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Disney World: Top 3 Resorts to Visit

When most people think of Walt Disney World in Florida, visions of Cinderella’s Castle, mouse ears, fast roller coasters and a hearty dose of Disney magic immediately rush to mind.

But much more than theme park fun, I recommend taking some time during your trip to explore some of the official WDW resorts, all of which are attractions in themselves.

Here are my top 3 Disney resorts to wander through:

1.) Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

The “Kilimanjaro Safaris” attraction is one of the most popular in the Animal Kingdom park. Driving through a replicated African terrain passing countless animals is really an incredible experience. There’s one downside though… it’s hard to take it all in before your vehicle continues along the journey of the ride.

For kids, animal lovers and photographers alike, be sure to make time for a visit to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Situated on a 43 acre wildlife preserve with over 30 species of animals such as the Zebra, Gazelle, Wildebeest, Giraffe, Impala and Antelope, it’s a special way to view the animals up close and at your leisure. There are viewing platforms and walkways, and cast members are on hand to answer all of your animal questions!

Up close and personal with a giraffe!

2.) Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground

After a full day in the parks, you’ll be ready to relax and enjoy a slower pace. Fort Wilderness, with tent campsites and cabins, is the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of the parks.

Visit at night, where lots of fun (and free) adventures can be had. You can roast marshmallows at the nightly “Campfire Singalong with Chip and Dale,” stick around to catch the outdoor movie or snag a lounge chair on the beach and watch the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom, complete with music piped in over the loudspeakers.

View of the Magic Kingdom Fireworks from Fort Wilderness

 

3.) Disney’s Polynesian Resort

If tiki torches and pina coladas are more your speed… the Polynesian Resort is the perfect place to escape the crowds and bask in the relaxing South-Pacific vibe. This was one of the original WDW resorts (it opened in 1971!) so it may not be the newest kid on the block. But with the tropical and rich vibe, it’s definitely worth a visit. Mostly due to my…

 

My TOP SECRET Disney Tip (shhh…)

As my parents and I have gotten older, it’s gotten harder for us to last the whole day park-hopping without a little downtime in the middle of the day. Since everything’s so spread out, it’s not always convenient to stop what we’re doing to go back to our resort.

So, on those days where we want to be rested enough to stay late in the parks, we take the monorail over to the Polynesian, grab a towel and a daiquiri and take a rest on the loungers. The beach is picturesque, overlooking the main lagoon and Space Mountain.

You still feel like you are participating in the Disney fun without having to go far to do so. Then, when rest-time is over, just take a quick boat ride from the Polynesian to the Magic Kingdom for both door to door service and a seriously great photo op.

Relaxing… I snagged a hammock!

 

The view from the Polynesian Beach

 

Those were my top 3… what are YOUR favorite Disney resorts?

 

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3 Responses to Disney World: Top 3 Resorts to Visit

  1. Mandy Kilinskis April 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    I like Fort Wilderness Resort a lot. As with everything Disney does, the theme of the hotel was rugged and outdoorsy everywhere. I went when I was younger with my parents and my brother and I remember that my brother and I had bunk beds. My parents were so thrilled that they didn't have to share a bed with us and we felt like it was an extra special adventure. So I'd definitely recommend it for families.

    My family also stayed at the Contemporary a lot. The sleek modern resort isn't as exciting for kids, but the monorail comes right into the hotel. So for easy transportation to the Magic Kingdom, there's nothing better!

  2. Packed Suitcase April 24, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    @Mandy I had the opportunity to stay at Fort Wilderness during my last visit to WDW and thought it was a great option for people wanting a unique lodging option. It just had a much more low-key and relaxed vibe throughout. It was really great!

  3. Anne April 24, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    Wow! That's perfect! I'm actually going to be there in 2 months and I can't wait for my Disney Vacation anymore.

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