Where in the World will you stay on your next trip to Walt Disney World?
Location for me is one of the major considerations when planning where to stay in the World.
The reason this is so, is that Walt Disney World is expansive with its many Theme Parks, Water Parks, Resort/Hotels, shopping areas, and other sports and entertainment centers, spread out over 27,000 acres. Where your Resort/Hotel room is located in this expanse determines how and how long it takes you to travel to other parts of the Resort.
So, what is the Best Location in Walt Disney World? That depends primarily on what you plan to do on your vacation. Once you know that and know what the various locations in Walt Disney World have to offer you can decide where you want to stay. However, it is not cast in stone. Your preferred location may change from one trip to the next depending on how you plan to spend your time while in Walt Disney World.
The location of each Resort/Hotel includes in which Disney Designated Area it resides. There are four Disney Designated Areas within Walt Disney World: one for each of the four Theme Parks and one for Disney Springs.
However, I have come up with a division of my own that I feel fits better with the changes in Walt Disney World in recent years. I have combined the EPCOT and Hollywood Studios Areas (they really are close together) and added the four other Resorts on the Skyliner route to form a new area. I call this the Skyliner Area, of course. I then added a fifth area, the Value Resort Area.
The five areas of Walt Disney World are:
- 1. Magic Kingdom Area
- 2. Skyliner Area
- 3. Animal Kingdom Area
- 4. Disney Springs Area
- 5. Value Resort Area
So, which one is the best location? Again, that depends on what you’re looking for.
In this Blog I’ll look broadly at the pros and cons of each area.
Magic Kingdom Area is the prime real estate according to most estimates. All of the Resorts in this area are close to the Magic Kingdom which is their main claim to fame. Three are connected to the Magic Kingdom and each other via the Monorail. The Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness are connected by boat.
Other features of this area include views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks and the Electrical Water Parade, many excellent restaurants and shopping venues, and connection to EPCOT via the Monorail.
- The Resorts in the Magic Kingdom Area include:
- Contemporary Resort
- Bay Lake Towers (a DVC Resort)
- Polynesian Resort (part DVC Resort)
- Grand Floridian Resort
- Villas at Grand Floridian (a DVC Resort)
- Wilderness Lodge
- Bolder Ridge and Copper Creek ( DVC Resorts)
- Fort Wilderness Campground and Cabins ( part DVC Resort)
- There is one additional Resort in this area that is a Disney Good Neighbors Resort.
- Shades of Green (owned and run by Us Department of Defense and exclusive to Military and their families. Though not on the Monorail it is within walking distance of the Polynesian.
The SkyLiner Area in recent years seems to have taken over the primo spot. Now that Hollywood Studios has added Toy Storyland and Galaxy’s Edge and EPCOT has practically continuous Festivals, people want to stay close to these Parks. But I think the biggest rise in popularity of the Resorts in this area has been the opening of the SkyLiner.
- Resorts in this Area are:
- Boardwalk Inn
- Boardwalk Villas (the DVC Resort)
- Beach Club Resort (a DVC Resort)
- Yacht Club Resort
- Riviera Resort (a DVC Resort)
- Caribbean Resort and Gran Destino Tower
- Art of Animation
- Pop Century
- There are two other Resort/Hotels in this area which are Disney Good Neighbor Hotels owned by the Marriot Chain. Good Neighbor Hotels receive all of the benefits of guest at any Disney Resort.
- Disney Swan Hotel
- Disney Dolphin Hotel
Then there is the Disney Springs Area. All of the resorts here are connected to Disney Springs by boat and from there to all of the other Parks and Resorts in the World. If you are planning to spend much of your time shopping, visiting the numerous restaurants or enjoying the entertainment and attractions in Disney Springs then this is the area for you.
- Resorts in this area:
- Saratoga Springs ( a DVC Resort)
- Old Key West Resort ( a DVC Resort)
- Port Orleans Riverside
- Port Orleans French Quarter
The Animal Kingdom Area is a bit out of the way by any assessment. You can only get to any of the parks and Disney Springs or other Resorts by bus. And except for Animal Kingdom Theme Park, it’s a long ride.
But if Animal Kingdom is your favorite park or you plan on a lot of resort time, (quiet, beautiful, with lots of animals to watch) then this is your best pick.
- Resorts in this area include:
- Animal Kingdom Lodge (includes some DVC rooms and Concierge Level)
- Kidani Village ( a DVC Resort)
- Coronado Springs and Destino Tower
Finally, we have the Value Resort Area. This area is the farthest area from the rest of the action and has the least access to restaurants and attractions. The only way to get anywhere is by bus and expect long waits and longer bus rides.
The draw for these resorts is in the name. They are the least expensive resorts on property. So, if you’re on a budget and plan to spend little time at the resort, this area may be for you.
- Resorts include:
- All Star Sports
- All Star Music
- All Star Movies
- My rating of the five areas with regard to location, where 1 is the worst and 5 is the best, is as follows:
- 5 SkyLiner Area
- 4 Magic Kingdom Area
- 3. Disney Springs Area
- 2 Animal Kingdom Area
- 1. Value Resort Area
That is an overview of the five Disney Designated Areas. Your choice of which Resort you might choose is in large part dictated by where in and around Walt Disney World you plan to spend most of your time.
I have stayed in all of the areas at one time or another. Which is my favorite? That depends. I have found however that doing a split-stay, staying in two different Hotels in two different Areas of Walt Disney World is the way to make the most of my vacation. The drawback, of course is the unpacking, repacking, and unpacking again.
Next Blog – I’ll be discussing the importance of the general Environment of a Resort to choosing where to stay.