Disney Hotels

Updated on July 29, 2009
L.P. asks from Allen, TX
20 answers

We are getting ready to book a trip to Disney World with our 2 kids. Can anyone recommend a hotel? I have looked at all of the hotels on the Disney website and they all look great. I have been told that it is best to stay on the monorail if possible. Does anyone have recommendation or any tips on planning a Disney trip.

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answers from Dallas on

We stayed in a one bedroom suite at the Jambo House in the Animal Kingdom resort and it was amazing! It wasn't bad getting to any park with the bus transportation. We had a washer and dryer in the room with a full kitchen and an awesome view of the giraffes! It was GREAT! We had the best time.

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answers from Dallas on

Well we went this month and stayed at the All Star Movies. We loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have two boys 10 and 7 and it was great for them. If you stay on Disney property they have buses that will take you to the parks. You don't have to stay near the monorail. There are only three resorts that the monorail goes to and they are on the higher end. One recommendation I can make to you when you go is to take ponchos or you can buy them there too. When we were there it rained every day. But you just put the poncho on and keep going. That actually cuts down on a lot of lines too. It didn't usually last for long periods at a time.

Good luck and have a great time!

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answers from Dallas on

Here's a great article from MSN that may help.
Disney on a Dime
Disney World has been on our kids' minds this year, but it wasn't in our family budget.

What's a parent to do?

Approach a trip to the Magic Kingdom and the rest of the sprawling Walt Disney World Resort with the same mind-set as the old Midas muffler commercials: I'm not gonna pay a lot for this vacation. It turns out, you really don't have to.

With a disciplined approach to the Big Three expense categories — food, lodging and admission fees — it's possible to "do Disney" without piling up bills that are scarier than The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (a ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios that left my 6-year-old screaming to do it again, and me searching for my stomach).

With a little extra effort and planning, you can even avoid a lot of the killer extras — like $31 a day to rent a double stroller.

If the economic meltdown has a silver lining, it's evident in the deals to be found in resort areas like Orlando, Fla. Disney itself is laying on more discounts and specials for Mouseketeers than travel experts can recall in recent history.

"It's a great time to go," says Bob Sehlinger, author of "The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World," which is not affiliated with the resort. "It couldn't be better."

But read no further if your Disney vacation musts include first-class meals, brand-name Mickey and Minnie souvenirs and staying in the closest hotel to the monorail. This article is for penny-pinchers only.

Lodging: Figure out this piece of the puzzle first, since it will affect your strategy for the others.

Sehlinger's advice on this count is simple: "You're always going to save a lot of money if you stay in a non-Disney property outside of Disney World."

There are hotel discounts galore, thanks to the slow economy, and you can take your pick by shopping Web sites like http://www.roomsaver.com. Simply by poking around the Web, our family of four booked five nights in a sprawling two-bedroom suite at a beautiful new resort for just over $500 — and we didn't even have to listen to a time-share presentation.

There also is a plethora of fabulous private homes, often with private pools and amenities like home theaters, available to rent at tempting prices. Many are owned by Brits and other foreigners who fly in for weeks at a time and turn their vacation homes over to management companies when they're not around. Sehlinger cites http://www.allstarvacationhomes.com as one particularly user-friendly Web site. Another site — http://www.vrbo.com — lists homes being offered directly by owners.

If you want to stay at one of the more than 20 Disney owned-and-operated resorts — and they do come with perks such as extended theme park hours, free parking, free airport shuttle and free luggage delivery service — a handful fall into the "value" category. You can even pitch a tent at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, with campsite fees starting at $43 a night.

For most stays between Aug. 16 and Oct. 3, certain Disney resorts are offering a free Disney Dining Plan when you buy a five-night room and theme park package. (The package has to be booked by June 21.) There also some specials for members of the U.S. military.

To find the latest deals, your best bet is to go to Disney World's Web site — http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/ — and click on the "special offers" tab.

Food: Your lodging decision will have a big effect on your food bill: Book a private home or a suite with a kitchen, and you can more easily avoid paying amusement-park prices for food. Even a cooler in your hotel room (or the mini-fridge at a discount hotel, where it won't be stocked with overpriced snacks) for OJ, milk and lunch meat can work wonders at cutting breakfast and lunch costs.

The bottom line from Sehlinger: "The more meals that you eat outside of Disney World, the better off you're going to be."

Eat breakfast in your room, or snag one of the many hotel deals that include a continental breakfast.

Head into the theme park with a backpack stuffed with snacks, sandwiches and drinks, and you're good till dinner.

It really can be done: We prowled five theme parks over four days, and spent exactly $8.25 for three ice cream sandwiches.

Everything else came out of the backpack — which has the side benefit of allowing you to avoid those snaking food lines.

Our kids didn't even mind, because we let them eat sugary breakfast cereals and snacks that they don't normally get at home.

One of my favorite moments at the Magic Kingdom was lunch on a picnic table under a shade tree on Tom Sawyer Island.

At dinner time, there are plenty of offsite restaurants to explore — and by then you may well be ready for a theme-park break anyway.

And if you're paying the $12 a day to park at Disney World, you can leave for dinner and come back without A. additional parking fee.

For people flying in to Orlando and debating whether to rent a car, Sehlinger says, "The savings that you'll obtain by eating outside of Walt Disney World will probably more than pay for the rental car."

If you do opt to eat at the theme parks, there are a range of restaurants that run the pricing gamut. And Sehlinger says the portions are generous enough that in some cases two people can share A. entree and not go away hungry.

Admissions: This is the toughest nut to crack: Nominal discounts are typically the best you can hope for on admission fees at Disney World.

You can score a coup if you time your visit to coincide with someone's birthday: You get in free on your birthday throughout 2009.

There also is a generous deal running for current and retired members of the U.S. military and their families and friends. Check out http://www.disneyworld.com/military.

If you're planning to hit some non-Disney attractions in the area, such as SeaWorld or Universal Orlando studios, discounts may be more plentiful.

The independent Web site http://www.mousesavers.com compiles one of the best lists around for reputable deals — at Disney and elsewhere.

Because Disney offers all sorts of ticket options — one- to 10-day passes, no-expiration upgrades, annual passes, etc. — it's best to plot out how you plan to spend your time so you don't buy more than you need. In general, the longer you stay, the cheaper the tickets.

The Web site http://www.touringplans.com, affiliated with Sehlinger's guide book, has a free "least expensive ticket calculator" that will help you figure out the cheapest route.

Not-so-little extras: You can make all the right moves on the big-ticket items and still spend a small fortune at Disney World if you don't watch the extras.

Rides tend to dump you out in the middle of shops overflowing with tantalizing souvenirs. There's that pricey stroller rental fee. The refrigerator rental fee at Disney resorts. The locker fee at the water parks. Think it all through in advance, and you can hold down the add-ons.

At http://www.DisneyWorldMoms.com, a panel of Disney-wise parents offers tips about budgeting and other matters.

The unofficial Disney online guide at http://www.wdwinfo.com/ has good discussion boards for planning every aspect of your trip, including a "budget board" where you can get tips on everything from where to buy Disney souvenirs to deals on airfare. You can even orchestrate a "stroller swap" with other families — a stroller is donated and passed from one vacation family to the next.

The bottom line: How did my family do with the Midas challenge?

Even Sehlinger was impressed: We spent $200 on gas to drive from Virginia, about $510 on accommodations, and not much more on food than we would have spent at home. We'd paid for our no-expiration theme-park tickets five years earlier (and gotten a AAA discount, of course), so that was no hit at all. And the kids both stuck within their $20 budgets for souvenirs.

Ah, but there was that impulsive $8.25 binge on ice cream. Next time, I promise we'll do better.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We just got back from doing Disney with our 2 kids and we had a blast! One thing I want to tell you about is the Fast Pass system in the parks. Several rides in the park offer a free Fast Pass ticket (most popular rides). Basically, it allows you to get to the front of the line when your stated time comes. You can go to the Fast Pass machine, it will allow you to get a ticket for each person in your party for the ride, and it will tell you when to come back and ride (usually about 45min-1 hour after you get the FastPass). Make sure to save your park tickets---that's what you will use to get your Fast Passes. You can then go ride other rides that don't have the FastPass system to pass the time. The only catch is, you can only have 1 FastPass (per person) at a time. After you redeem the ones you have, go straight to the next one to get your place in line for the next FastPass ride. When others were waiting 1-1 1/2 hours in line for the most popular rides, we used this system and never spent more than 15-20 min in any line! Have fun! Oh--you can also bring refillable water bottles into the park so you don't have to buy everything. You can refill them at any of the indoor eating venues. If your kids are 8 or under, you may want to rent a stroller to give them a break from all the walking too. My kids (almost 5 and 7) sat in the double stroller we rented most of the day and it really helped us move through the park faster without tiring them out. I hope this helps!

Have fun!!!!

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answers from Dallas on

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answers from Dallas on

I am going to Disney in August. We are staying at the Polynesian. It is on the monorail. T

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answers from Dallas on

When we went to Disney in 05 we stayed at the All Star Music. It was nice! We just got back from Disney and this time we stayed at Port Orleans Riverside. We absolutely loved it. I have 3 girls 10, 9, and 7. They loved everytime we went outside there were lizards, rabbits, cranes, and ducks running around. It definately added to their experience and the housekeeping always did a little extra to make going back to the room exciting for the kids. We loved it and will definately book this hotel in our future trips.
Hope you have a great time!

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answers from Dallas on

We stayed at the All Stars Sports. It is a value hotel so it is way cheaper than the hotels on the monorail. It was very nice and clean. There are 2 pools and grill restuarant you can use your meal plan. You use the bus system. You didn't wait but minutes to ride the bus. I think you still have to take the bus to Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom from the monorail hotels. We went back to the hotel every afternoon for a rest and or swim and we didn't feel is wasted too much time traveling back and forth.

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answers from Dallas on

I don't think there is a need to stay near the monorail, especially since it crashed earlier this summer. Any Disney resort is going to be great and without any transportation problems. I ahve stayed at a couple of them, the Disney bus comes and takes you anywhere you want to go, and brings you back to the hotel at any time during the day. My kids like the All Star Sports hotel the best. It is one of the Value hotels and not over-luxurious. But, you really don't spend any waking time in the hotel. At Disney, you are in the room to shower and sleep. Other hotels are more upscale, but I think not worth the extra cost. The All Star Sports hotel is the first bus stop in the morning and the first drop off at night. So, it's always a quick trip. My son was 9 and my niece 10 when we took them the last time. They loved it.

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answers from Dallas on

Hope you have a wonderful Disney vacation. If you stay at one of the Disney properties you can also use the Magical Express, free Disney bus transportation from the airport! Your choice of hotel will depend on how much you want to pay for your room and how long you are staying. They have 3 classifications of hotels-value, moderate and high end (can't remember what it is called) There are 3 hotels on the monorail (the Contemporary-the monorail runs right through the lobby), the Polynesian (which is Hawaiian/Pacific Islander in theme) and the Grand Floridian (which is upscale old Florida) all of these are the high end resorts and they are wonderful to stay at if you can afford the rate and the taxes. All of the other resorts have efficient bus service to all the parks and Downtown Disney. But Disney has some great deals on rooms right now, especially if you book in a slower time of the year.
We have stayed at several of the hotels-we like Wilderness Lodge the best. Each resort is themed and decorated accordingly, so if your family has a special interest in a particular theme, you might try to book there. Have a magical trip!

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answers from Dallas on

We've got 1 daughter and we have been to Disney when she was 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 14 yrs old. Our last trip was this past Spring Break and she had a friend along with her.

We have always stayed at the Polynesian. It is on the monorail line. On the last 2 visits, we stayed in the Concierge sectin of the Polynesian. It is pricier, I know that, but the Concierge has a light breakfast, snacks, light lunch, light after noon snack, light dinner, dessert and drinks available at all times. Polynesian was great when daughter was small and we needed quick trips back to the hotel for naps, breaks, etc.

The Polynesian is great because we love the theme of the hotel, beach, boat launch to Magic Kingdom (hardly no wait), viewing fireworks at night, the luau is great, O'Hana has a nice character breakfast.

Grand Floridian is probably the nicest. It is more "clubbish" and quite honestly, a lot more older people there. We love it, nice restaurants but can sometimes be a little "stuffy". Stuffy is ok....we just want to chill and have fun while there. Floridian has a beach and the boat launch to MK as well.

Contemporary is the other hotel on the monorail line. THe monorail goes through it...pretty cool for kids. Chef Mickey has a good buffet for dinner and it is a Character dinner as well.

We fly and grab a cab from the airport to the hotel. There are benefits if you are on some od the Disney properties to have free transportation to and from the airport. We prefer no waiting, to grab a cab and go straight to our destination. Each way is about $80 with tip.

You don't need a car. Use the monorail and the buses. Polynesian is close to a main entrance/parking area and you can easily walk there.

We love Animal Kingdom. This last trip, we were able to get a semi private guided safari (10 people...3 adults and 7 children about 5-16 in age) and it was probably the best $$ we spent. We went off the trail of the regular safari and got to see some animals up very close. At one time, a giraffe had his head in the van. The guides are very knowledgable, they work with the animals and the children on this tour loved it.

Don't plan to see it all. Take your time to enjoy it and don't rush too much. I know I am forgetting something.

I manage all of our travel as in booking air, car, hotel, venues of entertainment. There are a lot of sites out there but you can get confused easily and end up including something you don't really need or want.

Call the WDW line and the representatives are very helpful in guiding you to events that might be more enjoyable for your family.

I do suggest the ticket that you purchase on day #1 and then it is good for any park, as many times as you go, any day until midnight of your checke out day. I think in reality, they are good about 7 days, as we were told upon checkout this last time.

I realize we vacation differently than a lot of people. When we go on vacation.....we don't go cheap.

HAVE FUN!!!! If you have any other questions, feel free to PM me.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We have a friend from church, actually the old preacher's son:), who works for Off to Never Land Travel. I have never been, but I hear he can find some GREAT deals and that he has wonderful advise for a trip to Disney:).

He says the best and easiest way to get ahold of him is here:



answers from Dallas on

We are going in 12 days ya!!! Staying for 10... We are staying at the All Star Music $70 a night. We dont plan being at the hotel so why stay at the best. We want to enjoy the parks and have more money...

I ditto www.Mousesavers.com it is the best also. If you have money buy your tickets before Aug 1st. Rates go up!!! Buy from www.undercovertourist.com they are 1 of the 3 authorized Disney Ticket Dealers and you can save $$$ I saved about $100 with them. If you sign up for Mouse Savers Newsletter they send you all the deals on the 15th of the month and 2 other times a month. You can save so much money.

We got plane tickets through southwest round trip with taxes etc for $140 a person!!!

Check out both their sites. OOO and Allears.net I believe it is. Also the Unofficial Guide to Disney World with Kids is the best. I checked all reviews and rented it from the libriary!!!!





answers from Dallas on

Hi LP~
Well first of all , let me say that Disney does a GREAT job at all their resorts. Their theming is awesome at every price point along the way. Really awesome! For us it always comes down to location,location,location! We have always stayed on the monorail for this reason. We are the type of family who hits the parks early and then likes to come back to the resort mid day for lunch and to swim and enjoy the amenities the hotel has to offer.Later on we hit the parks again. Monorail hotels are perfect for this. We have always stayed at the Polynesian because we found the theming to be really enjoyable for our boys . We did pay more for this option but, we just saved a little longer or went off season(BTW, a great way to save $$).
My best recommendation would be to reserve a room at the resort you want to stay in for the week you want and then keep an eye out for discount codes on the countless Disney websites. You can then apply the code to your existing reservation and they will modify the price. Does that make sense? Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.
Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

We stayed at the All Star Complex. It was awesome and very kid friendly. Clean environment and all. Not on the monorail but the bus service was fast and efficient for us. We had more problems with the lines for rides and etc. than we did getting to and from the hotel. You can not go wrong staying here. We had a marvelous time.



answers from Dallas on

We rented a house just outside the park and saved a bundle. There seems to be a big market for such rentals, so there was a lot to choose from.

I second the FastPass recommendation. We also used a book called "The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World" to help us navigate the park. The book has touring plans in the back that we tore out and followed. The plans helped tremendously! No wandering around, wondering where to go next, we got to ride all the rides we wanted to without big waits. The only wait we experienced the whole vacation was for Pirates of the Carribean, and that's because we deviated from the plan!

We also got a discount by buying a 7 day pass to the park for each person. We spent the extra money to get the no-expire option, and since we only used half the days we already have our tickets for the next trip.

Best of luck, and have a great vacation!



answers from Dallas on

We stayed at the All-Stars Sports, next time I'd go up a level, the room had 2 double beds but was not very large and although you don't spend a ton of time in your room I would definitely recommend something slightly larger. Our son was 2.5 at the time and it got crowded once you put the stroller (umbrella) in there and our suitcases. Plus when he took a nap we either had to take one as well or we had to be fairly quiet and not move too much. LOL As far as having to stay on the monorail, no, the buses are perfectly efficient and we had no problem getting around. If you're not planning on going anywhere but Disney then I'd forget renting a car and take the Magic Express from Orlando Int'l airport. We actually flew into Tampa to visit family members first so we had a car but didn't use it once while at Disney. Bring your own ponchos/umbrellas from home - they're expensive and you almost always get one day of rain. Do the refillable mugs that you purchase at your resort, it will save you money! Definitely do a character meal - book that ASAP use Disney's website to help you out on planning and look for the one that's Disney Moms or something like that for specific info and great advice.



answers from Dallas on

Have fun :) I have a lot of memories from when I was younger going with my family! I have stayed at Boardwalk, Polynesian and Grand Floridian. From what I remember they were all very nice...I would definatly try and stay at one close to Magic Kingdom on the monorail, it makes it A LOT easier!!



answers from Dallas on

Our favorite is Pop Century. The rooms are bigger than the All Stars and it's very kid friendly. We also like the Carribean Beach.


answers from Tyler on

When our kids were younger (8 & 4) we stayed at the Wilderness Lodge in a villa. Our youngest napped and it was very convenient to most of the parks to get back to the room in the afternoon to rest.

This time, we're staying at the Bay Lake Towers next to the contemporary, it's new so I'll post some kind of review after our trip. I've never used the monorail system, so I don't know how much more efficient it is than the boats or the buses, but we rarely had to wait long for either.

I also recommend the Unofficial Guide to WDW or its website touringplans.com. Allears.net is another great site. There is so much info out there on disney, it can become overwhelming, so think about what would best meet your families needs first, then go from there..you will find something that suits you perfectly!

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