You want to know what the Best Disney World Hotel is? Well, we’ll do you one better and rank all of them. In this post, we provide our personal ranking of all of Disney’s hotels at Walt Disney World. Read on to see which hotel takes the top spot, and which hotels we think are best left on the sideline.
We’ve reorganized our hotel content to be more targeted for what readers specifically want in a given post. It used to be all in a single post, and that was unwieldy and messy. Besides the reviews of every hotel (links are found in the rankings in this post), we now have the following posts:
Complete Guide to Disney World Hotels — post to start picking your hotel and for understanding the key differences between the different hotels at Disney World
Benefits of Staying at a Disney Hotel — covers the perks associated with Disney hotels
Best Disney World Value Hotels — in-depth mostly objective look at and ranking of the value resorts
Best Disney World Moderate Hotels — in-depth mostly objective look at and ranking of the moderate resorts
Best Disney World Deluxe Hotels — in-depth mostly objective look at and ranking of the deluxe resorts
Best Disney World Hotels (this post) — our subjective ranking of all the Disney hotels
So if you’re looking for an introduction with more practical information about each hotel, start with the guide. If you’re looking for more objective analysis, look inside the categorical rankings. But if you just want to know what two people who do this for a living think, then keep reading.
About This Ranking
Lots of people on the internet (like you) want to see a ranking of every Disney hotels. While we think a better approach is to review the rankings by category (that we link to above) because that allows us to put price mostly to the side, we’re always happy to oblige to reader demand and do our best to put together a ranking of every hotel.
This list is going to be highly subjective and will consider price as an important factor. We have more “objective” analysis of the hotels when we’re comparing within each category. It would be a silly exercise to try to ignore price comparing hotels across the categories.
And since price varies so much across the resorts, we have to let our personal feelings about what is “worth it” guide us. There’s no objective way to determine whether All-Star Movies at $112 is “better” than Contemporary at $498.
Because it is so subjective, there is some shuffling compared to our rankings by category. For example, our deluxe hotel rankings have Contemporary in the top spot, but it only the fourth deluxe hotel on this list because we don’t value its location as much as we think a typical guest should.
This list only includes Disney-operated hotels—that doesn’t include Swan & Dolphin or the Disney Springs hotels. Also, this list doesn’t include DVC properties. We feel strongly that there’s a way different analysis that goes into staying at one of those properties, so places like Saratoga Springs and Bay Lake Tower won’t appear on this list (we’ve got nothing against them).
Note about the Disney Skyliner
The Disney Skyliner opened on September 29, connecting Caribbean Beach, Pop Century, and Art of Animation to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. We were there opening week, and our feelings on it were mixed. Then a few days later, October 5, there was an incident that shut the system down, leaving some people in the gondolas for 2 to 3 hours. The system remained closed until October 14, when it reopened with slightly limited hours.
Given all this, we’re holding off on updating this post to address the Skyliner until at least our November visit. While we definitely think it can be a perk for those hotels, it doesn’t solve every issue, and we’d like to see the system proves its reliability for the new few weeks.
Every Disney World Hotel Ranked
We’re giving you the #1 spot first and then going from there. While we like to “build up” to the #1 spot sometimes, it makes most sense to talk about why we like the best hotels so much before quickly disposing of the more flawed hotels.
1. Animal Kingdom Lodge
2020 Standard Room Rates: $417 - $705
Click here to read our full review of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
With its low-priced (relative to deluxe resorts) standard rooms, Animal Kingdom Lodge is a great “bang for your buck” in the deluxe tier, particularly when deals are around to cut the price by 20% or more. The location is awful, but you can easily make up for that with some patience for the buses and spending some of your savings on Uber rides as necessary.
Between Savanna View rooms and the Kilimanjaro Club Level, you can add some of the best room options on property to your Animal Kingdom stay while still being competitive with prices for the worst rooms at other deluxe resorts.
This is simply one of the best hotels to just be at in Walt Disney World. Animal roaming out back. A stunning, gigantic lobby with African artifacts.
The rooms are undergoing a refurbishment right now. We loved the theming of the old ones, but worried they were getting dated. The newer rooms look good, but we are nervous about whether they cut too much theming.
You’ve also got three awesome restaurants—Boma, Jiko, and Sanaa—on-site. We really hate the quick service restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge (though people frequently tell us we’re overreacting), but that’s a small price to pay for a great hotel at, well, a relatively small price.
2. Pop Century Resort
2020 Rates: $154 - $304
Read our Full Review of Pop Century Resort
We’ve loved Pop Century Resort since our first visit, and the room remodel just solidified it as our go-to hotel. We prefer Animal Kingdom Lodge for vacationing, but when we’re visiting for work (i.e. mostly long days in the parks), we always try and book Pop Century.
The high quality rooms and simple food court are a huge draw for us. If you’re unhappy not having “quality” dining, take some of your hotel savings and splurge on a bucket list meal. Or add a dining plan. The simple fact is that when I get back from a day at the parks at 11PM, I don’t need a $50 steak in an hour, I need a $12 burger, and I need it now.
Now, all the rooms are a bit small at the value resorts, with Art of Animation having the biggest. Four people will be tight in here. That said, we think these rooms work best for stays when you’re going to be out at the parks, or at least poolside, the overwhelming majority of your day.
3. Wilderness Lodge
2020 Standard Room Rates: $406 - $760
Click here to read our full review of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Arguably, Wilderness Lodge belongs over Animal Kingdom Lodge on this list because we really only book Animal Kingdom Lodge when the Savanna View or Club Level rooms are deeply discounted. When it comes to standard rooms, we tend to favor the lower prices at Wilderness.
With Artist Point and Whispering Canyon, Wilderness Lodge is no slouch on dining. Add in an amazing lobby, beautiful grounds, and the awesome Geyser Point Bar & Grill, and this is really a place you just don’t want to leave—which is good because the transportation situation is awful.
But as with Animal Kingdom Lodge, if you have some patience and spend some if your savings on Uber, you’re set up for success.
4. All-Star Movies (New Rooms)
2020 Rates: $112 - $241
Read our Full Review of All Star Movies Resort
The parenthetical is crucial here—we highly rank the refurbished rooms at All-Star Movies. Unfortunately, there’s no way to guarantee such a room right now (though the refurbishment is expected to be complete in the next few months). Booking a preferred room gives you the best shot, but there’s always a bit of risk involved.
That issue aside, it’s the price that really draws us to All-Star Movies. You’re looking at a Pop Century room with slightly worse transportation and around $40 / night saving. That $40 / night is enough to pay for multiple Uber rides, or even a Minnie Van ride, so the transportation issue is largely neutralized.
5. Yacht Club
2020 Standard Room Rates: $487 - $846
Click here to read our full review of Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
One of the low-lights of our previous year was our stay at Yacht Club. For a while, we were on a pretty brutal streak against the hotel, taking shots at it whenever we could…but we regret that.
Here’s the thing—we had subpar experiences at multiple meals at Yacht Club and at their club level. And while we believe strongly in giving honest assessments of all things Disney, the truth is that actually a few bad experiences doesn’t really change this resort’s position in our mind.
The reasons are threefold. First, Yacht Club has our favorite rooms in Walt Disney World. They’re as modern as the Pop Century rooms but with fantastic deluxe design and theming.
Second, Yacht Club is so well located that it might as well not have any restaurants or bars at all. You’ve got the entire Boardwalk plus Epcot and Hollywood Studios within walking distance.
Finally, Yacht Club and Beach Club share one of Disney’s best pools—Stormalong Bay.
These three factors don’t excuse the poor service we received, but from a practical perspective, you can’t look at Disney hotels as islands because they aren’t.
The above five hotels are pretty much the only hotels we consider for leisure trips. Obviously if we need to review a hotel we’ll stay at it. Or if we need a cheap stay, we’ll look at the other All-Star Resorts (see #17 and #18 below).
Otherwise, we really only look outside those five when availability is thin or when a deal is going on and those hotels aren’t available at deal rates but other hotels are. That said, we’re happy to continue the list with how we rank the remaining options.
6. Contemporary Resort
2020 Standard Room Rates: $498 - $829
Click here to read our full review of Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Contemporary would probably rank higher on this list—or at least be a part of the rooms we normally consider—if its lowest priced rooms were ever available. But these rooms sell out quickly and are often unavailable when it comes to deal pricing.
Contemporary takes the top spot in our deluxe hotel rankings because of its competitive prices (on the low-priced rooms) and unbeatable location. Contemporary also has our favorite club level, the Atrium Club.
It sinks in our personal ratings primarily because of the aforementioned availability issue and because we spend less time at Magic Kingdom than a typical guest.
While we think every hotel around the monorail (Grand Floridian and Polynesian are the other two) has something going for it, at equal prices we’d probably still give a slight advantage to Contemporary. It’s a solid hotel, with good rooms, a famed character breakfast at Chef Mickey’s, and a ten-minute walk to the most visited theme park on the planet (Magic Kingdom).
7. Art of Animation
2020 Rates: $180 - $330
2020 Suite Rates: $428 - $771
Read our Full Review of Art of Animation Resort
At Art of Animation, we feel like you’re just paying more than Pop Century for a worse room. The Little Mermaid rooms may appeal to some people, but we’re not fans. (For more, read our comparison of Pop Century and Art of Animation.)
Other than that, you’re talking about the best food court on property, an acceptable transit situation, and a great pool. These come at a reasonable but not stunning price.
8. Port Orleans French Quarter
2020 Rates (Standard Rooms): $246 - $392
Review of Port Orleans Resort — French Quarter
French Quarter is our go-to of the moderate resorts because it’s the only moderate resort to have a single bus stop. While it sometimes shares buses with Riverside in off-hours, during peak times you won’t have to make the multiple stops around the resort like in the other moderate resorts. You’re also never more than a five-minute walk from the main building.
But as we’ve written everywhere, the moderate resorts don’t “do it” for us. A low-priced deluxe option (Animal Kingdom Lodge or Wilderness Lodge) is a much better “treat,” and budget trips are just as well spent in the value resorts (spend your savings in other ways).
Those issues aside, the theming of French Quarter is fun, and it has a good food court. The rooms recently received a “soft” refurbishment, which is hiding their age a little, but they’re starting to lag behind other rooms on property.
9. Polynesian Village Resort
2020 Standard Room Rates: $593 - $973
Click here to read our full review of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Polynesian is a tricky one, because it’s actually one of our favorite resorts to visit a non-guests. There’s hardly a trip that goes by when we don’t visit Polynesian for a meal (love Kona brunch) or even just to have a drink (Trader Sam’s) and watch the fireworks from its beach. And it’s easy to get to by boat or monorail from Magic Kingdom.
But when you pay to stay at a Disney hotel, the advantages you’re getting are the room, pool access, the proximity to the public amenities, and the location of the hotel. And these don’t really make us want to pay to stay at Polynesian.
The pool is excellent, we have no issue giving it that. But the rooms are very underwhelming at this price point. Like Contemporary, location is a huge perk here, but we spend a less-than-average amount of time at Magic Kingdom, so it isn’t as huge a perk to us.
Since it isn’t difficult to get there as part of a visit to Magic Kingdom, Polynesian rarely makes it way onto our radar when booking hotels. The one exception—we think Polynesian is great for a split stay. Do one or two nights here in conjunction with two or three nights at a value resort.
10. Fort Wilderness Resort
2020 Rates (Campsites): $68+ (varied types of campsites)
2020 Rates (Cabins): $400 - $737
Review of Fort Wilderness Cabins
Our 100% honest opinion is you should not “rank” the Fort Wilderness options anywhere in comparison to the other Disney hotels. The cabins and campsites are a completely different experience than a typical Disney hotel stay.
Within the cabins, you’ll have a full kitchen, which makes it more like a DVC property (it isn’t) than a regular hotel. At campsites, you’re expected to bring your own RV (or tent, for limited sites).
Around the gigantic resort, you’ll find many more outdoor activities than other resorts, and you could easily put together a busy day or two with the activities, that include fishing, archery, and cycling.
Fort Wilderness is more part of a “vacation kingdom” than any other Disney hotel. You come here because you want to spend time here, not because it is the “best” option for a typical park-centric visit.
Note: This ranking does not account for the new Gran Destino tower, which we will be visiting mid-August.
Now we’re more in “hotels we really never consider” (and yet, somehow, we have stays at three of them booked in the next few months).
The remaining three moderate resorts all suffer from an awful transportation situation where buses are forced to make multiple stops around the huge resorts. It once took Emily an hour to get from our room at Caribbean Beach (that’s not Coronado Springs, but they suffer from similar issues) to Magic Kingdom.
This was a huge outlier, to be clear, but it also should never happen at a Disney hotel. As an aside, I’d add that while I typically say “just taken an Uber,” you can’t Uber directly to Magic Kingdom (you can Minnie Van there), and the standard rideshare pickup spot is at the front of the hotel, a ten-minute walk from many rooms.
Coronado Springs just beats out Port Orleans Riverside because of its fantastic new rooms. We’re not big fans of the dining options, but they are aplenty.
Typically, most of our time at a hotel is spent in the room, though, so a significant advantage there is enough to overcome Riverside’s numerous small advantages.
12. Port Orleans Riverside
2020 Rates (Standard Rooms): $246 - $392
2020 Rates (Royal Rooms): $304 - $449
Review of Port Orleans Resort — Riverside
Port Orleans Riverside might be the most beautiful campus on property. If you have 20 to 30 minutes to spare, it is an absolute treat to wander around the resort, just taking in the views.
As with Coronado Springs and Caribbean Beach, the transportation situation is a real drag. If you’re paying to have a car, you’re in better shape at all these resorts.
On everything but rooms, Port Orleans Riverside beats Coronado Springs. It has better ambiance and theme, the food options are more limited (but better), and Riverside doesn’t have the convention hotel vibe.
The rooms are mid-refurbishment, with some having received a soft update bringing them up to the quality of French Quarter and Caribbean Beach.
13. Beach Club Resort
2020 Standard Room Rates: $487 - $846
Click here to read our full review of Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Yacht Club, but with worse rooms. We’d still book it if the price was right and Yacht Club wasn’t available.
14. BoardWalk Inn
2020 Standard Room Rates: $533 - $890
Click here to read our full review of Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
Location similar to Yacht and Beach, but with worse rooms than Yacht, a worse pool, and an inexplicably higher price. The higher rates at BoardWalk absolutely perplex us. It’s about five minutes closer walking to Hollywood Studios than Yacht and Beach, but that’s hardly worth the $50ish extra per night.
15. Caribbean Beach
2020 Rates (Standard Rooms): $230 - $400
2020 Rates (Pirate Rooms): $315 - $461
Review of Caribbean Beach Resort
Simply—Caribbean Beach doesn’t offer anything over the other moderate resorts, and it barely offers anything over the value resorts to justify its price. Whatever you’re looking for at this price, you’re probably better at a different moderate.
The Disney Skyliner, opening on September 29, may change this, but we’re skeptical. We’ll be there for the opening, so you may see this list change quickly around then.
16. Grand Floridian
2020 Standard Room Rates: $710 - $1084
Click here to read our full review of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Besides dining, Grand Floridian is in no way a better hotel than the other deluxe resorts. Its location—particularly once the walking path to Magic Kingdom is completed—is a huge perk.
But its price is 100% unjustifiable. If an ongoing deal brings it prices into competition with Beach Club, BoardWalk, Polynesian, and Contemporary, there’s a good case to be made for it, because it’s about that quality of a hotel.
17. All-Star Music
2020 Rates: $112 - $241
2020 Suite Rates: $289 - $547
Read our Full Review of All Star Music Resort
See All-Star Sports, next.
18. All-Star Sports
2020 Rates: $112 - $241
Read our Full Review of All Star Sports Resort
A typical hotel booking for us these days goes like this:
“Shoot! We have to be in Florida for X Event and haven’t booked anything!”
Email to Lauren: “Lauren, can you quote me on All Star Sports for these dates?”
Gets Email back, books stay
Three weeks later: “Wait…why did I book All Star Sports? Eh, I’ll just pay a bit more for [any other hotel]”
Email to Lauren: “Sorry Lauren, I need to make a change…”
Because they’re low-priced and overall okay hotels, our instinct is always to look at All-Star Music and All-Star Sports in a pinch. But inevitably, we decide we can spend the extra money to upgrade at least to Pop Century (or, if Pop isn’t available, we’ll just pick a hotel we haven’t visited in a while).
Once they get new rooms over the course of 2020 and maybe 2021, it will be tougher to rank these hotels. As it stands, they offer nothing but low prices.
If by chance you’re reading this and you’re already stuck in a group rate at All-Star Sports, or you can only afford All-Star Sports—don’t worry! As we said, we still think to book the hotel quite frequently, and there’s no reason you should be worried you won’t have a good time.
All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered
Don't be overwhelmed by Disney World planning! Take a second to check out our most important content and you'll not only be an expert, but you'll save big $$$ along the way.
Just starting out? Check out our Walt Disney World planning guide! If you're still picking dates, we've got everything you need to know about Disney crowd calendars. For picking your hotel, check out our Walt Disney World hotels guide.
When it comes time to book we’ll help you find discount Disney World tickets. Decide whether you need a dining plan in our Complete Guide to Disney World Dining Plans! And at 180 days out it's time to book those Disney World Advance Dining Reservations!
Don't forget to master your Disney World FastPass+ strategy a few months in advance. We'll keep you out of long lines so you can maximize the magical time in the parks! We've got park-specific guides as well: Magic Kingdom FastPass, Epcot FastPass, Animal Kingdom FastPass, and Hollywood Studios FastPass.
Know what to ride with our guides to: Magic Kingdom rides, Hollywood Studios rides, Epcot rides, and Animal Kingdom rides! Plus learn about the water parks with our guide to Blizzard Beach and our guide to Typhoon Lagoon! And for some some fun prep, check out our Ranking of Every Ride at Walt Disney World.
Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you're interested in saving, there's no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.