Resort Hopping is a very popular topic among those planning a trip to Disney World, especially if you have some down days planned in between parks. It’s amazing how much the resorts have to offer and I encourage everyone to see as many resorts as you can not just for what activities they have to offer but also to get a feel for places you may want to stay some day. I’ve picked the resorts with the most unique and interesting offerings. Keep in mind that almost all resorts have some kind of campfire get together, a playground for kids, and an arcade so I didn’t highlight those things as they’re pretty much the same across the resorts.
Animal Kingdom Lodge
The main feature and attraction at AKL is the savanna. Head to the front desk and pick up a Wildlife Field Guide. Try to find as many animals as you can in the guide. Be on the look out for demonstrations by Animal Specialists. These happen on random days and random times so you may get lucky and get to be a part of one. If you’re hungry try Jiko, Boma or Sanaa. Jiko is a signature dining experience (2 table credits if you’re on the dining plan). Boma is a buffet. I recommended Sanaa for the views of the savanna while you eat but all of them feature excellent African/Indian style food. You can get to AKL by bus from any park.
The Wilderness Lodge has a marina which means you can rent a number of different motarized boats and also schedule a fishing excursion from here. The also have bicycle rentals and jogging trails. Head over here to see a recreation of “Old Faithful” that actually erupts. You can also see the Electrical Water Pageant from here. If you’re hungry check out Artist Point, Whispering Canyon Cafe, or Geyser Point. Geyser Point has great water views and the food at Whispering Canyon is great. You can get here by boat from Magic Kingdom or bus from any other park.
Port Orleans Riverside & French Quarter
While technically these are two different resort they’re side-by-side and share a lot of amenities and activities. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride at Riverside or taste the amazing beignets in French Quarter at Sassagoula Floatworks. You can rent traditional bicycles here but you can also rent a Surrey bike, a 2 or 4 person covered bike and everyone shares in the pedaling. There are fishing excursions that leave from here or you can fish right off the dock at the Fishin’ Hole. Adults check out the River Roost bar with live entertainment. If the family is hungry you can try Boatwright’s Dining Hall. Get here by bus or by boat from Disney Springs.
Art of Animation
If you’re going to check out any Value resort, this is the one. The four sections of this resort are Little Mermaid, Lion King, Finding Nemo and Cars. All sections are themed amazingly. My personal favorite is the Cars section as you feel you’re strolling down Route 66. Art of Animation also features some fun things to do for visitors such as a drawing class in the lobby every day where you learn how to illustrate favorite characters. On the weekends they also do various painting and other craft activities such as making tie-die t-shirts. If you’re hungry, the Landscape of Flavors is known as one of if not the best resort quick service. Visit here by bus from any park.
Not only is the one of the monorail resorts but it’s also the closest resort to Magic Kingdom. In fact, you can walk there from the Magic Kingdom. If you’re looking to catch the fireworks from a far, this is the place to be. There are multiple vantage points inside and outside the hotel to see them. A popular spot is the California Grille located at the top. It is a signature dining experience because of both the amazing food and the amazing view. The Contemporary also has a marina to rent various motorized boats. You can also book a water skiing or parasailing excursion from here. For adults looking to unwind, check out The Wave Lounge. Kids will want to dine at Chef Mickey’s, a buffet featuring their favorite characters.
If you only have time to hop to one resort, pick this one. There’s more to do at Fort Wilderness than there is anywhere else. Fishing, boating, horseback riding, pony rides, hiking, horse-drawn carriages and wagon rides, archery, canoes, kayaks, bicycle rentals, and 2 different arcades make up just some of the activities offered here. An absolute favorite for my family is Chip ‘N’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-a-long. Chip ‘N’ Dale join everyone for roasting marshmallows around the fire and of course lots of singing and dancing. If you have some spare cash, make reservations for Mickey’s Backyard BBQ or the Hoop-Dee-Doo Review dinner show. Both are amazing and get rave reviews. Fort wilderness is truly a fun spot and you could easily spend a day here. Travel to Fort Wilderness by boat from Magic Kingdom or bus from any other park.
These are my favorite resorts, are there any not listed here that you like to hop to? Tell us why!