The first question people usually ask when they are booking a Disney vacation is, where on Earth are we going to stay? There’s so many options, so how will we narrow it down? What is the cheapest resort? What resorts are worth spending just a bit more money?
Is it worthwhile to stay in this resort rather than this one? How does the transportation work? These are all questions you should be asking, so don’t worry! You’re doing the right thing!
In this article, we will be discussing everything you need to know about saving money on resorts while having an amazing vacation, and which ones are worthwhile to perhaps spend a little more money on. We will go in depth as to why these resorts are the ones that have been chosen and what options they have for transportation.
By the end of this article you should have an amazing idea of what you would like to do for your Walt Disney vacation when it comes to your resort!
Budget Friendly Resorts
The first thing that you and your group should discuss should be, of course, the budget. Looking to save as much money as you possibly can is totally normal, so we are going to discuss some of the best options of resorts to stay in.
In my opinion, the following options are the best Walt Disney World Resorts to stay in on a budget:
- Disney’s All-Star-Movies Resort
- Disney’s All-Star-Music Resort
- Disney’s All-Star-Sports Resort
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort
- Good Neighbor Hotels to Walt Disney World
To start with, Disney’s All-Star-Resorts include All-Star-Movies, All-Star-Music, and All-Star-Sports. They are all in the same area, and actually connected by a network of walking paths. The distance between all of the resorts is very short, so if you wanted to explore all of them, you can easily do that by taking a scenic walk around the property. You can determine what the theme of each resort is by the name.
For instance, All-Star-Movies is all about going to the movies, of course! Different sections of the resort include themes of Fantasia, 101 Dalmations, The Mighty Ducks, Herbie, and Toy Story, with huge statues, staircases, and buildings that represent each theme! For All-Star-Music, the resort has sections that represent a different genre of music! They include Jazz, Country, Rock-n-Roll, Calypso, and Broadway.
Lastly, for All-Star-Sports, the sections include different sports such as surfing, baseball, basketball, football, and tennis! In my opinion, the All-Star-Sports are one of my favorite because the theming is absolutely spectacular. When I go to Walt Disney World, I just want to be immersed in to my favorite stories and just have fun, no matter what I do.
When I stay at the All-Star-Resorts, I feel like those stories continue when I come back to my resort after an adventurous day in the parks, and it is the most magical feeling. The prices of these value resorts are amazing, plus fantastic theming equals an A+ for me!
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is one of the most detailed and amazing resorts to stay in, in my opinion. Not only can it be budget friendly, but the story behind it is fantastic. When you enter the resort lobby to check in, a huge chandelier made up of sketches from the development of The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars is in the ceiling above you, followed by a beautiful wall that includes “storyboard sketches” in both black and white and color by the check in desk.
If you continue in to the gift shop, you’ll notice it is decorated like an artists office, with paints and paintbrushes and pencils everywhere, because artists then add color to their development sketches for animated movies. Next, the food court represents different scenes from these movies, that show how the development of animated movies are almost completed. By the time you head outside to go to your room, you are in the “completed movie,” as the environment of the resort includes statues of your favorite characters and objects from these movies.
Honestly, it really feels like you have stepped right in to whichever movie your room is set in. The entire resort makes it feel like you are living the process of developing an animated movie feature. It is such a unique and beautiful resort that does not break the bank at all! It is one of my favorite resorts to stay in, and the immersion it provides for its guests is amazing!
Disney’s Pop Century Resort is along the same line as the All-Star-Resorts, only each section of the resort represents a different decade from the 50’s to the 90’s! It’s so much fun because each section has a huge statue of some things that were popular during that decade. For instance, a huge walkman with headphones inhabits the 80’s section, and flowers are everywhere in the 60’s section.
Also, each section has music playing from that decade, so the immersion really takes you back in time. It’s fun to see all the objects and phrases and music from each time period.
Walt Disney’s Good Neighbor Hotels are off property hotels that are not Disney owned but are labeled by Disney as being “good neighbors” by offering quality and value convenience to everyone who visits.
The list of Disney Good Neighbor Hotels from MickeyViews.com includes:
- Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott
- Buena Vista Suites
- Carib Royale Orlando
- Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista
- Clarion Suites Maingate
- Comfort Inn Maingate
- Courtyard by Marriott Lake Buena Vista at Vista Centre
- Embassy Suites Orlando-Lake Buena Vista Resort
- Embassy Suites Orlando-Lake Buena Vista South
- Hampton Inn & Suites-South Lake Buena Vista
- Hawthorn Suites
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Lake Buena Vista East
- Holiday Inn Resort Orlando-Lake Buena Vista
- Holiday Inn Resort Southwest-Celebration Area
- Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa
- Melia Orlando Suite Hotel
- Park Inn by Radisson Resort & Conference Center
- Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort
- Springhill Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista in the Marriott Village
- Staybridge Suites Orlando-Lake Buena Vista
- staySky Suites International Drive Orlando
Though these hotels are no on property, they have scheduled free transportation to and from the theme parks, and they have good value because you get Disney Hotel perks without having to pay the Disney prices. It is generally close to the parks thanks to the close proximity on the I-4 expressway. If you’re looking to really save money on your resort and don’t mind not have the “full Disney experience,” then these resorts just might be for you!
Worthwhile Resorts for your Vacation
When you go to Walt Disney World, you always want the best experience possible. Sometimes, you want to spend a little extra, because you’re on vacation, so why not? There are a few resorts that cost a bit more than the value resorts, but also don’t go insane when it comes to price. In my opinion, these resorts include:
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
- Disney’s French Quarter and Riverside Resort
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort really takes you to the islands, truly. When I’ve stayed there in the past, there were times I felt like I was not at Disney World, but rather in the Caribbean somewhere. It honestly was amazing how relaxed I felt at this resort.
There is a path around a massive pond in the middle of the property that you can walk, and hammocks all along the bay for you to lay on and relax. If I was to spend a little more money, this honestly would be the resort I would do it at.
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is a beautiful, newly refurbished resort that mixes Spanish, Mexican, and Southwest American cultures into a breathtaking and relaxing atmosphere. The Gran Destino Tower is the new addition, and it is very grand indeed!
The massive amount of space (that equals that of the Magic Kingdom, by the way) also includes the Three Bridges Bar & Grill, a resort a lakefront restaurant where the cuisine is exquisite. The Villa del Lago is a group of buildings inspired by dreamers, artists, explorers, and adventures of a bygone age who had a zest for life.
Disney’s Port Orleans resort has two “sister” resorts: French Quarter and Riverside. French Quarter provides the elegance of New Orleans with wrought iron balconies, cobblestone streets, jazz music, and gas lamps that all transport you to New Orleans, Louisiana.
It feels like it’s Mardi Gras 24-7. (You need to try the beignets at the Sassagoula food court!) Riverside evokes the beauty of rural Louisiana with white column mansions and quaint cottages that all make a beautiful setting that will make you feel like you are at the Bayou itself.
To travel from your resort to the theme parks, Disney has got you covered. Disney transportation makes sure that you do not have to worry about traveling to and from the parks when you don’t have your own transportation or when you’re exhausted from your day. In all of the resorts that have been mentioned in this article, the Disney bus transportation is phenomenal.
They provide transportation to and from the theme parks, and Disney Springs, all day, and it saves time and money for you. There are television screens up in the spots where you catch the bus in order to see when the next bus to your destination is arriving.
According to the Walt Disney World the bus service to the parks starts 45 minutes before the theme parks open in the morning and ends one hour before the parks’ closing times. Service back to the hotels at night ends two hours after the parks’ closing.
Coming in the Fall of 2019, the Disney Skyliner will be opening as a new and fun option of transportation to and from Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at EPCOT. They will be a state of the art gondola system that will be available at Disney Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, and Disney’s Riviera Resort. It is free and will add a little extra magic to your day!
Some Transportation Disadvantages
Some things to keep in mind with transportation is that you always want to do what is best for you and your party. If you feel it is best to drive yourself to the parks, there is plenty of parking. Just keep in mind that you will have to pay for parking each day you go to the parks.
From what I can find, $25 is the price for each day if you are staying on property, which can get pretty pricey. If you are staying on property, it is complementary to park at the parks.
So while it is nice to go at your own pace, keep this in mind. Also, when you drive yourself, traffic can be kind of thick if you leave during the mass exodus of people leaving the parks at night.
While the bus transportation is excellent and they try to have a bus for each destination every twenty minutes, it can sometimes be longer, depending on traffic and crowds. When everyone is leaving the parks at night, lines for the bus can be really long, and they can pack a lot on the bus, however, it will be insanely crowded.
If there are no seats left, you will have to stand for the length of time it takes to get back to your resort. Usually, another bus will come rather quickly for your resort when everyone is trying to get home, but when everyone is tired, it can be rather annoying and feel longer than what it actually is.
Remember, these resorts that I have mentioned are more budget friendly resorts, which leans towards a cheap Disney World vacation. These are some of my favorite resorts, so I believe they are still extremely worthwhile, while also not hurting your wallet. There are other resorts available, of course, and they are all amazing.
There is not one resort that is not worth a stay, but they all differ in price. There are some resorts that I would love to stay in, but never have due to the price. However, they are still amazing to go explore and see if you would like to stay in them some time in the future. These deluxe resorts include:
- Disney’s Polynesian Resort
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
These resorts all include the bus transportation and parking. However, the Contemporary Resort, the Polynesian Resort, and the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa all provide monorail transportation service to the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and Disney’s Transportation and Ticket Center.
Whatever resort you stay in, there is no wrong choice. You have to choose the resort that represents you and fits your comfort needs the most. There are many choices for a Walt Disney World resort, and they all extend the magic after a long day of having adventures!
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