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
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 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!