Each of Disney’s onsite properties is chock-a-block with activities, amenities and ambiance that fans of all ages will enjoy. However, for first-time visitors and travellers with smaller children, there are a handful of resorts that are our favorites for inspiring a sense of adventure and more than a pinch of Disney magic. That’s why we’ve assembled this list of 7 of our favorite family-friendly Disney properties.
1. Disney’s All Star Movies Resort – This is a great entry level Disney resort for the budget-minded traveler and features a lot of much-loved Disney characters that remind you at every turn that you are in the heart of Disney World. Themed sections include 101 Dalmatians, Fantasia, The Mighty Ducks and fan-favorite Toy Story. The rooms themselves are basic with simple trimmings but there’s a ton of fun to be had exploring the property. From the marching brooms that adorn the outside of the Fantasia Buildings to the Sorcerer Mickey themed central pool area you’ll want to have your cameras at the ready to capture the Disney whimsy. There’s also a reliable food court and guests can walk the red carpet and pose for photos upon check-in. If you want a bit of Walt Disney World magic but don’t want it to break the bank this is the property for you. Rate’s here are in the $100-$200 a night range depending on the season.
2. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – For those looking for a resort overflowing with character, it doesn’t get any better than Disney’s Art of Animation. Each of the sections of this property are wonderfully themed after some of your favorite Disney and Pixar films. These include The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Cars and Finding Nemo. My family loves the Cars area where you really feel like you are walking through Radiator Springs. This property is big on details from the construction cone cabanas you’ll find at the Cars-themed pool area to the fact that they pipe in music under the water at the Finding-Nemo themed Big Blue Pool area to the utter delight of the kiddies. This resort offers standard rooms in the Little Mermaid-themed section with magical touches including a shower that looks like Ariel’s grotto and lots of under-the-sea furnishings! The remaining three sections of the resort are devoted to family suites that feature incredible theming, a master bedroom, two bathrooms, kitchenette and a dining room table that folds down into a Disney-themed double bed that the kids will be fighting over. The property also has our favorite resort food court Landscapes of Flavor where you’ll find an eclectic variety of tasty bites including Mickey Waffles for breakfast and delicious World Cuisine for Lunch and Dinner. Rates are higher here than at most values with Standard Rooms starting around $160 a night and Suites at $350.
3. Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside – The family-friendly favorite in the Moderate category, there’s a lot to love about this laid-back resort. The Royal Guestrooms (pictured at the top of the article) are perfect for Princess-lovers who are invited as guests of Princess Tiana to indulge in a little bit of luxury with delightful amenities throughout including headboards that erupt in a beautiful fireworks display. Another favorite is the Alligator Bayou section which offers an extra single bed making it the perfect choice for families of 5. There’s a large central pool area, cane-pole fishing and you may even want to enjoy a horsedrawn carriage ride. There are both Quick Service and Table Service dining options that offer a bit of New Orleans flare. You can even walk over to the neighboring Port Orleans French Quarter and order beignets for breakfast which are sure to put a spring in your step. Disney’s Caribbean Beach resort is also another favorite in the category, but with large construction projects currently being carried out at that resort, Port Orleans is our recommended option. Rooms here can range anywhere from $200 – $350 depending on the Season.
4. Disney’ Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground – For families that love the great outdoors or are looking for adventure, Fort Wilderness is the perfect place. We are a huge fan of the Cabins which offer a full kitchen, living area, and bunk beds for the kids. This property is absolutely brimming with incredible things to do from roasting marshmallows over a campfire with Chip and Dale to having a BBQ with Mickey and Minnie. There’s also horseback riding, Segway rentals and even a fun interactive dinner show. Another thing to love about this property is that it is just a short boat ride away from Disney’s Magic Kingdom theme park! Fort Wilderness is the perfect option for families who want to spend time enjoying all your resort has to offer. The Cabins here will normally be anywhere from$280- – $380 depending on the time of year you visit.
5. Disney’s Beach Club Resort – This Deluxe Resort is the perfect family-friendly property for guests who want to spend a fair amount of time by the pool or who will be visiting both Hollywood Studios & Epcot. Stormalong Bay located at the Beach Club is the largest Water Play area on Disney property and features a sand-bottomed pool, lazy river and shipwreck waterslide that kids will love. Guests will have character dining on your doorstep at Cape May Cafe or just across the lake at Trattoria Al Forno at Disney’s Boardwalk. Being an Epcot resort means that you are a short walk or water taxi away from Epcot with a special entrance that takes you right into the heart of the World Showcase. You’re also a short boat ride away from Hollywood Studios and have Disney’s incredible Boardwalk with its colorful shops and eateries just across the way. These deluxe rooms are finely appointed and can accommodate a family of 5. The costs here are typically within the $400 – $550 range depending on view and the time of year you visit.
6. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge- We here at Disney Addicts have a real soft-spot for this Deluxe Property. When it comes to a dose of Disney magic that you won’t get anywhere else, Animal Kingdom Lodge comes out tops. Where else can you see zebras and giraffes casually stroll by your resort window or sunbathe near a flamboyance of flamingos? This property truly has it all from incredible eateries to a resort activity calendar filled with pool parties, cultural activities and of course options where you can learn all about the incredible animals that call this resort home. From the stunning central lobby to the exotic guestrooms your family will be impressed from the moment you arrive. Standard rooms can start at around $350 here but for those incredible Savannah views expect to pay $100 or $200 more.
7. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – No family-friendly list would be complete without including the Grand Dame of Walt Disney World resorts. Located on Disney’s monorail line you have both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot at your doorstep. The resort also features incredible pools and water play areas, character dining and an impressive array of shops. But what we think really makes this property shine are all the fun activities for kids. Here you can watch Cinderella and Prince Charming make a grand entrance each afternoon, have high tea with Aurora, go on a swashbuckling adventure with your very own pirate crew or go on a Mad Tea Party with Alice and the Mad Hatter. This is the place to be for the ultimate Disney World fairytale. Staying at this luxurious resort does come at a price. Costs start at $550 and up a night.
Guests should note that villas are also available at the Deluxe Resorts on our list for larger families.
We here at Disney Addicts firmly believe that you can’t go wrong with any resort on Walt Disney World property. However, in our opinion, the ones on our list just have that extra little bit of magic making them our go-to Disney resorts.
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