Walt Disney World has two major clusters of resorts: the monorail loop and the EPCOT area. Both of these groups come with pros and cons. Which is group is right for? Or do you fall into the third group – the value group?
For the purposes of this article: The Monorail Loop consists of The Contemporary, Disney’s Polynesian Village, and The Grand Floridian and the EPCOT Area consists of Beach Club, Boardwalk, and Yacht Club.
THE MONORAIL LOOP
- Lots of transportation options – guests have a lot of transportation options at these resorts. All three resorts have monorail and boat access to the Magic Kingdom, monorail access to EPCOT. Guests at The Contemporary can walk to the Magic Kingdom and guests staying at Polynesian Village can walk to The Ticket and Transportation Center for direct access to the EPCOT monorail
- A variety of table service restaurant options – there is a character meal at all three resorts. There is fine dining at all three resorts. There is casual table-service dining at all three resorts. These resorts are the closest thing to “an all-inclusive” resort on Walt Disney World property. In addition to these table service choices, all three resorts have great counter service options as well.
- Rooms with space – these resorts have the largest standard rooms on Walt Disney World property allowing the family to “spread out” more than they could at the moderate and value resorts. All three resorts have Disney Vacation Club properties attached to them which could allow guests to spread out even more…..for a price
- Cost – these resorts are the most expensive on Walt Disney World property given their proximity to The Magic Kingdom. Convenience comes at a price.
- Not exactly “kid-themed” – this is especially true of The Contemporary which can viewed as “sterile.” The Grand Floridian has a lot of “look but don’t touch” for smaller children.
- Not a large inventory of rooms – All three resorts are some of the smallest, in terms of number of rooms, at Walt Disney World.
THE EPCOT AREA
- Walking access to two parks – Guests staying in this area have just a 10-15 minute to either EPCOT or Hollywood Studios (depending on resort and room location). This is great for families of older kids who are able to explore the parks on their own. Don’t have to worry about Disney transportation (bus, monorail, boat) when the source of transportation is your feet.
- Lots of restaurant options – from Yachtsman Steak House to Big River Grille to ESPN Club to the restaurants of EPCOT’s World Showcase, there is a restaurant for just about everyone’s tastes.
- Great pools – helping to gear these resorts to families with older kids, these resorts have some of the best pools at Walt Disney World. The flagship pool is Beach/Yacht Club’s Stormalong Bay complete with a water slide that takes guests over the sidewalk to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.
- Long walk to restaurants – this is especially true at Boardwalk where the all of the restaurants, even the counter service, are located out on The Boardwalk not in the resort itself. Very difficult to go out and grab a quick bite to eat. At Yacht Club, there is no resort-specific counter service restaurants. Guests have to make the walk to Beach Club and use The Beach Club Marketplace.
- Boat service to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios can be slow – it is faster to walk to the two theme parks. If you are tired, you can expect a longer return to the resort to rest and put your feet up.
- This is both a pro and con – the rooms cost a little less than the resorts on The Monorail Loop (pro) but are a little bit smaller than the rooms on The Monorail Loop (con). That said, the rooms are still larger than the moderate and value resorts (pro).
The best thing I can say about choosing a resort is to do your research. Figure out what is best for your family and what your family is looking to get out of their Walt Disney World vacation. If you are still undecided, you can contact me at Fairytale Journeys by Tim Brooks and we can go over what your Disney vacation plans and help decide on the perfect resort for you and your family. For a teen or tween perspective on the resorts, you can purchase a copy of my book, Walt Disney World for Teens and Tweens.
Thanks for reading!