5 over-the-top luxurious places to stay at Disney World
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Based on my personal experience, there’s no bad hotel room at Disney World. I love the cost savings of value resorts like Art of Animation and the All-Star resorts and I equally love the Victorian charm and Magic Kingdom views at the Grand Floridian. I’ve stayed in pretty much every type of accommodation Disney World has to offer … or so I thought.
Hidden in some Disney World resorts are lavish suites that most guests don’t know about. Some aren’t even advertised on Disney’s website – you’ll have to work with a Disney vacation planner or give Disney a call directly for pricing and availability.
From square footage larger than my first apartment to ultra-luxe amenities, here is a peek at the sweetest suites at Walt Disney World.
Wilderness Lodge Yosemite Suite
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge brings lush evergreen trees, rocky outcroppings, waterfalls and the overall natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest to sunny Central Florida in a way that only Disney can do. Indoors and out, the resort has a rustic feel, but the Yosemite Suite is anything but rustic.
The Yosemite Suite still brings the outdoors in with nature-inspired art, wood furnishings and floorings and muted, earth-hued textiles throughout. For the tried-and-true Disney fan, there are still a few understated Disney details, like sketches from the 1942 classic “Bambi,” hanging above the oversized soaking tub. All of this is thanks to a recent renovation that dropped the over-the-top cowboy motif for a more subtle lodge feel.
In the large, open living space, there’s a dining table that seats six, a small kitchenette and a cushy sectional that converts to a queen-size sleeper. The primary bedroom has a king bed and en suite bathroom with a walk-in shower and oversized soaking tub. There is also a connecting bedroom that adds two queen beds to the mix if you are travelling with a large group.
You may not be spending much time inside, though, with the furnished wraparound balcony that somehow offers a mix of pool, lake and nighttime fireworks views. If you do decide to leave your room, the Magic Kingdom is just a short ferryboat ride from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. And, if you can’t find your way into the Yosemite Suite, the nearby Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge will still scratch your over-the-top Disney lodge-themed accommodation itch.
Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Royal Asante Suite
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge celebrates the art, architecture, food, customs and, of course, wildlife of Africa. The resort is spread over 45 acres of savannah, where you can view more than 30 species of African wildlife either from your savannah view balcony or the hotel’s nature paths. Animal Kingdom Lodge is also home to gorgeous pools and some of Disney’s best dining (we’re particularly partial to the Sanaa Indian-style bread service).
The hotel’s Royal Asante Suite brings together the best of everything Animal Kingdom Lodge has to offer – from unforgettable savanna views to one very special piece of artwork you won’t find anywhere else at Disney.
The suite has two bedrooms, one with a wood-carved canopy bed and the other with two queen beds, a kitchen with dishes and silverware at the ready and a soaking tub with wildlife views in one of the two full bathrooms.
The entryway is decorated with African art and artefacts, setting the tone for what you’ll find inside. Highlights include a large circular living area with a thatched roof and fireplace and a wraparound balcony where you can watch zebras and giraffes and other animals while you drink your morning coffee (or run on the included treadmill). There’s art all over the suite, but the Mufasa mask from the Broadway musical “The Lion King” hanging in the living room is truly spectacular.
Polynesian Village Resort Ambassador Suite
The Polynesian Village Resort is one of Disney’s original opening day hotels, and it’s delivered a bit of South Seas ambience to the Orlando resort for 50 years. The Polynesian has received upgrades over the decades, but recently underwent a major renovation that brought the magic of Disney’s “Moana” to the resort. It’s also super close to Magic Kingdom, has one of the best pools on property and serves up copious amounts of Dole Whip (with rum, if you so desire).
The Polynesian’s Ambassador Suite was pixie-dusted with the same Moana touches as the rest of the resort, but it’s subtle. Think Maui as part of a lampshade pattern and characters hidden in colourful paintings on the wall. You’ll also find wood floors, natural wood furnishings and pops of tropical colours and patterns.
There are two bedrooms – one with a king bed and one with two queens – and each has a full bath with a separate tub and shower. Up to eight adults can stay in this suite if you use the convertible sleeper sofa in the living area. The living space also houses a kitchenette with a Nespresso coffee maker. What really blew me away about this suite was all the storage (can you tell I have three kids). The beds were elevated for suitcase stowage and there were ample closets and shelving. It was an overpacking mom’s dream.
Four Seasons Resort Orlando Grand Suite
The Four Seasons Resort Orlando isn’t technically a Disney-owned hotel, but it is on Disney property and it is the pinnacle of Central Florida luxury, so it easily earned a spot on this list. The property is hidden in plain sight near The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness and has its own spa, water park, golf course, fine dining and even a character breakfast. According to rumours, Four Seasons may have its own loyalty program on the way for points-savvy fans of the VIP hotel chain, too.
Four Seasons has a variety of suite types to choose from, including the option to buy out the entire top floor. I chose to highlight the slightly less palatial Grand Suite here because most travellers don’t need nine bedrooms on vacation (but if you do, now you know where to find them).
The Grand Suite is 1,700 square feet in size, with one bedroom, a large living and dining area with a kitchenette, one full bathroom, and a powder room for visitors. There is a queen sofa bed in the living room, but you also have the option of adding on additional connected bedrooms for larger travel parties.
The decor is mostly white with touches of soft colour and a few dark accents, giving the suite an airy, ethereal feel. The furnished balcony spans 250 feet and, thanks to its location on one of the hotel’s top floors, provides impressive views of the resort’s pools, surrounding woodlands and Disney’s fireworks.
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn Steeplechase Suite
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn overlooks Crescent Lake, but as you stroll the quarter-mile promenade with midway games, glowing golden strung lights and historic coastal architecture, it could just as easily be the Atlantic Ocean. Disney’s Boardwalk Inn perfectly embodies turn-of-the-century Atlantic City style and The Steeplechase Suite showcases that sentiment perfectly.
With plush furnishings, ornate details, marble bathrooms and an elegant-yet-inviting feel, when you step into the Steeplechase Suite, it’s like taking a step back in time. It’s the kind of place you feel like you should show up to with a trunk or two full of gowns and jewels in tow.
The suite has two bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, a spacious open living area with tufted chairs and sofas, a dining table and a kitchenette. The furnished balcony runs the length of the suite and looks out over Crescent Lake and the entire Boardwalk area – perfect for one of my favourite Disney activities, people watching.
Featured photo of the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Royal Asante Suite courtesy of Disney.
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