How to decide where to stay at Walt Disney World

So you have decided to take your family to Disney. How exciting! But where should you stay?

One of the hardest decisions you will have to make when planning a Disney trip is where to stay. I know a lot of people say that “It’s just a place to sleep” but the right hotel can be so much more than that and add so much extra Disney magic to your trip.

So how do you decide?

Selecting the right resort for your family is a very personal decision. Meaning, what works for one family, may not for the next. You may love Art of Animation and suggest it to a friend or family member and as it turns out, they did not care for it. The best thing to do is, do your research. Check out what each resort has to offer when it comes to food, amenities, and transportation options.

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What is most important to your family?

While doing your research you are going to have to ask yourself, what is most important to your family? Price? Amenities? Room Size or Sleeping Arraignments? Transportation Options? This way, while you’re looking at each resort and seeing what they all have to offer, you know what things to keep an eye out for.

For my family, there are two main factors that cut our options in half. The first being room size/sleeping arraignments. Now that my kids are older, we absolutely need a room that sleeps 5 people. Having a room that allows for them to have their own bed is crucial. This narrows down our options a bit. The other factor, is the pool “situation”. The pool has to be a decent size and must have a water slide. Having a resort with a pool that our whole family can enjoy is a big selling factor to us. So this cuts our options down even more. These are just our preferences but it definitely makes our decision that much easier.

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Other important factors that we consider are transportation options and price. We like to head back to the resort in the middle of the day to swim and relax. Because of this, we like to stay on property and in a central location. Having multiple modes of transportation is also a factor we consider because being able to quickly get back to our resort versus waiting in a long line for a bus or shuttle can be frustrating when you’ve been walking in close to 100° weather for 10 hours.

Crunching the numbers

Cost is obliviously an important factor to pretty much all of us. And can generally be the deciding factor for most of us. As I’ve said before, I know Disney is expensive and budgeting for it is key for many families. However, some of the resorts may or may not be worth the savings to your family. When comparing resorts, try to look at the big picture and not just the cost. I know that is easier said than done but while a couple hundred dollars may sound like a lot; if you start saving for your trip at least a year in advance, $500 divided by 12 months is only an extra $40 a month. Personally, I’d rather be able to stay at better resort and be able to experience more and genuinely love every aspect of my vacation.

Comparing the same 3 resorts. The prices for each of these resorts is significantly different. I know for some of us, the cheapest option always seems like it’s the obvious answer. Just keep in mind things you really want and if the cost is the most important factor or if getting more out of your resort is. For us, if the resorts we are choosing between are fairly close in price, we will really dig in to the resort’s restaurant menus, watch room tour videos on YouTube as well as pool videos.

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If you are planning your trip in a shorter amount of time or are on a stricter budget, then obviously crunching the numbers is going to matter. If you are looking to plan a Disney trip on a budget, definitely check out my Disney budget planning post. Doing a price comparison always helps me break down all the pros and cons. And when doing your price comparison remember to check out the special offers page to make sure you’re comparing the best price available. Remember that if there isn’t a promotion at that time for your travel dates (like with these example dates) don’t let that scare you. Disney announces promotions often and you can always call and have a promotion added to your reservation if one comes available after you book your room.

Don’t rule out the importance of food options

One last thing to keep in mind, are your food options. You’re most likely going to be on vacation for multiple days and odds are you’re going to eat at the resort at some point. Be sure to go over each resort’s food options and the menus. Keep in mind that Disney Value Resorts only have Quick Service options, whereas Moderate & Deluxe Resorts have a combination of Quick Service, Table Service and Lounges. If you have picky eaters, it would probably be helpful to know that there are food options that your family would be able to eat. Also, some resorts (on and off property) have kitchenettes. This would allow you to be able to make food for your family and be less dependent on the resort food options, if need be.

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Remember! Your resort is NOT just a place to sleep. It’s a place to relax, unwind, enjoy some good eats and get a good night’s rest. Do your research and compare your options. No matter where you stay, you’re bound to have a great stay!

Spreading magic one post at a time

Kristin

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