Disclaimer: Due to ongoing restrictions, please do check all government guidelines and hotel restrictions. As of May 2021, there are still certain closures and restrictions still in place so be sure to do your own research on top of this fun post. I’m treating this post as if the pandemic never happened, but if you’re planning a trip there soon, you can’t unfortunately.
I’m kind of obsessed with going to Walt Disney World as a childless millennial. There, I said it. I’ve been dying to go back for a couple of years now but other trips we had planned made it awkward so we promised ourselves we’d go for the 50thcelebrations…….well, that was before 2020 handed us a bag of dirt of a year. So now, who knows when we’ll get there (we’re thinking maybe 2023) but one thing I do know, is that I am a planning QUEEN and have done more research on hotels than I’ve had hot dinners recently.
So I thought it would be fun to tell you my top three hotels and where we would stay as a childfree, married couple if we were booking a hotel in each group i.e. value, moderate and deluxe.
I love a good bargain, but I also love my home comforts so am definitely a fussy budgeter!
There are five hotels in this category and each has their own charm.
Disney’s Art of Animation
Disney’s All-Star Movies
Disney’s Pop Century
Disney’s All-Star Sports
Disney’s All-Star Music
Now I’m going to be completely open here and say Sports does nothing for me. It was never going to be an option. And as big a fan I am of The Little Mermaid and the other animated Disney films, I didn’t really fancy Art of Animation either; though I 100% want to visit and have my photo taken with the GIANT Sebastian #doingitforthegram.
Ultimately, we decided that if we were going to have a trip on more of a budget, our hotel of choice would be Pop Century. The rooms are (relatively at this point) newly renovated, it’s Disney without being too Disney, and it has the added bonus of being on the skyliner route!
Everything at Pop Century is basically themed around pop culture from the 20th century and as an 80s baby, this gives me all of the nostalgia! There are five areas, blocks if you like, and each area is based on an era from the 50s to the 90s with giant memorabilia outside of the accommodation blocks. I’m talking Rubix Cubes, ROGER FREAKING RABBIT, walkmans….you get the idea. The thought of exploring the grounds of Pop Century fills me with almost as much excitement as the parks.
The Nitty Gritty
From Pop Century you’re able to take the park buses and the skyliner to the theme parks so no car, no problem.
The resort has three pools, a bowling pin shape, computer shape and the hippy dippy pool (the largest of the three with a pool bar and an abundance of loungers….I use the term abundance loosely, this is a popular resort after all!)
The most important part for any foodie is, well, the food. Aside from the pizza delivery to your room you can order, you have the food court which is the ideal quick service pitstop for all your fast food, breakfast and general food needs. It’s not going to be fine dining but it’s an ideal area to grab a quick bite when you can’t face large meals.
Pop Century also has a games arcade if that’s your thing or you’re going as a family and want to occupy the kids for a while with zero effort.
The moderate category is actually the smallest of all, which makes no sense to me but I’m sure they have their reasons.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach
Disney’s Coronado Springs
Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside
Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter
Now, this is the only category where we really struggled to make a selection. I wasn’t a huge fan of Coronado Springs to look at or the pools but I know it’s had a huge overhaul, the rooms look lovely and the abundance of food places is very tempting.
Port Orleans looks stunning but is so vast I know it would overwhelm me. I’m also pretty impatient, it’s a flaw, so I’d be stressed with only the bus as an option unless we paid for taxi’s.
However, I think we would go for Caribbean Beach given the ease of access to parks via the skyliner. The other moderate resorts only have use of the buses (or taxi’s of course).
The Nitty Gritty
Caribbean Beach as I mentioned has the use of the skyliner, in fact, it’s the main hub! That’s a huge bonus knowing that you can hop on a skyliner to anywhere it’s connected to without having to worry about chopping and changing. Absolute win.
Similar to Pop Century, it has five areas. In this case, 5 ‘islands’, namely Barbados, Jamaica, Martinique, Trinidad and Aruba and each area has it’s own pool which is pretty cool if some days you want to just relax. In all honesty, I’m not a huge fan of the pools, however, what sells it for me is the pristine white beaches, the movies under the stars, campfire activities….the surroundings are just beautiful.
If you’re going with children, or are a pirates fan yourself, you can also choose to stay in a pirate themed room too!
Foodwise, you have your quick service grab and go food hall again, pizza delivery to your room, another quick service dining option with a Caribbean twist on American food, and Sebastian’s Bistro. Oh, and the obligatory pool bar, always a win for afternoon snacks poolside. So the options aren’t too bad if you’re a grab and go kind of person.
Here we have, shockingly *raises eyebrow*, the largest category of all. The deluxe hotels.
At this point it became clear that we were going to end up creating a bucket list for Disney hotels because I want to stay at so many of them. Here’s the list of deluxe resorts to date:
Animal Kingdom Lodge
Polynesian Village Resort
Beach Club Resort
Yacht Club Resort
I have to say our least favourite here was 100% the Contemporary Resort. There’s something about it that just doesn’t seem to have that Disney warmth from the outside, but again, like previous categories, I want to add that I will 100% be heading to this hotel to scout it out and visit California Grill. It’s on the monorail loop and, if I’m not mistaken, is actually walkable to the Magic Kingdom. But it’s still a no. I like my Disney hotels with a theme.
It took a while, but we managed to get this list down to two and due to the buses being the only form of complimentary transport to parks, Animal Kingdom Lodge fell at the final hurdle. The Beach Club won the battle.
The Nitty Gritty
On the topic of transport to parks, The Beach Club Resort, in my humble opinion, reigns supreme. You can walk to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, you can hop on a BOAT, it’s of course on the bus route and, it’s basically on the skyliner route!
Going to Disney as two adults, no children, we also appreciate being close to places where we can wander out for a nice meal, have a drink or two, then stroll back later on; be it at Epcot or directly on the boardwalk. I know there are pros to staying at all of the luxury resorts, that’s why they’re luxury, right? But for us, Beach Club ticks every single box.
Dining options are abundant, again, a combination of its location on the boardwalk, together with it’s own on site places AND its neighbour, the more formal sister hotel, The Yacht Club. I’ve had my eye on the Ale & Compass Restaurant for as long as I can remember, I’ve been desperate to try the bread and bacon jam everyone seems to rave about. The rest of the food looks good too, I suppose haha.
There has to be a special mention to the pools, too. Specifically, Stormalong Bay. Countless people refer to the pool as the best pool in Disney and I’m not about to disagree. We’re talking sand-bottomed, a shipwreck, a water slide, a lazy river and 3 whirpools.
So here you have my top three hotels that, as novices, we’d stay at. One from each category; Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, and The Beach Club.
Let me know your opinions and where you’d stay out of the three we chose!