Best Disney Deluxe Resorts

Are you dreaming of a magical Walt Disney World vacation in 2024 or 2025? While staying at a Disney resort is always a great choice, opting for a Disney Deluxe Resort will take your vacation to the next level. As a frequent visitor to Disney World with my family, I can attest to the unparalleled experiences and amenities offered by these top-tier accommodations.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the key features of Disney Deluxe Resorts and reveal our top 8 picks for the best Deluxe Resorts at Disney World. From the tropical oasis of the Polynesian Village Resort to the grandeur of the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, we’ll help you find the perfect Disney World Deluxe Resort to suit your preferences and create magical memories with your loved ones.

So, let’s dive into the enchanting world of the best Disney Deluxe Resorts and discover what makes them the ultimate choice for your next Walt Disney World vacation!

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What are Disney Deluxe Resorts?

Disney Deluxe Resorts are the top-tier hotel accommodations at Walt Disney World, offering luxurious amenities and unbeatable proximity to the theme parks. These resorts are known for their immersive themes, spacious rooms, excellent dining options, and a wide range of recreational activities. While they are more expensive than Disney Value Resorts and Disney Moderate Resorts, the experience that Disney Deluxe Resorts offer is unparalleled.

There are 8 Deluxe Resorts at Disney World, each with its own unique charm and appeal. Here is the list of Disney Deluxe Resorts:

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Let’s see what The Vacationeer (our favorite Disney YouTube Channel) has to say about Disney World resorts.

Refer to our Disney World Map and Disney World Transportation Map page to get a better perspective on the layout and location of each resort.

Key Benefits of Disney Deluxe Resorts

Prime Locations

Deluxe Resorts offer the best proximity to the theme parks, with some even within walking distance or a short monorail ride away. This allows guests to easily access the parks and return to their resort for breaks or meals throughout the day.

Enhanced Amenities

Disney’s Deluxe Resorts boast an array of premium amenities, such as:

  • Stunning themed pools with slides, poolside games, and some even have a lazy river
  • Exceptional dining options, including signature restaurants, Disney character dining, and quick-service eateries
  • Recreational activities like boat rentals, fishing, tennis, and golf
  • State-of-the-art fitness centers and yoga classes for maintaining wellness while on vacation
  • Full-service spas offering massages, facials, and other treatments
  • Immersive children’s programs and activities that keep little ones entertained and engaged, including outdoor Disney movie screenings

Spacious Accommodations

Deluxe Resort rooms are generally larger than those at Value and Moderate Resorts, providing ample space for families and groups. Many resorts offer a variety of room types, such as:

  • Standard rooms with comfortable king or queen beds
  • Suites with separate bedrooms and living areas for added privacy and space
  • Villas with fully-equipped kitchens and washer/dryers, perfect for longer stays or larger families
  • Club-level rooms that grant access to exclusive lounges and personalized concierge services

Immersive Themes

Each Deluxe Resort features a unique and immersive theme that adds magic to your Disney vacation. These themes are meticulously carried out in every detail of the resort’s architecture, décor, and atmosphere. For example, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, guests can spot exotic animals from their balconies, while Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort offers a South Pacific paradise with lush landscaping and tiki torches.

Excellent Transportation

All transportation is complimentary in Disney World, and Deluxe Resort guests have even more options at their fingertips. In addition to the regular bus service, many Deluxe Resorts offer alternative transportation options that make getting to the theme parks and other Disney destinations a breeze:

  • Monorail: The Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian resorts are conveniently located on the monorail loop, providing swift access to Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
  • Boats: Several resorts, including Wilderness Lodge and the Yacht & Beach Club, offer scenic boat transportation to nearby parks and Disney Springs.
  • Walking Paths: Some resorts, such as the BoardWalk Inn and Yacht & Beach Club, are within walking distance of Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, allowing for a leisurely stroll to the parks.

Elevated Service and Benefits

Deluxe Resorts are known for their exceptional service, with attentive Cast Members always ready to go above and beyond to ensure your stay is nothing short of magical. From personalized room decorations to special celebrations, the staff at these resorts will make you feel like royalty.

On-Site Perks

Guests staying at Disney Deluxe Resort enjoy a host of exclusive perks that elevate their vacation experience. These include priority access to Lightning Lane passes and dining reservations, Early Theme Park Entry, Disney Dining Plan eligibility, complimentary parking, and discounted MagicBands. Starting in 2025, guests will also receive complimentary access to a Disney water park on their check-in day. Moreover, Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resort guests receive Extended Evening Theme Park Hours, a benefit not available to Value or Moderate Resort guests. These benefits make staying at a Disney Resort – especially a Disney Deluxe Resort – more advantageous than off-site accommodations.

Biggest Downside of Disney Deluxe Resorts

The main drawback of Disney Deluxe Resorts is their higher price point, which may not be feasible for all budgets. In 2024, the cost of staying at a Deluxe Resort can range from around $500 per night during the low season to well over $1,000 per night during peak holiday periods.

The cost of staying at a Deluxe Resort can vary greatly depending on the specific resort, room type, and time of year. For example, a standard room at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge starts at $487 per night during the low season, while the Club Level “Grand Suite” at Disney’s Grand Floridian costs $5808 per night during peak holiday week.

For many guests, the high cost of Deluxe Resorts may be prohibitive, and they may prefer to explore more affordable options in Disney’s Value or Moderate categories. However, for those willing to splurge on their Disney vacation or for whom budget is not a primary concern, the enhanced amenities, prime locations, and superior service offered by Deluxe Resorts can make the extra expense worthwhile.

Carefully consider your priorities and budget when deciding whether a Deluxe Resort is the right choice for your Disney World vacation. Our Disney World Resort hotel comparison guide can help you explore the price ranges and amenities of each resort category to make an informed decision. We also recommend pricing out different options with the help of a Disney travel agent, like those at The Vacationeer.

On to our list of the top 8 best Disney Deluxe resorts!

List: Top 8 Best Disney Deluxe Resorts

Here is our list of the top 8 best Disney Deluxe Resorts. We consider factors such as location, transportation options, theme, dining, amenities, and overall value when ranking these resorts.

8. Yacht Club Resort

Yacht Club disney deluxe resort
  • Cost: Standard Room prices range from $569 (low season) to $1046 (peak holiday season) in 2024. Club Level rooms and suites start at $830.
  • Theme: New England-style yacht club
  • Location: Epcot Resort Area
  • Rooms: 630
  • Suites: Turret Suites, Presidential Suites, and more
  • Transportation: Walking, boat, and bus transportation to theme parks and Disney Springs
  • Best For: Adults and families seeking a more refined and upscale atmosphere with access to excellent pool amenities.

Resort Overview:

Situated along the banks of Crescent Lake, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is a grand hotel themed to resemble a late 1800s New England yacht club. The resort is five stories with 630 rooms, making it slightly larger than its sister resort, the Beach Club. The decor is stately and elegant with upscale nautical touches throughout the property.

Like other Deluxe resorts, the Yacht Club is in close proximity to many Disney attractions. It’s well within walking distance to Epcot, Hollywood Studios, the Boardwalk promenade, and other nearby resorts.

The Yacht Club and Beach Club resorts share quite possibly the best pool at Disney World – Stormalong Bay. This three-acre water wonderland has a lazy river winding through it, sandy-bottom wading areas, whirlpool spas, water slides, and pool bars. The resort also has a “quiet pool” and hot tub location for outdoor relaxation.

Guests can indulge in exceptional dining experiences at the Yachtsman Steakhouse, an upscale fan favorite, or the Ale & Compass Restaurant, or enjoy a more casual meal at the Marketplace at Ale & Compass. The resort also offers a variety of recreation options, including a ship-shaped slide at the Admiral Pool and a pirate-themed splash pad for kids. The Ship Shape Health Club is another major asset to this resort.

Yacht Club Resort hotel

Pros:

  • Prime location within walking distance to Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and the Boardwalk
  • Exceptional dining options, including the highly-rated Yachtsman Steakhouse
  • Access to Stormalong Bay, one of the best pool complexes at Disney World
  • Elegant and refined atmosphere with upscale nautical theming
  • Ship Shape Health Club for fitness enthusiasts

Cons:

  • More formal atmosphere may not appeal to all families, particularly those with younger children
  • Rooms are slightly smaller compared to some other Deluxe Resorts
  • A higher price point may not fit all budgets
  • Theming isn’t as overtly Disney as some other resorts

 

Bottom Line

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is a stunning property with fantastic amenities and dining options. Its proximity to Epcot is unbeatable, and the Stormalong Bay pool complex is a major highlight. The Yachtsman Steakhouse will appeal to those who enjoy a great meal in an upscale setting.

However, the resort’s formal atmosphere may not appeal to all families, especially those with younger children. The upscale ambiance and refined décor may be more attractive to older guests. Families with young children who prefer a more laid-back and whimsical vacation experience may appreciate its sister resort, Beach Club, more favorably, or something entirely different like Polynesian. Therefore, we rank Yacht Club 8 out of 8 on our Best Disney Deluxe Resorts list as its theming isn’t as family-oriented as others.

My friend Sarah and her husband stayed at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort for their anniversary, and they couldn’t stop raving about the Yachtsman Steakhouse. They said it was one of the best meals they’ve ever had on a Disney vacation. While they enjoyed the resort’s sophisticated atmosphere, they did mention that its a great Disney resort for adults and for couples visiting Disney World rather than families.

 

yacht club resort lobby
yacht club resort disney world

7. Contemporary Resort

Disney's Contemporary Resort
  • Cost: Standard Room (Garden Wing) prices range from $572 (low season) to $1043 (peak holiday season) in 2024. Main Tower rooms start at $803, while Club Level rooms and suites start at $1043.
  • Theme: Modern, sleek design
  • Location: Magic Kingdom Resort Area
  • Rooms: 655
  • Suites: Suites including Bay Lake Tower Suites
  • Transportation: Walking, monorail, and bus transportation to theme parks and Disney Springs
  • Best For: Families who want the convenience of walking to Magic Kingdom or hopping on the monorail for easy access to the park.

Resort Overview

Disney’s Contemporary Resort, an iconic A-frame structure, has been a landmark at Disney World since the park opened in 1971. The resort is divided into two sections: the Tower (a 14-story A-frame) and the Garden Wing. The Grand Canyon Concourse, located on the 4th floor of the Tower, houses restaurants, shops, and the famous monorail station.

The resort’s prime location is one of its biggest selling points. Guests can walk or ride the monorail to Magic Kingdom, and Epcot is easily accessible by monorail with a transfer at the Ticket and Transportation Center. Visitors can also explore nearby resorts like the Polynesian and Grand Floridian via monorail or take a boat to Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness.

The Contemporary Resort offers popular dining options, including the upscale California Grill and the character dining experience at Chef Mickey’s. The resort also features numerous recreational activities, two well-appointed pools, and some of the largest rooms on Disney World property.

Disney World deluxe resorts

Pros:

  • Prime location with easy access to Magic Kingdom and Epcot
  • Multiple transportation options, including walking, monorail, and boats
  • Upscale dining options like California Grill
  • Large rooms and modern amenities
  • Fun Disney character dining experience at Chef Mickey’s

Cons:

  • Lacks the immersive theming found at other Deluxe Resorts
  • Tower rooms are more expensive than Garden Wing rooms
  • Modern aesthetic may not appeal to those seeking a more traditional Disney experience
 Contemporary Resort lobby

Bottom Line

Disney’s Contemporary Resort is an excellent choice for families who prioritize convenience and proximity to Magic Kingdom. The resort’s prime location, multiple transportation options, and modern amenities make it a popular choice among guests. However, the lack of immersive theming and the higher price point for Tower and Club Level rooms may not appeal to everyone. For these reasons, we rank Contemporary Resort #7 on our list of best Deluxe Resorts at Disney World.

My sister and her family stayed at Contemporary Resort last year and raved about the convenience of being able to walk to Magic Kingdom. They loved the resort’s modern aesthetic and the incredible views from the California Grill. However, they did mention that the resort might not be the best fit for families looking for a more immersive, Disney-themed experience.

Disney's Contemporary Resort

6. BoardWalk Inn Resort

Disney Deluxe Resort Boardwalk Inn
  • Cost: Standard Room prices range from $641 (low season) to $1118(peak holiday season) in 2024. Club Level rooms start at $897.
  • Theme: Early 20th Century Atlantic Ocean Resort
  • Location: Epcot Resort Area
  • Rooms: 378 at the resort, 530 at the villas
  • Suites: Garden Suites, Deluxe Suites, and more
  • Transportation: Walking, boat, and bus transportation to theme parks and Disney Springs
  • Best For: Adults and couples seeking a lively, entertaining atmosphere with easy access to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Resort Overview

Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, which opened in 1996, is situated in the heart of the BoardWalk entertainment district, offering a lively and engaging atmosphere reminiscent of early 20th-century Atlantic City. The resort is modeled after a grand hotel from the 1900s and exudes an elegant, Great Gatsby-esque feel. The lobby decor is upscale, and the oversized deck provides a perfect spot to unwind after a day at the parks.

BoardWalk Inn offers a variety of dining options, most of which are found along the BoardWalk promenade. Highlights include the BoardWalk Deli for quick bites, Flying Fish for seafood lovers, and Trattoria al Forno for Italian cuisine. In 2024, a new signature dining experience, The Cake Bake Shop by Gwendolyn Rogers, will open its doors, offering both savory and sweet delights.

The Luna Park Pool, themed after a 1920s-era carnival, is a standout feature of the resort. For a more tranquil experience, guests can visit the “quiet pool” located in the Villas section. Transportation to Epcot is a breeze, with a short walk or boat ride, while Hollywood Studios is accessible by boat or a 20-minute walk. Other destinations require bus transportation.

BoardWalk Inn Resort pool

Pros:

  • Prime location within walking distance of Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Unique dining and entertainment options along the BoardWalk promenade
  • Elegant 1920s Atlantic City theming throughout the resort
  • Multiple transportation options, including walking, boats, and buses

Cons:

  • Confusing resort layout with long, winding hallways
  • Lively atmosphere may not suit those seeking a more relaxed vacation
  • Lacks the immersive Disney theming found at other Deluxe Resorts
  • Most dining options require leaving the resort grounds

BoardWalk Inn Disney World

Bottom Line

Disney’s BoardWalk Inn provides a distinctive and enjoyable experience, ideal for adults and couples who appreciate having various dining and entertainment choices just a short walk from their accommodation. The BoardWalk promenade is an excellent area to explore during your visit. Additionally, the resort’s close proximity to Epcot and Hollywood Studios is a significant advantage.

However, the resort’s perplexing layout and absence of a distinct Disney ambiance may not resonate with all guests. While the dining options are abundant, they require leaving the resort premises, which may feel less cohesive compared to other Deluxe resorts that feature their own exclusive restaurants.

My wife Jaimie and I stayed at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn for a couples’ getaway before we had our first child. While we enjoyed the resort’s atmosphere and location, we found ourselves missing the more immersive Disney-theming we’ve experienced at other Deluxe Resorts. Despite this, we had a wonderful time exploring the BoardWalk and trying out the various dining options. For guests who prioritize location and entertainment over a heavily themed Disney experience, the BoardWalk Inn can be a great choice.

Disney Deluxe Resorts
BoardWalk Inn Resort

5. Beach Club Resort

beach club resort
  • Cost: Standard Room prices range from $569 (low season) to $1046 (peak holiday season) in 2024. Club Level rooms and suites start at $830.
  • Theme: New England seaside resort
  • Location: Epcot Resort Area
  • Rooms: 583
  • Suites: Suites including Presidential and Vice Presidential Suites
  • Transportation: Walking, boat, and bus transportation to theme parks and Disney Springs
  • Best For: Families who want to enjoy the best pool complex at Disney World while being within walking distance of Epcot.

Resort Overview:

Disney’s Beach Club Resort, which opened in 1990, offers a casual, laid-back atmosphere that sets it apart from its more formal sister resort, Disney’s Yacht Club. The resort’s pastel colors, beach-inspired décor, and relaxed ambiance create the perfect setting for families looking to unwind and have fun during their Disney World vacation.

Beach Club shares the three-acre Stormalong Bay pool complex with Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. This mini water park features a sand-bottom pool, lazy river, waterslide, and whirlpool spas, making it a favorite among guests of all ages. Additionally, the resort offers a quiet pool for those seeking a more tranquil experience.

Dining options at the Beach Club include the popular Cape May Cafe, which offers a character breakfast and a seafood buffet dinner. For casual quick-service fare, guests can visit the Beach Club Marketplace or the poolside Hurricane Hanna’s Grill. The resort is also home to Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, a nostalgic diner serving ice cream, burgers, and the famous Kitchen Sink sundae.

The Beach Club’s location is a major highlight, with Epcot’s International Gateway entrance just a short walk away. Guests can also take a leisurely stroll or boat ride to Disney’s BoardWalk and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Bus transportation is available to other theme parks and Disney Springs.

Disney's Beach Club Resort

Pros:

  • Access to Stormalong Bay, the best pool complex at Disney World
  • Easy walking distance to Epcot and boat transportation to Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Family-friendly atmosphere with beach-themed décor and activities
  • Variety of dining options, including character dining and a popular ice cream shop

Cons:

  • Rooms may feel cramped for larger families, with most not offering balconies
  • Dining options, while varied, are not as extensive as some other Deluxe Resorts
  • Shared transportation with other resorts may lead to longer wait times during peak seasons
stormalong bay
 Beach Club Resort lobby

Bottom Line:

Disney’s Beach Club Resort offers a perfect balance of family-friendly amenities, a prime location, and a relaxed, beachy atmosphere. The resort’s standout feature, Stormalong Bay, is a major draw for families looking to spend quality time together while enjoying the best pool complex at Disney World.

The resort’s proximity to Epcot and easy access to Disney’s Hollywood Studios via boat transportation make it an attractive choice for those who want to be close to the action. It has a more family-friendly vibe than its sister resort, Disney’s Yacht Club, making it a better Disney Resort for families with younger kids. However, the smaller rooms and somewhat limited dining options compared to other Deluxe Resorts may not suit everyone’s needs, which is why it ranks in the middle of our list.

My family and I have stayed at Disney’s Beach Club Resort multiple times over the years, and it never fails to impress us. My kids love spending hours at Stormalong Bay, and my wife and I enjoy the convenience of being able to walk to Epcot for dinner and drinks around the World Showcase. While the rooms can feel a bit tight for our family of four, the resort’s overall atmosphere, location, and amenities keep us coming back time and time again.

beach club resort at disney world
Pool at Beach Club Resort

4. Wilderness Lodge Resort

wilderness lodge disney world
  • Cost: Standard Room prices range from $524 (low season) to $979 (peak holiday season) in 2024. Club Level rooms start at %784.
  • Theme: Pacific Northwest National Park lodge
  • Location: Magic Kingdom Resort Area
  • Rooms: 729
  • Suites: Suites including Copper Creek Villas & Cabins
  • Transportation: Boat and bus transportation to theme parks and Disney Springs
  • Best For: Families who want a rustic, outdoorsy experience with easy access to Magic Kingdom.

Resort Overview:

Designed by Peter Dominick, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, which opened in 1994, is modeled after the historic Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park. The resort’s impressive lobby immediately immerses guests in the Pacific Northwest theme, with its towering 82-foot fireplace representing the colorful rocks of the Grand Canyon, intricate wood carvings, majestic 55-foot authentic totem poles, and eight floors of lodgepole pine imported from Oregon.

The resort’s outdoor areas are equally captivating, featuring an artificial geyser and hot springs, a babbling creek, and nature trails that wind through the pine forest. The resort’s design incorporates both natural and Native American elements, with displays representing Northwestern Native American artifacts, myths, legends, and stories.

As a 4-star deluxe resort, Wilderness Lodge offers guests access to a spa and fitness center, jacuzzi hot tubs, a kids’ zone and babysitting center, and fun and educational activities for adults and children.

The resort has two different pool areas: the lively Copper Creek Springs Pool, which includes a 67-foot water slide, and the more peaceful Boulder Ridge Cove Pool. Dining options vary from the rustic elegance of Story Book Dining at Artist Point, which features Snow White character dining, to the casual offerings of Whispering Canyon Cafe, Geyser Point Bar and Grill, and Roaring Fork.

Boat transportation is available to the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. Bus service to other areas of Disney World is shared with Polynesian and Grand Floridian resorts.

Pros:

  • Immersive Pacific Northwest theme with stunning architecture and design
  • Authentic Native American elements and artifacts throughout the resort
  • Convenient boat transportation to Magic Kingdom and other resorts
  • Diverse dining options and excellent resort amenities
  • Serene outdoor spaces with an artificial geyser, hot springs, and nature trails

Cons:

  • Not directly on the monorail loop, requiring boat or bus transportation to most destinations
  • Shared bus service with other resorts may lead to longer wait times during peak seasons
  • Rustic theme may not appeal to all guests seeking a more contemporary Disney experience
disney world wilderness lodge

Photo Credit: Micha L. Rieser under CC 2.0 Generic

best disney world resorts - wilderness lodge

Photo Credit: Jackdude101 under CC 4.0 INTL

Bottom Line:

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is a perfect choice for families who want to immerse themselves in the beauty of America’s National Parks while still enjoying the magic of Disney. The resort’s unique theme, convenient location, and array of amenities make it a standout among Disney’s Deluxe Resorts.

The resort’s architecture, inspired by the historic Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park, features authentic Native American elements and artifacts that create an unforgettable experience for guests. The serene outdoor spaces, including an artificial geyser and hot springs, provide a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the theme parks.

As a nature-loving family, we’ve always been drawn to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. From the moment we step into the grand lobby, we feel transported to a cozy mountain lodge rich with history and tradition. The resort’s attention to detail and convenient access to Magic Kingdom via boat transportation make it one of our top choices for a Disney World vacation.

While the resort may not have the same level of Disney theming as some others, our kids don’t seem to mind at all. They love exploring the resort’s stunning outdoor areas and watching the Fire Rock Geyser erupt. The unique wilderness atmosphere and excellent dining options more than make up for any lack of overt Disney elements, making Disney’s Wilderness Lodge a top choice for families seeking a one-of-a-kind resort experience.

best disney world resorts - wilderness lodge

Photo Credit: BestofWDW under CC 2.0 Generic

3.  Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Cost: Standard Room prices range from $487 (low season) to $888 (peak holiday season) in 2024. Club Level rooms and suites start at $872.
  • Theme: African wildlife lodge
  • Location: Animal Kingdom Resort Area
  • Rooms: 1,307
  • Suites: Suites including Presidential and Vice Presidential Suites
  • Transportation: Bus transportation to theme parks and Disney Springs
  • Best For: Families and animal lovers who want a unique, immersive experience with views of African wildlife.

Resort Overview:

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge transports guests to the heart of Africa, offering a one-of-a-kind experience with stunning savanna views and exotic animals right outside the resort windows. The lodge, designed by architect Peter Dominick, features an impressive array of African-inspired architecture and detailed interior design that beautifully captures the wildlife and landscape themes.

The resort’s main attraction is its spacious lobby and viewing area. It offers a stunning vista of 30 acres of land teeming with roaming animals and exotic birds from the nearby Animal Kingdom park. Guests can delight in close encounters with animals like giraffes, zebras, and flamingos from the comfort of their own balconies in the savanna-view rooms.

Dining at Animal Kingdom Lodge is an adventure in itself, with unique African-inspired signature restaurants like Jiko – The Cooking Place and Boma – Flavors of Africa. These restaurants offer a culinary journey through the diverse flavors and spices of the African continent, making them a must-visit for foodies and adventurous eaters alike.

The resort also boasts an extensive collection of African art, providing a cultural and educational experience for guests interested in learning more about the continent’s rich artistic heritage.

For relaxation and recreation, Animal Kingdom Lodge features themed pools, including the Uzima Springs Pool and Samawati Springs Pool, as well as a luxurious spa and fitness center. The resort offers a variety of room options, including standard rooms, pool view rooms, and the highly sought-after savanna view rooms.

animal kingdom lodge lobby

Pros:

  • Unique African theme with stunning savanna views and exotic animals
  • Exceptional dining options showcasing authentic African flavors and spices
  • Immersive cultural experience with an extensive collection of African art
  • Themed pools and luxurious spa for relaxation and recreation
  • Savanna view rooms provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience

Cons:

  • Remote location, far from other Disney World parks and attractions
  • Reliance on bus transportation, which can be time-consuming
  • Smaller room sizes overall compared to other Deluxe resorts
  • Higher room rates for the unique savanna view experience
Animal Kingdom Lodge Disney Deluxe Resort
Animal Kingdom Lodge rooms

Bottom Line:

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge offers an unparalleled experience for guests seeking to immerse themselves in the beauty and wonder of African wildlife. The resort’s unique theme, exceptional dining options, and the opportunity to wake up to the sight of exotic animals right outside your window make it a top choice for families and animal lovers.

The Johnsons, our family friends, recently stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge. They couldn’t stop raving about their experience.

Their kids were thrilled to see giraffes and zebras from their savanna view room every morning, and they loved exploring the resort’s grounds and learning about African culture through the art collection and themed activities.

However, the resort’s remote location and reliance on bus transportation may not be ideal for everyone, especially those who prioritize convenience and quick access to other Disney World parks and attractions.

The smaller room sizes and higher rates compared to other Deluxe resorts may also be a drawback for some guests.

Despite these limitations, the immersive atmosphere and one-of-a-kind experiences at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge are unmatched.

The resort should be on every Disney World visitor’s bucket list. Even if just for a day visit.

Exploring the grounds and enjoying a meal at one of the exceptional restaurants is a must for any Disney World vacation.

Animal Kingdom Lodge pool

2. Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

best disney deluxe resorts
  • Cost: Standard Room prices range from $606 (low season) to $1,023 (peak season) in 2024.
  • Theme: Victorian seaside resort
  • Location: Magic Kingdom Resort Area
  • Rooms: 857, spread across six buildings
  • Suites: 25 suites, including the Victorian Suite, the Roy O. Disney Suite, the Walt Disney Suite, and the Grand Suite
  • Transportation: Monorail, boat, and bus transportation to theme parks and Disney Springs
  • Best For: Luxury-seeking guests who want the ultimate in sophistication, service, and proximity to Magic Kingdom.

Resort Overview:

Opened on June 28, 1988, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is the epitome of luxury and elegance at Walt Disney World. This Victorian-style resort boasts stunning architecture, world-class dining options, and a full-service spa.

Guests can enjoy easy access to Magic Kingdom via monorail or boat. The resort’s beautiful beach and pool areas are perfect for relaxation.

The Grand Floridian offers a variety of dining experiences, from the AAA Five Diamond Award-winning Victoria & Albert’s to the more casual Grand Floridian Cafe. Afternoon tea at the Garden View Tea Room is a must-try.

The resort’s pool area features a zero-entry pool, a water slide, and private cabanas for rent. In addition, guests can enjoy live jazz music in the lobby and romantic evening strolls along the grounds to enhance the overall ambiance. Grand Floridian is the place to be during the Christmas season, as it offers a picturesque backdrop for Instagram with its gingerbread house and a massive, elegant Christmas tree.

While the resort’s opulence may not be the best fit for families with young children, it is perfect for those seeking the ultimate in luxury and sophistication during their Disney World vacation.

Pros:

  • Unparalleled luxury and elegance (only Disney hotel with a five-star rating)
  • Prime location on the monorail, with easy access to Magic Kingdom
  • World-class dining options, including Victoria & Albert’s
  • Full-service spa and stunning pool area
  • Beautiful beach and grounds for relaxation

Cons:

  • Higher price point compared to other Deluxe Resorts
  • Few Disney themes may not be the best fit for families with young children
  • Formal atmosphere may not appeal to all guests
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

Bottom Line:

While Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa doesn’t take the top spot on our list due to its higher price point and more adult-oriented atmosphere, it remains the ultimate choice for luxury seekers at Walt Disney World. The resort’s exceptional service, world-class amenities, and fine dining options make it the perfect choice for couples and those seeking a truly indulgent Disney vacation. However, for families with young children, other Deluxe Resorts may offer a more balanced and kid-friendly experience.

Grand Floridian Resort

Personal Anecdote:

For our 10th anniversary, my wife and I left the kids with their grandparents and splurged on a stay at the Grand Floridian. From the moment we arrived, we were treated like royalty. The resort’s stunning Victorian architecture and lush gardens transported us to another era. We indulged in a couples’ massage at the spa, enjoyed a romantic dinner at Victoria & Albert’s, and took leisurely strolls along the beach. It was the perfect way to celebrate our milestone and create lasting memories together. It tops our list of best Disney World resorts for adults without children for a reason.

best disney world deluxe resort
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

1. Polynesian Village Resort

Polynesian Village Resort
  • Cost: Standard Room prices range from $691 (low season) to $ $1256 (peak holiday season) in 2024. Club Level rooms and suites start at $944.
  • Theme: South Pacific tropical paradise
  • Location: Magic Kingdom Resort Area
  • Opened: October 1, 1971
  • Rooms: 492, spread across various themed areas
  • Suites: Suites including Standard Suite, Honeymoon Jr. Suite, Princess Suite, Ambassador Suite, and King Kamehameha Suite
  • Transportation: Monorail, boat, and bus transportation to theme parks and Disney Springs
  • Best For: Families who want a tropical escape with easy access to Magic Kingdom and excellent dining options.

Resort Overview:

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, which opened on October 1, 1971, is a tropical oasis that combines South Pacific magic with the convenience of being a short monorail ride from Magic Kingdom. The resort features bamboo tiki torches, lush landscaping, lei necklaces, waterfalls, and beautiful sandy beaches, all designed to transport guests to a relaxing Polynesian paradise.

The resort offers unique dining experiences, such as the popular ‘Ohana character breakfast and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto tiki bar. The volcano-themed pool, complete with a water slide, provides fun for the whole family, while the quiet Oasis Pool offers a tranquil retreat for adults.

Guests can enjoy a variety of activities, including hula dance lessons, lei-making classes, and watching Magic Kingdom fireworks from the resort’s beach. The combination of tropical ambiance, convenient location, and exceptional amenities make the Polynesian Village Resort a favorite among families and Disney World enthusiasts.

Pros:

  • Prime location with easy monorail access to Magic Kingdom via the monorail or walking paths
  • Immersive South Pacific theme and lush tropical landscaping
  • Unique dining options, including ‘Ohana character breakfast and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto
  • Volcano-themed pool with water slide and quiet Oasis Pool for relaxation
  • Variety of recreational activities and nightly fireworks viewing from the beach

Cons:

  • Higher room rates compared to other Deluxe Resorts (but still lower than Grand Floridian)
  • No upscale table service restaurants on-site (but walkable to nearby Magic Kingdom resorts with upscale options)
  • Can feel crowded during peak seasons due to its popularity
Polynesian Village Resort lobby
Polynesian Village Resort at Disney World

Bottom Line:

The Polynesian Village Resort is our top pick for the best Disney Deluxe Resort. Its perfect blend of tropical ambiance, convenient location, and exceptional amenities appeals to all age groups. The resort feels both upscale and laid-back, with fantastic dining options and endless activities. Because of these outstanding qualities, we rank the Polynesian Village Resort as the #1 Disney Deluxe Resort.

While it may lack the upscale restaurants of the Grand Floridian, its casual dining and lounges are top-notch. The resort’s tranquil atmosphere and easy access to Magic Kingdom make it a perfect choice for families seeking a memorable Disney World vacation.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
o'hana restaurant

Personal Anecdote:

My family always looks forward to staying at the Polynesian Village Resort. My kids, Ben and Ava, love the ‘Ohana character breakfast and watching fireworks from the beach. The resort’s tropical vibe and convenient monorail access make it our go-to choice for a magical Disney World experience. We’ve created countless memories at this resort, and it truly feels like a second home to us. When we splurge on a Disney Deluxe Resort, the Polynesian Village Resort is our top choice.

Polynesian Village Resort
best disney deluxe resort

How Disney Deluxe Resorts Compare to Disney Value Resorts

When comparing Disney Deluxe Resorts to Value Resorts, the differences in price, amenities, and overall experience are significant. While Value Resorts offer an affordable and kid-friendly option for families on a budget, Deluxe Resorts provide a much more luxurious and immersive experience.

Some key differences include:

  • Price: Deluxe Resorts are significantly more expensive than Value Resorts, often costing several times more per night.
  • Room Size and Amenities: Deluxe Resort rooms are generally larger and more well-appointed than those at Value Resorts, with higher-quality furnishings and a wider range of amenities.
  • Dining Options: Deluxe Resorts offer a greater variety of dining options, including signature restaurants, character dining, and quick-service eateries, while Value Resorts typically have more limited choices.
  • Transportation: Deluxe Resorts offer a wider range of transportation options, including monorails, boats, and walking paths, in addition to buses. Value Resorts rely primarily on bus transportation.
  • Recreational Activities: Deluxe Resorts provide a more extensive array of recreational activities, such as boat rentals, fishing, tennis, and golf, as well as fitness centers and spa services. Value Resorts have more limited offerings.

While Value Resorts are an excellent choice for budget-conscious families, Deluxe Resorts offer a more upscale and immersive Disney experience for those willing to pay a premium.

How Disney Deluxe Resorts Compare to Disney Moderate Resorts

Disney Deluxe Resorts and Moderate Resorts both offer an elevated experience compared to Value Resorts, but there are still notable differences between the two categories.

  • Price: While Moderate Resorts are more expensive than Value Resorts, they are still significantly less costly than Deluxe Resorts.
  • Theme: Both Deluxe and Moderate Resorts feature immersive themes, but Deluxe Resorts often have more elaborate and detailed theming throughout the resort.
  • Dining: Deluxe Resorts typically offer a wider variety of dining options, including more signature restaurants and character dining experiences. However, Moderate Resorts still provide a good selection of table-service and quick-service eateries.
  • Transportation: Deluxe Resorts generally offer more transportation options, such as monorails and boats, while Moderate Resorts primarily rely on buses. However, some Moderate Resorts, like Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, have access to the Disney Skyliner.
  • Amenities: While both resort categories offer recreational activities and amenities, Deluxe Resorts tend to have a more extensive array of offerings, such as spas, fitness centers, and premium pool experiences.

Moderate Resorts provide a nice middle ground between Value and Deluxe Resorts, offering enhanced amenities and themes at a more affordable price point than Deluxe Resorts. However, for guests seeking the ultimate in luxury and immersive experiences, Deluxe Resorts remain the top choice.

Ready To Book Your Deluxe Resort at Disney World?

We hope our page on the Best Disney Deluxe Resorts will help you find accommodations for your Disney World vacation. For more helpful Disney World information, please visit our other pages, including:

If you need help narrowing down your search or planning your Disney World trip, we recommend reaching out to our friends at The Vacationeer. Their services are completely free of charge and always helpful! Thank you for visiting our page.  We hope you have a magical experience at Walt Disney World!