Choosing a Walt Disney World Resort is always the first thing on my list.
WHERE am I going to stay? What is going to make the best Walt Disney World vacation experience for me and my family?
Having stayed at most of the Walt Disney World Resorts, I know that a Disney resort is more than a place to sleep. It is a destination in and of itself, and our choice of resort has a huge influence on our family’s Disney vacation experience.
So how do you know which one is the best resort for your family, especially if you are traveling with young children?
Today, I am sharing my top 6 Disney Resorts that families with young children will love. Whether it is a once in a lifetime, or “another” Disney trip, I am sure any of these will appeal to your family!
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
This Disney resort tops my list for families with young children for a lot of reasons. First, the theming is spot on. You cannot deny the fact that you are at Walt Disney World, at a Disney Resort, if you stay at Art of Animation.
From the lobby, to the family suites, to the Little Mermaid shower curtains….this resort is themed top to bottom with your favorite Disney/PIXAR movies. I think that to really feel as if you are on a Disney trip, this should be one to consider.
The food court at Art of Animation is fantastic – one of the best Quick Service locations on all of Disney property. It also serves the Disney parks via buses, and will eventually service them via the new gondola system. The feature pool is visually exciting, and the small playground and splash play area is perfect for little ones.
Another point that makes this at the top of my list is the family suites. Each is themed after Cars, Nemo, or the Lion King….and you can choose your theme!
I think that a family suite, when traveling with young children, can be a great idea. You have enough space for the stroller, the pack and play and all the things that go with traveling with kids. Plus, you can easily put them down to sleep in one room while you watch TV, talk, etc in the other room.
Disney’s All Star Movies Resort
Typically, I am not a huge fan of the All Star Resorts. I know there are guests that love them, and they hit a great price point for families. However, I think the theming of Disney’s All Star Movies Resort is fantastic if you are traveling with young children.
If you stay at Movies, my recommendation is to book a Preferred Room. Not only does this put you closer to the main resort area, but it also gives you the possibility of being in the Toy Story section. This area is well themed, and is perfect for the Toy Story Fan in your family.
Another thing I appreciate about All Star Movies is that you can “pool hop” to All Star Sports (pool featured above) and All Star Music. I like this idea because it gives you a variety of scenery, and makes a fun day to spend at just the resorts.
All Star Movies has a very fun playground area for the kids. Also, who doesn’t want to hang out with a larger than life Buzz Lightyear or the Dalmatians?
Overall, the theming of this resort is what puts it on my list of Disney Resorts if you are traveling with young children.
Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort
While there are two Port Orleans Resorts, I think that Riverside tops out over French Quarter for several reasons.
First, Port Orleans Riverside is home to the Royal Guest Rooms. These are regal, beautiful, princess themed rooms with sparkling headboards and it makes for an extra special Disney experience.
Aside from Caribbean Beach and Art of Animation, Port Orleans Riverside is the only Disney resort that has specifically themed rooms. I think that they are muted, yet beautiful.
This makes a perfect middle ground for the family who wants fun theming for the kids, but also not the bright colors and immersive theming of the Value Resorts.
Port Orleans Riverside is also next to Port Orleans French Quarter. This means you can use the pools at both since you are a guest of one of them. I think that these each have a fun splash area, great pools, and a relaxing vibe to them. That makes the Port Orleans Riverside Resort a perfect option for families with young children.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Along the lines of Riverside, you will find Pirate themed rooms at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. This resort is beautiful, and offers a great experience not only for the little ones, but also the parents.
Plus, where else do you get to sleep in a Pirate bed?!
Aside from the amazing Pirate themed rooms, the kid’s splash area is fantastic. This splash area is composed of a pirate ship that pours out large buckets of water as the kids play.
The Caribbean themed music and dance parties at the pool are so fun for kids!
Not only does Caribbean Beach have fun Pirate themed rooms, but they recently refurbished most of the resort, making the dining options more appealing and the resort easier to navigate.
Plus, this fall, Caribbean Beach will be part of the Disney Skyliner system, making park access even easier! I also appreciate Caribbean Beach for its location on Disney property.
It is VERY close to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, so the bus rides to those parks can be very short.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort
The relaxed atmosphere here, combined with the total cultural immersion, and the ambiance….it makes it on my list of Disney resorts for families with young children.
I like that the resort is all contained within one building. I appreciate that, as we tend to work in an entire resort day on our trips. And, this resort is easy to navigate. Plus, if it is raining, you don’t have to go outside to get to your room, or the main areas.
Secondly, I think that this resort has the most unique, and family friendly resort activities. All of the Disney resorts have daily activities. But one thing I love about Animal Kingdom Lodge is the guides on hand to talk with you and your family about the animals.
Also, you can find African face painting, medallion rubbing, mask making, and tons more activities. It truly is a unique experience, and this resort feels like a destination in itself.
Another thing that makes Animal Kingdom Lodge perfect for families of young children, is that it is away from the hustle and bustle of the other Disney parks. You truly feel as if you are on vacation if you stay here.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Even though this resort is last, it is definitely one to consider for your family. If Magic Kingdom is a high priority for your family, then the Grand Floridian should be high on your list of resorts to consider.
Magic Kingdom is typically the park most families with young children visit the most often on their trips. So the proximity of this resort to Magic Kingdom is ideal.
The Grand Floridian is also home to two wonderful character dining experiences at 1900 Park Fare. If you want great options for that, and don’t want to leave the resort, then this is a good resort for your family.
You can find Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, Tigger, Pooh at breakfast. And then dinner is Cinderella and her royal step family. Aside from the dining, this resort also gives you easy access to the other Magic Kingdom area resorts, for other character dining experiences as well.
Some feel as if the Grand Floridian is “too fancy”, or “not family friendly”. Having stayed here twice, I 100% disagree with those. It feels special, definitely, with the Victorian decor, and the site of brides taking photos on the staircases.
However, this resort is as family friendly as all the Disney resorts. Being able to hop back over for a midday break before heading back to Magic Kingdom is fantastic. Plus, the pools are SO fun for kids. The Mary Poppins themed splash play area is super cute, and it is easy to watch your littles as they enjoy themselves in the water.
Have you stayed at any of these? Which one is on your “bucket list” for your next trip?