When you’re planning your family vacation to Disney World, you want everything to go right. The kids should love it and have a great time, you’ll be able to somewhat relax and enjoy yourself, and everyone can make great memories together.
However, traveling with kids can be hard. You are sure to run into many surprises during your vacation, and the ability of your kids to handle the craziness of the parks is something that’s hard to predict.
That’s why it is important to make sure everything you have in your control is securely set in place to get the most out of your trip. Once big factor is selecting which Disney resort to stay at. The following is a guide to the top three best resorts to stay at while visiting Disney World with younger kids.
Art of Animation Resort
Disney’s Art of Animation resort is the perfect mix of great amenities, interesting theming, good location, and relaxed feel. That’s what puts it at the top of the list as the best kid-friendly resort at Walt Disney World
The entire resort is themed after an appreciation for animation, and therefore features homages and content from many different films. The resort is large, and has four different themed sections and rooms which you could be placed in (or select, based on your room needs, availability, and request).
Each of these areas feature vibrant colors and larger-than-life sculptures of characters from their respective movies. The cheapest section of the resort is themed after The Little Mermaid.
This section is cheaper both because it is farthest from the main resort lobby transportation, and food, and because it has less impressive rooms with outside entry, while all of the other areas features an indoor hallway from which you access your room. That’s because the building was originally created to be an extension of the Pop Century resort across the lake!
The second themed area is the themed after the Lion King, and features large statues of Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa. This area is the only one without its own pool, though the main pool is nearby.
The Finding Nemo section is directly behind the lobby and adjacent to the massive pool, leaving its rooms to be slightly more expensive than the rest of the resort. The location also gives the closest access to food and transportation via buses and the Skyliner gondola system.
Finally, the Cars themed area features Lightning McQueen and his friends in full size, which make great picture opportunities. The rooms, of course, all match the theming of their associated areas.
The Art of Animation Resort is located near the center of the Disney resort, meaning travel times to different locations are kept to a minimum. Buses will take you to and from any area you want to be, and the Skyliner gondola is located in the center of Hourglass Lake.
Hourglass Lake separates the Art of Animation resort from the nearby Pop Century resort, which is themed after the decades from the 1950’s to 1980’s. The close proximity to another resort means easy opportunity to explore the area even more! There’s also a walking path all the way around the lake.
The Skyliner Gondola itself is a huge perk of staying at the resort. The Skyliner connect the Art of Animation resort to Hollywood Studios and EPCOT, in addition to the Caribbean Beach and Riviera resorts.
Not only is the Skyliner fun and offer great views, but it helps get you to and from the parks in a more consistent way.
Plus, it gives more options to explore other parts of the Disney resort! Short unplanned excursions around the resort itself and nearby areas are a huge benefit when visiting with kids, since you never know how much energy they’ll have and when you need to head back to the resort and get a nap. Furthermore the Skyliner is accessible by theme park approved electric scooter rentals.
Additional Kid Friendly Points
The main pool is absolutely massive, features fun characters to look at, and a splash pad for kids to frolic in. The pool bar and quick service restaurant being located just inside make it easy to spend time in, and plenty of spots are available to grab a chair and relax.
The smaller pools are nice to check out, too, so you can plan on visiting each area of the resort if you want!
The entire resort is extremely kid friendly because of the colorful theming. There is tons to look at and explore, making it easy for kids to feel excited and happy about.
Finally, the resort has the amenities to feel like everything is taken care of, but enough family-friendly appeal that you won’t feel self-conscious if your kids are loud or rambunctious. This can be a problem in many of the deluxe resorts.
The Caribbean Beach resort features theming based on all of the different Caribbean islands, from Jamaica to Trinidad.
The relaxed island feel combined with exciting places to explore (and expansive beaches) make the resort perfect for families with kids. Each area has a slightly different theme, though most are somewhat similar.
The only truly special rooms are the ones themed after Pirates of the Caribbean, which are sure to please any kids with a special interest in pirates.
The Caribbean Beach Resort is located in the center of Disney Property, meaning it has easy access to the entire resort via bus transportation. It’s also located at the center hub of the Disney Skyliner, which makes traveling to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios a breeze.
As explained in the Art of Animation section, you can easily hop from resort to resort to explore more that Disney has to offer. It should be noted as a detriment, however, that the resort is so spread out, many rooms are far from the main lobby and transportation.
Buses periodically travel around the outside of the resort, making stops near each room area to ensure guests don’t have to walk too far. This is convenient, but can cause small delays.
Additional Kid Friendly Points
Though the rooms and general feel aren’t quite as vibrant as the Art of Animation, a few factors make it particularly good for kids. For starters, the resort pool includes a water slide – which is an excellent way to keep kids entertained.
The pool area also features a hot tub, which adults will enjoy relaxing in to take some of the stress off as the kids play in the pool. The resort also has a designated island area for nightly movies.
Lastly, the expansive beach areas allow for kids to play around in the sand as adults relax on a hammock. Overall, the feel is much more laid back than other resorts, which can be a big perk to keep kids from being overstimulated from the parks.
Port Orleans includes two separate areas, Riverside and French Quarter. Both are beautiful and feature slightly different themes. Riverside is more focused on the beauty of the southern plantation homes, while French Quarter is based more on the streets of New Orleans.
The entire resort connects via a river that also has direct access to Disney Springs. Boats run all throughout the day, providing convenient transportation to and from wherever you want to go.
Generally, the theme is less glaring than many other resorts, but the entire thing feels amazingly quaint and relaxing.
Port Orleans is stuck in the Eastern corner of the resort, closest to Disney Springs. It still, however, has easy access to all parks via buses, plus the easy access to Disney Springs and the adjacent Saratoga Springs and Old Key West resorts if you’re looking to explore.
Additional Kid Friendly Points
The main pool at both halves of the resort features a water slide and hot tub, in addition to splash pad areas which are always a hit with kids.
The resorts also have lots of interesting things to see and do, including hopping on a horse drawn carriage ride or visiting the jazz lounge (which adults will love). The biggest hit at Port Orleans may be the food.
Both food courts have a variety of options, which is great for the kids, plus the French Quarter has amazing beignets.
These are sure to be a huge hit with the kids and adult alike! It’s a good idea to get them to go, then be sure to shake them in the bag to fully coat them in powdered sugar before enjoying! You also get one free sauce to dip in – I recommend the salted caramel!
All in all, these three picks top the list of best resorts when you’re traveling with kids. Though you can’t go wrong with any Disney resort, these picks are a great mix of fun amenities, theming, and more reasonable prices.
When planning out your trip, be sure to consider which one might be best for your family!