We’ve been back from another trip to Walt Disney World for a couple of weeks, and thought now might be a good time to on the trip, and share some tips about hotels, dining, transportation, and more that we learned while there.
Despite visiting Walt Disney World “far too often” (per our loved ones…but can they really be “loved” ones if they think you can go to Walt Disney World too often?! 😉 ), we seem to learn something new each time we visit.
On this trip, we really did a lot: multiple visits to Food & Wine Festival (teaser: it was a dramatically different experience as compared to last time we did it), Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (no teaser there: we already wrote our recap on this year’s Halloween Party), plus numerous hotels, new-to-us restaurants, a couple of days at Universal, lots of hotel-hopping, plus a dash of espionage for you James Bond fans.
In this installment of our “Haphazard Tips” posts, we’ll cover the hotels and transportation. If these exciting topics don’t have you on the edge of your seat, then you probably don’t have a pulse. Let’s dig in…
One of the upsides to being a Disney blogger is being able to justify eating ridiculous amounts of desserts in the name of research, because the people must know how that African Milk Tart tastes!!! I know you probably think this is desserts, pool slides, and character meals all the time, like some family-friendly T-Pain music video, but there are downsides, too.
The biggest one of those hotels, and moving to a new hotel nightly or every other night in the name of research. I know, I know: “first world problems.” Actually, I enjoy this, too, as hotels truly fascinate me and hotel reviews are one of my favorite types of posts to write. It’s just a hassle that eats an inordinate amount of time out of each day.
On this trip, we stayed at 6 different hotels at or near Walt Disney World, and also dropped in at another thanks to some friends. We will post full reviews of each in due time, but we don’t want this to turn into “The Anaheim & Orlando-Area Hotel Hopper Blog” so we’re trying to space out these reviews and mix them among other posts.
For now, here’s where we stayed, plus brief thoughts on the hotel:
Port Orleans French Quarter – It’s been ages since I stayed here, partly because it’s rarely discounted and partly because the hotel didn’t do much for me. Suffice to say, I’m now a fan and I see why so many others love it. This makes ranking the Moderates really difficult (my previous post is basically obsolete now, and I’ll probably draft something from scratch soon), as they all have pros.
Villas at Wilderness Lodge – While I’m cautiously optimistic about the Disney Vacation Club expansion at Wilderness Lodge, I’m unequivocally enthusiastic about the redone rooms here. The previous rooms were very busy, whereas these are more subdued while having a lot of cool thematic touches. More importantly, they much more efficiently utilize space.
Villas of Grand Cypress – After staying here, it’s no surprise this is the #1 hotel in Orlando with a 5/5 average score on TripAdvisor. The villas are gorgeous and well-appointed, with quality superior to Disney Vacation Club villas. Even if you don’t golf, the area is beautiful, peaceful, and relaxing. If you do golf, it’s a no-brainer.
Waldorf Astoria Orlando – This hotel lives up to the reputation of the Muppet after whom it’s named (don’t be surprised if I recycle this line a few times). The rooms are ornate and well-appointed, but it’s the pampering service that impressed us most here. It doesn’t have resort amenities on par with the Hyatt Regency, but it’s the most luxurious hotel at which we’ve stayed in Orlando.
Wyndham Grand Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort – This is definitely a nice resort with great rooms and amenities, especially for the price, and we’d recommend it. Something about it felt like “bland luxury” (I’ve coined the term McHotel to describe hotels like this), but it’s still a solid option, just not from a design perspective.
Holiday Inn Orlando Disney Springs – There are some serious heavy hitters–some of the highest rated hotels in Orlando–on the list above. While no Holiday Inn could go toe-to-toe with the Waldorf Astoria–they’re simply different types of hotels at very different price points–this Holiday Inn had the best beds out of all of the hotels at which we stayed this trip. That’s something right there.
Part of the reason why doing all of this grueling hotel-hopping (I know, I know… “cry me a river”) wasn’t all that bad was because we chose some really good ones this time. While each has its negatives that we’ll cover in the reviews, the pros of every single one far outweigh the cons. It was a welcome reprieve from testing hotels in the Disneyland area; California may have many things on Florida, but there’s no question that Orlando’s hotel game is stronger than Anaheim’s.
For our experiences with Walt Disney World transportation, including some new tips for using Uber, continue reading this post on Page 2.