|The Walt Disney World Resort outside of Orlando Florida is one of the world’s most popular family vacation destinations. With Five Star restaurants, entertainment, shopping, and award winning resort hotels, Walt Disney World Resort is clearly more than a collection of theme parks.
Staying on property at Disney is a huge convenience. Monorails, boats, and buses transport resort guests to and from the parks. It is quite possible to spend several days enjoying the huge Florida resort without once getting into your car and fighting traffic.
The Disney resorts also provide 24 hour security and surveillance, keeping your family safe and letting you worry about things like, “How many times will my kids make me ride Space Mountain?”
Disney divides its resorts into three distinct price ranges: Value, Moderate, and Luxury. A Value resort can be had for less than $100 per night during specials, and is comparable to a Comfort Inn or Holiday Inn Express. A Moderate resort generally ranges from $125 to $200 per night. The rooms are a slight upgrade over the Value resorts, and are noted for having beautiful grounds to explore.
A Luxury resort can cost anywhere from $175 to over $500 per night depending on the time of season, and the size of the room.
All Disney rooms are known for being clean and comfortable. But the Luxury resorts feature large, beautiful rooms and often spectacular views. Location is an important criteria for selecting a Disney resort. Not surprisingly the Luxury resorts often provide the most favorable locations.
For instance the Contemporary Resort is within walking distance to The Magic Kingdom. The Grand Floridian is one monorail stop from The Magic Kingdom.
Several Disney Luxury resorts adorn what is known as The Boardwalk, a long stretch of boardwalk which connects several resort hotels, restaurants, and clubs.
Expect to find entertainers along the boardwalk, carnival games, and counter service eateries. The Boardwalk borders the World Showcase entrance to Epcot Center. If you love Epcot, this is the area you want to stay.
The award winning Swan and Dolphin resorts are located here, and hold the distinction of being the only Disney property resorts not actually owned by Disney. They are actually owned by the Starwood corporation.
A short 10-minute walk separates the Swan and Dolphin from Epcot Center. The Disney Studios are a 20-minute walk in the opposite direction, but I recommend the easier 10-minute boat ride down the river.
Entertainment abounds along the boardwalk, with excellent dining, entertainment, games, boat rides across the lake, and more. Kouzzina (formerly Spoodles) and The Flying Fish are two excellent restaurants along the boardwalk which must be experienced at least once.
The Swan and Dolphin rooms (over 2000 of them) are spacious, clean, and modern looking, with a turquoise theme prevalent. The resort was designed by famous architect Michael Graves. Of particular note are the “Heavenly Beds,” which guests rave about.
The pillow topped mattresses are incredibly comfortably, allowing you to instantly slip into sleep after a day in the parks. The 250 thread count sheets add to the luxury. Each room provides a 32-inch flat panel television and high speed internet access.
If the rooms don’t get you into complete relaxation, there is the Mandara Spa on property. Feeling active? Stay in shape with two on site health clubs, jogging trails, and four tennis courts. Need to get away from the kids for a while? Take advantage of the fully supervised Camp Dolphin Club for ages 3-12. With games, arts and crafts, and movies, they will hardly know you are gone.
A large pool is on site complete with a striking waterfall, a water slide, a beach of white sand, and poolside dining. Dining options throughout the resort are top notch. Besides sandwiches, salads, and counter service, there is also the nationally acclaimed Don Shula’s Steakhouse and the famous Blue Zoo Restaurant.
Having experienced this resort, I believe it compares favorably to the top Disney resorts on property, and can often be had for a less expensive price. Teachers and government employees should check for notable discounts offered from time to time. The location is fantastic, the resort area beautiful. What more can you ask for?
Do yourself and your family a favor. If you love Disney, check out the Swan and Dolphin resorts outside of Epcot Center.
- Dan Padavona, Warmpicture