I’ve only personally been to a couple of the Disney World Resorts, but here are my personal reviews on them:

I would LOVE more personal reviews from readers – so if you have been to any of the Disney World Resorts (even the ones I’ve already mentioned), please fill out a review for me to use on this blog.

Port Orleans – Riverside

OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 5

LEVEL: Moderate

THEME: Feels like you just took a trip to the deep south in Louisiana

RESTAURANTS:

  • Table Service restaurant called Boatwright’s Dining Hall – they serve American/Cajun food (seafood, gumbo, etc)
  • Food Court – there are a few different stations that you can choose food from.  You grab your own tray, then go select food from the different stations, grab any sides/drinks from the coolers – then pay at the registers, on your way to the table.  One of my personal favorites from their food court is the create-your-own-pasta station – You choose the type of pasta, the veggies, the sauce & the meat, and they cook it all up right in front of you.

ATMOSPHERE:  This resort has absolutely gorgeous landscaping.  Anywhere you have to walk, you follow pathways through lots of trees, brooks, shrubbery, flowers, and more.  I think it makes it feel more cozy.  It’s not so open that you can see what everyone else is doing.

POOLS: There are a couple “quiet pools”, without a lifeguard & the busy crowds.  These are ideal for couples without children, or just a family that wants to relax by the pool.  The main pool area is on ‘Ol Man Island.  There is a very large pool, with a slide & waterfalls.  There is also a kiddie pool, hot tub, and pool-side bar.

ROOMS: The theme of room depends on what section you are staying in.  We have stayed in Alligator Bayou each time because they are the only rooms where you can have 5 guests per room.  They have a trundle bed that rolls under one of the beds that sleeps one extra – at no additional charge.  The decor includes beds that look like they are made out of logs/branches.  The last time we were there (April 2012), they were remodeling many of the rooms – one building at a time.  Some of them are getting a “Princess And The Frog” theme, incorporating decor that goes along with the movie.  Those new rooms also have their “extra bed” fold down from off of a wall.  Other features of the rooms are: double sinks in the vanity area, a curtain that separates the vanity area from the rest of the room, and a mini fridge.  There is another section called Magnolia Bend.  It is themed to look like it is part of a plantation mansion.

OVERALL PROS: It is very nice to be able to fit our larger family into the moderate resort room, without having to get two rooms, or upgrading to the next price level.  Our last trip, we even fit all 6 of us in the room, since my son was under 3 years old, therefore didn’t count toward our guest count.  Another pro was that it has the mini-fridge in the room, enabling us to stop at a local store to purchase milk & other cold foods to save some money on food by eating in the room for breakfast.

OVERALL CONS: We actually really like Port Orleans Riverside, so finding a con was a little hard, so this is a bit of a stretch – Since it is so heavily wooded/landscaped & the buildings look a lot alike, it can be a little easy to get mixed up or lost with finding your building.  Although, they do have directional signs placed along the paths, and after you’re there for a day or two, you become a pro of the grounds.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I love this resort.  It’s pretty, has great amenities & was a nice step up from the Value Resorts.  It does have a little walking that you have to do in order to get to where you’re going, but it isn’t terrible – and the scenery makes it more pleasant.  We would love to go again sometime, but we also want to try other resorts as well – plus, now our children are all over 3, so we need to have accommodations for 6 guests.  The fact that we could fit our family of 5 in one room was the main reason we stayed there twice.  It was a bit crowded the last time (having our 2-year-old in the pack-n-play they provided), but we didn’t even use the room very much since we were out and about most of the time.

Pop Century Resort

OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 5

PRICE LEVEL: Value

THEME: Each building is made to feature a different decade & the pop culture from them

RESTAURANTS/FOOD: Everything Pop Food Court – There are different stations that you can visit & choose the food you’d like, then pay for everything on your tray at the cash registers

ATMOSPHERE: It is very family-friendly.  Everything is very brightly colored and fun to look at.

POOLS: There are a few different pools, themed to go along with the era buildings they are near.  The main pool area features a larger pool, a wading pool, and a small pool-side bar.  There are no slides in the Value Resort pools.

ROOMS: The rooms here are your basic hotel room.  They have 2 double beds, a vanity area & a bathroom.  They are each themed to go along with the building that they are in.  Even though they are standard hotel rooms, they are still nicely kept, and perfect for a family on a budget.

OVERALL PROS: This is one of the newer Value Resorts, so it has more up-to-date features & decor.

OVERALL CONS: The fact that this resort has the most amount of rooms out of any Disney Resort also means that it can get crowded – especially at the bus stops.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: We enjoyed this resort.  It was the first time we stayed on-property.  It was very nice to be just a bus ride away from the parks & have a comfortable room to rest after a long day.  It wasn’t very fancy, but since we didn’t spend much time in the rooms, it worked out just fine.

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Those are the two resorts that we have stayed at (I did go to one of the All-Star resorts, but that was a few years ago & I can’t remember all of the details for a personal review).

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Pop Century Resort

Review submitted by reader, Chris Plant

Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Restaurant/Food Review: The convenience, speed and selection at the food court doesn’t completely make up for the lack of an on-site table service restaurant, but the food court is still pretty great.
Atmosphere Review: Very fun, kid-friendly theme. Bright colors, happy music playing and giant sculptures of things like big-wheelers really start to introduce you to the magic that is Disney World before you even set foot into the parks.
Pool Review: There are a few pools at this resort, all of them are pretty large with fun shapes. And chances are no matter which room you stay in you’re withing just a few minutes walk from a pool. The only setback is (and I could be wrong about this) I don’t believe the any of them are heated, so if you’re staying in the “winter” months it may not get quite warm enough to enjoy a swim. There is a bar right next to the main pool though, so it’s nice to grab a drink and relax by the pool.
Room Review: Being a value resort, the rooms here are definitely the on the low end of the Disney spectrum. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With Disney’s attention to detail and customer satisfaction, even the most uncomfortable room at a Walt Disney World resort hotel is probably on the same level as the best room you could get at a chain hotel like a Super 8 or an Economy Inn.The rooms are big enough for a party of 4, but last time we visited we brought my son (who was only 3 months old at the time) and his porta-crib took up just about every last bit of extra space we had.
Overall Pros: – The food court is GREAT! It includes tacos and burritos, Italian pasta, hamburgers and hot dogs, sandwiches, and there’s even a place to get a custom-made sundae.- The bus service is unbeatable. Out of the 2 resorts I’ve stayed at and the several I’ve visited nobody has more frequent buses. No matter how long the lines get, chances are you’ll be on a bus to wherever you’re going within 5-10 minutes.

– The check-in counter is very quick and as with ANYWHERE in Disney the employees are extremely polite and helpful.

– The gift shop is pretty large and has a lot of items you find in the parks, just in case you’re doing some last minute souvenir shopping.

– The PRICE!!! Disney is not known for being cheap (in fact quite the opposite), but staying at this resort was just as cheap as one of the hotels I’ve stayed at outside of “the World” and you get all of the benefits of staying at a Disney resort.

Overall Cons: – With a price tag so low, this is a very popular place to stay. Unfortunately that means that you can usually expect a line for the bus stops (which still manage to operate pretty quickly) and it can sometimes get noisy at night if your room is right next to a pool.- Even though the buses are quick to pick you up, this resort is kind of far from the parks so no matter what your destination is you’ll be on the road for a few minutes. At least it will be sitting on an air-conditioned bus instead of standing outside waiting in line.
Additional Comments: This resort is perfect for 2 kinds of families:
– a family trying to make the best of their Disney trip on a budget
– a family that doesn’t plan on spending much time at their hotel because they’re WAY more focused on the parksI usually fall into that second category myself, so this resort is usually perfect for me and my family. However, if you plan on doing a lot of swimming and hanging out around your hotel, this may not be your best option. It still has that special touch of Disney magic though, and it is a great place to stay!

Wilderness Lodge

Review submitted by reader, Andre Hernandez

Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Restaurant/Food Review: Whispering Canyon Cafe is alot of fun for old and young alike. Make sure you have one of the kids ask for ketchup. The Roaring Fork was a nice little place to grab quick food and that is where you filled your resort mugs as well.
Atmosphere Review: When you walk into the lobby of the lodge it is just amazing to look “up” and see how massive everything is. It is reminicent of exactly what you’d picture for the pacific northwest with of course no detail left to chance in true disney fashion.
Pool Review: pool was nice and quiet for the most part. we were there in 1997 and it opened in 1994 so it was fairly new and the villas were just barely a thought at the time. now they have multiple pools because of the addition of the villas.
Room Review: We did not pay extra for a pool view, so we were considered woods view but our room faced the MK so we were able to see the fireworks from our balcony. We had a queen bed with a bunkbed. the pacific northwest theme was maintained in the bedding, carpet, furniture, everything
Overall Pros: It is one building to you do not have to go outside to go refill your resort mug, or find food, etc. You can wander down in your socks at 2 am and have no issues. It also has a boat that takes you to the MK which was really nice.
Overall Cons: It is not connected to the monorail which would have made this resort perfect. Otherwise no other con that i can think of
Additional Comments: This was the first resort we ever stayed at and so it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Walt Disney World Swan Resort

Review submitted by reader, Andre Hernandez

Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Restaurant/Food Review: Anything from Shula’s steakhouse to the Garden Grove can be had here. We loved finding out on our first visit that there was character dining right here in our own hotel and i think it is a well kept secret b/c we have never run into crowds at the Garden Grove. Also the best sushi in Orlando many years running is right here at Kimonos.
Atmosphere Review: They remodeled from our first visit in 2000 to our second in 2001 and went with the heavenly beds which are very nice. The location of this hotel is what makes it great. walking distance to EPCOT and MGM.. it has boats that will take you to both as well if you’re not up for the walk. Access to the boardwalk also is a plus.
Pool Review: they have a dive in movie here at the pool which is shared with the dolphin hotel. it has a neat waterfall and grotto as well
Room Review: rooms were clean and then even better the second and third visits after the remodel. This is a Wyndham hotel and it lives up to the Wyndham standards very nicely
Overall Pros: Location, location, location. Plus they offer a very nice teacher discount. we also found out that the discount is offered to nurses as well. Rooms are limited on this special but if you can get the room for the discounted price you are getting a steal.
Overall Cons: I would not pay normal price for this hotel however if i did not have to. Not a true disney hotel so you cannot have packages shipped back to this hotel. You also cannot charge back to your room in the parks like with a normal disney hotel.
Additional Comments: I really like this hotel area, the Swan, Dolphin, Yacht club, Beach club and Boardwalk all are in a prime area with the boardwalk right there for evening entertainment and within boat or walking distance to epcot and mgm

Polynesian Resort

Review submitted by reader, Andre Hernandez

Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Restaurant/Food Review: Kona cafe… there really is nothing more to say. Ohana’s has a wonderful character breakfast that seems to be often overlooked so always easy to get in and the food is the same as any other Disney character meal. but since there are less people the characters seems to spend more time at your table. they also have this amazing dinner buffet that is very similar to a brazillian steakhouse where they just keep the meat coming to your table until you tell them to stop or get the meat sweats, which ever comes first. PLUS if you time dinner right you can request a table at the window and at fireworks time they dim the lights and pipe in the music for the “wishes” show and you get prime air conditioned seats which are very nice in the middle of a Florida summer
Atmosphere Review: The resort was going though a remodel when we were there but the south pacific theme rang through each and every building, the lobby and grounds. The buildings are spread out and they take you to your room in a golf cart built for 6 with room for luggage as well. We paid for garden view but if you do your homework there are specific garden rooms that do have lagoon views. Disney will not make any promises for getting these rooms but i’ve never had a request i’ve ever made denied in my 13 visits.
Pool Review: There was a quiet pool right outside our building that we used but the main pool which is very popular has the volcano and a zero entry pool that is great for the smaller kids. the beach here also has a GREAT view of the MK and of course the fireworks each night.
Room Review: Our room was very nice. It has just been remodeled and had 2 queen beds and a daybed so it slept 5 very comfortably. The south pacific theme was in everything from the bedding to the carpet to the art work. Our balcony offered us nice views of the lagoon and the contemporary hotel but was considered “garden view”.
Overall Pros: Monorail hotel so it is very easy to get to the MK and EPCOT. Restaurants were great, zero entry pool, could watch the electrical light parade on the water (which you can do from the Wilderness Lodge, Contemporary and Floridian also)
Overall Cons: Resort was spread out but if you do your homework and know what buildings to ask for this is not an issue. Very small quick serve restaurant for mug refills
Additional Comments: Probably my second favorite resort on property.

Contemporary Resort

Review submitted by reader, Andre Hernandez

Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Restaurant/Food Review: Chef Mickey’s is housed here of course and is the most popular of the character breakfasts. Mainly because you get ALL the characters in one place and they come straight to your table. The food is exactly the same as Ohana’s or Cape May’s, etc but it is the characters that you’re paying for. The restaurant that we miss the most is the Concourse Steakhouse. This restaurant was right next to Chef Mickey’s and had the BEST burgers ever. We have no tried the new restaurant that replaced it yet. The quick serve restaurant was housed in a different area and provided sufficient “fast food” items as well as the area for the mug refills.
Atmosphere Review: This is not a resort that we would have ever considered staying at except that we were on a quest to stay in each resort at least once and so the contemporary got its turn. The decor is “art deco” which we thought was going to be weird.. WE LOVED IT!! The is the A-frame building that everyone is familiar with but these can get loud early in the morning if you’re over the Chef Mickey’s area. There are also wings that go out toward the lagoon in back and this is where we stayed.
Pool Review: The pool is located between the two wings on the lagoon side and we did not get a chance to try it out b/c we were there in October and the weather never warranted a visit. It is heated as all Disney pools are and we saw quite a few people using it and there was always steam rising off the water so we knew that the water was warmer than the air outside
Room Review: The room is “art deco” themed but in a fun Disney kinda way. The room was equipped with two queens and a day bed which comfortably slept 5 people. Our room was very close to the bus stop (which was needed to get to AK or MGM) but an easy walk to the monorail. It was also close to the quick serve restaurant for mug refills
Overall Pros: Monorail hotel, walking distance to the MK, overall unique hotel.
Overall Cons: None that we noticed. If you get a bad room assignment I could see a con in the walking distance from the furthest wing rooms to the Main building
Additional Comments: For guests of the contemporary hotel you get access to the rooftop platform for viewing the MK fireworks show. I would venture to guess that there is NO match to this viewing spot. All the Disney deluxe hotels have a concierge available to you 24 hrs a day as most deluxe hotels do and they are a great source to use for things to make your trip “extra special” Like booking spa appointments for your wife at the Floridian, finding characters in the park that you want to get your picture taken with, or even doing your Christmas shopping for you when you arrive home from the trip and realize that you cannot find an item anywhere here that you saw there. I still have Al on speed-dial for when I need a Disney favor

Port Orleans – French Quarter

Review submitted by reader, Andre Hernandez

Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Restaurant/Food Review: Love the beignet place here. Each morning I would go get beignets and coffee to bring back to the room for my wife. The food court is laid out nicely and offers your typical quick serve fare as well as some nawlins favorites
Atmosphere Review: Mardi Gras themed hotel that is smaller than it’s “riverside” counterpart and as such requires much less walking to get around. We stayed at this hotel twice and both times requested the same building which was closest to the main building and food, but also had a nice short walking path to the bus stop. There is also the boat that takes you to PO Riverside and the downtown Disney area.
Pool Review: This pool has a sea serpent slide that the kids love and because of the smaller size of this resort the pool never seems crowded
Room Review: The rooms were decked out in your typical purple/green/gold Mardi Gras colors and theme that was included in everything from the artwork to the bedding to the carpet. There were two queen beds in the room and as i stated before, if you do your homework, there are certain buildings to request for a more enjoyable trip.
Overall Pros: Beignets!! much smaller than riverside, decent food court, boat to marketplace
Overall Cons: only bus service to the parks, resort does run quite a few specials so it will fill up fast which means full buses, but only one stop to catch a bus and first stop before riverside which means you can usually get a seat.
Additional Comments: Epcot is one of our favorite parks so we usually spend quite a bit of time there. This resort is only an $8 cab ride away so in the evenings when the bus queue is packed full, the taxi stand is right next to your bus queue, you can be in your hotel room in minutes for a song. Best $8 you’ll ever spend at Disney

I would LOVE to get some more personal reviews from readers.  Please take a few moments to fill out a review – fill up as many spaces as you can, for a more thorough review.  If you don’t have an answer for any question, feel free to leave it blank though.  Also, feel free to fill out multiple forms for as many resorts as you have been to.

If there’s already a review for the resort that you visited, feel free to give me your review to add – I would love more opinions.

Click here to fill out a review!

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