Your Guide to the Monorail Resorts at Walt Disney World

The three resorts surrounding the heart of Magic Kingdom; Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are among the most favored resorts within Walt Disney World property, but a popular debate among visitors is which resort contains the most magic. Here are some pointers while planning your next stay!

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa: Arguably the most luxurious resort on Disney property, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort offers amenities for the whole family! I recently traveled to Disney for my brother’s graduation and my family of four decided we would stay at the Grand Floridian. Upon arrival, the resort looked spectacular, a sprawling main building with the classic Victorian style, the sound of the monorail whooshing above our heads, the pleasant cast members waiting to greet us. The resort was fascinating, with 6 different buildings housing guests, three different pools, many dining accommodations, and a truly grand lobby. Unique to the Magic Kingdom resorts, walking outside from the main lobby to enter another building to get to your room seems to be a common theme. Although this is somewhat a nice feature, keep in mind Orlando receives a rain shower just about everyday. Walking in the rain is not as refreshing as jumping in a pool. The Grand Floridian has 3 pools on property. One is mainly a water playground for kids that can soak up the fun while beating the heat. The Courtyard Pool is a bigger pool with a complementing Courtyard Pool Bar. There is not much to this pool, just a nice relaxing spot to take a dip. The last and main pool is the Beach Pool. This pool offers a twisting slide and the Beach Pool Bar, a nice place to dine and drink poolside. This pool seems to be the most popular of all the pools due to the slide and the bar. Keep that in mind! The Grand Floridian is also home to many dining experiences. There are so many places to dine and unwind such as Citricos or the Garden View Tea Room. Reviews of these resort restaurants will be coming at a later date. Another major plus of this resort is its transportation to the Magic Kingdom. There are two quick and easy ways to jump right in to the magic. There is boat and monorail transportation that drop you off right at the entrance to the Kingdom. Transportation to the other parks is similar to the other resorts but for those Magic Kingdom lovers out there, the Grand Floridian is one monorail stop away. To sum this resort up in one destination it would have to be the grandeur lobby. Overall, a truly grand resort that is a must stay. Oh yeah, and they pump out the Happily Ever After fireworks show music on the dock, a beautiful viewing spot.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort takes you on a walk through Hawaii. The resort resembling a Polynesian village offers fun for everyone in the family. A relaxing feel, food amenities, two different pools (and an added kid area), 11 different room areas, and a beautiful view over Disney’s man-made 7 Seas Lagoon. When you walk through the main entrance and are greeted with smiling faces and leis, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve been transported to a different place. The two story lobby is home to ‘Ohana, Kona Cafe, Moana Mercantile, Tambu Lounge Pineapple Lanai, upon many more things. The Polynesian Village offers many food options and with two different bars, parents and and kids can enjoy themselves. This resort has two different pools which are fun and a good way to cool off in the harsh Orlando heat, but they are often very crowded and this doesn’t make relaxing poolside very easy. A nice add-on near the pools are the poolside bars where you can get something fast to eat and drink. Although the pools aren’t as relaxing, kids always seem to have a great time. Another downside similar to the Grand Floridian would be the hassle of walking outside to reach your room. With 13 overall buildings on property it makes it easy to get lost if you are new to this resort. My first time staying here, it took me a while to understand where I was. Although finding the room seemed to be a challenge, the rooms themselves were nice, although they were a little small. Even though this resort can be confusing, it is still beautiful and offers many things you cannot get anywhere else. The transportation to the Magic Kingdom is fast and efficient with the ability to ride the monorail or take a small boat across the lagoon. The Polynesian Village Resort is also the only other place to get arguably the best treat in Walt Disney World, the dole whip. This resort houses its own Dole Whip hut conveniently located right outside the main lobby. Disney’s Polynesian Village also overlooks the 7 Seas Lagoon with a beautiful backdrop of bungalows and Cinderella’s Castle. Overall, a great resort with a beachy feel and ranked number 2 on our list.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort: Disney’s Contemporary Resort provides guests with a unique lodging experience. The Contemporary is the only hotel in which the monorail enters the inside of the hotel. This is a very convenient feature as standing outside in lines during certain months can get hot or rainy. The Contemporary is also one of the only hotels that is in very short walking distance to the Magic Kingdom. The Contemporary is home to the famous Chef Mickey’s Restaurant which provides guests with a chance to dine with their favorite characters. The contemporary has 6 restaurants throughout the hotel and 2 bars/lounges. One of the unique features the contemporary has is the three, large gift shops located admist the hotel. The Contemporary is definitely one of the most bustling hotels with their restaurants, bars, shops, 2 pools, and indoor monorail stops. For Disney go-ers that are looking for a more upscale hotel experience, The Contemporary may not be the hotel you are looking for as it is probably one of the most crowded. The Contemporary has a main building, along with the South Garden Wing, and the Bay Lake Towers. Having a room in another building, results in a lot of walking and with the frequent rain storms in Florida, this can be very risky. Disneys Contemporary Resort is all together a fun, family oriented resort taking the number 3 spot on our list.

Price also becomes a factor while vacationing. The way these resorts are priced match up to our rankings. Disney’s Contemporary is just over $400, Polynesian just under $500, and the Grand Floridian topping off at $600. Now, these prices correlate to standard rooms without any deals. Although the Grand Floridian is my personal favorite, I believe it is smartest to stay at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. At this resort, you receive the most for what you pay.

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