One of the first and most difficult decisions is where should we stay. Time after time that is the question I ask people first when I’m assisting them in planning their vacation.
The answers I receive range from it doesn’t matter to I only stay at such and such.
I feel that this does impact your vacation on many levels especially if you don’t have a car and are relying on Disney transportation to get you around.
First of course your budget does determine where to stay. I understand that are there are many options at all levels and sometimes going from one to another isn’t always as much as you might think. With that in mind you can always look at the vacation club rental site that I recommend or even look at Costco.
Second location does matter. This is important because some hotels are further from the parks which in turn would mean that you will be spending more time on the bus. This could add up to 2 or more hours per day. This is not as big of an issue if you have a car. Which sometimes is why I rent one while staying the park, there is a rental kiosk at the Dolphin hotel.
My favorite locations are the EPCOT resorts. First I like the proximity to EPCOT and to Hollywood Studios. Both of which I like to walk to its never more than a 20-minute walk to either Park. This location also gives you the opportunity to take the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom as well. So, the only time you would need to take the Disney transportation is to the Animal Kingdom. Examples are Boardwalk, Dolphin or Swan. My Favorite of these 3 is the Dolphin
Next area and this is the one that is most budget dependent would be the Hotels in the Magic Kingdom area. These traditionally are the Highest Priced Hotels and that’s because of where they are located. With that in mind budget always is important to me and I have only stayed at those several times. They were great but for me and my money I prefer the above Hotels listed for their convenience and price. Examples are Contemporary, Polynesian or Grand Floridian. My favorite of these 3 is the Polynesian
Third area Disney Springs area. I like these when I have a vehicle. The reasons these resorts are more spread out then the Hotels listed above and cost less which is always nice. If you are relying on Disney transportation you should budget on average 45 minutes in each direction. The only park you might not have to is Hollywood Studios. The buses for these resorts aren’t as crowded as resorts that I will list in the last area. Examples are Saratoga, Port Orleans and Old Key West. My favorite of these 3 is Old Key West.
Last area is the Animal Kingdom area. These resorts usually require the most transportation time except for the Animal Kingdom Park. Budget at least 45 for all other parks and even more if staying at any of the All-Star resorts. Example are Animal Kingdom Resort, Coronado and any All-Start resort. If Budget isn’t an issue then staying at Animal Kingdom at least once is great, if it is any All-Star is great especially if you have younger children.