by Allyson McDonough
(Round Rock, Tx, USA)
Dad – what a great site! So much great information. If you could please give me you opinion on the best hotel for our family. We are booking a 6 night stay for March 2016 to celebrate my 40th birthday with our 9, 9, and 10 year old children. My husband likes to drive and hates dealing with slow, unpredictable crowded public transportation so we will be bringing our car. Which of the onsite properties is best for our family of 5, if you are planning to use your car are the primary mode of transportation to and from the parks? We are looking at staying at a moderate or deluxe property (or may be able to stay at a DVC property by renting DVC points). If you wouldn’t mind listing your top pick in this situation for each of the categories so we can compare that would be great!
Thank you so much,
If your family loves wildlife, Animal Kingdom Lodge is the perfect place to stay – Photo by Cliff Wang
Dad’s Speedy Answer
Allyson, while Disney does an amazing job of transporting hundreds of thousands of people each week with their resort transportation systems, Dad loves to have a car at WDW too! Having a car also makes some of WDW’s most unique, out of the way properties a more enticing option.
Dad loves having a car at WDW. Disney transportation is great, but it’s not for everyone and it can be convenient.
If you’re looking at deluxe resorts or DVC properties, Dad’s top picks would be Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge
(both have regular and DVC rooms). These resorts are beautiful and have lots of fun features, but are a bit of a pain if you’re relying on Disney transportation. Plus, with the “Monorail hotels” (Grand Floridian, Contemporary, Polynesian Village ) and “Epcot hotels” (BoardWalk Inn, Yacht and Beach Club) you’re paying extra for the convenience of park proximity – something you don’t need to worry about.
If your kids love animals, go for the Animal Kingdom Lodge (Jambo House if you can – it’s better situated than Kidani Village). If you’re an outdoor loving family, Wilderness Lodge may be for you – not only will you have lots to do at the resort but you’ll have quick access to the Marina at the Contemporary Resort and the activities at Fort Wilderness to boot!
Dad isn’t a huge fan of the moderates, but having a car makes them a better option. However, since you have a family of five, there’s really only one option (most Moderates only allow four people to a room): Disney’s Fort Wilderness Cabins. Technically in the Moderate level of room, they often get overlooked because Fort Wilderness is confusing – half campground, half cabins that are somewhere between a hotel room and a cottage. This can be a really fun option for families with a car! And the resort itself is brimming with family activities day and night.
The Cabins at Fort Wilderness are a great option for a family of 5 – Photo by WDW Shutterbug
I know you didn’t ask for any Value resorts, but you might want to consider a suite at the Art of Animation– it will definitely give you a lot of room (sleeps 6, has two bathrooms and a kitchenette) and best the best bang for your buck! These suites are really impressive – and the pool is pretty cool.
Dad’s Bottom Line
Allyson, there’s no bad option when it comes to staying in a WDW hotel! Just make sure that whichever option you choose has enough space for your family of five and you’ll be comfy and cozy. Trust me.