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If you’ve yet to visit the Disney World hotels you’re considering for your next trip, how do you know you’re making the right decision for you and your family? Think about it for a moment. Comparing hotels solely by a short online description and a few stock photos can make you feel like you’ve made the right choice based on a smidge of idyllic information provided, but that scenario has led to a disaster of a time over and over again. Plenty of our readers have written in to tell us that once they arrived for their vacation, it was NOTHING like what they expected and they wish they had more experience built into their decision.

Wilderness Lodge

Some folks were looking for a lively atmosphere with lots of activities around only to be met with the polar opposite of their expectations. Others walked into total chaos of loud transportation and ginormous crowds which was definitely not what they anticipated when they opted to spend thousands of dollars on their trip. That’s where we’re ready to step in and help — you see, we’ve actually stayed at ALL of the Disney World hotels, and let’s just say, we’ve got thoughts!

Disney World takes pride in its extensive choices of deluxe category hotels which can include certain amenities like multiple transportation options to the Disney World parks and Disney Springs, table service dining options in addition to grab and go or quick service restaurants, spas, live entertainment, incredible pools, and even closer proximity to the theme parks. So it’s important to know where each of these Disney World deluxe hotels rank on a scale of totally chill vibes to absolute chaos depending on how you envision your vacation. Since we know them so well, we asked our team here at DFB to rank these hotels using the same criteria, and here’s what we decided!

Swan, Dolphin, and Swan Reserve

We’re just going to come out and say what you’re thinking — yes, these hotels DO exist at Disney World; they’re not a myth. They’re kind of our favorite hidden gems of hotels and that helps aid in their totally chill vibes.

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin

You’ll find three different options between each of them and they’re the only hotels on Disney World property where you earn (or spend!) Marriott Bonvoy points with your stay (hidden perks all around)! Each of these hotels’ rooms is pretty swanky — they typically have a little more room, and have a more posh, luxurious feel to them.

Swan Resort lobby

It’s a true added bonus that they’re the first ones we’re ready to snatch up when we’re visiting for our favorite EPCOT festivals, AND they’re afforded lots of the same perks as the main Disney World deluxe hotels. They even have their own food and wine festival that happens in the fall each year — which tends to pack a lively crowd with their unlimited food and beverage tickets!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Our entire team jumped at the chance to rank this hotel as one of the MOST chill in all of Disney World’s deluxe hotelsDisney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Animal Kingdom Lodge

Here it’s easy to get swept away in their easygoing pace, wake up to animals roaming the savanna, breeze by for a snack or meal at your leisure, and even jump into some fun activities where you might accidentally be learning about the animals who live at the hotel at the same time. It feels like no one is in a rush to be here and it’s easy to forget you’re actually at Disney World and NOT in an African hotel about to set out on a leisurely safari. (Bonus points to you if you’ve booked the Club Level rooms that include food and snacks for a more “all-inclusive” vibe).

Kidani Village lobby

Yep, the only thing we could find less chill about this hotel is that it’s so massive between its two buildings (Jambo House and Kidani Village) that there’s an internal shuttle bus running between the two intermittently. Between them, you’ll find different restaurants, more safari sights to behold, and even separate pools to explore!

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

This next hotel is also one of the most chill, and it’s easy to see why. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is inspired by national parks and natural landmarks that can be experienced when you travel out west.

Wilderness Lodge

Here your main building is modeled after a log cabin exterior with incredibly detailed woodwork, vaulted ceilings, and hidden details in its corner fireplace. And, with a short walk over to the Boulder Ridge building, you can even catch a glimpse of some of Walt’s prized train sets from his personal collection.


When you’re here don’t miss your chance to see the geyser go off throughout the day, l0unge around the leisure pool, and take in a quick bite at some of our favorite restaurants. But even with as chill as it looks, we’ve got to warn you about one thing! This hotel loses chill points because it is home to Whispering Canyon Cafe which could be quite the rootin’ tootin’ time if you’re not familiar with their dry humor, and rowdy atmosphere (stick pony rides included).

Disney’s Riviera Resort

Take in all the Italian and French influence you could put into a creative mind, and Disney Imagineers turned out the stunning Disney’s Riviera Resort! As the newest Disney World hotel, it’s one that you’re probably scrambling to try out for yourself, and we can’t blame you.

Riviera Resort

It’s a smaller hotel with a variety of room sizes —  making it an ideal option for truly anyone who’s looking for a relaxed, low-key vibe. The views from the tower are gorgeous, there are incredible restaurants right there on site, and you’ve got one of the quickest transportation options in the Disney Skyliner right at your door.


Here’s where chaos can take a turn — and it’s really got nothing to do with the hotel itself. This hotel is backed up to one of Disney World’s largest moderate hotels — Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Not only will you be banking to take the Disney Skyliner transportation in the morning and late evening when your feet are tired and achy, but so will hundreds of other folks too! Their hotel is knocking at your hotel’s doorstep when you stay here, so you’ll want to allow for plenty of travel time just in case.

Disney’s Old Key West Resort

Disney’s Old Key West Resort certainly fits the bill for a chill Disney World hotel. It’s a MASSIVE property and is the first of its kind designed to be a long-term stay for those visiting Disney World with Disney Vacation Club.

Old Key West

It’s also home to one of Disney World’s resident golf courses, boat transportation floating down the river to and from Disney Springs for added convenience, and almost feels like a little town of its own. A lot of the rooms here are built for groups including multigenerational stays which can add a lot of value for those who are ok with finding a healthy compromise for staying somewhere that will appeal to all ages.

Old Key West Resort | Deluxe Studio Room.

The only place you’re going to run into a bit of chaos is that transportation can be a bit frustrating. Since the hotel’s property is so large, there’s an internal shuttle that runs intermittently around sections of the hotel and to the front check-in building named Hospitality House. Additionally, the quick service restaurant here only provides for outdoor seating, otherwise, your dining option outside of cooking in your room’s kitchen is Olivia’s Cafe — also located at the front building.

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort

This next hotel is another large whopper that ranks in between chill and kinda chaos-y! Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort neighbors Disney’s Old Key West Resort and they both share a similar vibe. This hotel also is home to a huge Disney World golf course and is pretty expansive! It’s also themed like the Saratoga Springs horse race track in New York, so you’re bound to see some beautiful statues, portraits, motifs, and general nods throughout the entire hotel’s design and decor.

Saratoga Springs

But again, the chaos here starts with the same transportation woes just like at its neighboring hotel. The internal shuttle will bring you around the hotel sections and front building just like at Disney’s Old Key West Resort, but you’ll probably either end up cooking, headed to Disney Springs for dinner (depending on where your room is located to the main building), or eating meals in the theme parks.

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort

There’s also another piece of chaos to throw into the decision here and it’s that Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort is home to the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) preview center. This means folks will be stopping by from time to time to preview some of Disney World’s newest hotel room mock-ups, talk to guides about purchasing into the program or adding on to their existing memberships.

Treehouse Villas

If you’re not a fan of groups of people coming in and out around this area of the hotel throughout the day, then this might not be the hotel for you.

Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts

We’ve finally made it to the middle of the range in our chill to chaos ranking — are you still with us? GOOD! So, Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts are where you want to be if you’re someone who’s looking for a healthy mix of both! These sister hotels share a building with Disney’s Yacht Club toward the side outstretched by those chill Swan, Dolphin, and Swan Reserve hotels and Disney’s Beach Club outstretched closest to the International Gateway of EPCOT.

Disney’s Beach Club Resort

This hotel gets major chill points for being able to share the arguably best pool on Disney World property, Stormalong Bay which is themed like a shipwrecked pirate ship complete with a mast slide, sand bottom pool, and beach area where you can make (and totally wreck) sandcastles AND a lazy river!

Stormalong Bay

If you like the inside theming and decor of the hotel’s lobby and halls, you’ll swoon over the stunning interior of the hotel rooms!


The food here is great too, with lots to choose from between grab and go, quick service, full table service restaurants, and (by far our favorite pick) LOUNGES!

Full meal

But where it gets a little chaotic is everyone wants to be here — seriously! The hotel takes this so seriously that you need to scan your Magicband or room key to verify you’re a hotel guest of these two hotels just to enter the gate and swim. The activities here can get a little louder in the day with a rockin’ pool party, and since it’s close to EPCOT, it’s going to offer a decent view of the nighttime spectacular, Luminous: The Symphony Of Us which could disrupt you if you’re an early sleeper.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Aloha, you’ve reached Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort on our ranking! This hotel is heavily influenced by Polynesian architecture, culture, and food and ranks high on our list of favorite hotels pretty consistently. But, that’s because it knows how to have a relaxed time without taking itself so seriously.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

While there’s a true Hawaiian spirit that flows through the walls of this hotel and extends to its array of outdoor activities and beach areas, this hotel can get pretty chaotic because it’s easily crowded! Its proximity to Magic Kingdom, its tasty dishes at its various restaurants, and its rambunctious bar grotto make it an easy target for folks to swing by to explore the hotel.

Polynesian Resort

While the amenities of the hotel are just for hotel guests to enjoy, the beach area is typically inviting to anyone who wants to view Magic Kingdom’s fireworks from its shores (unless there’s a special event happening that prevents this). This can lead to some crowds if you’re not early to grab a spot and if you want to do dinner from its resident ‘Ohana restaurant, you’ll want to make sure to grab those reservations early because its two meals are typically harder to get into the later you wait.


This sometimes leads to folks stopping by to see about other people canceling on short notice for a chance to get themselves in or to see if there’s a waitlist option available.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

This next hotel really wants to be fancy and uptight, but we know it better than it does itself! Try as it might, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa might be our hidden party hotel at Disney World. If you’re finding yourself shocked at that statement, allow us to back up this argument a bit.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Sure, its incredible Victorian appeal has won over the hearts of many (including ours) over the decades of this proud hotel’s history, but she’s certainly no prude! That’s right — Disney’s Grand Floridian KNOWS how to party with flair and you’ll frequently catch live entertainment in its lobby, bustling interactive character meals at 1900 Park Fare, and stunning views of Magic Kingdom’s nightly fireworks!


If you’re someone who needs a little bit of both worlds to have the best vacation ever, this hotel is begging you to call it home!

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn Resort

Maybe you’re not totally down for a party during the day, but what if the nighttime is a different story? Then, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn Resort could be the best choice for you!

Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

This entire hotel is beautiful and inspired by the turn of the century look to the Atlantic Boardwalk but we mean this quite literally as you get a FULL boardwalk! This one kicks the chaos meter up a bit because it’s transformed at night from this quiet relaxed hotel to a romping party happening right outside your room!

BoardWalk games

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn Resort is a popular nighttime stop for those looking for something to see and do as they wind down their evening with midway games for prizes, and live performances, and is just steps away from a dueling piano bar AND dance hall! You won’t get more spirited than here!

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

If you’re shocked that Disney’s Contemporary Resort ranks the most chaotic on our list, you’ve probably never stayed here before. On paper, it’s an interesting concept for a contemporary-styled hotel complete with lots of amenities including a short walk over to Magic Kingdom or transportation by monorail. Its A-frame exterior and clean, sleek, design to its recently refurbished rooms give it an edgy and modern feel.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

But, there’s chaos hidden within its walls and, according to our team here at DFB, the absolute highest of them all! The interesting design and wow factor of seeing the monorail quickly subsides once you’re in your room and trying to get some sleep before your next park day only to be met by the squeaks and squeals of the monorail as it pulls in and out of the hotel building. While this doesn’t happen completely through the night, it can be a nuisance if you’re someone who likes to go to bed early (as transportation runs about an hour after Magic Kingdom closes which can be super late sometimes) or likes to sleep in a bit on vacation (since the monorails start transporting about an hour before the park opens –especially since its character meal, Chef Mickey’s, is a popular spot for early risers to see some characters right away)!

Monorail at the Contemporary Resort

So there you have it — our complete list ranking Disney World’s deluxe hotels from totally chill to truly chaotic! We hope we were able to shed some light on a few of the factors you might not have considered about your upcoming stay just yet, and ultimately make you comfortable with your preferred hotel.

We’re always keeping up with the latest news, updates, and more at Disney World and all of its hotels! Be sure to stay tuned with us at Disney Food Blog for even more!

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Where did your favorite Disney World hotel rank on our list? Tell us if you agree or not in the comments below!

The post Ranking Disney World Deluxe Resorts From Completely CHILL To Completely CHAOTIC first appeared on the disney food blog.