This is only a listing of available hotels within the boundaries of Walt Disney World. Other area hotels are in our Orlando section.
Some people don’t mind spending twice Orlando’s going rate so they can be on Disney property near the resort’s storied “magic,” although they are usually hard-pressed to explain what that precisely means. Disney has an active policy of making non-resort guests second-class citizens by putting them at a planning disadvantage, although that subtle persecution has eased in recent years. It’s also worth noting that Disney hotels tend to promote or hire from within, and over time, that has caused staff to become noticeably out of step with customer service standards in the outside world.
But strictly from a non-pixie-dusted, consumer-advice standpoint, there are advantages and disadvantages to saying on property in one of Disney’s extremely busy hotels.
DISNEY PRICING SEASONS
Unlike most hotels, which price dynamically, Walt Disney World’s hotel rates are fixed by a calendar. The seasons are no longer named by Disney, but they generally fall into six categories. They are, in descending order of expense: Holiday, Peak, Summer, Regular, Fall, and Value, and even those are parsed into levels, so you could easily pay several different nightly rates during the same stay. The major price spikes are around spring break, Easter, and the late December holidays—put simply, when more people can travel to Disney World.
Likewise, there are three categories of Disney hotel: Deluxe, Moderate, and Value. Ergo, for the cheapest room, book a Value room in a Value period.
When you search for rooms, you’ll also be offered apartment-like units. These are for Disney Vacation Club members. DVC units are drastically more expensive than a home rental of a corresponding size, so unless you happen across a deal you love (it’s rare), Frommer’s doesn’t think they’re the smartest way to go, so we don’t go deeply into the DVC properties here—only the hotels.
PRICING SEASONS—The dates for each season shift annually and are tweaked per property, but they follow the same pattern on the calendar.
The schedule for prices generally shakes out like this for a Value hotel room in an All-Star resort, with tax. These are the bottom lines of the lowest-priced standard Disney room of each time period, including tax—the higher rates in each bracket fall on higher-demand days such as weekends. So this is the least you can hope to pay by staying within Disney:
* Value season: Jan to mid-Feb, mid-Aug to Sept. Value price: $119–$171.
* Regular season: Late Feb to early Mar, late Apr to May. Value price: $162–$215.
* Summer season: June to July. Value price: $185–$219.
* Peak season (including most holiday periods): Mid-Feb, mid-Mar to mid-Apr, mid-Dec. Value price: $193–$209.
* Holiday season: End of Dec, New Year’s. Value price: $246–¬$254.
STANDARD AMENITIES—All Disney hotels, regardless of class, have touches that provide relief for families, including big pools and shallow kiddie pools, coin laundries, and playgrounds. Nearly all rooms have two double beds unless you pay for something more (like a bunk or a pullout), but no microwave. Wi-Fi is free. There will always be somewhere to eat, although at Value resorts it will be a food court and room service will be pizza. Disney shuttle buses serve all resorts for free, and every property is protected by gated security. And, of course, every resort has at least one souvenir store. Check-in time is usually 3pm (you can use the pool while you wait) and you must check out by 11am (and use the pool for the rest of the day).
Some benefits you might have heard about in the past have been recently cut: Extra Magic Hours, advance Fastpass+ reservations, and Disney’s Magical Express have all been eliminated.
Note that Disney does not charge resort fees, but it exacts such a premium rate, the effect on your budget can be much worse.
DISNEY VACATION CLUB
Disney sells timeshares, too. Because we aren't real estate experts, there’s no need to explain the fact that after you crunch the numbers, Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is economical only for people who never want to vacation anywhere that isn’t Disney. DVC really needs to slow its roll, because it’s grafting properties onto all the major hotels and ruining their vibes and profiles. DVC-only properties include BoardWalk Villas, Old Key West, the Riviera Resort, and Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, with its Treehouse Villas built on platforms above the ground. These units are heavily promoted around the resort and even inside the theme parks themselves, which Walt surely would have detested as a fantasy-killer. The company does rent vacant villa units to walk-up customers who have no intention of signing on any dotted lines, but the best ones are usually claimed by the time you book, and they’re never the most cost-effective avenue. One-bedrooms at the Contemporary Resort’s Bay Lake Tower can cost over $1,000—a night. Polynesian Village bungalows are sumptuous, and you can see Cinderella Castle from the spa tub on your private deck—but they cost $2,500 to $3,400 a night. This is crazy-pants. I cannot in good conscience suggest that a family of average means spend that. I have, though, now informed you they’re available. Moving on . . .
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.