I have been fortunate enough to be able to visit Disney World Resort on more than a few occasions and this year particularly I have branched out to try a few of the different resort hotels.
I wanted to basically use this as a chance to write up my opinion and reviews of each hotel I have tried. The first thing to keep in mind is the sheer amount of options available when selecting a Disney Resort hotel. They have 3 tiers of hotels: Value, Moderate and Deluxe. These resorts vary in price, although bear in mind that even the cheapest hotels in Disney aren’t really cheap. Disney is expensive.
My first two visits in 2010 and 2014 and most recently in 2018 were spent in the same resort, we booked into a moderate hotel, Port Orleans Riverside. This hotel is beautiful, the grounds are stunning and it’s a little slice of heaven away from the madness that the parks can sometimes be. This is a sister resort to Port Orleans French Quarter which is literally just a 5-10 minute stroll along the river. The food court at French Quarter is worth a visit at some point for their beignets, its one of the few locations in Disney that you can get these. We tried them fresh and hot with ice-cream and omg. So good. Riverside though, is where my heart is. I think that it holds a special place with me because it was my first Disney hotel. It’s the perfect blend of Disney magic and hotel facilities. The hotel is themed to the South, think Mississippi and banjos. It’s one of the largest of the Disney Resorts in terms of grounds and rooms but walking around you hardly see anyone else, the grounds are large but are well serviced. There are several resort pools and the bus to the parks stops at several places around the resort so nothing is ever really too far away.
On my most recent trip in September we decided to branch out and try some other resorts including a Value and Deluxe. We spent the first night of our holiday at Art of Animation which is one of Disney’s Value resorts. It’s one of their nicer, more expensive Value resorts as most of the rooms are family suites. We, however, stayed in the Little Mermaid building which is the oldest part of the resort and is more suited to a couple or a smaller family. The resort is themed in sections, all based around Disney animation. We did hope to go and see some of the other areas of the hotel but unfortunately due to inclement weather we weren’t able to do this and ran out of time before we had to check out. There are 4 sections in the hotel: The Little Mermaid, Cars, Lion King and Finding Nemo. The hotel is well served with pools although I didn’t get the chance to experience them, they did look good and well sized. The hotel food court was good, we ate a meal in here and it was a good choice of food and lots of places to sit. For a Value resort me and my husband were incredibly impressed with it, so much so that we have booked another Value hotel for our next visit in January. This time we will be staying at Pop Century Resort.
We ended our holiday with a 2 night stay at our absolute dream hotel, The Polynesian Village Resort. If money wasn’t an issue I would stay at this hotel for every trip, it is stunning. It’s location on the Seven Seas Lagoon means that you can even see the castle and watch the fireworks from the beach. It also gets a nightly visit from the Electrical Water Pageant which is something not to be missed. It’s best selling point though? It’s on the monorail loop which makes visiting Magic Kingdom so ridiculously easy, and you go through security at your resort rather than joining the longer lines outside Magic Kingdom. It is also in walking distance to the Ticket and Transportation Centre where you can quickly catch the monorail to Epcot also.
Our Garden View room was located in one of the quieter buildings away from the pool and the beach which suited us fine. The rooms had all the amenities you would expect from a Deluxe hotel including more Disney H20 products than you could shake a stick at! We managed to secure a last minute booking for one of the restaurants at the hotel for the night of our wedding anniversary, Ohana. I had read and watched so many reviews of this place and it was always top of my list of things I would love to experience and getting to do this on such a special night was just everything. We requested a seat near the window so that we could see the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom (top tip). The food was great and the fact that we could just enjoy some drinks and have a little stroll along the beach knowing our room was also just there made for a really chilled, perfect evening. There is also a quick service restaurant located in the hotel which I have read great things about but been unable to try myself.
One of the most beautiful things in the hotel is the entrance and lobby. It’s stunning and has to be seen, and smelt. I know, I know, that sounds odd. Smell a lobby? But a lot of the Disney hotels have their own scents and the one at the Poly as we affectionally call it is amazing. Since we have returned back to the UK we have actually bought some candles from Maple and Whiskey on Etsy which have the scent of this and another which also smells like the reception at Art of Animation. Also make sure to stop by at Trader Sams Grog Grotto, get to the inside bar if you can but if not the outside bar is a little slice of heaven. They usually have someone playing the ukulele and you can just sit there with your cocktail and its feels like you are a million miles away. The inside bar is crazy though, and so are the wait times, but if you have the time (we waited about 20 minutes) it is worth it.
I can’t wait to go back and try more hotels. I am glad that we decided to try some different resorts on our recent trips but I do feel that for sentimental value Port Orleans Riverside will always be my go-to.