The size of your hotel room might be an important factor in determining where to stay at Walt Disney World. In this post, we compare the square footage of every standard hotel room so you can decide which hotel is the right size for your vacation. We often hear that room size is important, but it’s often difficult to translate what these numbers mean relative to one another.
If I told you a particular hotel room was 325 square feet, without any context, would you know whether that’s large or small? Unless your name is Dwight Schrute or you’re a Disney blogger, I’m guessing the first thing you do when you get to a hotel room is bust out a tape measure. It’s thus hard to visualize how square footage numbers translate to actual rooms. Obviously, a higher number is better, but beyond that…? Or, maybe I’m totally wrong and I’m the only one with no concept of room sizes when presented in isolation. I’ll readily admit that a single square footage number meant little to me until I became more familiar with the hotel industry.
So, what is average? According to New York University Center for Hospitality and Tourism professor Bjorn Hanson, one of the nation’s leading hotel management experts, about 330 square feet (so that 325 square feet room is small!), down from 350 square feet two decades ago. Sizings are trending downward further, as minimalist designs and a focus on other amenities becomes more prominent. This is partially due to space-saving designs, and partially the fault of millennials (isn’t everything?).
The turning point for me was when Len Testa & Laurel Stewart shared a photo of their driveway with Walt Disney World room sizes tapped off. The photo demonstrably illustrated just how significant the size difference is between Value and Deluxe Resorts. This, coupled with starting to travel and spend more time in hotel rooms made me give a lot more thought to room size. Prior to then, that it was just the two of us and we were taking short trips with mostly park time made it matter less.
I think it’s also true that once you’re spoiled by the Deluxe Resorts, it’s hard to go back to the Value Resorts. (Cautionary words before you decide to TREAT YO SELF.) When we recently stayed at All Star Sports, I found myself asking, “have the rooms always been this small?!” Of course, I knew Disney hadn’t shrunk the rooms in its latest round of cuts. It still felt like returning to your childhood home and realizing it was far more modestly sized than you remember.
Now that we have context in terms of a United States’ average for hotel room size, let’s compare the sizes of various hotel rooms at Walt Disney World to one another…
Value Resorts: 260 Square Feet
In terms of size, none of the standard Value Resort rooms offer any advantages over the others–not even the newer and more expensive Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation. By standard rooms, we mean non-suites; preferred rooms differ only in location, not in layout or size. Standard Value Resort rooms feature either 2 double beds or 1 king. As compared to the industry norm, rooms at the Value Resorts are pretty small. This has never been an issue with just the 2 of us (although I do notice it now), but if you’re a family of 4 taking a week-plus vacation to Walt Disney World, you might want to splurge on a larger room to avoid the costly fallout from cabin fever down the road.
All of the Value Resorts currently utilize this space the same way, so they all “feel” the same size, too. Expect this to change in the near future. Well, maybe. Disney is currently testing new rooms at Pop Century Resort (it’s a fantastic looking retro-modern style!) and while these rooms are not any larger than the rooms at other Value Resorts, they utilize space much better. While the exact design is likely subject to change, the layout changes borrow elements from remodeled Moderate Resorts and the Value Resort Family Suites, so those are more likely to come to fruition.
While Disney’s Value Resorts can feel a bit cramped, these layout changes are a silver lining. The shift from CRT televisions to flat-panel LCD televisions was described to me as “revolutionary” for Disney’s design plans due to the space-saving possibilities it opened. We have noticed Disney’s recent room designs leveraging these possibilities along with other creative design approaches…and more tasteful decor! It all makes us wonder if Disney hired some new blood to revitalize its lagging room designs, as recent refurbishments have been fresh and inspired. But we digress–back to room sizes…
Moderate Resorts: 314 Square Feet
Now we’re getting closer to the current industry average. The 50-some extra square feet makes these rooms “feel” larger than Value Resorts, but the there’s not much more empty floor space since the standard 2 double beds at the Value Resorts are upgraded to 2 queen beds at Moderates. This is nice when it comes to sleep comfort, but in practical terms, it doesn’t translate to much of a noticeable difference in useable space. Now, if you compare a king bed Value to a king bed Moderate, it’s totally different, and the size gain can be felt big-time. Everyone’s preferences will vary, but we feel satisfied with the size of a Moderate Resort with a king size bed, and find it to be sufficient.
The uniform size across every Moderate doesn’t tell the whole story. Caribbean Beach Resort and the Alligator Bayou section of Port Orleans Riverside both have replaced clunky dressers that used to hold televisions with slimmer fold-down beds. This is a negligible difference in terms of walking space around the room, but we think it opens the room up a bit. For us, the fold-down bed makes the room “feel” larger and it’s another place to sit as opposed to just being a dresser that (in our case, at least) was dead space. Maybe this is all in our heads, but that’s our assessment. It’s far from a huge difference (it matters much more that it enables these rooms to sleep 5), but it helps.
Deluxe Lodging: 344 Square Feet
Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge (get it, Deluxe Lodging?! Yeah…I’m a dork) are slightly larger than the Moderate Resorts, and smaller than the other Deluxes. Given that the Lodges are typically in between Moderates and other Deluxes in terms of price, this makes sense.
These are two of our favorite resorts in all of Walt Disney World, but if I’m being honest, the size difference between the Moderates and Deluxe Resorts is not all that noticeable to me. Both are sufficient, size-wise, but I feel like the difference between the Lodges and other Deluxes–or even the Lodges and Deluxe Villas–is greater than the Moderates and the Lodges. Maybe it’s the way they utilize space, or maybe it’s all in my head. I dunno, but that’s my take.
Deluxe Villas/DVC Studios: ~355-365 Square Feet
This is the level at which we start to really notice the differences among resorts that are similarly situated. Most Deluxe Villa studios are within 10 square feet of one another in the 355-365 range. Saratoga Springs studios are 355 square feet, Wilderness Lodge studios are 356 square feet, BoardWalk Villas studios are 359 square feet, and Beach Club Villas studios are 365 square feet. Animal Kingdom Villa studios are also mostly 365 square feet.
Then, there are outliers. The “value” studio at Animal Kingdom Lodge is the smallest at 314 square feet, while the Old Key West studio is the largest at 390 square feet. Old Key West was the original Disney Vacation Club resort, and Disney started big with it. (Although legend has it that Conch Flats’ first mayor was Jimmy Buffett himself, and he demanded the larger rooms. Yet another reason Jimmy Buffett is a national treasure.)
Disney decided to “trim the fat” off of its room designs at Bay Lake Tower, and its studios came in at 339 square feet. This concerned some DVC members, who worried it would start a trend of Disney trying to squeeze more rooms into the buildings. Fortunately, this was a one-off, and the trend was reversed with another outlier, the 374 square feet rooms of the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. Even more impressive are the Polynesian Villas, which can shapeshift T-1000 style from 447 square feet to 465 square feet, depending upon who you ask (they’re actually 465). Either way, they are the largest villas (since they are a retro fit of the also large standard Poly rooms).
Joining DVC spoiled us with these larger studios with a bed, couch, and kitchenette. The pull-out couch in place of a bed really makes a difference in terms of how spacious the room feels. The first time we stayed in a studio, it was in the BoardWalk Villas on our honeymoon, and being able to crash on the floor and do snow angels after a day of Drinking Around World Showcase was the ultimate triumph. (What…no one else does this…?) Pictured above is historical footage of the actual location where said snow angel action took place; the style has changed a bit since back in the day.
We have friends who scoff at even the studio rooms and insist upon the larger 1-bedroom villas. For those of us who don’t dive into a pool of money, Uncle Scrooge-style, every night, the studios are a great option. (You don’t have to be a DVC member to book these–anyone can book them as Deluxe Villa Studios.) Even though they can be significantly smaller, I think these rooms stack up really well to their larger Epcot and Magic Kingdom Deluxe counterparts (especially if those counterparts have 2 queen beds…which is admittedly an unfair comparison).
Epcot Deluxes: 370-380 Square Feet
The room sizes at the regular Deluxe Resorts pretty much track prices. The Crescent Lake resorts near Epcot are middle of the road in terms of both price and size, with BoardWalk’s rooms being 370 square feet and Yacht & Beach Club rooms both being 380 square feet.
There are a few different room arrangements possible at these resorts, with the most common choices being 2 queen beds or a king bed and sleeper couch. If you want to get your snow angel-on, you’ll want the rooms with king beds and sleeper couches.
Magic Kingdom Deluxes: 394-440 Square Feet
Excluding Wilderness Lodge (discussed above) there are 3 Magic Kingdom Deluxes, all of which are pretty large. Over at the Polynesian, standard hotel rooms are 415 square feet (disregard other numbers that you might find–they aren’t right.) Disney’s Contemporary Resort has 437 square feet rooms.
Then there’s the Grand Floridian. At 440 square feet, it’s the largest standard hotel room at Walt Disney World. Makes sense, because guests at the Grand need extra space to set up their inflatable money pool (perfect for travel!), to store their Swarovski Cinderella Castle, and for the stacks of other royal treasures they acquire from Arribas Brothers.
Cabins & Beyond: 500-2800 Square Feet
Perhaps it’s fitting irony that guests who choose to “rough it” are rewarded with 504 square foot rooms, the largest standard option at Walt Disney World, in the Fort Wilderness Cabins. At price points lower than many Deluxe Resort options, the cabins offer solid value, especially for larger parties.
Beyond the cabins, there are the family suites, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and Grand Villas, all of which offer increasing amounts of space at price points to match. To my knowledge, the largest rooms at Walt Disney World are the Grand Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian, at a whopping 2,800 square feet. It’s a good thing that these are way out of our price range, because if we booked that room, I’m pretty sure this would be me the entire trip:
Literally. I’d never even visit the parks.
It wouldn’t surprise me if there are even larger specialty suites at Deluxes so exclusive that commoners like us don’t even know they exist. I’ve been in a few different Grand Villas, and I’m pretty sure I could live in any of them without ever stepping foot in the outside world again.
In the end, a lot of factors come into play when choosing a resort hotel at Walt Disney World. Budget, theme, location, dining, and amenities all matter. Now, I’ve either thrown a wrench into this by adding another variable to the mix for those who had not considered room size (sorry?) or hopefully helped clarify things for those who wondered about size but didn’t have a frame of reference (you’re welcome?). The sweet spot for ideal room size is basically a Goldilocks kind of scenario, but now you have some objective info plus our subjective take on it. Hope that helps!
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.
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What’s your “sweet spot” for hotel room size? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment of the “feel” of different rooms? Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!