Are you planning a family vacation to Walt Disney World and wondering where to stay with your kids? With so many Disney World Resort hotels to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is the best fit for your family.
But don’t worry — we’ve got you covered! We’re breaking down the BEST Disney World hotels for families with kids to help make your decision easy. From the top-rated resorts to the ones with the most kid-friendly amenities and activities, we’ve got all the details you need to choose the right Disney hotel for your family.
Why Stay at a Disney World Resort Hotel?
Before we dive into the best Disney resort for kids, let’s quickly go over why staying at ANY Walt Disney World Resort hotel is a good idea for families with kids. Here are a few reasons:
- Disney resort hotels offer convenient (and FREE!) transportation to all the Disney theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs, so you don’t have to worry about driving or parking.
- Staying at a Disney hotel gives you access to Early Theme Park Entry, which means you can enjoy the parks 30 minutes before they open to the public EVERY DAY. Select hotels also offer Extended Evening Theme Park Hours giving you even more time in select parks after they close on select dates.
- Nearly all Disney hotels offer special amenities and activities for kids, such as themed pools, character experiences, and playgrounds.
- You’ll be immersed in the Disney magic throughout your entire vacation, which can be especially exciting and memorable for kids.
Best Disney Resort for Kids: Top Picks
Now, it’s important to note that there’s not really a bad Disney World hotel to stay at with kids. But, some are certainly more suited towards kids and families with faster transportation options, better swimming pools, over-the-top theming, and more. So, while you certainly can’t go wrong in choosing your Walt Disney World hotel, let’s take a closer look at the best Disney Resorts for kids.
If you’re looking for a Disney World hotel that’s on the cheaper end, has spacious rooms, has convenient transportation options, and fully immerses you in your kid’s favorite Disney movies, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is your answer!
The hotel features four different Disney-themed sections including The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, Cars, and The Lion King. And, you’ll only find the standard two-bedroom accommodations in The Little Mermaid section — all the others feature Family Suites. So, instead of just one room, you’ll have TWO separate rooms, TWO full bathrooms, and a small kitchenette. This makes it so that you can sleep up to six people in the family suites, so it’s great for larger families. And, the hotel is even pet friendly if you simply can’t imagine traveling without your 4-footed family members.
And, if the size of the rooms wasn’t enough to convince you that Disney’s Art of Animation is one of the best places to stay in Disney World with kiddos, it’s also conveniently located on the Disney Skyliner. So, you’ll be able to get to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios without needing to take a bus (though busses are offered if the Skyliner is unexpectedly closed). That can save you A LOT of time on your Walt Disney World vacation, meaning you can spend more time in the parks, get to your afternoon pool session quicker, or get to your room for the overdue nap time.
Plus, for all your littlest swimmers, the hotel is home to the biggest pool on Disney property! You can find it in the Finding Nemo section of the resort just outside of the food court and it’s fittingly named “The Big Blue Pool.” Or, for a pool with more shade, head to the Cozy Cone Pool in the Cars section of the hotel!
Note that Disney’s Riviera Resort and Disney’s Pop Century Resort are also located on the Disney Skyliner route, making them great options for families looking for fast and convenient transportation to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.
Another Disney World Resort hotel on the Disney Skyliner route (which connects the hotel to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios) is Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. The resort features a pirate-themed pool with water cannons, as well as a kiddie pool for little ones. Plus, the rooms are spacious and comfortable, and there are plenty of dining options on-site, including a food court-style Quick Service option and one of the most underrated Table Service Restaurants in all of Disney World — Sebastian’s Bistro!
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is also a great option if you need an extra bed because a portion of the hotel offers rooms with two beds and an extra child-sized pull-down bed. In the past, some of these have been pirate themed rooms, however, they’ve recently undergone refurbishment and will soon feature a Little Mermaid-inspired theme.
Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort
If you’re planning on spending a lot of time at the pool with your kiddos during your Disney vacation, you’ll want to consider booking your stay at Disney’s Yacht Club or Disney’s Beach Club Resort! The two Deluxe Resorts share what’s considered THE BEST pool in Walt Disney World. Known as Stormalong Bay, guests staying at both resorts can enjoy a zero-entry pool with a sand bottom, lazy river, epic water slides, a kiddie pool, and more!
Plus, Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club are both just a short walk or boat ride away from EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, making it easy to get to the parks (note that bus transportation is available to the other parks). And, if you want to enjoy some adult time, the resort has a popular poolside bar, too.
Note that Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is also located in the same area, though you won’t be able to visit Stormalong Bay (as the pool is only accessible to those staying at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club). That being said, the BoardWalk Inn is a great alternative if you’re just looking for proximity to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios to avoid too much walking with the kiddos.
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is a tropical paradise in the middle of Walt Disney World. The Deluxe Resort features a volcano-themed pool with a waterslide, as well as a kiddie water play area and a white sand beach. And, if you’ve got a princess-obsessed kiddo, they’re sure to love the newly refurbished rooms that feature a Moana theme!
The Polynesian is a pricier hotel compared to other resorts, but you’ll have access to TONS of dining options just steps away from your room including a character breakfast featuring Lilo and Stitch at ‘Ohana and an awesome hidden tiki bar (Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto). Plus, it’s the only hotel where you can get DOLE Whip outside of Magic Kingdom!
The Disney Resort hotel is also just a short monorail ride away from Magic Kingdom and EPCOT making it easy (and FAST) to get to and from the parks. And, because of its proximity to the park, it’s one of the only hotels where you can see Magic Kingdom fireworks from outside of the park!
Note that Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Contemporary Resort are located on the Magic Kingdom monorail loop too and are also great options if you’re willing to spend the money to stay at a Deluxe Resort with your kids. The convenience and access to more “adult” locations might be worth it to you!
If your kids love animals, they’ll be in heaven at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. The resort is located near Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and many of the rooms offer views of the Disney-created (and maintained) savanna, where you can see giraffes, zebras, and other animals roaming around all day, every day.
There are also special programs and activities for kids, such as animal viewing and cultural experiences.
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort — Riverside
If your kids love Disney princesses, then Disney’s Port Orleans Resort — Riverside is the best Disney hotel to stay at. Why? Well, there are SPECIAL princess rooms hidden in this Disney hotel! The Royal Guest Rooms make up a portion of the hotel room offerings and are decked out with all of your favorite Disney princesses including Tiana, Belle, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, Rapunzel, and Snow White.
The rooms are really what sells this hotel as being best for young kids, but you’ll also have access to all the other amenities that can be found at Disney’s Moderate Resorts including multiple dining options, free bus transportation, and a pool with a water slide. Plus, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort — Riverside is also a short walk away from its neighboring hotel, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort — French Quarter (where you can find Mickey Beignets!) and offers complimentary boat transportation to Disney Springs.
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground is a unique and popular choice for families who want to stay at a Disney hotel that’s a bit more rustic while still being close to all the parks. The resort offers a range of accommodations, from campsites to cozy cabins that sleep up to 6, all set in a campground atmosphere.
One of the main draws of the resort is its wide variety of outdoor activities — ones that you probably didn’t even know existed in Walt Disney World! Families can enjoy horseback riding, fishing, archery, and even nightly campfires with Chip ‘n’ Dale. You can also rent a golf cart here to explore the expansive grounds or participate in the unique Golf Cart Parades that happen around Halloween and Christmas every year.
And, it won’t take you long to get to the parks from Fort Wilderness — it’s just a boat ride away from Magic Kingdom and a bus ride away from all the others!
Disney’s All-Star Resorts
Disney’s All-Star Resorts are another great option for families with young kids looking for a budget-friendly stay. The All-Star Resorts are actually three separate resorts: All-Star Movies Resort, All-Star Music Resort, and All-Star Sports Resort. They’re all nearly identical in the amenities that they offer for families, but each has a different larger-than-life theme.
One of the biggest draws of the All-Star Resorts is their fun and HUGE decorations. The All-Star Movies Resort features giant icons from classic Disney films, while the All-Star Music Resort celebrates different genres of music, and the All-Star Sports Resort features larger-than-life sports equipment.
In addition to the theming, the All-Star Resorts also offer plenty of activities and amenities for families with kids. There are large themed pools at each resort, as well as playgrounds, arcades, and outdoor movie screenings. And, the food courts at the All-Star Resorts offer a variety of kid-friendly dining options, including pizza, burgers, and ice cream.
While the All-Star Resorts may not have the same level of luxury or convenience as some of the other Disney resorts, they do offer a great value for families on a budget. And, because they are located on Disney property, guests still have access to all the perks of staying at a Disney resort, including free bus transportation to the theme parks and Early Theme Park Entry.
So, as you can see, when it comes to choosing the best Disney resort for kids, there are plenty of great options. Whether your family loves animals, movies, or the great outdoors, there’s sure to be a Disney hotel that’s perfect for you. Before you book, be sure to consider how much time your family will be spending in the parks, your budget, the age of your kids, and how important the food and pool offerings are for you and your kids. And, don’t forget to take advantage of all the kid-friendly amenities and activities that each resort has to offer while you’re staying there!
Happy Disney vacation planning! Be sure to stay tuned to The VacationEAR for more of the latest Disney hotel tips, tricks, and updates!