A number of different factors go into a Walt Disney World hotel. There’s the theme, the pool, lobby, restaurants, grounds and a number of different recreational activities. Unlike a typical hotel stay, the room might get lost in the shuffle. For some of us crazy people who spend sun up to sun down in the park, that’s okay. For others, the hotel room is likely a much bigger deal. In this post, I’m going to list a few of my favorite hotel rooms at Walt Disney World!
Hotels, and specifically hotel rooms, have been a point of contention among Walt Disney World faithful as of late. Over the past few years, there has been a trend toward more generic theme and design. Obviously, this isn’t a big deal to everyone as some people are just looking for a nice hotel room with a little bit of Disney theme sprinkled in. But that is a counter to many of the astonishing hotel debuts the Disney World saw in its first 30 or 40 years.
Admittedly, not all of those older rooms work now. Some of that is due to neglect while the rest of the blame could be placed on themes that didn’t have as much staying power. Toeing the line between immersive and tacky in a room’s décor and theme is a tricky task. Speaking for myself, I’d rather see Disney accidentally fall over that line than to play it too safe and generic like they currently do.
It goes without saying that everyone’s taste is different. My thought is that I could go and stay in a nice Marriot or Hilton anywhere, even on Disney World property. While that type of hotel is nice and enjoyable, it’s not what I’m looking for at a Disney Resort. While much of that is in the amenities and shared spaces, that stretches to the room.
That leads me to my favorite current rooms in Walt Disney World. I’ve ranked WDW hotels as a whole and, frankly, prefer that. As I mentioned, I don’t spend a ton of time in the room. But there are a few that stand out as favorites. I’m not going to list them in a particular order and I will try to include one for every price point, although the more expensive ones are usually going to be higher quality in terms of size and in-room amenities. Let’s get to it!
The crown jewel of theme in Disney World, Animal Kingdom Lodge’s unique design stretches all the way to the room. We’ll start with the most obvious aspect of being able to watch animals roam across the hotel’s mini-savanna. Sitting out on a balcony as a giraffe lopes below is blissful, there’s no doubting that!
Even if you put that amazing perk aside, Animal Kingdom Lodge still has my favorite rooms in Walt Disney World. The décor is functional and feels authentic to the experience, even if it actually isn’t. That balance that I talked about between theme and tacky is struck perfectly here, as no detail is left unturned but it doesn’t feel intrusive. Extending the grandiose beauty of Animal Kingdom Lodge’s lobby into the intimacy of a hotel room is incredibly difficult, but it’s exactly what is accomplished here.
What’s not to love about French Quarter? The immersive, if not romanticized, feeling of strolling around the French Quarter applies to the rooms. From the colorful doors on the outside to the unique paintings inside, the rooms underscore the character of the resort. The room’s headboards specifically feel very royal and elegant. The hardwood floors mixed with the accent wall is one of my favorite designs in Disney World. Add in some cool light fixtures and I’m all the way in!
Honestly, these rooms are a bit all over the place but it works for me. I’ve only ever stayed in the studio rooms at the Poly but I appreciate the two bathrooms offered from a functional standpoint. While I’m on the subject, the Polynesian has my favorite shower in WDW. That’s the hard hitting analysis I know you’re all looking for!
I don’t think anyone is staying at the Polynesian looking for pretentiousness and elegance. We turn to the Grand Floridian for that. That leaves room for the Polynesian to be far more interesting, with bright colors and nods to Adventureland. The room is exciting but never feels out of control, it’s clear what the Polynesian is going for and it lives up to the high price tag.
I wanted to include one value resort and I do like what Pop Century does with the space. That said, most of the value resorts have had their rooms updated recently and they look similar to my eyes. I like the pull down bed, as they give more space for the room. I also appreciate the sliding door by the bathroom and a theme that isn’t completely overzealous. Really, these rooms are functional which is what you hope for in a value resort.
I should say that I haven’t spent enough time in these rooms, as we’ve only been here for one night and that was 4 or 5 years ago now. They have since updated the rooms and I like the looks of them. I liked the old version too (pictured below) but the carpet and other aspects weren’t aging as well. Similar to Animal Kingdom Lodge, the room is an extension of the lobby’s theme. This is one of the most immersive stays at Walt Disney World.
We’ll end with an odd one, as these rooms make the list simply because of how large they are. I’ve lived in apartments that are significantly smaller than these 2-bedroom villas. If you want to go to Disney World with a bigger group but don’t want to be in each other’s way, I couldn’t recommend these rooms highly enough. Are they the pinnacle of theme and design? No, but they’re really nice rooms that fit in well with their respective resorts. Looking at it from simply a square footage angle, these rooms are a good value.
What are your favorite hotel rooms in Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments below! Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Check out our planning guide for help! If you enjoy what you’re reading here on Wandering in Disney, please subscribe to the blog and like our social media pages. You can do both of those things on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Hotel Reviews