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What's the best themed Disney hotel in Florida?

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  • [Chat] What's the best themed Disney hotel in Florida?

    It's been a number of years since I stayed at Walt Disney World. I've spent more time at Disneyland in California and even Disneyland Paris Resort. Hands down, the Grand Californian and Sequoia Lodge are my favorites at these resorts. I've never been to the Wilderness Lodge, how does it compare to these others? And for that matter, what is the best themed hotel at Walt Disney World? If price was no option, is it Animal Kingdom Lodge? Grand Floridian? What's your vote and please say why!

    Thanks!
    71
    Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
    26.76%
    19
    Disney's Beach Club / Yacht Club / BoardWalk
    9.86%
    7
    Disney's Contemporary Resort
    2.82%
    2
    Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
    2.82%
    2
    Disney's Wilderness Lodge
    18.31%
    13
    Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
    7.04%
    5
    Disney's Polynesian Resort
    12.68%
    9
    Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
    5.63%
    4
    Disney's Port Orleans Resort - Riverside & French Quarter
    11.27%
    8
    Value Resorts (All Star, Animation, Pop Century)
    2.82%
    2

    The poll is expired.


  • #2
    Re: What's the best themed Disney hotel in Florida?

    Hey,

    Differentiating between best and best-themed, and excluding general trends in upkeep, service and changes to the parks that affect WDW as a whole:

    Best Themed: I think Wilderness Lodge is still the best-themed at WDW and the most visually impressive inside and out. If you like Sequoia and Grand Californian, you'd be over-the-moon with WL. Definitely visit it next time you're in WDW.


    Best Overall: My historic favorite has been The Beach Club, because of location (can walk to two parks), Stormalong Bay and a relaxed seaside theme and atmosphere.
    http://www.idealbuildout.blogspot.com/

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    • #3
      Re: What's the best themed Disney hotel in Florida?

      This is a tough question... if you are asking about a theme that will make you feel like you are somewhere else...


      Animal Kingdom Lodge
      Wilderness Lodge

      those two are transportive

      Coronado Springs also feels very "not florida" in a lot of ways.

      But as far as rooms, food, atmosphere, location, design, theme is concerned Disney's BoardWalk resort is the one I have to go with.
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      • #4
        Re: What's the best themed Disney hotel in Florida?

        Yeah, not speaking to the price or service or location, but more "best theme". And being not from Florida, the Grand Floridian takes me away to another time and another place. Great feedback so far!

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        • #5
          Re: What's the best themed Disney hotel in Florida?

          They all are really well themed. I would say the worst is the Contemporary because you can find the same theme in a big city near you anywhere in the US.

          I like the AKL and Poly themes the most because they are very exotic.

          The moderates all have great themes too, but not the big graduer of the deluxes. They tend to be spread out. I like the French Quarter the best because it really mimics New Orleans quite well.

          Wilderness lodge is great but living in the West it's not too exotic to me. I've been to Yellowtone many times, and it mimics it well.

          Grand Floridian is ok, but really what makes it the best is it's price, not theme.

          My favorite are the Yatch and Beach Clubs, but the Boardwalk across from them is pretty much the third triplet since the three are almost all clones of each other with little difference in theme between them.

          Generally when I visit in the last several years, we choose where to stay based on why we are going, like birthday trip, the birthday kid chooses the resort.
          Be Cool Stay in School!
          Next year I'm trying for a summer internship at Stark Industries.

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          • #6
            Re: What's the best themed Disney hotel in Florida?

            Originally posted by CaliforniaAdventurer View Post
            Yeah, not speaking to the price or service or location, but more "best theme". And being not from Florida, the Grand Floridian takes me away to another time and another place. Great feedback so far!
            I would have to agree with you 100%. The Grand Floridan is the best! not only does the style and theme of the resort bring you to another place and time, the cast members do as well. Its the flagship of the Disney resorts, the first one to be built by the Disney company itself, so a lot of cast members have a good since of pride in working there, keeping it clean and fit, so to say.

            P.S. If your a big Disney fan, there is a quilt at the GF hand knitted by Lillian Disney herself!

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            • #7
              Re: What's the best themed Disney hotel in Florida?

              I like the exotic theming of Wilderness Lodge, Polynesian, and Animal Kingdom Lodge. The theming of these works inside and out.

              Port Orleans Riverside is mindblowing. You could walk around that resort forgetting that you're in central Florida.

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              • #8
                Re: What's the best themed Disney hotel in Florida?

                I'd have to give another vote to The Boardwalk (but I'm a sucker for old amusement parks and the 1920's in general). All of them are excellent; the real question is which hotels aren't that great in terms of theming, as that list is much shorter. I'd say the All-Star Resorts, the Contemporary, and the Swan and Dolphin (not even a Disney hotel per se) are really the only ones that don't go above and beyond in terms of hotel theming.

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                • #9
                  Re: What's the best themed Disney hotel in Florida?

                  I would say the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The theme dictates not only the architecture, costume design and food options, but also what you see right outside your window.

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                  • #10
                    Re: What's the best themed Disney hotel in Florida?

                    It looks to be that I have been the only one that voted thus far, can that be possible, or is it just me? Anyways....

                    Yes, the consensus here is that it is a tough question, extremely difficult to name just one because overall, they all have their pluses and minuses. But I'll go through what I chose, which were Animal Kingdom Lodge, Yacht & Beach Clubs, Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, Grand Floridian, and the Value Resorts. And I'm not ranking these in any particular order apart from how they're listed in the poll. But the things I usually look for is where they are located, the price, what they offer, & what their lobby & their rooms look like.

                    The only resort I have ever had the opportunity to stay at was the Caribbean and its okay for a resort, but there are many that are way better. But first I will go with the Animal Kingdom, which if I could, I would put at the bottom of my favorites. Mainly because of one thing: it's location. If I stay at a resort, I would like to either be connected to a park (other than by bus or car) or be centrally located on the resort - to be in the middle of it all. But the reason why AKL is on my list is also because of its location. If you are a person who's staying on business, but also for a little bit of fun, or you want to relax a lot, then the the AKL is the place because its so far out of the way of everything else, its very peaceful there. You can sit on the balcony with a laptop or a good book and enjoy the peace & quiet while animals roam outside your room.

                    What I like about the Yacht & Beach Clubs is the fact that they look nice, that they are centrally located, and they are attached to Epcot, my top favorite between the four parks. But also they have that peaceful, relaxing feel about them. If you are reading this thread in efforts to narrow down your choice for a resort, & if you are the type of person that like the beach & the water, and if you are looking for a place to relax on your down time, then the Yacht/Beach Clubs or the Boardwalk are a good choice for you. All three have the water taxis that run between Epcot & Hollywood Studios (with a stop at Boardwalk, Yacht/Beach Club, & Swan/Dolphin hotels between - order depends on direction. That one is from Epcot to HS) and they are all in walking distance to either park. But it only takes on average 15 - 20 minutes each direction. The three resorts are also in short driving distance to either park as well as Downtown Disney.

                    Continuing down the list, is the Contemporary and one of my personal favorites. Because of the style, its location, and access to 3 of the 4 parks. Yes, I know what I said. Its easy access to Magic Kingdom, only a single monorail ride away. Or take a monorail to the Transportation & Ticket Center (TTC), hop on another monorail to Epcot. While you're there, you can then take the boats to Hollywood Studios. (However, if you want a more direct route to HS, take a resort bus or go by car.) That's the only bad thing about Animal Kingdom, its only connected to everything else by either bus or car. But I like Contemporary mainly because of its location and its access to at least 3 of the parks. You can park here and go to HS if you wanted to. But you can also sit on your balcony (if you have one) and enjoy the sounds of Magic Kingdom. Or if you're on the west side of the hotel, you can see the fireworks. If you're going to the resort and have no plans to go to Animal Kingdom, this would be the resort for you because of the easy access. You don't even have to have a rental car unless you plan to go to Universal or Cape Canaveral. The best part of this resort in my opinion is the convenience of the monorail. At any time you're at MK and your feet are sore, & you want to go back to your room, there's the monorail. (Goes the same with either the Polynesian or the Floridian.) Its just at park closing for MK, the wait for the monorail can be a bit long. Here, there are two options for monorail. The express which takes you back to the TTC & the only parking lot for MK, which is why it tends to be the longest when it comes to the wait time for the two options. The other is the resort monorail which stops at Contemporary, TTC, Polynesian, and the Grand Floridian in that order.

                    Next is Wilderness Lodge, and this one has to be my top favorite. Simply because of my style and like what Randy Savage said, I like the mountain lodge type of feel. And I am from California, born & raised. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks is my favorite place in the world, seconded by Disney World. And having lived in So Cal, minutes from Disneyland, I was impressed with the Grand Californian when I first saw it. Then I saw the pictures of the lobby of Wilderness Lodge and I was amazed. But I was way beyond impressed when I saw it for the very first time after I moved here to central Florida. The very first moment (and each time after) when you walk in, just take a moment and look straight up and the huge lobby. It is amazing, and if you think it's beautiful for most of the year, you should see it during the holidays when they have the Christmas tree up. Very impressive. You can always tell who the newbies to the place are, who the people are that are seeing it for the very first time. I had that same look on my face. It may not be connected to monorails, but you still feel that you're not in Florida anymore despite being able to hear all the sounds from Magic Kingdom which is only a short drive away.

                    To not make this any longer, I'll put the last two choices here in the same paragraph. It also helps that they are on the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the resorts and affordability. My next choice was the Grand Floridian. It is beautiful. If you are coming on your honeymoon, then this is the place for you. Its very romantic, it has its white sandy beaches, and its a breath away from the Magic Kingdom, and next door to the Polynesian. This is the beach where the Beach Boys (with John Stamos aka "Uncle Jessie") filmed parts of their video for Kokomo. And the lobby is a sight to behold, especially during the Christmas holidays. If you want to feel like you've stepped into another place, or another time, the moment you set foot in the lobby you feel like you're in the 19th century. The only problem I have with this place is the price. It is, and has to be, the most expensive resort on the property. It will clean out your pocketbook or checking account, unless of course you have the money to spend on it. If you do, then you will enjoy your stay there. Otherwise, if you're just visiting, then you'll enjoy it. Because at least it has the easy monorail access to Magic Kingdom and Epcot like the Contemporary does. And then there is the opposite end of the spectrum, and the only reason why I voted for them as well - The Value Resorts. Simply because of that, the value. They are the least expensive of all the resorts on the property. If your budget is tight and you want to stay on the property, then either the Pop Century, Animation, or any of the All Star Resorts are the one for you. Out of all of them, I think the Animation is the cutest and the best of them. The only thing I don't like about them is that they are not centrally located. The All Star resorts are at the southern most end of the property. And both the Pop Century and the Animation Resort are just a little bit east of the All Star and south east of Hollywood Studios. Which means they can take longer to get to the theme parks, especially Magic Kingdom if traffic happens to be bad.

                    There you have it, there's my two cents on the question, coming from both a former So Cal Disneyland resident and now a current WDW Central Florida resident who's also a pass holder. If you have any other questions, please feel free to hit me up.
                    "Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children." - Walter Elias Disney

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                    • #11
                      Re: What's the best themed Disney hotel in Florida?

                      I have a soft spot for the Port Orleans and the Grand Floridian. they are my favourite hotels at the resort
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                      • #12
                        Re: What's the best themed Disney hotel in Florida?

                        I guess my question is more "which hotels were successfully executed, timeless, enduring?" Do you think the Value Resorts will look the same through time, or will they get a makeover like the Disneyland Hotel and DCA Park did? I can't see the Polynesian or Grand Floridian or Wilderness Lodge ever needing a 2.0 reboot, but what about the Contemporary and Caribbean Beach resorts?

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                        • #13
                          Re: What's the best themed Disney hotel in Florida?

                          If money was no object, I'd stay at Wilderness Lodge.

                          I feel this is the most immersive, theme-wise. It is clearly my favorite of those I haven't stayed at.
                          DIxie Landings (yes, I still call it that) was my favorite of the ones I did stay at. Again, it really made me feel I was somewhere else, altogether.

                          I also LOVE the Polenysian Resort. A true paradise. ALthough it's one of the oldest hotels there, I'd love to stay there.

                          I agree that Contemporary Resort seems the biggest let down. Without the monorail going through, there really wouldn't be much to endear it, IMHO.
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                          • #14
                            Re: What's the best themed Disney hotel in Florida?

                            As the best, i put Animal Kingdom, but my favorite is The Beach Club .

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                            • #15
                              Re: What's the best themed Disney hotel in Florida?

                              Originally posted by CaliforniaAdventurer View Post
                              I guess my question is more "which hotels were successfully executed, timeless, enduring?" Do you think the Value Resorts will look the same through time, or will they get a makeover like the Disneyland Hotel and DCA Park did? I can't see the Polynesian or Grand Floridian or Wilderness Lodge ever needing a 2.0 reboot, but what about the Contemporary and Caribbean Beach resorts?
                              The values may get upgraded, a bit, not rebuilding but rethemeing or updated. The ART is really themed far better than the ASRs and POP. It of course has a Disney theme, while the other have generic "fun" themes.
                              Be Cool Stay in School!
                              Next year I'm trying for a summer internship at Stark Industries.

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