Resort Rumble: Which Walt Disney World Resorts are the Happiest on Earth?

Discover the magic beyond the Walt Disney World theme parks as we unveil the best Disney World Resort hotels, exclusive perks, and unforgettable experiences waiting just for you. Dream, compare, and book your fairy-tale getaway!

When planning a magical vacation at Walt Disney World, the question often arises: Where should we stay? Well, with a lineup of the best Disney World resorts, your choices are plenty!

To differentiate from other hotels near Walt Disney World, Walt Disney World Resort hotels are owned by the Walt Disney Company. So, you’re guaranteed a sprinkle of that Disney magic right from your room’s balcony!

Strategically located near world-famous theme parks like Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. As well as exhilarating water parks including Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, these resorts offer unparalleled convenience. And it’s not just about proximity.

When you stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you’ll get magical perks like meeting a cast member casually lounging at the hotel lobby and gaining early access to the parks before the general crowd pours in.

While there are other accommodations, like the luxurious Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort or Disney International Resorts abroad, this article zeroes in on the crème de la crème of Walt Disney World Resorts in sunny Florida. Our goal? To help you choose the best lodging that suits your budget and preferences!

This map was made with Wanderlog, a road trip planner app on iOS and Android

Walt Disney World Value Resorts

It’s not a secret. A trip to the most magical place on Earth can be expensive. However, if you’ve set aside a budget for nearby accommodation, the Walt Disney World Value hotels have got you covered.

These resorts are the most pocket-friendly options within the vast Disney accommodations landscape. The rooms come bursting with vibrant theming, often drawing inspiration from Disney’s iconic films and pop culture, perfect for travelers on a budget but still craving that authentic Disney magic.

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Disney EPCOT resorts? Disney’s Pop Century Resort at 1050 Century Dr stands out as a popular Disney World resort. Among the resorts near EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it offers guests a prime spot for park hopping and is one of the best Disney hotels for guests planning to enjoy these two theme parks.

This colorful resort, which houses 11 uniquely themed buildings and three uniquely designed pools, takes guests on a journey through pop culture spanning the 1950s to the 1990s.

Related Post: Is Disney’s Pop Century Resort Right for You? Essential Details for Your Stay

The guest rooms were newly refurbished in 2022 and offer four room categories–standard, preferred, pool view, and regular view. Securing one of the special offers on Tripster makes your stay incredibly worthwhile!

exterior view of large fooseball characters outside of Disney's Pop Century Resort in Orlando, Florida, USA

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort at 1850 Animation Way is undoubtedly one of the best Disney Value resorts for families. The exterior and interior of this Value resort are themed around Disney classics like Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid.

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Even the shower curtains are themed! Obviously, the kids are the target audience here. If you prioritize having the most magical time of your life without splurging too much on a luxurious resort, this is the hotel for you.

Art of Animation rooms cost significantly more than other Value Resorts, but that’s because they mostly consist of family suites. As for food, Landscape of Flavors food court is one of the most inspired food courts at any Walt Disney World hotel and is superior to any other Disney Value Resorts.

It’s not as detailed as Oga’s Cantina at the Walt Disney World Resort, but what you paid for the accommodation is impressive. Just for that, we think it’s one of the best Disney World resorts for families.

Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort

On the hunt for a cost-effective Disney vacation resort? Chances are Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort at 1901 W Buena Vista Dr will catch your eye.

Nestled at the southwestern tip of the vast Walt Disney World property, this standout among the Walt Disney World Value Resorts is a stone’s throw from Blizzard Beach waterpark and sits comfortably in Disney’s Animal Kingdom resort vicinity.

The building and rooms’ themes are focused on five cherished Disney movies: Fantasia, Toy Story, 101 Dalmatians, The Mighty Duck, and The Love Bug (Herbie). Perfect for photo ops!

However, a word of caution–the rooms, at a snug 260 square feet, are quite compact. So, why choose it? Beyond the pocket-friendly rates, the delightful themed surroundings and perks like complimentary park transportation and early park access make it an enticing choice.

Exterior View of Disney’s All Star Movies Resort - Orlando, Florida, USA
photo credit: Walt Disney World via Facebook

Walt Disney World Moderate Resorts

Situated perfectly between the budget-friendly Value Resorts and the upscale Deluxe Resorts, the Walt Disney World Moderate Resorts offer a harmonious blend of themed atmosphere, enhanced amenities, and mid-range pricing.

Rooms in these resorts are more spacious than Value ones and often come with added comforts, such as queen-sized beds and picturesque views.

Related Post: Sailing into Paradise – Insider’s Guide to Disney Caribbean Beach Resort

Additionally, there are sit-down restaurants, compared to the cafeteria-style dining options at Value Resorts. The choices below are ideal for travelers seeking a balance of cost, comfort, and Disney magic.

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Among the Disney Moderate Resorts, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort over at 1114 Cayman Way stands out with its tropical allure. Truly, it’s one of the best resorts Disney World Orlando has to offer. Emulating a breezy Caribbean island, this resort is the central hub for the Disney Skyliner gondola.

It’s one of the Disney resorts near EPCOT, so you’ll have direct access, giving a significant head-start for Early Entry. This proximity is a game-changer for those aiming to beat morning rush hours!

Please Note: Structurally, the resort comprises two-story bungalow villages. Given the absence of elevators, you may prefer to request a ground-floor room for convenience.

ground view of lake and Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort in Orlando, Florida, USA
photo credit: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort via Facebook

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Distinguished as Walt Disney World’s premier convention hotel, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort at 1001 W Buena Vista Dr uniquely blends business with leisure.

It’s arguably the best Disney resort for adults. While some critics argue that the influx of convention attendees detracts from the traditional ‘vacation’ ambiance, it’s a perk for those attending conventions themselves.

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Architecturally, the resort showcases a theme of Southwestern influences, from the rustic Ranchos and serene Cabanas to the urban-inspired Casitas.

We recommend this moderate-category resort for adults seeking proximity to Disney’s theme parks, which prioritize a more mature ambiance over character-themed rooms.

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside

After the devastating effects of Hurricane Ian, Disney worked its magic to create an impressive comeback for Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside.

We love that it is nestled peacefully at 1251 Riverside Drive by the river and exudes the elegance of sprawling Southern mansions along the Mississippi. Guests are treated to rooms housed within these stately mansions, adorned with lobbies and interiors reflecting genuine Southern charm.

While it may not resonate with younger guests, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside is perfect for those who seek serenity in the midst of all the roaring magic. Plus, an exclusive perk of this resort is its water boat transportation to Disney Springs, shared only with the Port Orleans French Quarter.

ground view of lawn and exterior of Disney's Port Orleans Resort in Orlando, Florida, USA
photo credit: Be Our Guest Travel Company via Facebook

Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts

The Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts epitomize the magic and grandeur that Disney is renowned for. If you can indulge in a few days of luxurious accommodation, this category is the only one for you.

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You’ll get spacious rooms with upscale furnishings, multiple dining options ranging from quick-service to gourmet, comprehensive recreational activities, and often, breathtaking views of the theme parks or serene waterfronts.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Among the resorts Walt Disney World offers, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge at 2901 Osceola Pkwy holds a unique charm that stands out even amidst stellar accommodations like the Walt Disney World Golf Resort.

It embraces a profound level of cultural and thematic authenticity, making it the best hotel Disney World offers for those seeking immersion over park hopping.

While the Walt Disney World Resort Map might indicate its seclusion, the experience it offers is unparalleled. If sipping morning coffee as giraffes graze outside your balcony is your idea of a perfect Disney Resort vacation, this is the best resort for you.

In addition, the resort boasts amenities like expansive water slides, a vibrant kids’ play area, and the chance to marvel at on-site flamingos. We recommend a stay here for guests prioritizing a serene, wildlife-centric escape.

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 Polynesian Village Resort

Among the top Disney World hotels, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort at 1600 Seven Seas Drive stands out as a tropical paradise with its rich Hawaiian theming.

Out of all the Disney World Deluxe Resorts, this gem is one of the most strategically placed near the Magic Kingdom, justifying the premium attached to its room rates. The convenience of this proximity means you can effortlessly access Magic Kingdom.

Related Post: Character Meet and Greet Disney World – Your Guide to the Magic

Not to mention, the guest rooms were recently renovated to reflect a Moana-inspired theme, so everything is new and fresh!

For a premium experience, we recommend the suites with mesmerizing views, whether it’s of the marina, lush gardens, or the iconic Cinderella’s Castle. Disney Village resorts and the best Disney resorts near Magic Kingdom Park don’t get better than this.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Often regarded as the pinnacle of luxury in Walt Disney World at 4401 Floridian Way, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa embodies opulence and Disney’s magical touch.

This resort radiates a Disneyized Victorian elegance with light hues, expansive ceilings, ornate chandeliers, and stained glass details. The vintage cage elevator and soothing live melodies from the grand piano add to the charm, too!

Of course, the standard rooms here are spacious at around 440 square feet, the largest at Walt Disney World. For amenities, you’ll have access to the massive Beach Pool, boasting a thrilling 181-foot waterslide and cascading waterfalls.

The hotel is also home to Victoria & Albert’s, an award-winning fine dining restaurant that places Disney’s Grand Floridian as one of the best Disney resorts for adults seeking sophistication.

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

Walt Disney World Resorts FAQs

Disneyland is smaller, features fewer theme parks and hotels, and costs less than Walt Disney World, making it a quaint cousin to the vast Floridian resort.

While Disneyland packs a lot of magic into its compact space, Disney World spreads its enchantments across a much larger expanse with an array of experiences.

So, whether you're looking for a charming getaway or an epic adventure, Disney has a park that's just the right size!

The Grand Floridian Resort is a hop, skip, and a monorail ride away from the enchanting Magic Kingdom, where fairy tales come to life every day.

So, if you're staying at this luxurious hotel, you're practically neighbors with Cinderella and Mickey Mouse!

Save with a Walt Disney World Hotel Package

So, which Walt Disney World resort is best? Well, that depends on you! Whether your preference leans toward best resorts near Disney World with golf courses, proximity to water parks Disney World boasts, closeness to Disney Springs, or stays at distinguished establishments like the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, there’s a package for you.

Even if you’re eyeing other Disney Florida resorts not directly owned by Disney or seeking convenience near Orlando International Airport, bundling your hotel with attraction tickets provides significant savings.

While Disney World’s 50th Anniversary deals concluded in March 2023, Tripster still offers unbeatable Walt Disney World Hotel Packages, which bundle a stay at the best Disney hotels in Orlando with attraction tickets.

From Disney World and Universal to SeaWorld and beyond. Optimize your budget, freeing up funds for exquisite dining, memorable souvenirs, or extra perks that enhance the magic of your journey.

Have You Stayed at a Disney World Resort Property?

Which is your favorite? Leave us a comment below!

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Written by Nicole King

There are only two things that make Nicole really happy–books and travel! When her head’s not buried in a book, she’s most likely...

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