Walt Disney World has a lot of hotels, and every single one has diehard fans and hardcore haters. Neither are necessarily wrong, although either can be irrational in their likes and dislikes. This can make it difficult to avoid the bad or book the good for your family’s vacation. To help make things easier, we’re going to narrow down your choices with a list of accommodations NOT to book, with a rundown of the worst resorts for 2024, including a few hotels that we normally love–and one big time fan favorite!
What makes this list of the worst 5 hotels at Walt Disney World in 2024 different from any other time? Each of these resorts makes the list for a specific reason unique to 2024. In most cases, that’s either due to the impact of construction…or the lack thereof, as time has passed by a couple of these resorts as their “competition” has improved by comparison.
In a couple of cases, we’re also taking into account recent reader feedback, which has soured on some resorts at Walt Disney World more than others. In other cases, we’re proactively anticipating a rise in complaints come 2024, as past precedent is the best predictor of future performance, or guest (dis)satisfaction, as the case may be.
If you’re simply looking for how we rank the 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 worst resorts at Walt Disney World for 2024…
All Star Resorts (But Not Really)
I’ve done more stays at the All Star Resorts (collectively) in the last two years than any other hotels at Walt Disney World. (Individually, Coronado Springs and All Star Sports are my #1 and #2.) My reasons for this are simple. First, All Star Sports got a refresh last year and now looks nice and bright. The room overhauls are done, and when I’m traveling solo, it’s a great option. (See Photos & Video: Newly Reimagined Rooms at the All Star Resorts.)
Second, great discounts have made the All Star Resorts nightly room rates under $100 during the off-season, and not much worse than that during normal dates. This is on par with real world hotels in Central Florida, and not too shabby considering the included transportation, Early Entry, and other perks. Finally, All Star Sports often has availability when other resorts are sold out, and I often book last minute. (Obviously, this is not a selling point. Just explaining why I book here so much!)
So…what gives? As you’ll find out in reading the rest of this list, “worst” is really a relative term. When there are youth sporting events at ESPN Wide World of Sports (which happen often in the first ~5 months of the year), the All Star Resorts typically host the teams. Teenagers being teenagers, this can mean a lot of loud and rowdy kids on the lawn and in the pools at all hours of the day and night. It can also mean packed buses of the same demo at the crack of dawn when I haven’t had nearly enough coffee to deal with all that.
Beyond that, it’s really worth paying the premium to upgrade to Pop Century (as with Caribbean Beach, avoid January 2024 there–see below) unless you’re on an incredibly tight budget. That resort is really firing on all cylinders and the Skyliner continues to be a game-changer (especially for Early Entry). We’re not trying to scare you away from the All Stars, as the vast majority of guests will have a good experience there, but we feel it’s worth the extra money to improve your overall comfort and efficiency, even if that ends up being your one splurge for the trip.
Caribbean Beach Resort
The good news here is that the Pirate Rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort have been retired and have been all replaced by ‘Under the Sea’ Rooms Inspired by The Little Mermaid. In addition to that, Caribbean Beach Resort’s regular rooms have received soft goods refurbishments that make them feel less tired (but arguably more bland). Based on all of that, we actually recommend Caribbean Beach Resort for most of 2024.
However, there are two huge asterisks to that. The first big one is in January 2024, during the Skyliner gondola closure. The second is from January 2024 through late March 2024, when the Fuentes del Morro “Pirate Fortress” Feature Pool will be closed for routine maintenance. It’s often too cold to swim that time of year anyway, but we definitely wouldn’t stay at Caribbean Beach in January while both the Skyliner and main pool are closed for refurbishment. Those are two huge features of the resort that are built into its higher prices.
Port Orleans French Quarter
Similar story here, with a conditional ‘worst’ tag for a few months of the year. From January 2024 through April 2024, the Doubloon Lagoon pool at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter will be closed for routine maintenance. Guests may see or hear construction work during day time hours.
During this time, hotel patrons are welcome to swim in the Ol’ Man Island pool at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside, which is about a 10-15 minute walk from Port Orleans French Quarter. Speaking of Riverside, this is actually the one of the two Port Orleans Resorts that we wouldn’t recommend for most of 2024. Although French Quarter has some of the same problems, it tends to score better with guests.
Port Orleans Riverside Resort
If a time-traveler came back and told me a decade ago that Riverside would be making my worst of list for 2024, I’d be mad at that person. (Well, unless they also gave me the winning lottery numbers.) After all, this is the same resort that once made my post, Tom’s Top 7: World’s Best Disney Hotels. So I understand if you feel the need to complain in the comments about how badly I’m getting this one wrong.
For years, Port Orleans Riverside was our favorite Moderate Resort, and where we stayed more than anywhere else. That hasn’t been true for over 5 years, and if I’m being honest with myself, I love the idea of Port Orleans Riverside more than the actual resort. We still enjoy visiting and spending time here, but when push comes to shove and we’re actually doing a stay for practical purposes, Riverside ranks low on our list of resorts.
This more or less illustrates the gap in Riverside’s perception among its longtime fans, who love it warts and all, and Walt Disney World first-timers, with whom it often rates poorly. It’s not that Port Orleans Riverside is bad. To the contrary, it’s an exemplar of Imagineering that is unique and remains well-themed to this day because few compromises have been made to undercut its attention to detail or thematic integrity.
The problem, as it were, is that the compromises made at other resorts at the expense of theme have improved the caliber of the resorts, upgrading amenities and the quality of the guest experience. As such, when it comes to location, transportation, layout, rooms, and dining…Port Orleans Riverside is a laggard. Those downsides and lack of a compelling selling point have become too big to ignore, and are the reason we find ourselves visiting Riverside rather than staying here or recommending it.
In short, time has passed by Port Orleans Riverside. It’s still a resort we love and hardly a poor pick, but most infrequent Walt Disney World visitors or those without nostalgia will be better suited staying elsewhere. Riverside really needs a shot in the arm.
We had hoped that the Grand Floridian overhaul would be done long ago, but it’s been much more involved than we expect. With the outer buildings all finished, the big question mark going forward is what happens with the main lobby building. This is not actually done–it just had work paused for the popular holiday season.
What happens next is unknown. It could just be a light refresh, with work resuming and finishing in the first couple months of 2024. At the other end of the spectrum, it could be a prolonged and involved process, encompassing not just the lobby but the restaurants in the main building, too. We have reason to believe Grand Floridian Cafe will be refurbished, and it seems like a foregone conclusion that something will happen with 1900 Park Fare (not like that really matters–it’s not open, anyway).
Regardless, there are too many unknowns to recommend Grand Floridian for at least the first few months of 2024. Once there’s the all-clear on construction, though, this moves to our list of highly recommended resorts!
Polynesian Village Resort
For the second straight year, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort lands on our list of resorts to avoid. This is once again due to the construction of the new DVC tower at the Polynesian, which is essentially occurring between the Grand Floridian and Polynesian–but much closer to the Poly.
The good news is that, unlike past construction, the tower is on the periphery of the resort rather than in the middle of it. This means that work isn’t visible or audible from most guest rooms. However, there’s nothing to say that’s the only construction that’ll occur at the Polynesian in 2024.
The resort infrastructure will need to accommodate hundreds of additional rooms, and it’s likely other modernizations will occur to the existing buildings to help them blend together better. At least, we hope that’s what happens, as the Poly already buckles under the pressure of crowds and that’ll only worsen in 2025 once a few hundred more rooms are added to the mix.
There’s a good chance that the Poly will be perfectly pleasant in 2024. We stayed there during the tower construction and had a lovely experience! Personally, I’d be inclined to roll the dice with DVC points (what we did!) or if the Poly were $300 per night. But it costs $650 per night and up out of pocket, and many of the hotel rooms are on the opposite side of the resort as compared to the DVC villas–potentially much closer to the construction. Given all of that, it is simply not worth the gamble for a resort that should be themed to laid back island vibes and tropical serenity.
WILDCARD: Fort Wilderness
Walt Disney World has announced New DVC Cabins Coming to Fort Wilderness Campground. The plan calls for more than 350 new cabins to replace the existing cabins at the resort, turning the resort side of the campground into a Disney Vacation Club property. In so doing, a “collection of improvement projects” will be made at Fort Wilderness aimed at enhancing the guest experience, including proposed pool and walking trail improvements. This means more construction.
With that said, construction of cabins is not why Fort Wilderness makes the list. The new cabins will be pre-fabricated off-site and installed unit-by-unit, not built on location. It’ll be a matter of swapping out the old cabins for the new ones, which will likely occur in phases in 2024 and will be minimally intrusive to the guest experience. If serious construction were going to occur at Fort Wilderness, this would not be a wildcard.
The reasons it’s a wildcard are two-fold. First, because we don’t know what else that “collection of improvement projects” entails. This could already be mostly or entirely finished, with the changes to Trail’s End and around the Settlement being the extent of it.
Second, because we still don’t know what, if anything, is going to happen with Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge. We’ve heard credible rumors that project is back on, and if construction resumes in earnest in 2024, we’d probably recommend avoiding Fort Wilderness. Even if those rumors are true, it’s possible that nothing will happen until 2025. Walt Disney World already has a lot of DVC balls to juggle right now.
BONUS WILDCARD: Bay Lake Tower
This made the ‘best of’ list as a wildcard for the second half of the year, and that more or less ran down why Bay Lake Tower should be avoided until then. The rooms were poorly constructed from the outset, and Disney’s band aid approach to fixing them over the years is very apparent. (It’s still possible to get one that’s in nice condition, but that’s simply a matter of luck.)
We’re really looking forward to doing a second-half of 2024 stay at Bay Lake Tower for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, but until then, we’re avoiding BLT. 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. There are tons of recently-redone resorts and room reimaginings, most of which are significantly better than the old rooms (anything pre-2018). This is great for guests, and makes it easier to be picky about where you stay.
The bad news is that some resorts are being refreshed or will have construction closures in 2024. Given the prices that Walt Disney World charges, you should be picky about where you’re paying a premium to stay and make sure all important amenities are available and there’s nothing to detract from your stay.
In our view, these resorts just aren’t up to snuff and won’t offer a guest experience commensurate with the cost due to construction or datedness. (Excluding the All Stars from that, which we simply would avoid due to transportation and team events.) Our hope is that this list of accommodations helps you narrow down where you want to stay when planning your 2024 trip to Walt Disney World.
Which resort(s) will you be avoiding during 2024 at Walt Disney World? Think we’ve making too much of the construction at the Poly or Grand Floridian? What about room conditions at Bay Lake Tower? Think time has passed by Port Orleans Riverside, or disagree with our take on that? What about all the pool and Skyliner closures at the beginning of 2024? Any hotel on our list that you would or would notrecommend? 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!