The first time we went to Disney World (WDW), we stayed at Port Orleans - Riverside, which is a moderate resort. During that trip, as I mentioned before, we purchased a time share. When we went back to WDW the following year, we stayed in the Beach Club Villas portion of the Yacht Club and Beach Club which is a deluxe resort. This year we will be staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which again is a deluxe resort. The other deluxe resorts are the Wilderness Lodge, Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Boardwalk Inn, and the Swan and Dolphin.
Since the Disney Vacation Club (time share) gives you points that you can use to purchase accommodations, it makes sense to purchase the most comfortable places available - places with a great deal of room, a complete kitchen, washer and dryer, and at least 2 bathrooms. Villas that are available to DVC members are also available to everybody else, but they are quite pricey.
The deluxe resorts offer rooms that are the same as other hotel rooms, but they offer more in the way of amenities and ambiance. Some of these resorts have the monorail system running through them: Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian. Probably one of the biggest advantages of the deluxe resorts is their close proximity to the parks.
If you check AllEars.net, you can see the listing of each of the deluxe resorts and what they offer, as well as photos and most current pricing. Click http://allears.net/acc/faq_hot.htm and scroll down the left side and choose a resort.
My recommendation is that if you are visiting Disney for the first time choose a moderate resort. They have a great deal to offer including a lot of activities right there at the resort. They have wonderful full-service restaurants, and the pools are spectacular. If money is not an object, choose a deluxe resort. I do recommend a villa. Having a bedroom for John and me that is separate from our children for the week we are on vacation is priceless, and we do enjoy all the extra room.
I like the idea of having a kitchen while on vacation. Some have said that while they are on vacation they don't want to cook. I understand that, which is why I buy items at the grocery store that are simple to prepare. We have cereal for breakfast. We may have pancakes one morning. Pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, etc., are items most likely to be served for dinner. Having a full kitchen with a refrigerator comes in handy at WDW where the meals you order at full-service restaurants can feed two people. So, unless you plan on splitting a meal, you end up with leftovers. A quick trip back to the room to put them in the refrigerator will ensure a delicious meal when you heat it up in the microwave at some point later in the week. We usually eat lunch in the parks because we are so busy enjoying them that we don't want to go back to the resort.
Some have also said, "I don't want to have to do laundry while on vacation." I understand that, too, but when you are trying to cut down on luggage or space in luggage in which to pack souvenirs it is convenient to do maybe 1 or 2 loads in the middle of the week and just wear those same clothes again later in the week.
So, have you made a decision as to where you'll be staying? Next time, I'll discuss airline reservations and car rental.
1. When should I go?
2. Where should I stay?