Value Resorts at Disney World

There are five different value resorts to choose from at Disney World. All of them are an awesome alternative for big families or people on a budget because, while they still have many of the typical Disney amenities and they all share the magical environment that goes with staying at Disney, they are not nearly as expensive as their more upscale brothers. The five resorts in this category are the All Star trio (Sports, Movies and Music), Pop Century and Art of Animation. The three All Star resorts are relatively similar to each other and are very thematic, so if you are not looking for something specifically like that, you might have a better experience choosing one of the other two. They are also a few years older than the Pop Century and Art of Animation resorts, and that shows sometimes in the installations.

Out of the three All Stars, All Star Sports is your best choice. It is closer to the parks, so the bus rides are shorter and more widely available, the food court was renovated in 2013 and has a better menu than the other ones and is generally better than the other two. Pop Century was an all-time favorite until Art of Animation opened, but it is still definitely worth a visit. It is less expensive than its successor and kids seem to love its decoration. Finally, the Art of Animation resort has both value priced rooms at The Little Mermaid section and family suites that could get out of your budget, if you are looking to save some money. The food court and the pool make a great difference in this hotel, which is also much more recent than the previous ones, so it has more amenities and is in better general conditions.

Villas at the Grand Floridian Resort

As of October last year, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa has offered new Villas for its guests to book. These villas are a great standard of comfort and luxury for the whole family. To make your stay feel more at home, they are equipped with TV sets and a full kitchen and refrigerator, as well as a washer and a dryer. You can choose from a one-bedroom villa or a two-bedroom one, which accommodate up to five or nine people each one. This makes this lodging selection ideal for large families coming to visit Orlando.

The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a very popular choice among Disneybound visitors because of its convenient location within walking distance of the Monorail to Magic Kingdom and the other Disney World theme parks. Its peaceful environment by the shore of the Seven Seas Lagoon also makes it a great option for people looking for a fun and relaxing getaway destination that takes you away from home. The dining choices there are also very popular and delicious, ideal for a great meal after a day of park hopping.

Thanks to Gene Duncan for this awesome picture of the opening event at the resort.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

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One of the best vacation escapades Disney World can offer is their Polynesian Village Resort. This deluxe hotel is one of Disney World’s original hotels and has mildly changed its name a few times, but regulars and fans already know it well as “the Poly”. It is themed to the South Pacific, so you can find yourself surrounded by a tropical, retro tiki environment to take you away from every worry. Its most recent name change, which consists of the addition of the term Village, comes from the hotel’s layout, which is basically one Great Ceremonial House – where the lobby, restaurants and shops are– and eleven hotel buildings around it, where guests stay.

In addition to the awesome tiki decoration, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has a lot to offer to its visitors. White sand beaches, the Never Land Club for kids, an awesome pool with a waterslide and the known spa Senses are just some of its great amenities. Another great thing about this resort is that it is very close to the Disney’s Monorail, so if you want to make it a relaxing vacation with the added fun of visiting the theme parks, its location is ideal for you.

If you want to book a few nights there, though, you might want to take into account that they are renovating many areas of the resort right now and through March 2015. Maybe it would be better to wait until then.

Renovated Lobby at Port Orleans Riverside Resort

The lobby at Port Orleans Riverside Resort, one of my favorite of all the Disney resorts, has gone through a two-month renovation and it has come out incredibly beautiful! Decorated with the evident inspiration of the classic, old-timey south, it now looks like you enter a different time and place when you step into the lobby. The spacious area has beautiful lamps from the period to accompany the new furniture and colorful rugs, which have delicate and intricate designs, and to highlight the new tile design. I have to say, the designers behind this were incredibly thoughtful.

This resort has always been a great way to transport yourself to the romantic south. With over 2,000 rooms and a variation between very luxurious accommodations and rustic retreats, it is a great place to choose for your Disney vacation. Just taking a walk through their wandering paths and past the waterways to the sound of Cajun music is an incredibly relaxing experience. Its brother, the Port Orleans French Quarter Resort is another great alternative to choose from the many Disney resorts if you like this kind of environment as much as I do.

Special thanks to Ken Phillips for this lovely picture of the lobby.

Select Disney Resorts and Hotels Will Offer Free Dining Plan This Fall

Disney World often has great deals in the fall, or as it’s better known, Disney’s off season. Because this is the time of the year when the least amount of guests visit the theme parks (Summer vacation is over and that is a huge factor for tourism in Orlando) the parks are less hot, less crowded and more affordable. 

When guests buy a (non-discounted) six night/seven day “Magic Your Way” package at select hotels, the Disney Dining Plan will be tacked on for free. If you were already planning to stay on-site, consider staying at one of the included hotels in the offer. (I will share the list of hotels once it is released) Yes, I am saying you can eat for free at all the Disney parks when you choose this option. Here are the dates for the offer: 

  • August 31 to October 3, 2014
  • October 26 to November 1, 2014
  • November 9 to November 20, 2014
  • December 12 to December 23, 2014

The Disney dining plan’s different price levels include different restaurants based on the level of resort you book. (deluxe, moderate or value). For example, If you stay at a value hotel you can be qualified for the lower tier dining plan, which includes only quick service meals and snacks (sit-down dining will have to be paid for separately). Even on the lowest tier, the Quick-Service dining plan is valid at over 50 locations at Walt Disney World.  This is a great deal- so keep your options open! 

The B Resort

As a value alternative to the Four Seasons, the B Resort is also opening this summer in Orlando. This resort has a location in Fort Lauderdale already, so I know we can expect good things from it. It will have a fitness center, great dining concepts, excursions outside the hotel and a full-service spa. Of course, it will also have a pool, a kids area and an ice cream shop to dwell with the summer heat.

The B Resort will open on June 1 at a booking price of $159 per night.

Four Seasons Disney World

Walt Disney World Resorts are opening the first Four Seasons in Central Florida this summer. It will be located in Golden Oak, secluded but still 10 to 15 minutes from the theme parks. This will be the first non-Disney hotel in the area.

The Four Seasons will be the largest built so far, with 444 rooms and a rooftop restaurant with an awesome view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks at night. There will also be a Disney Planning Center in the hotel to help guests with their Disney vacation. Among the amenities offered to guests staying there, there will be five restaurants, a golf course, a spa and a water park. Eleven different room categories will be offered with varying sizes and level of comfort, but all will be styled in Spanish revival architecture and equipped with the latest technology.

The most economic room can be taken for $645 a night, while the suite can be booked for $1,050. Since these prices are rather high in comparison, the Four Seasons has an offer of a third night free if you book two consecutive ones with them. Does not sound so bad now!