Families of four have it made at Walt Disney World – with literally thousands of rooms built with them in mind! In the past, larger families have had to get creative at Disney, or look at off site options.
But there are now more options than ever for larger families at Disney. Port Orleans Riverside is no longer the only non-deluxe resort with room for more than four. (Keep in mind that a child aged two and under can be a fifth person in a room for four.) Caribbean Beach has added hundreds of five-person rooms (baby makes six!), and All Star Movies and Art of Animation offer family suites for groups of six (baby makes seven!). And of course, with the exception of the Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge, all the deluxe resorts have standard rooms (with daybeds) that sleep five. There are other options, including a junior suite at Coronado Springs with room for six, plus DVC properties and deluxe resort suites where the nightly real estate is a lot more expensive. Here are five options that won’t break the Disney budget. (Standard nightly rates are given for comparison and don’t represent discounts discoverable by Mouseketrips!)
1. Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside has rooms with two queen beds and one child-size pull down bed. Note that these are not the Royal Guest Rooms with digital fireworks paintings over the headboards. They’re all located in the charming Alligator Bayou section (which may be closer to the main building, depending on the room assigned). One advantage for a large group at Riverside is the large food court, the Riverside Mill, with enough choices to please any picky palate. Additionally, the resort has a popular table service location, the lantern-hung Boatwright’s Dining Hall (dinner only). The large pool, Ol’ Man Island, has water features and a nifty pool bar; and guests are welcome to stroll down to visit the sea serpent at Doubloon Lagoon, at the French-Quarter end of this sprawling twin resort. The extended family can really spread out here! (Breakfast budget tip for a Brady-Bunch-sized family – bring along a really tasty loaf of bread from home placed in a shoebox for transport. The Riverside Mill has a toaster, butter, and peanut butter!)
2. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, at about the same nightly rate as Riverside (roughly $200 nightly), has the same type of accommodation for five (with a small fold-down bed). These won’t be their pirate-themed rooms, but are located throughout the resort with various views. Like Port Orleans Riverside, Caribbean Beach is a large moderate resort with a big food court and lots of seating. Caribbean Beach offers a table service restaurant with island flavors and tropical drinks called Shutters (dinner only). The main pool, Fuentes del Morro, themed after a Caribbean fort, will delight pirate fans.
3. Disney’s All-Star Music Resort might be considered a step down in charm and atmosphere from Riverside or CBR – as it is a step down in category (being a value rather than a moderate). But for a bit more money ($50 to $75 more than Riverside or CBR), you get a lot more space (about 500 square feet at an All-Stars Music suite compared to 300 square feet for a five-person room at a moderate) and can accommodate a sixth guest. And more importantly, you get the (huge) advantage of a second bathroom in an All Stars Music family suite. You also provide the family with a wide range of bed choices: one queen bed, one twin-size sleeper chair, one double-size sleeper sofa, and a twin-size sleeper ottoman. The food court is large and varied, but the resort has no table service restaurant. The pools are well themed, but there are no slides.
4. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort represents another category up in price (roughly $100 more than All Star Music suites). It offers slightly larger family suites (themed on Lion King, Cars, or Finding Nemo) with a queen bed (in a master bedroom), a double-size table bed (aka Murphy bed), and a double-size sleeper sofa. The room accommodates up to six adults. These are bright and airy with two full bathrooms. The theme-ing quotient is really high here. With the elaborate Big Blue Pool as well as beautifully themed quiet pools, this might be the best of the “big family” resorts for kids. Like the All Star Music suites, you’ll find a small kitchen sink area with a mini fridge.
5. Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort provides you with your very own Disney cabin in the Disney woods for about the same price as an Art of Animation suite (approximately $360). The cabins have a queen bed and bunk bed in the bedroom and a double-size sleeper sofa. Here you’ll find only one bathroom, but a large, fully equipped kitchen and comfortable living room (containing the sleeper sofa). You’ll need the kitchen because there is no enormous food court at Fort Wilderness (like those found at the other resorts with rooms for larger groups). You can also cook on your own deck (grill provided). Parking and unloading (and later reloading) is a breeze at Fort Wilderness, since your cabin has its own adjacent parking space. Otherwise, transportation can be a little arduous – you have to ride an inner bus loop to reach the bus stop with options for the parks and Disney Springs. Fort Wilderness is family activity heaven with horseback riding, sing-a-long marshmallow roasts and movies, archery, and bike rentals. There are also two very popular dinner events at Fort Wilderness: Mickey’s Backyard BBQ and the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue.
A final option that might be most economical for large groups is of course booking adjoining rooms at a Disney value resort such as Disney’s Pop Century Resort or one of Disney’s three All-Stars Resorts – which gives you room for eight. If you have nine in your party. For a family of 2 adults and 3+ kids, booking two rooms at these resorts will guarantee you 2 connecting rooms. If you have a little more pocket money, you might be able to justify a magical Treehouse Villa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs or one of the other fantastic villa resorts, although three value rooms would still be cheaper!
What is your favorite Walt Disney World Hotel for large families?