The next two days, I’m going to cover the Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa resorts. All of these resorts are on the smaller side compared to the Moderate and Value resorts, however, the standard rooms are larger and all the resorts have Villa accommodations as well, or in the process of building them, except for Yacht Club. These Villa accommodations come in four different sizes: studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom grand villas. But those are for tomorrow, today, we’ll just focus on the standard rooms at these resorts.
Animal Kingdom Lodge
Yes, there are rooms where guests can see the safari animals from the balcony of their room. These safaris/savannas are separate from the Kilmanjaro Safari experience in the Animal Kingdom Park.
Animal Kingdom Lodge is the largest, in terms of rooms, of the deluxe resorts with 1,307 rooms. All of the Animal Kingdom Lodge rooms are located in the Jambo House.
The front desk and check-in is located in the central main hall with four trails splitting off from this hall. There are four trails where the rooms are located: Ostrich Trail, Giraffe Trail, Kudu Trail, and Zebra Trail. Each of these trails, except for Giraffe Trail, has a view of, at least, one savanna. The Giraffe Trail has a view of the pool.
What if my room doesn’t have a view of a savanna?
There are only 135 rooms (10.3%) which do not have a view of a savanna or pool. For these guests, there are still plenty of opportunities to see the animals.
- Sunset Savanna and Sunset Savanna Viewing Room/Balcony: this area is designed for sunset viewing of the animals
- Each savanna has a variety of viewing location and Cast Members will leave around the savanna so the animals move around.
- Sunrise Breakfast Adventure: available on Sundays and Thursdays. The adventure departs at 7:30 am and involves a 45-minute ride through the Kilimanjaro Safari Experience where the guides will stop and guests are allowed to stand and take picture. This ride is about three times as long as the standard experience on the Safari. After the tour, guests go to Pizzafari for a breakfast buffet.
Animal Kingdom is home to Disney’s largest pool, Uzima Springs Pool, which is over 11,000 square feet. It has a zero-depth entry section, a 67-foot water slide, and wading area. The pool is open 24 hours but lifeguards go off duty at 10 pm.
The Lodge also has a fitness center open from 6 am to 9 pm available at no extra charge for guests.
There is are special programs that take place during the day at the Lodge:
- Feedings at Flamingo Pond
- African Games and Crafts at Uzima Springs Pool
- Animal Viewing with Night Vision Goggles
- Adventure Camp for guests aged 6-14 which includes lunch
- Nightly African Storytelling at Ogun’s Firepit
A standard room at Animal Kingdom Lodge is 344 square feet and can sleep four or five people.
Animal Kingdom Lodge has two table-service restaurants:
Jiko – The Cooking House which is a fusion of American and African cuisine and is only open for dinner, Menu: http://allears.net/dining/menu/jiko-the-cooking-place/dinner
Boma – Flavors of Africa which is a buffet featuring African cuisine and is open for both breakfast and dinner. Dinner Menu: http://allears.net/dining/menu/boma/dinner
Quick-Service dining is served by Mara and serves traditional American fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Rack rates start, depending on season, at $284/nt for a standard view on a weekday and $304/nt on a weekend. For a room with savanna view, those start at $364/nt on a weekday and $391/nt on a weekend.
Bus transportation is the only mode of transportation to guests to and from the park.
Beach and Yacht Club
A deluxe resort in the mold of the Port Orleans Resort in that there are two resorts which share the same space. One direction, guests are in Beach Club. Turn the other way and guests are in Yacht Club.
It’s a big resort with the Beach Club and Yacht Club having separate themeing from each other. The Beach Club is themed after a Newport Beach cottage while the Yacht Club has a Martha’s Vineyard theme and is seen as the more formal of the two. Yacht Club has more standard rooms than Beach Club and also houses the convention center adding to the more “business-like” feel.
The two resorts also share a central pool area, Stormalong Bay, which has the longest water slide of the all the resorts.
The slide goes over the sidewalk and winds into way into the pool area.
There are quiet, smaller pool located through both resorts.
Each resort has its own separate check-in area and with that I’ll break off and talk about each resort individually.
First, Beach Club.
The rooms at Beach Club check in at a large 381 square feet.
There are two different views that are available: standard and pool/water which will have a view of each the pool or of Crescent Lake.
The resort has two restaurants will qualify as table-service
Beaches and Cream which is 50s’ style sodashop that serves hamburgers, hot dogs, and the famous Kitchen Sink sundae. There is outdoor seating as the small indoor seating can be quite loud. Menu: http://allears.net/dining/menu/beaches-and-cream-soda-shop/lunch-dinner
There is the Cape May Cafe which is open for breakfast and dinner. Breakfast buffet features a daily character meal with Goofy and friends in beach wear. Dinner is also a clam-bake buffet but don’t worry meats are found at the buffet as well. Dinner Menu: http://allears.net/dining/menu/cape-may-cafe/dinner
The Beach Club Marketplace is the resort quick-service dining option.
The resort has two lit tennis-courts which are open from 7 am to 10 pm, a beach volleyball court, and a health spa.
Standard View rooms start at $356/nt on weekdays and $381/nt on weekends with pool/water views starting at$443/nt on weekdays and $475/nt on weekends.
Beach Club has both foot, boat, and bus access to the park. Guests have the option of walking or taking the boat to both EPCOT or Hollywood Studios. It is about a 10-minute walk to EPCOT while a longer 20 minute walk to Hollywood Studios. Guests can use the International Gateway entrance to enter EPCOT even when the World Showcase is closed to guests but Future World is open.
Bus transportation is available to the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.
Moving back over to Yacht Club.
The rooms are the same size as Beach Club at 381 square feet.
Again like its sister resort, Beach Club, there are standard and pool/water view rooms available.
Yacht Club has two table-service restaurants: Yachtsman Steakhouse and Captain’s Grille.
The Yachtsman Steakhouse a two table-service credit dinner and the Yacht Club’s premier restaurant and one of the best restaurants in Walt Disney World. It serves dinner only. Menu: http://allears.net/dining/menu/yachtsman-steakhouse/dinner
Right next door to Yachtsman is the Captain’s Grille. The Captain’s Grille, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, costs only one table-service credit on the DDP. The food here is excellent. My family enjoyed the one meal we’ve eaten here on a previous visit. The menu is similar to Yachtsman but with a little more seafood on the menu. Dinner Menu: http://allears.net/dining/menu/captains-grille/dinner
Yacht Club shares most of its recreational facilities with Beach Club.
The transportation to and from the parks is the same Beach Club a 10-minute walk to EPCOT, a 20-minute walk on short boat ride to Hollywood Studios, a bus transportation to and from Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom.
Standard Rooms at Yacht Club start at $356/nt on weekdays and $381/nt on weekends. Pool/water views begin at $443/nt on weekdays and $475/nt on weekends.
Across Crescent Lake from Beach and Yacht Club sits the Boardwalk Resort in its early 20th century Atlantic City theme.
The resort has both standard rooms and villa style accommodations. My family has stayed in the villas as Disney Vacation Club members but not in the standard rooms.
The resort has a central check-in for both Boardwalk Inn and Boardwalk Villa Guests. The unique feature of this resort is none of the restaurants (table or quick service) are located in the resort itself. They are all located along the Boardwalk facing Crescent Lake.
The rooms at Boardwalk are 370 square feet and continue with early 20s century boardwalk theme.
The resort has one centrally located pool, Luna Park, with it’s clowns-mouth water slide or as some people call it….”The Scary Clown Pool.”
There is a quiet pool located in each of the Inn and Villa areas.
There are a lot of restaurants to choose from out on the boardwalk. Some of the restaurants take the Disney Dining Plan and some of them do not. First the ones that do:
Flying Fish Cafe is primarily a seafood restaurant that does have a steak option. It is a two table-credit meal but it is worth those two credits. My family ate here with another family on our last visit and had an excellent experience. The food and staff were some of the best we’ve had eating on property. Menu: http://allears.net/dining/menu/flying-fish-cafe/dinner Flying Fish is open for dinner only.
Kouzzina is the other dining plan option along the boardwalk. However, it will be closing at the end of September with a new restaurant coming in its place.
Quick-service is covered by two places: the Boardwalk Bakery with its fresh baked breakfast foods and sandwiches for lunch and the Pizza Window. Disney Dining Plan snacks can be had the Seashore Sweets window.
There are two non-Disney Dining Plan establishments on the boardwalk: The ESPN Club to catch a game and a bite to eat and the Big River Grille and Brewing Works a on-site micro brewery.
The Boardwalk is in a great location to get the parks. It’s about a five-minute walk to EPCOT and a 15 to 20 minute walk (even with a small child) to Hollywood Studios. You can take the boat as well to both park but it is definitely faster to walk, even for the slowest walkers, to walk to EPCOT. Plus bridge going over Crescent Lake to get back to Boardwalk is a nice place to watch Illuminations if you don’t want to watch it from inside EPCOT.
Bus transportation is available to both Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom.
Along with the Polynesian, one of the original Disney resorts.
Above is an early reservations card. It’s not that easy today!
The Contemporary has the unique feature of the monorail going directly through the main concourse of the hotel. There are two types of rooms at The Contemporary: Tower rooms and garden wing. My family stayed in the garden wing on our first visit.
The standard rooms are large at 391 square feet. There is enough room for three people and their luggage and not feeling like you are going to trip over each other.
There is also plenty to do at the Contemporary:
- Sammy Duvall Water Sports Centre: water skiing, tubing, para-sailing
- Beach Volleyball
- Basketball Hoops
Guests can also view the nightly Magic Kingdom fireworks from the balcony of the Grand Canyon Concourse and view the Electric Water Pageant. Guests staying on the 14th floor of the main tower have their own private balcony to watch the fireworks. People dining at the 15th floor California Grill Lounge have a private view area as well.
Guests have three table-service restaurants to choose from at the Contemporary:
California Grill which just recently re-opened after a remodel. The California Grill serves dinner only and focuses on California-themed cuisine. Menu: http://allears.net/dining/menu/california-grill/dinner
Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, The Wave serves a rotating menu of American cuisine. Dinner menu: http://allears.net/dining/menu/wave-of-american-flavors/dinner
The last restaurant is the most popular among the young and young at heart…..Chef Mickey’s. A buffet-style restaurant where guests get to meet Mickey and the gang in chef’s attire.
The Contemporary has one quick-service restaurant: Contempo Cafe. This is one of my family’s favorite quick service restaurants on property. We enjoy taking in a relaxed meal while watching the people and monorail go by. It has a very “Grand Central Station” feel to it with all people coming and going.
Guests at the Contemporary have a variety of transportation to get to the parks. The monorail provides access both the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. A transfer is required at the Ticket and Transportation Center to get to EPCOT by monorail. Guests can also choose to walk to Magic Kingdom and it is, currently, the only Magic Kingdom area resort with walking access to the Magic Kingdom.
Bus transportation is available to Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.
Grand Floridian Resort
The Grand Floridian Resort is the newest of the Magic Kingdom area resorts and has a Victorian seaside resort theme. It is the closest resort, in terms of monorail stops, to the Magic Kingdom but does not have direct walking access.
One of the best things about the Grand Floridian is the lobby. It has one of the best themed lobbies on property.
The rooms are spectacular too. They are some of the largest standard rooms at a Disney resort at 440 square feet.
It is a large sweeping resort too.
The map is a little outdated because it does not include the addition of the Disney Vacation Club Grand Floridian Villas.
Like most of the deluxe resorts, it has a central main pool with smaller quiet pools throughout the resort.
The other great feature about the Grand Floridian is the restaurants located within the resort. There are five table service restaurants located at the Grand Floridian.
The first is the award-winning Victoria and Albert’s. The restaurant is not on the Disney Dining Plan and is jacket required for the men. It is probably the best restaurant throughout all of Walt Disney World. The menu is selected daily by the head chef.
The next is Citrico’s. Cuisine is southern France like Victoria and Albert’s is only open for dinner. It is resort causal so no jacket is required for the men. Menu: http://allears.net/dining/menu/citricos/dinner
Located toward the back of the Grand Floridian property is Narcoossee’s which serves more traditional American fare. Menu: http://allears.net/dining/menu/narcoossees/dinner
Next is the character dining experience at 1900 Park Fare. My family has dined here for dinner twice and enjoyed it both times. Breakfast has Mary Poppins and friends as the character experience while dinner has The Fairy Godmother, Prince Charming, Cinderella, and the Evil Step Sisters. It is a buffet for both breakfast and dinner.
The most causal of the dining experiences at the Grand Floridian is the Grand Floridian Cafe which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Quick service is available from the 24-hour Gasparilla Island Grill.
Guests can get to the Magic Kingdom by monorail or boat, EPCOT by monorail only and to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios by bus.
Rooms at the Grand Floridian start at $488/nt for a standard view during the week and $524/nt on the weekend.
The last of the Disney original resorts from when the park opened in 1971.
The Polynesian is currently undergoing a lot of expansion and renovation with the addition of the Disney Vacation Club villas and water bungalows to the resort property. As a result, you won’t see many pictures because the massive face-lift to the resort.
The resort is broken up into long-houses for the rooms. The rooms at the Polynesian are smaller than the Grand Floridian but larger than the Contemporary at 415 square feet.
The main resort pool will be closing soon for renovations and will be reopening once the Disney Vacation Club villas are opened sometime in late 2015-early 2016.
The resort has two table-service dining options.
First, ‘ohana which serves a family-style breakfast and dinner. Breakfast features the ‘Ohana Character Buffet with Lilo, Stitch, and rotating cast of characters.
Kona Cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and focuses on American and Asian cuisine. Menu: http://allears.net/dining/menu/kona-cafe/dinner
Quick-service is located at Captain Cook’s which is open 24-hours a day and recently completed a face-lift itself.
Guests have the choice of monorail or boat to access Magic Kingdom. They can also take a short walk to the Ticket and Transportation Center for monorail access to EPCOT and there are bus stops at the Polynesian for Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.
Standard Rooms start at $429/nt during the weekend and $460/nt on the weekends.
Over by Fort Wilderness is the last deluxe resort….Wilderness Lodge.
It is a fantastically theme Pacific Northwest resort. My family and I have stayed here twice: once as resort guests and once as Disney Vacation Club members. Both times were between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
It is a compact resort with the Disney Vacation Club villas off it is own separate wing that it not a long walk from the main building.
The trade-off for this compact resort is smallest rooms of all the Disney Deluxe resorts. The standard rooms are only 340 square feet.
The resort has a central pool which is shared by both lodge and villa guests while the villa area has its own quiet pool.
The focal point of this resort is the lobby and its wonderful themeing especially at Christmas time.
The resort has two table service restaurants.
Artist Point which is a two table-credit restaurant that serves cuisine with a Pacific Northwest flare. Menu: http://allears.net/dining/menu/artist-point/dinner
Whispering Canyon Cafe is a one-credit table service restaurant that has both family style and individual dining options. Be sure to hold to your fork and to ask you server for more ketchup 😉 Menu: http://allears.net/dining/menu/whispering-canyon-cafe/dinner
Quick-service is located at Roaring Forks. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner but is not 24 hours. It is open from 7 am to 11 pm daily.
Guests can take the red flagged boat to the Magic Kingdom. The other boat (usually blue flagged) will take guests to Fort Wilderness and the Contemporary.
Guests can take a boat to the Contemporary and then the monorail to EPCOT or take a bus to EPCOT. Buses are available to and from Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.
Wilderness Lodge is the least expensive of the deluxe resorts with standard rooms starting at $289/nt during the week and $309/nt on weekends.
That concludes my look into deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World. Remember to follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook using the buttons on the right side of the page.
From Dad and the Family, Thanks for reading!