Disney's Polynesian

Walt Disney World resorts fall into three categories – Value, Moderate, and Deluxe. The high-end resorts come with an equally high price tag, and their seemingly luxurious perks draw plenty of guests in. However, the most expensive resorts on property aren’t necessarily the best options. Consider some of these factors before you pick a room.

You miss the more exuberant themes

Radiator Springs

Radiator Springs at Disney's Art of Animation Resort
Image: gardener41, Flickr (license)

Every Disney resort has a distinct theme. However, some are a little more over-the-top than others. The Grand Floridian is designed to exude Victorian elegance. The décor is rich and sumptuous, but not necessarily imaginative. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort transports you to an island paradise. If you take actual cruises or other island vacations, however, you might find the lush theming falls a bit short. After all, there are no waves lapping the sandy shores and you’re not allowed to touch the water.

Meanwhile, Art of Animation has a complete life-size recreation of Radiator Springs. At Pop Century, you’ll find a Roger Rabbit sculpture that stands 23-feet tall atop a 12-foot barrel. The décor and themes at some of the less expensive resorts have a little more exuberance, and definitely stand apart from what you would find elsewhere.

Quick-service dining is less diverse

All Star Movies food court

The tasty food court at All Star Movies
Image: Loren Javier, Flickr (license)

When it comes to fine dining, you can go anywhere. Yes, ‘Ohana is excellent, but you don’t need to stay at The Polynesian Resort to dine there. In fact, this makes for an excellent dinner reservation after a day at Magic Kingdom, as it gives you a bonus ride on the monorail. Dining at different resorts throughout your stay will give you a chance to explore a broad range of options, and all Disney resorts are easily accessible by bus, boat, or monorail.

At your own resort, you’re more likely to take advantage of the quick and convenient picks. The quick-service breakfast options are usually immensely important because there aren’t as many breakfast options in the parks as there are lunch and dinner picks, and most guests are too excited in the morning to settle down and eat – it’s prime time to get on those rides!

So when it comes to your resort, you want a delicious breakfast that’s fast and convenient. The quick-service breakfast at The Grand Floridian’s Gasparilla Island Grill includes just five entrée options – a breakfast wrap, Mickey waffle, croissant egg sandwich, quiche, or fruit and yogurt bar. Head over to All Star Movies, however, and you’ll find over a dozen choices including a Bounty Platter with eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, a biscuit, and Mickey waffle. There are four different types of breakfast sandwiches, two flatbreads, and even biscuits and gravy with ham.

The Art of Animation is widely recognized as having one of the best quick-service food courts on property. Here, your breakfast picks include a create-your-own omelet, chocolate-chip pancakes, challah French toast, and much more. Think carefully about how and where you’ll really be dining before you pick a pricey resort for the restaurants.



I dunno, it depends on what you want in a hotel and how much you can afford.

For us, the Animal Kingdom Lodge is the only place to stay (with savanna view). It is just relaxing watching the animals in the morning with a cup of coffee/tea/etc. and in the evening after the parks.

I also tend to prefer sit down breakfasts at Boma rather than rushing through a food court, grabbing some quick chow, and heading to the park to be first at the rope drop.

Now, we are in our 50-60's, our daughter is grown up, and we've been to mouseland a few times over the years. So for us, we tend to take it slow. But I can understand for a lot of people, the hotel is just a place to sleep and they don't need the amenities. We are all different, and Disney of course tries to meet these various needs.

In our Disney trips, I have stayed at Pop Century Music once, Port Orleans and Dixie Landings (before they merged), Wilderness Lodge, and Animal Kingdom Lodge (and the Poly many, many years ago).

I found Pop Century to be too large, particularly after a long day at the park.

The original Port Orleans was nice in that it was a smaller resort at the medium price level.

Ditto for the Wilderness Lodge at a higher level. The one time we stayed at the WL, it was nice. It reminded me of vacations growing up where my family would get in our VW minibus and go across country and camp at the various national parks (my wife on the other hand didn't find it as fun). But the animals trump the WL experience, and we've settled in at the AKL.

You are paying for the proximity to the parks and not be at the mercy of disney's notorious infamous inefficient bus system.

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