Best Disney World Deluxe Resorts

By Vacation Club Life / June 30, 2010


Quick Introduction to the Disney World Deluxe Resorts

Of the three Disney World resort classes, selecting the right Deluxe is the toughest choice.  Unlike the Values and the Moderates, the Deluxes have wildly different price points, ranging from $240 per night to $410 per night, and that’s just for Standard rooms in Value season.  Some Deluxes have as many as 20 different room categories with prices that top $2,000 per night.  Room sizes are also vastly different, ranging in size from about 340 square feet all the way up to 440 square feet for Standard rooms.  While 100 square feet may not seem significant on paper, in person it may seem like you’re adding an additional planet if your group consists of four or five people.  In addition, there are significant differences in resort layout, dining choices, transportation options, theme, service, location, pool size, and more.  I have ranked the Deluxe resorts in a number of categories to help you decide which resort is the best fit for your group.  Don’t be alarmed if your final choice is rated on the lower end of any of the categories because there is no such thing as “one size fits all.”

Also, be sure to read the full length reviews of the resorts you are interested in to get a better idea of what they offer as well as a list of the best rooms.  You can either click the highlighted links throughout this post or click here for a scrollable page with all of the resorts listed alphabetically.

Best Theme/Landscaping

1. Polynesian Resort

2. Animal Kingdom Lodge

3. Wilderness Lodge

4. Grand Floridian

5. Beach Club Resort

6. Boardwalk Inn

7. Yacht Club Resort

8. Contemporary Resort

Save for perhaps the Contemporary, all of the Disney Deluxe resorts have lush surroundings and immersive themes.  I have the Polynesian in first place because of the beautiful grounds, impressive Great Ceremonial House, perfectly-themed volcano pool, and lake-side white sand beaches overlooking Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom.  The Polynesian is one of the most relaxing, pristine resorts at Disney World.  The Animal Kingdom is in second place, but could just as easily take first depending on your own preferences.  Surrounded by 43 acres of African savanna and featuring the most remarkable lobby of any of the Disney Deluxes, the Animal Kingdom is a striking resort and the favorite of many guests.  Few other resorts in the world can boast panoramic views of 30 specifies of indigenous African wildlife and more than 35,000 native shrubs.  It’s an amazing place and an experience every Disney guest should take advantage of, even if you decide to stay elsewhere.

The Wilderness Lodge is a gorgeous, casual resort with a Pacific Northwest flavor.  It shares the beautiful Seven Seas Lagoon with the Deluxe Monorail resorts and has the feeling of being removed from the ruckus of Disney World while still being right in the middle of the action.  The Grand Floridian, Disney’s Flagship Resort, is decidedly “uppity,” yet accommodating and friendly with beautiful architecture, white sand beaches, and a Victorian themed lobby.  Guests looking for upscale surroundings (and price point) should strongly consider it.  The Beach Club Resort is the most friendly and relaxing of the Epcot-area resorts, offering a cool New England seaside vibe and a soft, welcoming color palette.  The Beach Club is the favored Epcot resort for families.  The Boardwalk Inn, themed like an elegant 1940s Atlantic City resort, features an impressive façade and an inviting lobby.  It drops substantially on the list of best themes because the resort itself doesn’t necessarily leave guests exclaiming “Wow.”  Its location right along the Boardwalk is definitely something special, but the resort itself isn’t as extravagantly themed as other Deluxes.

Coming in next to last is the Yacht Club, which isn’t necessarily an indication of an extremely lacking theme.  The Yacht Club is still a solid “B to B+” on a graded scale, but falls to seventh due to its somewhat pretentious tone that doesn’t appeal to some guests.  Anyone looking for a classier, upscale resort should consider the Yacht Club along with the Grand Floridian, but many families report feeling a bit unwelcome at the Yacht Club.  While I’ve never felt that way about the Yacht Club personally, it’s difficult to ignore the feelings of so many past guests.  The only Deluxe with a disappointing theme is the Contemporary Resort, which doesn’t boast much decoration at all.  While the structure itself is a technical feat on a grand scale, most guests won’t appreciate the bland, concrete architecture.  The inside of the resort is void of most things Disney and the industrial atmosphere seems out of place in Disney World.  On the plus side, the lake and Magic Kingdom views from the Tower rooms are spectacular.

Overall, the Disney Deluxe resorts are extravagantly and diversely themed.  It’s likely that more than one of the resorts will appeal to you and your group and you’ll want to take into consideration the other categories.  For some guests, the theme is the most important part of their resort choice.  While the theme may be vital to your vacation, I would still strongly recommend taking into consideration dining, transportation, room quality, and pool areas.  Suffice to say, you won’t be disappointed by the top choices in this category and the resorts at the bottom of the list have something to offer as well.

for Best Layout, Best Pool, Best Dining continue reading here

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Vacation Club Life