Disney Resorts Planning 101 Walt Disney World

Benefits To Staying At A Deluxe Resort At Walt Disney World

May 7, 2023

During a time when prices are continually rising, considering to stay at a Disney Deluxe Resort may not be something that’s on your mind.

But, sometimes it just makes sense. After all, if this is going to be your big (and possibly only) trip to Orlando to visit Walt Disney World, you want things to go as smoothly as possible. You also want to get as much done as possible. And believe it or not, where you stay could be the very thing that turns a good vacation into an absolutely fantastic one.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Value and Moderate Resorts. But, there are certain benefits to staying at a Deluxe Resort that you won’t find anywhere else. And, truth be told, if you travel when there’s a promotion, the price difference may not be much as you thought.

Disney Deluxe Resorts and Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts

Disney currently owns 8 Deluxe Resorts and 12 Deluxe Villa Resorts (otherwise known as Disney Vacation Club – or DVC – Resorts). Once the brand new tower at the Polynesian is completed in late 2024, it will be added to the Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts.

And I know what’re thinking… Where is the Disney Swan, Swan Reserve, and Dolphin? They are absolutely Deluxe Resorts.

It’s true, they are. But, while they are located on Disney property and come with Disney Perks, they technically aren’t owned by Disney. So, I personally tend to keep them off of lists since some details don’t apply.

Deluxe ResortsDeluxe Villa Resorts
Animal Kingdom Lodge
Polynesian Village Resort
Contemporary Resort
Grand Floridian
Wilderness Lodge
Beach Club
Yacht Club
BoardWalk Inn
Bay Lake Tower at Contemporary Resort
Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge
Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Wilderness Lodge
Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
Beach Club Villas
Boardwalk Villas
Old Key West Resort
Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
Riviera Resort
Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa
The Villas at Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Why You Should Consider A Disney Deluxe Resort


The biggest benefit to staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort is where they’re located. These Resorts are closer to the Theme Parks, meaning less travel time. Different Resorts are located closer to different Parks. So, we always suggest choosing a Resort closest to the Park you’ll be spending the most time at.

Of course, everyone wants to be near the Parks. But, location is extremely beneficial to 2 types of travelers.

  • Guests traveling with small children who need a mid-day nap
  • Guests with mobility disabilities, especially those who use a wheelchair fulltime

While the Parks do have Companion Restrooms, unfortunately they don’t work for every Guest. You may have a hard time finding companion restrooms with a changing table. So, unless a Guest can briefly stand on their own with the use of a grab bar, it may not be safe for wheelchair users to use these restrooms.

So, being close to your Resort, is very important.

Being close to frequently visited Parks means you have more convenient transportation options, such as the skyliner, monorail, or boats. These options can hold many more wheelchairs/ECV/scooters at one time. Since the Disney buses can only fit 2 wheelchairs per trip, Resorts that solely rely on bus transportation isn’t the best option for some Guests.

Construction on the Riviera Resort


We’ve all seen the commercials. Saving 25% on your Resort is always going to sound fantastic.

But, what they’re not telling you is that this percentage typically only applies to the Deluxe Resorts. Discounts at Value and Moderate Resorts are usually much less. That’s why they use the verbiage “Save up to 25%”.

If you’re like me, any amount of money I can save is considered a win. But, if you’re really looking for the best “bang for your buck,” weigh the cost against the overall value you will receive by putting a few more dollars into your budget.

Determine your priorities: What matters most to you? Is it quality, convenience, or price? Knowing your priorities can help you make a decision.

exterior of the Grand Floridian


If you’re planning to spend all day / every day in the Parks, shelling out a little more cash for the additional amenities may not be worth it.

But, you may want a wide range of amenities, such as multiple dining options, luxurious spas, and elaborate swimming pools, when you want to relax on your vacation.

Of course, you don’t need to be staying at a Deluxe Resort to enjoy their restaurants and spas. But, that’s where the convenience factor comes into play. How much time are you willing to dedicate to traveling by Disney transportation to these destinations? Remember: not all Resorts have direct transportation from one to another.

Bungalows at the Polynesian Village Resort


Of course, it’s not a Disney Resort without talking about their elaborate theming. And when it comes to a Deluxe Resort, this is really where Disney shines. They take great care to make sure that the theming is consistent throughout the entire Resort, from the lobby to the guest rooms to the pool areas.

The theming at each Resort is carefully crafted to transport Guests to a different time or place. For example, Animal Kingdom Lodge is designed to look like an African savanna lodge, while the Grand Floridian is modeled after a Victorian-era beach resort.

There’s a lot of emphasis on being inside the “Disney bubble”. Of course, everyone wants to forget about the stresses of everyday life, especially while they’re on vacation. But, the beauty of the Deluxe Resorts is that because they’re so elaborately themed, it’s easy to forget you’re just steps away from the biggest Theme Parks in the world.

There’s no wonder why some Guests visit Walt Disney World just to hang out in the Resorts.

A view of Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort rooms from outside, near the Savannah

Extended Evening Theme Park Hours

If the other benefits haven’t wowed you, maybe getting more time in the Parks will.

While simply staying at any Disney Resort grants you access into the theme Parks 30 minutes before the posted Park opening, Disney Deluxe Resort Guests get even more Park time.

If you stay at one of the Resorts mentioned above, you get the added benefit of Extended Evening Theme Park Hours. This special Perk allows Guest to stay in the Park an additional 2 hours after the Parks posted closing time.

This is a huge perk. After a long, hot day, many Guests don’t take advantage of this extra Park time, even if they do qualify for it. This leaves the Parks open to ride as much as you want without any long lines or the hot Florida sun beating down on you.

The Parks aren’t open late every night. So, if you want to find which Park is participating in Extended Evening Theme Park Hours during your trip, simply check the Hours and Events Calendar.

A view of the Contemporary, taken aboard a Ferry boat, on the Seven Seas Lagoon at Walt Disney World

6PM Virtual Queue Distribution

Walt Disney World currently has 2 Virtual Queues – Tron, in Magic Kingdom and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, in Epcot.

But, in addition to the 7AM and 1PM Virtual Queue distribution drop, Disney Deluxe Resort Guests can book a Virtual Queue for these attractions at 6PM, on the days when Extended Evening Theme Park Hours are offered in those Parks.

Remember: there is no standby lines for these attractions, so getting a Virtual Queue or an Individual Lightning Lane is the only way you’re able to ride.

And unlike the 1PM distribution time, you don’t need to be in the Park to grab one of these coveted ride times. So, if you’re looking to ride as many attractions as humanly possible, staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort may be the way to go.

Have questions? Feeling anxious? Don’t know where to start? That’s where we step in.

We know what to do, and more importantly, what NOT to do. We’ve done the training, we’ve made the mistakes, and have learned from them, And that’s what makes us the perfect people to help you.

From perfectly curated itineraries to direct access to your Travel Professional, our goal is to take the stress out of planning your vacation.

Simply fill out whichever form works better for you, and we’ll discuss your options.

ExploreWithCatherine.com is not authorized or endorsed by, or officially connected with The Walt Disney Company, or any of their affiliates. For official Disney information, visit http://www.disney.com.

Hawaii Destination Specialist

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