There are over two-dozen hotels at Walt Disney World, which can making choosing the “right” resort for your vacation very difficult! To help make things easier, we’ve created this list of the top 5 WDW resorts for 2024, which covers accommodations that will be ‘uniquely good’ next year. It includes everything from familiar fan favorites to sleeper picks that normally fly under the radar with WDW diehards.
What makes these 5 hotels at Walt Disney World ‘uniquely good’ for 2024 as compared to other resorts or other years? Each of these resorts makes the list for a specific reason due to future or current circumstances. They’re not necessarily our favorite resorts at Walt Disney World, but we do feel they are deserving of extra attention or consideration in 2024.
For example, there’s a lot of construction occurring in one area of Walt Disney World that gives us pause, and more inclined to recommend one resort that just wrapped up its reimagining and is isolated from those projects. Speaking of which, reimaginings are a pretty big deal to this list–we like and recommend resorts and rooms that have been recently refreshed. Finally, there are two parks that we feel will be prioritized in 2024, and proximity to either of those is likely to be important to many guests. So that’s more or less what makes this the list of the best resorts at Walt Disney World in 2024.
If you’re simply looking for our top resorts at Walt Disney World without any special consideration for 2024, here are our individual ranking lists:
With that said, let’s dig into this list of the top 5 resorts at Walt Disney World for 2024, starting with the top tier…
I regret to inform you that the Incredibles-injection rooms at Disney’s Contemporary Resort are growing on me. I will not be taking any questions at this time. Seriously, though, I should eat some crow. I just finished up a stay in the Garden Wing and found myself liking the rooms a lot more than before…or maybe hating them less?! Part of that’s due to little iterative improvements over the tower rooms where we previously stayed. (More carpet and a smaller window frame, among many other minor tweaks.)
In any case, that’s not why this makes this list. Rather, it’s because the Contemporary is the only monorail loop hotel that does not have a significant amount of construction scheduled in 2024. There’s the possibility that Bay Lake Tower will get new rooms (see below), but that won’t really impact the guest experience.
Although we had hoped the Grand Floridian overhaul would be done long ago, it’s been much more involved than we expect. The big wildcard there is what happens with the main lobby building, which is not actually done–it just had work paused for the popular holiday season. That could be done in the first quarter of 2024, or it could be a construction zone for the entire year. Either way, it’s too much of a wild card to recommend, even if we do love the new rooms at Grand Floridian!
Then there’s Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, which is adding a new Disney Vacation Club tower that’ll open in Late 2024. In the meantime, the perimeter is a construction zone with visual and audible blight. Once that is finished, the added guest load could strain the already-overwhelmed Poly infrastructure. Again, too much of a wild card.
Contemporary also makes the list because this stay reminded me of just how nice it is to walk to Magic Kingdom, take midday breaks, and have access to the Wilderness by boat (loved having those back after a 3-year absence). Finally, the food scene at the Contemporary is definitely better than it was a few years ago.
Boulder Ridge at Wilderness Lodge
The reimagining of Boulder Ridge at Wilderness Lodge was a smash success for me and these are my new #1 rooms at Walt Disney World, full stop. Some fans have disagreed, but I think there’s a ton of love about them, and they do a fantastic job balancing themed design with modern amenities and upscale accommodations.
There’s a ton of art that pays tribute to Disney history, characters, and locations. The designs are on theme, with Native American art and influences. There’s a ton of depth via textures, patterns, and even things like subtle wallpaper. There’s a ton of color–making this a significant departure from the rustic and drab designs of the prior rooms–but it’s utilized effectively and these rooms still have an outdoorsy sensibility to them. I could go on and on, and do in our full video and photo tour of the new rooms at Boulder Ridge.
Beyond the new rooms, which would be enough to make this list on their own, Wilderness Lodge makes the list for being only a boat ride away from Magic Kingdom. Not only is that the most popular park at Walt Disney World and where you’re most likely to spend multiple days, but it’s also home to the two newest rides as of 2024. (Same reason Contemporary made the list, but I’m going to elaborate on that thought a bit more here…)
First up is the already-open TRON Lightcycle Run, which was the blockbuster addition of this year. Next up is Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, which is looking increasingly likely to open before Fall 2024. One way or another, it’s going to be advantageous to have non-bus access to these new attractions–one or both will likely use virtual queues next year (if not, they’ll likely be open for Early Entry) and participate in Extended Evening Hours, giving Deluxe/Villa Resort guests an added edge. Either way, you win!
There’s also the “fact” that Wilderness Lodge is always one of the top resorts we recommend, making it an inevitability that this would rank highly (especially at Christmas!). On top of that, Wilderness Lodge is finally starting to offer really good discounts again, it has lower starting prices than all of the monorail resorts, and there’s no construction there in 2024. Win-win-win!
Crescent Lake is going to be the place to stay at Walt Disney World in 2024. This lovely resort areas is within walking distance of EPCOT via the International Gateway entrance, which means an Early Entry advantage at Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After. It’s also within walking distance of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which means you can beat even the Skyliner crowd to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance or Slinky Dog Dash. But wait, there’s more.
In all likelihood, EPCOT is going to be the “it” park at Walt Disney World in the first half of 2024. EPCOT has been in the midst of an overhaul for what feels like an eternity, and next year will mark the first time in ~5 years that front of the park won’t be a sea of construction walls. That alone will draw in a lot of guests who were previously avoiding it, and that isn’t even anything substantive. It’s just the absence of the Giant EPCOT Dirt Pit!
Then there’s the slew of substantive additions: Communicore Hall & Plaza, Moana’s Journey of Water, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Luminous The Symphony of Us, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, plus a bunch of other smaller scale stuff and meet & greets. On top of that, it’s safe to assume that EPCOT festivals will be back to full form, as CommuniCore Hall provides a venue for all their enhancements.
For its part, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn will also be wrapping up a multi-year reimagining project that has refreshed the beloved turn-of-the-century promenade and interior, added new dining options, refreshed guest rooms, and more. Then there’s what’s replacing ESPN Club–the storybook sweet treats and dreamy desserts served up at The Cake Bake Shop by Gwendolyn Rogers, a new table service restaurant and bakery that should open in Spring 2024…or maybe not at its current glacial pace.
As far as rooms go in the Crescent Lake Resort Area, the new rooms at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn are our favorites. They aren’t perfect, as they prioritize a chic style over charm and whimsy, but they’re still very good. We’d rather stay in these rooms than their counterparts at Yacht or Beach Club.
Little Mermaid Rooms at Caribbean Beach
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is basically the “Poor Man’s Poly.” There are so many ways that Caribbean Beach emulates Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, which is a Deluxe tier hotel that costs triple the price. The island atmosphere, guest rooms, pool areas, waterfront locales, relaxed lobby, and more. Even Sebastian’s Bistro has serious ‘Ohana vibes…except it’s better and cheaper.
Speaking of imitators that are better than the real thing, the Skyliner is substantially similar to the monorail…but better and more reliable (well, outside of storm season). The Skyliner is the biggest of many recent upgrades at Caribbean Beach Resort, which is the hub for the Skyliner, with two stations offering access to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. This is an absolute game-changer for easily accessing those parks within minutes, which is great for Early Entry and midday breaks. Not having to rely on buses to get to these two parks is huge, the value of which cannot be overstated.
Of course, the Poor Man’s Poly “cuts corners” as compared to the real deal in a few ways. Getting to Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom means taking the bus, which has multiple stops. Guest rooms are smaller, and not as well-appointed. Without a doubt, Caribbean Beach is not as nice as the Poly, and that lack of luxuriousness will weigh on it for some guests. But for a fraction of the price, we’ll take this knock-off over the real thing just about any day.
Note that this recommendation is specifically for the brand-new ‘Under the Sea’ rooms inspired by the Little Mermaid. We absolutely love these, and find them to be perfect for our circumstances. It’s also worth noting that the regular rooms have received an overdue refresh that makes them look less dated..but slightly more bland and sterile. We’d recommend Caribbean Beach across the board for 2024, but especially the Little Mermaid-inspired rooms.
Pop Century Resort
I don’t keep a tight tally, but my guess would be that we’ve stayed at Pop Century more than any other resort at Walt Disney World over the last 15 years. It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of the value for money that it offers, going so far as to (spoiler alert) award it the #1 slot on our objective list of All Walt Disney World Resort Hotels Ranked From Worst to Best. (Before the hate mail continues to pile in over those controversial picks, keep in mind that cost counts. No, we don’t think Pop is better than the Poly if you’re paying for our stay. But it’s impossible for us to overlook the massive cost chasm!)
Anyway, we love Pop Century thanks to its mix of bang-for-buck, food court variety, transportation, and overall atmosphere. At the Value Resort tier, it’s very strong as compared to the All Stars, and offers significantly lower prices than Art of Animation. Pop Century is also a sentimental favorite that has only gotten better thanks to its new rooms and the Skyliner.
For us, part of the increased appeal also comes thanks to increased prices at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Even as much as we love Sebastian’s Bistro, the pools, and other amenities at Caribbean Beach, that resort has fallen slightly out of favor with us after being our go-to for several consecutive years because it’s simply so expensive. On a positive note, Pop Century is a 5-minute “flight” from Caribbean Beach, and a delicious dinner deal at Sebastian’s Bistro!
BONUS WILDCARD: Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs
For the second straight year, I’ve stayed at Coronado Springs more than any other hotel at Walt Disney World, with that split 50/50 between Gran Destino Tower and the “suburbs” (outlying motel-style buildings). If I’m not in a hurry and it’s a slower-paced trip, Gran Destino Tower is one of my preferred resorts.
The biggest component of that is the unparalleled value for money it offers. The accommodations are on par with a semi-posh Las Vegas resort, and base rates are very reasonable given the quality. Plus, I can almost always find availability on the various Annual Passholder or other discounts.
(My schedule typically doesn’t firm up until 1-2 months in advance, meaning I’m booking last-minute…leaving me with Coronado Springs or the All Stars as my typical options. I prefer booking the tower over the “suburbs,” but sometimes don’t have a choice. I like both, but far prefer the tower–it’s worth the extra expense.)
Gran Destino is very much like a Las Vegas-lite or convention-centric hotel. The upside to this is almost all of the amenities you need under one air-conditioned roof, with excellent dining and lounges, a fitness center, and more. Additionally, the main food court, convention center, and even the bus stops are all pretty close and under covered or indoor walkways. If you’re traveling solo, you might feel less out-of-place, as many others are in the same shoes. It’s a similar story for couples.
As such, Gran Destino Tower is now our #1 mid-range hotel recommendation for an adults-only trip to Walt Disney World or for honeymooners who are on a budget and aren’t particularly concerned with a richly-themed environment. For families, it’s hard to see the appeal of Gran Destino Tower for a variety of reasons. So this isn’t a recommendation at all for most readers, but it’s a pretty strong one for a subset of you!
DOUBLE BONUS WILDCARD: Bay Lake Tower
This is a second-half wildcard. Bay Lake Tower is slated to receive a full refurbishment in 2024, but it’s unclear when it’ll start or end. Given that other projects are wrapping up, our best guess is that it starts this winter and wraps up before Summer 2024.
Bay Lake Tower is currently overdue for a refurbishment–these rooms have been worse for wear for at least 7 years now, so this has been desperately needed for a while. The rooms at Bay Lake Tower were poorly constructed in the first place and built just before the current ‘wave’ of innovative accommodations that marry space-saving styles with well-themed ones. The studios are also small by Disney Vacation Club standards, especially when contrasted with the Polynesian.
Consequently, BLT could benefit tremendously from getting the Riviera treatment. We really look forward to returning to Bay Lake tower once that happens…but won’t until it does! Once finished, Bay Lake Tower rooms should be nicer and feel more spacious, and of course, still have that great location as the closest resort to Magic Kingdom. With TRON Lightcycle Run and Tiana’s Bayou Adventure both open in the second half of the year, plus Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, BLT is an intriguing pick for those with trips between August and December 2024.
As a quadruple bonus, the Beach Club Villas and BoardWalk Villas are currently in the midst of room refreshes that look like massive upgrades (we’ve seen photos but haven’t stayed in either…yet!). We don’t have enough space to include them and also don’t want to overrepresent DVC rooms on this list, but as always, you can score significant savings when renting Disney Vacation Club points, which should take the sting out of prices when planning your 2024 Walt Disney World trip!
Ultimately, there are a lot of great accommodations options for 2024 Walt Disney World vacations. Many room refurbishment and reimagining projects wrapped up this year, and even more will conclude at some point next year. There are also a ton of recently-redone resorts that we either unintentionally snubbed due to space or deliberately due to not being fans. Many of those will appeal to others even if they’re not our favorites.
The good news is that after years of half-hearted and bland designs that supposedly “modernized” (but really just genericized) Walt Disney World resorts, Imagineering has had hit-after-hit on the room redesign and reimagining front. Even more good news is that, despite price increases, the effective costs of most resorts and travel dates are down year-over-year due to significantly increased discounts!
Finally, I want to add the caveat that these are our picks for the best resorts at Walt Disney World, but nothing is one-size-fits-all advice. If you have a bunch of totally different resorts on your shortlist but none of these, don’t be discouraged–so long as your logic is sound and makes sense for your family. As always, we’d recommend requesting a FREE no obligation quote from Be Our Guest Vacations, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner and having them book for you. They can offer you personalized recommendations based on your priorities and circumstances, as well as assistance with the planning process, and monitoring reservations to retroactively apply new discounts if a deal is released to save you more money.
Which hotels are your top picks for 2024 at Walt Disney World? Any resorts on our list that you would or would not recommend? Any other resorts we snubbed? Do you agree or disagree with our choices? 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!