Oh, it’s a tough question. I’m not sure that I could ever choose my favourite Walt Disney World resort. I’ve often said that it’s gorgeous Animal Kingdom Lodge as I love the African styling, and the fact that you can see giraffes wandering outside your window. But then there’s the glorious Grand Floridian, and the quite incredible Contemporary Resort, and oh, I can’t have just one. I have to have at least five! So here they are, in no particular order, my top five Walt Disney World resort hotels: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
This absolute beauty oozes luxury and sophistication. It’s said to be designed in the style of the grand old Florida beach resorts of the 1800s/early 1900s. Someone once told me it was based on Hollywood’s famous Chateau Marmont, but though it possibly shares a Disney castle-shaped pointy roof and maybe a gable or two, it’s actually inspired by the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, California. The Grand Floridian is nestled on the shores of its very own lagoon (where you can hire boats – but be careful not to incur the wrath of the river police, who take their job – rightly – very seriously) and boasts the most amazing spa. It also has my favourite, favourite Disney World restaurant, Citrico’s, and has the best Christmas decorations ever, including a life size gingerbread house that is constructed in the lobby every Christmas.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge One step inside the breathtaking lobby of this amazing resort and you’re transported straight to Africa. If you’re lucky enough to stay at this incredible hotel, make sure you bag yourself a room with a balcony overlooking the savanna (actually four separate savannas) – over 40 acres of African wildlife reserve, so you can wake up and watch the giraffes ambling about below you.
The pool area, complete with water slide is amazing, and the rooms have breathtaking styling, straight out of an African game reserve. Carrying on the theme, Jiko, the signature dining experience, creates wonderful African food too. Disney’s Contemporary Resort Opened in 1971, the Contemporary was one of the two hotels originally opened at Walt Disney World (the other was the Polynesian Resort) and sits right next to the Magic Kingdom. I love everything about the Contemporary, from being whizzed in to the A-framed hotel on the monorail, to the rooms (the rooms are said to be the biggest of all the Disney resort hotels) and the incredible modern cuisine at The Wave, the resort’s very modern restaurant (they do a stonking breakfast in there too.) One of my favourite places is The Contempo Café, where they do the most AMAZING cupcakes. The chocolate peanut butter cupcake there was possibly the most heavenly cupcake I’ve ever eaten.
Talking of cupcakes, my gorgeous friend Dave was at Hollywood Studios recently and took this picture of the new blueberry cupcake with lemon cream cheese icing. NOM!
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort The Yacht Club is a slice of New England, walking distance from one of the most unique and beautiful Disney areas, the Boardwalk (where the Flying Fish, another of my favourite Disney restaurants, can be found, and my spiritual home, the Boardwalk Bakery – droolworthy cupcakes here too). This is a fabulously situated resort – you can walk into Epcot too – brilliant for when you want to watch the fireworks. The Yachtsman Steakhouse serves top notch steaks and has an incredible wine list and if you need to relax (or work off all that steak and wine) it has over 3 acres of beautiful pool areas and artificial beaches. Plus, it’s absolutely BEAUTIFUL when it’s all lit up in the evening with all the twinkling lights reflected in the water. Just incredible.
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort But hey, it’s not ALL about pomp and ceremony, y’know, Disney World Florida is well known for the FUN FUN FUN! And there is no better place to stay than the incredible Art of Animation Resort. The whole resort is a riot of colour and fun, with HUGE Disney characters dotted about. And in true Disney style, there’ll be nobody telling you ‘look but don’t touch’! The resort is split into four main wings: there are three family suite wings: a Finding Nemo themed wing, my favourite Cars-themed wing, and a Lion King wing, plus there is also a wing with standard rooms with a Little Mermaid theme. The suites are cleverly styled with amazing attention to detail and I just love everything about it. The pool even plays Disney songs under water!
So there’s my top five. Which is your favourite?