This post provides a ranking and quick overview of each of the Disney hotel options at Walt Disney World. This list only includes hotels operated by Disney at Walt Disney World. It does not include the Swan & Dolphin or other non-Disney properties. It also doesn't include Disney Vacation Club properties.
These hotels are sometimes called “on-site” hotels, but this is a bit of a misnomer, as several hotels on Walt Disney World property are not managed by Disney (such as the Four Seasons Orlando).
Contents & Rankings
Ranking Walt Disney World’s Hotels In 2019
I want to give some quick thoughts on ranking hotels before we move on.
First, we’re ranking within categories only. Disney hotels can be broken into three categories—value, moderate, and deluxe. We’re only ranking within categories.
That is, we’re not going to compare Polynesian Village Resort (a deluxe hotel) to All-Star Movies Resort (a value hotel). The reason for this is honestly that people would revolt when I ranked All-Star Movies ahead of their precious Poly. Seriously, though, it just doesn’t make sense to compare a $100 per night hotel to a $600 per night hotel.
Second, price will still be a factor. Prices vary within the resort groups—particularly in the deluxe group—and it is a factor we weigh in comparing resorts.
Third, we believe strongly in visiting other resorts. It’s not hard to get around Disney World, either for free using Disney transport or at low prices using Uber. Especially when we look at incredibly close resorts—like Contemporary / Grand Floridian / Polynesian or Yacht Club / Beach Club / BoardWalk—we won’t differentiate them heavily by things like restaurant offerings (since you could easily walk over from BoardWalk to Beach Club for a meal).
Fourth, our travel bona fides are deep. While we’ve never camped at Fort Wilderness, we have stayed at every Disney hotel on this page (including The Cabins at Fort Wilderness). There are a few DVC properties we haven’t stayed in, but those aren’t in this post anyways.
Beyond Disney, we have a ranging history of staying in every type of accommodation from 20-bed hostel dorms for $10 per night to Club Level Harbor View at the Ritz Carlson Hong Kong. We don’t have one “type” of accommodation we prefer or know better—it’s all contextual.
Fifth, remember that 2019 will see changes! While we hope to update this post regularly, we might fall behind. We try to mention the big two changes coming in 2019 whenever they’re relevant, but let’s cover them here quickly.
In summer 2019, the Skyliner will open, connecting Caribbean Beach, Art of Animation and Pop Century to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. This will obviously change how we feel about those resorts. In late fall 2019, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open. This will obviously change how we feel about all resorts with easy access to Hollywood Studios.
Finally, this is mostly subjective. While we do give some objective factors, how we weight them is totally subjective. Some people will always think Grand Floridian is the “best” hotel on property because it has “luxury” theming. Others will think we’re absolutely insane for valuing walkability as much as we do. That’s just how rankings go. This isn’t a “favorites” list, but it would be silly to pretend it was somehow fully objective.
Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts Rankings
The deluxe resorts are the best Disney has to offer. You should know, though, that if you're a frequent "deluxe" traveler, these resorts won't compare to, say, Four Seasons or The Ritz Carlton. The Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World is, for example, widely regarded as the best hotel at Walt Disney World.
Nonetheless, these resorts (almost) all have something particularly awesome about them, and they are all fantastic hotels. Given their high prices, they also merit the most analysis. You might also want to read our opinion on Club Level at Walt Disney World.
Besides theme / ambiance, the big perk of most of the deluxe resorts is transportation. Most of them (all but Animal Kingdom Lodge) have access to the parks by some means other than bus, which makes it easier to get to and from the parks. They also fantastic for doing a Disney World resort day away from the parks. Not sold? We've got Twelve Reasons to Stay at a Disney Deluxe Resort.
We try to be clear about what factors go into our thought process, but particularly with deluxe resorts there’s an added problem of asking “What kind of vacation is this resort for?”
Guess what—if you hate Magic Kingdom, you don’t need to be at Contemporary. If you are going to be at the parks from 7AM to midnight every day of your trip, you definitely don’t need to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge. So don’t take the bare rankings as fiat—read the reasoning behind them and see which factors apply to your trip.
The Best Disney World Deluxe Resorts
We’ll start with the three best Disney World deluxe resorts.
Disney's Contemporary Resort
Rates Start At: $461 per night
Why We Rank It Here: Location, location, location. Animal Kingdom Lodge has better theme. Grand Floridian is only one monorail stop from Magic Kingdom. But there’s only one hotel you can walk to Magic Kingdom from—and that’s Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
This might seem like a silly factor to earn a #1 spot, but consider that you might wait 20+ minutes to get on a monorail at another resort when Magic Kingdom is opening or closing. In the morning, that could be the difference between walking right on to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or waiting 60 minutes for it.
We’re actually not huge Magic Kingdom fans, but if you’re coming into Walt Disney World with a clean slate, we’d easily say the ability to walk to Magic Kingdom is enough to make this the resort to aim for. Beyond that, you’re a monorail ride away from all the fantastic dining and theme at Grand Floridian and Polynesian Village Resort.
The Good: You can walk to Magic Kingdom from the Contemporary (it's also the first stop on the monorail from Magic Kingdom). California Grill is one of the best restaurants at Walt Disney World (the view alone could earn it this distinction). You’re a monorail ride away from Polynesian and Grand Floridian. Pick Contemporary if you’re planning your first Walt Disney World trip, and it’s in budget, or you’re taking your regular family vacation to the next level and looking to spend substantial time at Magic Kingdom.
The Bad: Low room rates run out quickly. Theming is less appealing than the other monorail resorts, especially if those resorts can be had at lower prices. Avoid Contemporary if your family trends older and might prefer to be closer to Epcot / Hollywood Studios.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Rates Start At: $388 per night
Why We Rank It Here: From “location, location, location” to “theme, theme, theme (and price)”, we’re changing gears for the second pick. Animal Kingdom Lodge has the worst transport options (i.e. location) of all the deluxe resorts. You can’t walk to a single park, and you’ll be relying solely on bus transportation if you stick to complimentary options.
But, Animal Kingdom Lodge has the best theming of the deluxe resorts, in our opinion. It’s just an absolutely stunning resort. Moreover, it has three great restaurants that are relatively difficult to get to from other resorts. Being adjacent to the savannah is amazing, as you can go visit the animals in a blink of the eye.
And then there’s price. With rooms starting at $388, you can easily save $500 over the course of four days compared to some other deluxe resorts. That’s more than enough money to cover some incidental Uber rides around Walt Disney World property.
The Good: Opportunity to view roaming giraffes from your balcony in some rooms; arguably three of the five best at Walt Disney World; reasonably priced club level upgrades. Pick Animal Kingdom Lodge if you love animals and good eats, and you’re looking for a Walt Disney World experience beyond the parks.
The Bad: You need to rely on bus transportation or pay for Uber / Lyft / Minnie Vans. Avoid Animal Kingdom Lodge if this is your first Walt Disney World trip and it’s for less than five nights.
Disney's BoardWalk Inn
Rates Start At: $494 per night
Why We Rank It Here: In a previous version of these rankings, we had Yacht Club & Beach Club tied in this spot. Now, we’ve rethought some things. We’ll talk here about why we like BoardWalk, if you want to know why Yacht Club and Beach Club dropped, you’ll have to keep reading.
The theming of BoardWalk really impressed us. We wound the east coast carnival / Coney Island ambiance to be a lot of fun. We were also pleasant surprised with the rooms, which we think age well because of the theme.
The location is unbeatable. You have a reasonable walk to Hollywood Studios and a short walk to Epcot, plus a huge roster of dining and drinking options at your fingertips.
Once Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens, Star Wars fans will have all the reason in the world to rank the Boardwalk resorts as their top hotels at Walt Disney World, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the prices change to reflect that in 2020.
While the Magic Kingdom resorts may have a better collection of restaurants, there's something for everybody around the Boardwalk, with Yacht Club's Yachtsman Steakhouse being a top restaurant at Walt Disney World, ESPN Zone a respectable sports bar, and AbracadaBar a fun, creative bar.
The Good: Walking access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios; varied dining options around the Boardwalk; whimsical theming; excellent service. Pick it if you’re set on the Boardwalk area and you don’t mind missing out on the newest rooms at Yacht Club.
The Bad: Rooms not as good as Yacht Club; Pool not as good as Yacht/Beach; bus transportation to Magic Kingdom. Also, keep in mind that BoardWalk rates are slightly higher than Yacht Club and Beach Club. This is a close enough competition that price really could be your determining factor. Avoid it if you’re really looking for the most modern rooms (in which case you’d pick Yacht Club).
The Rest of the Disney World Deluxe Resorts
These are still ranked, but we figured with one resorts from each “location” out of the way, this might be thought of as “the rest.”
Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Rates Start At: $374 per night
Why We Rank It Here: We’re back to trading off location for theme. Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge have a lot in common. Both have large, grandiose, nature-themed lobbies. Both have terrible transportation. Both have relatively low prices.
In fact, starting at $374 (that includes tax) per night, Wilderness Lodge has the lowest prices of the deluxe resorts. That price makes Disney's Wilderness Lodge arguably the top property at Walt Disney World if you're looking for the most bang for your buck. It is beautiful and a fan favorite for many good reasons.
Like Animal Kingdom Lodge, you’ll want to budget some of those savings to spend on Uber or Minnie Vans, as getting places from Wilderness Lodge can be a real challenge.
Some consider boat access to Magic Kingdom to be a perk of this hotel, but we strongly disagree, finding boat transportation to be only as good as bus transportation.
The Good: Fantastic theming; beautiful lobby; good food and drink options; low price. Pick Wilderness Lodge if you're comfortable with Uber and want a taste of the deluxe experience at a great price.
The Bad: Poor location / transportation; relatively unimpressive pool. Avoid Wilderness Lodge if you don’t want to use Uber and your stay is less than five nights.
Disney's Yacht Club Resort
Rates Start At: $452 per night
Why We Rank It Here: As we said, recently bumped BoardWalk ahead of Yacht and Beach. Before we get to that, let’s make something clear: Yacht Club has the best standard rooms of the deluxe resorts, and Stormalong Bay—the shared Yacht and Beach Club pool—is the best pool on property.
And you can’t fret on the location, either. With under ten minutes walking to Epcot and 20 minutes to Hollywood Studios (plus alternative boat and bus transportation), and the entire Boardwalk area at your fingertips.
So how does Yacht Club fall short? Overall, we’ve been very disappointed with Yacht Club our past few visits as hotel guests and dining guests. The service is lacking, and we’ve felt like Ale & Compass and its lounge have particularly disappointed.
Would we argue with someone who said the better rooms, better pool, and lower price make Yacht Club an easy pick over BoardWalk? Probably not. But we also aren’t going to fall into a trap of rating the entire resort better because it wins the headline points. You can read about the pool, look at our pictures and videos of the rooms, and decide how much weight you put on that.
The Good: Stormalong Bay is an amazing pool; walking access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios; varied dining options around the Boardwalk; recently refurbished rooms. Pick Yacht Club if your family trends older and will prefer Epcot / Hollywood Studios to Magic Kingdom and you really value the best rooms and pool.
The Bad: Bus transportation to Magic Kingdom; smaller lobbies than some other deluxe resorts; service underperforming recently. Avoid Yacht Club if you’ll be at Magic Kingdom a significant amount of time or you don’t mind less modern rooms and a higher price over at BoardWalk.
Disney's Beach Club Resort
Rates Start At: $452 per night
We’re going to keep this shorter than the rest of these because it makes most sense to just compare Beach Club to Yacht Club and BoardWalk Inn, which we’ve already covered.
Yacht Club has better rooms than Beach Club. As we noted, we aren’t happy with the state of service at the Yacht Club restaurants (specifically Ale & Compass and its lounge), but it doesn’t make sense to put it below Beach Club just because of that, as they essentially share restaurants and bars. So, the better room wins the day.
As for BoardWalk Inn, you’re basically putting Beach Club’s Stormalong Bay pool up against the better rooms, theming, and slightly better location at BoardWalk. It’s close, but we give the edge to Boardwalk.
Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
Rates Start At: $546 per night
Why We Rank It Here: When we first built this guide years ago, Poly was #1 on our resort bucket list. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to expectations. We’ll get to why in a second, but first…
Polynesian's theming is on par with Wilderness Lodge—that is, excellent, but short of Animal Kingdom Lodge—in our opinion. And it’s just two monorail stops to Magic Kingdom, so families with children will have quick access to their top park. If it weren’t for the high price you could easily rank Polynesian #1. But…
More than any other resort at Walt Disney World, Polynesian Village is a victim of its good location. Let’s look at the list of amazing offerings at Polynesian to see why: stunning lobby (probably #3 in Walt Disney World), amazing restaurants in Kona Cafe and ‘Ohana, the best bar at Walt Disney World (Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto).
And you know what? You can get to all of those for free by hopping on the Magic Kingdom resort monorail. Or you can pay for an Uber to Polynesian for a meal and then hop on the monorail to Magic Kingdom. Poly was #1 on our bucket list because we’d visited it so many times. So when we finally booked a room there—well, the $546 per night room doesn’t really add much to the experience!
You do get access to a great pool, and overall we enjoy the ambiance here more than Grand Floridian, but this is really a case of not being able to justify paying a premium for Polynesian when I can easily access its best parts while saving $400 per night staying at a value resort.
The Good: Great theming; great pool; fantastic restaurants and bars; short monorail ride to and from Magic Kingdom. Pick Polynesian if you’re settled on a monorail resort and can’t find a better price, or you’ve visited before and are sure you want to book a stay.
The Bad: Price; occasionally shares buses with other resorts. Avoid Polynesian if you’ve never visited the resort before. Book anywhere else and plan two meals here—at Kona Cafe and ‘Ohana—then consider a stay at a later trip.
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Rates Start At: $657 per night
Why We Rank It Here: We used to be more sour on it, but while Grand Floridian has improved its standing in our hearts, it’s price that hurts. The price is high—$657 per night—and the hotel just is not $657 per night nice.
You’re only one monorail stop from Magic Kingdom, which is great. But you’re the fourth stop returning home (but first stop by boat). You have a lobby that’s worth experiencing, but that is also easily accessible by monorail for any non-guests.
All that said, plenty of people rave about Grand Floridian, even staying there multiple times. Disney is able to price it high because people are willing to pay for it. So while I would advise booking it sight unseen, if you’re just in love with the idea of it, maybe just let us know what you think of it!
Besides the unjustifiable price, it’s just hard to come up with a reason to put Grand Floridian over Polynesian or Contemporary. The only “it factor” is this supposed luxury, and we just don’t feel it. That’s not to say it’s bad, not at all. But it isn’t better than the other Magic Kingdom resorts in any notable way.
The Good: One monorail stop to Magic Kingdom; get to say you stayed here; fantastic restaurants. Pick Grand Floridian if it’s already made it’s way onto your bucket list.
The Bad: Price; occasionally shares buses with other resorts; theming not as fun as other resorts. Avoid Grand Floridian if you can stay at either of the other monorail resorts.
Walt Disney World Moderate Resorts
Generally, we feel the moderate resorts are more “value+” than actually in a category between value and deluxe. This isn’t really an indictment of them, as they’re reasonably priced to that end, but it does mean we really never “recommend” them.
Their rooms are much closer to the value rooms than the deluxe rooms, as are the resort grounds. You'll be relying on bus transportation to the parks from all these resorts (until Skyliner, summer 2019). You can mentally put that under "The Bad" for each one and save us the space.
Some of them have significantly better dining options than the value resorts, as well. But overall, what distinguishes these resorts in our mind is mostly their theming. Particularly, these are (somewhat) “deluxe” ideas—like New Orleans and the Caribbean—with (somewhat) “value” execution (lots of plastic and bright colors).
The practical significance of our feelings is this piece of advice: If you’re looking to “treat yourself”, save up for a low-priced deluxe like Wilderness Lodge or Animal Kingdom Lodge. The moderate resorts, while they are “better” than the values, are not a treat. But if you’re looking at your budget and thinking you can spare a bit more than the value resorts, then it might make sense to upgrade.
Ranking the Disney Moderate Resorts
Before we dive into the rankings, I want to provide a really quick synopsis. You can honestly sort through these four really quickly:
Port Orleans French Quarter - Smallest moderate, best transportation, new rooms, can walk to Riverside easily
Port Orleans Riverside - Very large, mostly old rooms (but new ones are great), very beautiful, can walk to French Quarter easily
Caribbean Beach - Very large, old rooms, brand new lobby / dining
Coronado Springs - Significant construction until July 2019, mostly old rooms (but new ones are great)
Disney's Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter
Rates Start At: $232 per night
Why We Rank It Here: Differentiating French Quarter and Riverside for these rankings is a challenge. They do have distinct identities and theming, but it’s just hard to shake the feeling that French Quarter is sort of a “special” offshoot of Riverside. It’s sort of like it could be called “The French Quarter at Disney’s Port Orleans — Riverside.”
What it comes down to is that, for the most part, what French Quarter does different it does better than Riverside. The actual French Quarter makes for a great theme choice, and the resort does a beautiful job of surrounding you in a Disney version of French Quarter, with great architecture and details like street signs and Mardis Gras floats.
When they utilize separate buses, French Quarter has only a single stop that is a short walk from all its buildings. When they don’t, you’re either the last to get dropped off or the last to get picked up, keeping your average journey somewhere in the middle.
Riverside has a more impressive feel on average, but we find French Quarter’s consistency and smaller, more detailed space to give it a slight edge when all is said and done.
The Good: French Quarter is a short walk from Riverside, which puts all the benefits of that resort within walking distance. French Quarter is small, which makes transport to and from the parks much easier than at the other moderate resorts. Pick French Quarter if you’ve got just enough room in the budget to upgrade from a value resort.
The Bad: No table service restaurant; shared buses with Riverside during off-hours. Other than that, there’s really no reason to avoid Port Orleans — French Quarter. You can read our review of Disney’s Port Orleans Resort — French Quarter.
Disney's Port Orleans Resort - Riverside
Rates Start At: $232 per night
Why We Rank It Here: Port Orleans Resort — Riverside is the only moderate resort worth comparing to the deluxe resorts. That’s not to say it compares, it really doesn’t, but it’s the only one you might walk through and see more flashes of deluxe than value.
Riverside really has a “wow” effect in its sprawling, gorgeous campus and grandiose buildings. Granted, it’s all a bit of a facade (literally), but it’s hard to keep your jaw fully up the first time you walk around the resort.
The big downside to this large campus is travel time. Buses to Riverside make multiple stops, and it can take a while to walk to the main building for a meal.
As for rooms, they’re a mixed bag right now. The refurbished rooms are some of the better rooms at Walt Disney World. The old rooms are some of the worst.
The Good: Good table service dining at Boatwright's Dining Hall. Brilliant theming that isn't as exhausting as French Quarter. Pick Port Orleans — Riverside if you’re looking for good theming for a relaxing Disney vacation.
The Bad: Large layout requires additional transportation to get around (or lots of walking). Avoid Port Orleans — Riverside if you’re expecting to pack your stay with time at the parks.
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
Rates Start At: $194 per night
Why We Rank It Here: Caribbean Beach really captures the challenge of ranking the moderate resorts and comparing them to the deluxe resorts.
It has a wonderful new lobby. It has a great new quick service restaurant (currently the only resort offering mobile order) and a great new table service restaurant. There’s an awesome pool bar and a pretty cool pool.
Thing is, I can’t see why in the world you’d ever pay more than the value resort rates just for access to those things, especially when the transportation at Caribbean Beach (pre-Skyliner) is the worst we’ve experienced at Walt Disney World.
The rooms are incredibly bland, and while you could say the same thing about Port Orleans (and most rooms at Walt Disney World these days), the theming of Caribbean Beach just doesn’t do it any favors. It sort of just feels like you’re at a cheesy Florida hotel.
The Good: The rooms and main building of Caribbean Beach were recently remodeled. The pool is fun and a step above the value resorts. The food is tasty. Pick Caribbean Beach if you’ve really had your eye on it and you have to visit before the Skyliner opens.
The Bad: Until the Skyliner opens, transportation at Caribbean Beach is awful, with buses making six stops around the resort. Avoid Caribbean Beach if you can, at least prior to the Skyliner opening.
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Rates Start At: $208 per night
Why We Rank It Here: Coronado Springs takes up the four-spot in our ranking of Disney’s moderate resorts on sort of a technicality—ongoing construction. While the resort has many positives going for it—the Dig Site pool area, the Rix sports bar, and great new rooms—the ongoing construction is a real eyesore.
The Good: The hotel has great new rooms and the Dig Site pool area. There are a wide range of dining options, including quick service, table service, and multiple bars. Pick Coronado Springs if you’re looking for recent updates in the moderate range, but Caribbean Beach isn’t your thing.
The Bad: Like the other moderate resorts, Coronado Springs utilizes multiple bus stops to cover its huge campus. The ongoing construction is a real eyesore. Avoid Coronado Springs if you can, at least until construction finishes in mid-2019.
Ranking The Walt Disney World Value Resorts
The value resorts are possibly the most under-appreciated resorts at Walt Disney World. Say what you will, but these are cool, fun, lively, almost trippy places.
If the Grand Floridian is a wealthy older couple in a horse drawn carriage riding down Fifth Avenue, the value resorts are a family of five hanging off a motorbike zipping through the streets of Bangkok. This isn't Disney life at its most elegant, but it might be Disney life at its best.
Let's be clear before proceeding. Value resorts have food courts, not restaurants. The rooms are smaller than the rooms at deluxe resorts. You're sticking to bus transportation (or Uber). The theming is not subtle. And the details, the amenities, everything else, well...you'll get what you paid for. Need more? We've got Nine Reasons to Stay at a Disney Value Resort.
Rather than go through these individually in the detail we went through the deluxe resorts, it’s much easier to give a quick overview of how we rank the value resorts before explaining the small differences in the factors we considered.
Here’s how we’d rank Disney World’s value resorts:
Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort (Refurbished Rooms)
Disney’s Pop Century Resort
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
Rooms at the Value Resorts
Pop Century Resort has newly refurbished rooms throughout the resort. All-Star Movies is in the midst of getting nearly identical rooms installed, and several buildings are already complete.
Once Movies is done, it’s expected that Music and Sports will be next. Currently, Art of Animation is not expected to get refurbished rooms in the near future. Its current rooms are somewhere between the old and new rooms in quality.
Until the Skyliner is operational (more below), rooms are the factor we weight most in comparing the value resorts. Hence we see Movies as the best option given its low price and improved rooms.
Some people don’t like the new feel of the refurbished rooms. We get that they’re a step in the direction of a “clean” and “modern” aesthetic. While we don’t care much for that among the deluxe and moderate resorts, we find it to be an improvement over the old value rooms.
Transportation at the Value Resorts
Until the Skyliner is operational, all the value resorts rely on bus transportation to get to all the parks and Disney Springs. Pop Century and Art of Animation have their own buses almost all the time, while the All-Star Resorts share during off-peak times.
The bus situation is…debatable. We’ve never been bothered by the sharing at the All-Star Resorts, as it only happens during off-peak hours. And you can walk from Music to Movies with no problem (some Movies rooms are even closer to the Music stop than the Movies stop), so this all seems to be splitting hairs.
In summer 2019, the Skyliner is expected to being operations. At that point, Art of Animation and Pop Century will be connected to Epcot and Hollywood Studios via the Skyliner.
Other Differences at the Value Resorts
Here are some other differences between the value resorts:
The theme at movies is slightly more “Disney” in the traditional sense that you have giant Woody, Buzz, and Dalmatians sitting around
Pop Century has a slightly better food court than the All-Stars; Art of Animation has the best food court of the value resorts
All-Star Sports is just a wild west of teens and tweens (engaged in various sporting competitions throughout the year) that we avoid at all cost
You can walk easily among the All-Star Resorts; you can walk easily between Pop Century and Art of Animation
And just for completeness, here are some quick profiles of the value resorts.
Disney's Pop Century Resort
Rates Start At: $130 per night
The Good: Pop really checks all the boxes for us—new rooms, good food court, dedicated bus with a single stop. If you’re really into cartoony theming more than refurbished rooms, you might prefer Art of Animation—but really consider the prices first.
We ranked it second, below All-Star Movies, but it’s maybe more of a toss up depending on price. And once the Skyliner opens, Pop will have a solid grasp on the #1 spot in our value rankings. Our review of Disney's Pop Century Resort can be found here.
The Bad: None (relative to the other value resorts)
Disney's Art of Animation Resort
Rates Start At: $153 per night
The Good: Honestly, it wouldn’t be hard to argue for Art of Animation as the best value resort. Obviously Disney believes it is and has priced it accordingly. First of all, it has the best pool of any value resorts. You can even hear Disney music underwater. That’s pretty cool!
Second, the "Landscape of Flavors" food court is the best of the value resorts (and better than a few moderate resorts). Many guests who stay at Pop make the walk over to Art of Animation at least once to try out the offerings there.
Art of Animation's design is, like the other values, way over the top. We think this plays great for families with young children, though. Art of Animation and All-Star Movies probably have the most “Disney” feels of any hotels on property.
The Bad: The rooms aren’t refurbished and can come off as tacky. Compared to other value resorts the price is hard to justify. This is especially the case during deals. Art of Animation is often excluded from deals or sees its availability sell our quickly, meaning you may be comparing sub-$100 at All-Star Movies vs. $150+ at Art of Animation. Art of Animation is good—but not that good.
One More Thing: Art of Animation rooms can be divided into the standard Little Mermaid Rooms and the Family Suites. The prices for the Family Suites are more in line with moderate or even deluxe resorts, starting at $366 per night.
The Family Suites are worth looking into if you've got the money and are looking for something a little different. But don't confuse them with a deluxe stay. You'll still have bad location and a lack of high-quality dining options.
Why to Pick It: You've stayed moderate or deluxe before and want a taste of the value life.
Disney's All-Star Sports Resort / Disney's All-Star Movies Resort / Disney's All-Star Music Resort
Rates Start At: $112 per night
Note: We discuss the All-Star Resorts together, noting the differences briefly.
The Good: They're cheap. You get all the perks of staying at a Walt Disney World resort. Theming can be fun.
The Bad: Shared buses during off-hours. Food limited to food court options. Large campuses can add to travel time.
Our Thoughts: The All-Star Resorts are the "true" value resorts at Walt Disney World. They are the lowest cost accommodations on property besides the campsites. If you can afford an upgrade to Pop Century or Art of Animation, then yes, it is worth it (probably for the dedicated bus alone). If you can't, don't worry! These are still fun hotels with fun theming.
Differences Between the All-Star Resorts:
All-Star Movies has refurbished rooms (not all rooms yet) and the most “Disney” theming (because movies, duh), making it easily the best of the three
The shared buses stop at Sports, Music, then Movies.
All-Star Sports typically sees more large groups of kids visiting for athletic events at ESPN's Wide World of Sports.
Why to Pick It: You're in the value bracket and want to stay at a Disney property.
Campgrounds and Cabins
The Disney website considers the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds their own category and places the Cabins in the Moderate category. Since these are really different places than the other resorts, we don’t see the point in ranking them alongside the other resorts.
The Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort
Rates Start At: $375 per night
Our Thoughts: As we cover in our review of The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, Fort Wilderness is a truly unique experience. There’s really no sensible reason to rank it against the other Disney resorts, which is why we don’t.
The Cabins at Fort Wilderness are good for guests who are driving to Walt Disney World and have longer stays. They are equipped with a kitchen, which is a great for saving money.
They also have a personal parking space, so those with cars can quickly jet off to the parks in the morning. Fort Wilderness is filled with recreational activities, which is why it’s better for longer stays.
Without a car, or for shorter stays, the Cabins are great accommodations, but the location and difficulties getting to and from your cabin make it a very inconvenient option.
The Campsites at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort
Rates Start At: $62 per night
We’ve never camped at Fort Wilderness, but we have stayed in the Cabins, which share the same amenities as the campsites. See above for our commentary on Fort Wilderness generally, or read our review of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort.
The campsites are the lowest-priced accommodations at Walt Disney World, which automatically piques one’s interest. If you have an RV / camper or are really into tent camping, it’s easy to see why these are appealing. If you’re looking for straight value, it’s probably more sensible to save a bit or find the All-Stars at a discount. Don’t come to Fort Wilderness to save, come to Fort Wilderness to experience Fort Wilderness.
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've got you covered with posts on how to book cheap flights, how to get the best deal on your Disney hotel, and where to find discount Disney World tickets. And of course everyone wants to know whether or not they should get a Disney World dining plan!
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!
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.