As much as we love the rustic grandeur of the Wilderness Lodge or the wild atmosphere at Animal Kingdom Lodge, these Walt Disney World hotels aren’t exactly in the middle of the magic. However, if you’re looking for a convenient place to stay at Disney World, you can’t beat the Disney Hollywood Studios and Epcot Resort Area hotels.
With easy access to the theme parks and some of the Central Florida resort’s top dining, entertainment and shopping, hotels at Epcot and Hollywood Studios are among the best that Disney World has to offer. But, which of the Epcot hotels is right for you and your crew?
Read on as we go over why you should stay at one of the Hollywood Studios or Epcot resorts, as well as which hotel is best for your group. Let’s get into it!
Staying in the Epcot Resort Area
Although it’s hard to compete with the enchanting views of Cinderella Castle and iconic monorail transportation of the Magic Kingdom Resort Area, Epcot and Hollywood Studios hotels offer up some stiff competition. With seven official Disney resorts to choose from, plus three hotels operated by Marriott International, ideally situated near the popular Disney World theme parks, there’s something to suit everyone, whatever your budget, interests or vacation plans.
Walt Disney World Hotels in the Hollywood Studios & Epcot Resort Area
Speaking of that pricey cruise “ship” bound for Galaxy’s Edge, although Disney’s brand spanking new (and expensive!) Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is technically a resort – you do sleep there, after all – it’s an experience in and of itself, not just a place to rest your head at night.
And while it might boast its own private entrance to Hollywood Studios, chances are you aren’t choosing to stay there for its convenient location or any of the benefits we outline below. So, though it may fit the bill as a neighboring resort, it’s certainly not the best choice if you want to take advantage of everything the area has to offer.
Location, Location, Location – 3 Reasons Why We Love Staying in Epcot Hotels
From convenient theme park access to a veritable buffet of dining options, there’s a lot to love about the Epcot-area hotels. In addition to a network of transportation options, this well-connected corner of Disney World boasts its fair share of benefits, including walkability, entertainment offerings and more.
Easily Walkable Between the Hotels & Theme Parks
Aside from a few select hotels, like the Contemporary Resort at Magic Kingdom or Saratoga Springs near Disney Springs, most of Walt Disney World isn’t easily reachable on foot. However, that isn’t the case with hotels at Epcot Center, particularly those located around Crescent Lake.
Disney’s Beach Club, Yacht Club and BoardWalk Inn resorts – as well as the Marriott-operated Swan, Dolphin and Swan Reserve – are all just a short stroll from Epcot’s International Gateway entrance. And if you’ve got a few extra minutes and don’t mind getting your steps in, you can even walk to nearby Hollywood Studios.
Conveniently Connected by Several Disney World Transportation Options
While all Disney hotels are serviced by the Disney World bus system, Epcot-area resorts are the most well-connected of the bunch. If they don’t want to hoof it, guests visiting the Epcot Resort Area have a few different options for getting around.
Friendship boats provide a leisurely and scenic journey between Crescent Lake and Epcot or Hollywood Studios, while the Disney Skyliner connects guests to hotels near Disney Hollywood Studios, including the Art of Animation, Pop Century and Riviera resorts. If you’d like, you can even take the monorail to Magic Kingdom, although you will need to walk from World Showcase up to the main entrance to do it.
Just Steps (or a Skyliner Ride) Away from Dining, Nightlife & Other Entertainment
Free transportation and a walkable area don’t just make getting to and from the parks a breeze; they also make resort hopping a true joy. With the exception of Disney Springs, you won’t find anywhere else at Disney World with as much to enjoy outside the theme parks.
Located just behind Epcot, the Disney BoardWalk area is a charming spot for dinner or a nightcap, especially once the sun goes down. The promenade comes alive with street performers, making for the perfect place to catch some fireworks. Or, try your hand at one of the midway games or groove to the beat at Jellyrolls, a dueling piano bar.
Alternatively, you can also wander over to the other side of Crescent Lake for some ice cream at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop or hop on the Skyliner for a meal with a view at Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera. You can even practice your putt at nearby Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf. Whatever you want to do or eat, the Epcot-Hollywood Studios Resort Area is your oyster.
10 Best Hotels at Epcot & Hollywood Studios
So, which Epcot hotel is the best? It really depends on your group. With ten different resorts to choose from, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a convenient stay with all the bells and whistles or a cheap place to rest your head that isn’t too far from the action.
Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts
Best for Water-Loving Families or Adults Wanting a Lazy Day by the Pool
Without a doubt, the best Disney hotels at Epcot are the Yacht Club and Beach Club Resorts. Though technically two different deluxe hotels, Disney Yacht and Beach Club share their amenities, making each a great pick whichever you choose.
That being said, they each have their charms. The Disney Beach Club Resort is the more laidback of the duo, transporting guests to the New England seaside. The Disney Yacht Club Resort, meanwhile, keeps the nautical vibes going, albeit in a more buttoned-up (AKA grown-up) manner.
Both offer a tempting array of restaurants, whether you’re craving bottomless seafood and character dining at Cape May Café, surf and turf at Yachtsman Steakhouse or an epic Kitchen Sink Sundae at Beaches and Cream. However, the highlight is definitely Stormalong Bay, a three-acre water park and inarguably the best hotel pool at Disney World.
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
Best for Nostalgia and Fun Time Outside the Parks
Rather be out and about than lounging in a pool floatie on the lazy river or with your feet in the sand? Then book a reservation at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. Inspired by the lively boardwalks of the turn of the century, this whimsical resort keeps the fun going long after you’ve left the theme parks.
Obviously, the star of the show at this deluxe Disney World Resort is Disney’s BoardWalk. Here you’ll find a whole host of activities to keep you entertained into the night. While kids will love to test their skill at the carnival games and watch acts like magicians and jugglers, adults will get a kick out of nightlife like AbracadaBar or the Atlantic Dance Hall.
And that’s not all! The dining options are incredible here, with everything from all-American pub food to cozy Italian classics on offer. Afterward, you can even pedal your calories off with a ride around the lake on a surrey bike.
Disney’s Riviera Resort
Best for Couples or Adult Disney Trips and Sophisticated Dining
Traveling to Disney World for your honeymoon or on an adult Disney trip? You may want to consider staying at Disney’s Riviera Resort. Unlike some of the other resorts at Epcot and elsewhere around Disney World, which practically throw pixie dust in your face, the Riviera offers a more subdued stay.
Taking its inspiration from Walt Disney’s vacations to the European Riviera with his wife Lillian, the Riviera Resort feels more like a refined boutique hotel in Paris. And while there are splashes of Disney magic, they’re tasteful and subtle.
Even the character breakfast at Topolino’s combines kid-friendly whimsy with adult-friendly cuisine in an elevated setting. Literally, don’t miss the bird’s-eye views from the rooftop restaurant’s patio.
That brings us to the food. It’s delicious! Between Topolino’s, Bar Riva and even Primo Piatto, the hotel’s quick-service restaurant, the Riviera dishes up some of the classiest hotel dining at Disney World.
Best for Family-Friendly Island Vibes and Good Food at a Reasonable Price
Convenience doesn’t always come cheap, especially at Disney World. However, that isn’t the case at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. A moderate Disney World resort, Caribbean Beach is one of the more affordable hotels near Hollywood Studios and Epcot, and it’s conveniently connected to the parks with the help of the Disney Skyliner.
Dotted with palm trees, candy-colored buildings and hammocks by the beach, the hotel is a breath of fresh air, especially for visitors from cooler climates. The only real downside – and possible dealbreaker, especially for families with small children – is its massive size, which makes taking advantage of resort amenities or getting back to the hotel at the end of the night a bit of a hassle.
Having said that, Caribbean Beach is also incredibly family-friendly. Kiddos will go crazy for swashbuckling-inspired offerings like adventure cruises for little buccaneers, pirate-themed rooms and a feature pool styled like a Spanish colonial fort that would be right at home in old Port Royal.
Oh, and don’t forget the food! Disney Caribbean Beach Resort serves up all sorts of tropical flavors at its on-site restaurants. Start the day with an island-fresh breakfast at Spyglass Grill, take your tastebuds to the tropics at Sebastian’s Bistro or sip on cocktails beneath steel drums at Banana Cabana.
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Best for Budget-Minded Disney Fans and Families with Small Children
Hoping for an extra helping of Disney magic without the high price tag? Then Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is for you. While it is one of the farther hotels from Epcot, this vibrant resort is worth it for its wallet-friendly prices and kid-friendly atmosphere.
While your little ones will love the resort’s immersive, larger-than-life theming and popular Big Blue Pool, you’ll love it for its convenient location at the end of the Disney Skyliner route, family suites and delightfully affordable rates. Stay in colorful rooms themed after your kids’ (and your) favorite films, like Cars, Finding Nemo, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid.
Disney’s Pop Century Resort
Best for Basic Accommodations at Some of the Cheapest Rates on Property
Just across the Generation Gap Bridge from Art of Animation, Disney’s Pop Century Resort is a playful value resort with some of the cheapest rates at Disney World, second only to the All-Star Resorts. While the rooms are on the simple side, they’re filled with all the necessities. Besides, you’ll be spending most of your time in the parks anyway, right?
Though neither the rooms nor the hotel restaurant is that remarkable, the gigantic odes to old-school pop culture make for some undeniably fun photos. Plus, you can’t beat the price for the convenience of being able to hop on the Skyliner to get to Epcot or Hollywood Studios.
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts
Best for Foodies and Hotel Points Hackers
Another pair of Epcot hotels, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin are an excellent alternative to those operated by Disney without having to sacrifice a great location. Part of the Marriott family of properties and two of the hotels closest to Disney Hollywood Studios, the Swan and Dolphin boast contemporary rooms, a sprawling pool complex and a delectable array of dining options.
This is a smart choice for those who either want to stay at Disney World using their travel rewards or rack up more points while they’re there. If you’re hoping for a variety of food choices, you’re also sure to be satisfied at the Swan and Dolphin. With 17 dining outlets between the two, you could savor steak or seafood one day, then sushi or spaghetti the next.
Walt Disney World Swan Reserve
Best for Grown-ups Looking for a Relaxed-Yet-Elevated Oasis
After spending the day camped out in line or fighting the theme park crowds, a pixie dust-free retreat may be just the escape you need to reset. Part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, the Walt Disney World Swan Reserve features chic rooms and upscale dining with a touch of luxury.
While the hotel has its own tranquil pool, guests are welcome to enjoy the aquatic playground over at the neighboring Swan and Dolphin. When you’ve had enough pool time, head next door to Fantasia Gardens for a round of Disney mini-golf.
That rounds out our list of the best hotels at Epcot. Disney World. Have you stayed at one of the resorts on our list? Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!