This page tries to make the square foot numbers associated with Walt Disney World Resorts more understandable and comparable.
HOW LONG IS A SQUARE FOOT?
The different resort classes all have different sizes:
- The value resorts—Art of Animation, Pop Century and the All Stars—are 260 square feet
- The moderate resorts are 314 square feet, and
- The deluxes vary from 344 square feet at the Wilderness Lodge and the Animal Kingdom Lodge to 440 square feet at the Grand Floridian.
Most of us, however, have no idea what this means.
- First, most of us don’t normally think in squared dimensions—we think in linear distances, not areas.
- Second, we don’t usually whip out our tape measures and size up our hotel rooms, so we don’t have a comparison readily at hand for how much difference there really is between 314 square feet at the Caribbean Beach Beach (at $204 on a weekday night in the 2015 Fall price season) and 344 square feet for $367 at the Wilderness Lodge those same nights.
- Finally, most of us lump all these square feet together—but hotel designers know that bedroom square feet make much more of a difference in the livability of a room than the remaining components of square feet (which are the bathroom, and also the access area from the interior corridor to the bedroom, if the hotel has interior corridors), because your family spends much more time in the bedroom area.
HOW WIDE IS A SQUARE FOOT?
See below three thumbnails which show total and bedroom square feet for most Disney World Resorts and a few comparisons from across the country.
In addition, the second and third images are illuminated by vertical lines showing industry standard* sizes of bedroom and total space by price class.
The first image (click to open; when open, click again to enlarge) shows some summary information, with these takeaways:
- The bedroom spaces at the moderate resorts are actually larger than those at the Wilderness Lodge and the Animal Kingdom Lodge, and comparable to the bedroom spaces in the Yacht Club and Beach Club.
- The bedrooms fall out this way despite (sometimes) big differences in total square feet because so many square feet in the deluxes are used in the “hallway” between the exterior corridor and the bedroom space—up to 60 square feet.
- The value resorts are bigger than a Super 8, the moderate resorts comparable to a Holiday Inn or Best Western, and the Deluxes are not all comparable to a luxury hotel.
The second image suggests that
- On total square feet, the value resorts exceed “Budget” standards,
- The moderate resorts are just about right on “Mid-Price” standards,
- The Wilderness Lodge and the Animal Kingdom Lodge fall about halfway between “Mid-Price” and “Upscale,” and
- None of the depicted resorts gets enough above “Upscale” to cross the line into “Luxury.”
The final image focuses on bedroom sizes.
All Disney resorts exceed the “Budget” standard, and most fall into the “Mid-Price” standard, with the exceptions of the Polynesian and Grand Floridian, both of which exceed “Upscale,” and come close to “Luxury.”
Most important takeway? The moderate resorts are a great deal from a square foot livability point of view–but I still don’t recommend them for your first family visit. See Where Not to Stay for why.
* Source: From Rutes, Penner, Adams, Hotel Design (2001) p.270
MORE ON WHERE TO STAY AT DISNEY WORLD
- For where to stay, see this
- For your next best choices, in order, see this
- For picking your resort based on appeal to kids, see this
- For picking your resort based on convenience, see this
- For where not to stay, see this
- For what you get in each resort price category, see this
- For Walt Disney World resort price seasons, see this
- For resort reviews, see this
- For the value resorts, see this
- For the moderate resorts, see this
- For the deluxe resorts, see this
- For suites at the deluxe resorts, see this
- For the Disney Vacation Club (“DVC”) Resorts, see this
- For a (geeky) overview of comparative room size, see this
- Military/DOD families should look at this
- Families seeking the most comfortable place to stay should see this
Thank you, Dave.
p.s. your website is awesome; it’s been a great help in planning our Disney vacations.
Dave, thank you for the response. I figured it would be a lot of work given the variety of room types, but thought it was worth a shot. If I could trouble you with one more question on this topic…We’re a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 small children) and looking at studios as a cost savings over regular rooms (and for many WDW vacations over the coming years). We’ve stayed in the regular rooms at the Polynesian, but not the DVC rooms. Given their size, location, and capacity for 5 we’re thinking Polynesian or Grand Floridian studios. Is there a noticeable difference in the “livability” of these studios? Thank you again.
Josh, the GF rooms are on about every dimension more livable. The Poly rooms are more fun.
This is great, very useful. I was curious if the same information was available anywhere for the DVC rooms (studios). I read in your review of the Polynesian Studios that the bedroom was shorter than a value, but wider than the Grand Floridian Studios. I was having trouble putting the information all together into how it plays out for the overall size of the bedroom. The DVC resources I’ve found only list total sq ft. Thank you.
Josh, not that I know of. I used to keep that data I’d need for this, but did not have it backed up and lost it in a hard drive crash. (I have other faults as well 🙂 ) Inspired by your question, I’ll start collecting it again, but with >30 room types it’ll take me several years to compile it…
Are there any rooms or suites at any of the Disney resorts that have connecting rooms?
We’re planning a family trip in December, but we aren’t all going on the same day. First group (1 adult, 2 kids under 10) will arrive on a Friday evening and check out the following Friday. Second group (grandparents) will arrive either Sunday evening or Monday morning and check out on Friday.
My daughter really loves Fort Wilderness with the bunk beds, but it’s out of her price range. So the ideal set-up would be connecting rooms so that the grandkids can switch out nights – one kid with Mom & Dad, one kid with Grandma & Grandpa.
The kids won’t survive a whole week of sleeping in the same bed.
Donna, there’s a million connecting rooms at WDW, but there are no guarantees you will get them–and especially with your different check in days.
This is JUST the information I have been looking for!!!