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How to Choose a Disney World Resort

In this first blog in our How to Plan Series we’re taking you through the decision making process of how to choose a Disney World Resort. We understand that this is a big decision and likely will be the largest part of your Disney World trip budget so it’s important that you take the time to really look at what you need in a Resort. Before jumping into what you need, let’s look at what Disney has to offer.

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How to Choose a Disney World Resort: The Basics

Disney World has 24 Resorts to choose from that are split into three categories – Deluxe, Moderate and Value.

Below is a list of all Resorts, including DVC Villas:

Disney World Deluxe Resorts:

Disney’s Bay Lake Tower

Boulder Ridge Villas

Copper Creek Villas & Cabins

Animal Kingdom Lodge & Villas

Disney’s Beach Club Resort & Villas

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn & Villas

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Disney’s Old Key West

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Villas & Bungalows

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Disney’s Yacht Club

Disney’s Riviera Resort

The Cabins at DIsney’s Fort WIlderness Resort

Disney World Moderate Resorts:

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter

Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside

Disney World Value Resorts:

All Star Movies

All Star Music

All Star Sports

Art of Animation

Pop Century

Beyond these Disney Properties, there are also Good Neighbor Resorts that offer some of the Perks and are within the Disney areas to make for convenient travel times.  If you have questions about these options or are ready to get a free travel quote, click here.

How to Choose a Disney World Resort: Your Intentions

Setting Intentions is an important step in the process to choose the right Disney World Resort.  Your intentions will reveal what you need in a Resort and narrow down the selections to fit your needs.  To start, set intentions that relate to your wants and needs for a Resort. Ask yourself:

  1. What amenities are important for my travel party?
  2. Where do I want to be located within Disney World?
  3. How will transportation to/from Disney Theme Parks and Entertainment Locations be and how will that affect our stay?
  4. Where will we spend most of our time while visiting Disney World?  For this one, consider your travel party and what they’ll enjoy.
  5. Will the on property perks be important to my travel parties intentions?  Will they make our stay simpler?

After you’ve answered all of these questions, you’ll start to see a pattern emerging for the needs of your Disney World Trip.  For more on Setting Intentions, check out Blog #3: Setting Intentions. For a full set of Intention Setting Resources and Prompts to work through them, grab our Intention Setting Worksheets.

How to Choose a Disney World Resort: Your Decision

But Melissa, how does this help me know how to choose a Disney World Resort? I knew you’d ask that.  The answers to these questions will guide your decisions, here’s an example:

Question #1: For our family it’s important to stay at a Resort with a nice pool because we spend the mornings there and hit the parks in the afternoon/evening.  It’s also important for us to have a separate bedroom.  As a migraine sufferer, I need resources to help me in case I have a migraine so I can rest and get through it without disruption from my family.  These two key intentions result in the need for a Suite, which reduces our options to a few key resorts.

Questions #2-4: Location, Location Location!  It’s another important piece to consider and connects with the answers to 3 & 4.  Answer them separately to start, but once you see them aligning you’ll have your answer.  For us, when our kids were young we knew we’d spend a lot of time at Magic Kingdom, but we didn’t want to fold up the stroller to get on the bus every day, so Bay Lake Tower was a great option for us.  It hit the amenity points we needed and was walking distance to Magic Kingdom.  

For our upcoming trip however, our kids are now older and we knew we wanted to be able to get to Epcot for Food & Wine easily, so staying within walking distance was initially an intention of ours.  We also wanted to be able to get in quickly if we decided to rope drop if the new Guardians of the Galaxy Ride opened (which it will be! EEK!).  Keeping this in mind, along with the amenities we needed, The Boardwalk was a perfect location for us to stay.

Questions #5:  The answer to this question is often yes, simply because Disney makes it so easy to use transportation.  Early Morning Hours is also a great perk to get on bigger rides and select Disney Genie+ options starting at 7am, so to me it’s a no brainer.  That said, we initially did consider off-site options because we wanted to have more space, so we looked at renting houses and other off-site accommodations that fit our needs.  In the end however, the Disney Perks outweighed any savings and benefits we would get from staying off-property.

In the above example we left out a key detail – flexibility.

You’d think based on reviewing the above details we chose The Boardwalk, which we did, however it wasn’t available for the week we were staying so we needed to be flexible.  We looked back at the intentions we set and ranked our needs, knowing we would need to give up one of them.  In the end, we decided that space was more important than location so we chose Saratoga Springs.  It hit every other intention except being walking distance to Epcot, but it is walking distance to Disney Springs which to us was a fun option we’d not yet experienced.

Ready to plan but feeling overwhelmed, let us help!

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“To be my own master, such a thing would be greater than all the magic and all the treasures in all the world” – Genie


Greetings Foolish Mortals!

I’m Melissa, a self professed Disnerd and Ultimate Planner!   After taking my family on their first trip in October 2016, I found a passion for helping friends and family plan their trips.

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