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Magic at every budget: These are the best hotels at Walt Disney World in 2022

July 19, 2022
45 min read
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When Walt Disney World first opened 50 years ago, there were only a couple of hotel options. Today there are more than two dozen on-site properties from which to choose, plus hundreds of others in the Orlando area, some of which offer pretty compelling Disney perks and benefits of their own.

Choosing the best Disney hotel for you may initially seem like a challenge, as you can't really lean on impressions from even a couple of years ago due to the plethora of facelifts and modernization projects that have occurred in recent years.

Not to mention, the resorts available at Walt Disney World are incredibly diverse, ranging from rooms with views of live zebras to treehouse villas and log cabins in the woods.

Room rates vary widely, too, with options including more affordable Value hotels (which start around $125 per night) and pricier Deluxe properties (where it's common to find accommodations costing between $400 and $700 a night).

However, there are some standard perks you'll receive no matter which property in the “Disney Bubble” you pick. To start, you’ll be able to access the parks 30 minutes early each morning. Additionally, you'll have the ability to purchase individual Lightning Lanes for new rides like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance before non-resort guests, meaning you'll have a better chance of snagging those coveted ride passes.

Still, not all on-property resorts are created equal. Fortunately, TPG is here to help.

We’ve carefully considered the top (and less than stellar) features of nearly every on-property resort to bring you this list of the best hotels at Walt Disney World. Whether you’re looking to be treated like a fairytale princess or a grown-up who just happens to be staying near a theme park, Disney World has you covered.

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(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Related: 14 reasons to stay at a Walt Disney World Resort property

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  • Best Deluxe Disney World resorts: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Beach Club Resort, Disney's Yacht Club Resort, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney's Wilderness Lodge.
  • Best Moderate Disney World resorts: The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, Disney's Coronado Springs Resort and Disney's Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter.
  • Best Value Disney World resort: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
  • Best Disney World resort pools: Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney's Beach Club Resort and Disney's Art of Animation Resort.
  • Best Disney World resorts for large families: Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Disney's Art of Animation Resort and Disney Vacation Club.
  • Best Disney World resorts for easy access to the theme parks: Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Walt Disney World Swan, Walt Disney World Dolphin, Walt Disney World Swan Reserve, Disney's BoardWalk Inn, Disney's Yacht Club Resort, Disney's Beach Club Resort, Disney's Art of Animation Resort, Disney's Pop Century Resort, Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney's Riviera Resort.
  • Best Disney World resorts for a Disney escape: Disney’s Riviera Resort and Disney's Wilderness Lodge.
  • Best Disney World resorts for using hotel points: Walt Disney World Swan, Walt Disney World Dolphin and Walt Disney World Swan Reserve.
  • Best Disney World resort if you win the lottery: Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney's Wilderness Lodge.

FOR NO-COST ASSISTANCE WITH PLANNING AND BOOKING YOUR NEXT DISNEY VACATION, CHECK OUT TPG’S DISNEY BOOKING PARTNER, MOUSE COUNSELORS.


Best Deluxe Disney World resorts

Deluxe resorts are the most expensive of Disney's hotels.

While some offer luxury amenities like spas and fine dining venues, others emphasize great themes and proximity to the parks. Regardless of which Deluxe property you choose, odds are you'll enjoy your stay, though you may face a bit of sticker shock once you see the bill.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

We almost warn against staying at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort because it’s going to set the bar pretty high for future Disney resort stays.

One of the original Disney World resort hotels inspired by Walt Disney himself, Polynesian Village sits on the monorail only a few minutes from The Magic Kingdom, yet it transports you to a lush Pacific island from the moment you enter.

After undergoing an extensive "Moana"-themed renovation in 2021, the property welcomes guests once again with a fresh, modern look and feel.

Also at the Poly are a couple of our favorite Disney restaurants. Notably, there's ‘Ohana, a Polynesian-inspired dining venue located within the resort's main building that serves delectable noodles and a mouth-watering bread pudding, among other options on the family-style, all-you-care-to-enjoy menu.

There are plenty of activities and amenities on the grounds, too, including free outdoor movies at night and a waterslide.

If you’re simply looking to relax, head outside to watch the fireworks from The Magic Kingdom and the Electrical Water Pageant that floats by. We also recommend saving time for a drink at Trader Sam’s, where rain and volcano eruptions delight visitors of all ages. Keep in mind, though, that after 8 p.m., the watering hole becomes an adults-only bar.

Have a drink at Trader Sam’s. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The Polynesian is also where you’ll find the Polynesian Villas and a number of overwater bungalows. You can reserve these (and some other studio rooms) with rented Disney Vacation Club points, but it’s still going to be a splurge for the limited overwater options.

Standard rooms at the Poly are a bit more affordable but still expensive when compared to other Disney World properties, with current prices coming in around $500 per night.

You don’t have as many points-friendly ways to reduce the price at Disney. However, you can use fixed-value points from a card like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to help offset the expense. Right now, that card has a bonus of 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.

You can also book Disney hotels via the new travel portal at Bilt Rewards at a rate of 1.25 cents per point.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

A true safari involves incredibly long flights and the possibility of malaria pills. For a safari-style vacation closer to home, there's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Offering an unforgettable wildlife experience within U.S. borders, Animal Kingdom Lodge is its own ecosystem away from the hustle and bustle of most of the Disney World complex.

Animal Kingdom Lodge. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The soaring ceilings at Jambo House are adorned with traditional decor. All you'll need to do to see giraffes, zebras, ostriches and a whole host of other animals is to merely walk past the lobby's expansive windows.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Unsurprisingly, dining at this Deluxe resort is another highlight of a stay here. Boma and Jiko are both excellent choices if you want to experience an authentic African meal. Meanwhile, Sanaa is a great option if you want views of the savanna while you eat.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The pools are terrific as well, but note that they’re one of the few spots on the property where you’ll lose sight of the wildlife.

Animal Kingdom Lodge pool. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Many activities here involve intimate experiences with the animals, including semiprivate safari tours during the day and at night. If you or your kiddos are big fans of animals, you'll find yourself content with all the ways to get an up-close look at the property's critters. Best of all: Options like the nighttime Starlight Safari, which comes with loaner night vision devices, won’t completely break the bank.

As far as accommodations go, Animal Kingdom Lodge has standard hotel rooms, as well as a concierge club level during normal operations.

The property is another excellent use of rented DVC points, especially if your family wants more space while saving money. The only downside is you may have a bit of a walk to your room. However, in exchange, you’ll typically enjoy excellent savanna views. Standard rooms generally cost $300 to $500 per night.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Another original Disney World resort from 1971, Disney’s Contemporary Resort is about as close as you can get to The Magic Kingdom without pitching a tent inside the gates (and getting kicked out by security).

In fact, this is one of our top picks if you want to be within walking distance of The Magic Kingdom. It may have been built more than five decades ago, but the amenities inside have been updated. Not to mention, the rooms just got an incredible new look.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort is one of the Deluxe Resorts eligible for extended evening theme park hours. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Let's be honest, though. The main draw of this property is undoubtedly its monorail design. Who wouldn't think a monorail going directly through the middle of your hotel is a cool concept?

(Photo by Madison Blancaflor/The Points Guy)

You'll also have a variety of accommodations from which to choose, though we prefer the rooms in the tower instead of the ones in the garden wing. Many offer incredible views of The Magic Kingdom's nightly fireworks.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Although outdoor activities are limited here, as the resort is surrounded by water and theme parks, you can go for a swim in the large pool, fish or rent a boat to tour Bay Lake.

When you've worked up an appetite, you'll find a few of our favorite Disney World restaurants on-site, including Chef Mickey's. This popular eatery is where you can dine with characters like Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto. The experience won't come cheap, but it's a place where you're guaranteed to spot characters from a safe distance.

Related: The 3 best Disney World character meals you've never heard of — and how to book them

Chef Mickey’s. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

For something a bit more upscale, there's California Grill. Its diverse menu ranges from sushi to grilled bison, plus wine, craft beer and sake.

California Grill. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

This hotel is also home to Steakhouse 71, a brand-new venue with a menu that draws inspiration from Walt and Lillian Disney, as well as the early years of Walt Disney World.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Disney's Beach Club Resort

The biggest reason to stay at these sister properties is their water amenities. Shared by both resorts, the three-acre water park, Stormalong Bay, is a favorite among families.

With this amazing pool complex, you really don’t need to leave your hotel for a day of water fun. A ticket to one of Disney’s awesome waterparks will normally set you back a minimum of $70 (without a Park Hopper Plus ticket). However, you can easily satisfy that urge for waterpark fun while staying at Disney's Yacht Club Resort or Disney's Beach Club Resort. Having access to Stormalong Bay alone can help justify the cost of rooms here.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Older kids will love climbing the shipwreck and zipping down the 230-foot waterslide, while younger kids will enjoy navigating the zero-entry pool from the “beach” just outside the hotel. There are three other pools scattered across the grounds, too, should you find yourself wanting more options.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Both properties are centrally located in Disney World and have a ton of transportation options. Boats and walking trails connect the properties with Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Disney’s Yacht Club (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

The Grand Floridian is probably the most traditional and iconic of Disney World's high-end hotels.

You won’t find a ton of in-your-face character themes here, but you will find some of the most upscale amenities, including a spa and the fanciest (and priciest) restaurant at Disney.

It’s one of Disney World’s most expensive resorts thanks to its proximity to The Magic Kingdom and top-notch facilities. As such, you'll see rates for standard rooms often starting at $500 per night, with prices during peak times regularly exceeding $700 per night.

Holiday at Grand Floridian. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Fortunately, the Grand Floridian recently began what we hope to be a resort-wide renovation that involved converting one of the hotel buildings into all-new DVC studios that are absolutely beautiful.

In addition to being situated on the monorail, the resort offers a water taxi service that brings guests across Bay Lake to the park entrance. A newly added walking path to The Magic Kingdom is also available, so you don’t need to rely on any transportation at all (though that path can get quite hot during summer afternoons).

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Dining is another highlight here. While acclaimed venue Victoria & Albert's hasn’t reopened quite yet, in late July of 2022, you'll be able to once again experience the finest dining available at Disney World. This is a true five-star experience, with a dress code and a no-kids-younger-than-10 policy to match. You can choose from the dining room, a private chef’s table and Queen Victoria’s Room for a truly special occasion. Be prepared for a big bill to go along with your caviar and wine, though, as a fancy meal is pricey.

For an equally excellent but more affordable option, check out 1900 Park Fare. The "Beauty and the Beast"-inspired Enchanted Rose bar on the second floor of the Grand Floridian’s lobby is another popular place to sip your evening cocktail in style.

Related: 9 ways to enjoy Disney World without kids

Enchanted Rose at the Grand Floridian. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

If you do book a stay at the Grand Floridian in the not-too-distant future, try to reserve one of the redone DVC studio rooms, as the traditional hotel rooms at Grand Floridian may not live up to the $500 to $700 price tag until they are revamped.

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Located a short drive or boat ride away from The Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is equal parts Great Wolf Lodge, Yellowstone National Park and Disney magic. There are great attractions and restaurants on-site, including a water feature that starts in the lobby and becomes a creek that feeds into one of two outdoor pools.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

For a fun, reasonably priced family dining experience, try Whispering Canyon Cafe. Although service can be quite slow at times (during typical busy periods, you better love ketchup if you ask for it), the food is well worth the wait.

Also, enjoy dinner with the Evil Queen at one of our favorite dining experiences: Storybook Dining at Artist Point.

When it comes to accommodations, nothing is as special as the Copper Creek Cabins located in the woods adjacent to the Wilderness Lodge or the truly spectacular two-bedroom Yosemite Suite. Both are pricey, but we promise you'll love staying in either of these options.

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

If you're keen on sticking to a tighter budget, know that you'll find more reasonably priced accommodations, too.

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Rooms at this property, which are different from those you'll find at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort, are just as memorable thanks to their refreshed appearances that debuted in 2021.

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Best Moderate Disney World resorts

Moderate resorts at Disney World represent something of a challenge when it comes to vacation planning. Accommodations at some of these properties are certainly better than the Value resorts (and a notch below Deluxe resorts), but they tend to not be as immersive when it comes to their themes.

Still, there are standouts in every category — and we definitely like some more than others in this group.

The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

One of Disney World’s least-known resorts is also one of its most entertaining.

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort has plenty of campsites and spots for recreational vehicles. However, if you’re not interested in either, The Cabins at Fort Wilderness are an excellent choice. They’re almost too good in that you’ll want to enjoy all of the on-site activities instead of spending all your time at the theme parks.

Related: How to enjoy Disney outside of the parks

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The cabins sleep up to six people, offering a queen-size bed, two bunk beds and a relatively comfortable pullout sofa.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Just trust us on one essential expense when staying here: golf carts. Renting one will cost you about $60 per day. However, you should definitely reserve one to make getting to the Meadows Trading Post for snacks, the docks for The Magic Kingdom transportation and other parts of the 700-acre property a lot easier. Know, though, that you'll want to lock yours in as far in advance as possible since they’re known to sell out.

(Photo by Melissa Ann Photography for The Points Guy)

Fort Wilderness has a nonstop list of activities you probably didn’t know you could do at Disney World, including pony rides, archery, fishing and wagon and horse-drawn carriage rides. When the day winds down, you can also check out the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, a lively performance full of dancing, singing and comedic moments.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

We have only one problem with Fort Wilderness and it's how difficult it is to choose between the excitement and charm of this property and the awesome theme parks. So know that you'll want to set aside a day or two so you can get your fill of both.

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Disney’s Coronado Springs is the definition of a Moderate property, as it's an older resort with two-story buildings spread across a large property. Complimentary theme park transportation is limited to buses, and on-site dining venues are mostly quick-service options given the resort's large convention clientele. Additionally, the rooms are small, though they’ve been renovated recently so they're now spruced up quite a bit.

One thing changed a couple of years ago that changed our minds about this Disney property: It added a new tower called Gran Destino.

Coronado Springs renovated bedroom. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

This hotel within a hotel has a stunning lobby and an equally snazzy lobby bar. If you’re looking for a completely different perspective, let an elevator whisk you up to the 16th floor, where the rooftop Dahlia Lounge awaits — along with an award-winning wine list.

(Photo by Edward Pizzarello/The Points Guy)

Gran Destino also has the distinction of being the only Moderate option at Disney World that has a club lounge, should you prefer an exclusive space to visit throughout your visit.

(Photo by Ed Pizzarello/The Points Guy)

The Spanish-inspired decor is evident everywhere you turn, including in the club lounge, where you'll find sumptuous Serrano ham and Spanish cavas. If you're traveling with kids, don’t worry: You’ll find plenty of games and books to entertain them while you enjoy the lounge.

An added bonus of Gran Destino is how its rooms are organized. Rather than being spread throughout multiple buildings connected via long outdoor walkways (as is the case with traditional Coronado Springs rooms), you'll discover all Gran Destino accommodations are clustered together in the main tower, so you're never too far from on-site amenities.

Gran Destino's club lounge. (Photo by Ed Pizzarello/The Points Guy)

Disney's Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter

One of the better (albeit more compact) Moderate resorts at Disney World is the French Quarter portion of Port Orleans.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

This resort has a New Orleans theme that includes charming wrought-iron railings, bubbling fountains and an eatery serving tasty Mickey-shaped beignets. It isn't the newest or fanciest option in Disney's resort portfolio, but it is a calm and lovely balance of theming and easily accessible amenities.

Although you'll need a bus or car to get from this resort to any of the Disney World theme parks, you can catch the free boat to Disney Springs for a variety of shopping and dining options.

The other good thing that Port Orleans has going for it is its prices. Rooms here are often more affordable than what you'll find at other Moderate properties, likely because it's not connected to the theme parks by anything other than ground transportation (and Minnie Vans).

Best Value Disney World resorts

Value resorts can be a way to get Disney resort perks, proximity to the parks and a jumpstart on purchasing Lightning Lanes — but they can also be a big disappointment.

Your mileage will vary, but if you’re on a serious budget, then you should consider these cost-effective resorts.

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Disney’s Art of Animation is the king of Value resorts at Disney World. It's the newest of all the category's options and has a whole lot going for it.

Even though the experience isn’t exactly the same as what you'll get at our favorite Moderate and Deluxe resorts, Art of Animation can be easy on your pocketbook while still offering a good amount of magic.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The resort features an array of bright colors, plus memorable Disney cartoon characters. It’s also very accessible to both Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios thanks to the Disney Skyliner gondola system.

Art of Animation really shines with its family suites, which offer a lot more room and have three beds in each suite (one traditional bed, one Murphy bed and a pullout sofa). The family suites have “The Lion King,” “Cars” and “Finding Nemo” themes, while standard rooms feature decor inspired by “The Little Mermaid."

Art of Animation. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

When it comes to pools, the Big Blue Pool at Art of Animation is actually the largest option available at any Disney World resort. You’ll find your favorite "Finding Nemo" characters hanging around, and you can even enjoy underwater music as you swim.

While the food here won’t blow you away, Landscape of Flavors is a reliable cafeteria-style venue you can dine at on-site.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Best Disney World resort pools

If you just want to know which Disney resort hotels have the best pools, there are three clear winners.

Disney's Yacht Club Resort and Disney's Beach Club Resort

These two beachy sister properties offer five-star poolside fun for the whole family.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Both have the distinct feel of a beach in an otherwise landlocked resort thanks to offering sand-bottomed pools, a lazy river, a pirate ship and a wicked waterslide, among other amenities that will keep young swimmers entertained for hours.

Also, because both properties share facilities, you'll have access to all of the on-site water amenities, regardless of which resort you're staying at.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Disney's Art of Animation Resort

If you're traveling with younger kids in tow, you may prefer the pools at Art of Animation, where you'll find the largest on-property pool: Big Blue Pool. It has a zero-entry area, plus a separate water play space for smaller children.

There’s no waterslide, but you can check out two other pools, the Cozy Cone Pool and the Flippin’ Fins Pool, should you desire more variety.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Best Disney World resorts for large families

Families with multiple people can really rack up a bill when visiting Disney World since most on-property rooms are designed for no more than four or five people. As a result, your choices tend to be limited if you have at least five or six people in your group.

Fortunately, there are a few resorts that offer plenty of space for larger families.

Related: Best Orlando hotels for large families

Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

Located in the woods behind Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa are a number of Treehouse Villas that sleep up to nine people. Offering three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a kitchen, these spacious accommodations can easily fit an extended family.

Disney Treehouse Villas. (Photo courtesy of Disney Parks)

While the elevated treehouses are no doubt a memorable twist on stereotypical theme park accommodations, know that these villas are not in the most convenient location, so plan accordingly. A bus comes through periodically to take you to Saratoga Springs, where you can catch other buses to the theme parks. There’s also a boat launch that connects the Treehouse Villas to Disney Springs.

A small pool is available in the Treehouse Villas area, too, though you'll likely want to check out the main Saratoga Springs pools, which are a long walk or bus ride away.

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Art of Animation has already come up a few times, and for good reason. While it isn’t the nicest hotel out there, it’s really great for families.

"Cars"-themed suite (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

As we mentioned earlier, standard rooms are nothing special and only offer space for four people each. However, the family suites at Art of Animation can accommodate six guests and often cost less than $500 (a cheaper rate than what two separate rooms will cost you), making them a great deal. With this affordable price, you'll get access to two full bathrooms, as well as three beds spread across two separate rooms.

Disney Vacation Club

Disney Vacation Club is Disney’s version of a timeshare.

There are excellent opportunities to rent Disney Vacation Club points and save a ton of money at Disney properties, even if you’ve never considered owning a timeshare. As a general rule, you’ll pay the approximate cost to stay at a Moderate resort but get the benefits of a Deluxe resort, along with the chance to book much larger rooms.

Disney Vacation Club (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

DVC rooms at most properties stretch all the way to three-bedroom options, though those can get pricey. The one-bedroom units that usually come with a kitchen and, sometimes, an extra half-bathroom are a great value for families that need more than a standard room.

In many cases, DVC properties are attached to existing Disney World resorts, such as Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Bay Lake Tower. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The only real downside is that changing or canceling a reservation can be much trickier if you’re renting points from an owner. So, be sure your dates are fixed.

Best Disney World resorts for easy access to the theme parks

Some hotels at Disney World are built solely to give guests access to the parks.

When your kids are younger, proximity to the parks can be crucial for midday naps (for adults as well — no judgment). These properties are especially easy to access from the parks.

Monorail resorts

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The following properties are all connected to the monorail, which means they’re only a few minutes away from The Magic Kingdom (and a quick switch to get to Epcot):

  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

Walking distance resorts

Other resorts sit close enough to one or more theme parks that you can walk to them within 10 minutes:

  • Walt Disney World Swan, Walt Disney World Dolphin and Walt Disney World Swan Reserve (Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios).
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn (Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios).
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Disney's Beach Club Resort (Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios).
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort (Magic Kingdom).
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (Magic Kingdom).
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Related: Short stay, great experience: Disney's BoardWalk Villas hotel review

Disney Skyliner resorts

Additionally, a few resorts make it possible to reach Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios via the new gondola Skyliner system:

  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort.
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort.
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Related: Massive property and dated rooms: Why I didn't love Disney World's Caribbean Beach hotel

Best Disney World resorts for a Disney escape

We love Disney, but we’re not afraid to admit that it’s sometimes nice to have a brief break from its intensity.

Luckily, there are a couple of options ideal for those who want to stay near the magic without living with Mickey and his friends 24 hours a day.

Disney's Riviera Resort

Disney World's newest stand-alone hotel is easily one of the larger resort's best options for adults who need to balance a Disney trip with the real world.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Located on the Disney Skyliner, Disney’s Riviera Resort offers easy access to Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot without you being right in the heart of all the theme park action.

The real highlight of this easygoing property, though, is its Mediterranean vibe. Blue-and-white decor await you around every corner, and the music and culinary options will transport you to the Mediterranean coast.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

At this Deluxe resort, you’ll find all the usual Disney amenities, but it’s just a touch more refined and grown-up — without being stuffy. We're serious Riviera fans thanks, in part, to its design, which includes everything from “Tangled”- and “Peter Pan”-inspired mosaics to marble bathrooms that may be the nicest in all of Disney.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Don’t worry if you want to bring the kids, though. There’s plenty for them to enjoy, too, including poolside gelato, a tower waterslide and our favorite toddler splash area at Disney World.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

This is also where you’ll find one of our absolute favorite Disney character meals: brunch at Topolino’s Terrace.

Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Another great option that will have you feeling like you're a million miles away from the theme parks is Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

At this wooded, peaceful retreat, you'll feel like you're at a national park instead of a lush Florida oasis only a boat ride away from The Magic Kingdom.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Best Disney World resorts for using hotel points

There are hundreds of hotels in the Orlando area where you could redeem points and then head to Disney World. However, the number of properties where you can redeem traditional hotel points and still access valuable Disney World perks is much smaller.

Walt Disney World Swan, Walt Disney World Dolphin and Walt Disney World Swan Reserve

Smack dab in the middle of the larger Disney World complex are three properties all linked to the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program: Walt Disney World Swan, Walt Disney World Dolphin and Walt Disney World Swan Reserve. While all three have their pluses, the newest of the three — the Swan Reserve — offers the nicest digs, though it's the farthest away from Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Prices for these Category 6 resorts range from $200 to around $500 per night, depending on the season, or from 40,000 to 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night for standard rooms most nights.

On nights when the rate is 50,000 points or less per night, you can use an annual 50,000-point certificate (which you'll receive with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card) to cover your stay at any of these three properties. Know, though, that certain hotels have resort fees that you'll still need to pay.

Related: Choosing the best Marriott credit card for you

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

You won’t find heavy Disney World theming here, but there are advantages beyond just saving money. All three hotels recognize Marriott Bonvoy elite benefits.

As long as there’s not a big conference in town, you'll probably have a decent shot at a suite upgrade if you have Marriott Platinum Elite status.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Plus, you'll receive breakfast benefits — at these properties, that means complimentary continental breakfast, which you can enjoy in your room at the Swan Reserve — as a member with Platinum Elite status or higher. Should you crave something more substantial, you can pay a small fee to upgrade to the full breakfast buffet.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

In recent years, both the Swan and Dolphin hotels have also greatly improved their grab-and-go options in the lobby.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Both properties offer large pools, a kids club and plenty of outdoor space to play as well, making them terrific options for families.

When you're ready to venture off-site, you can take a relatively short bus ride to any of the parks. If you're going to Epcot or Disney's Hollywood Studios, you can also walk or hop on the boat.

Don't forget to take advantage of the 7 a.m. start time for purchasing individual Lightning Lanes, too, and to take advantage of the late evening theme park access guests receive on select dates.

'Official Disney World Hotels' that are on property

The only other hotels on Disney property that combine Disney benefits with the ability to redeem points are referred to as “Official Disney World Hotels.” Know, though, that they are not true Disney resort hotels. These properties are either adjacent to Disney Springs or in the Bonnet Creek area.

The Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace Disney Springs Area and the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs Area are solid choices by Disney Springs. While either will cost a significant stash of Hilton Honors points (with starting rates coming in a little above 40,000 points per night), the hotels can still represent reasonable value at certain times of the year.

Related: Using Hilton points for a Disney World vacation

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs. (Photo by Dia Adams for The Points Guy)

If saving money is your primary goal, there are other ways to use hotel points for Disney-affiliated hotels in the Disney Springs area. You'll find outposts tied to budget-friendly brands like Best Western, Wyndham and IHG in the region.

Waldorf Astoria Orlando. (Photo by Richard Kerr/The Points Guy)

Those who don't mind paying a little extra for on-site amenities should consider Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, which has a great water park and sits on a 482-acre nature preserve. Rooms here start at 50,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

Another noteworthy option is the high-end Waldorf Astoria Orlando, where nightly rates start at 80,000 Hilton Honors points.

If you decide to pay with cash, consider using a Platinum- or Centurion-branded card like The Platinum Card® from American Express. With this card, you'll receive perks such as free daily breakfast for two and a space-available upgrade thanks to the American Express Fine Hotel and Resort program.

Your family can also stock up on Hilton Honors points with cards such as the Hilton Honors American Express Card, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. (Here’s why the Hilton Amex Aspire is the best premium card for families.)

The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Lastly, be sure to check out the newest addition to the Bonnet Creek area where you can make your Marriott points work for you: the JW Marriott Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

This hotel, which opened in 2020, often costs 40,000 to 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night, has lots of great amenities for kids and offers a bus that will take you to the Disney theme parks.

Best Disney World resort if you win the lottery

If you come across a stash of money that you are willing to spend on your Disney World accommodations, there's only one property to consider.

Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Located at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, the Copper Creek Cabins are more than just your typical cabins. More accurately, these are akin to little high-end homes you can rent on Disney property.


Despite the incredibly high price tag — expect to spend thousands of dollars per night to stay in one of Copper Creek's cabins — you'll get everything you could possibly need during your Disney World vacation.

You'll have access to two bedrooms, an epic living room with a fireplace, a full kitchen and an impressive screened-in outdoor living area with a private hot tub and piped-in fireworks music every evening.

Bottom line

Choosing the best resort hotel at Disney World gets easier once you identify your budget and priorities.

Do you want a great pool, more space, proximity to the parks or perhaps an immersive theme? No matter what is most important to you, you'll find Disney lodging that will likely satisfy your needs.

Having stayed at properties throughout Disney World, we can't help but love hotels like Disney's Polynesian Village Resort and Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. These resorts offer a special experience that goes above and beyond what you'll find elsewhere, though there is a handful of other options that are equally enjoyable.

Whether you're itching to splash around in the Stormalong Bay pool complex at Disney's Yacht Club and Beach Club resorts, retreat to a cabin at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort or get a never-ending eyeful of the monorail coming through Disney's Contemporary Resort, there's a Disney resort that will have every member of your family excited to be on vacation at Walt Disney World.

Featured image by (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more