Being a first time visitor to Walt Disney World this past May, I knew I had to pick the perfect place to stay. Not just perfect for me, but perfect for my kids, my husband and my mom, who also came along.
Originally, we had planned to stay at the newly opened Art of Animation Resort (AOA). This value resort has Disney written all over it, has great reviews, and for a relatively good price point too.
With three pools, and Little Mermaid, Lion King, Finding Nemo and Cars-themed accommodations, I knew my girls would be in love with it. But, I also knew that it would likely be a zoo–because it was new, and because it was so specifically oriented towards the under-10 demographic. I started to think…after long, hot, days at the park, would I be looking forward to a break from the crowds at this new, and busy, resort?
As I started to get more indepth in planning and researching my options, I started to think more about convenience. AOA, from my research, would be about a 20-minute bus ride to Magic Kingdom (but a much quicker bus ride to Epcot and Hollywood Studios).
I started to wonder…would it be worth the price in upgrading to a deluxe resort on the monorail line, and be able to arrive at Magic Kingdom (our main attraction) within minutes? The answer was yes. Carting a two- and four-year-old to bus stops and on half-hour bus trips midday for naps would seem to eat up quite a bit of time. Maybe older kids would fare better?
The Contemporary Resort, Polynesian Resort or Grand Floridian Resort and Spa were my options if I wanted to go the monorail route. After some careful consideration, we chose to stay at the Grand Floridian. So glad we did!
The resort has recently been the subject of intense renovations, and still has some evidence of construction as the Disney Vacation Club units are being built adjacent to the main resort. However, it proved to be a great choice for a number of reasons, including convenience, upgraded amenities and a good variety restaurants onsite (compared to just one quick-service eatery at AOA). Many reviews document the perks of this resort on TripAdvisor.
Personally, I wanted to ensure that we were close enough to the parks to be able to stay late but get back to the resort within minutes, avoiding the mass exodus at peak periods like closing time. Keeping the kids sane (and rested) was priority number one for this trip, so we chose to go this route. But I won’t lie, the extras at this resort did make you feel like a million bucks.
If you want the ultimate Disney vacation, and are staying onsite, I would recommend a deluxe resort within close distance of the park that you will be heading to the most. If you are on a budget, the value or moderate resorts provide a great place to rest your head at the end of the day, with some amenities too. In an upcoming post, I’ll list the various resorts, themes and categories to give a clearer picture on the options Disney offers regarding accommodations.
But first…I plan on sharing my full review on the Grand Floridian. Stay tuned!