Home » 5 Walt Disney World Resorts that Transport You Far From Florida

    5 Walt Disney World Resorts that Transport You Far From Florida

    When you visit the theme park mecca of Orlando, Florida, you’ll find that most areas feature carefully landscaped lines of palm trees, tropical flowers, and bright character-laden signs.

    If you’re looking for a Floridian vacation, this is all well and good, but what if you’re after the thrill of Disney in a different atmosphere? Thanks to these richly themed resorts, you can head to Walt Disney World but experience a vacation that often feels as though you’re somewhere else entirely. Check out these immersive experiences.

    1. Port Orleans Riverside

    Image: Disney

    Port Orleans Riverside features meandering walkways, welcoming hammocks, and buildings that look more like southern mansions than hotels. The sprawling resort feels more like Louisiana than Florida, just as it should.

    To Do: Take a horse-drawn carriage ride along the banks of the Sassagoula River, go fishing on Ol’ Man Island with an old-fashioned cane pole, or gather the family for Cajun campfire activities in the evening.

    To Eat: Head to Boatwright’s Dining Hall for authentic southern flavors like Cajun-seasoned crawfish bites, chicken and Andouille gumbo, shrimp and grits, jambalaya, and voodoo chicken. Nestled beneath the hull of a fishing boat, this restaurant offers the look and feel of a shipyard with a clean and elegant Disney touch.

    2. Animal Kingdom Lodge

    Image: Disney

    Experience a trip to Africa right on Disney property with a stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Rooms overlook a vast savannah with more than 200 birds and animals that can stroll right by your window. If waking up to a giraffe meandering by your room doesn’t make you feel far away from Florida, I don’t know what will.

    To Do: Swim in the zero-depth entry pool that mimics an African watering hole, wander the grounds to view more than 30 species including zebras, flamingos, and gazelles, or participate in cultural crafts, songs, and stories in the lobby.

    To Eat: Visit Boma – Flavors of Africa for a satisfying buffet that transports you across the globe. Dishes include Zanzibar crab soup, Tunisian couscous salad, Ghana tomato salad, Durban-style roasted chicken, and much more. Come hungry because you’ll want a little taste of everything.

    3. Wilderness Lodge

    Image: Disney

    Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is designed to feel like an authentic lodge from one of America’s beloved national parks. It draws elements from around the country so no one single location is mimicked, but you’ll definitely feel like you’re nestled deep in a pine forest, with not a palm tree in sight.

    To Do: Head out back to watch the geyser erupt, gather around for evening campfire activities, take a bike ride through wooded trails, or go fishing.

    To Eat: The Whispering Canyon Café is anything but quiet. Enjoy a wild western meal with hobby horse races, sing-alongs, and plenty of rowdy fun. The menu includes hearty country dishes like Kansas City-style pork ribs, grilled western buffalo meatloaf, pulled pork, and grilled salmon. Save room for dessert. With options like apple-caramel pie and wagon wheel chocolate s’mores, you won’t want to miss this decadent final course.

    4. BoardWalk Inn

    Image: Disney

    Take a vacation to Atlantic City at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. This hotel actually has its very own boardwalk complete with a dueling piano bar, confectionary, dance hall, and more. The lobby of this hotel transports you to the turn of the century with elegant furnishings and a miniature carousel handcrafted in the 1920s.

    To Do: Take a dip at the Luna Park Pool where you’ll feel like you’ve landed right in the circus with a clown-themed waterslide, spraying elephants, and pool bar housed beneath a tented roof.

    To Eat: Visit the Flying Fish Café for a bold infusion of Atlantic City spirit. Funhouse mirrors and roller coaster tracks complete the theme, creating an experience that’s as satisfying to the eyes as it is to the stomach. Enjoy vibrant coastal fare including crispy crab cakes, oak-grilled marine sea scallops, and chargrilled organic Scottish salmon.

    5. Coronado Springs

    Image: Disney

    If you’ve always wanted a trip to Mexico that could also take you back in time, Coronado Springs is poised to deliver. This resort is themed to Spanish-colonial Mexico with Mayan and southwestern accents evident throughout. Rooms are divided into three sections so you can stay in the Casitas, Ranchos, or Cabanas.

    To Do: Swim amid Mayan ruins at the Dig Site Pool, featuring a spitting jaguar waterslide and giant Mayan pyramid as its centerpiece. A playground themed to archaeological ruins offers a fantastically themed area for kids to play.

    To Eat: The Maya Grill is decorated in Mayan images of fire, sun, and water. Enjoy mouthwatering Mexican dishes like queso fundido, pork belly enchiladas, the San Antonio fajita skillet, and coconut flan. This restaurant is only open for dinner but offers a relaxing way to end a long day before retreating to your room.

    If you want to visit Disney without feeling like you’re immersed in Florida, book a stay at one of these resorts and experience a very different type of vacation.