Reasons to love a Deluxe Resort

Last week, I did a post on some of the reasons to love a Disney Moderate Resort.  Today, I’m moving a class with reasons to love a Disney Deluxe resort.  Disney has a lot of deluxe resorts – eight in total: Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club, Boardwalk, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge, and Yacht Club are considered deluxe resorts by Disney.  This is the resort class that I have most experience with since I started going with my family back in 2009.  I have stayed at the Contemporary, albeit in the Garden Wing, Wilderness Lodge, and I have a visit to Yacht Club in my future.  So, what are some reasons to love these resorts.

Multiple Disney Transportation Options

When staying at these resorts, guests do not have to rely solely, except for Animal Kingdom Lodge, on Disney buses to get to-and-from Disney parks.

Animal Kingdom Lodge is kinda out of its own on the Walt Disney World property so it can be close to Animal Kingdom.  To maintain the habitat for the animals, there is no direct access via boat or walking paths from Animal Kingdom Lodge to the Animal Kingdom Park.

All of the other deluxe resorts have multiple transportation options for guests.  The Wilderness Lodge has the fewest options with only a direct boat to and from the Magic Kingdom as its “alternative” transportation option.  Once you get into the monorail loop, the three resorts (Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian) have monorail access to the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT.  EPCOT requires a monorail change at the Ticket and Transportation Center.

The Polynesian and Grand Floridian have boat access to the Magic Kingdom as well.  The Contemporary is within walking distance to the Magic Kingdom and The Polynesian is a short walk to the Ticket and Transportation Center to catch the monorail to EPCOT.  These monorail resorts have bus access to Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.

Beach Club, Boardwalk, and Yacht Club have bus access to Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom.  But for EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, there is a boat which makes stops at all three resorts as well as the Disney Swan and Dolphin Hotels.

EPCOT Boat Map
EPCOT Boat Map

From Hollywood Studios to EPCOT, it is about a 20 minute boat ride.  It can be faster, if your legs are up to it, to walk from either park to the resorts.  EPCOT to the resort is about a 10 minute walk while it’s about a 15 minute walk from Hollywood Studios to the resorts.  The walk to EPCOT is nice especially in morning.  The International Gateway is open when Future World opens so guests are guided through an empty World Showcase before it opens at 11 am on most days.

These alternative forms of transportation can be beneficial if the lines for the monorail or buses are really long.

Dining with Character

Some of the resorts (Beach Club, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian), guests don’t even need to their resort in order to experience character dining.  Beach Club is home the Cape May Cafe Character Breakfast with Donald, Goofy, and Minnie.  Contemporary is home to Chef Mickey’s.

Mickey at Chef Mickey's

The Polynesian houses The Best Friends Breakfast with Lilo and Stitch.  Mickey and Pluto usually joined Lilo and Stitch for this meal.  The Grand Floridian has 1900 Park Fare for the Supercalafragilistic Breakfast and Cinderella’s Happily Ever Dinner.

September 2013 Disney Trip 363

Outside of Chef Mickey’s, these meals are great alternatives to the more popular meals located within the parks.  1900 Park Fare is a great alternative to Cinderella’s Royal Table.  Cape May Breakfast and The Best Friends Breakfast is a great alternative to Chef Mickey’s.

Elegant Dining

In addition to character dining, these deluxe resort are home to some of the more elegant restaurants on Disney property.  The Grand Floridian has three such restaurants.  Two are on the Disney Dining Plan: Citricos and Narcoossee’s.  The third restaurant is the Five Diamond award-winning Victoria and Albert’s.  Citrcios is a one table-credit meal while Narcoossee’s is a two table-credit meal.

The other deluxe resorts aren’t left out.  The Contemporary has The California Grill on the 15th floor where guests can watch the Wishes fireworks show over Magic Kingdom at night-time.  Wilderness Lodge has Artist Point and its Pacific Northwest theme.  Both of these restaurants are considered signature dining and cost two table-service credits on the Disney Dining Plan.

Over at the EPCOT resorts, Yacht Club is home to the Yachtsman Steakhouse while Flying Fish is just a short walk from the Boardwalk Inn.  I’ve eaten at Flying Fish and even though it a two table-credit restaurant, it is still a restaurant when a family can take their kids.  I don’t know if it is a small kid friendly since my daughter has just turned nine and was eight when we eat there.  The Yachtsman Steakhouse is also a two-credit table-service meal and is one of my family’s ADRs for a future visit.

Iconic Resorts

The two original Disney resorts: The Contemporary and The Polynesian are in this class of resort.

Early reservations card
Early reservations card
Contemporary under construction 1971
Contemporary under construction 1971
1971 at the Polynesian
1971 at the Polynesian
Contemporary today
Contemporary today
Polynesian today
Polynesian today

Small number of overall rooms but bigger rooms

In terms of the number of overall rooms, these resorts do not have a lot of rooms.  In fact the largest resort, Animal Kingdom Lodge has only 1,307 rooms.  This still makes it smaller than all of the moderate and value resorts.  All of the other deluxe resorts have fewer than 1,000 rooms in their inventory

Grand Floridian Resort – 867 rooms

Polynesian Resort – 847 rooms

Wilderness Lodge – 729 rooms

Contemporary Resort – 655 rooms

Yacht Club Resort – 621 rooms

Beach Club Resort – 576 rooms

Boardwalk Inn – 378 rooms

What these resorts make for in the lack of number of rooms, they make up for in the size of the rooms.  These rooms are the largest standard rooms on property.  Some of the rooms are almost 450 square feet which make them close to 200 square feet larger than the standard rooms in the value resorts.  This may not sound like a lot but it does make a difference.  I keep going to back to friends of mine who recently stayed at a value with their family of four.  They had to keep the stroller in the car and not in the room because there wasn’t enough room for everything.  So, if you are the type of family who likes to have a little bit of breathing room, these deluxe rooms are the place for you.

What do you like about Disney’s Deluxe Resort?  Which one is your favorite?

My favorite is the Contemporary.  I just love watching the monorail going through the hotel.  However, come Christmas Time, I enjoy the feel and theming of Wilderness Lodge.

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