Thinking of heading to Walt Disney World in the next few months? This is the hotel I recommend for Summer 2021.
DISCLAIMER: I am by no means responsible for anything that could happen or go wrong on your vacation; these are just my opinions after years and years of vacationing at Walt Disney World.
While we are still coming out of the pandemic and Disney World is still slowly opening up resorts, attractions and dining locations, I would suggest the best possible hotel to stay at currently would be (assuming you’re a party of no bigger than 4):
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort
EVERYTHING IS CONDENSED INTO ONE BUILDING
Florida can be terribly hot and humid and there is nothing like getting off a Disney bus, all hot and sweaty from a super fantastic day at the parks and walking into ONE wonderfully airconditioned building providing not just your cool room, but gift shop, quick service and restaurants all inside. It is so super convenient to have all of this inside the same building for extra AC and to avoid the constant rain showers that Summer 2021 is bringing us! Not to mention the lobby is stunning and the rooms are gorgeous!
BOAT TO MAGIC KINGDOM
Having the easy 10 minute boat ride to and from Magic Kingdom really does make your vacation feel extra magical!
FIREWORKS VIEWS FROM SOME LOCATIONS AT THE RESORT
Summer 2019 was the first time we stayed at the Wilderness Lodge and we were surprised with a beautiful view of the Magic Kingdom Castle as well as fireworks from our balcony! Now that the fireworks are back you are sure to enjoy!
WITH MANY DINING LOCATIONS CURRENTLY CLOSED, MORE DINING OPTIONS AVAILABLE
Whispering Canyon Café has been open which is a delicious table-service restaurant if you need a change from quick service. Wilderness Lodge also has Geyser Point Bar and Grill which is an outdoor, water-view restaurant which is another great option to have. You can’t go wrong at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge!
AS A DISNEY WORLD DELUXE HOTEL ACCOMODATION, THE RATES AREN’T AWFUL AND WORTH IT
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge falls into the deluxe hotel categories because of it’s many amenities and for being one of the Magic Kingdom Resorts, but it isn’t nearly priced as high as the Contemporary, Grand Floridian or especially right now the Polynesian – if you ask for a standard view room. It is one of more affordable deluxe accommodations with many comforting habituations. Also this deluxe resort offers a slide at the main pool and there is a splash pad for the younger kids which gives you a little more to do at the resort.
Planning a summer vacation? Where are you headed this summer?! I would love to hear your plans and thoughts!
Let Me Help You Choose Your Next Walt Disney World Resort. Each week I will pick and write about MY recommended resort for the upcoming Summer months.
Depending on what time of the year you plan on vacation, what resort you pick can make a big difference on the comfort level of your trip.
Disclaimer: these are my personal thoughts and opinions, I am not in any way affiliated with Disney or paid by Disney – I cannot be held responsible for anything that may or could go wrong on your vacation. I have had 9 Disney World Vacations since 2006, and eat, breath and live Disney. I LOVE talking Disney.
YOU’RE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!!!!!
Heading to Disney World anytime soon or trying to decide for the following year?
Planning out your next Disney World Vacation but trying to decide which resort to stay with? I can help. It all pretty much depends on you, your traveling companions, budget and the travel party’s health.
Budgeting for a Value Resort?
Disney World has 3, well 4 “Value Resorts” to offer. There is Pop Century (most popular), The All Star Resorts and Art of Animation. The All Star Resorts are comprised of The All Star Movies, The All Star Music and the All Stars Sports. All of the resorts mentioned are very Disney themed and super fun! However they are the smallest of rooms on Disney property but the most affordable. Each has their own quick service food court and super fun themed pools. Art of Animation is considered “Value” because it is geared for families and the 2 double bed rooms in the Little Mermaid Section are the cheapest of rooms but the hardest to get, since there aren’t many. The Lion King section and Nemo section have family suites which sleep 6 people and have 2 bedrooms, but do not be fooled – you will be paying closer to the cost of a deluxe resort for these accommodations.
Traveling During Summer Months? Summer in Florida starts in May and ends around November.
Summer is approaching!
Something to keep in mind:
The Value Resorts are amazingly themed and so incredibly fun but they are not well shaded, and if you do not have a preferred room there is a possibility of having a long walk to your room. So if you are planning a vacation during anytime between the months of June through the end of October keep in mind it is going to be HOT. ALL of these resorts do not have much shade or trees so they are HOT. My family has found that when we travel to Disney during the summer months we try to avoid these resorts. With that being said, if you are traveling anytime between November through April these resorts are absolutely lovely and lively to meet your budget. If you can only travel between these summer months and are only able to stay at one of the value resorts (Excluding Art of Animation) I recommend spending a little more for a preferred room – it will definitely be worth it!
Art of Animation is considered “Value” because it is geared for larger families and the 2 double bed rooms in the Little Mermaid Section are the cheapest of rooms but the hardest to get, since there aren’t many. *NOTE* If you book a Little Mermaid Room, you will have about a *10-15 minute walk *OUTSIDE* from your room to the food/busing* and this extra walking can be tough when you are already putting in a lot of walking inside the parks and it is hot. During the Winter months, this walk may not feel as tough. At Art of Animation at The Lion King section and Nemo section, both have family suites which sleep 6 people (1 master bedroom, 1 murphy bed and 1 pull-out sofa) and have 2 bathrooms which is closer to the food and busing, but do not be fooled – you will be paying closer to the cost of a deluxe resort for these accommodations. We stayed in the Cars section in August of 2016 and while my children loved the resort it was a lot of hot extra walking in the sun and my kids ended up getting heat rash during that trip – it wasn’t the worst thing in the world but it was definitely easier the following year when we stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in 2017.
This week’s Hotel of Choice for Summer Travel:
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
We all know how quickly those summer Florida rainstorms fly in out of nowhere, it is nice to being lodging at a resort where all the rooms are condensed into 1 main building for convenience, ease and comfort.
It is easier to walk through air conditioned buildings than in the hot Florida summer sun.*
Join Chip and Dale at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge themed to the Pacific North West.
Once again Disney has outdone themselves with another massive and gorgeous lobby with impressive details in all of it’s architecture at the Wilderness Lodge, a Deluxe Resort. ***Avoid heat rash*** by staying here where inside the main building you will find your lobby, restaurants, gift shop and rooms – all while being inside the A/C. A small walk to the boat to get to Magic Kingdom and a quick and easy walk to Disney’s transportation bus stop. Having the boat as an alternate method of transportation makes it all the more magical. Boat rides tend to make it feel a little more like vacation getaway for me anyway! Wilderness Lodge is set to open fully in just a few months, June 2021!
This deluxe resort is the cheapest among the Magic Kingdom Resorts and is well liked by guests. Compared to value resorts: along with your quick service you have 2 additional restaurants plus a lounge. Furthermore, you have Geyser Point Bar and Grill offered as an outdoor dining option which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with a beautiful view of the lake and your typical pool bar with snacks and refreshments.
At the Wilderness Lodge we dined at Whispering Canyon Café where you definitely need to ask for ketchup! Inside joke here! The Whispering Canyon Café is an interactive western-themed experience with fun games and delicious food. Since I had booked this trip last minute we were not able to get a reservation at Artist Point which is Story Book Dining with Snow White and other characters.
Value resorts only offer 1 quick service dining location and pool bars (but no indoor lounge) per each value resort. At the Wilderness Lodge you also have boat rental access, and a lake beach area (no swimming) which again are not offered at a Value. All Moderate and Deluxe pools have a slide in their main pool. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge also gains EASY ACCESS to the surrounding resorts for dining options with the boat. You can actually take the boat to the Contemporary and walk through the Grand Floridian to the Polynesian if you wanted to!
When we vacationed at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge in August of 2019 our room had a beautiful view of the Magic Kingdom Castle and we were able to view the fireworks from our room! At any of the Magic Kingdom Resorts there are areas usually on the beaches where you can view the fireworks. It was a terrific surprise and an added bonus!
More than a resort… More than a vacation….
Each time we vacation at Disney we always choose a NEW sabbatical and that always gives us the feeling of a different trip. Each resort has a different vibe and theme creating a new exciting adventure! We NEVER have the feeling of “Oh we’re doing this again” or “its the same thing again” – its a new and exciting feeling of being in that Disney bubble, escaping reality and being pampered along the way.
For Future Post-Covid Times Stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge when it is fully open.
Become Whisked Away Into the Savanna by staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge in the Jambo House.
On a budget? No problem, do not book a room with a view of the Savanna to save hundreds. There are viewing areas all over this intricately designed immersive resort. Basically dropped at the door of the resort from Disney’s transportation buses, you enter into the lobby of the lodge you instantly view the breathtaking cathedral window and you are instantly immersed in the atmosphere, and blown away by the integrated thematic African decorative details and conveniently located award winning restaurants. In addition to everything being inside, the resort is a very shaded resort; even while waiting for the busing, no matter what time of the day you are NEVER in the sun! Considered a deluxe resort but when choosing a room with no views, it is more of a moderate resort pricing. Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jambo house offers an attractive dimly-lit ambiance with the smells of delicious food that radiates the hotel. What could be more magical then staring off into the savanna watching giraffes and zebra play right from inside your resort? Read my full review here of the Animal Kingdom Lodge! At this current time (March 2021) Animal Kingdom Lodge is not fully opened and operating to capacity – but hoping within the next year it will be! Keep checking for updates.
It is possible to stay in one of the DVC Villas at Jambo House or Kidani Village currently, but the resort itself is not fully open.
Disney Deluxe Resorts can be pretty pricey – you can always stay for LESS at a Disney World Deluxe Resort by renting DVC (Disney Vacation Club) points through an accredited DVC rental like http://www.dvcrentalstore.com and https://dvcrequest.com/ with David’s DVC Vacation Rentals.
ALWAYS CALL AHEAD TO CHECK TO SEE WHAT IS OPEN AND WHAT IS CLOSED AT YOUR RESORT OF CHOICE!
With current Covid regulations there is a lot more that is involved into going into planning your next Disney World Vacation and you need to have things planned out well in advanced.
Look out for my next recommendation coming next week!
This past August 2019, while we were vacationing in the World at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, for our second trip of the year, we were in a pretty good position and decided to upgrade to Annual Passes for all the perks!
It was pretty easy to upgrade, while we were in Magic Kingdom on the first morning of our stay we simply went over to City Hall on Main Street. It was so easy and of course the cast members are always so helpful. As soon as you upgrade you are instantly able to recieve merchandise dicsount of 20% in just about all of Disney World’s Retail Locations. The discount varys on the dining locations depending where you eat, but we always get the Deluxe Dining Plan, so we weren’t worried about using our discount there. You can however, get the discount on any snack or type of food at your Disney World Resort Hotel that is Disney OWNED and almost all the locations (if not all) throughout the parks, so if you are buying a soda or snack or even a meal out of pocket you will get a discount!
So if you are thinking about upgrading during your stay, I do not recommend waiting until the end of your trip because it actually will be activated on the first day of your trip and why miss out on that merchandise discount?!
The next best perk about being an Annual Passholder was the amazing discount that popped up when we were looking to go and arrive on New Year’s Eve and stay for a week. We got a huge discount at the Grand Floridian – it was bigger than what was being offered at Polynesian and Contemporary – and almost all of the resorts were booked up as well. We couldn’t pass up how much cheaper it was to stay at the Grand Floridian than at Polynesian which was our first hotel choice.
I wanted to make sure we arrived before New Year’s Eve so we wouldn’t miss the last Christmas Parade in Magic Kingdom which is on December 31.
So we flew down Monday night, December 30 after my husband worked half a day. We checked in for 2 nights at a Lagoon View and then checked out and checked into the discounted room from Wednesday January 1 and checked out Tuesday January 7. We definitely saved a few thousand dollars. So when booking with an annual pass discount definitely check on the different dates around your time of travel as well as what the different hotels are offering – hopefully you can be flexible!
We had family meet us one night in Disney Springs during our January trip for dinner, and we were even able to apply our APD to our family member’s dinner bill, which was fantastic. *Note, this might not always be the case but you never know where the Disney Magic may arise!* (They were able to park at our hotel and spend some time with us at the resort before we took the bus to Disney Springs – just let the hotel know in advance they are coming. Your company will need to povide some ID and they need your room number.)
A Disney World Annual Pass also gives you discounts at various hotel spas and salons as well as some entertainment inside of Disney World such as AMC, fishing, the Amphicar Tour at Disney Springs, Miniature Golf, Marina Boat Rentals, Bowling, Horse & Carriage Rides at the Resorts andmore. You can also receive a discount on some of the tours provided inside the parks! There is also a discount for purchasing Tables in Wonderland. I believe that provide a discount when you renew your AP around the time it expires (they might give you a 2 week window after).
Being a Disney World Annual Passholder also gives you a discount on most extra ticketed events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! Do your research.
Let’s not forget about Memory Maker! The Memory Maker is included in your Annual Pass purchase. *Even if only 1 member of your family purchases the Annual Pass, you still recieve all the benefits! Memory Maker includes all the photopass photos provided by Disney and the professional photographer photos (located throughout the parks,) those photos are added into your My Disney Experience App. You have access to all your Memory Maker Photos until your Annual Pass expires so you have time to download and store them. So unlike how each time you book a vacation you have to pay an extra fee to purchase Memory Maker, and Annual Pass includes it for every single visit.
We were hoping to go this July or August but sadly with the current world crisis, we aren’t sure if it will be safe enough to travel with our children and my diabetic husband. So if you were considering a Walt Disney World Annual Passes it might be a great time to save for 2021. I always believe good things are ahead! I hope you’re staying safe and healthy at this time!
When is your next Disney World Vacation?
If you have any questions please feel free to ask!