Disney World’s Deluxe Resorts

Disney World’s Deluxe Resorts offer a wide range of theming, location, accommodations, and dining experiences.  You cannot go wrong with any of these resorts, and I am excited to share all the magical reasons you will love Walt Disney World’s Deluxe Resorts!

Staying at a Walt Disney World Resort is an amazing experience for any Walt Disney World vacation, regardless of tier. Disney World offers resorts in a variety of tiers, based on budget, location, and amenities. My favorite tier of Walt Disney World resort is the Deluxe Tier, for several reasons! Today, we are going to take a peek at these beautiful properties.

Walt Disney World's Deluxe Resorts

Choosing my Disney Resort that I will call “home” for my next trip is my favorite part of planning. The resort itself and the experience it offers are both very important to my family. Choosing a Walt Disney World resort is the first step in our planning process!

I am a self proclaimed Disney resort snob.  I take my Disney resort snobbery to the next level…..and stay at a Deluxe Resort every time.  There have been some occasions where a moderate resort has been necessary.  But by and large, Disney’s Deluxe Resorts are my go to.  I love waking up to the monorail, or knowing I can hop skip and jump to EPCOT.  The dining options are amazing, and the rooms are larger in general.

Walt Disney World's Deluxe Resorts

Walt Disney World’s Deluxe Resorts are found on the “Disney Bucket List” for many Walt Disney World travelers, and for good reason. Many guests dream of a stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge or Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Every Disney resort is going to give you a magical experience…but the Deluxe resorts certainly bring it up quite a few notches.

Do I have a favorite Disney resort?  YES!  Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is my absolute favorite of all.  I have stayed at all the deluxe resorts except two…so I have lots of experience and they all have their pros and cons.  What keeps me coming back to this Disney resort category? I’m glad to share!

Which Walt Disney World Resorts are Deluxe?

Walt Disney World’s Deluxe Resort category is comprised of both resorts with “normal” resort rooms and also villas. It is easy to combine Disney’s Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villa Resorts into the same category.   In the Magic Kingdom area, guests find the following:

  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort / Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort / Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge / Copper Creek Villas and Cabins / Boulder Ridge Villas
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa / Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

The EPCOT and Skyliner area is home to four Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts:

  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort / Beach Club Villas
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort
  • Disney’s Boardwalk Inn / Boardwalk Villas

Finally, Walt Disney World has Deluxe resorts in a few “random” locations on Disney property.  Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge / Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village is in the Animal Kingdom area. And then, you have Disney’s Old Key West and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resorts in the Disney Springs area.

Walt Disney World's Deluxe Resorts

Why Guests Love Disney’s Deluxe Resorts:

First, the location of the deluxe resorts is the closest you can get to the Disney Parks. These are literally outside the gates of three of the four Disney parks.  Many of these resorts are walking distance to at least one of the theme parks.  If you choose the EPCOT area, you can walk to both EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or take the Skyliner for easy access as well.

The walk to EPCOT is very short from these resorts.  The walk to Hollywood Studios is longer, but it is still an option. Guests who do not want to walk to Disney’s Hollywood Studios can take Disney’s Skyliner or a boat to the park. So there are lots of transportation options! 

In the Magic Kingdom area, guests of these resorts can take the monorail to EPCOT and Magic Kingdom.  Or, those who are booked at Disney’s Contemporary Resort can walk to Magic Kingdom.  Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa guests can also access the theme park via a walk way. This is not a short walk, but it is walkable nonetheless due to a new walkway that was recently installed.

Secondly, the transportation options are fantastic. Regardless of where you stay, you will have to take a Disney motorcoach somewhere on property.  However, Walt Disney World’s Deluxe Resorts often offer guests multiple transportation options.  A combination of transportation options is available at each resort. I think the only exception to this is Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Old Key West, and Saratoga Springs.  All of those offer motor coaches only to the parks. 

Are Disney’s Deluxe Resorts Well Themed?

Yes!  Disney’s Deluxe Resorts are very well themed. The theming is immersive, but not overwhelming. You will find hidden Mickeys in the railings at the Grand Floridian.  Or, at Animal Kingdom Lodge you will hear the drummers in the main lobby, or you can enjoy watching a Cast Member create beautiful, authentic wood carvings in the lobby. 

Walt Disney World's Deluxe Resorts

At Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, you feel as if you have stepped into the South Pacific from the moment you arrive when they gently place a lei around your neck. The theming certainly doesn’t stop at the front desk or the lobby.  The entirety of the resorts is themed, but not overwhelmingly so. Due to recent updates, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort rooms now have a beautiful Moana theming to them. And, Disney’s Contemporary Resort rooms now boast a fun and magical Incredibles theme! This is one thing I appreciate.  I love the small touches, and the Disney magic with the recent refurbishments of the Walt Disney World Deluxe Resort rooms.

Are There Good Dining Options at the Deluxe Resorts?

Disney’s Deluxe resorts are known for their table service and character dining options.  While they do offer quick service at all deluxe resorts, I personally do not feel this is their strong suit.  Your magic may vary on this.  I feel as if the Magic Kingdom area resorts are strongest when it comes to Quick Service.   

Walt Disney World's Deluxe Resorts

Regardless of Quick Service, the deluxe resorts have many dining options.  In fact, quite a bit of your favorite character dining is found at the deluxe resorts. Not only that, but they often have a couple of great sit down locations, as well as pool bars and room service.  This is one thing I really appreciate…..guests aren’t limited to just a quick service location at the resort.  Also, with the deluxe resorts being in close proximity to each other, it’s easy to venture to a nearby resort for a meal.  We often take advantage of Cape May Cafe when we stay in the EPCOT area.  Similarly, you can easily plan a meal at Chef Mickey’s, the Grand Floridian, and enjoy a dinner show at Wilderness Lodge if you stay in a Magic Kingdom resort.  

What Unique Amenities are Offered at the Deluxe Resorts?

Walt Disney World’s Deluxe Resorts offer guests exclusive amenities. First, the room size sets these resorts apart from others. A standard room at a deluxe resort is going to be at least 30 square feet larger than a moderate resort...even larger than a value. Secondly, the deluxe resorts offer full room service.  Guests at the value and moderates are limited to pizza delivery only.  Where as the deluxe resorts, it is a full room service  menu.

Many of these offer guests a balcony or patio on their room. All of the deluxe resorts have a slide at their main pool, which makes it extra fun for families.  This is not found at the Value Resorts at all, but most moderate resorts have a slide. Guests of Disney’s Deluxe Resorts can also enjoy several pools across their chosen property. All of them have a “quiet pool” area, which is a smaller pool {or more than one} that does not have a water slide and is not monitored by life guards.

Walt Disney World's Deluxe Resorts

Deluxe Resorts offer a Club Level/Concierge service, valet parking, as well as a myriad of dining locations.  They also have tours and recreational experiences unique to each resort.  For example, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, you can take a tour of the kitchen area of San’aa. As with all resorts, it is easy to spend an entire day at your resort enjoying the amenities, or hopping over to a nearby resort for a fun activity or some food.

Overall, Disney’s Deluxe Resorts are on point in so many ways. Guests can enjoy a quiet, woodsy retreat at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, or wake up to the gleaming monorail every morning at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  Even better, observe a giraffe or rhinoceros from your balcony at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Regardless of the deluxe resort you choose, you will love the entire experience!

Carrie Hurst

Not only do I love sharing all my vacation tips and ideas here on A Princess and Her Pirates, but I also work alongside families to create magical vacation memories year after year! Email me at carrie@destinationsinflorida.com to begin the planning process, and join hundreds of families on my current guest list.


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