Best (and Worst) Deluxe Disney Resorts: Ranked for Families

picture of Disney's Grand Floridian from the lake

Let’s take a look at the deluxe Disney resort hotels to find out which one is best for your family! We all know Disney World is a great place for families, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to choose from all the incredible Disney World resorts. As you start searching for the best deluxe Disney resorts, you’ll quickly realize that there are many factors to consider when choosing a WDW hotel.

Some of these could include the resort’s pools, rates, location, and amenities. In this post, we will compare the deluxe resorts at Disney World based on these criteria. We’ve ranked them all based on affordability and available activities for kids. So, whether you’re looking for a resort with a lazy river or one that offers character dining, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to find out which of the deluxe Disney resorts made the top of our list!

(This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you. Please see my disclosure policy at the bottom of this page for more details.)

Disney World Deluxe Resorts

The Deluxe Resort Hotels at Disney World are the places you want to stay if you’re looking for the best amenities and you’re willing to splurge a little. They are also perfect for guests who plan to spend time at their resort rather than only touring the parks. My family and I initially began staying in deluxe resorts at Disney World because we found them to be the most toddler friendly options.

Disney's Wilderness Lodge boulder with waterfall
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Deluxe Resort

Most of the rooms offer balconies, so we were always able to put our little ones down for the night while still enjoying some outside living space to unwind. The deluxe resorts also tend to be the most conveniently located hotels on Disney property. Depending on the deluxe hotel you choose, you can stroll to Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or Magic Kingdom.

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Additionally, families who enjoy taking mid-day breaks from the parks in order to relax or swim will love that the deluxe resorts offer the most elaborate pools with multiple dining options. If you’re looking for a quick overview of the deluxe options, the following hotels are considered deluxe resorts at Disney World.

Note that these are not listed in any particular order. We are just providing a brief overview of each hotel and will feature our full deluxe Disney resort rankings in the next section of the article.

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – This African-inspired resort features large savannas allowing you to view animals like zebras and giraffes. It’s also one of the closest deluxe resorts to the Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Animal Kingdom Lodge is perfect for animal lovers and for foodies as it features many unique restaurants on property. Rooms at Animal Kingdom Lodge come with balconies with various views. This is often the most cost-efficient of the Disney deluxe resort hotels.
giraffe in grass
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort – This sleek and modern hotel features amazing views of Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom. It’s perfect for families who want to be in the heart of all the action. The Contemporary Resort is within walking distance to Magic Kingdom. The monorail also runs through the hotel, making it super easy for guests to travel to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and other monorail resorts. 
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – This luxurious resort is one of the most popular on Disney property. It offers amazing dining options, a beautiful setting, and plenty of activities for kids. The Grand Floridian offers monorail access, so guests can easily travel to Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and other monorail resorts. It’s also within walking distance to Magic Kingdom Theme Park.
castle with fireworks in sky above
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – This tropical oasis is perfect for families who want to feel like they’re on vacation all year round. With its volcanic pool and beaches, you’ll feel like you’re actually in the South Pacific. The Polynesian Village Resort offers monorail access and a walking path to Disney’s Magic Kingdom Theme Park.
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort – If you’re looking for a classic Disney deluxe resort, look no further than the Beach Club. It features beautiful beach-themed rooms, great pools, and easy access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. The Beach Club is also within walking distance to the Disney Skyliner and Disney’s BoardWalk.
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort – This luxury resort is the sister of the Beach Club and has a nautical theme. It’s perfect for families who love spending time enjoying the pools at their resort. The Yacht Club offers multiple dining options plus easy access to Disney’s BoardWalk, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios.
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn – If you’re interested in being close to Epcot, this Disney deluxe resort might be your best bet. The Boardwalk Inn provides great dining options, entertaining nightlife, and some pretty cool Disney shopping experiences! Guests can also walk or take a boat to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Plus, it sits within walking distance of Epcot and allows easy access to the SkyLiner.
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – This rustic Disney deluxe hotel offers access to the Magic Kingdom via ferry boat. With its wooded surroundings, you’ll feel like you’re actually in a national park. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge features multiple dining venues, including a character meal.

Best Disney Deluxe Resort for Families

When it comes to finding the best deluxe resort at Disney World for families, there are plenty of great options to choose from. Since my family and I like to spend time at our resort pool, we find Disney’s Yacht Club and Disney’s Beach Club to be the best deluxe resorts at Disney World since they are home to Stormalong Bay.

sand bottom pool at Disney's Beach Club and Yacht Club resorts
Stormalong Bay Pool at Disney’s Beach and Yacht Club

Stormalong Bay is easily the best pool at any of the Disney resort hotels! It features a lazy river, large water slide, small water slide, sand bottom pool, and beach area. We also appreciate that the Beach Club and Yacht Club provide easy access to Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Disney’s BoardWalk, and the Disney Skyliner.

If you are debating between the Yacht Club and the Beach Club, we give Disney’s Yacht Club a slight edge. The renovated rooms with hardwood flooring and quiet lobby put the Yacht Club at the top of our list for best deluxe resorts for families.

Best Deluxe Disney Resort for the Price

One of the biggest negatives to staying at a deluxe Disney resort is the price. If you are interested in experiencing the luxurious accommodations at a Disney deluxe resort but don’t want to pay the high price tag, we highly recommend looking into renting Disney Vacation Club (DVC) points. My family and I like to use David’s Vacation Club Rentals to rent DVC points whenever we are planning a trip to Disney World.

white outside building of Boardwalk Inn at Disney World
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn

David’s Rental club is BY FAR the easiest and best way to save money on deluxe Disney resorts. They offer such a unique way to save money on your next Disney World vacation. By renting DVC points, you can stay at Disney’s deluxe resorts for a fraction of the regular price. David’s Vacation Club Rentals offers amazing customer service and a handy cost calculator so you can easily see how much you will save on your resort stay.

We typically save a few hundred dollars per night by booking through David’s Vacation Club Rentals. And we’ve been lucky enough to score rooms at Disney’s Polynesian Villas with views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks! You can read our full review of this reputable company to find out all the reasons we think they are the best DVC rental site!

If you aren’t able to secure a discounted room rate through David’s Vacation Club Rentals, you can still stay at one of the deluxe resorts for a reasonable price. When it comes to finding the best deluxe resort at Disney World for the money, Animal Kingdom Lodge is hard to beat. With its amazing animal viewing areas, massive swimming pool, and a variety of activities, this Disney hotel is perfect for families with kids in tow.

Plus, it offers really fast access (via bus) to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge also tends to be the cheapest option when comparing rates with other deluxe resorts.

Disney Deluxe Resorts Ranked

If you’re looking for a list of Disney deluxe resorts ranked in order, we’ve got you covered! The list below is obviously subjective and based on the qualities that my family finds most appealing. That being said, we did take into account reviews from other guests at these resorts when ranking the best Disney deluxe hotels for you.

DIsney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa with lake in front
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Additionally, the average price of the resort plays a role in our ranking system as you will see below. In other words, a cheaper price may put the hotel higher on our list even though it has fewer amenities. That’s because I personally consider the price of a hotel as a pro or con when trying to decide between resorts to book for my own family trips.

This is our list of best Disney deluxe resorts ranked from best to worst not best. It’s hard to classify any Disney hotel as being bad since it sits at the most magical place on earth! So, even the (surprising) hotel that we have ranking in last place holds a special place in our hearts.

1. Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort never disappoints! The cast members are exceptionally friendly and helpful, and you can’t beat Stormalong Bay pool. Guests at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort never have a shortage of dining options as they can choose from multiple restaurants at the hotel or just across the lake at Disney’s BoardWalk. The 5-minute walk to Epcot and the 20-minute walk to Hollywood Studios means that you can bypass Disney buses and arrive at the parks on your schedule.

courtyard of Disney yacht Club
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Plus, the Yacht Club features access to boat transportation and the Disney SkyLiner. These options open up the door to even more dining and activity options and places like Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort (moderate hotel), and Disney’s Art of Animation and Pop Century Resorts (value resorts).

Pros of Disney’s Yacht Club

  • walking distance to Epcot/Hollywood Studios/Disney Skyliner/Disney’s BoardWalk
  • countless dining options
  • easy access to character dining at Disney’s Beach Club and Disney’s BoardWalk
  • AMAZING pool with lazy river
  • big water slide
  • toddler water slide
  • sand bottom pool
  • beach area for additional space

Cons to Disney’s Yacht Club

  • some find the atmosphere “stuffy”
  • no splash pad
  • no playground

2. Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Disney’s Beach Club Resort offers the same amenities as Disney’s Yacht Club, and it takes second place on our list. We prefer the atmosphere at Disney’s Yacht Club over the Beach Club, but this is totally subjective. If you find the Yacht Club to be stuffy, you may enjoy the more laid-back mood of Disney’s Beach Club Resort.

Disney's Beach Club Resort in background with Stormalong Bay pool in front
Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Additionally, we find that Beach Club has another drawback in comparison to the Yacht Club in that many of the Beach Club rooms don’t offer full balconies. Since our family highly appreciates a balcony, we prefer to book a room at the Yacht Club. (Note that you can request a full balcony at check in, but this is subject to availability.)

All of that being said, Disney’s Beach Club is still our second choice for best deluxe resorts at WDW. This impressive hotel offers plenty of dining options, including a character meal right on the main level. Depending on the hotel room you snag upon check-in, you can even see Epcot fireworks from your room!

Pros at Disney’s Beach Club

  • walking distance to Epcot/Hollywood Studios/Disney Skyliner/Disney’s BoardWalk
  • countless dining options
  • easy access to character dining
  • AMAZING pool with lazy river
  • big water slide
  • toddler water slide
  • sand bottom pool
  • possible views of Epcot fireworks from room
  • beach space

Cons at Disney’s Beach Club

  • no playground
  • no splash pad
  • some rooms only have Juliet-style (standing only) balconies
  • lobby can be busy

3. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort definitely makes our top three when ranking the best deluxe resorts at Disney World. This fabulous hotel sits in a picture-perfect spot near Magic Kingdom. With its monorail access and walkability to the Magic Kingdom, the Grand Floridian is one of the most conveniently located resorts at WDW. Plus, it features fabulous theming, super fun pools, and great dining options.

Pros of Disney’s Grand Floridian

  • luxurious theming
  • character dining
  • walking distance to Disney’s Magic Kingdom
  • monorail access
  • ferry boat
  • easy access to the Contemporary Resort and Polynesian Resort for additional character dining options
  • splash pad
  • ability to view Magic Kingdom fireworks and Electrical Water Pageant

Cons of Disney’s Grand Floridian

  • pricey
  • no playground

4. Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

Disney’s BoardWalk Inn ranks highly on our list because of its location on the Disney BoardWalk. As noted above, this spot just outside the Epcot World Showcase provides easy access to two parks (Epcot and Hollywood Studios) and the Disney Skyliner. Additionally, guests at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn can easily enjoy dining options at the Beach Club and Yacht Club resorts as well as the Swan and Dolphin hotels. Not to mention the BoardWalk is full of fun entertainment at night!

Pros of Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

  • great location on BoardWalk
  • pool with giant water slide
  • sometimes more affordable option
  • easy access to Epcot, Skyliner, and Hollywood Studios
  • easy access to Beach Club and Yacht Club
  • playground

Cons of Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

  • pool not as great as Stormalong Bay in similar location

5. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is located near the Magic Kingdom and offers ferry service to the theme park. This deluxe Disney hotel is beautifully designed to look like it sits inside a national park. With multiple dining options, including a character meal with Snow White, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is a top choice for families. My family and I particularly enjoy the unique theming, friendly cast members, and fun pools at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

Pros of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

  • nice theming
  • fun pools
  • ferry boat access to Disney’s Contemporary Resort for character dining
  • ferry boat access to Magic Kingdom and Fort Wilderness
  • character dining at hotel

Cons of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

  • easy access to only one park (Magic Kingdom)

6. Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Disney’s Contemporary Resort is a super convenient option for those looking for easy access to Magic Kingdom. Additionally, guests can access the monorail directly from the resort, allowing easy travel options to Epcot and the other monorail resorts. Disney’s Contemporary Resort provides beautiful views of Magic Kingdom Park and several popular dining options, including character dining at Chef Mickey’s.

Pros of Disney’s Contemporary Resort

  • easy walk to Magic Kingdom
  • character dining on site
  • monorail transportation on site
  • ferry boat access to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness
  • easy access to character dining at Grand Floridian, Polynesian Resort, and Wilderness Lodge

Cons of Disney’s Contemporary Resort

  • pricey
  • no playground
  • lobby can be busy

7. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

As mentioned above, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is typically the most budget-friendly option out of all the deluxe Disney resort hotels. This hotel features unique dining experiences, live animals, and fun pools! With its close proximity to Animal Kingdom Theme Park, this hotel is a favorite for many families. While this hotel sits toward the bottom of our list of best Disney deluxe hotels, my family and I would stay here in a heartbeat! The low price, amenities, and animals always leave us coming back for more.

Pros of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

  • great rates
  • view animals from balcony
  • access to multiple pools and water slides
  • splash pad
  • playground
  • short bus ride to Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Cons of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

  • have to take bus to every park
  • unique food options may not be kid-friendly (at least for my kids)

8. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort always sat at the top of my bucket list for resorts to try at Disney World. With an ideal location on Seven Seas Lagoon that offers monorail and boat access to Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is super convenient. The South Pacific island theming along with the views of Magic Kingdom fireworks and the Electrical Water Pageant help draw many families to this hotel each year.

That being said, after staying in this hotel a few years ago, my family and I no longer rank it highly on our list. You can read our full review of Disney’s Polynesian Resort here; but, it just didn’t have that deluxe feel that the other hotels in our list possess. While we appreciated the Magic Kingdom views and access, the resort as a whole is lacking. I know other families completely disagree with this, so you can always try it out for yourself. You may end up loving it!

Pros of Disney’s Polynesian Resort

  • great theming
  • character dining on site
  • monorail and ferry boat access to Magic Kingdom, Grand Floridian, and Contemporary Resort
  • luxurious bungalows
  • walkability to Transportation and Ticket Center
  • easy access to Epcot via monorail
  • walkability to Magic Kingdom and Grand Floridian
  • possible fireworks views from room balcony

Cons of Disney’s Polynesian Resort

  • pricey
  • laid out like a moderate resort with separate buildings
  • small, dark hallways

Are Disney Deluxe Resorts Worth It?

After reading our list ranking the deluxe Disney hotels, you may be wondering if they are worth it. Disney deluxe resorts are best for people who want a luxury hotel since they offer an unparalleled level of service. The amenities and features offered at Disney World’s best hotels rival those found in some of the world’s finest properties.

Disney's BoardWalk Villas with people walking and dining outside on the BoardWalk
Disney’s BoardWalk Villas

This makes them excellent places to unwind after spending a long day at the parks. They’re best for families who value quality, comfort, space, and relaxation. If you aren’t planning to spend very much time at your hotel during your trip, you may not find the deluxe resort hotels to be worth the price. However, if you’re looking for multiple dining options and a resort-style pool, the Disney deluxe hotels are a great option!

lighthouse at Disney's Beach Club Resort with text overlay Best Deluxe Resorts Disney

The luxurious rooms come standard with amazing perks like access to fantastic room views, huge bathrooms, balconies, and much more. Don’t forget to join our Facebook group- Mom’s Guide to Disney Resorts – for personalized help on finding the best resort for your family! If you’re looking for a magical getaway where you can relax and recharge in style, a Disney deluxe resort is most definitely worth it!

In Conclusion

The Disney deluxe resorts are all suitable for families. No matter which one you choose, you’re sure to have a magical stay at Disney World! When you’re looking for a luxury stay at Walt Disney World, the deluxe resorts are your best bet.

You get to enjoy amazing amenities like pools, restaurants, recreation areas and more. Plus, you can enjoy the most iconic themes from the happiest place on earth! So, what do you think? What’s the best Disney deluxe resort? Feel free to rank them in the comments below!

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