I was 5 years old the first time I stayed on a Disney property. We camped for a week at the Fort Wilderness Resort. I remember campfires, taking a pontoon boat out to the islands and the boat ride to Magic Kingdom.
The ride to the Contemporary Resort was my most distinct memory. At the time, I didn’t know much about fine dining or hotel room pods. But, I knew three things.
- The hotel was exceptionally close to the Magic Kingdom.
- You could watch the fireworks from your hotel window at night.
- The monorail went THROUGH the hotel.
Amenities? Sure, all the best Disney World hotels have amenities. But in what world does a lazy river or a water slide or an ice cream parlor top a massive monorail running right through the hotel?
Subscribe To Our Newsletter
To see a list of current area deals, discounts and offers!
Which Disney World resort is the most kid-friendly?
Saying all of them are kid-friendly makes for a short and ultimately not very helpful guide, so I’m going to break them down as best I can.
But again, my kids would probably sell my wife and me for a week’s vacation at even the lowest-ranked hotel on the list.
Being ranked the least kid-friendly Disney resort doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your kids there.
For example, if you book a week at the Grand Floridian, your kids are going to have a great time. It’s just that a resort and spa are designed to accommodate clientele who don’t chiefly exist on chicken nuggets and Capri Suns.
Overall, Disney has four levels of resorts:
- Deluxe villas
- Moderate resorts
- Value resorts
The resorts generally try to offer the same level of experience with the tiers.
In other words, a stay at the moderate Coronado Springs will offer much the same amenities as a stay at one of the Port Orleans resorts. For example, they both have a cool pool area and waterslide. The chief difference is really in theming.
Of course, the deluxe hotels are more expensive than the moderate which are – generally – more expensive than the value resorts.
Also, if you’re going to shell out the money for Disney resort hotels, try to build a hotel day or two into your itinerary. These places are vacation destinations on their own.
As you make your Disney plans, remember to check Tripster for potential deals on multi-day visits to the theme park.
Remember, any pricing mentioned will vary by season and is subject to change. Without further ado, here are the best Disney resort hotels for kids:
The Contemporary is the original and still the best resort, in my opinion. Whether you get a standard room or pick the Bay Lake Tower Deluxe Villas, you’re going to have the Disney vacation of a lifetime.
If you can, get a room overlooking the Magic Kingdom and have the kids watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the balcony.
Also, character dining at Chef Mickey is among the best in the park.
When I priced a random weekend in the fall, the standard rate at the Contemporary was $545, but the theme park view was nearly $800 per night.
But – and I can’t emphasize this enough – there’s a monorail that goes right through the hotel. And if you don’t want to wait for the train, you’re within walking distance of the Magic Kingdom.
That’s the most kid-friendly amenity of all.
My kids liked the Pop Century immensely. It has Skyliner connections and its own line of bus transportation, so it doesn’t have to share.
The Hippy Dippy Pool is fun even without a slide. Also, the different era theming is fun. It’s a great jumping-off point for a Disney vacation.
The rate averages about $220 per night.
I love everything about the cabins, and there’s so much to do at Fort Wilderness. Indeed, this may be the best Disney resort where you can just hang out.
The campfire fire sing-along with Chip and Dale is a great – and free – nightly meet and greet. The cabins start around $480 per night, but they do sleep up to six.
Giraffes can be outside your hotel window on the savanna in the morning – if you pay the price – at this deluxe resort.
What more do your kids want? A standard view – that’s no giraffes – $450 per night when I priced a random weekend. Giraffe view? $624.
At an average of $1,330 per night, you could probably take your kids to Hawaii for what it would cost to stay at this deluxe resort located on the main monorail line to the Magic Kingdom.
Maybe it’s a personal preference, but the Polynesian is just cool. It has great character dining at Ohana and lots of cool stuff to see and do.
You can also have a cool view across Bay Lake of the Magic Kingdom. It’s not the view from the Contemporary, but what is?
With Skyliner access to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, this moderate hotel may be my personal favorite Disney hotel outside of the Contemporary.
We stayed there the most and had good luck over the years getting good rates – though it appears those days are evaporating quickly. I love the pool theming and everything about Port Royal.
The only downside? The design of the various hotel pods – each themed to a different Caribbean island – leads to a less-than-ideal bus transportation experience.
Still, at $307 for a standard room or $322 for a fifth sleeper when I priced a random weekend in the fall, it’s a great experience.
Technically a value resort, Art of Animation is significantly newer than some of the other value resorts.
Also, this cool hotel has Skyliner access and excellent theming. Your kids will love it. Get the Little Mermaid standard room for about $248 per night.
This is like the Fort Wilderness cabins, only fancier.
The lodge offers all the Disney Deluxe amenities, but it is a bit more expensive, on average.
I enjoy that the Florida theme parks celebrate the French Quarter and Mardi Gras so openly. I know when I think of kids’ vacations, I think of the French Quarter. This resort is a moderate option.
This moderate option is close to Disney Springs. Is that kid-friendly? I think that may be more parent-friendly.
At an average of about $330 per night, the hotel offers the Tom Sawyer-inspired Ol’ Man Island with a catch-and-release fishing hole, a swimmin’ hole and a sawmill slide.
The first of our moderate resorts on this list, the Coronado celebrates the blending of Spanish, Mexican and Southwest American cultures for about $320 a night on average.
The pool with its Mayan Pyramid waterslide is great. I docked points for “only” having Disney bus transportation options.
Disney has three All-Star resorts.
The three All-Star resorts have cafeteria-style dining options – unlike the more expensive hotels that have more traditional restaurants in addition to the cafeteria.
Also, the three All-Star resorts share Disney busing options which can make the post-park ride back to the hotel a little longer and certainly less kid friendly. Still, they come with neat themed pools sans a water slide.
Movies is ranked here because I think the kids like Disney’s movie theming better.
Also, it should be noted that families of five won’t be able to stay in a single room at the value-level hotels and will need a hotel that offers a family suite.
The rooms are advertised as sleeping four adults, but two adults and three kids are right out unless one of the kids is under the age of two.
We found out the hard way the price of a Disney vacation really jumped up after our youngest had her third birthday.
This is another of Disney’s value resorts.
They are fun, themed hotel options where you can allow your older kids to be a little freer to explore and not worry about them bothering guests whose vacation expectations may differ from your own.
The three All-Star resorts offer very similar experiences with different theming.
And, at roughly $165 per night, these are the most affordable Disney hotels which means you’ll have more church groups, school trips and sports teams.
However, the general vibe is a little more kid-friendly than the more expensive places.
This is another hotel with access to the Disney Skyliner – which is a super cool, kid-friendly amenity.
Kids can also meet their favorite characters at the resort’s Topolino’s Terrace.
This new deluxe villa resort has rooms that start at about $621 per night, depending on the season. Designed with an eye toward the French Riviera, the resort is new and hard to book.
Look, this deluxe resort is on the main monorail track to the Magic Kingdom. It’s beautiful and awesome.
In addition to being a spa, there’s a lot for the kids to do.
However, this is one of the Disney hotels designed more for the adult experience than the kids. It is also one of Disney’s most expensive properties, costing about $725 per night, depending on the season.
The Boardwalk Inn is in a deluxe spot close to EPCOT.
A standard room typically runs just over $550. I generally think of this level of experience as something more suited for teens than kids. But there’s a lot at these properties for your kids to like.
In the case of the Boardwalk Inn, it’s the insanely cool, carnival-themed Luna Park Pool with a 200-foot-long waterslide that harkens back to an amusement park of the 1920s.
Here is another of Disney’s deluxe resort properties located near EPCOT. This resort has access to Stormalong Bay, a beachside water park that offers 3 acres of aquatic fun.
Still, at roughly $513 per night, a lot of the hotel’s amenities aren’t what you’d call kid-focused.
I know when I think of kids, I think of Yacht Club.
This is one of several deluxe-level hotels. Even though it may not be a top destination for kids, it can still be a great destination for your family.
In fact, I think we could probably just vacation here for a week and never step off the resort property and have a good time, which is good because a standard room runs just over $500 a night (depending on the season) and you ought to get something more for that kind of expense.
While Saratoga Springs does offer deluxe villas, the regular room rate is a little more reasonable than some others at about $425 per night, which varies by season.
The Victorian-inspired hotel is modeled after a late 1800s New York retreat famous for its spa and horse racing.
Like all Disney hotels at this price point, it has a great pool and other amenities the kids will enjoy.
Is Disney kid friendly?
It may seem an odd question to ask, but Walt Disney World is expensive. There is a lot of it that caters to adults, and a lot of it that traffics in nostalgia.
Do you know a lot of 5-year-olds with expendable income and a heavy interest in nostalgia?
But no, despite any naysayers, Disney has remained chiefly true to its original mission – making massive amounts of money.
Wait. No. Sorry. Creating magic for the kids.
Disney remains possibly the most kid-friendly place on Earth. From the theme parks to the Disney World resorts, Disney is a place first and foremost for kids.
Are there places at Walt Disney World that aren’t kid friendly?
Well, sure. There are high-end restaurants and golf courses and expensive stores – all of which don’t necessarily cater to kids.
There are also bars and clubs and places to drink and dance, which despite what my father told me in 1980, are not kid friendly.
Which Disney theme park is the most kid-friendly?
It’s got to be the Magic Kingdom, right? It’s got the Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Dumbo, Small World and Peter Pan.
It has the most rides, and many of those rides are designed to provide fun for kids throughout our spectrum. The park also has great character meet and greets, parades and an excellent fireworks show.
Second, I would say Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You get Star Wars, Toy Story and the Muppets. Sounds like a place for kids to me.
Third would be the Animal Kingdom. The park doesn’t have a lot of great kids’ rides, but the animal experiences are right up most kids’ alley and the Lion King show is a real crowd-pleaser in the kid demographic.
Finally, EPCOT. Now look, EPCOT is a great place to take kids. From its Finding Nemo experience to the Frozen Ever After ride, there’s a lot to keep your kid entertained. There’s just more for teens and adults in EPCOT than in the other parks.
But as a note, I’m counting kids as young people ages 4 to 12 – even though Disney’s pricing system believes anyone over the age of 9 is an adult.
While we acknowledge in the real world anyone under the age of 18 – and some over – are kids, the demands of a 17-year-old can be significantly different than an 8-year-old or a 3-year-old.
Younger than four and you’re a toddler. Older than 12 and you’re a teen.
As you make your family plans, remember to check Tripster for discounts on park tickets.
What is your favorite Walt Disney World resort for kids? Let us know in the comments!