By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Reviews

By Dave Shute


There are dozens of hotel reviews on this site, based on my 170 stays in Disney-owned spaces, and two dozen stays in other on-property hotels that also offer early access to some parts of Disney’s new paid replacement of its old FastPass+ system, and/or access to its new Early Entry program that replaces the former Extra Magic Hours program. This page brings to one place links to all of these reviews.

The hotels are grouped first by Disney owned and then those owned by others, and within groups by price category. See this for details on the features of the various resort price categories.

Within price categories, they are in order of how well they suit typical first time family visitors. See this for more on where to stay.


Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.netReviews of Value Resorts at Walt Disney World

Guests at value resorts have access to Early Entry and also to early booking of Individual Lightning Lane rides.

Standard 4-person rooms:

  1. Art of Animation
  2. Pop Century
  3. All-Star Movies
  4. All-Star Sports
  5. All-Star Music

Six-person “Family Suites”

  1. The Family Suites at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  2. The Family Suites at All-Star Music

Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.netReviews of Moderate Resorts at Walt Disney World

Guests at moderate resorts have access to Early Entry and also to early booking of Individual Lightning Lane rides. Guests staying at the Cabins in addition have access to extra evening hours.

Disney's Polynesian Resort from yourfirstvisit.netReviews of Deluxe Resorts at Walt Disney World

Guests at deluxe resorts have access to Early Entry, to early booking of Individual Lightning Lane rides, and to a perk that almost all of the moderates and values don’t: extra evening hours.

Reviews of Disney Vacation Club Resorts at Walt Disney World

Disney's Old Key West Resort from

Guests at DVC resorts have access to Early Entry, to early booking of Individual Lightning Lane rides, and  to a perk that almost all of the moderates and values don’t: extra evening hours.

  1. Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows (studios only)
  2. Copper Creek Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  3. Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  4. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas–Jambo House
  5. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas–Kidani Village
  6. Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  7. The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  8. Disney’s Riviera Resort
  9. Disney’s Beach Club Villas
  10. Disney’s Boardwalk Villas
  11. Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  12. Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, main resort
  13. Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, Treehouse Villas

Campground Reviews:

Campground guests have access to Early Entry and to early booking of Individual Lightning Lane rides.


I don’t particularly recommend any of the seven Disney Springs Resort Area hotels–independently owned hotels on the far southeast corner of Walt Disney World property–for first-time visitors.

But for returning visitors, these hotels have some attractiveness based on their access to Disney World’s Early Entry program.

My rankings of them are below. The Wyndham has two types of rooms at starkly different price points, so it shows up on both lists.

I don’t include the Drury Plaza Hotel, which took over and expanded the old Best Western, as I have not yet stayed in it.


  1. The Hilton Buena Vista Palace
  2. The Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
  3. The Wyndham Lake Buena Vista (tower rooms)
  4. The B Resort & Spa


  1. The Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista (if you can fit into its full beds)
  2. Holiday Inn Orlando
  3. Doubletree Suites by Hilton Orlando


Both of the following hotels have access to Disney World’s Early Entry program

Note–the other hotels in Bonnet Creek Resort currently do not offer access to either Early Entry or any other time-saving perk.


Guests at Shades of Green, the Swan, Swan Reserve, and the Dolphin have access not only to Disney World’s Early Entry program but also to its Extended Evening Hours. Guests at these hotels can also book ILL rides at early, at 7a.

Guests at Four Seasons have access only to Early Entry.

Which key time-saving perks guests at which hotels are eligible for can be confusing, so I created the table that follows:



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1 elizabeth { 02.26.13 at 3:32 pm }

Is my first time what is the best place to.stay

2 Dave { 02.26.13 at 3:37 pm }
3 Christi { 04.13.13 at 2:23 am }

Hi, Dave! I LOVE your site (even though I have been to Disney over 10 times:))

I stayed last week at Art of Animation based on your review . I LOVED it! Thanks! I am going back in December with my parents and would like to stay at a place with a kitchen since they would like the option to cook at “home”. Do you know which resorts have kitchens?

4 Dave { 04.13.13 at 7:10 am }

Hi Christi, thanks for the kind words, and I’m so glad you liked AofA! Did you do Little Mermaid or one of the family suites?

In the WDW hotels you’ll find a full kitchen in the Cabins at Fort Wilderness and also in all the DVC resorts in the one and two bedroom villas, and in the grand villas (but not in the studios).

For the DVC resorts see this:

Tell me a little about numbers of people and family structures and I may be able to help you narrow in a bit…

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5 Christie { 04.13.13 at 5:26 pm }

Thanks!! We stayed in the Little Mermaid building 7 and requested a lake view like you said and I am so glad!!! It was so perfect! And my daughter loved the Ursala statue. We stayed with our three children and even with a baby crib between the two beds, it worked great. We laughed about your joke about the pool locks keeping out the pop century rift raft several times. I am not sure, but I think I read somewhere that the busses stop at different resorts and if it was your site, I wanted to let you know that our bus went directly to the park. It was so convenient. Much more than our last trip when we stayed at downtown Disney. I am so glad I read your review, because I almost booked all star, but my daughter is in love with nemo and little mermaid so this was amazing- like you said, much more kid appeal.

We are wanting to go again at the beginning of December because you mentioned that it is less busy. I am hoping my parents will come. If so, we will need a kitchen and a decent deal since my mom really wants to stay offsite to save money but I loved brin onsite. If she doesn’t go, I have no idea where to stay, though, since Art if Animation standar rooms are booked already those first two weeks of December. So it will either be 2 adults, 1 child, and 2 infants (my family) or all that plus 2 more adults (my parents). I will read your links now. I have been reading about DVC points and I am trying to figure that out to see if I could stay at Poly or Contemporary tower with those if I can find some to buy. Sorry to ramble. Love the site!

6 Dave { 04.14.13 at 9:36 am }

Great, Christie!!

The cheapest on-site way to sleep 6+1 –which is how WDW will count you–with a full kitchen is the Cabins–see But these aren’t cheap–in early December, they are around $330 a night plus tax–this is less than you’d likely pay to rent points for even the cheapest two bedroom villa …otherwise it’ offsite.

If you end up without the parents and want a value, then I’d try in order Pop Century, or if it’s sold out, Movies, then Music, then Sports.

7 Wendy { 04.29.13 at 8:22 pm }

OK – odd question…I was just checking the boards for Thanksgiving discounts and read some posts of Swan and Dolphin hotels. I checked the Thanksgiving rates – and they are 188 with AAA. That is lower than the other Disney hotels in that class, no? What is the disadvantage to staying at one of these? It seems to include Magic Hours and such…what am I missing?


8 Dave { 04.30.13 at 8:22 am }

Wendy, the Swan and Dolphin have less of a celebratory feel, and feel more like convention hotels. You can’t use either the Dining Plan or the Magical Express airport transport for them, but they do have access to extra magic hours, as you note, and also to the Disney internal bus system…

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9 Wendy { 04.30.13 at 7:02 pm }


10 Coleen { 06.07.16 at 8:53 am }

HI there
My family and I (2 adults and 2 children, 12 & 8 ) are planning to visit in Aug 2017 and I was wondering where is the best place to get deals/discounts on the deluxe resorts please?
Kind Regards

11 Dave { 06.09.16 at 11:27 am }

Coleen, the best deals will be on the Disney website here. For most of August they likely will come out in March 2017, and for the end of the month–when deals are often even better–in late April or early May 2017.

I always post the major current deals here, so you can see the 2016 savings for both types.

12 Kelly B - Destinations In Florida { 06.08.16 at 9:25 am }

Hi Coleen,

Disney has not yet released its 2017 prices. They just announced yesterday that they will be doing that on Tuesday June 21. These prices will be the standard rates. It\’s always best to book the room you would like as soon as possible. This will guarantee availability. Then as discounts are released you can make adjustments.

I would love to help your book your Disney vacation. All of my services are free, like my future discount search service. While you go on with daily life, enjoying your family, I will keep watch over your reservation. Any time Disney releases a discount, I will look to see if we can apply that discount to your reservation. (Only 1 discount per reservation). Up until 30 days before arrival you can make as many changes to your reservation as you want, at no charge.

Please contact me at or 980-429-4499.

13 Susan G { 07.06.16 at 8:34 am }

We are returning to Disney the week of July 25-29. Having Grandparents visit us we are trying to possibly not do any parks this visit. If we do, we only have a two day availability after they leave ahead of us. My question is two tiered. First, what are things we can do with 19, 18 and 10 year olds staying at Kidani DVC if no parks and second, if we do a two day park hopper we are looking at over $1,000. With the crowds you indicate a nine, so how long are lines typically and would it be worth the money?
I appreciate any input you can give, I have enjoyed your site and knowledge.

14 Dave { 07.06.16 at 2:10 pm }

Susan, at the Animal Kingdom complex there’s great animal watching, pools and dining. Because of the way Disney prices tickets, in your shoes I would for sure skip the hopper, and likely would just save the money and use it a later date when you can stay longer…

15 Walt Disney World Helpful Planning Links – Grandpax's Walt Disney World Helpful Information { 11.27.16 at 12:36 pm }

[…] Disney World Hotel Reviews–Your First Visit […]

16 easy guide – easyWDW { 04.12.17 at 5:53 pm }

[…] click to the page listing all of Dave’s reviews here, and then on that page click the resort you are interested in, where you’ll find a large color […]

17 Cindy { 07.01.17 at 1:48 pm }

Hello again Dave, I just read that Disney is giving out gift cards each night of a guests’ stay if the guest chooses Not to use Housekeeping (fresh towels will be provided) at the Value Resorts. What do you know?

18 Dave { 07.04.17 at 8:02 am }

Cindy, All I’ve seen on such is this.

19 Laura { 03.09.19 at 9:25 am }

Do you always leave a tip for housekeeping? If so, how much is the going rate? Do you leave it daily or just leave it on your last day? We are staying at Art of Animation, Lion King suite!

20 Dave { 03.10.19 at 11:14 am }

Laura, I leave a daily tip of $5 unless we have made a particular mess or we have a multi-bay space (like a family suite) in which case I leave $10.

21 Lori { 01.30.24 at 5:26 pm }

Hi, your site is so helpful! I am planning a DW trip with 3 boys (6, 4 and 2) for October. Do you feel this is a good time of year to go (in terms of crowds)? Luckily we have flexibility with traveling so would like to go in an off season when the crowds are lower. Right now we are exploring the Polynesian, Art of Animation and Animal Kingdom. We will probably go to Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Sea World. In terms of convenience, which resort would you recommend? We saw that you could possibly view fireworks from the rooms at the Polynesian but wasn’t sure if this is enough of a “bonus” to warrant staying there. Thank you for your help!

22 Dave { 02.07.24 at 9:45 am }

Hi Lori, and I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you.

For my views on October (and the rest of the weeks of the year) see this:

Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are the two most widely separated Disney World parks, so no Disney World hotel is convenient to both of them. Of the three you are considering, Art of Animation is most centrally located.

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