K.C. was a featured writer for Yahoo! Travel before joining trips to discover in 2013. She is the author of Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland, an Amazon bestseller every year between 2013 and 2016. She has been a featured expert on Newsweek, Travel + Leisure, Travelocity, among others.
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While Disney is most often thought of as a destination to bring the kids, there are plenty of adults who like to enjoy it too. It provides a fun escape from reality and often a sense of nostalgia, bringing back some of the best memories of childhood. But when it comes to where to stay, you might want something a bit different than when you were a kid. There are many Disney hotels to choose from, and while there are no adults-only properties, the options range from hotels that are like extensions of the Disney parks to those that feel as if you’re escaping to the beach, among other fun themes. These Disney hotels are some of the favorites.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is the place to go for luxury and to enjoy a bygone era with Victorian elegance. It’s also a popular Orlando resort for couples. The ultimate in relaxation, it’s home to the impressive Grand Floridian Spa, which includes a full menu of treatments, a beauty salon, and a health club ideal for indulging in after a long day at the parks or as a break between visits. Plus, it’s just one stop to Magic Kingdom park on the complimentary resort monorail, making it easy to come and go as you please. Enjoy a wide array of bars and restaurants and the nightly firework displays over Cinderella’s Palace before returning to an extra-spacious, opulent room with a flat-screen TV, mini-fridge, and Keurig coffeemaker.
Golf enthusiasts will want to book Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, which sits between a fantastic golf course and Lake Buena Vista near the myriad shopping, dining, and entertainment venues at Disney Springs, including its Bourbon Trail. Spread across 60 acres, it’s just a short shuttle ride to the theme parks, while the on-site Senses Spa offers a remarkable variety of treatments and has a gym open 24/7. Also included are multiple pools, tennis courts, bicycle rentals, and barbecue areas. There are many different room options but if you want something unique, choose a treehouse villa with standalone units set on stilts with views over the woods.
A stay at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn provides a relaxed, quiet setting along Crescent Lake, nestled between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, despite being in the heart of the hustle and bustle in the Boardwalk entertainment district. It includes all of the Coney Island-style Boardwalk restaurants like the ESPN Club and Trattoria al Forno, and Flying Fish Cafe, one of Disney’s best restaurants, along with fun nightclubs and bars, including Leaping Horse Libations at the pool. The Garden Suites are popular with couples, complete with full bathrooms that have a hot tub with a mini-TV to watch as you soak.
Disney’s Riviera Resort is a deluxe property, and popular Disney honeymoon resort, that was designed to celebrate Walt Disney’s love of Europe, so if you’re looking for something European-inspired, this is it. As a Disney Vacation Club property, there are many rooms that come with all of the comforts of home, ideal for extended stays when you want plenty of time to relax and live luxuriously in between visits to Disney. Accommodation options include studios, one and two-bedroom villas, and grand villas that sleep up to 12 guests. One of the standout features here is Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera restaurant, which was inspired by cliffside riviera restaurants and offers sweeping views over the property’s rooftops, along with a menu of handcrafted pasta, seafood, and meat dishes that can be paired with an impressive list of Mediterranean wines. There’s also a tranquil pool just for the adults, away from the noisier family pools.
Just a few minutes from Magic Kingdom along the monorail, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort transports guests to a lush world inspired by Walt’s childhood fascination with the natural beauty of Florida, including the lakes, rivers, and marshes in the central part of the state. It’s an exotic paradise with a South Pacific theme set around the edges of the man-made Seven Seas Lagoon. There’s boating, kayaks, fishing excursions, and other activities on the water that can be arranged through the resort’s Mikala Canoe Club. Plus, the Grand Floridian, one of Orlando’s best resorts, is next door, providing easy access to its lavish spa and high-quality restaurants. The rooms have a tropical theme, and most include balconies.
Despite being a moderately priced hotel, Disney’s Coronado Springs offers quite a few luxurious touches with a southwestern theme and one of the coolest pools in Orlando. As it has a large conference center, it attracts many business travelers. It includes a wide range of dining and drinking options, like the Rix Sports Bar and Grill, the Dahlia Lounge, the Barcelona Lounge, the poolside Siestas Cantina, the El Mercado de Coronado food court, Toledo for tapas, the Maya Grill, and the outdoor Laguna Bar. There are four pools and a health club with a spa and fitness center.
If you’ve always wanted to go on an African safari, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge may be the next best thing. As one of Florida’s most unique hotels, there are around 200 exotic animals here, including more than 30 different species, like zebras and giraffes, residing at the property, with meandering pathways overlooking the savanna for watching them. There are safari tours and field guides in the rooms too. Some rooms have balconies where you’ll have a front-row seat for gazing out at the wildlife. Plus, you can dine on African cuisine, sing along at the Festival of the Lion King, take part in exciting animal programs and view one of the country’s most extensive collections of African art.
While Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge transports guests to African savannas, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is Pacific Northwest-themed, inspired by the grand lodges in U.S. national parks around the turn-of-the-century, combining the beauty of nature with craftsman-style architecture. If enjoying serene nature walks along trails that wind through a pine forest with a creek running through sounds appealing, this Disney hotel might be for you. Enjoy Disney boat transportation to Magic Kingdom, beautiful outdoor pools, four restaurants, and outdoor grilling and picnic areas. The property is divided into three separate sections: the main Wilderness Lodge, Boulder Ridge Villas, and Copper Creek Villas & Cabins, all of which enjoy a peaceful setting with amenities like flat-screen TVs, iHome docks, mini-fridges, and single-cup coffeemakers.
As the name belies, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside is inspired by New Orleans, designed like an old town on the Mississippi Delta. Think plantation-style mansions nestled among bayous with meandering, magnolia-lined paths along the riverside. You can even enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride, an activity you’d only expect at a Walt Disney World Hotel. It’s one of the best value Disney properties, located at the eastern end of Walt Disney World Resort, with a free, five-minute shuttle that will bring you to Epcot Center. It has a large pool complex, a fishing hole for catch-and-release fishing, a scenic jogging trail, and a long list of boat rentals available, including kayaks, canoes, pedal boats, pontoons, and even slow Sea Raycer boats.
The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are ideal for anyone who wants a more tranquil setting, away from the hustle and bustle, with all sorts of activities you’d expect from a remote resort in the wild. It’s spread across 750 wooded acres just over four miles from Disney World, with a free shuttle service that will bring you to and from the park as well as Orlando International Airport. Guests can enjoy fishing, horseback riding, biking, hiking, and campfires with live county music in the outdoor theater. Other property highlights include a ranch with animals, two swimming pools, a restaurant, a snack bar, and a lounge. The rustic-chic cabins have decks with grills and picnic tables, free Wi-Fi, and full kitchens for making some of your own meals.
One of the original resorts at Disney World, Disney’s Contemporary Resort is set on 230 acres of garden grounds and nature trails, while the resort monorail runs right through the center. Guests enjoy jaw-dropping views of Bay Lake and a wealth of amenities. There are two outdoor pools, one that’s Olympic-sized and has a soft sandy beach, while boat rentals on the lake provide a scenic way to tour around Treehouse Point or reach Hollywood Studios. If you’re in need of some soothing relaxation for those sore muscles, massages are available day and night too. There are multiple dining options, and some rooms have fabulous views over the Magic Kingdom.
Disney’s Beach Club Resort is in an ideal location next door to Epcot for eating and drinking your way around the world, especially if you time your visit for Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, one of Florida’s best food festivals. lt also hosts a three-acre pool complex, Stormalong Bay, with a lazy river, a 230-foot-long water slide, and a sand bottom pool. When you’re in need of relaxation between days at the park, private cabanas are available for half or full days and come with a dedicated Cast Member for assistance, along with other perks like a stocked mini-fridge. There are multiple dining options, including a popular ice cream parlor, and you can work off all those calories at the on-site health club, which has a fully equipped fitness center and a spa. Next to it is a beauty salon that offers hair and nail services.
While Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is one of the value properties ideal for adults, it boasts the largest resort pool of any of the Disney World hotels, the massive Big Blue Pool that includes bar service and has speakers that play music underwater. The resort pays homage to classic Disney and Pixar movies and characters like The Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo and has a magnificent Animation Hall that showcases animation art. Multiple eateries can be enjoyed on-site, and the spacious suites with separate living rooms and kitchenettes with mini-fridges, sinks, coffeemakers, and microwaves.