It can get hot, hot, hot all year round in Central Florida. So, while Walt Disney World can be a ton of fun, during those sticky summer months (or heck, even in the middle of winter), one of the last things you probably want to do is wait in a crowded ride queue. Luckily, if you’re staying on property, one of the easiest ways to beat the heat is with a dip in the hotel pool.
Pools at Disney World boast immersive theming, fun slides, kiddie play areas, relaxing hot tubs, and much more, making them the perfect midday escape from the Florida sun. Although, while some Disney pools are overflowing with charm, others leave a lot to be desired. Read on as we dive into the best Disney World pools, along with some honorable mentions.
A Splash Course on the Disney Pools
Disney resort pools are popular hangouts for those staying on property, with guests wading through all day long. However, our favorite time to go for a swim at Disney World is during the middle of the afternoon when the temperatures are at their peak. Not only is this a great time to get a break from the heat, but the noontime theme park crowds as well. By the time you return to the parks, you’ll be cooled down, refreshed, and ready to take on the best rides that Disney has to offer.
All set to suit up? Here are a few things to keep in mind before we cannonball into the list of the best Disney World hotel pools.
What time do Disney resort pools close?
Pools at Walt Disney World resorts are open and available to resort guests all year long. Actual pool hours will vary from hotel to hotel and depend on what time of year you stay. Typically, Disney pools open to guests around 9am. Although, you may find that some of the larger feature pools open as early as 7am. Closing times generally range from 9pm to 11pm.
Keep in mind that a Disney resort’s main pool is only open while lifeguards are on duty, so you’ll never need to worry about your little ones slipping down a slide unprotected. Look at signage posted around the pools for their hours.
Are Disney hotel pools heated?
No matter if you visit in July or January, the water in the Disney pools is always heated to a balmy 82 degrees Fahrenheit, making for the perfect temperature to cool off during hot summer days or warm up during sweater weather.
Is pool hopping allowed at Disney World resorts?
As tempting as it might be to stash a swimsuit in your purse for your dining reservation, you can stop planning to sneak into the Disney World hotel pools now. Unfortunately, with only a few exceptions, you aren’t able to swim in Disney resort pools without a linked room reservation. So, pool hopping around the Disney World resort hotels is not allowed. Most of the time, the pools are gated, and you will need to scan your Magic Band.
That being said, there are a couple of notable exclusions to the no-pool-hopping rule. Guests staying at one of the Port Orleans resort hotels are free to use the pools at either location, French Quarter or Riverside, as are guests of the Disney All-Star hotels. Disney Vacation Club members can also visit the pools at other DVC resorts when there aren’t blockout dates in place.
Top 8 Disney World Pools
Raising a family of water babies or anxious soak up some vitamin D poolside? With next-level extras like zero-depth entry, elaborate details, thrilling water slides, massive hot tubs, and even a sandy bottom, these are the best pools at Walt Disney World.
Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
Can’t make it to Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach? Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Yacht Club and Beach Club resorts continuously tops the list as the best pool at Disney World – and with good reason. The sprawling 3-acre water park is filled with plenty of aquatic fun for everyone, making it one of the best Disney pools for families.
Orlando may be landlocked, but Stormalong Bay brings the beach to you with the help of a sand-bottomed pool, sandbar and buckets included. After sticking your toes in the sand, grab an inner tube and a life vest for a peaceful float down the lazy river or go for a serene soak in one of the hot tubs. Or, if you’re in the mood for adventure, explore the life-sized replica shipwreck instead where you can zoom down a 230-foot-long water slide (one of the highest at Disney World). And when they aren’t building sandcastles, little ones will like splashing around in the Shipwreck Pool or zipping down the pint-sized slide.
Copper Creek Springs Pool at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort
The Copper Creek Springs Pool at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge may not have all the bells and whistles of Stormalong Bay, but it more than makes up for it with its rustic, secluded setting overlooking Bay Lake. The main pool at Wilderness Lodge starts before you even get outside, with the pool’s namesake Copper Creek flowing from the hotel lobby, down a rushing waterfall, and into the pool below. As you’re paddling, you can even watch the resort’s Fire Rock Geyser erupt in the distance. Talk about ambiance!
Aside from an unbeatable setting amongst the pines, the largest of the Disney Wilderness Lodge pools features a 67-foot-long waterslide that cuts through some boulders, your choice of either a steamy or tepid whirlpool spa, and a play area just for the kiddos. After you’re done swimming, be sure to grab a drink at the nearby Geyser Point Bar & Grill, one of our favorite Disney bars.
Doubloon Lagoon at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
Guests may find a tranquil retreat at Stormalong Bay and Copper Creek Springs, but Doubloon Lagoon at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter brings the party. This Disney pool is like a Mardi Gras parade float made real, with its alligator jazz band on parade (we’re sure that Louis from The Princess and the Frog is waiting for an opening) and 51-foot-long waterslide. Slip and slide down Scales, a mighty blue sea serpent with a tongue for a slide, soak your cares away alongside your (Carnival) krewe in the hot tub, or let the good times roll at the aquatic playground.
Lost City of Cibola Pool at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
The Mayans may have been sun worshippers, but vitamin D seekers of a different kind will love the Lost City of Cibola Pool at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Part of the Dig Site complex, this adventurous pool inspired by Mesoamerican ruins is perfect for budding Indiana Joneses in the making.
At the heart of this Coronado Springs pool, an impressive 50-foot pyramid rises from the trees and overgrown vines to tower over the complex. With water rushing down one side, it’s an excellent spot to wash the theme park stress away. Or, for a trial by water, zip down the 123-foot waterslide inspired by a jaguar on the prowl.
The Dig Site is also home to a number of other outdoor activities like a 22-person whirlpool sauna, the largest hot tub on Walt Disney World Resort property, a kiddie pool, playground, beach volleyball court, and even the Iguana Arcade.
Unfortunately, due to the addition of the Gran Destino Tower without a pool of its own, the Lost City of Cibola Pool can get pretty busy. So, keep this in mind if you’re planning on spending a lot of time in the pool during your Disney World vacation.
Big Blue Pool at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Hoping to swim in one of the best Disney World resort pools but don’t want to spend the big bucks to stay there? The zero-entry Big Blue Pool at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort doesn’t just feature some adorable, larger-than-life theming inspired by Finding Nemo, it’s also the biggest pool at Disney World.
With supersized characters from the movies and the colorful underwater scenes sprawled over the outside of the surrounding buildings, you almost feel as if you’re surfing the EAC (that’s the East Australian Current, for anyone who hasn’t watched the film) alongside the little wayward clownfish.
Little dudes and dudettes can also have their own kid-sized fun at this Finding Nemo-themed pool. The Schoolyard Sprayground is a playful splash pad with plenty of jets to cool off under. And don’t let the name of Squirt’s Righteous Reef fool you – this playground is perfect for kiddos who prefer dry land.
Fuentes del Morro Pool at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Yo ho, yo ho, it’s a pirate’s life for me – or you, rather, at the Fuentes del Morro Pool at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Set sail for fun at this feature pool made to look like a colonial Spanish stronghold that could be hiding Captain Jack Sparrow around any corner. And while you can’t walk the plank, you can skim down 2 different waterslides, including one that stretches to 102 feet long. Just be sure to keep an eye out for the man-of-war cannons or end up soaked.
Although there are several pools at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, including 5 leisure pools, little swashbucklers will love scoping out the Shipwreck Water Play Area the most thanks to its kid-sized waterslides and a barrel that drenches unsuspecting kiddos. Adults, meanwhile, will enjoy zenning out in the 12-person hot tub. Afterward, unwind even further with a cocktail from the Banana Cabana pool bar next door.
Lava Pool at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is a literal tropical paradise, so it’s no surprise that the Lava Pool has landed on our list of the best pools at Disney hotels. The centerpiece of this Disney Polynesian Resort pool is a massive volcano (dormant, thankfully) and features a waterfall and a 142-foot-long waterslide through one of its abandoned lava tubes.
Little ones, meanwhile, will appreciate the beach-like zero-depth entry which makes getting in and out of the pool easy. Or for a bit more excitement, they can also go frolic in the Kiki Tikis Splash Play area, with slides and bridges meant for exploring by children 48 inches and below. Once you’re done exploring everything, while away the time in the semi-secluded whirlpool spa or refuel on something from the Barefoot Pool Bar.
What really sets this kid-friendly Disney hotel pool apart, however, is its impeccable location. Nestled next to the Polynesian beach overlooking Seven Seas Lagoon, this lush, watery wonderland even boasts possible views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks.
Samawati Springs Pool at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village
While you can find one of our honorable mentions over at Jambo House, the Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge pool at Kidani Village, the resort’s DVC property, is easily one of the best Disney pools for toddlers up to teens.
Uwanja Camp is the Samawati Springs Pool’s aquatic playground and contains 3 unique zones for everyone from the smallest of adventurers on up. The Observation Station is where little ones ages 4 and below can go to get their feet wet, with its gurgling geyser and wading pool. Kiddos between 5 and 7 years old will enjoy hanging out under the leaking water tower at Departure Zone, while explorers 8 years and above will love catching fellow swimmers unawares with the spray of the water cannons at Base Camp.
Of course, if you’re in the mood for something more mellow, you can also hang out in the main pool area which features zero-depth entry and a thrilling 128-foot waterslide.
Honorable Mentions for the Best Disney World Resort Pools
Can’t imagine having a vacation without a pool day? These next Disney World hotel pools may not be the best that the Orlando resort has to offer, but with laidback perks like first-come, first-served cabanas, over-the-top kiddie play areas, and more, they certainly get the job done when you’re feeling overheated.
Cozy Cone Pool at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
That’s right, there are not one, but two different Disney Art of Animation pools on this list. Although it isn’t the hotel’s feature pool, the Cozy Cone Pool is an excellent place to idle away the afternoon. Inspired by the Cozy Cone Motel, this Art of Animation pool is encircled by traffic cone cabanas and life-sized versions of Cars characters all backdropped by the majestic mountains of Radiator Springs. The kitschy cabanas are the obvious draw here and are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis.
Beach Pool at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
As the premier hotel at Walt Disney World, you’d probably think that Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa has a pretty decent pool. And you’d be right. Looking out over Seven Seas Lagoon, The Grand Floridian Beach Pool is a tranquil escape made for lazy afternoons. Natural springs are abundant throughout the Sunshine State (more than anywhere else on the planet, in fact!), and you’ll also find them at this Grand Floridian pool.
After entering from the beachy, zero-depth entry point that gives this pool its name, splash about in the Beach Pool’s bubbling “springs”, get soaked under a gushing waterfall, or just float around for a while. Kiddos will also want to visit the pool’s nearby water playground themed after Alice in Wonderland. Or, if you’d rather stay dry – and feel fancy doing it – rent a luxe cabana instead.
Ol’ Man Island at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
Remember ever going to a local swimmin’ hole over the summer or while on vacation? If you’ve ever spent some time in the country, then there’s a good chance you do. Well, Ol’ Man Island at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside feels a lot like that. This rustic refuge in the middle of the Sassagoula River is accessible only by bridge and is designed to feel like an abandoned sawmill. There’s even a 95-foot waterslide fashioned out of the millworks.
But that’s not all. This sprawling recreational hub also features a kiddie pool, hot tub, and the Muddy Rivers pool bar. When you’ve finished swimming, be sure to stick around for the Campfire on de’ Bayou or a Movie Under the Stars – two of our favorite free things to do at Disney World.
Uzima Springs Pool at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House
Without a doubt, one of the highlights of staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge is the incredible animals that call the resort home. So, it’s no wonder that one of the Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge pools is just mere steps away from some of the hotel’s feathered and furry residents. Enveloped by a canopy of trees with a zippy 67-foot-long waterslide, the beach-like, zero-entry Uzima Springs Pool is the perfect blend of adult oasis and kid-friendly fun. Then, when you’re ready for a break, walk over for views of the Uzima Savanna or the neighborhood flock of flamingos.
Luna Park Pool at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn Resort
Until recently, many people would probably be shocked to see the Luna Park Pool at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn on a list of some of the best pools in Disney World. Why you might ask? Well, let’s just say that its waterslide emptied out through the mouth of a somewhat deranged-looking clown and you can probably guess why. But with the removal of the clown near the end of 2020, this Disney BoardWalk pool is going to be a whole lot more palatable for those who might’ve given it a pass in the past.
Similar to Disney’s BoardWalk, this feature pool takes its inspiration from oceanfront destinations like Coney Island and Atlantic City, with nods to classic carnival attractions like the carousel-inspired Leaping Horse Libations pool bar. The star of the show, however, is the Keister Coaster. (Get it? Because you slip down this watery coaster on your backside.) Made to look like a wooden rollercoaster from the 1920s, the 200-foot-long Keister Coaster is arguably one of the best Disney hotel water slides.
Sandcastle Pool at Disney’s Old Key West Resort
There are few places that evoke the laidback spirit of Old Florida quite like the Florida Keys. That same carefree vibe can be felt throughout Disney’s Old Key West Resort, but especially at the hotel’s Sandcastle Pool. This island retreat features a whimsical sandcastle that’s home to a 125-foot-long waterslide – and a Hidden Mickey too.
When you aren’t zooming through the sandcastle, soak up the sun from the pool’s sand beach or sweat out your stress in the warmth of the dry sauna built inside a quaint lighthouse. There’s even a fun-sized pool for the kiddos to enjoy. When you aren’t cooling off, be sure to say hello to the resident pod of dolphins. Purely decorative, of course. If they were real, then this pool would be a whole lot higher on our list.
Well, all you sunbathers and swimmers, that wraps up our list of the Central Florida Disney resort’s best pools. As you can see, whether you’re looking for a thrilling waterslide, an aquatic playground for the kids, romantic ambiance, the laziest of rivers to float down, or a luxurious cabana to lounge around in, you’re sure to find it at one of these Disney World pools. But remember, with no pool hopping allowed, you’ll need a room reservation to do it. So, be sure to book your stay wisely.
To make the most of your Disney World vacation, maximize your time in the parks with our one-day plans for Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, or Hollywood Studios. Looking to maximize your budget instead? Save some cash with our discounted Walt Disney World tickets.
Have you tested the waters in any of the pools at Walt Disney World? Which is the Disney World hotel with the best pool or waterslide? Let us know in the comments!