How Do You Choose A Hotel?

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Kristen K.'s picture
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How Do You Choose A Hotel?

Walt Disney World has 35 resort hotels available for guests to stay at on property with a wide variety of price points. So how does one choose where to stay on their Disney Vacation? Do you go for the cheapest rate? Location? Amenities?

Let me know how you chose where you stay when you go to Disney mickey

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To be honest, as many times as I have been to MK..I've only stayed on site once! We live about 90 min away, so we make day trips. But when we had our 10th Anniversary, we actually went and stayed 4 days at Ft Wilderness. Wow! But we just got on the WDW website and looked at resorts. Chose it because of the pool, the rustic beauty, and closeness to MK. It was expensive, yes, but we were celebrating! muchlove
Next time, I'm sure we will keep our budget in mind. sarcastic biggrin

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I have made 60 trips to WDW and have been to every resort on property. I only count 20. I am confused as to what other ones I have missed!
We always chose the least expensive with Fl. resident rate. Never paid over about $85.00 per night.
Joe

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We chose Port Orleans French Quarters because I love all things french biggrin
and we wanted a smaller more intimate resort. The ferry boats to Downtown
Disney were also a big draw-it's nice to have an option other than the bus.

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I think the number depends on how and what you are counting. Disney Counts DVC Villas apart from the resort hotels even if they are connected. This list represents what Disney considers available rooms on property. In addition to these there are also the Bonnet Creek properties and the Four Seasons which is currently under construction. All within that 43 Square Miles of WDW.

This is the breakdown of how Disney counts the WDW hotels on their press site:


  1. Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground

  2. Disney's Art of Animation Resort

  3. Disney's All-Star Sports Resort

  4. Disney's All-Star Music Resort

  5. Disney's All-Star Movies Resort

  6. Disney's Pop Century Resort

  7. Disney's Port Orleans Resort-Riverside

  8. Disney's Port Orleans Resort-French Quarter

  9. Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort

  10. Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

  11. Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

  12. Disney's Wilderness Lodge

  13. Disney's Contemporary Resort

  14. Disney's Polynesian Resort

  15. Disney's Yacht Club Resort

  16. Disney's Beach Club Resort

  17. Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

  18. Disney's BoardWalk Inn

  19. Disney's Old Key West Resort

  20. Disney's BoardWalk Villas

  21. The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

  22. Disney's Beach Club Villas

  23. Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

  24. The Villas at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

  25. Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort

  26. Walt Disney World Swan

  27. Walt Disney World Dolphin

  28. Buena Vista Palace

  29. Regal Sun Resort

  30. Doubletree Guest Suites Resort

  31. The Hilton

  32. Holiday Inn

  33. Hotel Royal Plaza

  34. Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel

  35. Shades of Green on Walt Disney World Resort

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For this upcoming trip we chose AOA because it's brand new. (I LOVE brand new!)

Last year we choose Coronodo Springs -- for price reasons and omineasnce (sp??)

If I could choose any resort regardless of price (cause in all honestly, money always has the final say)... i would choose the Boardwalk -- for the pool and the loaction --- I love Epcot!

I would like to stay in POFQ as MM's picture from her trip report made it look so fabulous.

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Our first couple of trips in the 90's it was all about price - All Star Music was what we could afford. Now, it's about price and ambience, so we choose POR. I like the *idea* of upgrading to a deluxe, but my Finn stinginess just won't let me go there. POR is the perfect compromise - I just love the grounds and the boat to DD.

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Kristen K.'s picture
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Since 2008 I've been staying on my DVC Points and usually end up at Animal Kingdom Lodge because it's our home resort. We stayed at Saratoga Springs once because they were promotional points that had to be used there. I have booked DVC rooms at different resorts for two trips, but both of those ended up being canceled. I would love to stay at Bay Lake Tower or the Grand Floridian rooms once they're finished. I love AKL, but lately it has been feeling very remote to me.

For this trip it was all about money, so I went with a value because I was out of points. Since Art of Animation is brand new, it seemed like the obvious place to stay.

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Well... for us... we had to choose hard since it was going to be our home DVC site. So we thought almost close to a year I think because we had the choice at the time of either Bay Lake or AKL. We decided AKL because it had been established, and loved the idea of all of the animals there. So we stick with AKL pretty much the whole time. Now next year... my parents are going in May, so we may try another place out next year... but im trying to find a way for Jess and I to take the kids during my parents time though.... dont think I can swing it though...

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There's a few things that we considered. We need to stay on property because I can't drive and Jeff doesn't like to drive unless he absolutely needs to, so the resort transportation is a big deal for us. We also don't really care about having a restaurant on site or having crazy pools (neither of us like big slides and we're also going in January so who knows if I'll even get to swim at all).

Combine all that with our budget and it was obvious that a value was for us. Out of them, Pop had the theme that we were most excited about because we are, well, pop culture junkies.

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We chose POFQ the first time because we didn't want to stay in the All Star resorts and FQ was the cheapest at the time. Once I heard more about FQ compared to other resorts in size I knew FQ was for us. We have also taken buses to other resorts for meals and such and I can't believe how many bus stops some of these resorts have. It can take 10-20 mins just to get out of the resort. We have tried AKL but we still like FQ best.

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I have been going to Disney World for many years (40 or 41--can't remember!), but it was always off grounds and "on the cheap". When I first retired, I decided to treat myself to a first class vacation at guess where?? You got it--WDW!
I went to AAA and looked at all the pictures of the hotels and loved the look of the Animal Kingdom Lodge so that's where I stayed. I enjoyed it so much I have never been anywhere else! For the past 9 years we've gone at least once a year for 2 weeks--and never lacked for things to do!--while the last 2 years have been there 3 times each year. I love the Food/Wine Festival in late October, the flower/Garden Festival in April or May, and early February for the short lines and lack of crowds!
The breakfast buffet at Boma is, in my opinion, the best on property. And being able to watch the animals right off your balcony is simply priceless! Plus, coming from up north in Michigan, the warm weather is really nice. mickey

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For us, we like to stay at the moderates, so with that decided, it's a process of elimination. Which basically means I eliminate everything but POFQ because we've always enjoyed staying there and we love the location, ambiance and grounds. I swear I keep intending to try something else but I always come back to POFQ Tongue

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Its usually POFQ for me. The intimate size and only one bus stop are awesome, but the number one reason I like to stay there is the grounds are beautiful and the resort is on the quiet side! You can't go wrong with POFQ!

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It's our new goal to try each of the resorts at least once. That being said, we're planning our future trips based on who we will be taking with us, the purpose of our trip, etc. We're trying to save to take my younger sisters for a surprise high school graduation trip in late 2014, early 2015 for our next trip and I think the Boardwalk would be the best fit for this one. Since it is a big surpise for them, I'd love to splurge and take them to a deluxe and I think both of them would really like the atmosphere of the Boardwalk. When we take our first family trip with the in-laws I think we'll try and talk them into AKL since I know that they would love it. When we start taking little ones (someday!) we'll probably try and fit more trips in so will more likely go with a value resort.

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I have only stayed on property once - 4.5 years ago - at POR. I liked the resort but it was spread out. My friend and I decided we liked PO but we are opting to stay at FQ. Everything that everyone is saying about POFQ really reinforces our decision to stay there. Can't wait!!!!

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Over the years we have stayed at the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter, Coronado Springs and Dolphin. We have visited nearly all the resorts. I don't see that the deluxe resorts are worth the extra money for us. We actually prefer the moderate resorts with PO being our favourite. I would love to stay in a Fort Wilderness cabin or Treehouse villa, if we had right number of people in our party and could afford it!

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We have only stayed in 7 of the 35. I would love to try new ones but we always end up in our favorites. We are giving the Contempory a try this trip even though it is only for one night. As far as how we choose our resort it is really pretty simple. First are we staying using DVC or not. If DVC, we choose by the time of the year and what we are doing. If not, it almost always end up being the Polynesian.

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Sigh...price is THE factor for us. We only stay when there's a deal to be had. But hubs prefers moderates to values (although he's expressed interest in staying at AoA since we visited friends there.) As a result, we almost always stay at CBR, but that's ok because we all love it.

Having said that, I would really, really love to stay at POFQ one of these days. Maybe I'll get my wish for my birthday or something! Laughing out loud

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Lizzy, so good to see you again!! clapping

I think you should absolutely get to pick the hotel for your birthday. mickey

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Like hubby said we always stay at AKL cause that is our DVC home...Although when we go on our kid free anniversary trip we both decided we want to stay at the Boardwalk for something different, we think it's really neat and will be great for two adults without any kids with them, and love how close it is to Epcot

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Aside from one night at the Swan five years ago, our recent stay at Old Key west was our first vacation staying at a Disney resort. We put in for an RCI timeshare exchange and snatched up the first week that was available, so we didn't choose at all. But we were quite happy with what we got.

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I've stayed at all but one each of the value and moderates (soon AoA and no desire for Coronado) I usually go with price. I love the POFQ and the Pop. My big ticket stays will be AKL, Boardwalk, and Yacht or Beach. I have no desire to stay at any of the others.
DW wants a savannah view at AKL. I want to enjoy the Boardwalk, its pool, jelly rolls and the dance club. I'm not 100% on the WL, I've visited and its beautiful but not a must do for me. The Y & B are only must do because of their pool/beach and proximity to Epcot. Normally it's just DW and I so we go with a value and more spending money.

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Until my ship comes in (here's hoping my ship is from DCL!)....we'll be staying at the Values. That's just the way it goes at this point in my non-fairy tale life! Smile

Fingers crossed, though...because I would LOVE to stay in AKL or the Poly just ONCE in this lifetime! I've even considered joining the DVC just to have the chance, but it's not in the cards at this point....(heavy sigh)

Gladly, the Values are still fun for us! Smile

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We have only stayed at the CBR and both times in Jamaica and we really enjoyed it. This year we are trying PORS. Our budget usually dictates we stick with Moderates, but since hubby has implemented a "three-year rule" (where we go to Disney every three years because we also make frequent trips to Portugal and Spain to visit family - which he has now set a "three-year rule" for also freeing up a year to just enjoy locations in the states or Caribbean islands) it gives me time to save up every month for our next Disney trip. That being said we have the Poly in mind for our trip after this one and the Beach Club for the trip after...lol. I know...I'm weird...lol.

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Nancy D wrote:
Until my ship comes in (here's hoping my ship is from DCL!)....we'll be staying at the Values. That's just the way it goes at this point in my non-fairy tale life! Smile

Fingers crossed, though...because I would LOVE to stay in AKL or the Poly just ONCE in this lifetime! I've even considered joining the DVC just to have the chance, but it's not in the cards at this point....(heavy sigh)

Gladly, the Values are still fun for us! Smile

Nancy , the Poly is not a DVC resort yet, so don't plan on doing it for that. You can use DVC points to stay there, but it 's not worth the point price.

Becca1005

As a child I stayed at the Poly, Contemporary, Fort Wilderness and Shades of Green. Obviously, I didn't have much input about those. Wink

When choosing where to stay for my first trip with my husband (for our honeymoon in 2005), price was somewhat of a concern, but not the deciding factor. We chose the Wilderness Lodge for a few reasons. It is one of the least expensive of the deluxe resorts, my husband loved the theme, I loved the smaller size (not a fan of having to schlep half a mile to the quick service to fill up our mugs with "coffee" <- and I do use that term loosely) and we both loved the fact that we wouldn't be a slave to the buses. yeah

We had such a great experience that we just can't seem to stay anywhere else! We stayed there in 2010 and will stay there again on our upcoming trip.

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I just go to AKL

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Kristen K.'s picture
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MikeMc wrote:
I just go to AKL

How did you choose AKL? It's still a fairly new hotel, what brought you there to begin with?