Disney Resorts Walt Disney World

5 Of My Favorite Walt Disney World Resorts

August 19, 2022

From time to time, I get asked what my favorite Walt Disney World Resorts are. After all, where you stay is perhaps one of the most important choices you make.

You don’t want to spend too much on a Resort you may hardly be at. But, at the same time, you want to be comfortable.

My favorite Resorts are my favorite for different reasons. Some just tick the box for design and value. Others give me a sense of nostalgia or make me feel a certain way.

Of course, my priorities may be different than yours. And what is nostalgic to me will obviously evoke no emotion in others.

Regardless, these are the places that I call home each time I’m at Walt Disney World.

Mom and boys posing with Mater, at Disney's Art of Animation

Art Of Animation

For a Value Resort, this Resort packs a lot in it. Between the décor, the Skyliner, and the underwater music in the Big Blue Pool, there are so many positives to staying here.

And if you have a larger family, the Family Suites are perfect. With 2 bathrooms and enough sleeping space for 6 people, Family Suites may work out better than booking 2 rooms elsewhere.

Why It’s One of My Favorite Disney Resorts

When I was younger, I drew a lot. And some of my favorite characters to draw was, of course, Disney characters. Heck, I even took a Cartooning class as an elective in High School. My mom used to tell me that I should get into Disney animation when I grew up.

Obviously my life went in a whole different path.

While I don’t really draw anymore, I still appreciate art, in many forms. So, the Theming is a big reason why it’s one of my favorite Resorts. I love seeing the evolution of characters through sketches.

And if you look close, you’ll also be able to find autographs of Disney and Pixar legends, including actors, animators, and directors. Put art and Disney together and I’m sold!

Prior to the Parks closing, you could learn how animators draw some of your favorite characters, in a class called Teach to Draw. It’s still not available since Walt Disney World is still in phased re-openings due to the pandemic. But, if it comes back, it’s definitely on my bucket list.

Why It May Not Work For You

For a Value Resort, it’s expensive. Family Suites at this Value Resort can easily cost more than a Standard Room at a Moderate Resort.

Family Suites make up the majority of the Resort. So, the only theme that is truly “Value” priced are the Little Mermaid rooms. And since the Little Mermaid rooms are often excluded from all room discounts, it’s easier to find a less expensive room elsewhere.

Also, if you’re looking for a little bit of rest and relaxation, you may be hard to find at this Resort. Art of Animation is popular for many families with young children because of it’s whimsical designs. So, when the pool is open, you may hear a lot of music and children having fun in the pool.

Bungalows at the Polynesian Village Resort

Polynesian Village Resort

There’s so much to love about the Poly. While the price tag is often out of my budget, I still try to make it over there to visit (and get my mandatory dole whip) whenever I’m at Walt Disney World.

Why It’s One of My Favorite Disney Resorts

Hawaii has been on my bucket list for as long as I remember. But, due to a combination of cost, kids, and a very long flight, it hasn’t been in the cards for us just yet. Enter the Polynesian .

I love the sense of ‘Ohana that you feel when you walk into the Resort (and I’m not just talking about the restaurant).

I can’t explain it, but I just feel welcome there.

One of my all time favorite places to be in all of Walt Disney World is on the beach, overlooking the water, and catching a glimpse of Cinderella Castle in the distance.

It’s calm. It’s peaceful. It’s home.

A peeping tom Tiki in the gift shop at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

Why It May Not Work For You

The Polynesian certainly doesn’t work with every budget.

Being a Deluxe Resort on the monorail line is prime real estate. And we all know it costs top dollar to be that close to the Magic Kingdom.

Because of its location, as well as popular treats like the ‘Ohana noodles, Tonga Toast, pineapple coconut breakfast bread, and dole whip, I always find that more Guests want to hang out here than almost any other Resort. Even the famous, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Bar, is located at the Polynesian.

So, if you’re looking for a quiet spot to sit and hang out, with no one in sight, it can be difficult at times.

Even sitting by the water may not be the quiet sanctuary you’re expecting. The pool is nearby, so there will be noise traveling over. And quite frankly, it’s not a huge resort. So the overall energy and enthusiasm of the Resort can be felt everywhere.

In fact, if you’re looking for a quiet stroll along the beach, your best bet is to wake up early, around sunrise. Even as a non-morning person, it sounds like heaven to me.

Port Orleans - Riverside Murphy Bed

Port Orleans – Riverside

Port Orleans – Riverside is like a hidden gem. People know about it. But, I feel it can get overlooked because it doesn’t have giant statues or the benefit of being connected to the Skyliner.

But, do you know what it does have? Princess themed rooms! And enough beds for families of 5!

Why It’s One of My Favorite Disney Resorts

The extra bed! Oh my gosh, I can’t tell you how much I love these little beds.

Most rooms at Disney Resorts can only accommodate 4 Guests. But, the rooms in Alligator Bayou (they’re in the back of the Resort) have a pull down bed, just the right size for a child (or in our case, a teen).

This extra bed means that families of 5 don’t have to shell out big money for a Family Suite at a Value Resort (which are more expensive, despite Riverside being a Moderate Resort).

Caribbean Beach also has rooms with a 5th sleeper, and are pretty comparable in price. But, personally, I prefer Port Orleans – Riverside.

It’s no secret that I love the whimsy of the Value Resorts. Giant statues of my favorite Disney characters just make me happy. But, Riverside is just so peaceful and quiet. And sometimes, you just need some peace and quiet.

It’s large, which can be a negative. But, it also means that no matter where you’re walking, you feel like you have the whole place to yourself.

At many times during our trip, it wasn’t until we were on the bus, did I realize how many people were actually at the Resort.

Port Orleans - Riverside - Alligator Bayou

Why It May Not Work For You

Riverside is huge, which can be a big negative, especially if you have issues with mobility.

There’s a reason there’s 4 different bus stops within the same Resort. And there’s nothing worse than getting off at the wrong bus stop, after a long day in the Park, and have to somehow find your way back to your room, in the dark. I may have some experience with this.

There’s also not a lot of “Disney” décor in the rooms. We had Louis, from Princess and the Frog, in our room because we had the extra bed. But, aside from the Royal Rooms, you aren’t going to find large paintings, sculptures, or other designs that scream “Disney” when you’re at Port Orleans – Riverside.

Animal Kingdom Lodge lobby

Animal Kingdom Lodge

There’s no denying that Animal Kingdom Lodge is a beautiful Resort. I could spend all day walking around and looking at all the African art, the animals, and speaking with the Cast Members.

The Savannah View Rooms are the most coveted rooms in the whole Resort. Is there anything more magical than waking up to animals enjoy their breakfast, on the savannah, just outside your window?

Why It’s One of My Favorite Disney Resorts

There are fewer places I am happier than when I’m around animals. And Animal Kingdom Lodge has an abundance of them.

Cast Members are happy to teach you about the animals that roam the savannah on a daily basis. During our mist recent trip to Animal Kingdom Lodge, one of the birds had come out. So, we went outside to see her and learn a little bit about her. We were also encouraged to ask questions.

Due to the rain, we didn’t stick around for a long time. But, had it been sunny, I would have listened to them talk all day.

Hanging out on a rocking chair at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Why It May Not Work For You

The biggest drawback to Animal Kingdom Lodge is the cost. It’s a Deluxe Resort, so it’s more expensive than most people are able to spend.

And in terms of location, it’s far away from everything. For the safety of the animals, they are kept away from fireworks and other situations that may harm them. For this reason, no other Park or Resort is within walking distance to Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Posing with Goofy at Disney's Pop Century

Pop Century

Pop Century is one of the 5 Value Resorts on property. It’s nowhere near the top of the most expensive Resorts on property. But, it’s not the cheapest, either. That goes to the All Star Resorts.

In terms of theming, it’s very similar to the All Stars. There’s large, adorable statues and memorabilia all over the Resorts. However, I’ve believe that being on the skyliner line, as well as having its own buses, is worth paying a few extra bucks to stay at Pop Century.

Why It’s One of My Favorite Disney Resorts

I admit, I have a soft spot for this Resort. Back when I planned my very first trip to Walt Disney World, this is where my family stayed. I just couldn’t believe that after all those years, I was finally able to bring my kids to Disney.

Years later, when I was planning a trip with my parents, siblings, and niece, we stayed at Pop Century once again.

So, there’s a lot of memories packed into this not-so-large Resort.

Large over-sized icons are scattered throughout Disney's Pop Century

Why It May Not Work For You

Pop Century has the same problem that Art of Animation has. As a Value Resort with lots of large Disney statues, it attracts lots of families with young children. As a result, it can get noisy, especially near the pools. While I’ve never had a problem with noise inside the rooms, your experience may not be the same.

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Hawaii Destination Specialist

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