As in our previous posts on the Value Resorts and Moderate Resorts, I will not cover basic amenities and room sizes for you. The official Disney site will give you a basic overview, and then AllEars.net can give you the finer details. If you prefer print, the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World and the Passporter guide both have excellent resort overviews. Instead, let's once again look at the pros and cons of these resorts for families. Your "pro" may be my "con," so take them as the opinions they are and hopefully they will still help you decide if a Deluxe Resort is best for you.
Pros To Staying At A Deluxe Resort
- Location, Location, Location! - If you want a resort within walking distance of a park, it will be a Deluxe Resort. The Grand Floridian, Polynesian and Contemporary are all on the monorail providing easy access to both Magic Kingdom and Epcot. The Contemporary (and Bay Lake Towers) are within a fairly easy walk to Magic Kingdom as well and all the monorail resorts have rooms with views of the Magic Kingdom. Boardwalk, Beach Club, and Yacht Club are all an easy walk from World Showcase at Epcot. They are also a longer, but doable walk from Disney's Hollywood Studios and they have an active nightlife integrated into the area, including restaurants, nightclubs, and shops. The Animal Kingdom isn't so much close to the Animal Kingdom Park (although it's not far), but it also incorporates that park into it's theming, with wild animals literally strolling through your backyard.
- Room Size - These are the biggest rooms on property, and even in the standard room (as opposed to a Villa), you have ample space for storage, sleeping, and hanging out. They have balconies, which are often a lovely feature to have after the kids are asleep and you want to actually hold a conversation with your significant other.
- Bed Size - Queen-size beds are standard in the Deluxe resorts (as opposed to double beds in the Value Resorts). There are also rooms with King beds if you have an infant in a Pack and Play or if you decide to leave the kids with grandma and take a grown-ups only trip.
- Refrigerators and Kitchen Facilities - Mini-fridges are standard in Deluxe Resorts. Villas that are one, two, or three-bedroom have full kitchens and a washer/dryer set, while studio villas have a microwave and mini-fridge only.
- Architecture - I wasn't sure what else to call this, but basically, these resorts are the top-of-the-line in the design and theming end. The lobby at Wilderness Lodge will take your breath away. The opulence of the Grand Floridian is stunning. And walking into the Polynesian is just like you've left the beautiful state of Florida and stepped right into Hawaii. If you are going to Disney World to lose yourself in the fantasy and forget about the real world, a Deluxe Resort is a perfect place for that. Mind you, to be fair, the Moderates and Values also have an "other-worldly" quality that provide fabulous escape as well.
- Amazing Pools - So amazing, in fact, that some of them are marketed as water parks, and not without reason. Slides, freestyle shapes, zero-entry, and other gimmicks make these places worth your time outside the parks. If you decide to stay in a Deluxe Resort, make a strong effort to set aside some time to enjoy the pools.
- Interior Entrances - The Deluxe Resorts are the only level of resort that has a main entrance with interior access to all rooms. This is, in my opinion, the safest way to go. Although the main doors are by no means completely secure, they are visible to staff at all times and there are no dark corners for potential criminals to lurk in.
- Food Choices - The Deluxe Resorts have some of the best dining options on property and offer all types of choices, from snacks to quick service to upscale dining. Although all properties afford some dining choices that will ensure you won't starve, the Deluxe resorts offer restaurants that are unique enough to draw people to them from all over the Walt Disney World property. In fact, if you decide that a Deluxe resort is not in your budget, I highly recommend eating at one or two of their restaurants. The food and service will be excellent, and you will get a chance to poke around the lobby and grounds of these luxurious resorts.
Cons To Staying At A Deluxe Resort
- Cost - Standard room rates for these resorts can start as low as $240 and go up from there. Way up. At Christmas, the regular rate for a room at the Polynesian can soar to just under $900 a night. Old Key West is generally considered the least expensive Villa Resort, and those rooms (standard rate) range from a Studio for $295 in the least expensive season to almost $1700 per night for a three-bedroom during the holiday. Of course, there are often discounts and other specials that could save you some money on these rates, but this at least gives you an idea of where to place them in cost.
- Formality - Although the grand architecture and luxurious setting may please your adult sensibilities, your children might really prefer the whimsy of the Value Resorts. They are far more playful in tone than the stately Grand Floridian, which may remind them more of Aunt Nancy's house where they aren't allowed to sit on the furniture or touch anything.