Every theme park tourist has a favorite Walt Disney World resort. Their passion is understandable. I’ve said several times that I believe that many Disney hotels are cathedrals, dazzling architectural structures with immaculate theming. Like everyone else, I have Disney resorts that I cherish and others that, well, fall short of my lofty expectations. Here are the seven official resorts that I think are the worst at Walt Disney World.
7. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Let's start with a few acknowledgments. Yes, I'm going to make some people angry. I apologize for this, and I understand your emotional connection to your favorite Disney resorts. Whenever someone says something unkind about Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, I want to splash lemon juice in their eyes.
The thing about vacation hotel stays is that everyone has their own checklist for what's good. To my family, logistics are essential. We also prefer more intimate resorts to labyrinthine ones that seem to stretch out for miles. And we like eating at the hotel. So, places with disappointing food options don’t work well for us.
Keeping these criteria in mind, Caribbean Beach would have finished much higher on the list a couple of years ago. The new and updated restaurant options like Sebastian’s Bistro and Centertown Market have elevated our esteem for this property. When the Disney Skyliner arrives, it will get that much better, but that feature wasn’t available at the time of publication.
For now, Caribbean Beach is a massive complex with more than 1,500 rooms encompassing far too many bus routes and way too much needless walking for our tastes. Until recently, our favorite thing about this place was Fuentes del Morro Pool. I should add that we’re booked to stay here in a few months, so it’s not like we’re totally against the place. It’s just a fallback option for my family rather than a preferred choice.
6. Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside
The Port Orleans campus is one of the most visually stunning at Walt Disney World. I love how fresh and vibrant everything looks. The awkward part of the conversation about this property is that it’s effectively a pair of twins, and we like one twin oh so much better.
Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter would earn a spot on our top five Disney resorts list. It’s intimate and quiet and oh so laid back. Plus, the pool there is phenomenal. Riverside is the exact opposite. The place is mobbed, the logistics are nightmare-inducing, and the best restaurant is Boatwright’s Dining Hall.
Fans of Yehaa Bob Jackson would argue that River Roost Lounge merits a mention. I tend to agree, but despite his thoroughly entertaining show, I don't like to eat at Riverside nor do I like to hang out here.
In my experiences – and all of us have different experiences that dramatically impact our perception of Disney hotels – Riverside is as congested as Magic Kingdom without any of the fun. Plus, you have to add 15 minutes to every bus ride to account for the many internal stops. French Quarter is delightful, but Riverside is the evil twin.