We have traveled to Disney World in Orland, Florida over ten times since Dude 1 was born and we have stayed on property almost every time because the best Disney World Resort hotels are the ones run by Disney themselves.
Despite this multitude of experiences with their resorts, if you asked me which of their properties are the best Disney World Resort hotels or which is my favorite, I have to admit that it would be quite the struggle to answer for me. I could give you my top five Disney World Resort hotels to stay at when we visit, but I couldn’t just say I have a single one I love the most. Our family goal is to stay at every one of the Disney properties together. So far we have stayed at 8: Animal Kingdom, Yacht Club, Beach Club, Old Key West, Port Orleans-Riverside, Caribbean Beach, Contemporary, Coronado Springs, and Old Key West.
I am working on my Make All The Magic Guide to Having the Most Magical Disney Family Vacation Ever ebook and, while I do, I am using not only my own knowledge of Disney family vacation planning from the 10 trips to Disney World we’ve taken, and the two adventures on Disney Cruiseline ships to fill it, but knowledge from the thousands of parents on the DudeMom Facebook page who have carted their kids to a Disney property as well.
Because where to stay at Disney World is such a major part of the decision making process I wanted to make sure we had a wide range of opinions on the matter from real life parents. Here’s what they had to say.
Arguably the Best: The 10 Best Disney World Resort Hotels According to Parents
Description: Inspired by the traditional African kraal, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of 4 lush savannas that over 200 hoofed animals and birds call home. And yes, you could wake up to a giraffe eating breakfast just outside your room window.
Amenities: Pool with a waterslide, exotic animals, several dining options including two pool bars
Parent review: “LOVE IT! Great quick service food and so appropriate for kids. Short ride to all parks except Magic Kingdom. We give it a 9.” -Angie G.
“Super nice! Loved everything about it. Would stay again if normal rate wasn’t so high.” -Michelle B.
Learn more here: Animal Kingdom Lodge
Port Orleans Resort-Riverside
Description: A resort with a picturesque setting that evokes the romance of rural Louisiana. You’ll feel transported to the bayou surrounded by quaint cottages.
Amenities: Pool with a waterslide, royal room options so you can stay in Tiana inspired rooms, pet-friendly accommodations
Parent review: “Definitely a good value if you are on a tight budget. Not too far from most parks, however most rooms are a long walk from dinning and the bus stop. They were quite efficient when we needed carpet cleaning when a kiddo got sick. Their pool looked neat, but we didn’t go swimming in January. We give it a 7.” -Angie G.
“Loved it. The rooms slept 5…2 Queens and a trundle bed…which worked for our family of 2 adults, 2 kids under 10, and 1 preschooler.” -Jill B.
Learn more here: Port Orleans Resort-Riverside
Description: Close enough to walk to The Magic Kingdom, this modern resort is also monorail accessible. Guests will enjoy spectacular views, dazzling pools, award winning dining, and access to some of Disney’s waterways.
Amenities: Pool with waterslide, fireworks dining experience, Pixar Playzone, Monorail
DudeMom Approved: We loved this resort for its location on the monorail. The train pulls up right inside of the lobby of the hotel making it a super quick ride over to the Magic Kingdom. In fact, it’s so close to the Magic Kingdom that you can walk if you want! It only took us about 10 minutes to get to our room along the walking path between the hotel and the park. It’s also located on the water where you can enjoy water sports like boating, fishing, and more.
Learn more here: Contemporary Resort
Yacht Club/Beach Club
Description: Technically these are two separate hotels, but they are connected and they share a pool. They evoke a little New England charm, Beach Club with it’s beach life feel and Yacht Club with its slightly more posh boating inspiration.
Amenities: Large pool facility, fitness area, breakfast buffet with character experience
DudeMom Approved: Best. Pool. Ever. It’s huge, with over 3 acres of aquatic fun for both the Beach Club and the Yacht Club resorts. Stormalong Bay, as it’s called, is a great place for spending a day away from the parks. It’s a beachside water park featuring an awesome sandy bottomed pool, a huge shipwreck replica for climbing, adventuring, and water sliding down one of the highest Disney World hotel pool slides. You can relax on an innertube in the lazy river or in one of the 3 whirlpool spas. And, of course you can fuel up by enjoying lunch and adult beverages poolside courtesy of their outdoor dining facilities.
All-Star Music Resort
Description: This resort hotel pays homage to some of the world’s most popular music genres, including country, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, calypso and Broadway-style show tunes. Large-sized, music-inspired icons outside and subtle song-and dance surprises inside provide a harmonious setting for music lovers of all ages.
Unique Amenities: Guitar shaped pool, food court, family suites to accommodate up to 6.
Parent review: “We stayed in the music resort one time. It’s nice. So clean you can actually take your shoes off in the room. Leave your car at the resort and take the bus to the parks for free.” -Barbara W.
Learn more here: All-Star Music Resort
Description: It’s a throwback to the timeless fashions, catch phrases, toys, and dances of the 1950s-90s. It’s a fun, bright, nostalgic place to stay.
Unique Amenities: 60s style water jet pool, cool shopping/dining food court
Parent Review: “Just got back a few weeks ago. We stayed at Pop Century. Affordable-much better than some of the deluxe resorts, but room was a little small. Convenience- we took the buses to/from all 4 parks. The community was pretty easy.” -Lahoma W.
“Very clean and affordable. 3 pools and transportation to all parks and Disney springs. Movie nights outside.” -Robin W.
Learn more here: Pop Century Resort
Old Key West Resort
Description: Inspired by Florida’s Key West, this property is made up of tranquil Conch Flats. These resort condos give you more space and comforts of home as they are equipped with kitchens (or kitchenettes) and in room laundry facilities.
Category: Deluxe Villa
Amenities: Recreation Exercise Swimming Tennis complex, boat access to Disney Springs
DudeMom Approved: Our first family trip to Disney included a stay at this resort. We wanted something spacious with a kitchen for our week long adventure. While we wound up enjoying Disney fare more than we cooked for ourselves, it was nice to save a little on breakfast by making it in our room each day. There was a private room so we could have a little space from the kids and the room also had an in room washer and dryer—made drying swimsuits and traveling home a much easier experience.
Learn more here: Old Key West Resort
Art of Animation
Description: Enjoy the magic in a Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King or The Little Mermaid story inspired room. Movies under the stars, and arcade, and three themed pools make this a family favorite.
Amenities: Landscape of Flavors dining area with 5 separate food shops, dog friendly, largest resort pool in all of Disney, family suites that sleep up to 6
Parent Review: “Art of Animation on property. Except for the little mermaid section the room have 3 beds and 2 bathrooms. As a family of 5 that was a life saver for us. Everything I read said it was far from the parks and long bus rides but we had no issues and never seemed to be on the bus long. At the time it was the newest resort and was very clean and had amazing decorations. It was also on the very low end for cost so it gave us more to spend on what we wanted to do instead of on a room we barley spent any time in.” -Scott and Renee
Learn more here: Art of Animation
Fort Wilderness: Cabins
Description: Camp at Disney in the wilderness resort where local wildlife is abundant and nature surrounds you.
Amenities: Hoop de Hoo Musical Revue, Campground life, gold cart rental, pool with a slide
Parent Review: “We stayed at the Cabins in Ft. Wilderness and loved it! Our bus stop was very close, which was super helpful. Ours slept 6 and has a little kitchen and a porch where you can hang out. We loved riding the boat to Magic Kingdom.” -Amy D.
Learn more here: Fort Wilderness Cabins
Description: Inspired by the islands of Barbados, Jamaica, Martinique, Trinidad and Aruba, this resort celebrates the spirit of the Caribbean with blissful sights and fun-filled activities—including colonial forts, lively markets, pristine beaches, splashy florals and swaying hammocks.
Amenities: Pirate themed rooms, pool with a waterslide,
Parent Review: “Caribbean Beach was great this year. Affordable (for an on-property resort). The rooms were great. It was very quiet. Pretty centrally located so it was easy to get to all of the parks. Several bus stops throughout the resort. Fantastic pool.” -Emily W.
Learn more here: Caribbean Beach