There are so many ways to create a more luxurious Disney World vacation both inside and outside the parks. For those seeking a luxury vacation at Disney World from start to finish, the right resort matters.
Disney offers several deluxe resorts that are considered four-star resorts by hotel industry standards. Each of them has a concierge level floor that comes with the club lounge access and a concierge who assists with trip details in advance of your arrival.
Choosing which deluxe resort to book depends on how you want to spend your time while in Orlando.
- Parents with young children who still require strollers and naps appreciate being close to Magic Kingdom by monorail.
- Parents with older children may want the best pools and access to Hollywood Studios for Star Wars events.
- Adults might want to be closest to Epcot for the Food & Wine or Flower & Garden festivals.
- Families seeking an exotic experience than a traditional theme park will appreciate Animal Kingdom as a base to check out the new Pandora and safaris.
The Grand Floridian
The Grand Floridian is Disney World grand dame. It’s modeled after the historic resorts from the 19th century like the Hotel Coronado in San Diego and The Omni Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
The Grand Floridian has many advantages.
It is one stop on the monorail to Magic Kingdom, and the park is also assessable by charming water boat shuttle.
The Grand Floridian also boasts a lobby with live music and many shopping opportunities.
The Grand Floridian also has one of the larger spas and fitness centers on site. Many other Disney resorts have smaller spas that only provide massage treatments.
The pool area is made of three pools. There’s a family pool with a waterslide, as well as a general pool with food and beverage service. A splash area pool with a Mad Hatter structure is hypnotic to watch. At this time, there are no pool cabana at the Grand Floridian.
The final advantage of the Grand Floridian is access to several favorite restaurants (click to see food pictures) on site.
Victoria and Albert’s is considered one of the best restaurants in Florida, though it is not open to children. The next door Polynesian Resort offers childcare for the night for your meal at $55 per child.
For foodies traveling with their kids, Citricos and Narcoossee’s are both great options. The latter offers a wonderful viewing of the Magic Kingdom fireworks. The soundtrack is piped through the restaurant’s interior and exterior spaces.
The Contemporary Resort
Another monorail resort option that offers key convenience to Magic Kingdom more than any other hotel is the Contemporary Resort.
The Contemporary Resort is the only Disney World resort that offers a walking path to Magic Kingdom. For those with kids in the stroller on a short visit, this convenience could translates into Disney luxury.
The Contemporary also houses one of the best restaurants in all Disney World where children can still go with their foodie parents, California Grill on the top floor of the hotel.
Each night the music is piped into the restaurant and on the observation deck’s extending from the restaurants penthouse floor and the views for fireworks are the best outside of the park itself
The Contemporary offers a family pool with water slide and a splash area as well as pool cabanas.
The main hotel building gets very loud and noisy because of its atrium structure. Book rooms in the garden wing where are you can have a quiet patio that opens out onto the pool area.
For the most luxurious option, book a Disney Vacation Club suite at the Bay Lake Tower. It’s building is newer, and the pool is even nicer. Some of these suites have incredible fireworks views from the bathtub!
Disney’s Polynesian Resort
The Polynesian is a very beloved Disney resort that has changed little since its opening in the 1970s, and I know many families who stayed there as children and they’ll take their own children.
The most luxurious offering at the Polynesian would be the new over-the-water bungalows that are part of the Disney vacation club.
The Polynesian’s interior tropical vibe seats many people, and they feel like they’re really on a warm weather beach vacation.
Trader Sam’s is one of the most popular bars for grown-ups at Disney World, and ‘Ohana is one of the most popular character breakfasts.
Epcot’s Deluxe Disney World Resorts
In the Epcot area, the Yacht and Beach Clubs earn strong loyalty from Disney regulars
Both properties offer suites and concierge-level rooms, while only the Beach Club offers vacation villas with extra space and kitchen amenities.
The Yacht and Beach Clubs our most popular because of the Stormalong Bay pool area, the most popular at Disney World.
While neither resort boasts any of the most sophisticated Disney restaurants, Beaches and Cream is a fabulous ice cream parlor known for its decadent sundaes. And the Kitchen Sink is the ultimate caloric splurge.
The advantage of staying at the Yacht and Beach Clubs is how accessible are so many other restaurants. The Disney Boardwalk and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels are a walk or water shuttle away.
The luxury of convenience staying at the Yacht and Beach Clubs includes the ability to walk into Epcot’s back door in the international pavilion. This easy access opens up all of Epcot restaurants if you have park tickets for that day.
Animal Kingdom Lodge
Finally, Animal Kingdom Lodge offers an incredibly unique experience where luxury upgrades can really matter.
Animal Kingdom Lodge offers both concierge level rooms and Disney Vacation Club rooms. Even better, there are a few combined Disney Vacation Club rooms with club access and savannah views, the best of all worlds.
The views here are clearly worth the investment. Savannah view rooms offer closer encounters with the resort’s giraffes, zebras, and other animals wondering the grounds.
There are many private safari, food, and wine experiences available onsite as well as at Animal Kingdom.
There is a safari experience at Animal Kingdom Lodge, but most animal interactions have an age limit. Guests must be 10 years of age for the daytime event or 8 years of age for the nighttime safari.
Jiko occupies a place on the list of Disney World’s top signature restaurants. Buffet lovers consider Boma one of Disney World’s top buffets.
And for foodies, the new Tiffin’s inside Animal Kingdom Lodge is a wonderful new oasis for an elegant meal at WDW.
The Four Seasons at Walt Disney World
If you are truly a five-star hotel person, we find the perfect balance of Disney World luxury is to combine a park visit with a stay at the Four Seasons.
The pool area, rooms, service, food, and Breakfast with Goofy and Pals are what stand apart from staying onsite. We’ve been four times, and you can read why we can’t stay away from the Four Seasons Orlando.
Guests of the Four Seasons, however, do not have a few key Disney resort benefits.
- Magic Bands do not come with your room reservation.
- Guests cannot book Fast Passes 60 days in advance.
- Extra Magic Hours do not apply to Four Season’s guests.
- Magical Express shuttles to the airport
- Self-parking has a fee, while WiFi is free.
- The luxury coaches that shuttle to parks drop guests off with the rest of the offsite resort buses. For Magic Kingdom, this is the Ticket and Transportation Center. (Psst, book an Uber!)
That said, an onsite Disney Guest relations desk at the Four Seasons can do magic in helping you. They have answered all of my questions about our stays before arrival. They can connect your Magic Bands to your tickets, too.
The Kids’ Club at the Four Seasons is complimentary for children ages 4 though 12, and is open every day from 10 A.M. until 5 or 6 P.M., depending on the season.
There really is a luxury Disney Vacation for everyone.