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We always build in off park days into our vacations. It gives you a break from the go-go-go speed of the parks and a chance to see other parts of Walt Disney World property! This past trip, Mouselet 1 and 2 explored eleven resorts and had so much fun doing it. Here’s our list of the resorts you should explore, and why!
1, 2, 3. Monorail Resorts
We explored the three monorail resorts, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, and the Polynesian! These resorts are classified as deluxe resorts, meaning they’re the top resorts Disney has to offer. We started at the Transportation and Ticket Center and hopped on the resort monorail. Our first stop was the Polynesian.
Disney describes the Polynesian as “a celebration of the spirit of the South Pacific with an oasis of tropical palms, lush vegetation and so much more.” This is so accurate! Our favorite parts of this resort are the lobby, Trader Sams, and ‘Ohana! You can meet Lilo and Stitch at ‘Ohana, and hopefully Moana will be there in the future!
Next up, we took the monorail to the Grand Floridian. Disney describes the Grand Floridian as “Victorian elegance meets modern sophistication”. This resort is truly elegant, and you will feel like royalty when you step foot into the lobby! The Christmas decorations were up when we visited and were gorgeous. We also stopped at the boutiques on the second floor. Our favorite part was stopping by the wedding pavilion and seeing a couple riding away on Cinderella’s Coach! We also recommend eating at 1900 Park Fare, a character dining experience with Cinderella, her Stepmother, Stepsisters, and Prince Charming!
Our last stop on the Resort Monorail was the Contemporary. Disney describes Contemporary as “an ultra-modern hotel with award-winning dining, spectacular views and dazzling pools.” You might be surprised to find that the Contemporary is not as modern as you would imagine. However, the contemporary style is slightly different than a modern style, it instead is a depiction of what “modern” was in a certain period of time, and is frozen in that place. This design style features softer designs, focuses on unique line and form, and bright pops of colors. Our biggest recommendation is trying Chef Mickey. We love the buffet and meeting some of our favorite characters, and we’ve been going since we were kids!
We also bought this Chef Mickey Cookbook and made sure to sample all the different foods so we could decide what to make! These are trade chef secrets, and we have been having so much fun trying to recreate our favorite foods.
4. Wilderness Lodge
Next we took a boat from the Contemporary to the Wilderness Lodge. Disney describes the lodge as a “inspired by turn-of-the-century National Park lodges that celebrates American craftsmanship and honors the beauty of the untamed wilderness.” We loved the theming of the lodge, and the Christmas decorations were gorgeous here! The pool area and the indoor stream and waterfall are such unique designs, we definitely recommend checking out this resort!
5. Animal Kingdom Lodge
Many people get confused between the Wilderness Lodge and the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The Wilderness Lodge is much older, and was created before Animal Kingdom even existed. The Animal Kingdom Lodge is located on the other side of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve. Here you can have balcony views of giraffes, zebras, and more! There are also special viewing platforms that are open to all Disney guests. This is another deluxe resort, and it is truly gorgeous inside and out!
6. Pop Century Resort
We explored this resort on our first day in Orlando, and only stayed for a quick visit. Mouselet 2 has always been interested in the history of Pop, since finding out they left the beginning decades abandoned for many years. We loved Pop, especially for a value resort. We’ve also heard the rooms are amazing after the renovation! We took some fun pictures at Pop and loved looking at the pool! This resort didn’t wow us like some of the other ones, but if you have a longer trip we recommend checking it out!
7. All-Star Resorts
The All-Star Resorts were so much fun! We know there are mixed thoughts on the over-sized props, but we loved them. We walked through the Fantasia area, 101 Dalmations, and Toy Story! Our favorite was definitely Toy Story. Here, there are oversized props of Woody, Buzz, Andy’s Door, Little Bo Peep, and Rex! We took so many pictures here, and if we ever stay there this is definitely the section we’ll want to be in!
8. Fort Wilderness Campground
We checked out the Fort Wilderness Campground and walked along the beach before taking the boats to the other resorts! Mainly, we wanted to check up River Country (check out our article, we got to see part of it through the fence in 2014 and it was amazing). We walked to the front entrance and got some pictures of the front half of the park, which is still open to the public for Mickey’s Backyard BBQ. We also walked along the beach before boarding the boat! It was super convenient to park here and take the boat, and it gave us a unique look at the other side of River Country and Discovery Island! In the image below, look at the old docks to the swimming hole at River Country.
9, 10, 11. Disney Boardwalk, Beach Resort, and Yacht Club
After a busy morning at Epcot, we walked over to the Boardwalk from the International Gateway between the France and United Kingdom pavilion. There is another entrance to Epcot here, so we exited and then re-entered through the same spot. We walked around the loop, starting with the Beach and Yacht Club. The beach club has a more casual vibe than the yacht club, but we loved both. The highlight for us was looking at the amazing pools! They are very exclusive, and only resort guests can enter in the actual area. But, we stayed outside the fence and got some great pictures!
We also went into the lobby areas of each resort. Both had the Christmas decorations up, and the gingerbread houses were some of our favorites we saw. In the Yacht Club we found three hidden Mickey’s! If you want to know where they are feel free to reach out to us.
We walked the rest of the way around the boardwalk to check out, you guessed it, the Boardwalk! We were obsessed with this resort. There were old-fashioned penny games inside and the pool was themed after a boardwalk with a rollercoaster slide and carousel! We also grabbed some ice cream from the Ample Hills Creamery, and it was absolutely delicious. If we were going to stay in a deluxe resort, this might be the one we choose!
Wrapping It Up
That concludes our tour of the resorts! In total, we explored eleven resorts. It’s so hard to pick a favorite, but the Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Boardwalk are Mouselet 2’s favorites, and the Polynesian and Grand Floridian are Mouselet 1’s favorites! But honestly, we would love to stay in any of them! Staying on property has so many perks that when we have the chance to we would be fine staying anywhere! What is your favorite resort? Did we skip it? Let us know in the comments so we can plan our next resort tour!