When you don’t have a million dollars to spend but you don’t want to sleep in the car.

Walt Disney Resort Options

We all love us some Disney. We all know that Disney magically takes all our money while we’re there too! (… well I HAD to get those Mickey Ears, and did you TASTE the churros? I will have 5 more please). As soon as an awesome client reaches out about the possibility of planning a trip to Disney we need to find that sweet spot where we’re not breaking the bank, but still be able to  enjoy all the fun conveniences Disney offers to their guests! 

Here is the thing- Disney World has a TON of resort options; over 25 resorts in all. And when they say they can fit any budget I feel they really work hard to do that.

Here are my favorite perks that Disney offers EVERY single guest when they stay on property:

  • Early Access to Fast Pass schedules- you can start 60 days before arrival as to only 30 days when staying off Disney.
  • Extra Magic Hours! You can spend extra time at one park per day with any valid ticket!
  • Complimentary Magic Bands- you can have them mailed to your home or they can be waiting for you at your resort.
  • Each Resort is magically themed and decked out for all ages to enjoy! Food, pools, gift shops, character encounters and more! 
  • Complimentary Transportation 
  • Disney Dining Plans- a fun way to make your trip seem “like an all-inclusive resort” and have your food always paid for before you even get there!

Okay so back to the options of resorts- Disney likes to break them up into different categories’: 

  • Value Resorts: these will be the least expensive. They are all located pretty close to Animal Kingdom. They all offer free shuttle transportation to and from each park. (Pop Century now has the option of the NEW Skyliner). They each boast different themes like sports, music, movies. All rooms have two double beds or one king-sized bed (all perfect for a family up to 4) and some resorts have even been upgraded to include a queen-sized bed and a queen-sized table bed. There are some family suites available at certain resorts in this category that will hold up to 6 for larger families. Each resort has multiple pools (heated), dining options, and a gift shop.

Pros: Get Value Package- if you are hoping to get room/tickets/dining included on a tighter budget, or you want to spend your money on other events and not so much on lodging- can’t go wrong with a value resort!

Cons: The only option to get to and from resorts (without driving yourself) are shuttles. They run every 15 mins but wait times can vary. Not as many amenities at each resort. 


  • Moderate Resorts: These are going to run a little more than the value resorts (sometimes you can get some super great deals on these rooms!) Each resort has a different theme and all the great Disney details will show even in their rooms! Normally two queen beds or a king and some even offer a 5th sleeper pull-down option so families that have 3+ kids might like this option. These resorts will have larger pools and more of them, more recreation and dining options as well. You can take shuttles, ferry boats, Skyliner to these resorts and they are scattered all over the Disney property. 

Pros: larger beds, 5th sleeper options, more pools and things to do around resorts. More dining, including some table dining options, and transportation options.

Cons: Sometimes prices can vary per resort and time of year. 

  • Deluxe Resorts: conveniently located to specific parks which opens up your transportation options and decreases your wait line significantly. You have the options of shuttle, monorail, or ferry boats to get to the main parks from these resorts. They offer signature dining as well. Their themes are going to be tremendous; one even offers views of a wildlife reserve right out your window as an example. The typical standard room will have two queen beds or one queen with bunk beds. They have suite and villa options as well. Each resort will have multiple pools, playgrounds, health clubs, and select spa services. The best part? Characters are constantly interacting and even dining with guests at these resorts. This option gives the ultimate resort experience.  

Disney gives you multiple options in each category. Travel tip: make a want/need list and then match those with the amenities at each resort to help you make the best choice. Disney likes to keep everyone coming all year round- and offers promotions even during “off-season” and during lower crowds. If you opt to get one of the Disney Dining Plans, each resort has food options (Quick Service, sit down, even some character dining) for each of them as well!

My family has stayed in at least one resort in each category and each one worked great for what we had going on during that specific trip. The number of kids, ages, supplies, (looking at your bulky double stroller) walk, and wait time when leaving each park, how much resort downtime you plan to have, and your length of trip are all factors when picking a resort.

Give your travel agent a shout out to get all the intimate details about each resort. Between the group of us, I am sure each resort has been stayed in or at least visited in person. 

If you have any questions I can answer, please feel free to reach out to me at Katie@ATouchofMagicTravel.com.  

~ Katie Bunnell