Everything You Need to Know About a Disney Resort Stay

April 6, 2022

Disney theme parks are famed for the great times they create for all patrons. Magic surrounds you as you step foot within these fantasy lands.

It's not without reason that Disney is called the "Happiest Place on Earth!" Whether you're looking for comfort or just want to be fully immersed in the magic, you can't go wrong with a Disney Resort stay.

Benefits of Staying at a Disney Resort

Proximity to Disney Theme Parks

The primary benefit of a Disney Resort stay is the proximity to the theme parks. With several hotels and resorts to choose from within each park, you'll be right in the heart of the magic.

Early and Extended Access to Disney Park Attractions

Residents of Disney Resort hotels enjoy additional time in the parks. With early access, you can jump-start your day with a ride or snag a table at one of your favorite restaurants.

Related Post: Ultimate Guide to Walt Disney World®: Coupons, Discounts, and Deals

Make sure you have a valid admission, park reservation, and MagicBand or Key to the World card for seamless entry.

Good news for residents of Disney Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villas! Starting October this year, you can enjoy extended evening hours at Disney theme parks. So kick back at the theme park with a drink as you relish peace amidst thinning crowds.

Superb Transportation to Disney Parks

With easy access through bus, boat, and monorail services, let go of all transportation worries. Walk to a convenient stop near your hotel and let the cast member do the rest. 

Looking to add a ride in the skies between parks?

The new Disney Skyliner glides you across the sky while traveling between:

  • Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Epcot 
  • Pop Century Resort
  • Art of Animation Resort
  • Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney's Riviera Resort

palm tree and spring flowers with Epcot and Walt Disney World Monorail System tram in the background in Orlando, Florida, USA

MagicBands at Special Prices

MagicBands are a huge blessing in your busy Disney vacation. As a Disney resident, you can buy them at a special price up to 6 days before arrival. 

Now about what a MagicBand can do? Prepare to be blown away!

Related Post: Disney MagicBands: How They Work

Your MagicBand will give you easy access to your room and fantastic theme park attractions. With a simple swipe of your band, you can charge your food and shopping to your band. Your MagicBand will also connect Disney PhotoPass to your Disney account for a seamless trip!

Don't forget; you can customize your MagicBand with your favorite characters, colors, and themes for maximum fun!

Disney Magic BandsEarly Lightning Lane Access

Disney residents have a tremendous Lightning Lane advantage! You can book your first ride as early as 7 AM. Then, select Lightning Lane entry for up to 2 attractions a day and gain an arrival window of up to 1 hour.

Lightning Lane is a brilliant mechanism to ensure you beat the long queues at excessively popular rides. This, along with Genie+, can really enhance your theme park experience.

Related Post: Everything You Need to Know About Disney's Genie+

Genie+ expertly plans your day and gives you real-time information on wait times at all chosen attractions. Lightning Lane is the tool within Genie+ that lets you schedule yourself into selected rides at low-wait times. 

Magical Room Options

With several room options to choose from, Disney World Resorts have amenities and accommodations for everyone!

Disney Themed Rooms

Bring theme park magic and fantasy right into your chambers by booking a themed room of your choice.

Step into the world of The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King, Pirates of the Caribbean, and so many more!

Sleep Under the Stars

What about the romantics and adventure seekers who want to sleep under the stars?

Related Post: Current Festivals and Events at Walt Disney World Resorts

Disney has an enviable option at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, where you can rent a cabin or a campsite space.

Settle into your enchanted cabin in the woods with all the comforts of home. Or, book that campsite space for your RV or tent. Then, drift to dreamland against the comforting smell of the Earth or the soothing lap of waves from the nearby lake.

photo credit: Disney World Passholders via Facebook

For Families that Vacation Together

Disney understands that families that vacation together may need more flexibility. They've thought of everything. From individual sleeping spaces and kitchens to rest areas.

Related Post: 12 of the Best Things to Do in Orlando with Teenagers

Going on vacation together does not have to be a compromise on comfort. Check out these amazing options by Disney resorts for your large groups:

  • Family Suites at Disney's Art of Animation Resort provide separate sleeping areas and two bathrooms for up to 6 people
  • The Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort bring together a woodlands adventure with enhanced comforts of patio and grilling spaces
  • Studios at Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts give you all the hotel independence you crave
  • 1,2- and 3-bedroom villas at Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts are your home away from home, complete with a washer and dryer!

Amenities and Extras at Disney resorts

As to be expected, your stay comes with a host of thrilling experiences to be enjoyed right at your dwellings' doorstep!

Themed Pools and Hot Tubs

Check out our top picks for Disney pools:

  • Cozy Cone Pools at Disney's Art of Animation featuring cabanas, a large pool area, and a stunning backdrop
  • Copper Creek Springs at Disney Wilderness Lodge begins in the lobby and features stunning falls and a 67-foot slide
  • The Riviera Pool at Disney's Riviera Resort, inspired by Europe's grand fountains, is a sight to behold….and splash in!
  • Fuentes del Morro at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort with turret slides and water cannons is fun in a Spanish Fortress.
  • Lost City of Cibola Pool at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, themed after Mayan ruins, is ultimate gratification for history buffs
  • Lava Pool at Disney's Polynesian Resort features a mini volcano and an infinity-edge hot tub
  • Big Blue Pool at Disney's Art of Animation is a child's dream with oversized Nemo and Crush figurines

photo credit: Travel with Moriah via Facebook

Character Breakfast

Did you know that you could dine with your favorite Disney characters?

At the theme parks, you can enjoy breakfast with Minnie and Friends. However, at the resorts, you have multiple options!

Pick your character breakfast between:

  • Mickey's Tales of Adventure Breakfast Buffet
  • Disney Princess Breakfast Adventure and
  • Goofy's Kitchen

for a feast like no other.

You will be cooked for by your favorite characters, visited at the table, and maybe even served by them!

Related Post: 15 Fun & Free Things to Do in Orlando at Night

Character dining does require a reservation, so plan accordingly. 

Mom and Daughter with Daffy Duck at a Breakfast with Disney Character Dining at Walt Disney World - Orlando, Florida, USAGolf at Disney

Disney golf courses are so impressive that several PGA golf tours have been hosted here.

Swing your club at one of these incredible courses:

  • Walt Disney World Resort Golf
  • Magnolia Golf Course
  • Lake Buena Vista Golf Course
  • Oak Trail Golf Course
  • Osprey Ridge Golf Course
  • Palm Golf Course

photo credit: Walt Disney World Golf via Facebook

Magical Disney Resorts

Where are the best Disney resorts, and what can you expect while staying there? Read on for our top picks: 

Polynesian Village Resort  

The creme de la crème of Disney resorts and the Polynesian Village resort takes inspiration from the South Pacific. Tropical palms, lush vegetation, and an island ambiance welcome you into its warm embrace.

Related Post: 13 Most Romantic Restaurants in Orlando

Located in the Magic Kingdom area, the Polynesian Village enjoys all the perks of being adjacent to the Seven Seas Lagoon. One of the first Disney resorts to be built; the Polynesian Resort has been tempting our hearts and palates since 1971.

Pro Tip: Set on the Seven Seas Lagoon, Lava Pool has the ultimate views of Magic Kingdom park

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge

Want all the benefits of Disney but in a rustic-chic setting? Look no further than Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge. An African safari-themed lodge situated amongst over 30 species of wildlife, including Zebras, Giraffes, and Gazelles.

Built for spectacular views in the shape of an African kraal, Animal Kingdom Lodge offers unmatched dining and animal experience options.

Pro Tip: Need more space? Book a Villa the Animal Kingdom Lodge to have your own kitchen and laundry space!

Lobby of the Animal Kingdom Lodge at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom - Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Walt Disney World via Facebook

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa 

Invoking La Belle Époque of Palm Beach, the Disney Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is the ultimate in Victorian charm.

Just a quick stop on the complimentary monorail, spend the time you save at the state-of-the-art spa. Well-equipped to handle all your needs, you can indulge in a massage, manicure, pedicure, body wraps, haircuts, and more.

The Grand Floridian Resort also features an avant-garde gym where you can work off all that ice cream!

exterior view of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa at twilight in Orlando, Florida, USADisney's Wilderness Lodge

An All-American experience, Disney's Wilderness Lodge celebrates American craftsmanship and untamed wilderness. From the Ozark Mountains to the Rockies and all the way to the Redwoods, America features some sweeping outdoor spaces.

The Wilderness Lodge captures all of that and more. Take a walk along the nature trails as they weave through pine trees. Then sit and rest on one of the rocking chairs by the creek. 

Related Post: Insider's Guide to Walt Disney World®

The sacred wild spirit sneaks into your spaces in the form of stone hearths, roaring fireplaces, totem poles, and headdresses.

Photo Alert! The Boulder Ridge Cove Pool at Disney's Wilderness Lodge makes for stunning photos!

photo credit: Amy Shalley via Facebook

Disney's Contemporary Resort

Another resort that celebrates all things American, the Disney Contemporary Resort is a modern wonder. 

Pick between rooms at the Garden wing or the A-frame Contemporary tower. Walk to the Magic Kingdom main gate or catch the monorail for a ride through the tower.

Fun Fact: A 90-foot mural by Mary Blair within Disney's Contemporary Resort is responsible for the "it's a small world" attraction.

Disney's Riviera Resort

Disney's Riviera Resort is inspired by Europe and passed through the lens of Disney to create a magical escape. Grand archways and a striking façade welcome you into one of the most picturesque Disney hotels. 

Related Post: Conquering Disney World in 3 Days: The Complete Guide

Every detail mirrors Europe and the Mediterranean, with artwork lining all major spaces in the resort. Picture beautiful gardens, stunning landscaping, and serene waterfronts, and you're halfway there!

Located in Bay Lake, Florida, the Riviera Resort is a delightful mixture of upscale accommodation and flavors of the Riviera. 

Don't miss out on the opportunity to float your way to Disney parks on the new Gondola system at the Riviera Resort. 

photo credit: Emily Alicea Photography via Facebook

Other Notable Deluxe Hotels

Like the rides, attractions, play areas, and experiences at Disney, there is no lack of luxury to enjoy. 

Check out this fantastic selection just waiting for you:

  • Dolphin Hotel
  • Swan Hotel
  • Swan Reserve
  • Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa
  • Beach Club Resort
  • Boardwalk Inn
  • Old Key West Resort
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort
Ground view of Disney's Boardwalk at nights with lots of lights on and the buildings reflections in the water in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Walt Disney World via Facebook

Villas Attached to Deluxe Resorts

We have mentioned several of the villas attached to some of the resorts. However, we want to ensure you don't miss a single villa option.

Here's a complete list:

  • Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa Villas
  • Disney's Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
  • The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Animal kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
  • Disney's Boardwalk Villas
  • Beach Club Villas
  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
  • Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
  • Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
  • Riviera Resort

Nautical Disney Stays

Were you born with the heart of a seafarer? Does the love of blue, white, and surf flow through your veins? Do your eyes light up at the mention of the ocean? 

These nautical-themed resorts and stays are perfect for you!

Disney's Yacht Club Resort 

The Disney Yacht Club Resort is right up a nautical enthusiast's alley! Sporting New England style, the Yacht Club is spread out on the Stormalong Bay lakeside.

Related Post: What's New at Disney World for 2022

Nautical theme abounds all over the resort, especially in the lobby, replete with swirling rugs and chandeliers. Walking distance to Epcot and a boat ride from Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Yacht Club enjoys an enviable location.

Pro Tip: The Yacht Club is one of the few Disney resorts that allows dogs, so bring little Fido along!

Pool and Exterior View of Disney's Yacht Club Resort - Orlando, Florida, USADisney Magic

Not satisfied with the nautical theme and want to sail with Disney? 

Hop on to the Disney Magic!

The first ship to be owned by the Disney Cruise line, it is a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. Accommodating up to 2700 passengers, this moving city comes with 11 public decks and 875 staterooms. 

Decorated in an Art Deco style, the ship excels in entertainment and recreation options. Enjoy your floating comforts while dropping anchor at glamorous locations like the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and even Europe!

Pro Tip: The "Verandah" rooms offer sweeping ocean views from the comfort of your bed.

Budget-Friendly Disney Resorts

Don't care for any extra hotel amenities and just want to concern yourself with the parks? You're in luck!

Related Post: Disneyland vs. Disney World

While the All-Star resorts are most famous for being the most affordable Disney hotels, there are some amazing alternatives:

  • Pop Century Resort
  • Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  • Disney's Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  • Colorado Springs Resort
  • Art of Animation Resort
  • The Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort

exterior night view of Disney's Port Orleans Resort in Orlando, Florida, USAWhich Are Your Favorite Benefits of Staying at a Disney Property?

One of our favorite benefits of a Disney resort stay is the savings you'll rack up if you bundle your stay with your theme park tickets! Start planning your Disney vacation with Tripster today!

Which is Your Favorite Disney Resort to Stay at?

Let us know in the comments below!

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Written By Sarina

Sarina Byron is a California-based writer whose work has been featured in leading publications such as  Authors Publish, Introvert, Dear, Thrive Global, Boo ...

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