| |

Choosing the Walt Disney World Resort That’s Best for Your Family

There’s no question about it. Planning a Walt Disney World vacation takes some work. Vacation implies being away from home, right? So the first decision you need to make is where to stay. The decision can be overwhelming, especially when you are clicking through the resort options, seeing the gorgeous pictures, and trying to stay within a budget.  But how do you choose the Disney resort that’s right for YOU?!

Choosing a Walt Disney World Resort that is your “home” for your stay in Orlando can be daunting. So.many.options.

When our family is trying to decide which resort we want to enjoy during our Disney vacation, we take into consideration several questions.

Choosing a Walt Disney World Resort that is your "home" for your stay in Orlando can be daunting.  So.many.options. Learn how to choose the best resort for your family!

1. What are your expectations in resort amenities? Disney offers Value, Moderate, and Deluxe Resorts. These three tiers of resorts vary in price, location, amenities, and transportation service. You can read more about each tier here:

Disney’s Value Resorts

Disney’s Moderate Resorts

Disney’s Deluxe Resorts

Choosing a resort is more than just budget. While the resort tiers indicate a wide range of budgets, you need to consider what is worth paying for, and what is worth sacrificing for a lower nightly rate.

The moderate resorts at Walt Disney World tend to fall literally right in the middle. Nightly rate, proximity to parks, and amenities make a moderate resort a good option for nearly any Disney traveler. Of the moderate resorts, Disney’s Port Orleans are my personal favorite!

2. Do you plan to eat mainly Quick Service or Table Service? How you plan to eat, and even where, could help you make your resort choice as well.  If you are planning mainly quick service meals, you might want to consider a Value or Moderate tier resort.  These options often have several counter service options and the variety of food at the food courts of these resorts tends to be much better.   If you plan to eat several sit down meals, perhaps you want to stay at a Magic Kingdom resort, where many restaurants that your family will enjoy are in close proximity to each other.

3. How do you plan to spend your theme park time? No matter the number of days we stay, we always allow two days for Magic Kingdom. Are you an animal and show lover? If so, a resort closer to Disney’s Animal Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios may be good for you.

Or, are you planning two days-EPCOT and Magic Kingdom? If so, a resort on the monorail OR one of the EPCOT resorts would be perfect for you. We have REALLY loved the location of Disney’s Beach Club Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian because they are very close proximity to their respective parks.

4. What is the make up of your travel party? Many Walt Disney World Resorts offer rooms that sleep 5 guests. This is a great option for larger families! But what about those families that have babies, and they want a separate area for their little one to rest? A suite at Disney’s Art of Animation or a 1-Bedroom Villa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa may be a better option.

Perhaps you are traveling with older children, who really need their own sleeping space. That is where a suite or villa make sense, or even booking two rooms so everyone has their own space! Or perhaps you have younger children, but they do not like to share a bed. Booking a “5th Sleeper” room at Disney’s Caribbean Beach or Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside would be a great option!

Pop Century

5. How long is your stay? Would you rather have a longer stay, at a lower priced resort? Or a shorter stay at a Deluxe Resort? While there is no right or wrong answer, it may be worth considering. A shorter stay warrants a Deluxe Resort, in my opinion.

6. Is theming important to you? Keep in mind, some of the Walt Disney World Resorts are themed in some way. How “big”, or how “Disney” that theme is, varies by resort. Do you want to feel immersed in a Disney movie? Art of Animation is your best option. Bright colored rooms, larger than life characters, Ariel on the shower curtain……you get it. It’s themed to the hilt, and one of the most popular resorts. Is a more muted, easy theme your style? Perhaps Coronado Springs or one of the Deluxe Resorts is a better option.

Regardless, each resort has its own special theming. Whether it is the muted Moana rooms at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, or the hidden Mickeys in the hallway carpets of Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, theming is everywhere!

7. Disney transportation should be a consideration. When at Walt Disney World, time is money. If you want to maximize your theme park time, consider a resort with multiple transportation options. With the introduction of the Skyliner, this now really broadens the resort options. Previously, only Deluxe Resorts {and not all of them} offered more than Disney motorcoaches to the parks. Now, two value resorts and one moderate fall on the Skyliner. This is a HUGE advantage to those resorts!

Disney’s All Star Resorts, Port Orleans Resorts, Coronado Springs, Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge ONLY offer guests motorcoach transportation to the theme parks.

Whether this is a “go big or go home” Disney trip, or it’s a “let’s try a new resort” trip, you can’t go wrong. Disney is all about guest experience, and each resort will give you a great experience for your trip!

Carrie Hurst

Married to my high school sweetheart, we are raising two pirates and a princess. A lifelong Disney fan, lover of good food, and all things creative, I hope you will join me in sharing joy and making memories everyday.


  1. When we stay at a Disney Resort, we usually choose a resort based on what we like about the resort. Sometimes, however, we will stay at a resort that is nearby and convenient to the parks. We do not want to have to drive half an hour back to a resort after being exhaust at the end of a night at the parks. ?

  2. Yes! We always choose based on budget and which parks we plan to be at the most during that trip!

  3. We always choose a resort that fits our budget and is convenient to the parks we want to visit.

    1. Budget is important…but I hold proximity as a huge priority as well!

  4. Convenience to the parks is a huge perk of some resorts! We loved that about the Boardwalk!!

    1. I cannot agree more. I like to be a hop, skip, jump to at least one park!

  5. You can also stay at more than one resort to stretch your budget- most of the week at a value and a couple of nights at a moderate or deluxe!

    1. Yes! Great tips! We have done that before, actually.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *