2024 Top Picks: Disney World Deluxe Resort Rankings

Disney World Deluxe Resort. Disney World Deluxe Resort Rankings

Introduction

Selecting the perfect Disney World Deluxe Resort for your dream vacation is a decision that requires careful consideration. Each Disney World Deluxe Resort offers a unique blend of luxury, theming, amenities, and convenience. In this guide, we’ll delve into the world of Disney World Deluxe Resorts, providing insights into the factors to consider when deciding and a ranking of the top options to help you make the best choice for your magical getaway.

A Disney World Deluxe Resort

Disney World Resort hotels fit into three categories: ValueModerate, and Deluxe. There are eight resorts included in the Deluxe Resort category. Explore the articles below to determine if a Disney Deluxe Resort is the best option for you and your travel party.

Decoding Disney World Resort Categories: Picking the Right One For You

Pros and Cons of Staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort

Disney World Deluxe Resorts – Ranking Considerations

When it comes to choosing a Disney World Deluxe Resort for your next Disney vacation, there are several essential factors to take into account:

  • Location

Proximity to Disney parks and attractions can significantly impact your stay. Easy access can save valuable time and make your vacation more convenient.

  • Transportation Options

The convenience of getting around Disney property, be it by monorail, boat, or bus, can significantly enhance your overall experience.

  • Resort Pool

The pool’s size, features, and ambiance are essential for relaxation and family fun.

  • Theming

The thematic elements and design of the hotel play a crucial role in the overall experience, and each deluxe resort has its unique charm.

  • Available Amenities

The amenities, including dining, recreational options, and other offerings, can elevate your stay.

  • Dining Options

Disney dining is a significant part of the experience, and the availability of on-site restaurants and character dining can be crucial.

Disney World Deluxe Resort Rankings

Now, let’s dive into the ranking of each Disney World Deluxe Resort, starting from the 8th spot:

8. Boardwalk Inn

The Boardwalk Inn is located in the Epcot area of Disney World on Crescent Lake, and it is themed after the Coney Island and the Atlantic City boardwalks of the 1920s. The Boardwalk Inn is on Disney’s Boardwalk, a popular shopping, dining, and entertainment area in Disney World.

Disney World Deluxe Resort Hotels. The Boardwalk Inn. Disney World Deluxe Resort Rankings
Disney World Deluxe Resort Rankings #8: The Boardwalk Inn

What Makes It Great

  • Easy Access to Nightlife

One of the standout features of the Boardwalk Inn is its proximity to the bustling nightlife along Disney’s BoardWalk. This lively entertainment district comes alive in the evenings, offering a range of restaurants, bars, street performers, and carnival games. Guests can enjoy the vibrant atmosphere steps away from their hotel, making it a fantastic choice for those who like to keep the fun going after the parks close.

  • Convenient Access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios

Location plays a pivotal role in the appeal of the Boardwalk Inn. The resort’s strategic positioning provides guests convenient access to two of Disney World’s most popular parks, Epcot and Hollywood Studios. A stroll or a short boat ride can quickly have you at the entrance gates, eliminating the need for lengthy bus rides or monorail transfers.

Disney World Deluxe Resort Hotels. The Boardwalk Inn
The lobby of the Boardwalk Inn

What to Be Aware Of

  • Theming

The Boardwalk Inn is considered to have less intricate theming compared to some other Disney World Deluxe Resorts. While it exudes a charming, turn-of-the-century Atlantic City atmosphere, it may not offer a different level of immersive theming than the Polynesian Village Resort or the Animal Kingdom Lodge. This is something to consider if you prioritize an all-encompassing thematic experience.

  • Pool Quality

Regarding pools, the Boardwalk Inn’s Luna Park Pool, while visually appealing with its carnival-inspired theme, could be better compared to the expansive, feature-rich pools found at some other Disney Deluxe Resorts. If an exceptional pool area is a priority for your Disney vacation, you might find other options more enticing.

  • Dining Reputation

While the Boardwalk Inn offers a selection of dining options, including the popular Trattoria al Forno, it’s less renowned for its dining than some other Disney World Deluxe Resorts. If you’re a food enthusiast looking for a resort celebrated for its culinary experiences, consider exploring alternatives in the deluxe category.

7. Contemporary Resort

Regarding Disney World Deluxe Resorts, the Contemporary is a modern oasis with unique features and design. It was one of the first hotels built at Disney World and is located in the Magic Kingdom area on Seven Seas Lagoon.

Disney World Deluxe Resort Hotels. Disney's Contemporary Hotel Resort
Disney World Deluxe Resort Rankings #7: The Contemporary

What Makes It Great

  • Modern Theme

The Contemporary Resort boasts a sleek and contemporary theme that differentiates it from many other Disney World Deluxe Resorts. While some may find it less thematically interesting than other Disney hotels, its clean lines and modern aesthetics create a sense of sophistication and elegance that appeals to many guests.

  • Monorail Access

One of the standout features of the Contemporary Resort is the monorail station that runs directly through the hotel. This exceptional feature allows guests easy and convenient access to the Magic Kingdom. You can hop on the monorail and reach the park in just a few minutes, making it a favorite choice for those planning on spending a lot of time at the Magic Kingdom.

  • Recently Refurbished Rooms

The Contemporary Resort has recently been refurbished, resulting in a fresh and inviting atmosphere. The rooms have been updated with a theme inspired by Disney’s “The Incredibles,” bringing a dash of Disney magic into your stay. The refurbished rooms offer a contemporary design, comfortable furnishings, and modern amenities, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

  • Character Dining at Mickey’s Kitchen

If you’re a fan of character dining experiences, the Contemporary Resort has something special for you. Mickey’s Kitchen, located in the hotel, is one of the most popular character dining options at Disney World. Here, you can enjoy a delightful meal with beloved Disney characters, adding a touch of magic to your dining experience. It’s a fantastic opportunity for families to interact with their favorite Disney characters while savoring delicious food.

Contemporary Resort. Disney's Contemporary Resort. Disney World. Disney World Deluxe Resorts
Inside the Contemporary Resort

What to Be Aware Of

  • Mediocre Pools

While the Contemporary Hotel excels in many areas, its pool offerings have been criticized by some guests. Compared to other Disney World Deluxe Resorts pools, the Contemporary’s pool area is often considered mediocre. If you’re seeking a hotel primarily for its pool amenities, you may find more enticing options elsewhere within the Disney World property.

6. Animal Kingdom Lodge

Animal Kingdom Lodge celebrates animals, with 200 animals of 30 different species living at the resort’s reserve. The resort is African-themed and located in the Animal Kingdom area of Disney World. While it is not as conveniently located, the hotel offers unique experiences you can’t find anywhere else.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. Disney Deluxe Resort.
Disney World Deluxe Resort Rankings #6: Animal Kingdom Lodge

What Makes It Great

  • Beautifully Inspired by Africa

The African-inspired theming at Animal Kingdom Lodge is breathtaking. From the moment you step into the resort, you are transported to the heart of Africa. The rich cultural details, traditional African artwork, and design elements create a truly immersive experience. The architecture, the décor, and even the cast members’ attire all contribute to the sense of being in an African safari lodge.

  • Offers an Opportunity to See and Learn About Amazing Animals

What sets Animal Kingdom Lodge apart is its proximity to Disney’s theme park and the extensive savannas surrounding the resort. Many rooms provide stunning views of these savannas, where you can observe various African wildlife. Zebras, giraffes, gazelles, and other animals roam freely, offering guests a unique opportunity to connect with the natural world. It’s like having a mini safari right outside your window.

  • Great Food Options Like Boma and the Award-Winning Jiko

One of the standout features of Animal Kingdom Lodge is its exceptional dining options. Boma – Flavors of Africa is a buffet restaurant offering a wide range of African-inspired dishes, making it a culinary adventure. Jiko – The Cooking Place is a signature dining experience critical acclaim for its creative menu and wine selection. It’s known for offering some of the most exquisite cuisine in Walt Disney World.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. Disney Deluxe Resort.
Savanna at Animal Kingdom Lodge

What to Be Aware Of

  • It’s Relatively Far Away from All Theme Parks, and Bus Transportation Can Make Travel Times Longer

One significant drawback of staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge is its location. It’s farther away from Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios than some of the other Disney World Deluxe Resorts. To reach these parks, guests typically rely on Disney’s bus transportation. While the buses are reliable, the longer travel times can be less convenient, especially if you plan to visit multiple parks in a single day.

  • No Character Dining

Unlike other Disney World Deluxe Resorts, Animal Kingdom Lodge does not offer character dining experiences within the hotel. This can be a drawback for families with young children who love character meet-and-greets. However, character dining opportunities are available in other Disney dining locations throughout the Walt Disney World Resort.

5. Wilderness Lodge

Wilderness Lodge is a Deluxe Resort in the Magic Kingdom area on Seven Seas Lagoon. The resort has a rustic feel and pays homage to the American adventure in the Pacific Northwest.

Disney's Wilderness Lodge. Disney Deluxe Resort.
Disney World Deluxe Resort Rankings #5: Wilderness Lodge

What Makes It Great

  • Beautifully Inspired by the Pacific Northwest

Wilderness Lodge’s theming transports you to the majestic wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. The moment you step into the lobby, you’re enveloped by the charm of this rustic yet luxurious lodge. The towering totem poles, roaring stone fireplace, and intricate woodwork reflect the grand national park lodges of the early 20th century. This theming creates a warm and inviting atmosphere, seamlessly blending the elegance of modern luxury with the rustic appeal of the great outdoors.

  • Spectacular Views: Fireworks and the Electrical Water Pageant

Imagine gazing out from your room to witness the fireworks illuminating the night sky or the magical spectacle of the Electrical Water Pageant. Wilderness Lodge offers an ideal vantage point to savor these captivating Disney experiences, adding a touch of magic to your stay.

  • Convenient Transportation Options: Boat and Bus Services

Getting around the Disney property from Wilderness Lodge was challenging. You have the convenience of both boat and bus transportation. The boat ride, in particular, offers a scenic and leisurely journey to the nearby Magic Kingdom, setting the stage for an unforgettable day at the park. This convenient access to transportation enhances the overall experience of staying at Wilderness Lodge.

  • Unique Character Dining: Artist Point

For those seeking a distinctive Disney dining experience, Artist Point is a must-visit. This restaurant offers one of the most unique character dining opportunities in Disney World. You can share your meal with beloved Disney characters such as Snow White at dinner. The Evil Queen, Grumpy, and Dopey. This enchanting encounter adds an extra layer of Disney magic to your stay.

  • Uniquely Designed Pool with a Geyser

The pool at Wilderness Lodge is different from your typical resort pool. It starts indoors, flowing seamlessly from the lobby to the outdoor area, providing a captivating and refreshing water-based escape. What makes it truly special, though, is the geyser that periodically erupts. This unexpected natural spectacle is a delight for kids and adults, creating memorable moments by the pool.

Disney's Wilderness Lodge. Disney Deluxe Resort.
Lobby of Wilderness Lodge

4. Beach Club Resort

The Beach Club Resort is located in the Epcot area of Disney World on Crescent Lake. It is a sister resort to the Yacht Club right next door. Together, the resorts offer their guests amazing amenities and quality experiences. The Beach Club has a more casual vibe than the Yacht Club.

Disney World Deluxe Resort Hotels. The Beach Club
Disney World Deluxe Resort Rankings #4: The Beach Club

What Makes It Great

  • Convenient Location

The Beach Club Resort boasts a desirable location, allowing guests to walk to two of the four Walt Disney World theme parks. This proximity to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a tremendous advantage. It makes getting to the parks a breeze and allows for easy midday breaks or quick returns to the room.

  • Stormalong Bay

Perhaps one of the most celebrated features of the Beach Club Resort is Stormalong Bay, a three-acre water wonderland often regarded as one of the best resort pools in all of Disney World. With its sandy bottom, lazy river, waterfalls, and even a shipwreck replica, it’s a paradise for families and water lovers alike.

  • Dining Delights

The Beach Club Resort offers diverse dining options catering to various tastes. Even more enticing is that it shares character dining with its sister resort, the Yacht Club. This means you can indulge in character breakfasts without leaving the resort, creating memorable moments for your family.

  • Recreational Activities

For those looking to stay active and engaged, the Beach Club Resort has you covered. The resort provides tennis and volleyball courts for friendly matches and even offers the Ship Shape Massage Salon Fitness Center, open 24/7, for those looking to keep up with their fitness routine while on vacation. The options for relaxation and exercise are plentiful.

  • Casual Coastal Theme

The resort’s casual coastal theme is one of its defining features. It sets a relaxed and easygoing tone for your stay. From the moment you step inside, you’ll feel like you’ve arrived at a beachfront retreat, complete with nautical touches and soothing blue and white hues. It’s the perfect ambiance for those who want to unwind and take in the serenity of a beachside escape.

Disney World Deluxe Resort Hotels. The Beach Club Resort
Lobby of the Beach Club Resort

3. Yacht Club

Regarding Disney World Deluxe Resorts, the Yacht Club is a nautical-inspired gem that offers a unique blend of convenience, amenities, and elegant theming. Nestled in the Epcot area of the Walt Disney World Resort, this resort is a delightful choice for travelers seeking a luxurious and sophisticated experience.

Disney World Deluxe Resort Hotels. The Yacht Club Resort
Disney World Deluxe Resort Rankings #3: The Yacht Club

What Makes It Great

  • Convenient Location

The Yacht Club boasts a prime location that provides guests easy access to two of the four theme parks at Walt Disney World. For many, this convenience is a game-changer, especially when time is of the essence during your Disney vacation.

  • Stormalong Bay

One of the standout features of the Yacht Club is its shared pool area with the Beach Club, Stormalong Bay. This aquatic playground is a water lover’s dream, offering an incredible experience for guests of all ages. With its sand-bottom lagoon, lazy river, waterslides, and whirlpool spas, it’s no wonder why Stormalong Bay is one of the most sought-after pool areas in Disney World. The Yacht Club’s partnership with the adjacent Beach Club Resort allows guests to enjoy this amazing pool, enhancing the overall experience.

  • Dining Variety

The Yacht Club is not just a place to lay your head; it’s a culinary destination. The resort offers a variety of dining options to suit every palate. You’ll find it here whether you’re in the mood for a casual meal or an upscale dining experience. Additionally, the Yacht Club shares character dining options with its sister resort, the Beach Club, allowing you to indulge in character-filled breakfasts or dinners.

  • Recreational Amenities

The Yacht Club provides a range of recreational amenities to cater to active guests. Enjoy a game of tennis or volleyball, or take advantage of the Ship Shape Massage Salon Fitness Center, which is open around the clock. This flexibility ensures you can maintain your fitness routine or unwind with a relaxing massage, making your stay well-rounded.

  • Elegant Nautical Theme

The Yacht Club’s elegant nautical theme is an ode to classic seaside resorts. Upon entering the lobby, you’ll be transported to a world of maritime luxury. Dark wood accents, rich navy and white color schemes, and naval artifacts evoke the charm of a New England yacht club. Its aesthetic exudes sophistication and adds a unique touch to your Disney vacation.

Disney World Deluxe Resort Hotels. The Yacht Club Resort
Lobby of the Yacht Club

2. Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Among the elite of Disney World Deluxe Resorts, the Grand Floridian is the crown jewel, offering guests an unparalleled experience of elegance and charm. From its regal reputation to its intricate Victorian theming, the Grand Floridian has mastered the art of luxury.

Grand Floridian Resort. Grand Floridian Hotel. Disney World Deluxe Hotel. Disney World Deluxe Resort. Authorized Disney World Vacation Planner
Disney World Deluxe Resort Rankings #2: The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

What Makes It Great

  • Regarded as the Nicest and Most Luxurious Hotel in Disney World

The Grand Floridian holds a distinguished reputation as the epitome of Disney luxury. Guests are greeted with a level of opulence and grandeur that is unmatched.

  • Boasts a Victorian Theme

Stepping into the Grand Floridian is like entering a time machine to the Victorian era. The intricate design and attention to detail evoke a bygone era’s classic elegance and charm.

  • Offers an Array of Dining Options

One of the highlights of the Grand Floridian is its diverse dining options. Guests can indulge in a culinary journey from casual to fine dining. Notable options include the Enchanted Rose, a Beauty and the Beast-themed bar, and the award-winning Victoria & Albert’s, renowned for its exceptional dining experience.

  • Provides Easy Access to Magic Kingdom

Location is critical, and the Grand Floridian’s prime spot allows swift and effortless access to the Magic Kingdom. Guests can enjoy the convenience of being just a monorail ride or a short boat trip away from the heart of Disney magic.

  • Recently Refurbished Rooms Feature Mary Poppins Themes

The Grand Floridian continually strives to enhance the guest experience. Recently refurbished rooms now feature charming Mary Poppins themes, adding a touch of Disney magic to your stay. This whimsical and nostalgic design will transport you to the world of one of Disney’s most beloved classics.

Grand Floridian Resort. Grand Floridian Hotel. Disney World Deluxe Hotel. Disney World Deluxe Resort.
Lobby of the Grand Floridian

What To Be Aware of

  • Pricing

Deluxe Resorts come with a premium price tag, but the Grand Floridian is always the most expensive hotel option in Disney World.

1. Polynesian Village Resort

The Polynesian Village Resort was one of the first hotels built at Disney World, and it still delights guests. The resort is located in the Magic Kingdom area on Seven Seas Lagoon and is themed after Polynesia.

Disney World Deluxe Hotels. Polynesian Village Resort.
Disney World Deluxe Resort Rankings #1: The Polynesian Village Resort

What Makes It Great

  • Captivating South Pacific Theming

As you enter the Polynesian Village Resort, you are instantly transported to a lush tropical paradise. The resort’s architecture, lush vegetation, and soothing island music create an atmosphere that allows you to escape the everyday and immerse yourself in the enchanting world of the South Pacific.

  • Exceptional Dining Options

Dining at the Polynesian Village Resort is a culinary adventure. The resort is home to some of the most celebrated dining establishments in Disney World, including:

  1. ‘Ohana: A family-style restaurant known for its delightful character breakfasts with Lilo and Stitch. Feast on delicious island-inspired dishes while interacting with these beloved Disney characters.
  2. Kona Café: Offering a mix of American and Asian cuisine, Kona Café is known for its Tonga Toast and exceptional coffee. It’s an excellent choice for a satisfying breakfast or dinner.
  3. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto: This tiki-themed lounge is a hidden gem at the resort. It’s a favorite among guests for its creative cocktails and lively atmosphere.
  • Character Dining with Lilo and Stitch

The opportunity to dine with beloved Disney characters is a highlight of a stay at the Polynesian Village Resort. ‘Ohana offers character breakfasts with Lilo, Stitch, and other Disney friends. It’s a magical experience that adds an extra touch of Disney enchantment to your vacation.

  • Impressive Lava Pool

The Polynesian Village Resort boasts the Lava Pool, a stunningly designed pool area with a waterslide and a view of Cinderella Castle in the distance. It’s an ideal spot for relaxation and family fun.

  • Luxurious Accommodations

The recently refurbished Moana-themed rooms are among the largest hotel rooms in Disney World. They offer a blend of comfort and Disney magic, creating a tranquil retreat after a day of adventure in the parks.

  • Convenient Access to the Magic Kingdom

One of the most significant advantages of staying at the Polynesian Village Resort is its convenient location. It’s just a short monorail ride or a leisurely walk from the Magic Kingdom, making park visits a breeze. You can quickly return to the resort for breaks or enjoy the convenience of a short trip back to the parks.

  • Nightly Fireworks from the Beach

As the sun sets over Cinderella Castle, the Polynesian Village Resort offers a unique opportunity to watch the nightly fireworks from the Magic Kingdom’s beach. It’s a magical experience that adds an extra touch of Disney enchantment to your stay.

Disney World Deluxe Hotels. Polynesian Village Resort.
Inside the Polynesian Village Resort

Conclusion: Picking Your Perfect Disney World Deluxe Resort

Choosing the right Disney World Deluxe Resort is an art that involves carefully considering factors such as location, transportation, theming, amenities, and dining options. The rankings above provide a valuable guide to help you make an informed decision for your Disney vacation. Remember that your best choice depends on your preferences and priorities, as each Disney World Deluxe Resort offers a unique Disney experience. Whatever you choose, a magical adventure awaits you in a Disney World Deluxe Resort.

Pack your bags and let the magic begin! Your enchanting Disney World vacation is just a reservation away. Book your dream stay with Castles & Ears Travel and make memories that will last a lifetime!