When planning your trip to Disney World, you should definitely consider staying at one of the Disney Deluxe resorts. While the Disney Moderate resorts are spectacular in their own way, the Disney Deluxe resorts are a big step up. Among the 9 Disney Deluxe resorts, you can stay at amazing accommodations inspired by everything from the culture of Africa to the sights and smells of a classic American boardwalk.
While deciding which Disney Deluxe resort is right for you and your family, there are a few things to consider. The theming of the resort, the proximity to certain parks, and even the activities available on the property are all distinguishing features. Luckily for you, we’ve laid all this information and more below! Which one of these Disney Deluxe resorts will you choose to stay at?
Get a FREE printable 30/60/90 day Disney countdown by joining our private Disney Facebook Group and share your photos and ask for tips and tricks!
9 Best (And Worst!) Disney Deluxe Resorts
What Is a Disney Deluxe Resort?
There are three main types of Disney resort hotels: Value, Moderate, and Deluxe. Since Disney Deluxe resorts are so widely varied, it can be difficult to pinpoint what separates Disney Deluxe resorts from the other types of Disney Resort hotels. That said, there seem to be three characteristics that are common across all of the Disney Deluxe resorts: amazing transportation options, awesome amenities, and a higher price.
What Is Transportation Like from Disney Deluxe Resorts?
One of the main perks of a Disney Deluxe resort is the transportation situation. It is the best of the best, as the vast majority of the Disney Deluxe resorts are super close to the parks! Some are even walking distance! And those that aren’t just require a quick ride on one of Disney’s convenient transportations options.
What Perks Do You Get Staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort?
In addition to the valuable transportation perk, there are several perks offered at Disney Deluxe resorts. First of all, the rooms themselves are larger than the ones at the Disney Value resorts and the Disney Moderate resorts. The pools are also quite a bit more exciting, as there are waterslides for the kids and quiet adult-only pools. Lastly, each Disney Deluxe resort offers table service restaurants, a food court, a lounge bar, and a pool bar.
Also, during the 50th Anniversary celebration, Deluxe Resort guests can enjoy extended evenings on select nights at select theme parks – replacing what used to be extra magic hours.
There are also the perks that are available to all guests staying at any type of Disney resort. These include early access to Genie+ selections, restaurant reservations, early theme park entry, and so much more!
Pros And Cons of Staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort
The amenities, transportation, and extended evenings are all huge pros of staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort. Also, most of the Disney Deluxe resorts are great for larger groups and families.
However, the main con of staying at a Disney Deluxe resort is the price. The cost of staying at a Disney Deluxe resort is significantly higher than staying at a Value or Moderate resort.
That said though, the price range of rooms at a Disney Deluxe resort varies widely, which means if you’re still trying to be money conscious, you can get one of the cheaper rooms at a Disney Deluxe resort.
Our Personal Thoughts Regarding These Deluxe Resort Rankings
These rankings are our personal opinions, and they are what we would recommend to friends or family members staying at a Disney World Deluxe resort. However, everyone is different! While these are our favorites, they might not be yours. Only you know which accommodation you and your group would enjoy the most. Maybe you’ll disagree with our opinions in this list.
After all, there really isn’t a bad resort in the Disney Deluxe category. Overall, the purpose of this guide is meant to share our opinions and provide you with an easy way to compare all of the Disney Deluxe resorts.
Best Disney Deluxe Resorts
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort may be the best Deluxe Disney Resort. The island theme is so apparent from the second you walk in the door, as you’re greeted with a lei, a Hawaiian flower necklace. And the theming doesn’t stop there. Palm trees line the resort, the lava pool includes a volcano, and you’ll love being able to watch Magic Kingdom’s fireworks right from the beach.
This Disney Deluxe resort transports you to the tropical islands of Polynesia in the most kid-friendly way. You’ll feel relaxed, yet excited to explore all that the resort has to offer, from some of the best dining options at Walt Disney World to the many amazing activities and amenities.
Almost all of the rooms at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort sleep up to five people. However, the prices of the accommodations at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort vary widely with the most expensive room costing nearly three times more than the most affordable room. The main differences between these rooms are whether or not they are “club level” and the views. Rooms at this Disney deluxe resort can have views of the parking area, the pools, the marina, the Seven Seas Lagoon, or Magic Kingdom.
As an alternative, there is also the option to stay at an overwater bungalow, complete with sleeping arrangements for eight adults, a full kitchen, a private deck, a washer and dryer, and a plunge pool.
Other than the pervasive theming, one of the best parts of this Disney Deluxe resort is the location. First, it’s just two monorail stops away from Magic Kingdom. From there, it’s just one monorail change to Epcot and one Skyliner change to Hollywood Studios.
Second, it’s close to so many of the best Disney World restaurants. Ohana and Pineapple Lanai (home to the iconic Dole Whip) are both located on Disney’s Polynesian Resort property, and the amazing Victoria and Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is just one monorail stop away!
There are also many other amazing amenities, such as two pools (including one with a 142-foot waterslide), motorized boat rentals, views of the free Electrical Water Pageant, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
One of the best Disney Deluxe resorts for families is Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. There are so many activities on and near the property that it’s hard for anyone to even dream of being bored. As implied by the name, this Disney Deluxe resort has been inspired by a New England-style yacht club, complete with all the nautical touches.
This nautical-themed Disney Deluxe resort is both polished and exciting. While you can immerse yourself into the posh, yacht-like part of the resort, you can also embrace the fun-filled part that’s like an amazing day at a waterpark!
This Disney Deluxe resort includes rooms that accommodate four, five, or six guests. The main differences in pricing are from 1) whether the room is club-level or not and 2) the view. The one unique aspect of Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is that it offers dog-friendly accommodations.
The amenities at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort may be some of the best. First, the transportation situation is out of this world, as both Epcot and the Skyliner are within walking distance of the resort. That means that it’s super easy to get to Magic Kingdom and the other parks as well.
But the convenient transportation is far from the best part of this Disney Deluxe resort. That award goes to Stormalong Bay, the three-acre waterpark on the property that is shared with Disney’s Beach Club Resort. This amazing aquatic adventure includes a sand-bottom pool, lazy river, and a 230-foot-long water slide. What more could you ask for from a pool?
And we certainly can’t forget about the dining options at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, particularly the Beaches & Cream Soda Shop. This little shop is home to one big dessert: the famous Kitchen Sink Sundae. This sundae consists of five types of ice cream and every topping available at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop!
Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Right next to Disney’s Yacht Club is Disney’s Beach Club Resort. As a matter of fact, they are essentially on the same property, so many of the amenities and treats mentioned about Disney’s Yacht Club apply to Disney’s Beach Club Resort, including Stormalong Bay and Beaches & Cream Soda Shop.
As implied by the name, Disney’s Beach Club Resort takes on a slightly beachier vibe than its posh yacht-like counterpart. That said, the vibes of Disney’s Beach Club Resort and Disney’s Yacht Club Resort are quite similar.
There are a wide variety of rooms available at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, ranging from ones that sleep just two guests and others that sleep up to seven. From there, you can choose between standard, garden, or water views.
Many of the amenities at Disney’s Beach Club Resort are shared with Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. That means that you’ll still be able to enjoy fantastic transportation options, Stormalong Bay, and many of the dining options.
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Disney’s Contemporary Resort is one of the original Disney Deluxe resorts. With a modern flair and fantastic food options, Disney’s Contemporary Resort is always in demand. That said, by far, the best perk of this Disney Deluxe resort is the fact that you can walk to Magic Kingdom – a perk that no other Disney resort hotel can offer.
Considering that Disney’s Contemporary Resort was built in 1971, it has lost a bit of its modern flair since it’s been nearly fifty years. But that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. One of the most iconic parts of this Disney Deluxe resort is the 90-foot-tall mural created by the artistic Disney legend, Mary Blair.
There are a variety of accommodations available at Disney’s Contemporary Resort ranging from the small Garden Wing room that sleeps three guests to the club level two-bedroom suite that sleeps eight. If possible, try to get a room with a view of the lake to watch the Electrical Water Pageant each night.
The best amenity of Disney’s Contemporary Resort is the fact that you can walk to Magic Kingdom. It’s also a quick ride from the rest of the Disney parks. Another fantastic perk of this Disney Deluxe resort is the food! California Grill, one of the best restaurants in all of Walt Disney World, is located on the property. Plus, the brand-new Steakhouse 71 is a can’t miss restaurant!
Finally, there are all the other necessary amenities, including complimentary WiFi and overnight parking.
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn has one of the coolest, most unique atmospheres of all of the Disney Deluxe resorts. This waterfront hotel based on Atlantic City and Coney Island is located on the Disney BoardWalk, which means there are tons of things to do. You can play carnival games, go clubbing, experience the sights and smells of a traditional boardwalk, or simply take in the views of Crescent Lake. On top of all of those great perks, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn also happens to be a fantastic place to catch amazing views of the Epcot fireworks.
Because the atmosphere at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is based on a boardwalk, the environment is extremely fun and inviting. It also happens to be one of the more adult-oriented resorts at Disney World, as many of the dining and entertainment options would be more exciting for adults rather than children.
With the exception of the outer building garden room that sleeps two people, all of the rooms at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn sleep five to six people. Considering the fact that most rooms, as expected, have views of the BoardWalk and Crescent Lake, there are a couple of more affordable rooms with views of the gardens or the parking area.
The transportation situation at this Disney Deluxe resort is a definite perk. The Disney Skyliner takes guests straight from Disney’s BoardWalk Inn to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. In addition to transportation, there are also several recreational amenities, including pools, miniature golf, movies under the stars, campfire activities, fishing, tennis, and the Side Show Games Arcade. As for food, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn also happens to be home to Trattoria al Forno, one of Disney’s fantastic character dining experiences.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
As the first Disney World resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa immediately makes an impact. This Victorian-style resort fills the senses with elegance – from live orchestra music to green clover scents to the classiest of dining options at Victoria and Albert’s. Even the views of Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom add another level of sophistication.
If you’re looking for the most elegant and classy Disney Deluxe resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is the one you’re looking for. Between gems like afternoon tea at the Garden View Team Room and specialty cruises around the Seven Seas Lagoon, you’ll truly feel as if you’re royalty. However, for some, the theming of this resort may be too stuffy and fancy.
All of the standard and deluxe rooms sleep up to five adults and basically only vary in view options (garden, lagoon, or theme park). One level up, there are the rooms and suites with club-level service, which include additional perks like evening turndown and access to the club-level lounge. A few of these club-level rooms and suites have prime views of Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom.
That said, with all of these perks, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa has the highest standard room rates of any Disney deluxe resort.
One of the best amenities of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa may be the seasonal traditions. During Christmas time, the chefs at this Disney Deluxe resort whip up an almost life-size gingerbread house, complete with a chimney that puffs out scented gingerbread. At Easter, the chefs test their skills again by whipping out some of the most extravagant sweet Easter eggs on the planet.
A close second, however, is the food. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is home to the classiest restaurant in the entire Walt Disney World Resort, Victoria and Albert’s. This five-diamond rated restaurant serves up extravagant internationally-inspired cuisine, including dishes such as maple glazed Manchester quail and Australian Kobe-style beef.
The Grand Floridian has amazing food, lounges and bars, including the Enchanted Rose. It’s the perfect place to start a monorail bar crawl and enjoy adulting at Disney!
As with most other Disney deluxe resorts, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa also has a fantastic transportation situation, as it’s just monorail stop from Magic Kingdom. This resort also has a few unique recreation options, including dream ‘n’ design, pirate adventure cruise, and Arcadia Games.
Worst Disney Deluxe Resorts
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Overall, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is AMAZING, especially the savanna view rooms. Being able to watch stunning animals, like giraffes, zebras, ostriches, and emu, all day from the comfort of your own balcony is simply a magical experience. Even the food options, including Boma – Flavors of Africa and Jiko – The Cooking Place, are some of the best restaurants in all of Disney World!
However, there is one major downside to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: it’s SO far from anywhere else in the parks. Considering this is one of the main perks of staying at Disney Deluxe Resorts, it’s quite a bummer that Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge does not have this luxury. In order to get anywhere from Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, you MUST take the Disney bus system (the least exciting of all of the Disney World transportation options). Basically, while the hotel is absolutely fabulous, be prepared to commit a good amount of time to travel anywhere in Walt Disney World.
This magnificent Disney deluxe resort embraces aspects of African culture and design in the creation of this Disney-caliber accommodation. Expose all of your senses to African experiences – from music to art to food. And outside of these beautifully adorned walls, we certainly can’t forget about the great savannas just outside of the buildings.
The main difference when it comes to accommodation is having a savanna view or not having a savanna view. The savanna view rooms, while much more expensive, offers guests stunning views of the animals on the property. The rooms that do not include a savanna room either have views of the parking area or the pool.
From delicious restaurants to pools with waterslides to the all-important complimentary Wi-Fi, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has so many of Disney’s fantastic amenities. As mentioned before, the one major downside of this Disney Deluxe resort is the limited transportation.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is a beautiful property. Between breathtaking nature trails and wandering creeks, this Disney Deluxe resort celebrates the beauty of American nature and wilderness. However, it is a bit secluded. That means, just like with Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, transportation is an issue. For example, to get to any of the parks from this resort, you have to take a minimum of two types of transportation, if not three.
If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge may be perfect for you! Think of anything you can do at a U.S. National Park, and, odds are, you can do it at this Disney deluxe resort. You can hike, fish, swim, jog, bike, and even have a campfire!
However, this atmosphere and theming might not be for everyone. That said, there are so many other Disney World Deluxe resorts to choose from!
Most rooms at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge sleep four people, with the exception of the deluxe room, which sleeps six people. The main difference between the types of rooms are the views. Choose between standard (parking lot), nature, fireworks, or courtyard views.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge has so many unique amenities, including bike rentals, jogging trails, and fishing excursions. And don’t worry! All of the usual amenities, like pools, WiFi, and overnight parking, are available as well. It is also home to Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White, one of the coolest character dining options at Disney World. However, as mentioned before, one major amenity downside is the transportation issue.
Disney’s Riviera Resort
Unlike the other two resorts in the “worst” Disney deluxe resorts section, the reason Disney’s Riviera Resort is on this list is NOT because of transportation. It’s actually connected to Hollywood Studios and Epcot by the Disney Skyliner! Disney’s Riviera Resort actually made it onto this part of the list because of the theme!
While other Disney hotels are fantastic at representing their themes, Disney’s Riviera Resort is not. Rather than evoking images of the European Riviera and the Côte D’Azur, the theme of this hotel is rather hard to identify through visuals alone. Honestly, the Universal Orlando Portofino Bay Hotel does a much better job of transporting its guests to the European Riviera than this Disney deluxe resort does.
While you’ll feel like you’re staying at a nice Disney Deluxe resort, you won’t quite feel the riviera theme reverberating throughout Disney’s Riviera Resort. That said, through its clear lines and classy furnishings, this Disney Deluxe resort embodies the concept of being minimalistic, yet elegant.
One of the biggest benefits of Disney’s Riviera Resort is the varying room sizes that are offered. While you rent a cozy tower studio for two adults, you can also rent a variety of rooms that sleep five people, two-bedroom villas that sleep nine people, and even three-bedroom villas that sleep up to twelve people! There is also the option to choose between the standard view and the preferred view, which includes views of the courtyard, lake, landscaping, pool, or the Disney Skyliner.
Disney’s Riviera Resort checks all the boxes for amenities. It has a sit-down restaurant, overnight parking, great transportation, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet. There are also a couple of fantastic new pools, and a great little French-style bakery too grab a few sweet treats!
So that wraps up our list of the best and worst Disney deluxe resorts! We hope we have been helpful in helping you figure out which one to make your home away from home. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments which is your favorite and where you choose to stay! And if you need any more tips or tricks, check out all our articles on our Disney Planning Page.
You didn’t talk about Saratoga Springs!
Yes- I’m a little confused about Saratoga Springs as well. It seems you have to take a bus from here to the parks?
Yes that is correct! You will have to take a bus to the parks.
Favorites really are personal. We cannot stand the Polynesian. Gave it 3 chances but no more. The last time was the worst. We drove 12 hours to get to the resort. Pulled up and the bellmen were standing around talking. After 15 minutes, my daughter finally had to get out of the car and ask them to help us. We get to our room and she and her friend who had never been to WDW decided to tour the resort. They walked around to the front of the resort where we first pulled in. The car was still running with all the windows down and it was sprinkling. This was more than an hour after we had arrived! The next morning, I went to the front desk and told them we were checking out.
Omg nooo!! That sounds terrible! So sorry!
We didn’t love our experience either. We have a son who is wheelchair bound. We had to travel during hurricane season because of our jobs. The trek to the main building was wet and sandy. The wheelchair resisted moving through the sand, kicked up wet sand on our clothes, and made a mess in the main lobby. Definitely not a great resort for those with wheelchairs.
You can take direct bus to any of the parks from Wilderness Lodge and also a boat to Magic Kingdom. If you have to take 2 or more trips to get to any park, water park or Disney Springs from here then you have to be trying to waste time .
Exactly think they got wl and the campgrounds confused
A comment on The Wilderness Lodge. Not only is there a boat that will take you to the Magic Kingdom, but it will also take you to The Contemporary Resort which has some great restaurants— including The Contemporary Grill. You can also hook up to the monorail at The Contemporary to get to the TTC ( Transportation and Ticket Center) then hop on another monorail to Epcot.
Personally my family loves the Rivera resort. I feel like it has more Disney theme than the Grand Floridian. You didn’t include Saratoga Springs. I don’t like Saratoga because of the bus system. Takes forever to get anywhere.