Best Theme Park View Resort Rooms at Disney World

Some hotels have theme park view rooms at Walt Disney World. Monorail loop resorts offer balconies overlooking Magic Kingdom; Crescent Lake accommodations can see into EPCOT or Hollywood Studios; other hotels have unique views, too. This covers the best options for room categories & requests for fireworks, Cinderella Castle, Spaceship Earth, Tower of Terror, and more. (Updated February 4, 2024.)

We’ll start with the hotels with theme park view rooms around Magic Kingdom; Grand Floridian, Contemporary, and Polynesian Village Resort all have rooms with theme park views. If you’re looking for the best of the crème de la crème of these, consult our our Guide to Club Level & Concierge Lounges at Walt Disney World. All of these resorts offer a Club Level, and most have the best views of Magic Kingdom.

Even when it comes to this trio of monorail loop properties, not all theme park room views are of equal quality. Disney’s Contemporary Resort is the only one that is actually close to Magic Kingdom. It benefits from that fact, and also the reality that it’s essentially a tower-style hotel with elevated views that actually look into the park. No other resort in the Magic Kingdom area offers this…

In addition to Cinderella Castle, you can also see Tomorrowland. Space Mountain and TRON Lightcycle Run are surprisingly close to the Contemporary; although the view is partially of the latter’s show building, you can also see the dancing lights of the TRON canopy, too. Portions of Main Street, Frontierland, and Fantasyland are also visible from Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Part of the fun about this view is the details you can spot if you gaze long enough; a perceptive eye will notice much more than the Magic Kingdom mountains.

With that said, it’s not all upside from the Contemporary. It does have the nearest and most elevated view, but it also has more visual blight than the other resorts. Between you and the park is a huge parking lot, bus drop-off area, and road. To some, this could ruin the illusion or magic of a theme park view. The perspective is also pretty far off-center, as the Contemporary is located mostly to the east of Magic Kingdom.

By contrast, both Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are located slightly to the west of Magic Kingdom, but mostly to the south. This means the view is more centered, which is nice when it comes to fireworks. Both are farther away than the Contemporary, but they’re only separated by Seven Seas Lagoon.

On balance, most guests will probably prefer the nearer but blemished view of Magic Kingdom offered by Disney’s Contemporary Resort. There’s also the reality that Magic Kingdom is easily walkable from the Contemporary, which is not true at the Polynesian or Grand Floridian. This is somewhat off-topic when it comes to views, but it is a big deal, too.

My strong personal preference is for the views at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Not only is this the most centered perspective (which does make a big difference for fireworks–especially for the Halloween and Christmas Party ones with perimeter bursts), but the perspective is better layered and anchored by surroundings.

I’ll take the compromise of being a bit farther away but having the foreground of beach (and bungalows in some spots), lake in the mid-ground, and having a view flanked by both Grand Floridian and the Contemporary. There’s more to savor and appreciate here, including the quintessential elements of Walt Disney World. (Plus, no parking lot view!)

My pick for the worst of the bunch would go to the theme park view rooms at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the supposed flagship hotel at Walt Disney World. Here, there are two distinct categories of theme park view rooms: outer building and main building.

In both cases, you’re paying a significant premium for a compromised view. The outer building view is arguably better as it’s closer, but it’s not nearly as close as the Contemporary, and it’s nearly as far off-center. You can’t see into the park, meaning this is basically just a Cinderella Castle view.

The main building has a better angle, but it’s still not as good as the Polynesian, and you’re even farther away. I should probably disclose here that I think the Grand Floridian is somewhat overrated and I don’t think its quality or views even remotely justify its nightly rates. I’ll take the Poly over Grand Floridian any day of the week.

It’s worth noting with regard to the monorail resorts that all three also have Disney Vacation Club counterparts. If a view is your paramount concern, DVC is especially significant with Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Not only is it slightly closer than the Contemporary itself, but Bay Lake Tower also has a private top floor viewing area, Top of the World Lounge.

Because of the great views offered by Top of the World Lounge, we actually tend to favor the Bay Lake views (facing the other direction) here. At the Grand Floridian and Poly Villas, there’s no such equivalent, so you’ll want to spring for a theme park view.

At least, there’s no equivalent for now. In late 2024, a new DVC Tower is opening at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. This will almost assuredly offer exceptional views of Magic Kingdom since, like Bay Lake Tower, it is a massive tower. It’s completely out of place at the Poly, will exacerbate the overcrowding at that resort, and there are a number of other reasons we don’t like it. But it’s undeniable that the new Polynesian tower will rival or even beat Bay Lake Tower for Magic Kingdom views.

In any case, DVC is the best way to go when it comes to theme park views of Magic Kingdom. It’s the cheapest route and there are the most options–something that’ll be even more true when the Poly tower opens in late 2024. See our Money-Saving Tips for Renting Disney Vacation Club Points if you want to go this route.

Two other resorts in the Magic Kingdom area also bear mentioning here: Wilderness Lodge and Four Seasons Orlando. Both are farther away, and across Bay Lake rather than Seven Seas Lagoon. Wilderness Lodge is frequently overlooked as offering a Magic Kingdom view as few of its rooms do.

You pretty much need to be staying on the Old Faithful Club Level to have a chance at glimpsing Cinderella Castle from Wilderness Lodge. This is actually my favorite view of the bunch–a nice angle and a lovely serenity to it–but it can be challenging to score. At Four Seasons Orlando, you’re simply much farther away. You can see Cinderella Castle from a good number of the rooms, but it’s a distant few.

The only other resort area that’s theme park adjacent is Crescent Lake, and Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts and Disney’s BoardWalk Inn don’t have the height to advertise views of either EPCOT or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. However, many of the BoardWalk, Deluxe Club Level, and water view rooms at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn (and its Villas) will offer glimpses of both Spaceship Earth and EPCOT’s fireworks show, Luminous.

There’s another option at Crescent Lake, and this offers rooms with what’s arguably the absolute best view in all of Walt Disney World. Those hotels are the Swan & Dolphin, which have long been derided for the way they intrude upon the sight lines behind World Showcase. What’s bad for the views of guests inside EPCOT is pretty fantastic for those staying in theme park view rooms at these two hotels.

From a practical perspective, we’re even bigger fans of the Swan Reserve. This office building-esque tower is across the street from the main Swan & Dolphin campus, but the rooms are significantly newer and nicer, and it’s not that far away–just a few minutes from the pool area of the Swan & Dolphin. The theme park view rooms at the Swan Reserve offer an exceptional aerial-like look at EPCOT; other rooms offer sweeping views of the rest of Walt Disney World.

There are other tower-style hotels that offer views, albeit not the same iconic ones of Magic Kingdom or EPCOT. The cheapest option is Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs, which has views of both EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. These are cheaper in part because this is a Moderate Resort, and in part because you have to look past the parking lot to see either park, making these categorized as standard views on the rate chart.

Some of the regular outlying buildings at Coronado Springs also have views of these parks, but they’re not from the rooms since they have motel-style exterior hallways. Only Gran Destino Tower has interior hallways and views from the rooms. Also, it’s a lot taller than the few-story outer buildings. From some of the water view rooms on the south end of the tower, you can also see the Magic Kingdom fireworks way off in the distance–it’s a nice little touch at the end of a long day, but nothing we’d recommend trying to request. More like icing on the cake if you happen to see it!

Our favorite view is from Chronos Club Level at Gran Destino–or from the rooftop restaurant and lounge–into Disney’s Hollywood Studios is spectacular. Unfortunately, DHS doesn’t do a fully-fledged fireworks show anymore, but if it ever brings that back, Chronos Club, Toledo, or Dahlia Lounge will be excellent places to watch. Ditto the higher-floor rooms.

Although they’re not categorized as theme park view rooms, many of the Skyliner view rooms at Disney’s Riviera Resort afford a view of Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the distance. This is especially true of the Tower Studio, which is the smallest room at Walt Disney World. That’s the downside–the upside is that these rooms are situated on the corner of the building and the balconies also afford glimpses of EPCOT.

We love the rooms views at Disney’s Riviera Resort, but more for the way they overlook the Skyliner gondola system and its next door neighbor, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. There’s a lot to see, and it’s a relaxing and serene setting. Even the standard views are fairly good once you look past the parking lot and road. However, if you’re dead-set on a great theme park view, this isn’t it. Tower of Terror and Spaceship Earth are visible in the distance, but that’s probably going to be overwhelming if your expectations are to have a bird’s eye view of a park.

The best view at Disney’s Riviera Resort is from Topolino’s Terrace, the rooftop restaurant. Rather than using extra points or paying more money for an upgraded view, we’d recommend putting that money towards a meal at Topolino’s Terrace. The character breakfast is one of the best in all of Walt Disney World, and the fancy dinner is fantastic. Two very different meals that are great for different reasons!

Several of the tower-style hotels in the Disney Springs Resort Area and Bonnet Creek likewise offer glimpses of the parks from a distance. More immediately, they offer a bird’s eye view of Disney Springs, which is actually fairly cool (especially when the Rainforest Cafe volcano “erupts”).

To our knowledge, none of these hotels have theme park view booking categories, but you might consider requesting a “fireworks view” at check-in. (In most cases, these rooms offer peek-a-boo views of the park icons, at best.)

Ultimately, rooms with theme park views are great, but you also have to justify the added cost. You also need proper expectations, as some of the theme park views are amazing, whereas others are underwhelming. At some of the resorts above, you’re paying an extra $100 to $250 per night just for a view of the park–and often that’s simply a glimpse of Cinderella Castle rising above the tree line. (For more tailored advice and help, we’d recommend working with a free travel agent. The fee-free Authorized Disney Vacation Planner that we recommend is Be Our Guest Vacations.)

Additionally, almost without exception, a similar view can be found in the common areas of the resorts for no additional charge. At the Contemporary, head out to the balcony outside the Grand Canyon concourse. At the Polynesian, head to the beach or over to the Transportation and Ticket Center near the ferry dock. Over at Crescent Lake, you can see the fireworks from numerous parts of the BoardWalk, with the best view on the bridge leading to Yacht Club from BoardWalk.

You thus have to ask yourself how much time you’ll spend on your balcony, whether you’d prefer a private view over these public locations, and how much money that view is worth to you. While we’ve had theme park views at all of the resorts in question, we’d never pay the premium for the booking category at any of them again.

We’d rather splurge on other aspects of the Walt Disney World experience and enjoy the free views, but that’s just us. In particular, we like booking a standard view and then putting the money saved towards a nice dinner or two. To that point, if you want dinner with a view, check out our Best Restaurants for Magic Kingdom Fireworks Views.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

Your Thoughts

Which Walt Disney World resort do you think offers the best theme park view? Do you prefer overlooking Cinderella Castle, Tower of Terror, or Spaceship Earth? How much is the theme park view worth to you per night? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

25 Responses to “Best Theme Park View Resort Rooms at Disney World”
  1. Rick Gordon February 5, 2024
  2. Adam February 4, 2024
  3. thoroughbredofsin February 4, 2024
  4. Laura D February 4, 2024
    • Tom Bricker February 4, 2024
  5. Jaime August 12, 2021
  6. Nixmom29 August 12, 2021
  7. Prof. M August 11, 2021
  8. Julia August 11, 2021
  9. Jaclyn J Beierlein August 11, 2021
  10. PegP August 27, 2020
  11. Bjorn November 5, 2019
  12. KenR October 31, 2019
    • Tom Bricker October 31, 2019
  13. Kelly M October 31, 2019
    • Tom Bricker October 31, 2019
    • KenR November 1, 2019
  14. Grizz October 31, 2019
  15. JenJen October 30, 2019
  16. Chad October 30, 2019
    • Tom Bricker October 31, 2019
    • Kelly D November 1, 2019
  17. Erin October 30, 2019
    • Tom Bricker October 30, 2019
  18. Anthony October 30, 2019

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *