Planning a magical Disney World family vacation with the kids? Choosing the right resort is vital for a smooth trip and creating lasting family memories.

As parents who have visited Walt Disney World multiple times with our son Ben and daughter Ava, we know firsthand how important it is to find accommodations that meet your family’s needs and preferences.

This guide highlights the best Disney resorts for kids based on our family’s experiences. We’ve included our #1 and #2 ranked picks across all budget ranges and categories, from thrilling pools to immersive themes.

Use this guide to help you select the ideal home base for your family’s unforgettable Disney World vacation!

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How to Choose the Best Disney Resort for Your Family

The resort sets the stage for your entire Disney World stay. When evaluating options, consider factors like:

  • Theme – Pick a theme your kids will love waking up to daily.
  • Room Type – Select a room or suite that provides ample space for your family, and look for family suites, bunk beds, and layouts that offer privacy.
  • Amenities – Look for resorts with excellent pools, dining options, Disney transportation, and entertainment that cater to children.
  • Location – Although Disney transportation is free and available throughout the resort, resorts that offer monorail and Skyliner services are more convenient than those with bus transportation.
  • Budget – Compare the prices of Value, Moderate, and Deluxe resorts to find options that fit your budget. Remember that some Value resorts start at around $200/night, while Deluxe resorts can cost $600 or more per night.

After numerous Disney World stays with our kids, here are our top-ranked resort picks for families:

#1 Best Overall Resort for Families: Disney’s Beach Club Resort

If we had to pick one resort that offers the perfect family vacation, we would choose Disney’s Beach Club Resort. During our most recent 5-night stay, our children Ben and Ava had a blast at the resort’s massive 3-acre pool complex, Stormalong Bay. They enjoyed racing down the shipwreck waterslides, building sandcastles on the beach, floating around the lazy river, and playing in the splash zone.

In the evenings, we enjoyed taking leisurely strolls along the resort’s breezy boardwalk, taking in views of the Crescent Lake promenade and sights like Atlantic Dance Hall and countries of EPCOT. Character dining experiences like the Cape May Cafe breakfast buffet brought us joy, with silly antics from Goofy and Donald, plus classic Disney favorites like Mickey waffles and bacon.

We were all impressed by the bright, spacious rooms, light blue color scheme, and subtle Disney touches. From the exceptional pools and dining to the charming New England seaside theming, Beach Club immersed our family in the magic of a Disney World vacation from morning to night.

Runner Up: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is an excellent option for families on a budget, offering spacious suites with a lively animation theme. The kids loved being surrounded by larger-than-life characters from Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King, and other movies. It was the first resort we stayed at after Ava was born, and it worked out beautifully!

#1 Best Resort Location: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Many families with children prefer to stay at resorts near theme parks. If convenience is a top priority, then Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is an excellent option. It has its own monorail stop that takes guests directly to Magic Kingdom. Additionally, the resort is so close to Magic Kingdom that guests can even walk or take a boat across the lake. Convenient walkways connect directly to the Transportation and Ticket Center, where guests can take a quick monorail ride to Epcot. Guests can also take buses to other parks.

Runner Up: Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Situated beside the Boardwalk entertainment district, Disney’s Beach Club Resort makes it easy for families to walk or boat over to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

#1 Best Value Resort: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Living Room of a Finding Nemo themed suite

The Finding Nemo Suites at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort | Image © Disney

The Art of Animation resort is our top choice for budget-minded families because of its vibrant animation theme, spacious family suites, and typical $250-$300 cost for the standard Little Mermaid-themed room. Our children were thrilled to wake up each morning surrounded by giant, familiar Disney characters and immersed in the colorful, lively architecture.

The Cars, Finding Nemo, and Lion King-themed suites are more expensive than standard rooms, but they offer much more space and immerse you in the movies with floor-to-ceiling details. The Cozy Cone Motel splash playground and main Big Blue pool provide hours of entertainment for kids outside the rooms. My wife and I agree that the theming and amenities at Art of Animation are unbeatable for families compared to other Disney Value Resorts.

Runner Up: Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Disney’s Pop Century Resort is an excellent choice for kids and adults who are nostalgic for the 20th century. The resort features oversized pop culture icons and bright, vibrant surroundings. Room rates start at around $200 per night, which is higher than the All-Star resorts. However, the overall experience is worth the extra cost.

#1 Best Moderate Resort: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Disney Skyliner over Caribbean Beach

Disney Skyliner over Caribbean Beach Resort

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is our top pick in the Disney Moderate Resort category, with nightly rates starting around $300. It features lively pirate and island-themed fun, which our kids loved exploring. The beaches, tropical-inspired landscapes, pirate-themed kid play areas, and pool were all a hit.

The main Barefoot Bay pool has a fun waterslide through shark jaws, plus a zero-entry side perfect for little ones. The rooms burst with vibrant island colors and details. With the convenient Disney Skyliner gondola transportation, getting to Epcot and Hollywood Studios is a breeze compared to relying on buses.

Runner Up: Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside and French Quarter are family-friendly resorts with elegant Southern charm, bayou-themed areas, and wonderfully themed pools for children. They offer deluxe vibes at a moderate price, with rates starting at around $300 per night.

#1 Best Deluxe Resort: Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Disney Deluxe Resorts offer premium theming, world-class amenities, and service. For families, the magnificent pools, quick access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, and charming New England seaside theming make Disney’s Beach Club Resort our #1 deluxe pick.

The highlight is the sprawling 3-acre Stormalong Bay pool complex with its thrilling waterslides through a shipwreck, lazy river for tubing, a sandy bottom kiddie beach area, and bubble pools. Our kids never wanted to leave the pool!

We also loved taking peaceful evening walks along the resort’s lively boardwalk lined with shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Character dining experiences like the Cape May Café breakfast buffet brought joy, with visits from Goofy, Donald, and other favorites.

Despite the higher rates, the exceptional amenities, service, and magic touches make deluxe resorts like Beach Club well worth the splurge for making family vacations truly unforgettable.

Runner Up: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Animal Kingdom Lodge immerses guests in the exotic African savanna theme through hand-carved furnishings, culturally inspired textiles, and safari wildlife like zebras viewing just outside your balcony. Kids love it!

Get Help Finding the Best Disney World Resorts for Kids

Are you struggling to plan a Disney World vacation with your kids? The Vacationeer is here to help. As a renowned Diamond-Level Authorized Disney Vacation Planner Agency, they have decades of experience and a dedicated team of Disney experts to simplify your vacation planning.

The Vacationeer offers a wide range of services, including comprehensive trip planning, personalized tips, booking for hotels and dining, transportation arrangements, and stroller rentals for toddlers. They excel at finding the best discounts, promotions, and budget-friendly Disney payment plan options. Additionally, their services are free of charge, making them a no-brainer.

Even though my wife and I are Disney fanatics, we still rely on The Vacationeer‘s expertise to save time, reduce stress, and maximize value when planning our Disney vacations with our young children. So, if you’re looking for a magical and hassle-free Disney World vacation with your family, get in touch with The Vacationeer right now for a free, no-obligation quote.

#1 Best Dining: Whispering Canyon Café at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Whispering Canyon Café at Wilderness Lodge is our top pick for family dining because of its lively, interactive atmosphere that is perfect for both kids and parents. Our children loved participating in pony races around the restaurant and playing napkin tricks with the friendly waitstaff. The hearty American cuisine, which includes skillets piled high with BBQ ribs, chicken, sausage, beans, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, and more, was perfect for our kids’ appetites. The rustic log cabin setting added to the fun of the theme.

Runner Up: ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

‘Ohana is a paradise of fun and flavors for kids and parents alike. Located in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, ‘Ohana offers a vibrant, family-friendly dining experience that is not to be missed. The all-you-care-to-enjoy breakfast features beloved characters like Lilo, Stitch, Mickey, and Pluto, all dressed up in their Hawaiian best. Little ones will start their day with big smiles and full bellies with Hawaiian-style ham, scrambled eggs, and the fan-favorite Mickey Waffles.

#1 Best Theme for Kids: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

From beloved Disney princesses to Pixar pals, larger-than-life character statues and playful architecture bring animated movies to life all around this resort. This makes Art of Animation’s animation theme our #1 pick for wowing kids of all ages. Our kids were thrilled to wake up each morning surrounded by epic character details everywhere. The family suites immerse you in scenes from Finding Nemo and Cars movies with floor-to-ceiling theming. Everywhere you look bursts with vibrant colors and lively character art that kids won’t get enough of.

Runner Up: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge immerses guests in an exotic safari theme, with hand-carved furnishings, bush velvet upholstery, and tropical African-inspired prints. Children love observing wildlife, such as zebras, giraffes, and antelopes, as they roam freely outside their balconies.

#1 Best Budget Resort: The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground is a unique and affordable way for outdoorsy families to experience Disney magic. The campground is in a picturesque 750-acre forest and offers fully-equipped campsites that accommodate tents, RVs, and up to 10 guests. There’s also a pool with waterslides, golf carts for exploring, and activities like archery, canoeing, and more.

Although rustic camping may not be for everyone, my entire family, especially my son and daughter, enjoyed our stay at the campground during COVID-19. We loved the trees, wildlife, campfires, and movies under the stars, which brought Disney magic to life outdoors. As the most affordable resort at Disney World, The Campsites at Fort Wilderness is a great outdoorsy option for a budget-friendly escape.

Runner Up: Disney’s All-Star Resorts

Disney’s three All-Star Resorts – Movies, Music, and Sports – offer an affordable way to stay immersed in Disney theming, with nightly rates starting around $135 in the low season. While basic, kids love seeing jumbo icons of their favorite music, movies, and sports surrounding the hotel.

#1 Best Suites for Families: Themed Suites at Disney’s Art of Animation

You can’t beat the creatively themed Disney family suites at Art of Animation for ample space and immersive theming. These spacious suites bring favorite Disney and Pixar stories to life, surrounding families in magical details. Our top picks are:

  • Finding Nemo Suites – Sleeps up to 6 – Decorated with vibrant coral reef and underwater accents.
  • Cars Suites – Sleeps up to 6 – Makes you feel toy-sized in a room filled with giant Cars characters and play sets.
  • The Lion King Suites – Sleeps up to 6 – Pride Rock majestically overlooks hand-carved furnishings with animal touches.
  • Suites with Random Themes – Whimsical details differ based on the assigned theme.

The suites have one queen-size bed, one double sleeper sofa, one double Murphy bed, and two full bathrooms, providing ample sleeping space as well as amenities such as kitchenettes. These are ideal for larger families or taking the grandkids to Disney World. Additionally, the larger-than-life character decorations add to the magic.

Runner Up: Suites at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort offers spacious, modern suite accommodations sleeping up to 6 guests with southwestern-inspired touches.

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#1 Most Thrilling Pool: Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Beach Club

Stormalong Bay at Beach Club is our favorite among Disney World’s best pools. The shipwreck theme echoes throughout the lazy river, two giant water slides, toddler splash zone, sand bottom, and bubble pools, making this sprawling 3-acre pool complex a nonstop family fun zone. After trying several resort pools, our kids agreed that these exhilarating water slides were their favorites. Floating lazily along the creek and playing on the sandy beach made us feel like we were at a tropical resort and water park combined.

Runner Up: Big Blue Pool at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Our kids also loved the interactive elements like underwater music, spraying jellyfish, zero-entry access, and the giant icons of characters like Crush and Marlin at Art of Animation’s main Big Blue pool.

#1 Best Pool for Young Kids: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

This Pirates of the Caribbean-themed aquatic playground earns Caribbean Beach top marks with its zero-entry pool design, tiny tot slides perfect for toddlers, interactive water cannons, and spraying pirate figures from the movies that delight both kids and parents alike. Our young kids had an absolute blast exploring this area designed just for them. The convenience of having a restaurant, bar, and restrooms nearby is a major plus.

Runner Up: Pop Century Resort

At Disney’s Pop Century Resort, little tykes have their own splash zone with spraying bubbles and giant pop culture icons like Big Wheels surrounding the wet play areas.

#1 Best Waterslide: Summit Plummet at Disney’s Blizzard Beach

Although not located at a Disney World resort, we must mention the iconic 120-foot-tall body slide at Blizzard Beach water park, our top pick for thrill rides. Summit Plummet reaches exhilarating speeds of up to 60 mph as it whisks you down steep slopes, providing a heart-pounding ride that my son Ben couldn’t get enough of! The themed icy surroundings of the mountain add to the excitement. Note there is a height requirement of 48”. Disney’s All-Star Resorts and Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort are the closest Disney Resorts to this water park.

Runner-Up: Coconut Creek Flume Slides at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

For resort waterslides, our adventurous children enjoyed zooming through the tropical plants and faux lava rocks surrounding the 142-foot-long water slide at Lava Pool.

#1 Best Character Meet and Greet: Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Chef Mickey’s is the most well-known character dining experience at Disney World. This lively breakfast allows your family to meet Mickey Mouse and his Fab 5 friends all in one place, making it our top character experience for convenience and efficiency. Between photo opportunities and hugs with the characters, families can enjoy a plentiful, energizing buffet piled high with Mickey waffles, omelets, pancakes, and other breakfast favorites. While it is loud and busy, if you want the iconic Disney character dining experience, this is one you will want to take advantage of.

Runner-Up: Cape May Café at Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Silliness and antics ensue when Goofy and pals like Donald and Minnie visit your breakfast table at this lively, delightful Cape May Café character dining buffet. Our kids loved this one!

#1 Best Evening Family Entertainment: Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long

Capping off long days at the theme parks by cozying up at the campfire for Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long created lifelong memories for my family. This classic, free experience at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground brings Disney magic to life under the stars. My wife Jaimie, son Ben, and daughter Ava delighted in singing beloved Disney songs along with the chipper chipmunk hosts and roasting gooey s’mores over the crackling fire. Ending our night with merry music and Mickey Mouse treats was the perfect way to unwind together.

Runner-Up: Disney Movie Under the Stars

Disney World Resort hotels offer a wonderful tradition where guests can watch classic Disney movies at night under a starry sky on a giant outdoor screen. This fun, free event was a great way to unwind from the parks with my family. We put on our pajamas, lounged by the pool, ate popcorn, and watched timeless films such as The Lion King, which brought us closer together. Additionally, themed snacks, beachside locations, and movie trivia games made Disney Movie Under the Stars a perfect way to end each day of our vacation.

Planning Tips for the Ultimate Disney World Family Vacation

A Disney World trip with kids takes planning to maximize the magic. Here are some tips:

  • Book dining reservations 60 days out to secure character meals and popular restaurants. Set up mobile orders, too.
  • Have each child pick their top 2 must-do rides so they feel involved in the vacation planning.
  • Rent strollers, even for older kids, to save energy for long park days. Choose double strollers for little ones.
  • Stay at least one full day per theme park. Rushing to see everything leads to meltdowns!
  • Schedule daily resort breaks to rest and recharge. Kids need downtime.
  • Include sun protection, phone chargers, light snacks, water bottles, and first aid supplies in your Disney packing list.
  • Use Early Theme Park Entry, Genie+, and Lightning Lane Passes to minimize time in ride lines.
  • Work with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner like The Vacationeer for insider tips and deals. Their expert advisors plan all the details, saving you time, money, and stress.

Planning ahead and getting expert help can let you relax and enjoy the Disney magic with your kids while also reducing the cost of a Disney World vacation.

Let The Vacationeer Help Plan Your Disney Vacation with Kids

Selecting the perfect Disney resort for your family can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. Consider your budget, kids’ ages, and interests to create unforgettable memories together.

Many families rely on professional Disney vacation planners, such as The Vacationeer, to make their Disney World family vacations stress-free. The expert advisors at The Vacationeer provide customized services that save you time, money, and hassle, and the best part is that their services are completely free!

The Vacationeer team will handle everything, from booking your resort and tickets to arranging Disney Dining Plans, reservations, and airport transportation. Their decades of experience and established partnerships enable them to access the best discounts and offer the lowest prices.

Contact The Vacationeer today to start planning your family’s magical Disney World vacation! Their team is ready to help you find the best Disney resort for kids, create a personalized itinerary, and provide any other guidance you need to ensure that this hassle-free, budget-friendly vacation is one that your family will cherish forever.

Get a free, no-obligation quote from The Vacationeer right now! There’s no risk, so what are you waiting for?