Favorite hotel?

tessy flores

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jan 11, 2019
I have no idea where to stay for an April trip to Disney. I have been to Disney once before 4 years ago and stayed at the Boardwalk, which I thought was ok but wouldn't stay at again. That trip was with myself, my husband and my then 3 year old daughter. I picked the Boardwalk because it looked walkable to many restaurants and Epcot, but as it was my first trip to Disney I didn't realize that there wasn't much to do for a 3 year old at Epcot.

This trip will be myself, my husband, and my 2 daughters, ages 4 and 7, staying 1 week. I don't have a specific budget though I probably wouldn't want to shell out the $ for a suite at a luxury resort (a regular room at one of the luxury resorts though would be fine). I think we will spend the most time at the Magic Kingdom though we'll probably do a day at the Animal Kingdom and if we were staying walkable to Epcot I'm sure we'd go there for at least a half day too. I'm also planning on doing Universal and maybe one day the pool. My priorities are: ease of transport to the parks, especially the Magic Kingdom (we won't have a car), good pool for the kids (the pool was our daughter's favorite part of the last trip), access to restaurants and a generally nice resort.

Resorts I have thought about are:

Contemporary/Grand Floridian: look nice, on the monorail, not sure about pools
Yacht Club: looks like the bus from the Yacht Club to the MK is easy and I remember seeing the pool there when we stayed nearby at the Boardwalk and wished we were staying there instead
Wyndham Bonnett Creek: the suites look fun and the pool looks great, though not sure about the shuttle situation to the parks and guess we wouldn't get fastpass?
Animal Kingdom Lodge: people seem to like this one, looks more upscale than a lot of the resorts and maybe better food?

Any advice? If it was your trip, where would you stay?
 

cassie58

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 7, 2009
We love AKL, beautiful lobby, great restaurants(Boma, Jiko and Sanaa) good QS at Mara, and of course if you love animals like we do it is awesome! They also have a lot of activities for kids, like making an animal feeder, animal tracking, African drumming, cookie making, etc which is perfect for a resort day. You also have access to two pools and a splash area between Jambo and Kidani. You are very close to AK. The only downside is your are not real close to MK, which seems to be a priority, so you'd have to consider that. The best pool on property is considered to be Storm Along Bay shared by Yacht Club and Beach Club with Pirate ship slide and lazy river, but may not be your ideal area if not into Epcot, although it is also close to HS if you are considering that.
 

GADisneyDad14

TPAS Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Jul 3, 2014
In reading your post, the ages in your party, and wanting a MK focus, I vote GF out of your choices. Checks a lot of boxes from things you mention that are important. You don’t have Poly on your list, but I’d put it on instead of CR. I love CR, but Poly and GF have much better pool setups for younger kids (zero entry pools, a real splash pad, etc). Poly has better access to Epcot than GF.

YC is a favorite as well. We’ve recently been spending more time at the Epcot resorts, but earlier on in our WDW travels we wanted to be closer to MK as that was where we spent the most time and we put a lot of value on the monorail/boat convenience.

I could go on and on with pros and cons, but I’ll keep it short.

BTW, :welcome: to the DIS!
 
  • a1tinkfans

    Spreading Some Pixie Dust Today!
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2006
    Love AKL, but that’s is further away. ( my top resort)
    but I’m thinking Poly over that for you. Closer to MK, on monorail. Great pool,beautiful resort for kids and adults alike. Good food.
    Wherever you decide, enjoy!
     

    mrsap

    Why can’t every dream be that good?
    Joined
    Apr 30, 2012
    I have no idea where to stay for an April trip to Disney. I have been to Disney once before 4 years ago and stayed at the Boardwalk, which I thought was ok but wouldn't stay at again. That trip was with myself, my husband and my then 3 year old daughter. I picked the Boardwalk because it looked walkable to many restaurants and Epcot, but as it was my first trip to Disney I didn't realize that there wasn't much to do for a 3 year old at Epcot.

    This trip will be myself, my husband, and my 2 daughters, ages 4 and 7, staying 1 week. I don't have a specific budget though I probably wouldn't want to shell out the $ for a suite at a luxury resort (a regular room at one of the luxury resorts though would be fine). I think we will spend the most time at the Magic Kingdom though we'll probably do a day at the Animal Kingdom and if we were staying walkable to Epcot I'm sure we'd go there for at least a half day too. I'm also planning on doing Universal and maybe one day the pool. My priorities are: ease of transport to the parks, especially the Magic Kingdom (we won't have a car), good pool for the kids (the pool was our daughter's favorite part of the last trip), access to restaurants and a generally nice resort.

    Resorts I have thought about are:

    Contemporary/Grand Floridian: look nice, on the monorail, not sure about pools
    Yacht Club: looks like the bus from the Yacht Club to the MK is easy and I remember seeing the pool there when we stayed nearby at the Boardwalk and wished we were staying there instead
    Wyndham Bonnett Creek: the suites look fun and the pool looks great, though not sure about the shuttle situation to the parks and guess we wouldn't get fastpass?
    Animal Kingdom Lodge: people seem to like this one, looks more upscale than a lot of the resorts and maybe better food?

    Any advice? If it was your trip, where would you stay?
    We love GF. It’s our favorite resort. It’s so beautiful. The pools are great, I prefer the beach pool, and there’s a nice splash pad for the little ones!

    Stayed in a 3 br presidential suite at WBC when it was newly refurbished and it was breathtaking! I don’t necessarily love staying off site, but if you can get a suite, I’d recommend it. We had a car so can’t comment on the shuttle.

    I also agree that Poly is a nice resort, especially when you have little ones. I felt it was very family oriented.

    Try watching some YouTube videos online, it will definitely help you decide! Good luck!
     
    Last edited:

    buzznina

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 18, 2007
    GF would be our top pick followed by AKL. Unlike others, our whole family really did not care for POLY, we just go there for O'Hana's:)
     

    sbd78

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 21, 2013
    You also may want to look at Wilderness Lodge, it was designed by the same team who designed Animal Kingdom Lodge and has the similar grand open lobby, but it is a much better location for Magic Kingdom than AKL. It is a short boat ride away from MK.
     
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  • Beachmom0317

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2016
    Out of the ones you selected I’d vote GF! Convienent to get to MK and has better pool/theming IMO than CR. If pool is very important to you honestly I’d give poly a look. Great food, amazing pool and even fun splash pad that would be great for your 4 year old! It’s like 1 feet deep-ish in some areas so not necessarily toddlers only kinda thing. Also boat and monorail to MK
     

    Rick195275

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 19, 2018
    Yacht/beach club have the best pool, but puts you in the same Epcot resort location. My vote would be Poly as it has a great pool and water play area for kids, also has the monorail access and is overall just an amazing resort. My next choice based on your requests would be contemporary but my personal preference would be poly.
     

    Disneylovingmomof2

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2017
    Poly. Just stayed there this past Feb with my 2 & 6 yo. It was amazing! Staying at WL in a few weeks so we’ll see how that compares :)
    We’ve also stayed at AKL and it’s great but I wouldn’t pick it over Poly especially with the ages of your kids. I loved being able to watch the fireworks from the beach every night. We visited CR and GF and had meals there but out of all of them I felt like Polys vibe was the best.
     

    TJA

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 8, 2000
    My priorities are: ease of transport to the parks, especially the Magic Kingdom (we won't have a car), good pool for the kids (the pool was our daughter's favorite part of the last trip), access to restaurants and a generally nice resort.
    Considering your priorities listed, I'd say GF fits every one of your priorities:

    My priorities are:
    (1) Ease of transport to the parks, especially the Magic Kingdom: Getting to MK is easy via monorail (and first stop), and getting back to GF is easy via boat (and first stop).
    (2) Good pool for the kids: GF has 2 pools close to each other and both are awesome. One has a slide. There is also a great kids' splash/play area.
    (3) Access to restaurants: Good restaurants right at GF, walking path to Poly for more great restaurants, monorail to CR, MK, and Epcot for more restaurants.
    (4) A generally nice resort: GF is beautiful. Most any type of room category will give you a satisfying view, and you can watch MK fireworks from the GF grounds. Rooms are spacious and very nice. Main building is VERY nice with great shopping and music for entertainment.

    Also, you mentioned the YC and I'd also give that one a nod. While most of our experience is at the BC, my kids grew up in that YC/BC pool and loved it for many years. More than any other pool in Disney. You've already stayed in the Epcot resort area, so you know the pros and cons.

    Your other option listed is AKL and we also love that resort! The only drawback is getting around via bus only (or car...) and not as convenient to quickly stop by the MK or hop around in general. It's a great resort for lots of planned resort time and a few casual park days.
     
  • TJA

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 8, 2000
    Just scanned the other responses and noticed some people were mentioning Poly too, so I'd like to also give that one a thumbs up. Poly also fits your list of priorities, just a different theme than the GF, which you can see in pictures/videos. From Poly, there is the TTC where you can take a direct monorail to both MK and Epcot. It has great pools and kids' splash/play area, great food, and a very nice resort. So in your shoes, I'd look at both GF and Poly and choose based on theme (or better price...GF has been offering the better deals lately).
     

    John Wisniewski

    JohnnyWizDiz
    Joined
    Jul 6, 2016
    Wow, that is a tough question. Which of your kids is your favorite?
    BLT holds a special place for our family because that is our home resort.
    GF is awesome too. It’s so regal without being stuffy.
    Boardwalk also is a great one be stayed at.
    Overall though I personally love the BLT overall. The view, the convience and the modern sleek feel of the decor.
     

    GSLand

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 28, 1999
    Poly & AKL
    Like the transportation options at Poly.
    Loved the animals at AKL
     

    Monorail_Man_NJ

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 9, 2017
    Offsite I wouldnt advise as you are not in the "Disney Bubble". I just stayed at Hilton Bonnett Creek and while nice, still prefer Disney resort.

    MK Resort I would chose (Contemporary first, GF second, Poly 3rd). Reason being Contemporary is original hotel and the tower rooms are GORGEOUS. For some reason Poly always comes out more expensive than Grand Floridian after discounts. While Poly is nice its much more run down than the other 2 properties. Contemporary has California Grill, walk to MK and the best views on property IMHO.

    Beach and Yacht club are also nice however I personally prefer Boardwalk.

    Animal Kingdom rooms are small, VERY SMALL and LONG hallways. While the lobby is beautiful and the pool area is lovely I personally would stay Wilderness Lodge over AKL.

    1) Contemporary --> GF --> Poly (Usually thats cheapest to most expensive) I often see GF less than POLY
    2) Yacht and BC (or try Boardwalk)
    3) Bonnett Creek
    4) Animal Kingdom Lodge (Not a fan)
     

    reluctantredhead

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 8, 2018
    In reading your post, the ages in your party, and wanting a MK focus, I vote GF out of your choices. Checks a lot of boxes from things you mention that are important. You don’t have Poly on your list, but I’d put it on instead of CR. I love CR, but Poly and GF have much better pool setups for younger kids (zero entry pools, a real splash pad, etc). Poly has better access to Epcot than GF.
    Agree with this 100%. When our D was your daughters' ages, it was the Poly, hands down...but I get it that the Poly doesn't appeal to everyone, so I'd also vote GF out of your choices.

    We've actually been itching to stay at the Poly again for nostalgic reasons (our D just turned 17 and will soon be off to college), but as others have mentioned, the Poly discounts haven't been nearly as good lately as the GF (I'm guessing because it's so popular among young families) or the EP resorts, so we've been booking the ones with the bigger discounts instead.
     

    EmmyKay

    Never grow up
    Joined
    Feb 29, 2016
    Wilderness Lodge! I love this resort...the theming, lobby, dining, the peaceful grounds and the relaxing convenient boat ride to MK. The rooms are a bit small but they are comfortable.
     

    Ambehnke

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2015
    I’m gonna go with a different answer than everyone else. I have a 4 and 6 year old and their favorite resort is CR. For them nothing beats the resort with the monorail going through it. If you can swing theme park view even better! The pool isn’t wonderfully themed but they love the slide. Chef Mickey’s is a hit for them. And we can WALK to MK with zero wait for security. Also they now have Pixar Play Zone if you want a parents night and could then do Cali Grill or a monorail hop. That said we are staying at AKL at the end of the month because I also think they will love it there and we are doing all of the restaurants at AKL.
     

    kiford

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 9, 2012
    Contemporary/Grand Floridian: look nice, on the monorail, not sure about pools
    Yacht Club: looks like the bus from the Yacht Club to the MK is easy and I remember seeing the pool there when we stayed nearby at the Boardwalk and wished we were staying there instead
    Wyndham Bonnett Creek: the suites look fun and the pool looks great, though not sure about the shuttle situation to the parks and guess we wouldn't get fastpass?
    Animal Kingdom Lodge: people seem to like this one, looks more upscale than a lot of the resorts and maybe better food?
    BWI is actually my favourite resort partially for the location so if you didn't like it because you don't spend much time at Epcot, the YC is not a good option.

    GF is close on the monorail, has buses to most parks and there is a boat launch to MK which is what we usually use to get to MK rather than the monorail when we stay there. We like the pool. It's reasonably large and I think is quite nice. The grounds are pretty and the GF Cafe is a good optionn for breakfast and we've rarely had to book an ADR to get into it.

    AKL is probably by far the one that has the most activities for children and is probably the most interesting because of the animals. There are viewing areas so you don't necessarily need a Savannah view room if you don't want to pay the extra cost. Boma is a good restaurant for families for both breakfast and dinner as there are a lot of options. It's a beautiful resort. Some people complain about the buses but we've never had an issue with them. While the buses are the only transportation option without a car, I find them fairly efficient. I do find the rooms smaller than those at GF/BC/YC/BWI. The pool is large and the grounds are beautiful around it. I have to say that there's just something about walking into the lobby that, even when I'm not staying there, makes me feel like I want to go back again.

    Never been to Wyndham Bonnet because we always stay at WDW resorts so I can't say anything about it.
     

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