Disney Parks are not the only reason for vacationing in Walt Disney World. Walt Disney World Resorts can be home to be vacations on their own. These are the top five resorts to stay in if you were to choose to not visit a Disney Park at all on your trip. During this time of the year, WDW resorts are extravagantly decorated for the Christmas season. Just taking in all of the creative and elaborate ways that these resorts have been transformed is tons of fun. Have you ever seen one of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa’s annual gingerbread masterpieces? They’re incredible!
5. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge There’s no better way to start describing this great resort than with the unique dining options here that will be sure to WOW your taste buds. Boma – Flavors of Africa, Jiko – The Cooking Place, and Sanaa are the three signature restaurants of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Boma is a breakfast and dinner buffet with stunningly delicious African dishes, as well as some American foods to satisfy those of us who are looking to eat more familiar tastes. If you enjoy fine wines, Jiko is about to be your palette’s next best friend. There are nearly 2,000 bottles of imported South African wine at this restaurant, which makes it one of the most expansive collections of South African wine in the world. Sanaa, besides its exotic and impressive dishes of African/Indian cuisine, the greatest aspect of this restaurant may just be the incredible views you have of the savanna while eating.
When you’re looking to grab a quick meal for breakfast lunch or dinner, The Mara is the place to go at this resort. Other casual dining options are located pool-side. Uzima Springs Pool Bar is right outside Uzima Pool. For those of you staying in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village, you’ll have access to the Maji Pool Bar near Samawati Springs Pool. Some great adult hangout areas of the resort are Cape Town Lounge and Wine Bar, and Victoria Falls Lounge, both located in the Jambo House.
More of this hotel’s amenities include: beautiful viewing locations of the savanna, Simba’s Club House (kids’ activity center), Zahanati Massage & Fitness Center, pools/waterslides, water-play areas for kids, jogging trails, indoor/outdoor fire pits, arcade, and shopping at the Zawadi Marketplace. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is set apart from all other resorts through its intricate detail, authenticity, wildlife savanna, and cozy home-like feeling.
4. Disney’s Contemporary Resort The California Grill is one of the most well-known restaurants in all of WDW. On the fifteenth floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort’s main building you’ll find this ultimate fine dining experience, complete with breath-taking views of Magic Kingdom. The Wave… of American Flavors, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, is a perfect blend of healthy choices and creative dishes. If you’re staying at Disney’s Contemporary Resort with your little ones, they will be hooked on Chef Mickey’s! This huge all-you-can-eat buffet has American cuisine for breakfast and dinner, along with Mickey himself and some of his best pals to greet your party.
Contempo Cafe is an entirely, well, “contemporary” quick-service restaurant. Don’t let the size of this place fool you – it’s filled with a great number of different flavors. To make it even cooler, there are touch-screens for you to use to place your order.
Outside the main pool at Disney’s Contemporary Resort you can grab a tasty lunch at The Sand Bar. At the end of each day, the four lounges (California Grill Lounge, Wave Lounge, Outer Rim, and Cove Bar, which is a poolside bar for guests of Bay Lake Tower) on property here are awesome ways to kick back and relax.
If your room is inside the main building of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, you’ll have a great view of all the happenings on the grand concourse just outside your door. The recreation opportunities and amenities offered at this hotel are seemingly endless. These include: parasailing, watercraft rentals, wake-boarding, water skiing, fishing, tubing, specialty firework-viewing cruises, cabana rentals, beach volleyball, tennis, jogging trails, campfire activities, arcade, and Olympiad Fitness Center. Getting to watch the WDW monorail ride straight through the hotel building is such a tremendous bonus of staying at this resort.
3. Disney’s BoardWalk Inn There is always so much to do at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. With every step you take along the boardwalk here, it feels like you stumble upon a new restaurant, store, or nighttime hangout. The signature restaurant on Disney’s BoardWalk is the Flying Fish Cafe. Steak and fresh seafood are the specialties at this absolutely fantastic and atmospheric dining experience. The newest restaurant to join the fun on Disney’s BoardWalk – Trattoria al Forno. This restaurant will serve authentic italian fare for breakfast and dinner.
Other dining options on Disney’s BoardWalk include: Big River Grille & Brewing Works, ESPN Club, BoardWalk Bakery, BoardWalk To Go, BoardWalk Joe’s, and a pizza window for take-out. Disney’s BoardWalk is without a doubt both adult and family friendly. At night, this area comes alive! Adults love to request songs at the dueling piano bar, Jelly Rolls, and get their groove on at the Atlantic Dance Hall. The nighttime BoardWalk performers and Midway Games are sure to entertain all ages. Don’t forget to rent a surrey bike for the whole family to ride together!
This truly special area of WDW has amenities such as: Muscles & Bustles Health Club (a spa and fitness center), Luna Park Pool, two leisure pools, three hot tubs, tennis, fishing, Luna Park Crazy Play Area (for the kids), Sideshow Games Arcade, and several jogging paths. Disney’s BoardWalk Inn has so much to do that there won’t be a moment of boredom for all who stay there.
2. Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts These sister resorts go hand in hand. The beauty of staying at either resort gives you the opportunity to enjoy the best of what each has to offer. Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is home to one of the most incredible restaurants you can find in WDW – Yachtsman Steakhouse. Only open for dinner, you will be in awe at the many incredibly delicious dishes served here. Other dining options at Disney’s Yacht Club are Captain’s Grille (breakfast, lunch, dinner), Crew’s Cup Lounge (a great hidden gem in my opinion) and Ale & Compass Lounge.
Over at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, your kids will go crazy for a highly themed character buffet – Cape May Cafe (open for breakfast and dinner). One of my personal favorite places to indulge here is Beaches & Cream Soda Shop. This restaurant’s lunch, dinner, and even late-night dessert never disappoint! Martha’s Vineyard is a laid-back lounge perfect for you adults to unwind later in the evening. Quick-service options here can be found at the Beach Club Marketplace, and Hurricane Hanna’s Grill (located poolside with easy access for guests at both resorts). Stormalong Bay is the ever-so-popular sand-bottomed pool. Spanning along the outside of both resorts, this pool is tremendous!
Amenities of these two classic WDW resorts consist of: water play areas for kids, waterslides, motorized boat rentals, fishing, tennis, beach volleyball, jogging paths, Lafferty Place Arcade, Ship Shape Massage Salon Fitness (full-service spa, fitness center, and salon), Salon Services. Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts combine to be like a theme park in and of themselves!
1. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Disney’s Grand Floridian, is an award-winning luxury resort! The three signature dining restaurants here are: Citricos (home to mediterranean cuisine with a long list of different wines), Narcoossee’s (known for its seafood, gives those dining here amazing views of Seven Seas Lagoon), and Victoria & Albert’s. Open just for dinner, this restaurant is the epitome of fine dining. It has been a AAA five-diamond award recipient every year since 2000. That says it all.
Tons of fun for the little ones can be had at 1900 Park Fare, which is a character breakfast and dinner buffet. Quick-service options at Disney’s Grand Floridian resort & Spa include: Gasparilla Island Grill, Beach Pool Bar, and Courtyard Pool Bar. Relaxing adult hangouts here can be found at both Mizner’s Lounge and Citricos Lounge. This flagship WDW resort has all the amenities you could wish for, such as: Courtyard Pool, Beach Pool, cabana rentals, motorized boat rentals, fishing, Arcadia Games, jogging trails, and last but certainly not least, Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. This relaxation haven is home to some of the best spa treatments around! This exquisite resort is truly a Disney classic.
Can you imagine spending a whole week enjoying Walt Disney World? I sure can. If you’d like more information on these or any of the other great WDW Resorts get in touch with our partners over at Destinations to Travel and they’ll get you fixed right up. They do an amazing job. If you had to spend an entire vacation just in a Walt Disney World Resort, which would you choose?