It’s time once again to take a look at inexpensive options in or around Walt Disney World to augment your vacation experience. Things that you might do on your own or with your traveling companions that are FREE or close to being free. Today we'll take a look at some of the fun and enjoyment to be found throughout the various Resort Hotels at Walt Disney World.
Like the theme parks, Disney’s resort hotels are all highly themed and beautifully maintained. Some of the resorts’ lobbies and public spaces are truly gorgeous. Just as the price level differentiates the hotel offerings and amenities, it can separate the level of thematic elements and detail – BUT – that doesn’t mean that only the Deluxe or Moderate hotels are worth exploring!
The Value Resorts (Disney’s All-Stars Movies, Music & Sports, Disney’s POP Century, and the newest value category resort Disney’s Art of Animation) all have their own unique stylings, and are well worth a visit. The over-sized icons, graphics and elements that convey the overall theme of each resort are beautiful, and great for photo opportunities. Some of my favorite design elements can be found at POP Century and All-Star Music!
As you move up the price chain, the level of landscaping and overall building design increases. All of the Moderate and Deluxe resorts, especially, have extraordinary theming and are well worth a visit. In the Moderate realm, Disney’s Port Orleans and Disney’s Coronado Springs resorts, and in the Deluxe realm Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Disney’s Polynesian and Disney’s Grand Floridian resorts do an exceptional job of utilizing theme appropriate-landscaping to augment and convey and evoke the locale and time period represented. Personally I feel that two of the Deluxe level resorts go well above and beyond exceptional in creating evocative environments, and fully immerse the guests into the environment being conveyed – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Both of these resorts are absolutely breathtaking.
The pools the various resorts are delightful: at Coronado Springs the pool looks like a Mayan ruin; Stormalong Bay at the Yacht & Beach Club includes a huge "shipwreck" containing a water slide, and is one of the largest sand bottomed pools in the United States; at the Wilderness Lodge follow the “spring” in the lobby and watch as it passes under a bridge, then cascades down a waterfall passing under another bridge, appearing to go into the pool and then down into the adjacent Bay Lake!; at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge-Kidani Village, there is an entire pool / water play complex known as Uwanja Camp where fanciful fountains, flowers and other devices spring to life dousing guests; at Disney’s Polynesian guests can slide down through a volcano! There are so many terrific designs just in the pools alone, that you’ll want to explore each one. (Note that pools are for use of the registered hotel guests
Each of the resorts offers an array of free or nominal-fee activities. Check the lobby upon your arrival to see if anything appeals to you. Some resorts even offer free tours, whether you are a guest of that resort or not, such as Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Grand Floridian and others (usually in the mornings, so get there early if you are interested).
If you are staying on property and don’t have your own transportation, simply use the FREE Disney transportation to get to your chosen destination. You won’t be able to get to a resort directly, but the journey is part of the fun, right? Take a bus (or boat, or monorail) from your resort to the nearest theme park, water park, or Downtown Disney, and then transfer to a bus going to the resort you’re looking for. Or if you do have your own wheels to get around, simply drive to your resort of choice and you can get a FREE 3-hour parking permit from the gate attendant. Now go out and enjoy looking around!