For parents planning a vacation to The Most Magical Place on Earth, choosing the best Disney World hotels for families with young kids is crucial, especially with so many options available with varying prices and themes. As this is Walt Disney World we’re talking about, all of the resort hotels on property are certainly family-friendly. However, for those traveling with children, not all Disney hotels are created equal.
In this Disney World hotel guide, we’ll delve into the very best Disney resorts for families visiting with kiddos. Fortunately, from budget-friendly options with larger-than-life theming like Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Pop Century Resort to luxurious escapes like Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Animal Kingdom Lodge, there is something for everyone.
Along the way, we’ll discover unique offerings like royally themed rooms at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort and immersive character experiences at Fort Wilderness Campground and learn about convenient transportation options from resorts like Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Caribbean Beach Resort that make navigating Disney World a breeze. By the end of it all, you’ll be well-equipped to select the best hotel for your next Walt Disney World vacation. Alright, let’s get to it!
Top Walt Disney World Hotels for Families with Younger Kids
There are many factors to consider when booking the best Disney World hotel for your little ones and family. Close proximity to the theme parks is crucial, especially after a long day tackling attractions in the hot Central Florida sun, as is quick and easy transportation. Additionally, while having a room with a fun, Disney-inspired theme is certainly a great bonus, things like an awesome pool, character dining options and unique activities are just as important. (Hidden Mickey scavenger hunts, anyone?). And, of course, we can’t forget about the all-important price tag.
Taking all of that into account, we’ve scoped out the best Disney World hotels for families and then broken them all down by which price tier they fall into, from the relatively cheap value hotels to the awesome(ly expensive) deluxe resorts. After all, with how much you’re already spending on Walt Disney World tickets, the last thing you need is to drive your bank account into the ground with an out-of-budget hotel stay. So, pack your suitcase and let’s get started.
As the most affordable hotels at Disney World, value resorts are relatively slim on amenities (and unfortunately, space, too, to some extent) and tend to be located the furthest from the theme parks. However, what value resorts lack in extras and square footage, they more than make up for in savings, making them a great choice for families on a budget. While they can have their downsides, the benefits of these value hotels tend to outweigh the negatives.
1. Disney’s Art of Animation resort
Immerse yourself in the vibrant world of Disney animation at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, where your favorite films come to life. Stay and play in highly themed rooms and pools inspired by beloved Disney films, including The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Finding Nemo and Cars. The outside of the guestroom buildings at Art of Animation, meanwhile, are emblazoned with supersized filmscapes styled after the themed rooms inside.
All of this makes Disney’s Art of Animation an ideal choice for families with children, as it allows kids to be surrounded by their favorite characters throughout Walt Disney World vacation. The pool areas are just as immersively themed as the rooms, from the Finding Nemo-themed Big Blue Pool to the Cozy Cone Pool, which is surrounded by Radiator Springs’ iconic orange traffic cones from Cars. Not to mention, guests can also enjoy playgrounds themed after these treasured movies, as well as plenty of photo opportunities.
Dining at this Disney hotel is also eminently kid-friendly, thanks to the array of approachable dishes on offer at the Landscape of Flavors Food Court. Plus, we can’t forget the resort’s convenient location. Located right along the Disney Skyliner, not too far from Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Art of Animation is just an easy ride away from the best that Walt Disney World has to offer.
2. Disney’s Pop Century Resort
Ready to take a trip down memory lane? Then pack your bags (and maybe some bell-bottom jeans) and take a step back in time and experience the nostalgia of decades past at Disney’s Pop Century Resort, featuring massive icons inspired by pop culture from the 1950s to the 1990s. This value resort is perfect for parents looking to relive their childhood memories while creating new ones with their kids.
This Walt Disney World hotel is divided into five distinct areas, each representing a different decade from the last half of the 20th century. From giant jukeboxes and bowling pins in the 1950s to oversized floppy disks in the 1990s, the theming at Pop Century is sure to charm kids and adults alike.
Similar to Art of Animation, Pop Century also offers a food court, Everything POP Shopping & Dining, that is great for picky eaters, where guests can fuel up for a day of theme park adventures on hearty comfort foods or healthier fare. (Be sure to save space for a slice of tie-dye cheesecake.) In addition to its whimsical atmosphere, as it’s located right across from Art of Animation, Disney’s Pop Century Resort boasts convenient access to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios, thanks to the Disney Skyliner.
3. Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
Get out and enjoy the great outdoors at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, a rustic retreat with a forestful of activities for families. One thing we should note about Fort Wilderness is that it straddles the line between a value resort (the campsites) and a moderate resort (the cabins). In fact, if you opt to go camping, then Fort Wilderness is actually the cheapest place to stay at Walt Disney World—as long as you have a tent or camper to stay there, that is.
Aside from the price tag, the highlight of staying at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground is all the family-friendly activities that are available. Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Singalong allows guests to gather around a roaring campfire for songs, s’mores and a Disney movie with everyone’s favorite chipmunk, while the Tri-Circle-D Ranch is home to Disney World’s herd of horses. For even more entertainment, the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show offers foot-stompin’, hand-clappin’ entertainment with country-western music, dancing, singing and comfort-food classics like ribs and fried chicken. In other words, there’s something for everyone.
Despite its serene setting among towering pines and cypress trees, Fort Wilderness Resort is conveniently located not too far from Magic Kingdom. Though not situated along the resort monorail route, this Disney resort is still just an easy bus or boat ride away from it all. Add in the budget-friendly price if you’re camping and the range of activities kids of all ages will love, and Fort Wilderness is the perfect destination for family fun.
4. Disney’s All-Star Music Resort or All-Star Movies Resort
As much as we love Art of Animation, it’s also the most expensive value resort. So, if you’re hoping to soak up some Disney magic while still working within a tight budget, Disney’s All-Star Music Resort is a great place to start. This harmonious Disney hotel is themed after different genres of music, like rock ‘n’ roll, Broadway and country, with a few Disney characters also making an appearance. However, aside from the charming setting, what makes All-Star Music one of the best Disney World hotels for families with kids is the family suites, which boast enough space for up to six guests.
If your family is on the smaller side, then another great alternative is Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort. With icons inspired by films like Toy Story, The Might Ducks and 101 Dalmatians, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped right onto the silver screen, even if you’re traveling on a shoestring. Unfortunately, there aren’t any family suites available here. That said, kids will probably like the theming here a little bit better, as long as space isn’t an issue.
Whichever All-Star resort you choose, both offer family-friendly food courts with options like pizzas, pasta, burgers and sandwiches. The only downside to the All-Stars is that, as they are part of the Animal Kingdom Resort Area, only bus transportation is available, and getting to and from the theme parks can be complicated at best and a lengthy process at worst. So, keep this in mind if you’re thinking of booking one of these Disney World hotels.
Falling in between value resorts and deluxe resorts, moderate resorts hit the sweet spot when it comes to both price and amenities. While they boast more subdued theming overall, with one major exception (we’re looking at you, Port Orleans Riverside), these middle-of-the-road Disney World resort hotels are more conveniently located and have better pools and other perks than the value resorts without the sticker shock of the deluxe resorts. That’s what we call a winning combination for folks traveling as a family. Here are our picks for the best moderate resorts at Disney World for families with kids.
1. Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
Experience the romance of the Old South with a stay at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside. This picturesque Disney resort transports you to another era as you stroll beneath its Spanish moss-drenched trees and past its manicured gardens. But the Southern hospitality doesn’t end there. Let’s dive into some of the unique features that make Port Orleans Riverside an excellent choice for families.
For a truly magical experience, book one of the hotel’s Royal Guestrooms. These enchanting accommodations are hosted by Princess Tiana and feature design details inspired by classic Disney movies like Aladdin, Beauty & the Beast, Princess and the Frog and more. Each room is adorned with regal touches like artwork showcasing your favorite Disney Princesses in their royal attire.
Kid-friendly activities also abound here, like pole fishing, the Ol’ Man Island Pool and laugh-out-loud nighttime entertainment provided by Yehaa Bob at the River Roost Lounge. Dining options here are equally ideal for little ones, like Boatwright’s Dining Hall, a table-service restaurant serving up hearty Southern fare.
The only true downside to Port Orleans Riverside is its semi-inconvenient location. Part of the Disney Springs Hotel Area, this Disney resort isn’t really close to any of the theme parks. And, since Riverside and its sister resort, Port Orleans French Quarter, often share buses, you may end up stuck with an especially long trip, so Riverside tends to be the very last stop along the route.
2. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Set your vacation clock to island time at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, a massive moderate hotel with a pirate-themed swimming pool, tropical-inspired restaurants and a convenient location along the Disney Skyliner. This resort is perfect for families looking for an immersive experience in a lush, tropical setting.
Along with the inspired atmosphere, the Fuentes del Morro Pool is the highlight of Caribbean Beach. Designed to look like a Spanish colonial fortress and tricked out with water cannons, water slides and a shipwreck play area, this swashbuckling swimming hole offers endless fun under the sun. Feeling hungry? Satisfy your taste buds with flavors from around the Caribbean at one of the many dining options onsite. For casual bites, head over to Centertown Market, where you’ll find grab-and-go meals inspired by Latin and Caribbean cuisine or enjoy family-style table-service dining at Sebastian’s Bistro.
Another huge perk for families staying at Caribbean Beach is its convenient location along the Disney Skyliner. This allows for quick and scenic transportation between Epcot and Hollywood Studios, which makes getting to and from this Disney World resort a breeze.
3. Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Set off on a captivating voyage to entrancing Central and South America with Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, another of Disney World’s moderate resorts. This unique resort is perfect for families who crave adventure, culture and relaxation all in one place. With its captivating atmosphere, diverse dining options and one of the best hotel pools at Disney World, this Disney resort is a winner for groups of all sorts, including families with kids.
Without a doubt, the best part of Coronado Springs when it comes to little ones is the watery wonderland that is The Lost City of Cibola Pool. Complete with a replica of a Mayan pyramid and a water slide, this impressive aquatic playground offers endless entertainment for guests young and old. Going beyond the fantastic pool area, Coronado Springs also offers an array of activities that older kids (12 years and up only) will love, like the Colors of Coronado Painting Experience and Spanish Mosaic Art.
Dining options at this Disney resort hotel are also a delight. As Coronado Springs is a convention hotel, you’ll find a tantalizing spread of restaurants here offering a smorgasbord of options with south-of-the-border flair. And don’t worry if your kiddo isn’t a fan of Spanish cuisine, as kid-friendly options like burgers and chicken nuggets are also available. Unfortunately, similar to the All-Stars, Coronado Springs is also an Animal Kingdom hotel, meaning getting around Walt Disney World is slightly more complicated. So, be sure to factor that into your decision-making.
Deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World are the cream of the crop. Ideally situated right next to one of the theme parks (or at least very close by) and with enchanting extras like character dining, incredible pools and awesome theming to boot, a stay at a deluxe resort during a Disney vacation with your nearest and dearest can be downright magical. The only thing that puts a damper on the pixie dust? Their decidedly unmagical room rates. That said, if you can afford them, then these deluxe Disney World resort hotels will certainly take your family vacation to the next level.
1. Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Make your little one’s Disney dreams come true with a stay at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Nestled right across the road from Magic Kingdom, this deluxe resort is arguably the best Disney World hotel for families with kids—at least, if you have the budget to afford it anyway—thanks to its themed guestrooms, an all-day character dining restaurant and its unbeatable locations.
Kids will go crazy for the Contemporary Resort‘s recently reimagined guestrooms which now feature a touch of superhero flair inspired by Pixar’s The Incredibles. With unique artwork featuring characters from the beloved film and sleek furnishings, these Disney resort rooms are designed to make guests feel as if they’re part of their favorite superpowered family. The Contemporary Resort is also home to one of Disney World’s best character dining experiences: Chef Mickey’s. Helmed by Mickey Mouse and the rest of his pals, this all-day buffet offers approachable eats and tableside visits by classic Disney characters.
Another huge selling point of the Contemporary Resort is its enviable location. Not only can you see Cinderella Castle from right there in the hotel, as well as the Magic Kingdom fireworks, but the monorail actually runs right through it, making for either a fun view as you walk around the building or a magically convenient way to get and from the theme park.
2. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Escape to a kid-friendly tropical paradise at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Located just a short monorail ride away from Magic Kingdom, this South Seas-inspired resort features guestrooms inspired by the film Moana and some of the best table-service restaurants at Disney World, including a character breakfast.
Bask in island luxury as you stay in one of the beautiful Moana-themed rooms in the Polynesian Village Resort, which feature lively accent walls inspired by Maui’s tattoos and artwork styled after the movie. Then, enjoy a taste of the tropics at ‘Ohana, one of the most popular restaurants at any of the Disney World hotels. The eatery’s Best Friends Breakfast is not to be missed and features appearances by dynamic duos like Lilo & Stitch and Mickey & Pluto, as well as delicious Hawaiian-inspired cuisine.
Thanks to its location along the Magic Kingdom monorail, as well as options like water taxis and buses, using Disney transportation here is a cinch. And, not to mention, the Lava Pool, with its thrilling waterslide, is also likely to win the hearts of the kiddos in your group. In short, Polynesian Village offers everything you need in a Disney resort for an unforgettable tropical getaway.
3. Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Part of the Epcot Resort Area, it doesn’t get much more convenient than Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Themed to feel like a quaint seaside retreat in New England, this deluxe resort evokes lazy summer days on Martha’s Vineyard. At first glance, that description may not sound super kid-friendly, but after hearing about Stormalong Bay, the resort’s incredible pool, and Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast at Cape May Cafe, you might just change your mind.
For water babies young and old, the real selling point of Disney’s Beach Club Resort is Stormalong Bay. Easily the best hotel pool at Disney World, Stormalong Bay is like a pint-sized water park, with a lazy river, a 230-foot-long waterslide that also happens to be one of the tallest at any of the Disney resort hotels, a life-sized replica of a shipwreck and a sprawling sand-bottomed pool. Need we say more?
We don’t think so but allow us to go on anyway. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, the seafood buffet restaurant at Beach Club also hosts Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast, an all-you-can-eat extravaganza hosted by Minnie herself in her best beachwear. Needless to say, it is an adorable way to start the day that kids are sure to love. What’s more, this shoreside escape also happens to be an easy walk away from the World Showcase entrance of Epcot, making it incredibly easy to get back to your room at the end of the night or for a midday nap. Oh, and you can even see the Epcot fireworks from right there on the beach. And that, folks, is what we call Disney magic.
Sure, the theming here won’t win any bonus points from the kids. And yes, you could still enjoy many of the same benefits by staying next door at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. However, just like the name suggests, the Yacht Club feels much more buttoned-up than its beachy, laidback neighbor, in our opinion, putting the Beach Club in the running for the best Disney hotel for families with children.
4. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Take a break from the hectic theme parks and immerse yourself in bucolic charm and natural beauty with a stay at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, a deluxe resort styled after the grand national park lodges of the American West. This magnificent Disney resort transports you to the Pacific Northwest, with its rustic guestrooms, lush forests, bubbling streams and even a blustery geyser.
For kids, the highlight of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White, an elevated character dining experience with appearances by the likes of Dopey and Grumpy and dishes like Royal Prime Rib Roast and, for dessert, a “Poison” Apple. The Silver Creek Springs Pool at Wilderness Lodge is also sure to be a winner, with its 67-foot water slide built into the rocks.
Although a Magic Kingdom hotel, the Wilderness Lodge isn’t necessarily what we’d call convenient to the theme park. Although it is serviced by both water and bus transportation, the monorail doesn’t go here, which can be a challenge for those who would prefer to get back to their hotel as quickly as possible.
5. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Nestled right next to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, the Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of the more unique family-friendly Disney World hotels on our list. The rooms aren’t themed after any Disney characters, there’s no character dining, and while the pools are certainly nice, they’re also nothing to write home about. What Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge does have, however, is animals, and lots of them.
Without a doubt, the highlight of the Animal Kingdom Lodge for kids and adults alike is the savannas teeming with African wildlife that surround the resort. Think giraffes, zebras and antelope. Oh my! If you really want to splurge, you can even book a savanna-view room so you and your mini-me can see the animals hanging out from the comfort of your balcony. If that isn’t a magical Disney World experience for kids, then we don’t know what is! As an added bonus for the parents footing the bill, Animal Kingdom Lodge also happens to be the second least-expensive deluxe resort after the Wilderness Lodge.
On the downside, although it’s located right next to Animal Kingdom, getting to and from the parks can still be a hassle. On top of that, the restaurants here aren’t exactly ideal for picky eaters, as they serve up a mix of both African- and Indian-inspired flavors, and there isn’t any character dining. Having said that, there are certainly some kid-friendly options to be found. Plus, we don’t know about you, but being able to watch giraffes and zebras roam by outside the window as we eat at Sanaa definitely helps make up for that. All in all, if you’re a family of animal lovers who love trying new things, then we think the tradeoffs are more than worth it.
Kid-Friendly Disney Resort Hotel FAQs
Still not sure which family-friendly Disney resort is right for your next Disney World trip? Here are a few related frequently asked questions to help you narrow it down.
Which Disney resort has family suites?
Perfect for parents trying to stick to a budget, family suites are available at two of the value resorts: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and All-Star Music Resort. These spacious suites have enough room to sleep up to six guests and also come with a living area, two bathrooms and a kitchenette. If you’re looking for even more space and cost isn’t an issue, you can also book a stay at one of the Disney Vacation Club villas, which range in size from studios to three-bedroom units.
Where is the best place for kids at Disney World?
For those traveling to Disney World with kids, there’s no better theme park than Magic Kingdom. Offering the most rides of any other Disney World park (including plenty without height restrictions), there’s a ton to see and do here for everyone from toddlers to grown-ups, including fireworks, a parade, character meet-and-greets and more.
Which family-friendly Disney World hotel is most convenient?
If we had to pick just one, Disney’s Contemporary Resort would have to earn the title of the most convenient Disney World hotel due to its close proximity to Magic Kingdom, as it’s located just across the street only a short walk away. Not to mention, the Magic Kingdom monorail also runs directly through the resort, offering easy access to the theme park. Of course, the same can be said for really any of the Magic Kingdom hotels that sit directly along the monorail, including Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
Well, parents, that brings our guide to the best Disney World hotels for families to a close. Have you ever stayed at one of the Disney hotels on your list with your kiddos before? What is your pick for the best Disney resorts for families? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how you can upgrade to one of the moderate or deluxe resorts on our list with the help of our discount Disney World tickets.