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Disney World Hotels

Overview of Disney World Hotels

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The Contemporary, one of the original Disney World hotels

The Contemporary, one of the original Disney World hotels

Wait Disney Company
Staying in one of the two dozen Disney World hotels is an experience which immerses you in the magic throughout your vacation. But which one is right for you? It was once much easier to decide; decades ago, Disney World only offered two hotels to choose from. Get an overview by price, location and amenities so you can pick the perfect hotel for your next Disney trip. (For my overall top picks, see Top 10 Disney World Resorts.)

Perks of the Disney World Hotels

Before we go into the differences, let's look at what all Disney hotels have in common. Staying on property has a few benefits, all complementary:

  • Disney's Magical Express transports you and your luggage from the airport to any of the Disney World hotels and back again.
  • Extra Magic Hours mean one of the parks is open earlier in the morning (or later in the evening) for guests of Disney World hotels only.
  • Transportation throughout Disney World via a system of monorails, buses and boats.
  • Guaranteed Entry into the theme parks, even when the parking lots are full.
  • Package Delivery; your purchases at the theme parks can be sent directly to your hotel.
By Price

Disney World hotels come in four basic categories. While all share some of the same perks, in general, the more you pay, the more you get.

Value Resorts
Rates: $82 and up
What you'll get: They put you in the middle of the magic for less. You'll forgo luxuries, but enjoy colorful Disney theming. All have swimming pools, arcades and playgrounds.
What you won't get: Rooms are designed for only four people, so families of five or more need to book two rooms or upgrade to at least a Moderate resort. Value resorts have a food court on property, but not a full-service restaurant. Room service has limited hours and is generally limited to pizza delivery. If you want a mini-refrigerator in your room, you'll have to request it (and pay a fee). The Value resorts also don't have extras like fitness centers, spas, or valet parking.
Reviews and pictures of Disney's Value Hotels:

Moderate Resorts
Rates: $145 and up
What you'll get: A few extra amenities and more space in the room over Value resorts, but still an affordable rate. Rooms sleep up to five people, although you might be a little cramped. All have swimming pools with water slides, arcades, playgrounds, a lounge and water craft rentals (for an extra fee). Moderate resorts have a food court plus a table-service restaurant. Rooms have mini refrigerators.
What you won't get: Room service has limited hours. The Moderate resorts don't have extras like fitness centers, spas, or valet parking.
Reviews and pictures of Disney's Moderate Hotels: Deluxe Resorts
Rates: $215 and up
What you'll get: They put you closest to the magic and add luxuries not found at the other resorts, but at the highest rates. Rooms sleep up to five people, and add more space than Moderate and Value resorts. Suites are available, and some have concierge levels. All have themed swimming pools with water slides and whirlpools, arcades, playgrounds, a lounge, valet parking (for a fee) and water craft rentals (for a fee). Deluxe resorts have a food court plus a table-service restaurant and a character dining experience, and Disney's signature dining experiences are found at these hotels. Rooms have mini refrigerators and 24-hour room service. All have salons, and some have full-service spas.
Perhaps the best perk: Disney's Deluxe resorts have prime real estate. All are situated within a short monorail ride, boat ride or walk from one or more of the theme parks. You'll spend less time on buses and more time relaxing.
What you won't get: Any special treatment at the parks. All Disney hotel guests, no matter where they are staying or how much they've paid for the room, are treated the same at the theme parks.
Reviews and pictures of Disney's Deluxe Hotels: Deluxe Villa Resorts
Rates: $279 and up
What you'll get: Formerly known as the "Disney Vacation Club" resorts, they have great locations and add room for large families, the option of kitchens, in-room laundry and multi-bedroom suites. They Disney's version of timeshare condos, but can be reserved nightly by anyone. Room types range from a studio with a mini-kitchen and sleeper sofa to a three-bedroom apartment with sunken whirlpool tubs and full kitchens. Disney Vacation Club Resorts are generally within Deluxe-level resorts, so they share the themed swimming pools with water slides and whirlpools, arcades, playgrounds, lounges, valet parking (for a fee) and water craft rentals (for a fee). Resorts have a food court plus a table-service restaurant and a character dining experience, and some have Disney's signature dining experiences. Rooms have mini refrigerators and 24-hour room service. All have salons, and some have full-service spas.
What you won't get: As a non-member of Disney's Vacation Club you can rent these rooms nightly, but you'll pay much more than members do. Some opt to rent or buy points from members to save money. This can be a risky proposition, so do your homework first (try disboards.com for a good overview).
Reviews and pictures of Disney's Deluxe Villa Hotels: When choosing a hotel, keep in mind you'll want stay somewhere that's close and convenient to the places where you'll spend the most time. For an idea of how everything is laid out, see the map of Disney World hotels.

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