How to Choose the Best Disney World Hotel

Disney has over 25 resorts to choose from.

But how do you know which Disney World Hotel to choose for your upcoming vacation?

Let’s look at the different types of Disney World hotels and what makes each unique.

There are 3 main categories of on-site Disney World Hotels: Value, Moderate, and Deluxe. Within those categories, additional sub-categories sometimes highlight unique features offered at select resorts.

Pro Planning Tip: We recommend using Jessica Lieb with ET Family Travel to book your Disney vacation!

Value Resorts

  • All-Star Sports 
  • All-Star Music
  • All-Star Movies
  • The Campsites at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds

Value Plus Resort*

  • Pop Century
  • Art of Animation – Little Mermaid Standard 
  • Art of Animation Family Suite 

*Value Plus Resorts are priced higher than value resorts and offer more spacious rooms and transportation options.

Moderate Resorts

  • Port Orleans Resort French Quarter 
  • Port Orleans Resort Riverside 
  • Coronado Springs 
  • Caribbean Beach 
  • Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs
  • Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness

Deluxe Resorts

  • Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort
  • Beach Club Resort 
  • Boardwalk Inn 
  • Contemporary Resort 
  • Fort Wilderness Cabins 
  • Grand Floridian Resort 
  • Polynesian Village Resort
  • Wilderness Lodge Resort 
  • Yacht Club Resort 

Deluxe Villas*

  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

*Deluxe Villas are part of the Disney Vacation Club program. The Disney Deluxe Villas offer spacious multi-room accommodations; most are equipped with kitchens/kitchenettes.

There are multiple factors to consider when deciding which Disney World Hotel to book.

Disney World Hotel

How to Choose the Best Disney World Hotel

Location and Transportation

Parking at Disney resorts is complimentary for hotel guests. If you stay on-site, you also have complimentary parking at the parks. Otherwise, parking at the parks is $25 per day.

Disney Value Resorts offers free bus transportation to the parks and Disney Springs. The buses are very reliable and run frequently. However, staying at a value resort means bus transportation is your only option. Disney’s Fort Wilderness campsites have boat transportation to the Magic Kingdom.

The Disney Value Plus Resorts offer free transportation via buses or the Skyliner. The Skliner runs to either EPCOT or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Buses are available for transportation to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. If the Skyliner is unavailable due to weather or maintenance, buses will be provided to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.

All of the Disney Moderate Resorts offer free bus transportation. Select resorts offer additional transportation options like boats or The Skyliner. Disney’s Caribbean Beach offers Skyliner transportation to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside offer boat transportation to Disney Springs. The Cabins at Fort Wilderness have boat transportation to Fort Wilderness.

Most of Disney’s Deluxe Resorts offer multiple modes of transportation to the parks, except Animal Kindom Lodge. All transportation from Animal Kingdom Lodge is by bus. The Contemporary Resort, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian are on the monorail loop. You can take a boat from the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, and Wilderness Lodge to Magic Kingdom. Disney’s Yacht Club, Beach Club, and Boardwalk Inn offer boat and Skyliner transportation to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.

Theming and Size

Disney’s Value Resorts are the least expensive option for staying onsite. Most value resorts have small rooms that can sleep up to 4 people. All-Star Music and Art of Animation offers suites that can sleep up to six people. These resorts have exterior hallways. Value resorts are heavily Disney-themed, with bright and bold colors and featuring classic Disney characters.

Disney’s Moderate Resorts are happy compromise between the basic offerings of a value resort and more luxury amenities of a deluxe resort. Most moderate resorts have mid-size rooms that can sleep 4 to 5 people. The Disney theming is less obvious but the resort is tastefully decorated.

Disney’s Deluxe Resorts are the ultimate luxury and are priced accordingly. The rooms at these resorts are more spacious, sleeping 4 to 5 people. The also offer a selection of suites. All deluxe Disney World Hotels have unique theme that is elegant with touches of Disney whimsy.


You’ll get hungry with a full day inside one of the Disney parks! Many families elect to do quick-serve dining so that they can return to the action. However, you may prefer more table service meals on your vacation.

Disney’s Value Resorts have a food court-style dining location providing meals and snacks throughout the day. Resort refillable mugs may be purchased and refilled in the food courts. In-room pizza delivery is also available. Each value resort also has a poolside bar offering adult beverages.

Disney’s Moderate Resorts generally offer at least one table service location and a food court-style dining option. Additionally, they offer in-room pizza delivery and a poolside bar.

Disney’s Deluxe Resorts tend to have multiple table service locations and food court-style dining. The quick-service locations may have fewer offerings compared to Moderate or Value resorts. Some Deluxe Resorts have character dining. Room service is also available throughout the day.


All of Disney’s Value Resorts have a large central pool centrally located and smaller pools throughout the resort. Each resort has a main building where you will find guest services, dining, and shopping. Each resort offers free transportation to the Disney Parks and Disney Springs.

Disney’s Moderate Resorts have a large, centrally located main pool with a slide. Most of the larger resorts have smaller pools throughout the resort. You will find on-site recreation like a marina, surrey bikes, or guest activities. You will find guest services, dining, and shopping at each resort. Transportation to the Disney Parks and Disney Springs is included.

Disney’s Deluxe Resorts offers more services, multiple pools, recreational activities, and a prime park location. Each resort has guest services, dining, and shopping. Transportation to the Disney Parks and Disney Springs is provided. Deluxe Resort guests also have access to extended park hours when available.

Disney’s Deluxe Villa Resorts provides guests with a home away from home. Most rooms offer a living room area and kitchenette or fully equipped kitchens. Rooms can accommodate up to 12 guests. The amenities available are the same as a Deluxe resort.

Our Resort Recommendations

Value Resort: Pop Century

The standard rooms at Pop Century are an excellent value for Disney World. Rooms feature a murphy bed, which provides much-needed function and space. The resort also has dedicated transportation to the parks via buses and the Skyliner.

Moderate Resort: Coronado Springs Gran Destino Tower

Coronado Springs Gran Destino Tower gives guests a Deluxe Resort experience at a Moderate Resort price. The dining options and luxurious rooms make Gran Destino Tower a hidden gem.

Deluxe Resort: Contemporary Hotel

The newly remodeled Incredibles-themed rooms can sleep up to people. These rooms feature mid-century modern design, split bathrooms, and plenty of space for the whole family. The Contemporary Resort is within walking distance of the Magic Kingdom and has plenty of dining options.

Staying on-site at a Disney World Hotel provides is always worth it, no matter where you stay!

Book Your Disney Vacation

Ready to book your Disney World vacation? We recommend using Jessica Lieb with ET Family Vacations to find you the best deal on your Disney vacation. Jessica can save you money on your trip. Plus, her services are 100% FREE FOR YOU!


Similar Posts