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Disney World deluxe resorts have the largest rooms at the highest prices. Aside from price point, deluxe resorts offer several benefits over moderate resorts. The buildings are exquisitely and thoroughly themed with rooms accessible from indoor corridors. These are truly beautiful, immersive resorts.

Dining options expand greatly here, too, with most Disney deluxe resorts offering signature dining and character meals in addition to other table service and quick service locations. Deluxe resorts all offer club level rooms and service as well.

Disney World Resort Hotel Guide

Don’t miss my complete Disney World Resort Hotel Guide for Families of 4 with recommendations for Value Resorts, Moderate Resorts, and Deluxe Resorts.

For our family, the top perk of deluxe resorts over moderate and value resorts is their proximity to at least one park. All deluxe resorts with the exception of Animal Kingdom Lodge offer walking, monorail, and/or boat transportation to at least one Disney theme park. Being just steps away from Epcot’s International Gateway entrance via one of the deluxe resorts on Crescent lake or just a relaxing boat ride away from Magic Kingdom had a huge value to these resorts.

Staying at a deluxe resort for an entire week-long Disney vacation is never in our family’s budget, but we’re huge fans of split stays and have been guests at many of them for a night or two, particularly at the end of a trip when we’re ready to slow down, enjoy the resort and its amenities, and pop into the parks for a few hours while so close.

Even with all these upgrades, it’s surprising that some deluxe resorts are not recommended despite meeting most of our family’s selection criteria. A common theme in these deluxe resort rankings is whether they provide value that’s significant enough so a resort might meet nearly all of our criteria and not be recommended.

All deluxe resorts offer larger suites, but the reviews here are for the standard-sized rooms that are most common.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Speaking of deluxe resorts that meet nearly all of our criteria but are still not recommended… Welcome to Animal Kingdom Lodge!

Animal Kingdom Lodge is a favorite for many families and will top most lists of kid-friendly Disney resorts because “all kids love animals.” My boys just aren’t that into watching animals, not the African savannah species anyway, and they simply wouldn’t sit and watch a giraffe from our private balcony to make that perk worthwhile. Now, if there were lions chasing down live prey, that would be a different story!

The animal theme aside, Animal Kingdom Lodge fails to secure a recommendation because it’s the only deluxe resort to miss the “close proximity to at least one park” bonus, one of top perks of staying deluxe. Yes, it’s located near Animal Kingdom, but guests must drive or use bus service to visit all four Disney parks (and Disney Springs!).

The other preferred bonus for us is that third sleeping space. Rooms with bunk beds are available at Animal Kingdom Lodge at a higher price. The savannah-view bunk rooms are the highest price standard-size rooms at the resort and the value just isn’t there for us. Not getting a savannah-view room in a room with only 2 queens where the kids share a bed is an absolute deal breaker. Along with Wilderness Lodge, the rooms are also the smallest of the deluxe resorts.

Now, even though we don’t recommend staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, we absolutely, 100% consider it one of the very top resorts that you should visit on your Disney vacation. Leaving the parks on a hot, busy afternoon and escaping to the peace and tranquility at Animal Kingdom Lodge is perfection. Visit the animals and enjoy some of the best food of any Disney resort – Sanaa, Boma, even the Mara quick service (definitely get the zebra domes) – all incredible. Animal Kingdom Lodge famously has some of the best food on property. It’s easy to enjoy the best of Animal Kingdom Lodge without actually staying there.

T+S Deal Breakers

  • Comfortable sleeping space for 4 – 2 queen beds with bunk bed rooms available

  • Peace and quiet

  • Budget-Friendly – lowest rates of deluxes, though bunk rooms are higher

Extra Resort and Room Features

  • 3rd sleeping space – bunk rooms available but not standard

  • Table with chairs

  • Fun pool

  • Private outdoor space

  • Close proximity to at least one park

Choosing a Disney World Hotel

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Disney's Beach Club Resort

Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Three Disney deluxe resorts surround Crescent Lake just outside Epcot’s International Gateway entrance and Beach Club is closest. I mean, the distance is really negligible because being anywhere on the lake is convenient to Epcot, but our room door to Epcot’s security checkpoint was 5 minutes flat. That’s a serious luxury at Disney World!

Price-wise, Beach Club is typically a mid-range deluxe resort, pricier than Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge but less than the Grand Floridian and Polynesian.

Where Beach Club wins us over and why it’s one of our absolutely favorite Disney resorts is its proximity to Epcot, access to Stormalong Bay (the best Disney pool), and serene, relaxing decor. It’s by far the most relaxing room on Disney property.

T+S Deal Breakers

  • Comfortable sleeping space for 4

  • Peace and quiet

  • Budget-Friendly

Extra Resort and Room Features

  • Fun pool

  • 3rd sleeping space – daybed in most rooms

  • Close proximity to at least one park – walk or boat to Epcot and Hollywood Studios

  • Private outdoor space – balconies or patio for most rooms

  • Table with chairs – just 1 chair at a desk

Disney's Boardwalk Inn

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn

Being on Crescent Lake, the Boardwalk Inn offers the same park proximity perks as Beach Club and Yacht Club, and is the closest of the three to Hollywood Studios. The rooms at all three resorts are nearly the same in size and floor plan, only differing in theme. The prices of all three resorts are usually similar as well with discounts randomly making one resort a greater value than the others at any given time.

Considering all these similarities, we have yet be guests at the Boardwalk Inn because of two words: Stormalong Bay. The prices for the Boardwalk always equal or exceed Yacht or Beach Club on our trip dates so downgrading to the “scary clown pool” (you won’t see a photo here!) is a total deal-breaker.

However, like Animal Kingdom Lodge, the Boardwalk area is absolutely a fun place to visit even if you are not a resort guest. Skipping out of Epcot for an hour on a hot afternoon to enjoy a cone of Ample Hills ice cream is always a good idea! But stay at Beach or Yacht Club and walk to the other side of Crescent Lake to experience the activities and nightlife at the Boardwalk Inn.

T+S Deal Breakers

  • Comfortable sleeping space for 4

  • Peace and quiet

  • Budget-Friendly

Extra Resort and Room Features

  • Close proximity to at least one park – walk or boat to Epcot and Hollywood Studios

  • 3rd sleeping space – daybed in most? rooms

  • Private outdoor space

  • Fun pool – “scary clown” pool
  • Table with chairs – desk with one chair

Disney's Contemporary Resort

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

As a child, the Contemporary Resort (“the resort the monorail goes through”) was my dream resort. Now, as a mom with a family, I’m thrilled to learn that it also checks off most of my family’s Disney resort criteria and is an absolutely fabulous value.

The Contemporary’s biggest perk is its proximity to Magic Kingdom. In fact, it’s the only Disney resort that is walkable to Magic Kingdom. It’s prime location also makes resort-hopping quick and easy with monorail transportation to the Polynesian and Grand Floridian and boat access to Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness which opens up so many more dining and activity options.

We prefer the tower rooms which all have balconies with incredible views (we actually prefer the Bay Lake side to the theme park view rooms) but rooms in the garden wing can be a better value although upper floors do not have private outdoor space.

T+S Deal Breakers

  • Comfortable sleeping space for 4 – 2 queen beds, day bed in all rooms

  • Peace and quiet

  • Budget-Friendly

Extra Resort and Room Features

  • Close proximity to at least one park – walk to Magic Kingdom, monorail to Epcot

  • 3rd sleeping space – daybed in all rooms

  • Private outdoor space – except upper floors of garden wing

  • Fun pool

  • Table with chairs – long desk with one chair

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

The Grand meets most of our family’s resort criteria, but Victorian isn’t really our style. For a better value on the monorail loop, we would rather stay at the Contemporary with its incredible tower views and prime walking path to the Magic Kingdom.

Of course, this is yet another resort that absolutely deserves a visit even if you aren’t a guest. It’s simply breathtaking, has amazing food options, and is one of our top recommendations for escaping afternoon heat and crowds at the Magic Kingdom. Just hop on a boat and enjoy a great meal at one of its numerous restaurants or relax and enjoy the music in the spectacular lobby.

T+S Deal Breakers

  • Comfortable sleeping space for 4 – 2 queen beds, daybed in all rooms

  • Peace and quiet

  • Budget-Friendly

Extra Resort and Room Features

  • 3rd sleeping space – day beds in all rooms

  • Close proximity to at least one park – boat/monorail to Magic Kingdom, monorail to Epcot

  • Private outdoor space – balcony or patio in all rooms

  • Fun pool

  • Table with chairs – desk with one chair

Disney Polynesian Capt Cook's

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

The Poly suffers the same value issues as the Grand Floridian with added crowd problems in our experiences. The Grand Floridian also receives a high number of non-guest visitors, but its size seems to spread the crowds out so it’s not as noticeable. While the Polynesian’s tropical theme can be relaxing, we’ve just always found it crowded and not the relaxing atmosphere we’re looking for in a deluxe resort.

The rooms at the Polynesian also get a big strike from us because the bathrooms are all-inclusive with the sinks, shower, and toilet all in one space so only one person can use the room at a time. We might endure that configuration in a Fort Wilderness cabin, but not in a room that we’ve never seen below $400 per night!

T+S Deal Breakers

  • Comfortable sleeping space for 4 – 2 queen beds, daybed in all rooms

  • Peace and quiet – small grounds with numerous non-guest visitors
  • Budget-Friendly

Extra Resort and Room Features

  • 3rd sleeping space – day beds in all rooms

  • Close proximity to at least one park – boat/monorail to Magic Kingdom, monorail to Epcot

  • Fun pool

  • Table with chairs – desk with one chair, additional lounging chair

  • Private outdoor space – patios with ground floor rooms, no balconies for upper floors

Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Our love for America’s National Parks and the outdoors probably make us a little biased here, but the Wilderness Lodge is my #1 Disney resort. The decor is stunning and this resort just feels like coming home for us every time. I realize that’s a totally subjective opinion and everyone says that about a different resort, but if you an outdoors-lover, you’ll probably feel the same!

The Wilderness Lodge’s deluxe amenities, great dining, and relaxing boat ride away from the Magic Kingdom make this the best deluxe value for our family.

The Wilderness Lodge has the smallest deluxe rooms with lowest deluxe prices (along with Animal Kingdom Lodge), but they still exceed moderate room size and offer bunk beds in some rooms for that coveted third sleeping space. Also, like Animal Kingdom Lodge, these are the only deluxe resorts that have a table with two chairs instead of a desk with one chair.

T+S Deal Breakers

  • Comfortable sleeping space for 4 – 2 queen beds, bunk bed rooms available

  • Peace and quiet

  • Budget-Friendly – cheapest of deluxe resorts

Extra Resort and Room Features

  • Close proximity to at least one park – boat to Magic Kingdom

  • Fun pool

  • Table with chairs

  • Private outdoor space

  • 3rd sleeping space – bunk rooms available but not standard

Disney's Yacht Club Resort

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

The Yacht and Beach Clubs can easily be considered one resort. They share amenities (including that incredible Stormalong Bay pool), basically share all dining, and are usually the same price point so you’d just be choosing your preferred theme here.

While the Beach Club has a turn-of-the-century Jersey shore theme with soft blues blues and sea life motifs, the Yacht Club has stately decor, darker woods, and ships everywhere! You may read that Beach Club is more kid-friendly while Yacht Club is masculine and business-like (it does have a conference center, after all), but we didn’t find this to be true. It’s just a matter of decor preference and our boys absolutely loved the lobby of the Yacht Club with so many ships on display over the Beach Club! In our experience, we felt that both were equally kid-friendly.

The Yacht Club’s rooms are recently refurbished, finished in 2017 with wood floors and platform beds, and all rooms have full balconies unlike the Beach Club’s third floor so those may be key deciding factors when choosing between the two.

T+S Deal Breakers

  • Comfortable sleeping space for 4 – 2 queen beds, daybed in all rooms

  • Peace and quiet

  • Budget-Friendly

Extra Resort and Room Features

  • Fun pool

  • Close proximity to at least one park – walk/boat to Epcot and Hollywood Studios

  • 3rd sleeping space

  • Private outdoor space

  • Table with chairs – desk with one chair
Disney's Yacht Club Resort

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Best Disney deluxe resorts for families with school age kids