Deciding on the perfect Disney World resort can be a significant undertaking, but it’s a crucial step in ensuring your Disney World vacation is truly unforgettable. Each Walt Disney World hotel is uniquely themed and designed to amplify your experience, immersing you in the magic right at the heart of it all.
Choosing to stay at a Walt Disney Resort affords you the opportunity to enjoy extended evening hours, granting you more time to discover the parks. Being an on-site guest gives you the advantage of priority access to Disney restaurant reservations, vast entertainment options, and getting around with ease.
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Finding The Right Disney World Hotel Fit
With over 25 distinct resorts, Disney World offers accommodation choices that cater to a wide range of budgets and tastes. However, this broad spectrum means that the perfect resort for one family may not necessarily be the right fit for another. Certain resorts regularly get less positive feedback due to factors like pricing, theme, location, and amenities.
While each person’s experience is certainly unique, let’s explore accommodations that have been continually tagged as the worst Disney World resorts.
Coronado Springs Resort
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, though appealing with its blend of Spanish, Mexican, and Southwestern American cultural themes, unfortunately finds its way onto our list of the worst Disney resorts. This sprawling moderate resort caters to a variety of guests, with rooms comfortably accommodating four people within a spacious 314 square feet.
Much like the Caribbean Beach Resort, one of the significant issues guests face here is the resort’s sheer size. With an internal shuttle service to help navigate the expansive grounds, it’s a clear sign of the challenges posed by its scale.
However, what makes Coronado Springs particularly distinct—and for some, less appealing—is its lack of Disney-centric ambiance. It serves double duty as a convention center, attracting a diverse range of guests beyond the usual Disney vacationers. Moreover, this non-Disney crowd can sometimes detract from the magical experience guests seek when visiting Walt Disney World.
On the flip side, if you’re seeking a haven from the bustling Disney bubble at the end of each adventurous day, this might just be the spot for you. Nonetheless, the combination of these factors contributes to Coronado Springs Resort’s inclusion on our worst resorts list.
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Despite being our first Deluxe resort to feature on this list, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa unfortunately has several aspects that can detract from its overall appeal. With its accommodations ranging from studios to grand villas, the resort gives off more of an everyday Florida apartment complex vibe than a unique vacation experience.
While some may find this homey atmosphere comforting, it might not be the exciting escape you envision for your Disney holiday. One of the major issues with Saratoga Springs, as with other resorts on this list, is its expansive layout. Getting to and from different locations within the resort can be quite a task. Not to mention, this deluxe resort utilizes buses as transportation, something you may want to consider before spending top dollar.
Additionally, Saratoga Springs Resort falls short when it comes to dining options, offering fewer choices compared to other Disney resorts. Also, if you’re traveling with children, you might also find that the resort doesn’t have as many child-friendly features, which could make it less appealing for a family vacation.
Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
Adding to the vibrant ambiance of Disney World, the All-Star Sports Resort has a unique appeal, especially for school sport teams competing in Orlando events. However, its ranking as one of the lesser favored Disney World resorts comes down to a few key factors.
Primarily, the resort’s popularity among school sporting events often leads to a noisy and bustling environment. If you’re seeking a tranquil, low-key sanctuary after a bustling day at the parks, this might not be your ideal choice.
The All-Star Sports Resort, a value resort, can comfortably accommodate up to four guests in its 260-square-foot rooms. Yet, it’s worth noting that these rooms can feel somewhat cramped for larger families.
On the brighter side, this resort is one of the most affordable options within the Disney World property. It also benefits from being the first stop on the shared bus route with other value resorts, guaranteeing shorter wait times and readily available seats. Despite these perks, the resort’s downsides tend to overshadow its advantages for some visitors, landing it a spot among the less favored Disney World resorts.
Disney’s Old Key West Resort
Disney’s Old Key West Resort shares a similar fate with Saratoga Springs when it comes to the downsides of its sprawling property. While an internal bus system does help with navigating the resort, the absence of elevators can be inconvenient for some guests, especially those with mobility challenges or bulky luggage.
Just like at Saratoga Springs, it’s worth noting that the only form of Disney transportation from Old Key West to the parks is by bus. If you’re considering a stay here, you might want to factor in the possibility of renting a car for added convenience and mobility.
Although the rooms at Old Key West, ranging from studios to grand villas, offer generous space, some guests believe they could benefit from a few updates. The resort’s relaxed and laid-back theme, reminiscent of a serene Key West island retreat, might not resonate with everyone, particularly families with young children who might be expecting a more Disney-themed atmosphere.
While Old Key West has a unique charm that appeals to many guests seeking a tranquil getaway, it’s essential to weigh these factors when deciding if this resort is the best fit for your magical Disney vacation.
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Disney’s Contemporary Resort stirs mixed feelings among Disney vacationers. For some, its sleek, modern design and close proximity to the Magic Kingdom are significant selling points. Yet, others argue that its high price tag isn’t warranted given its less immersive theming compared to other Disney resorts.
Many guests feel that the key advantage of the Contemporary Resort is its convenience for families with young kids, as it’s just a stone’s throw from the Magic Kingdom. However, if you’re seeking a unique, relaxing escape after a fun-filled day at the parks, this might not be your ideal resort.
Additionally, guests have reported a substantial noise level at the resort, particularly in the tower rooms due to Chef Mickey’s, a popular character dining experience located in the resort. Moreover, the lively ambiance and echoing sounds can seep into guest rooms, potentially disrupting relaxation and sleep.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is renowned as the crown jewel of Disney World and is known as the flagship resort. Yet, its royal status doesn’t always equate to guest satisfaction. While its position on the monorail line and proximity to the Magic Kingdom, along with dining options including restaurants such as Victoria & Albert’s, are significant positives, it has certain aspects that detract from its appeal.
Some guests find the Grand Floridian’s ambiance to be somewhat pretentious and formal, which can feel less welcoming, especially for families who are seeking a fun, relaxed environment. Moreover, a common sentiment is the resort could benefit from a refurbishment to infuse some modern flair into its Victorian-inspired decor.
Another significant concern raised by guests is the value proposition of the Grand Floridian. With room rates starting at a steep price per night, it’s surprising to some that many rooms are accessed from the outside, much like a motel, which doesn’t align with the luxury price tag or the high-end expectations guests may have. Despite its grandeur, these factors contribute to the Grand Floridian being on our list of the worst Disney World resorts.
Caribbean Beach Resort
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort might lure you in with its tropical allure, but don’t let the palm trees fool you. This moderate resort lands on our list primarily due to its sprawling size.
The sheer scope of the resort has been a persistent concern among guests. While the introduction of the Skyliner transportation system has somewhat increased its appeal, it’s not quite enough to catapult it off this list. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort has a notably complex internal bus system in place to help cut down on walking times to and from rooms. While this sounds beneficial, it also serves as a stark reminder of just how vast this resort is.
Rooms that comfortably sleep four to five guests within 314 square feet sound ideal, but another hiccup lies in the resort’s lack of elevators. This absence can pose significant difficulties for guests with mobility issues, turning their tropical retreat into a challenge. While there’s plenty to appreciate about the Caribbean Beach Resort, these factors make it a less-than-ideal choice for some vacationers, landing it a spot on our list of worst Disney resorts.
Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
Amidst Disney’s value accommodations is the popular All-Star Music Resort. Yet, despite its affordability, this resort often ranks lower for some visitors, largely due to its basic amenities.
Standard rooms at the All-Star Music Resort, akin to those at the All-Star Sports Resort, offer 260 square feet of space, a layout that comfortably accommodates up to four guests. However, while the resort’s larger-than-life music-themed elements bring a distinct charm, it’s worth noting that they may not resonate as much with children since they don’t directly feature Disney characters.
However, the All-Star Music Resort earns some redemption with its affordable family suites, a saving grace for larger families or groups aiming to stretch their Disney dollars. Providing generous space of 520 square feet, these suites sleep up to six guests and include a queen-sized bed, a queen-sized sofa bed, two twin-sized sofa beds, two bathrooms, and a small kitchenette. Thus, despite some of its shortcomings, the All-Star Music Resort may still strike the right chord for budget-conscious families seeking a bit more space.
Pop Century Resort
Disney’s Pop Century Resort, despite its solid reputation as one of the best value resorts at Disney, has a few drawbacks that land it on our less-favorable list.
Positioned conveniently close to the Skyliner station, this resort’s popularity has skyrocketed. The easy access to various parks provided by this novel transport system makes this budget-friendly resort an attractive choice for many Disney vacationers.
Nevertheless, there are some sticking points. Its rooms, mirroring those at the All-Star resorts, offer a modest 260 square feet of space. The recently refurbished interiors have done wonders to optimize this space, but it may still feel tight for some.
A common critique of Pop Century is its exterior aesthetics, which some guests have described as somewhat outdated and tacky compared to other resorts on the property. Additionally, Pop Century’s popularity often results in higher crowd levels, which could detract from the experience for those who prefer a more serene retreat.
Disney’s All Star Movies Resort
One of Disney’s budget-friendly offerings is the All-Star Movies Resort, which, while having its fair share of concerns, manages to pull ahead of its sister All-Star resorts.
Similar to All-Star Music, this resort has had a complete refurbishment, every 260-square-foot room now exudes a modern, contemporary aesthetic, reminiscent of the newly renovated rooms at the popular Pop Century Resort. Furthermore, All-Star Movies Resort delivers a delightful touch of novelty with its secret menu at the Roxy Quick Service Counter. Here, guests order through a retro viewfinder at the World Premiere Food Court, adding a sprinkle of pixie dust to every meal.
Elevating its appeal, especially for younger guests, are the larger-than-life Disney characters staged throughout the resort. This engaging element, though, comes with a slight caveat—some chosen movies like Love Bug and Mighty Ducks may not ring a bell for every child.
Another mixed-bag aspect of the All-Star Movies Resort is its position as the last resort on the shared bus system. While this means being the first off at the parks, it also translates to limited seating availability and potential wait times for the bus to arrive. Despite these minor inconveniences, the All-Star Movies Resort still shines brighter than some, proving that even the “worst” Disney resorts can hold their own magic.
Remember, everyone’s idea of a Disney vacation is unique, and what may work for one might not suit another. Take into consideration these aspects and think about how they align with your needs and expectations. In the end, the perfect Disney resort for you is the one that creates the most magic for your trip.
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