One of the biggest decisions you will make for your Walt Disney World vacation is choosing where to stay. There are many considerations when choosing the perfect place for your family. Your budget, family size, and amenities desired all shape your decision.
The first thing to consider is if you will stay on Disney property or off. Off-property lodging may be cheaper and offer more choices for larger families. Disney resorts offer many conveniences for traveling with small children, such as Extra Magic Hours in the park and free transportation services throughout the resort by bus, boat, and monorail. Study the costs carefully when making your decision.
Disney offers several different types of resorts to fit any budget. The value resorts offer food courts for easy dining, playgrounds, and swimming pools. Rooms are smaller than those at Moderate and Deluxe resorts. Larger families, those with five or more people, may need to book multiple rooms or get a family suite. Art of Animation and All-Star Movies are good choices for toddlers and preschoolers, who love its character theming.
Moderate Resorts, such as Port Orleans Riverside, feature larger rooms and more resort style accommodations. Themed rooms are also available. Many moderates offer an on-site table service restaurant. Other family friendly moderates include Caribbean Beach, which offers Pirate themed rooms, and Coronado Springs. Moderate resorts are a little higher priced than value resorts, but are less expensive than Deluxe Resorts.
Disney Deluxe resorts are very popular with small children because of their special theming and fun pools with waterslides. Deluxe resorts offer larger rooms, and you have direct access to a park from many deluxes by monorail, boat, or short walk. Favorites in this category include Animal Kingdom Lodge, with its views and fun safari theming, and Wilderness Lodge, with its gushing geyser and bunk beds. (What kid doesn’t love bunks?) Deluxe resorts can be higher priced though, and book up far in advance.
If you are a military family, Shades of Green at Walt Disney World is available to you. Located between three golf courses near Magic Kingdom park, this resort offers some of the largest rooms available at Disney resorts and is available to military members only.
Another fun, kid-friendly way to stay on property is the Campground at Fort Wilderness. With space for RVs, tents, and cabins available for rent, you can enjoy an outdoorsy stay. Some spots are even open to the family pets. Transportation is available, just like at other Disney resorts, and campfires with marshmallow roasts and outdoor movies are sure to delight the kids.
When traveling with little ones, always take into account your family’s individual needs and budget when choosing your lodging. And if your kids are old enough, why not get a little input from them as well?
Rachel is a Virginia native who now lives in Louisiana. She is married with two children, ages 5 and 3. After dreaming and wishing for several years, her family had their very first Disney vacations this year and are now addicted to researching and planning—whether for themselves or for others. They now plan to visit the parks at least once a year.