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Choosing a Resort – What You Need to Know About Resort Categories

You may already know that staying on Walt Disney property during your vacation is a fantastic idea. (Read the 10 reasons you need to stay on property here). But with so many choices, deciding on which hotel to stay at can be daunting. Walt Disney boasts 31 different resorts with different themes, amenities, and pricing. Knowing where to start is critical in making the right decision so that your Disney vacation is everything you dream it will be.

Walt Disney resorts can be grouped into five different categories: campground, value resorts, moderate resorts, deluxe resorts, and deluxe villas. The pricing, level of theming, and amenities will be similar for resorts within specific groupings. We’ve put together a Walt Disney resort primer that will give you some necessary information on each of the groups to help you choose the right resort for your family and your budget. Here is what you need to know about Disney resort categories.





 

Campground – “Sleep under the stars with the benefits of a Disney Resort”

Fort Wilderness Campground is an excellent way to experience all that a Walt Disney resort has to offer without spending thousands of dollars! If you have a tent or RV, then you’ll want to seriously consider camping at this fantastic campground. Our family regularly stays here, and we love this home away from home. We receive all the benefits of Disney resort guests but at a fraction of the cost.

  • Resorts: Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
  • Price: Tent or pop-up campsites start at $60 per night. Full hook-up campsites start at $90 per night. Preferred campsites start at $102 per night, and premium campsites start at $109 per night. Prices are higher at peak times.
  • Beds: Bring your own! Tents and RVs or trailers up to 45 feet can be accommodated. Each campsite is equipped with privacy-enhancing landscaping, water, cable television, electrical hookups, a picnic table, and a charcoal grill. Full hook up, Preferred and Premium campsites also include a sewer hook up. Pet loops are available.
  • People: All sites sleep up to 10 people. Guests are allowed one trailer/RV and one tent per site.
  • Restaurants: Casual dining, quick service, dinner shows, and a lounge.
  • Recreation: Fort Wilderness offers some of the best recreation around! You’ll get deluxe resort recreation at value resort prices. The main pool features a corkscrew water slide, a whirlpool spa, and a children’s play area. There is also a second pool and several playgrounds. For a look at everything to do at Fort Wilderness click here.

Value Resorts – “Affordable comfort and convenience for families on the go”

Walt Disney Value Resorts are perfect for smaller families who plan to spend very little time at their resorts. They are the most affordable resort option because beyond sleeping, swimming, and eating there is not much to do here.

Disney recently added Walt Disney’s Art of Animation to the Value Resort line up. However, the prices of the Art of Animation do not reflect a “value” resort. The family suites are a fantastic idea for larger families, but the prices are at the same level as a moderate resort. The theming of this resort as well as the upgraded Nemo pool, make for a great destination. While Walt Disney’s Art of Animation is technically a value resort, it is better considered somewhere between value and moderate.

  • Resorts: Disney’s All-Star Movies, Disney’s All-Star Sports, Disney’s All-Star Music, Disney’s Art of Animation, Disney’s Pop Century
  • Price: Usually starting at $99 per night. Family Suites at Disney’s Art of Animation start at $380 per night. Seasonal prices will vary.
  • Beds: 2 double beds at value resorts. Family suites include 1 queen bed, 1 double-size table bed, and 1 double-size sleeper sofa
  • People: Sleeps up to 4 adults; Family suites sleep up to 6 adults
  • Restaurants: Quick service and In-Room Dining (pizza delivery)
  • Recreation: Pools with no slides, movies under the stars, playground, arcade, and jogging trails (at select resorts)

Moderate Resorts – “The perfect combination of lush themes and value”

Moderate resorts are a happy middle between value and deluxe resorts. You’ll enjoy some nice theming and additional resort amenities but without the sticker shock that comes with the deluxe group. Rooms offer two queen beds and will accommodate families of five. There are a limited number of king size beds as well. You’ll enjoy pools with water slides and more recreation options. Disney includes the Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort in this category, even though, the starting price is almost double that of another moderate standard view room. Moderate resorts are an excellent choice for larger families and for families who would like to spend some time enjoying their resort without breaking the bank.

  • Resorts: The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside and French Quarter
  • Price: Standard view rooms usually start at $198 per night, preferred rooms start at $270 per night. The Cabins at Fort Wilderness start at $356 per night. Seasonal prices will vary.
  • Beds: 2 queen beds, 2 queen beds, and 1 bunk size pull-down bed, or 1 king bed. The cabins feature 1 double bed, 1 bunk bed, and 1 double size pull-down bed.
  • People: sleeps up to 5 adults; The cabins sleep up to 6 adults.
  • Restaurants: Quick service, casual dining, lounges, and pizza delivery.
  • Recreation: Moderate resorts offer more recreation activities including pools with slides, horse-drawn carriage rides, campfire activities, bike rentals, fishing, playgrounds, and arcades. Jogging trails at select resorts are also available for use. Options vary by resort.





 

Deluxe Resorts – “Highly themed getaways with great dining and amenities”

For the ultimate resort experience, a stay at a Walt Disney deluxe resort is the right choice. You’ll experience the very best theming, recreation and restaurants. These resorts also have the closest proximity to the parks allowing you to spend less time traveling! The prices reflect the jump in comfort and activities. If you are looking to have it all, be closer to the parks, and experience some luxury, then a stay at a deluxe resort is for you.

  • Resorts: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • Price: Beginning prices widely vary between resorts, anywhere from $371 at Animal Kingdom Lodge to a starting price of $631 at Grand Floridian for a standard view room. For the ultimate splurge, we found the outer building 2-bedroom suite club access level room at the Grand Floridian the most expensive starting at $2231 per night. Seasonal prices will vary (That 2-bedroom club room at the Grand Floridian is $3653 a night during spring break!).
  • Beds: 2 queen beds, 2 queen beds and 1 bunk size pull-down bed, or 1 king bed and 1 daybed. Suites feature 2 queen beds and 1 queen-size sleeper sofa.
  • People: Rooms vary with each resort. Many only sleep up to 4 adults, but more standard rooms that sleep 5 are becoming available. Suites sleep up to 6 adults.
  • Restaurants: Deluxe resorts feature the best dining options. They feature fine/signature dining, character dining, unique themed dining, quick service, lounges and 24 hour, in-room service (beyond just pizza delivery).
  • Recreation: Deluxe resorts have so many recreation options, you can easily have a “staycation” and never go into the parks. Activities vary with different resorts but include pools with excellent theming and water slides, cabana rentals, water sport activities, boat rentals, volleyball, tennis, jogging trails, campfire activities, movies under the stars, arcades, and playgrounds.

Disney's Beach Club Resort

Deluxe Villas – “Conveniences of home and rooms for larger parties”

The Deluxe Villas are actually the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) resorts. When these rooms are not being used by DVC members, Disney opens up the rooms to non-DVC members who would like the larger rooms without having to become DVC members. Similar to the deluxe resorts, these resorts provide the best Disney has to offer.

  • Resorts: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas, Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Villas, Disney’s BoardWalk Villas, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, Disney’s Riviera Resort.
  • Price: Prices vary widely with rates starting as low as $358 per night and going up to $621 per night for studio rooms. One-bedroom villas range from $584 to $827 per night. Two-bedroom villas range from $849 to $1265 per night. Seasonal prices will vary.
  • Beds: Studio rooms feature 1 queen bed, 1 queen-size sleeper sofa, and 1 twin size pull-down bed or 1 queen bed and 1 double-size sleeper sofa. One bedroom rooms feature 1 king bed and 1 queen-size sleeper sofa and 1 twin size pull-down bed or twin size sleeper chair. 2 bedroom villas feature 1 king bed and 1 queen bed and 1 or 2 queen-size sleeper sofas and 1 or 2 twin size pull-down beds sleeper chairs. Room types vary by resort.
  • People: Studios and 1 bedroom sleep up to 5 adults. Two Bedrooms sleep up to 9 adults.
  • Restaurants: Just like the deluxe resorts, deluxe villas feature the best dining options. They feature fine/signature dining, character dining, unique themed dining, quick service, lounges and 24-hour in-room service (beyond just pizza delivery).
  • Recreation: Deluxe Villa resorts have so many recreation options, you can easily have a “staycation” and never go into the parks. Activities vary with different resorts but include pools with excellent theming and water slides, cabana rentals, water sport activities, boat rentals, volleyball, tennis, jogging trails, campfire activities, movies under the stars, arcades, and playgrounds.


For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.






 

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About Cindy E. Nykamp

After friends and family made them their go-to-people for Walt Disney World advice, Cindy and Chad launched DisneyLists.com in August 2015 to share their knowledge and love of Disney. Cindy wears many hats for DisneyLists.com. As a content creator, she has written over six hundred articles providing news, tips, planning and more, for trips to Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line to our followers. She directs a team of authors to bring our fans up to date information so that they can have the best Disney vacation experience. Cindy manages DisneyLists.com's Instagram account, sharing photos and videos to bring some Disney magic into our followers feeds. She is also our chief photographer and has her photos featured on the official Walt Disney World Instagram account. Finally, Cindy regularly represents DisneyLists.com at Walt Disney World media events. While attending these events, she gets an insiders view of all the new things that have come to Walt Disney World and passes this information and tips to our followers.