Travel Pro Tip
Book a preferred category room. Preferred rooms will put you closer to the main pool, lobby and bus stop.
Rating: 3 Stars
POP Century is a great resort for families who are on a budget. While this is one of the more basic resorts at Walt Disney World, it offers fun theming, comfortable rooms, 3 pools, and fun activities during the day.
There is only one dining option at POP Century, which does offer some variety, but the quality is not comparable to the moderate and deluxe resorts. My family usually prefers to grab a quick breakfast and the rest of our meals will be eaten at another resort or in the parks. (The Mickey waffles are the same no matter where you go!)
Disney Parks, Cruise, & All-Inclusive Specialist
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Travel Pro Tip
Book a preferred category room. Preferred rooms will put you closer to the main pool, lobby and bus stop, otherwise it's a hike to get anywhere.
Rating: 3 Stars
There are limited reasons to stay at All-Star Sports. If the other All-Star Resorts are full and you really can’t work Pop Century or Art of Animation into your budget, stay at Sports.
Sports has everything we love about the value resorts—cheap food, fun theming, and big energy. It’s simply easily beat by the other value options.
Since it doesn’t have refurbished rooms, has the least “Disney” theming of the All-Star resorts, and frequently plays host to large groups of unsupervised teenagers, we try to skip this resort when possible.
Travel Pro Tip
Enjoy live music at Trader Sam's Tiki Terrace and then make your way to the Tambu Lounge and be sure to order the "secret kitchen dessert"-it's not on the menu and simply delicious!
Rating: 5 Stars
Disney's Polynesian Resort never disappoints. We fell in love with this resort at our first stay in 2015 and stay here whenever we can. The recent refurbishments have maintained the original character from it's 1971 opening as one of the first Disney resorts. The moment you step on to the property with a lei greeting, you are transformed to the islands. From character dining at O'Hana to pineapple drinks at Trader Sam's this resort can be thoroughly enjoyed by all ages!
What can be better than beautiful grounds, fresh room décor, one of a kind views, tasty food and drink--watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the beach and ending the night with the Electrical Water Pageant simply cannot be replicated! There's something about catching your first glimpse of the castle from across the Seven Seas Lagoon that says, "Aloha"!
Disney Parks, Cruise, & All-Inclusive Specialist
One of the hardest parts of planning a Disney World vacation is picking the perfect resort for your family. With so many resorts on Disney property you really can’t go wrong with any, however the resorts located near Epcot tend to be the fan favorite and here is why…
The Epcot Resort area is one of the most charming places you will ever visit. This space between Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot is a venue within itself. It's home to multiple resorts, beautiful lakes, and Disney's Boardwalk. If you want premium access to delicious restaurants, evening entertainment, and easy access to the parks then the Epcot area is where you want to be.
With five unique resorts to choose from, Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resort, The Boardwalk Inn, Disney's Riviera Resort, and Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, each offering something for everyone. Marriott's Swan & Dolphin are also considered "Epcot Area Resorts" but since they aren't technically Disney resorts, we have excluded them from this list.
Eats & Treats!
From seafood to Italian to a steakhouse to an ice cream parlor, there is a dining experience to fit anyone’s craving. Within the three resorts you can find six table service restaurants to choose from. Some of the best dining can be found right here at the Epcot Resorts. Want a quick bite, enjoy pizza at the boardwalk or a delicious baked good from the Boardwalk Bakery as you take your stroll over to the parks.
Epcot Resorts are all in the Deluxe Category which means they have amazing pools, large guest rooms, and beautiful grounds, plus extended hours at the theme parks. You may be thinking the price is the highest on Disney property with all these perks, they aren’t! Epcot resorts tend to always be less expensive than the monorail resorts located by Magic Kingdom. Just another reason why we love our Epcot Resorts!
Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts are two separate resorts that sit next to each other on a beautiful stretch of Crescent Lake. The best rated and largest pool on Disney property, Stormalong Bay, connects the two resorts making it convenient to walk between them both. With many shared amenities it's a huge benefit to have access to both properties. The pool is the major draw for these resorts. It actually feels more like a waterpark than your average resort pool.
Disney's Beach Club Resort
Casual elegance meets the beach here at Disney’s Beach Club. The Beach Club is the closest resort to Epcot. It's less than a five-minute walk out of the resort's backdoor to the International Gateway Entrance to Epcot.
Standard Rooms at Disney's Beach Club sleep up to 5 and a baby while the villas offer more space and can accommodate a family of 8. Club level is available in standard rooms and suites.
Disney's Yacht Club Resort
This lakeside hotel is set in a grand New England-style yacht club. The plush lobby with nautical touches feels more adult than the casualness of the Beach Club making it more adult friendly. The Yacht Club is a popular convention resort so at times, it can feel more business like than Disney.
Standard rooms here sleep up to five plus a baby. There are suites that sleep up to 6. Club level is available in standard rooms and suites.
The Boardwalk Inn
The Boardwalk Inn is made to look like Atlantic City in the 1940s. Located directly on the Boardwalk overlooking Crescent Lake. In addition to all the perks listed above, The Boardwalk is home to a large pool, waterslide, and also has villas to accommodate larger families or families looking for large suites with full kitchens and washer-dryer units . Disney’s Boardwalk Inn falls under the category of a deluxe resort. The Inn itself has 378 guest rooms and suites. In addition, Disney’s Boardwalk Villas, a Disney Vacation Club Resort, contributes another 280 rooms to the hotel. The villa portion of the resort has rooms that will offer a few extras that you won’t find in a standard room.
During the day, you’ll see guests coming and going along the Boardwalk as they travel to and from the hotel. Then, as the day turns to dusk, the Boardwalk lights up with strands of tiny twinkling lights. Visitors dressed to the nines being to appear. They are usually headed to a signature dining reservation. Excitement fills the air with the possibility of what an evening at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn might behold.
Maybe you’ll take a romantic stroll around Crescent Lake and stop in at Belle Vue Lounge for a cocktail. Or you might spend your evening at Epcot and pick up a late-night sweet treat at the Boardwalk Bakery on your way back.
Disney's Riviera Resort
Disney’s newest resort, The Riviera, is our bonus Epcot Resort. While not within walking distance to the parks, this resort is located on the Skyliner and a quick five-minute trip to Epcot and 8-minute ride to Hollywood Studios. The Riviera Resort reminds me of a European Escape with multiple dining options-including the roof top character breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace.
No matter how you classify it, the resort exudes a certain level of luxury and sophistication. Additionally, the Riviera commands one of the highest price points on Disney World property. Room options range from tower studios, 1, 2, and 3-bedroom grand villas.
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
Disney’s Caribbean Beach is a beautiful resort themed to the Caribbean Islands. Guests who have stayed here before love to gush about the tropical vibe of this Walt Disney World Resort. In addition, the resort is home to one of the main Skyliner stations offering access to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios. As a result, Caribbean Beach is the only moderate resort at Disney to provide multiple forms of transportation to the theme parks.
The main difference between this resort from the others we have discussed is that it’s spread out into sections over a vast area. This might mean a lot of extra walking time at this Disney World Epcot Resort.
Rooms here offer two queen beds with some rooms having a pull-down trundle bed with room for a family of five.
This pool area here is tremendous and offers several lagoon-like areas. Additionally, there are plenty of loungers and tables with chairs positioned around the pool deck. Unlike the others, this Epcot resort has a large food court with a tremendous variety of options.
Whether you stay at one of these Epcot Resorts or only tour as a day guest, make sure to remember these tips and dining options. If your day at the neighboring Disney park becomes too congested and you are ready to throw your hands up, exit at the International Gateway for a break.
With over 20 resorts on property at Disney World, it’s now easy to see why the Epcot area resorts come in as our favorite!
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Do you have a young detective in your group? Do they enjoy a good mystery or just want to go an exciting adventure? There is a new activity at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort that they are going to love!
Disney has just announced an evening cruise for kids ages 10-16 called ‘The Unsolved Mysteries of Barefoot Bay’. This evening cruise allows kids to collect clues, solve puzzles, and take part in a Scavenger Hunt to unravel the mystery of Captain Calico’s disappearance.
This special cruise takes place on Thursday evenings from 8:00pm-9:30pm for a fee of $39.00 per person (plus tax). A snack is provided during the adventure.
Reservations are recommended for the experience; however, walk-ins will be accepted based on availability.
I would love to add this to your family vacation, be sure to contact me if you are interested.
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My family spent part of our spring break visiting Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort. We first went in December and loved the experience so much, that we wanted to come back again when the weather was warm! There are so many things you can experience while visiting!
Upon check in you will receive a calendar with the week’s activities and times going on at the resort. These will include a variety of fun interactive learning activities that you can participate in that vary by the week. Some of the many examples are Shark Teeth Necklaces, Goofy Bingo, Mickey Tie Dye, Paint Nights, Campfire (including complementary SMORES!) and various story times! You can also call the resort the Saturday before check-in to request the week’s activities to be mailed to you to prepare for your stay. Some of these activities require a fee that you can pay when you arrive to do it, but you can sign up beforehand. All over the resort there are fun things to do as a family. Shuffle boards, life size checkers, hammocks, bike rentals, fishing, basketball hoops, and playgrounds are available to guests! There is something for everyone! Some evenings there are complimentary movies under the big oak trees!
Depending on the room type you get you can cook if you wish while you are there. Deluxe Studios have a small kitchenette but no stove. The villas do have a full kitchen. There is a grocery store within walking distance that you can pick up some food and needs for your stay. We had a 2-bedroom villa and cooked as well as tried some restaurants in the area. There are SO many to choose from! The front desk at check-in gave us a booklet with some of the area restaurants with their menus. If you would rather just stay on property, there are a few quick service places on the property where you can get food on the go and even Mickey Bars and Dole Whips!! YES! A great thing about cooking in your villa, is that moueskeeping even does the dishes for you!
The Beach House is available by shuttle and takes to you back and forth. The Beach House has a pool, quick service restaurant, pool bar, and some of the activities of the week are held there. You need to bring your Key to the World Card (room key) to be able to access it. There is a small distance board walk that takes you right onto the sand! We loved beach combing and playing in the water! Complementary towels are provided at both the Beach House pools and the main Pool with waterslide at the resort. There is even a towel drop there as well so you don’t have to carry wet towels around with you. Once we were finished we walked back up to the front of the back house and called for the shuttle to came back for us to take us to the other side of the resort. It is super-efficient and quick!
The Mercantile shop is the place to go on property for Disney merchandise, snacks, and to rent complimentary movies during your stay! They have a 2-day rental and you can always ask for an extension as well. They have so many movies to choose from in their library and even offer popcorn bags you can purchase to take back to your room for a movie night. The cast members are super friendly in there and can help you if you have any questions or are looking for something in particular.
Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort is a great place to go and relax! You receive Disney level service and comfort without the busyness of some other Disney destinations. The cast members are some of the best I have ever met at any Disney destination and are always there to put a smile on your face or help you in any way they can. I highly recommend this location to visit for anytime of the year! We will be back for sure and when I walk through that door, I know I will hear the words “Welcome Home”.
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Did you know that you can camp at Disney and you get all of the perks of staying at any other resort (Magic Bands, Dining Plan offerings, Extra Magic Hours etc.)? My family enjoys camping, and thought it would be fun to camp at a Disney resort. The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are a great place to camp! There are tent and Pop-up sites, as well as full hook up and premium sites. All include electric and water hook ups as well as a picnic table and a charcoal grill. There is boat transportation to the Magic Kingdom and bus transportation to all of the other parks and Disney Springs. There are bathrooms with showers (Comfort stations) offered at various locations all over the grounds. Some sites even allow for you to bring your furry friends along! Many families even decorate their campsite areas, especially around the holidays!
My family decided to tent camp! Checking in was a breeze and we set up our site before heading to Trails End restaurant on the property for dinner! We were tired after a long drive from Virginia and ordered a family fried chicken meal to go at the counter service. It was delicious and for a great value! I highly recommend it!
There are SO many offerings at this resort! If your family loves the outdoors, some of the things you can do are; pony rides, archery, fishing, bike rentals, and free movies under the stars. There are volleyball and basketball courts offered as well! If you would like, you can rent a golf cart to get you where you want to go in a breeze! We loved the pool and splash pad areas! There is even a hot tub area available as well to relax in! Some evenings Chip and Dale come out for a campfire sing a long! You can even make smores in a big fire pit before the show! It is a fun way to spend an evening and it is close by the pool too if you want to take a dip while you wait! If you are down by the water in the evening, you can even catch the electric water parade go by!
We loved being surrounded by all of the native wildlife in Florida and even caught a glimpse of an Armadillo roaming the grounds near the bus station. Bus travel is easy and has several color-coded lines to take you to various parts of this large resort. There are directories at every stop to help you navigate where you want to go. My youngest daughter loved looking at it and figuring out which color bus line we needed.
When we booked, I took a look at the map of the resort and picked an area loop to request so we would beclose to a bus as well as a comfort station. Requests aren’t guaranteed, but we were able to get the location area we requested. The comfort stations are very clean and after 10pm you will need a magic band to access them. There are a number of showers and toilets. It was very accommodating for us! We really enjoyed our camping experience and would definitely do it again! It doesn’t sound like we “roughed it” too much, does it?
Here are some tips I found helpful for camping at Disney:
· Bring some Christmas lights! This was so great for us because it is quite dark in the evenings and we were able to see our tent site much easier!
· Don’t forget your magic bands if you need a comfort station at night! I learned that the hard way at 2am! Ha ha!
·Get to the showers early! Mornings are busy at the campground as everyone prepares for a day at the parks. You will wait less if you arrive early!
· Glow sticks are a great tool for nights in your tent! My kids loved having them in conjunction with the Christmas lights!
· Bring your own smore kits! While Disney does offer smore ingredients, we loved bringing our own goodies from home. It was a fun treat for the kids and more cost effective.
· Check the nights of Chip and Dale’s Campfire Sing a long! It is so much fun and kids get to meet and greet with them afterwards. It is a great time to get autographs!
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