The Best Walt Disney World Hotels in 2021: Pros & Cons Guide

The Best Walt Disney World Hotels in 2021: Pros & Cons Guide

This article is your ultimate guide to the best Disney World Hotels in 2021! With so many Disney World Resorts to choose from, picking the perfect hotel for your family can feel like a tough decision.

Lucky for you, The Park Prodigy has vacationed at every Walt Disney World hotel and we can help! Are you looking for the best Disney World hotels for families? Or the best Disney World Hotels for couples? With over 25+ Disney Resorts to choose from, there’s a perfect home for every family and vacation group, no matter what your travel goals or budget! 

We hope you find this post helpful, and if you are planning a trip to Disney World be sure to check out our other FREE vacation planning tools. Our goal at The Park Prodigy has always been to help you save time and money on your next vacation. This includes helping you find the best time to buy Disney World tickets as well as book amazing Walt Disney World vacation packages!

So if you’re ready to learn everything there is about the best Disney World Hotels on property in 2021, read on!

June 2021 Update: Here at The Park Prodigy, we are committed to bringing you the most up-to-date information when planning your next trip. As of June 6, 2021, all of the hotels mentioned in this article are open unless noted otherwise. Some of the best Walt Disney World hotels may be operating under a modified experience. Be sure to reach out to one of The Park Prodigy team members if you have any questions about any of the hotels inside Disney World! 

SPECIAL NOTE: If you need help picking the best time to visit Walt Disney World for your next vacation be sure to check out our Disney crowd calendar!

 Disney World Crowd Calendar 2021

Onsite Walt Disney World Hotel Tiers

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All Disney Resorts are broken out into three categories:

  • Deluxe Resorts 
  • Moderate Resorts 
  • Value Resorts

It’s important to remember each resort type varies when it comes to amenities and rates. So choosing which category you decide to stay in should align with what you’re planning to do with your time at Disney World. 

For park warriors looking to spend sun up to sun down at the parks, value resorts are the way to go! Invest your time and money into planning character meals, FastPasses, fireworks shows, and extra magic hours, while spending significantly less on a room as it’s just a place to lay your head at night.

If you plan to relax by the pool with thirst-quenching frozen cocktails, you’ll be better off splurging on a deluxe or moderate hotel. These Disney resorts give you access to hot tubs, spas, specialty restaurants, and more. For a more detailed look inside the best Walt Disney World Hotels, keep reading! 

Related Post: Disney World For Adults Guide

What Are The Benefits of Staying on Disney Property?

Before we dive into the pros and cons of each resort, here are some of the benefits of choosing to stay at an on-property Disney World Hotel no matter what category level:

  1. Guests can make Fastpass+ selections up to 60 days before their trip.
  2. Guests can take advantage of extra magic hours at the park.
  3. Disney’s Magical Express transportation both to and from the airport.
  4. Complimentary transportation all throughout WDW property.
    • Boats, Busses and the Monorail.
  5. Access to Disney Dining plans

Pros & Cons Of Disney Resorts

No one does luxury like Disney! Deluxe resorts are the priciest option, but rest assured the price is well worth the elevated experience you’ll have. During your stay, you’ll enjoy all the comforts of a high-end resort in a gorgeous, themed setting. Benefits include close proximity to the parks, transportation, and other amenities unique to each resort. Below, we’ve gathered the pros and cons for each Disney World deluxe hotel to help you choose the best hotel resort in Disney World in 2021!

Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Rates Start at: $421.00 per night
Transportation Options: Boat, Bus, Monorail

  • Pros: The Contemporary Resort has the honor of being the only hotel on Disney Property in which you can walk to the Magic Kingdom. This can save you a tremendous amount of time when it comes to traveling back and forth to the Magic Kingdom. Especially after the fireworks when getting a bus back to your resort can take longer than waiting in line to ride Space Mountain! This alone makes it one of the best hotels in Disney World for families. Beyond being in a great location, this hotel is also home to chef Mickey’s one of the more popular character dining options.
  • Cons: The Contemporary is not ideal for anybody that does not have the Magic Kingdom on their itinerary. Although it is the only resort in which the monorail travels straight through the lobby to pick up guests, there are very similar Deluxe options closer to Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.

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Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
Rates Start at: $597.00 per night
Transportation Options: Boat, Bus, Monorail

  • Pros: The Grand Floridian has long been considered on of the best onsite Disney World Hotels. This resort has an amazing selection of restaurants, over-the-top themes, stunning pools, and even a new Beauty and the Beast-themed bar! At the Grand Floridian, there’s something for everyone. Some of our favorites include: dining with the characters at 1900 Park Fare, booking a cabana by the pool, and afternoon tea in the garden view tea room! The Grand Floridian is also one of the best Disney World hotels for adults, couples, and honeymoons due to the resort spa.
  • Cons: This is the most expensive hotel on Disney Property. If you’re not planning to visit the Magic Kingdom, there are more affordable Deluxe options closer to Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. While the Grand Floridian definitely packs a ton of wow-factor on the outside, and the lobby (especially around the holidays) is even more beautiful. However, for families with young kids, the rooms themselves are quite plain.

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Disney’s Polynesian Resort
Rates Start at: $495.00 per night
Transportation Options: Boat, Bus, Monorail

Note: Disney’s Boardwalk in is currently closed. However, it is scheduled for reopening in late July 2021 and currently accepting reservations!

  • Pros: You’ll find yourself completely immersed in the resorts Hawaiian theme as soon as you arrive. For kids, the resorts largest pool (the Lava Pool), features a slide that goes straight through a volcano! This alone makes it one of the best pools in Disney World. Plus, it’s just a short monorail ride to The Magic Kingdom. Our favorite thing about this resort is that the beach offers a breathtaking view of The Magic Kingdom fireworks at night. You can even purchase a stay at one of the Disney Vacation Club villas right on the water. The Polynesian is one of the best hotels in Disney World for families. 
  • Cons: Just like The Contemporary and The Grand Floridian, given this resorts high price point, it is not ideal if The Magic Kingdom is not on your agenda.

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Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort
Rates Start at: $339.00 per night
Transportation Options: Boat, Bus

  • Pros: The Wilderness Lodge has one of the most intricately themed lobbies on Disney property. It also has a lower price point than most other Deluxe resorts, making it one of the best Disney World resort hotels for families on a budget. The pools and splash pad pack a fun slide and a water dumping bucket to keep kids entertained for hours. Plus, the resort is built on Bay Lake, with the Magic Kingdom a short boat ride away through seven seas lagoon.
  • Cons: Room sizes are known to be smaller and a bit dark. Also, if you’re used to quick service restaurants on-property, there aren’t many options here.

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Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort
Rates Start at: $411.00 per night
Transportation Options: Boat, Bus

  • Pros: The Yacht and Beach Club resort is one of the best hotels inside Disney World if you’re looking to have a more relaxing vacation. You simply cannot beat the Storm-Along Bay sand bottom beach theme pool. In our opinion, this hotel is number one on the list of best pools in Disney World! Our favorite parts of this beach pool include the lazy river, the poolside bar, and the huge pirate ship-themed water slide. Another thing we love about this resort is that it’s right next door to Beaches & Cream soda shop, home of the ever-so-popular Kitchen Sink Sundae.
  • Cons: Your entire party must be staying at the resort in order to use the pool. This is especially important to keep in mind if you are traveling with a large group that plans to get together during the day. Besides this we still find this to be one of the best Disney World hotels for families and best Disney World hotels for adults.

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Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
Rates start at: $450.00
Transportation Options: Boat, Bus

Note: Disney’s Boardwalk in is currently closed. However, it is scheduled for reopening on July 2, 2021, and currently accepting reservations!

  • Pros: Besides the obvious advantages of being located on the Disney Boardwalk, this resort is also just a short walk to the back entrance of Epcot and a 20-minute walk or a short boat ride to Hollywood Studios. With the opening of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, this is one of the best Disney world hotels to stay at for all Star Wars fans hoping to be close to the action.
  • Cons: Because of its close proximity to Epcot, this resort can book up fast during the fall season. It’s considered one of the best Disney World hotels for couples during Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival. Guests interested in staying at this resort in the Fall should start planning their trip at least 10-12 months in advance.

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Rates Start at: $353.00
Transportation Options: Bus

  • Pros: With Savanna view rooms, Disney brings the African Safari directly to you with animals like giraffes and zebras grazing below you. The dining options are spectacular, with restaurants like Boma, Sanaaa, and Jiko which feature authentic African cuisine and buffet-style dining.
  • Cons: As far as Deluxe resorts go, this resort is unfortunately far off the beaten path. Plus, buses are your only form of complimentary transportation which isn’t ideal if you’re sightseeing throughout Disney properties for the day. For this reason, we do not consider this one of the best hotels in Disney World for families with small children.

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Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort
Rates Start at: $354.00
Transportation: Boat, Bus

  • Pros: If you are traveling with a large group on a budget, the Treehouse Villas are one of the best resort accommodations you can find. The grounds are lush and beautiful, making relaxing strolls throughout the resort a great way to unwind.
  • Cons: Besides the impressive villas, the other room options are pretty underwhelming, especially for a Deluxe Resort. For park goers, the only way to get around are the Disney buses.

Related Posts: Best Disney Resort Pools

The Best Disney Moderate Resorts

Moderate hotels at Disney World are a happy medium between deluxe and value resorts. This is a great option for those who plan to spend the majority of their time at the parks but may want to have a pool day before they leave, or just want more dining and shopping options close by. They all offer fun activities and complimentary transportation to the parks as well.

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Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Rates start at: $218.00
Transportation Options: Bus, Skyliner

  • Pros: The theme at Coronado Springs is gorgeous, tasteful and bold. You just might forget you’re staying at a Disney resort! The Lost City of Cibola is considered one of Disney World hotels best pools for kids and adults alike. This resort packs a huge pyramid, a jacuzzi, and a quick-service restaurant all nearby. Plus, Disney just added the Grand Destino Tower which includes suite and concierge-style services.
  • Cons: Like all of the moderate resorts, the resort is quite large and all of the buildings/dining areas are spread out. Unless you are staying in the new tower with concierge service, the other areas of the resort are not easily accessible.

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Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Rates start at: $211.00
Transportation Options: Bus, Skyliner

  • Pros: With recent renovations, this resort has added some awesome new dining locations with super unique menu items. The pirate pool is expertly themed with forts and water cannons that makes playtime more magical than ever. The grounds are beautifully kept and will make you feel like you’re really in the Caribbean.
  • Cons: With such vast grounds, getting around the resort itself can be time consuming. Even when going to or coming home from the parks, there are multiple bus stops throughout the property which essentially eats away at your time. We do not consider this one of the best Walt Disney World hotels in 2021 for families with small children.

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Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside and French Quarter
Rates start at: $227.00
Transportation Options: Boat, Bus

  • Pros: Just a boat ride away from Disney Springs! This is a great option for groups who plan on enjoying the shopping, dining and nightlife that Disney Springs has to offer. The theme throughout both sections are beautiful, giving a southern charm feel throughout the grounds. Plus, there’s plenty of pathways for quiet strolls accompanied by beautiful landscapes and scenery. We find this to be one of the best Disney World deluxe resorts for adults. 
  • Cons: With such vast grounds, getting around the resort itself can be time-consuming. Even when going to or coming home from the parks, there are multiple bus stops throughout the property which essentially eats away at your time.

The Best Disney World Value Hotels

Disney Value resorts offer fewer amenities than the other two tiers but still offers resort perks like free bus transportation to and from the parks. This is the most budget-friendly option, especially for families and/or those who plan to stay longer than a couple of days. Plus, the themes are more fun than an offsite hotel!

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Disney’s All-Star Movies, Music, and Sports Resort
Rates start at: $112.00
Transportation options: Bus

Note: Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort is the only All-Star resort currently open. Disney’s All-Star Music Resort and Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort and their surrounding amenities remain closed, and a reopening date has not been announced.

  • Pros: These resorts offer an affordable option for those who are vacationing on a budget, but still want to take advantage of the many perks that come along with staying at a Disney resort. For kids especially, the theme is over the top and full of color. Many of the rooms at the All-Star hotels have been recently renovated, offering ample storage space and an updated look and feel. As far as dining goes, quick service options are in abundance here. You’ll find a great variety of grab-and-go options that’ll please anyone in your party. 
  • Cons: Lines for buses can be lengthy at times due to the popularity of these hotels for families with young children.

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Related Post: Pop Century Vs. All Star Resorts

Disney’s Pop Century Resort
Rates start at: $131.00
Transportation options: Bus, Skyliner

  • Pros: Guests of this resort are within walking distance to Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Many guests enjoy this, because it makes it easy for them to take advantage of the different dining options and swimming pools that Disney’s Art of Animation has to offer. However, that’s not to say that Pop Century doesn’t offer their own awesome amenities. With big pools and over the top theme make this one of the best Disney World hotels for families in 2021!
  • Cons: Unfortunately, like many of the Value resorts, Disney’s Pop Century Resort does not offer much else to keep the kids entertained besides the pool.

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Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Rates Start at: $157.00
Transportation Options: Bus

  • Pros: This resort is a great option for those traveling with larger groups as suite-style rooms are available here. The theme is perfect inside and out for kids and adults who are obsessed with Disney movies. Even the room options are fully dressed with fun decor. Their food court offers a bunch of different menu items to please anyone.
  • Cons: Depending on the time of year you’re visiting, this resort fluctuates in price, sometimes costing just as much as a Deluxe resort.

Related Post: The Cheapest Time To Go To Disney World

When is the Best Time to Visit Disney World?

We can help you pick the best time to visit Disney World! Our Disney World Crowd Calendar is the best tool to help you get the most out of your time in the parks.

We break down:

  1. Park Crowds
  2. Park Hours of Operation
  3. Ticket Prices Per Day
  4. Average Temperature

Are You Ready to Plan Your Next Disney World Trip?

You can save up to $20 per ticket when purchasing your Walt Disney World Tickets from The Park Prodigy! Learn more about Disney hotels by reading our On-site Disney World Hotels page! 

If you’re brand new to Disney vacation planning we recommend our Walt Disney World Planning Page! Learn more about Disney hotels by reading our Walt Disney World Hotels Review page.

Last but not least, if you’re also planning a trip to Universal Studios, be sure to check out the best time to visit Universal Studios and our Universal Orlando Tickets! All Park Prodigy Universal Orlando tickets come with Universal Studios Early Park Admission.
Michael Belmont

Michael Belmont is the owner and chief editor at Theparkprodigy.com, an authorized Disney and Universal travel agent. He specializes in Disney and Universal theme park tickets and vacation packages, as well as daily park plans to help optimize vacation time. Michael and The Park Prodigy have been featured on ABC’s Florida affiliate, WTFV, as well as over 10 Disney focused blogs. As owner, Michael manages The Park Prodigy blog and social media, a Disney themed podcast, and a Disney and Universal focused YouTube channel. Prior to starting The Park Prodigy, Michael was a long time Disney and Universal enthusiast, frequent visitor of the parks, and even served as a Walt Disney World Cast Member in Orlando, Florida!