12 Best Disney World Hotels for Every Age Group and Interest

With more than 30 hotels affiliated with Disney, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Here's how to pick the right Disney hotel for your family.
Magic Kingdom Park
(Photo: Kent Phillips)
  • I visit the Disney theme parks in Florida several times a year and have stayed at all of the best Disney World hotels in Orlando.
  • There are more than 30 Disney World hotels, but some are better for different age groups, interests, and budgets than others. Here are my picks for 2024’s top Disney World resort hotels.

Disney World isn’t just the most magical place on Earth, it’s also the ultimate family vacation spot in the U.S. But when it comes to choosing the best Disney World hotels for your trip, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the choices. After all, there are more than 30 hotels affiliated with Disney alone, and decisions don’t stop with where to stay. Other important question include when to go Disney, what to pack, what not to wear, and how to use Disney Genie.

Best Disney World Hotels in Orlando

To help you narrow your search, I’ve ranked the top Disney World hotels for different age groups, family sizes, and vacation styles. When you’re considering a trip to the Orlando theme parks, here are the best Disney World hotels to choose from.

HOTEL DEALS: 12 Best Hotel Booking Sites for Cheap Prices

1. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

The Best Disney World Hotel for Little Kids

Ariel overlooks "The Little Mermaid" at Disney's Art of Animation Resort. (Photo: Matt Stroshane / Disney.)
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is the best mixture of value and fun theming for families with little kids (Photo: Matt Stroshane)

Animated movies spring to life at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, a value-priced resort with four different wings themed around The Lion King, Cars, Finding Nemo, and The Little Mermaid. Choose from standard rooms with two queen-size beds that sleep four, or family suites for large families with two bathrooms, a kitchenette, and three separate sleeping areas that sleep six.

SMALL THRILLS: 10 Best Disney Rides for Little Kids and Toddlers 

The pool is always one of the most important features for little kids, and Disney’s Art of Animation’s Big Blue Pool is the largest at any of the Disney World resort hotels. It’s themed around Finding Nemo and also has a Nemo-themed playground and splash ground area.

2. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Best of the Disney World Hotels for Families with Big Kids and Tweens

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort gets our vote for the best Disney hotel for families with big kids or tweens (Photo: David Roark)

Island life meets pirate life at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, one of the best moderate-level Disney World hotels. Rooms are divided into clusters of bungalows themed for different Caribbean islands. Big kids will love the pirate-themed rooms with ship-shape beds and rum barrel nightstands. Parents will like the child-sized pull-down sleeper for children who no longer want to share a bed at night.

THRILL RIDES: 13 Best Disney World Rides for Adults and Teens

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort has a fantastic Fuentes del Morro pool themed like a Spanish fortress with a waterslide, shipwreck play area, and pirate water cannons. (Nope that the pool will be closed for maintenance from January through late March 2024.)  Other activities for kids include bike rentals, a daytime pirate cruise for ages four to 12, and an evening mystery cruise for ages 10 to 16. Disney’s Skyliner gondola system provides easy access to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, and shuttle bus service provides transportation to the other theme parks. 

3. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Best for Families with Teenagers

Reimagined Guest Rooms at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
Reimagined guest rooms inside Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort at Walt Disney World Resort (Photo: Kent Phillips)

Great beach, cool theme, and quick and easy access to the theme parks makes Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort a fantastic pick for vacations with teens. This deluxe-level resort sits on the Monorail loop, so independent teens can whisk off to the Magic Kingdom or EPCOT even when parents are done for the day.

TRAVEL WITH TEENS: 10 All-Inclusive Family Resorts Even Teenagers Will Love 

The beach at the Polynesian Village Resort faces the Magic Kingdom for a view of the nighttime fireworks, and the resort even has its own Dole Whip stand to cool off by the South Pacific-themed pool (complete with volcano, of course). And, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has great restaurants that appeal to teens, including O’hana’s all-you-care-to-eat buffet (also with a fireworks view at night), Kona Café (home of the cult classic Tonga Toast), and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. For the ultimate splurge, spend a night in a two-bedroom overwater bungalow.

4. The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Best Place to Stay Near Disney for Large Families

The private cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness are moderately priced and have plenty of room to spare (Photo: Disney)

For families who need more space than a typical hotel room provides, The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort may be just the thing. These moderately priced cabins have plenty of room to spread out and feature a queen-size bed, bunk beds, and a double sleeper sofa. Cabins can easily sleep six, and also come with a fully equipped kitchen, small dining space, outdoor grill, picnic table, and private patio deck.

BIG FAMILIES: 13 Best All-Inclusive Resorts for Families of 5+ 

There are plenty of activities at Fort Wilderness, too, including horse-drawn carriage rides at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch, “Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue” dinner show, and campfire marshmallow roast with Disney characters and a movie each night. 

Note: The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort will become a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) property in 2024, when the cabins will be updated and rebranded as part of DVC. Cabins will sleep up to six and include a bedroom, bathroom, living room, and full kitchen. Disney has not yet announced a start date for the DVC project.

5. Disney’s Riviera Resort

Best of the Disney Hotels for Adults and Grown-up Kids

Disney’s Riviera Resort evokes the beach resorts of the French Riviera (Photo: Dave Parfitt)

Inspired by the Mediterranean beach retreats of the French Riviera, Disney’s Riviera Resort embraces a casual elegance and leisure lifestyle. The swanky resort features chic, modern rooms filled with art and décor evoking European masters with subtle Disney touches. Balconies overlook the water, and the signature restaurant, Topolino’s Terrace, offers stunning views of Walt Disney World and the nighttime fireworks.

FLORIDA VACATIONS: 7 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in Florida for Families

Transportation from this deluxe-level resort to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios is provided by Disney’s Skyliner gondola system that guests get to by walking through a tunnel with grand mosaics murals of classic Disney scenes.

6. Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Best Disney Resort Hotel for Multigenerational Family Vacations

Stormalong Bay at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts
Disney’s Beach Club Resort is a popular spot for multigenerational vacations (Photo: Disney)

Families planning a multigenerational Disney vacation should try Disney’s Beach Club Resort (or its neighbor, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort). This deluxe-level hotel has one of the best pools at Walt Disney World, Stormalong Bay, a sandy-bottom pool with three different lagoon areas, a waterslide, and a shipwreck. Disney’s Beach Club is inspired by 19th century New England beach cottages, and older generations will appreciate the one- and two-bedroom “home-away-from-home” vacation villas.

GRANDPARENTS WELCOME: 7 Family-Friendly Resorts Perfect for Multigenerational Vacations

There’s easy theme park access to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios by boat, as well as bus transportation to the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. After a day at the theme park, indulge in a decadent treat at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, where families can share the “Kitchen Sink,” eight scoops of ice cream smothered in every topping you can find.

7. Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Top Disney World hotel for Theme Park Commandos

Disney’s Pop Century Resort has super easy access to the theme parks (Photo: Disney)

For families who want to spend every minute of their Disney vacation inside a theme park, there’s no reason to spend extra on an expensive hotel room. Disney’s Pop Century Resort is a value-level hotel with easy access to the theme parks via Disney’s Skyliner gondola system. Disney’s Pop Century features over-the-top theming with larger-than-life icons from the 1950s to 1990s.

WATER WORLDS: Blizzard Beach vs. Typhoon Lagoon: Guide to the Disney Water Parks

Rooms are basic with one queen-size bed plus a second pull-down queen sleeper. This is a value-priced option for guests who are less interested in making the most of downtime at a Disney World hotel and would rather be at one of the parks.

8. Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World

Best of the Disney World Hotels to Savor and Splurge

Kids will enjoy the five-acre Explorer Island water park at the Four Seasons Orlando (Photo: Four Seasons) 

Families looking to pamper themselves and indulge in luxury should head to the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World. This ultra-luxury resort hotel is located near the campsites at Fort Wilderness inside the gated residential community of Golden Oak at Walt Disney World. The Four Seasons Orlando features a state-of-the-art spa with both indoor and outdoor treatments in 18 rooms and gardens.

FAMILY FAVORITES: 19 Most Kid-Friendly Family Resorts and Hotels in the U.S.

There’s also a Tom Fazio-designed golf course on the property. Kids will enjoy the five-acre Explorer Island water park complete with a zero-entry family pool, waterslides, splash pad, rock climbing wall, and sand volleyball courts. At the end of the day, head to one of the Four Seasons Orlando’s three restaurants, including a 17th floor rooftop steakhouse with views of the nightly fireworks at Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

9. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas

Best of the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels in Orlando to Transport You to a Faraway Land

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is unlike any other Disney hotel in Orlando (Photo: David Roark)

With views of giraffes, gazelles, bongos, and tropical birds roaming the 46-acre savanna, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas) transports families to the middle of an African wildlife preserve. Ambassadors from countries throughout the African continent are on hand to help identify animals and answer questions. The immersion continues in the resort’s culinary offerings, with African-inspired dishes at restaurants including Boma – Flavors of Africa; Jiko – The Cooking Place; and Sanaa, featuring “the art of African cooking with Indian flavors.” These are truly some of the best dining experiences at any of the Disney World hotels.

MAKE MEMORIES: 50 Family Vacation Ideas for a Trip They’ll Never Forget

The deluxe-level resort features African-inspired art and intricate hand-carved furniture throughout the lobby and accommodations. Uzima Pool is 11,000 square feet and includes a children’s wading pool, two whirlpool spas, and is themed like a watering hole on the savanna. There’s also a second pool area, Samawati Springs, that includes a waterslide and splash pad.

10. Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa

Best of the Disney World Hotels for a Unique Experience

The Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa are a one-of-a-kind lodging experience (Photo: Kent Phillips)

The Treehouse Villas are part of Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa located across the lake from Disney Springs. Each of the Treehouse Villas are perched on pedestals 10 feet above the ground in the canopy.

GO IN STYLE: 10 Best Disney Suitcases and Luggage for Kids, Teens, and Adults

The posh, woodsy, octagonal three-bedroom treehouses have room for nine people, and include two baths, an open kitchen with granite countertops, flat-panel TVs, a barbecue grill, and an elevated deck. Designed to blend into the natural wilderness environment, your treehouse deck will feel miles away from the hustle and bustle of the theme park on quiet starry nights.

11. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Our All-time Favorite Among the Disney World Hotels in Orlando

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is both rustic and luxurious (Photo: Disney)

Both rustic and luxurious, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge evokes the feelings of America’s best national park lodges. Designed to emulate the “park-itecture” of national park lodges, this deluxe-level resort has all the benefits of a national park inside a theme park. It has plenty of room options from standard gues trooms to studios, as well as one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas with full kitchens.

VIP TREATMENT: 19 Cheap Theme Park Hotels That Come with Magical Perks

The expansive six-story lobby features hand-carved totem poles, teepee-topped chandeliers, and an 82-foot-tall stone fireplace that feels both impressive and homey all at once. Geyser Point Bar & Grill is one of the best spots to relax at Walt Disney World; here you can munch on charcuterie while sipping a craft beer and enjoying breezes off Bay Lake. The “geothermal geyser” that erupts hourly from a nearby rocky outcrop completes the experience.

For the ultimate “glamping” experience, reserve a private waterfront cabin. These two-bedroom cabins sleep eight and have two full bathrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen, double-sided fireplace, and built-in hot tub inside a screened-in porch. 

12. Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

Best Non-Disney Resort Hotel Located on Disney Property

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort (Photo: Dave Parfitt)

The Walt Disney World Swan and Walt Disney World Dolphin sit smack in the middle of Walt Disney World property, but this dual resort property is not a Disney-owned hotel. Therefore, families can sometimes find extremely good deals with special rates for teachers, nurses, and AAA members. The luxury resort has the world-class Mandara Spa, expansive grounds and beach, a fantastic pool (four pools actually) with a waterfall and slide, and complimentary swan boats for paddling in the lagoon.

Connected to EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Boardwalk via walking paths as well as boats, this is currently the closest you can get to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The property features 17 different restaurants and lounges including The Fountain, known for its over-the-top milkshake creations.

Connected to the Swan and Dolphin hotels by a short walking path is the luxe Walt Disney World Swan Reserve. Also centrally located for theme park fun, the Swan Reserve is situated right across the street from the Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios.

More from FamilyVacationist:

Dave Parfitt
Dave Parfitt is a freelance travel writer interested in illuminating transformative family travel, multi-generational travel, inclusive and accessible travel, under-the-radar destinations, and immersive, authentic experiences. Dave's work has appeared in Lonely Planet, AAA, Fox News Travel, US News & World Report, FamilyVacationist, TravelAge West, USA Today, and Family Circle, to name a few. An academic with a PhD in neuroscience, Dave also works as an educational developer at a four-year college in Western New York when not in a theme park, national park, or on a cruise or road trip with his family.