If there’s one thing I’m going to go all out for to make a Disney World trip with a toddler a little easier, it’s the hotel.
Toddlers add a nap schedule, eating schedule, bottles, temper tantrums, and a whole lot of fun to a Disney trip, and staying at a Disney World Resort hotel makes sticking to a schedule that vaguely reflects your home simpler. Trust me — we’ve done day trips to Disney and full-on weekend getaways with our toddler, and the ones where we have a hotel to go back to mid-day are SO much smoother.
But, what’s the best Disney World hotel to stay at with kids? Not to brag, but I think I’ve got it figured out.
In my toddler’s short life, she’s stayed at her fair share of Disney hotels. Including some of the fanciest (hello, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge), some nice-but-not-too-nice hotels (like Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort), and some straight-up cheap resorts. But, the one that we will return to over and over again with our kiddo? That’s easy — Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
Here’s the thing about sharing a hotel room with a toddler…they go to bed EARLY. So, you’re stuck sitting in the dark, trying your best not to make a sound, and you’re only reprieve from it all is the bathroom. Not at Art of Animation though!
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is the only Disney World hotel where the majority of the rooms are family suites. And — BONUS — it’s a Value Resort, so you’re getting a suite-style room for a quarter of the cost you’d pay for a Disney Vacation Club room the same size.
And, what makes the family suite so desirable? THE SPACE! Each room features two separate bedrooms and TWO bathrooms, PLUS a “common area” that features an extra pull-out couch and a kitchenette. Of course, this is ideal for large families, but it’s not just the family of 6 that can truly appreciate these rooms…it’s also the toddler parents.
Instead of a mad rush to shower before the baby goes down for the night followed by silently tip-toeing your way around after they’re asleep, you can put them in a room that they’ll have all to themselves (we bring a baby monitor just so we can still see what’s going on in there).
We opted to put our toddler in the main bedroom and sleep on the double size table bed so that we could still access the door and kitchenette…
…but if you’ve got older kids, we’d recommend switching that around and having the bigger kids in the common area…that table bed isn’t super comfortable.
Beyond the sleep set-up, the family suites at Art of Animation are ideal for kids and toddlers because one of the bathrooms features a shower with a full-size tub (which, we’ve learned, isn’t available in every Disney World hotel room).
The kitchenette also makes it easy to feel your littles the second they’re hungry. And, if you’re still traveling with a bottle-fed baby, the extra counter space and sink are great — no squeezing your toiletries next to the bottles on your bathroom vanity!
We also loved staying in the family suite because there was actually space for our toddler to play and run around while we did whatever needed to get done while we were in the room. Normally, one person is glued to a bed ensuring that the baby doesn’t wander off while they play (don’t worry, we supervised her while she played here too…it was just easier).
Beyond the actual room at Art of Animation, this Disney hotel is great for kids because of all the amenities! The food court is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and serves up a variety of hot options along with on-the-go items…
…the pool is huge and also has a splash pad area (which our toddler LOVED)…
…and, it’s located on the Disney Skyliner route, which makes getting to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios so convenient (no need to break down your stroller!).
So, yeah, we’re basically only ever staying here again…can you blame us?
Sound like a dream stay for you too? Keep in mind that you want to avoid booking a room in The Little Mermaid-themed section of the resort. Family suites are only available in The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars sections. And, family suites are also available at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, which often has better rates (though, no Skyliner route). You can also consider booking a one- or two-bedroom villa with the Disney Vacation Club at a higher price point if you want to stay at a nicer hotel, or check out The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort (though these will soon be a DVC hotel as well).
Of course, we’ll be bringing you more Disney hotel toddler hacks and more, so stay tuned to The VacationEAR!