Official resorts at Walt Disney World are cathedrals by another name. They’re among the most luxurious, comfortable hotels in North America. That part’s a given. How would you judge them if you simply evaluated their theming, though? Which otherwise great resorts would fall by the wayside? Which beloved properties would still stand out? These are the questions I hope to answer today as I list the eight best themed resorts at Walt Disney World.

8. Disney’s BoardWalk Resort

Image: DisneyThe entire Disney BoardWalk section of Walt Disney World is immaculate. The theming here transports guests to a simpler time, the halcyon days of yore when a trip to Coney Island meant everything. The bright lights and vibrant colors here are traditional enough to make guests forget that we live in an age of neon-illuminated debauchery.

The hotel continues the theme with its stylish port accoutrements. You’ll feel like you’re eating cotton candy during your summer vacation as you wander the property. The pool area even has a carnival style complete with big top covering. And while I make plenty of jokes about the creepy clown pool, it definitely embodies that time when New Yorkers flocked to the island to relish in some family entertainment.

7. Disney’s Old Key West Resort

Image: DisneyI tried to amend my carnivorous habit. I made it nearly 70 days. And if these words mean nothing to you, you’re not a Parrothead. Those of us who do love the musical stylings of Jimmy Buffett feel right at home at Old Key West, a place where the pool plays his music regularly. They do this because Buffett is widely associated with the laid back lifestyle that you find in Key West, Florida.

The resort celebrates this kind of living through its serene atmosphere. Gentle pastels are visible throughout the complex, fostering a soothing vibe. The classic architecture of the villas hearken back to early 20th century Key West, the kind of place seductive enough to persuade Ernest Hemingway to live there. Old Key West has lush foliage on the grounds and charming pools, all of which would seem right at home on the island.


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