests visiting Walt Disney World in part to escape the real world and be transported to another time and place often are underwhelmed by the Contemporary, whereas guests interested in no-nonsense luxury who want a respite from the themed environments once they leave the parks but want Disney perks and a great location are likely to love the Contemporary.

If you’re unfamiliar with Walt Disney World hotels, most people—even first timers—will probably readily be able to identify the Contemporary as “the hotel with the monorail going through it.” That alone is going to be a big draw for many guests, and is what always drew me to it as a kid, but it’s important to know that many rooms at the Contemporary are not located in the central A-frame building through which the monorail passes. The cheaper rooms are in the Garden Wings (this is where we stayed), which are directly adjacent to the main A-frame building. (more…)

Tips for Fourth of July at Disney World

Walt Disney World is a popular summer vacation destination, and that’s doubly true during the Fourth of July Independence Day holiday, when there are added crowds at Disney as Floridians and Southerners take the long holiday weekend and head down to Walt Disney World. Add to that the fact that Disney and America go together about like America and apple pie, plus great celebrations and fireworks shows, and it’s easy to see why a lot of people visit Walt Disney World for July 4th.

This post will offer tips and tricks for visiting Walt Disney World around the Fourth of July, and help you make the most of the experience! If you’re already in Walt Disney World and are looking for ways to avoid the heat, humidity, and crowds and for the best experience on and around July 4th, we’ve got you covered. If you’ve wanted to do the “Distinctly Patriotic” thing and go to Walt Disney World for the Fourth of July, but have always been afraid of the chaos and crowds, this post might just present an attack plan to convince you to go

Since we are distinctly patriotic (or crazy…your pick!), we’ve visited Walt Disney World for the week leading up to the Fourth of July (and Independence Day itself). While it was busy and hot, it didn’t feel all that much busier than normal–because we knew what to do to avoid the crowds. It was incredibly fun, and something we’ll likely do again. While the crowds and heat are a downside, the atmosphere and fireworks are some of the best in the United States.

Here are our tips for having a great Fourth of July at Walt Disney World!

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