Once you’ve gotten your head around all of the different Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Categories, you’ll probably start to look at the different Resort Areas each Walt Disney World Resort is in. With Disney World being roughly the same size as San Francisco, the Theme Parks and Hotels are a lot more spread out that what you may originally imagine; and even your ‘close to the action’ Disney World Hotel may still be a half hours drive away from some of the Theme Parks.
To help you understand the different Resort Areas, and which area will be preferable for your party to stay in during your trip, we’ve broken down all the different Walt Disney World Resort Hotels into their Resort Areas, along with the pros and cons of each area. Considering hotels by Resort Area can be very helpful when choosing where you want to stay; it will allow you to asses which Theme Parks you’re closest to, and if there are any alternative transport options other than bus available.
There are 5 key Resort Areas within the Walt Disney World Resort; Magic Kingdom Resort Area, Epcot Resort Area, Downtown Disney (Springs) Resort Area, Animal Kingdom Resort Area and ESPN Wide World of Sports Area. Each area is typically closest to the Theme Park or Recreational Area it is named after, so consider where you may be spending most of your time when looking at the location; A Downtown Disney Area Hotel will be perfect for parties who love spending time here, but best to be avoided for those who’d prefer to be closer to a Theme Park, for example.
Whichever Resort Area you choose, you’ll be guaranteed to be closer to all the Walt Disney World Action than if you stayed ‘off property’. You’ll also be entitled to a huge range of Walt Disney World Resort Guest Benefits, and be able to fully utilise MyMagic+
These Walt Disney World Resort Hotels have the luxury of been the closest you can stay to Magic Kingdom (without winning a night in the castle of course!)
All of these Resorts, bar Fort Wilderness, are classed as either Deluxe Resort Hotels or Deluxe Villa Resorts, and therefore come with a premium price tag. Even compared to other Hotels in the Deluxe category, Magic Kingdom Resort Area Hotels generally tend to be at the top end of the price bracket.
However, the extra cost does get you a good bit for your money. You’ll have fantastic views of Seven Seas Lagoon and Cinderella’s Castle, and you can hop on a Monorail or Water Taxi for a short trip to get to Magic Kingdom (from the Contemporary you can even walk!). Consider Wilderness Lodge if you are keen to stay in this Resort Area but can’t afford a Seven Seas Lagoon Resort; it generally tends to be a little less expensive due to being slightly further away.
These Resort Hotels are perfect for anyone wanting to be completely surrounded by Disney; there is nothing more ‘Disney’ than the Magic Kingdom after all. Another pro for these Resorts is that they are also convenient to Epcot, which is easily accessed via Monorail at the Transportation & Ticket Centre. However, you’ll find getting to the other areas will take a slightly longer trip.
Fort Wilderness Resort is the only Moderate Resort in this area and is located on Walt Disney World’s Campground. It is further from Magic Kingdom that the Deluxe Hotels, but does have the bonus of being a Log Cabin Resort, sleeping six and providing amenities such as a small kitchen.
Any Hotel in this Resort Area is highly sought after by most travellers, but if you are working on a budget, or if Magic Kingdom is not your favourite Theme Park, it could be worthwhile looking at the other areas to see if they fit your needs better
If you’re favourite thing in Walt Disney World is to spend a day exploring World Showcase in Epcot, then a Walt Disney World Hotel in the Epcot Resort Area is perfect for your stay.
There are 4 Deluxe Hotels and 1 Moderate hotel in the Epcot Area; and the Deluxe Hotels here hold a distinct advantage over the Moderate as they are right at Epcot’s backdoor. All 4 Deluxe Hotels are situated at Disney’s Boardwalk area, circled around a small lagoon and walking distance from the side entrance to Epcot, which leads you directly into World Showcase.
As with the Resorts in the Magic Kingdom Area, the Deluxe Resorts here do come with a premium price tag due to their location. However with easy access to Epcot, a water taxi away from Hollywood Studios and with all the evening entertainment of Boardwalk, this truly is one of the most laid back areas to stay in Walt Disney World.
Easy access to Boardwalk is a huge bonus for this Resort Area. With Street Performers out each evening, a wealth of food & drink options, 2 Nightclubs and a hire shop for bikes & boats, you could almost spend an entire holiday here without ever stepping foot in the Theme Parks (almost!)
Caribbean Beach Resort, the Moderate Hotel in the Epcot Resort Area, is a little further out than the Deluxe Resorts and therefore is the least expensive choice for those wanting to stay in this area but are on a tighter budget. You’ll still only be a short drive away from the action.
This area is the most centrally located of all Resort Areas, perfect if you’re planning on spending most of your time around Walt Disney World
A little further away from the main action, but exceptionally close to Animal Kingdom, hotels in this area tend to come at a much more reasonable price, whilst still letting guests enjoy the magic of staying in a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel.
For a truly unique experience, consider a stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge or Kidani Village. The only Deluxe Hotels in this area, these spectacular Resorts are set in their own Savannah and many rooms boast balconies with great views of the animals. With only a 5 min trip to reach Animal Kingdom, these Resorts are perfect for animal lovers.
Also located here is a Moderate Resort and 3 Value Resorts. While you won’t experience views of the animals from these Resorts, they are much better priced and the perfect way to combine staying on-property with a tight budget.
It is important to remember that while close to Animal Kingdom, this Resort Area is quite far removed from the rest of the Theme Parks. You can expect a longer travel time to reach other guest areas, and there are no alternative transport options from these Hotels; you have a choice of your own car or the complimentary Disney Buses
Formerly Downtown Disney, transformation to Disney Springs will be complete in 2016, so we have started transitioning to its new name.
Walt Disney World Resort Hotels in the Disney Springs Area have the bonus of being incredibly close to this fantastic shopping, eating and nightlife district. With all 4 Resorts in this area connected to Disney Springs by water taxi, this area is perfect for those who enjoying the bustling nightlife and entertainment this area has to offer.
Hotels in this Resort Area will come in cheaper than if you were considering the Magic Kingdom or Epcot Resort Areas. However, you will still be well located with all of the other Theme Parks just a short distance away.
Two of the Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels are Disney Vacation Club Properties and boast the added luxury of being Deluxe Villa Resorts. This makes these a perfect choice for larger groups, or those who prefer the luxury of a kitchen while on holiday.
It is worth noting that the 4 Resorts in this Area are all set in beautiful landscaped grounds, adding something extra to your stay. However, this does mean these Resorts can be a bit spread out; this is fine if you don’t mind a walk, but if you are travelling with someone with mobility issues you may want to consider a different area.
Currently home to only 2 Hotels, the Wide World of Sports Resort Area is the least populated area in Walt Disney World. With both Resorts being Value Resorts, you’ll find this area offers unbeatable value over the other Resort Areas offered.
You’ll also find yourself quite far from any of the main Disney World Areas, but this can sometimes be handy if you feel you’ll need a break from all of the action. With the latest Resort being added here, you now also have the option of considering a Family Suite at Art of Animation. That makes this are a perfect choice for larger families or groups who are looking to stay in Disney World but are on a tight budget.
The Wide World of Sports area also shows guests a different side to Disney Magic as it is conveniently located to the ESPN Wide World of Sports. This area frequently holds training for many large American Sports Teams, and is a perfect day out for sporting enthusiasts. Consider a stay here in March to get up close to the action during the Atlanta Braves Spring Training.
You will be a lot further removed from all the Theme Parks here, but at Walt Disney World, you do get what you pay for, and there is a premium on the price of the Hotels which have locations closest to all the action. The Resorts here may offer a more distant location, but they will allow those on smaller budgets to be able to stay in Walt Disney World and avail of the added perks of being a Resort Guest.