Choosing a hotel can be stressful. We’ve all been there, lost among hundreds of TripAdvisor reviews with each one saying something totally different – adding to the stress.
If you’re planning a family trip with kids, that stress tends to multiply tenfold.
Booking a family trip to Walt Disney World is a little different, as children are catered for in a unique way with themed rooms and plenty of fun activities to do. From Disney’s Art of Animation Resort with a Lion King family suite, to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge with swish pools and activity centres, we’ve compiled a list of the best kid-friendly Walt Disney World hotels.
Let’s have a look.
Art of Animation Resort
Younger children will certainly be excited when they approach this hotel if they are fans of Disney’s The Little Mermaid or Disney-Pixar’s animated movie, Cars.
Much to our delight, the children’s movie theme continues inside. As well as offering standard double rooms, the Art of Animation Resort is the only value-priced Disney hotel with themed family suites that sleep six people and feature a kitchenette.
It also has great transportation links in and out of Walt Disney World, via the Disney Skyliner. Plus, there is a large food court serving up a choice of menus that cater to all dietary requirements and tastes. Guests will also have access to the largest resort pool in the whole of Walt Disney World.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Animal Kingdom Lodge makes a great first impression with its sensational lobby. Truth is, we’d sleep here if we could! At a few hundred dollars per night, it’s not the most affordable, but if your child loves wildlife and you have the budget; this deluxe hotel is an ideal pick.
A huge perk allows you to get up close with some of the animals from Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. In fact, it’s the only Disney hotel where this is possible. Children will especially love seeing giraffes, ostriches and antelopes from the balcony in the “Savannah View” room.
The Disney parks bring many swashbuckling adventures that can tire young legs, so you’ll want somewhere to relax with your kids on your days/nights off. This hotel offers plenty, including a zero-entry pool, an all-ages playground and a childcare centre with daily crafts and storytelling.
Walt Disney World also offers qualified babysitter services within Disney hotels, but bear in mind that this comes at a premium, so use your time wisely and book in advance as babysitters aren’t always readily available.
Disney’s Polynesian Resort
The Polynesian Resort is one of the first hotels to open at Walt Disney World, and it has stayed a family-friendly hotspot ever since. If you’ve got young children, chances are the Magic Kingdom park will be the highlight of your trip. It’s not only home to Cinderella’s Castle, but also secret things to see and do for kids and toddlers.
Staying close to Magic Kingdom – 10 to 15 minutes away – means you’ll get to the park before everyone else and have first dibs on the best rides.
The two-bedroom villas and bungalows at Polynesian Resort sleep up to eight people, so it’s a great option if you’ve got a large family, or if you just want an entire bungalow to yourself.
The resort’s Lava Pool is another reason why your little one will love staying at this hotel. Featuring a waterslide, waterfalls and plenty of hidden grottos, there’s a lot to explore. Besides the Lava Pool, younger children have a splash pad next door, while adults have a small pool in the ‘quiet zone’ where they can relax and unwind.
Bear in mind that because of its history, Polynesian Resort gets full quickly, especially during school and summer holidays. To avoid disappointment, we recommend booking early. And with more than 800 rooms, expect a (very) crowded lobby.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Perfectly blending the magic of Disney and the beauty of Western America, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is an ideal choice for families with older children that want to get away from the parks and enjoy a relaxed atmosphere at night.
The hotel offers rustic, yet luxurious cabin-inspired rooms sleeping up to four guests. They aren’t the biggest, or the cheapest at a few hundred dollars per room, so bear this in mind if you have a particularly large family or a lower budget.
Once you’re there, you’ll have access to two stunning pools (one with a kids’ splash zone), and four restaurants offering a choice of delicious menus. However, the most impressive thing about Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is the boat transportation to the Magic Kingdom park. While it’s great for kids, it’s also ideal for romantics.
All-Star Movies Resort
Should we have a child-o-meter for the most kid-friendly place to stay at Walt Disney World, this resort would probably break it. More than anything, it’s the most recognisable as being Disney, partly because of the giant movie statues the size of double-decker buses stood tall in the hotel grounds.
Inside, it’s a similar story, with two movie-themed pools and a recently renovated World Premier Food Court. If you’re worried about transportation to and from the parks, don’t worry, as All-Star Movies Resort has a bus that takes you from the park to the entrance of the hotel.
Most impressive is the price per room. At just $99 per night, it’s a lot cheaper than any other hotel on this list, and makes a trip to Walt Disney World on a budget possible.
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
Quite possibly the most entertaining hotel at Walt Disney World, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is one for a fun-loving family. The energetic boardwalk the hotel is lives on is steps away from Epcot’s International Gateway, and just a short walk from Hollywood Studios. Best of all, it’s home to an all-day family activity centre, a toddler-friendly playground and plenty of restaurants and shops.
After hours of walking throughout the parks, the last thing you’ll want to do is walk some more in the evening. The rental bikes are your saving grace here, so make the most of these, especially on your first day to scope out the entire boardwalk.
When it’s time to unwind, guests have access to a community hall, and a pool complete with a clown coaster waterslide to entice the kids. Like the Art of Animation Resort, the BoardWalk Inn also caters for larger families, with rooms that sleep up to five or six.
Disney’s Riviera Resort
Don’t underestimate the power of history, as next we have a hotel inspired by Walt and Lillian Disney’s romantic trips to the Mediterranean. And as its name suggests, it’s very European.
Located between Hollywood Studios and Epcot, the 15th Disney Vacation Club property offers deluxe rooms suitable for families with kids – teenagers in particular.
Riviera Resort offers one of the best views of the night-time fireworks from its rooftop bar and restaurant. As well as this, there’s a chance to relax in the hotels pool and splash around in the water play area.
If you’re familiar with the Disney Skyliner, you’ll know how useful it is for getting to the parks. Riviera Resort links guests directly to Hollywood Studios and Epcot using the new gondola system. The result: an Instagram-able view of both Disney parks, more time to enjoy them, and less time wasted getting there.
Pop Century Resort
Situated in the Wide World of Sports area, the Pop Century Resort is a favourite among families with young children. As far as tributes to the 20th century go, this hotel does a pretty good job – with its enticing themes, vibrant atmosphere and explosions of colour.
Budget and kid-friendly, it’s a very pleasant place to stay if you’re with children old enough to appreciate the timeless fashions, catchphrases, toys and dances of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Entertainment includes access to poolside dance parties, trivia and bingo games, and a ‘Name That Tune’ tournament that adults can get involved in.
We must admit, the rooms aren’t the most exciting, but with so much to do onsite, plus everything in the parks, you won’t be in your room that much anyway.
Which of these Walt Disney World hotels will you be staying at?
If you’re feeling scared by the prospect of having to choose somewhere to stay, there really is nothing to worry about. With so many Disney-themed rooms and child-friendly activities from these hotels, whichever one you choose will bring lots of fun and a great night’s sleep. Oh, and if you are thinking of booking a trip to Walt Disney World, check out these 15 amazing attractions coming in 2020.