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Guests have many lodging options at Walt Disney World Resorts. Hotel types range from value resorts to moderate resorts to deluxe resorts. Of the many Disney World hotel options, it can be difficult to determine the best choice in a deluxe resort.

Outdoor view of Disney's Beach Club Hotel

There are several factors that are key in your decision making. Many are purely subjective, but one key element that can’t be argued is the value of location. Other things, such as square footage and dining, was taken into consideration when determining how to rank the best Disney deluxe resorts. Consider several factors before choosing the best Disney deluxe resort for you.

Factors to Consider in Determining the Best Disney World Deluxe Resort

One of the first things to consider when choosing one of Disney’s deluxe resorts is to determine your party’s needs. Guest rooms typically accommodate at least four people in their standard rooms, but some room types can accommodate more and have more square feet. Eliminating deluxe resort rooms that do not meet your space needs is the first step in choosing the right hotel.

Next, you’ll want to consider the best location for your group. All Disney hotels have bus transportation, but some include additional forms of transportation to the parks. If a walking path sounds appealing, certain deluxe hotels allow guests a quick walk to parks such as Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom.

Artwork inspired by it's a small world at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Finally, how much time will you be spending in your deluxe hotel? Many of Disney’s deluxe resorts have the best pools on property. However, if your group is not planning on using the pool, other factors need to take precedence. What about dining options? Several of the deluxe Disney resorts have the best restaurants on property. If you want to be in close proximity to those a certain dining location, that should rank higher on the list of needs.

Ranking the Best Deluxe Resorts at Disney World

10. Saratoga Springs

The least popular of the best deluxe resorts is Saratoga Springs. While any deluxe Disney hotel is an upgrade, Saratoga Springs would still be the least popular of the Disney World deluxe resorts. Part of the problem is the location. It is a great place to stay for shopping and dining at Disney Springs, which is easy access by short walk or boat ride.

Boat transportation dock from Disney Springs

However, it is not a great location for guests wanting to get to the theme parks quickly. It is, however, a convenient location to Disney’s water parks, so that is a consideration for Disney’s Saratoga Springs.

9. Old Key West

Old Key West, also located in the Disney Springs area, is another Disney hotel that isn’t worth the deluxe price tag. It is more secluded than most Disney World hotels, which may make it more desirable for guests who want to have a quiet pool or hot tub experience.

Old Key West is the original Disney Vacation Club resort. As such, there is more square footage in even their standard rooms, which makes it more appealing than Saratoga Springs.

8. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

One of the best resorts in Disney World except for the location. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is not even close to its namesake park from an accessibility standpoint. It has no boat transportation or monorail transportation.

Standard room at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Bus transportation is the only option, save a personal vehicle, and for a deluxe Disney resort that is a big negative. On the plus side, you get unique views, some of the best restaurants on property, and lots of interesting resort activities.

Standard room view at Animal Kingdom Lodge

7. Disney’s Boardwalk Inn

This stylish, turn of the century Atlantic boardwalk themed hotel is one of the best themed hotels in Disney World. The boardwalk itself is an attraction to other Disney World guests, and it provides several options for nighttime entertainment.

Recently, the pool area was made over to be themed after Mickey Mouse, but thankfully they kept the water slide that is one of the biggest attractions of the main pool. It’s also walking distance from Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It is quite a long walk to both parks, however, so boat service is also an option.

6. Yacht Club & Beach Club

The Epcot resort area has several hotels to consider, two of which are Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Disney’s Beach Club Resort. These connected hotels have fantastic shared amenities such as their themed pool, Stormalong Bay, as well as the best restaurants for steaks, Yachtsman Steakhouse.

Stormalong Bay pool at Disney's Beach Club deluxe resort

Plus, these hotels have a stunning view of the boardwalk, which is more enjoyable at night. Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is ideal for adults without kids, while Disney’s Beach Club Resort is great for young kids and families.

5. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is a rustic yet luxurious tribute to America’s national parks. It is just close enough to the Magic Kingdom while remaining somewhat secluded and surrounded by nature. The Wilderness Lodge is the perfect outdoors-meets-city vacation experience. One of the better Disney deluxe villa resorts, DVC members and guests will enjoy a few minutes walk to the common areas and main building while also enjoying the quiet, semi-private aspect of one of the resort’s two themed pools.

Lobby of Disney's Wilderness Lodge

This Disney World hotel is also one of the few where you can see the popular Electrical Water Pageant that plays nightly on the Seven Seas Lagoon. Good views of this delightful event can also be had at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

4. Disney’s Riviera Resort

The newest Disney Vacation Club resort, opened in 2019, is the elegant and beautiful Disney’s Riviera Resort. It has Skyliner routes to Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios, which it shares with Disney’s Pop Century and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.

Nighttime view of Disney's Riviera Resort

The Riviera also has rooftop dining, a unique character breakfast, and plenty of modern European flare.

Standard room at Disney's Riviera Resort

Disney’s Riviera Resort also has deluxe villas because it is also a Disney Vacation Club property. Standard rooms have queen beds, one of which pulls down from the wall to allow more space in the room when the bed is not in use.

3. Contemporary

Disney’s Contemporary Resort is the original Disney World resort hotel within a fifteen minute walk to the Magic Kingdom. It has some of the largest standard rooms on property, and it is home to some of Walt Disney World’s most popular dining.

Garden wing room at Disney's Contemporary Resort

In my opinion, the best restaurant on property is the California Grill, located on the topmost floor of the Contemporary. Book a reservation for the evening hours, and you might even get to see a spectacular view of the fireworks in Magic Kingdom.

Outer view of Disney's Contemporary Hotel

Bay Lake Tower, the neighbor to the Contemporary, is another option for guests with large parties or who want the amenities of home such as a full kitchen. However, as it is mainly a DVC property, it will not be ranked on this list.

2. Polynesian Village Resort

The other original hotel that opened alongside the Contemporary in the Magic Kingdom resort area is Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. It’s is not within reasonable walking distance of the Magic Kingdom, but it is only a short monorail ride away.

Polynesian Village Resort Lobby at Disney World

The Polynesian Resort is a popular resort because of its dining experiences, tropical theming, and proximity to Magic Kingdom. Of all the Walt Disney World resort hotels, this one is on top of my Walt Disney World vacation bucket list!

1. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Finally, the most opulent of all Disney resort hotels is the Grand Floridian. Top of the line dining experiences, monorail access to the Magic Kingdom, and multiple fairytale experiences contribute to the placement of the Grand Floridian at the top of the list. Honestly, the top three are interchangeable to taste.

However, they are the top three primarily because the monorail connects guests not just to the Magic Kingdom, but to Epcot as well. Transportation options are a big factor in ranking Disney deluxe resorts, and the monorail is the cream of the transportation crop.

Best Deluxe Disney Resort at Disney World

To summarize, determining the best deluxe resort at Disney World for your travel needs is largely a matter of personal opinion. Determine where you want to spend most of your Walt Disney World vacation, and that determination will help your narrow down your choices. Amenities are also important, but only if you will be taking advantage of them while staying at your deluxe resort. You may find that certain amenities are not as important as you once thought they would be.