Resort Hoppin’

Yesterday you read about my thoughts concerning the great debate over staying ON or OFF property on your WDW vacation.

Thanks, G.

Now, let’s get to the REALLY good stuff…the digs!  You’ve got some BIG decisions to make!!

According to TripAdvisor, there are more than 300 hotels in Orlando, Florida.  Now, this is not to say that Orlando is synonymous with WDW, but during my time working in Florida, it was a common conversation piece with guests that were utterly flummoxed at how far away their hotel was from the parks, since “Disney is in Orlando.”

Well, sorry to tell ya, but Orlando is more than just the mouse.  It’s actually the 79th largest city in the United States and it’s got about 240K residents.  Oh, and let’s not forget the fun fact that it’s supposedly the 3rd most dangerous city.  Just stay outta junky areas, okay? 😉 (source)

Oh, where were we again?

Chillin' at the Grand.

…oh yes, my favorite hotels and resorts!  Hah!

In the following list, you will see my top recommendations for your Disney vacation, sorted in the order from most ritzy to most budget-conscious; and in haiku form (note: I have stayed in all of the resorts I am recommending and would be happy to answer your questions about them!):

ON PROPERTY (personal recommendations)

  • The Grand Floridian – Close to the magic / You’ll spend a pretty penny / But, monorail!
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Far from the bustle/ The animals come to you / The savanna view
  • Saratoga Springs – Walk or boat Downtown / You’ll enjoy the nice big rooms / Themed like its namesake
  • Port Orleans – Riverside or French / It’s like Mardi Gras every day / Beignets and Bayou.
  • Coronado Springs – Southwest flair, nice pool / A big walk around the lake / Nice, recent upgrades
  • Pop Century – A value for you / Unlike All Star, has own bus / Get the mug refills.
Had enough 5-7-5-ing?  Okay.
OFF PROPERTY (personal recommendations)
  • Lake Eve Resort – a newish resort located on the side of International Drive, close to the Orlando Premium Outlets – this resort features condo-like accommodations with kitchens and W/D right in the suite.  I’ve stayed here twice and had no complaints; nice pool, free parking and comfy beds.
ALSO SUGGESTED 

Interior Atrium, Gaylord Palms

(source)

  • ONDisney’s Contemporary Resort, Yacht / Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn – all of these resorts are ones on my “One Day” list for several reasons – location (Contemporary is WALKABLE / Monorailable to Magic Kingdom and YBC/B is WALKABLE to Epcot), luxury (all are categorized as ‘Deluxe’ resorts) and gorgeous theming.  Visiting any of these resorts is like a vacation in itself.
  • OFF: Swan / Dolphin, Gaylord Palms – S/D are often mistake AS Disney resorts, due to their proximity (right around the same lake of the aforementioned YBC/B) but owned by Starwood.  So, if you get points with that hotel group, these might be fun choices…plus, S/D are eligible for Extra Magic Hours.  As for GP, it’s GORGEOUS.  I have been there a few times to see  ICE and was amazed.
The resorts that I mentioned here are but a fraction of the HUGE diversity of resort and hotel experiences that you may select from on your WDW vacation.  As I have said before (and will continue to reiterate) there is something for just about everyone, and YOUR something could be totally different than MY something!
If you’ve made it this far…here’s the quick and dirty version:
  • Are you gonna be in the parks 24/7?  Spend less on hotel – just make sure it’s safe and clean because you’ll probably just be showering and sleeping there!  On property, I’d recommend a Value Resort (Pop Century or All Stars – you know my recommendation!)
  • Are you gonna wanna relax?  Take a look at Moderate or Deluxe.
  • What are you gonna wanna eat?  Cheaper resorts = cheaper food…for the most part.  If you’re more of a sit down restaurant kinda person, it’s worth it to spend a little more on the Mods or Deluxe because they have their own places.  There are NO resort to resort buses, you will always have to make a connection at a park or Downtown Disney.
Whew!  Enough info for ya?  Well, hate to break it to ya, but we’ve barely scratched the surface now…because I am pretty darn sure you might want to learn about the MAIN ATTRACTION…which is…well, are…THE PARKS!

What’s your favorite Disney Park?  

Disclaimer: I am not employed by the Walt Disney Company; all opinions are my own 🙂
And for yet another opinion (and free, helpful advice) check with Megan!
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