DVC Resort Reviews

Best Disney World Deluxe Resort Hotel

by JOSH on JUNE 3, 2010, www.easywdw.com

Quick Introduction to the Disney World Deluxe Resorts

Of the three Disney World resort classes, selecting the right Deluxe is the toughest choice.  Unlike the Values and the Moderates, the Deluxes have wildly different price points, ranging from $240 per night to $410 per night, and that’s just for Standard rooms in Value season.  Some Deluxes have as many as 20 different room categories with prices that top $2,000 per night.  Room sizes are also vastly different, ranging in size from about 340 square feet all the way up to 440 square feet for Standard rooms.  While 100 square feet may not seem significant on paper, in person it may seem like you’re adding an additional planet if your group consists of four or five people.  In addition, there are significant differences in resort layout, dining choices, transportation options, theme, service, location, pool size, and more.  I have ranked the Deluxe resorts in a number of categories to help you decide which resort is the best fit for your group.  Don’t be alarmed if your final choice is rated on the lower end of any of the categories because there is no such thing as “one size fits all.”

Also, be sure to read the full length reviews of the resorts you are interested in to get a better idea of what they offer as well as a list of the best rooms.  You can either click the highlighted links throughout this post or click here for a scrollable page with all of the resorts listed alphabetically.

Best Theme/Landscaping

1. Polynesian Resort

2. Animal Kingdom Lodge

3. Wilderness Lodge

4. Grand Floridian

5. Beach Club Resort

6. Boardwalk Inn

7. Yacht Club Resort

8. Contemporary Resort

Save for perhaps the Contemporary, all of the Disney Deluxe resorts have lush surroundings and immersive themes.  I have the Polynesian in first place because of the beautiful grounds, impressive Great Ceremonial House, perfectly-themed volcano pool, and lake-side white sand beaches overlooking Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom.  The Polynesian is one of the most relaxing, pristine resorts at Disney World.  The Animal Kingdom is in second place, but could just as easily take first depending on your own preferences.  Surrounded by 43 acres of African savanna and featuring the most remarkable lobby of any of the Disney Deluxes, the Animal Kingdom is a striking resort and the favorite of many guests.  Few other resorts in the world can boast panoramic views of 30 specifies of indigenous African wildlife and more than 35,000 native shrubs.  It’s an amazing place and an experience every Disney guest should take advantage of, even if you decide to stay elsewhere.

The Wilderness Lodge is a gorgeous, casual resort with a Pacific Northwest flavor.  It shares the beautiful Seven Seas Lagoon with the Deluxe Monorail resorts and has the feeling of being removed from the ruckus of Disney World while still being right in the middle of the action.  The Grand Floridian, Disney’s Flagship Resort, is decidedly “uppity,” yet accommodating and friendly with beautiful architecture, white sand beaches, and a Victorian themed lobby.  Guests looking for upscale surroundings (and price point) should strongly consider it.  The Beach Club Resort is the most friendly and relaxing of the Epcot-area resorts, offering a cool New England seaside vibe and a soft, welcoming color palette.  The Beach Club is the favored Epcot resort for families.  The Boardwalk Inn, themed like an elegant 1940s Atlantic City resort, features an impressive façade and an inviting lobby.  It drops substantially on the list of best themes because the resort itself doesn’t necessarily leave guests exclaiming “Wow.”  Its location right along the Boardwalk is definitely something special, but the resort itself isn’t as extravagantly themed as other Deluxes.

Coming in next to last is the Yacht Club, which isn’t necessarily an indication of an extremely lacking theme.  The Yacht Club is still a solid “B to B+” on a graded scale, but falls to seventh due to its somewhat pretentious tone that doesn’t appeal to some guests.  Anyone looking for a classier, upscale resort should consider the Yacht Club along with the Grand Floridian, but many families report feeling a bit unwelcome at the Yacht Club.  While I’ve never felt that way about the Yacht Club personally, it’s difficult to ignore the feelings of so many past guests.  The only Deluxe with a disappointing theme is the Contemporary Resort, which doesn’t boast much decoration at all.  While the structure itself is a technical feat on a grand scale, most guests won’t appreciate the bland, concrete architecture.  The inside of the resort is void of most things Disney and the industrial atmosphere seems out of place in Disney World.  On the plus side, the lake and Magic Kingdom views from the Tower rooms are spectacular.

Overall, the Disney Deluxe resorts are extravagantly and diversely themed.  It’s likely that more than one of the resorts will appeal to you and your group and you’ll want to take into consideration the other categories.  For some guests, the theme is the most important part of their resort choice.  While the theme may be vital to your vacation, I would still strongly recommend taking into consideration dining, transportation, room quality, and pool areas.  Suffice to say, you won’t be disappointed by the top choices in this category and the resorts at the bottom of the list have something to offer as well. 

for Best Layout, Best Pool, Best Dining continue reading here

Grandma Jaki's DVC Resort Reviews and Resale Opinions 

Old Key West Resort is a charming, residential style community reminiscent of Key West, Fl in the early 1900’s.   Its lush, mature landscaping, its waterways, woodlands, fairways and tropical landscaping are not only beautiful but add to the resort’s casual look.  Old Key West is located fairly close to Downtown Disney, which includes Pleasure Island and the Market Place.  In fact,  you can take a leisurely boat ride to Downtown Disney from Old Key West  and enjoy the scenery along the way.The villas are located in individual neighborhoods and are painted in pastel colors with Victorian architecture-very picturesque. Built in the early 1990’s. In the opinion of many of our customers  who purchased from us, it definitely has that “home away from home” feeling.In fact, they said , they made many new friends in their little community of vacationers.
How do you know what size unit to reserve?Just go to the point charts and determine what season you want to vacation and then look at how many points you will need and how that fits in with the  points you actually have.  You can stay in a smaller unit one year and save points for a larger unit the next year.   And, of course, your family size and comfort will also determine the unit size.    There are restrictions on occupancy so, sorry, you can’t just squeeze in as many people as you want!
Call me at  Toll Free: 866-544-2919  International: 001-407-877-2919  I love Disney!
A personal review written by Jaki Apetz.  Copyright  2007
The information contained above was personal observation and information taken from Disney publications.  Any error (or errors)  is unintentional.

Choosing a DVC Home Resort by Grandma Jaki

I am Grandma Jaki, the other half of ResalesDVC.com and Kinn is my son. (You have probably seen my picture on the website). Thought I would put in my two cents worth on this discussion about home base. Because most folks trade around to all the resorts to diversify their vacation experience, the only time it becomes an issue of wanting a particular resort over another would be if the motif or “style” of one resort suits your life style so much better than the others that you would actually be extremely disappointed if you could not go there every year and you don’t want to trade to the other resorts. You would then need the 7-12 months’ pre-booking over the other resort owners so you can be more assured of reservations at your home base. If you are not able to always book 7 months in advance, then it makes no difference where you own.

A little bit about the uniqueness of each resort. Saratoga Springs is like Saratoga Springs up north. It has the northern feel. It has a golf course. It is more like a large community apartment complex and you would need transportation to get to the parks as it is the one that is the furthest away. It is near down town Disney if you like to shop and enjoy the night life.

Old Key West was the first resort built and the rooms are the largest and it is the only resort where you can park your car in front of your unit. It has mature, lush landscaping and is designed after Key West Florida and has the real Florida look with light pastel colors and brightness. Nice pools, too. It has a boat that goes to Downtown Disney. It has the neighborhood intimate family atmosphere. You would need transportation to the parks but the buses stop there all the time.

Boardwalk is near Epcot and you can catch the little boat or walk over the bridge to Epcot. You have to park in a parking lot and catch an elevator to get to your room which has an inside down the halls entrance. Nice location near shopping and night life and you can pedal a bike around the boardwalk. Little more glitzy than the other resorts and appeals greatly to teenagers and adults if they like that style.

Beach Club is just across the Boardwalk and is quieter and you can walk to Epcot and to Boardwalk. It has a nice area for swimming for children which is the appeal for that resort. You also have to park in a parking lot and walk to your room.

Wilderness Lodge is a smaller resort and has the wilderness lodge look with heavy wooden beams and a darker decor. If you like the wilderness feel, then this resort has that. There is a big lodge with fireplaces, etc. (like you need a fireplace in Fla. Ha.) You have to park your car in the parking lot and walk a little distance to your room. One thing nice about this resort is it has a little boat that goes over to Magic Kingdom and has a little beach area for swimming.

Animal Kingdom is quite a distance from the rest of the parks and has the Safari look.

Beach Club, Old Key West, Boardwalk and Wilderness have a deed lease that expires in 2042. Saratoga expires in 2054 and Animal Kingdom in 2057.

To end this long essay, you are not buying a house to live in–it is a vacation –and you can change your locations any time you wish. Many people buy sight unseen and usually review Disney’s website and sites like ours that have info on each resort. You can see virtual tours on Disney’s web site. Hope this helps but the choice is yours of course. I have stayed at every resort except Animal Kingdom (been there but not overnight) and would be happy to discuss further with you.


A Day at the Boardwalk

Jaki had a wonderful time walking around the Boardwalk. All of her DVC resort reviews and Disney Vacation Club resale knowledge is first hand information. Her DVC Resales opinions come from 29 years in the timeshare industry and living 5 miles from Disney World for the past 25 years. She has seen Disney World grow from being basically just Magic Kingdom and The Contemporary Resort into the unbelievable Magical experience that is Disney World today.

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