With twenty-two Disney Resort hotels to choose from when visiting the Walt Disney World Resort, you have quite a decision regarding accommodation. Disney hotels place you right in the heart of the magic. When you stay in Lake Buena Vista, you are guaranteed the Disney experience in every aspect of your Disney vacation.
If you are considering staying in a Disney Deluxe Resort, you have the most hotels to choose from. Half of the Disney hotels fit the Deluxe Resort category, meaning you have eleven to choose from. Some Disney Resorts are Disney Vacation Club Resorts, while others have dedicated areas for Disney Vacation Club Members. The Disney Deluxe Resorts are:
- Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Contemporary Resort
- Polynesian Village Resort
- Beach Club Resort
- Yacht Club Resort
- BoardWalk Inn
- Riviera Resort
- Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Wilderness Lodge
- Saratoga Springs
- Old Key West
But what if you’ve narrowed your choice of Disney hotel to two; Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Yacht Club? How do you possibly choose between the two? Let’s look at each Resort in more detail. We aim to identify the best of the two Walt Disney World hotels when considering different things.
The Walt Disney Company knows how to theme everything. Disney hotels are no exception. While all Walt Disney World hotels are themed with style, the Deluxe Resorts undoubtedly have the best theming. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Disney’s Beach Club Resort have a theme that exudes class and elegance.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is a lavish hotel that perfectly combines modern sophistication and Victorian elegance. The Resort’s grand lobby has a classic feel, while the outdoor areas are shaded with palm trees, offering a nod to Palm Beach’s golden era. Expect polished marble floors, plush carpets, classic seating areas, and elegant floral pieces inside the hotel. Externally, stroll along the red-bricked paths alongside perfectly manicured lawns amongst the white and pink-roofed buildings.
The formal grace of New England inspires Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. The lobby is inviting yet intimate, with plush carpets, significant seating areas, and stylish nautical elements. Externally, Disney’s Yacht Club can be identified by the lighthouse in front of the Disney Resort. The light grey finish suits the Disney hotel perfectly and offers a beautiful backdrop to Crescent Lake.
Of the two Disney Deluxe Resorts, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa takes the crown for theming. While we adore the beauty of Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian keeps us returning every Disney vacation. While we may not be Guests of the Resort, we love to stop by and spend time in the beautiful part of the Walt Disney World Resort.
Both of the Disney Deluxe Resorts have Disney Parks as their neighbor. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is located next to Magic Kingdom Park, making it easy for Guests to enjoy Early Theme Park Entry or Extended Evening Hours at the Disney theme park. However, being located close to the most northern part of the Walt Disney World Resort means you must travel for a little longer to get to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park and Disney Springs.
While Disney’s Yacht Club doesn’t have Magic Kingdom as its neighbor, the Disney Resort has easy access to two Disney Parks. Disney’s Yacht Club is located across Crescent Lake from EPCOT World Showcase. Guests of the Disney Resort hotel also have easy access to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is also centrally located in Lake Buena Vista. As such, you can expect to arrive at Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, or Disney Springs in less than ten minutes.
Disney’s Yacht Club is our preferred Disney hotel compared to Disney’s Grand Floridian when it comes to location. We enjoy its central location in Walt Disney World and its easy access to two Disney Parks.
All of the Disney Deluxe Resorts have access to at least two modes of Disney transport, except Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Access to more than one mode of transportation limits the time Guests need to wait at bus stations.
As a Disney’s Yacht Club Resort Guest, you must use the Disney buses to access Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom Park, the Disney water parks, and Disney Springs. While EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are accessible by walking, Guests can also use the FriendShip Boats across Crescent Lake. Additionally, the Disney Skyliner is just a short walk away, providing easy access to Disney Resorts on the Skyliner route.
Meanwhile, Guests of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa have access to three Walt Disney World transportation modes. If you plan on staying at the Disney hotel, you can use the Disney buses to travel to and from Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, and the Disney water parks. The Disney Monorail is recommended to travel to and from EPCOT, although buses may be available throughout the day. To get to Magic Kingdom Park, you can travel one stop on the Disney Monorail, walk the path along the Seven Seas Lagoon, or catch a boat.
Using all of the modes of Disney transport is part of the Disney experience in Lake Buena Vista. Therefore, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is the winner regarding transportation. We love the variety available to you as a Guest of the Disney Deluxe Resort.
As a Disney Deluxe Resort, Guest rooms in Disney’s Grand Floridian and Disney’s Yacht Club Resorts are spacious, with luxury elements, including a balcony.
The nautical theme of Disney’s Yacht Club carries through into each Guest room. Expect neutral and blue colors throughout the room, with artwork featuring boats and curtains featuring a constellation pattern. There are several views to choose from when staying in the Disney Resort, including a water view across Crescent Lake, a garden or woods view, and a standard view. Rooms with Club Level access are also available to book for your stay. You can enjoy access to the Regatta Club lounge, where beverages and snacks are available throughout the day.
Choosing to stay at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort offers you a variety of Guest rooms. Some of the Guest rooms offer a traditional and calming theme. Others have recently been refurbished and offer modern, stylish decor that pays homage to Mary Poppins (1964) and Mary Poppins Returns (2018). If you’re looking for a standard Guest room, they are located in one of the outer buildings of the Resort. You can choose from a lagoon, garden, or theme park view.
Guest rooms and suites are also available, with access to Club Level. Staying in the main building of the Disney hotel is more expensive but provides access to the Royal Palm Club. Magic Kingdom Park and courtyard views are available from the main building. If you choose to stay in Club Level in one of the outer buildings of the Disney Resort, you will have access to Sugarloaf Club.
The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian is part of the Disney Vacation Club. If you are looking for a little more space, with access to a kitchen, separate bedrooms, a living area, and more, you may consider staying at the Villas. The smaller rooms available are Studios, but there are also one- and two-bedroom villas and 3-bedroom grand villas available to stay in at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. You can choose from standard, lagoon, lake, and theme park view rooms.
The variety of Guest rooms available at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa takes our preference over those at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. We also adore the interior of the newly refurbished rooms at the Grand Floridian.
The Market at Ale & Compass is the quick-service restaurant at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. The Disney restaurant is open throughout the day, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., serving various meals, snacks, and beverages. The Walt Disney World Resort hotel Guests also have easy access to the Beach Club Marketplace, the quick-service restaurant at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Additionally, during the day, a selection of appetizers, entrees, and salads are served at Hurricane Hanna’s Waterside Bar and Grill. The location of Disney’s Yacht Club provides easy access to the quick-service restaurants at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resorts, which are just a short walk away.
Guests of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort can dine at Gasparilla Island Grill. Open from 6 a.m. through 12 a.m., breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night snacks are available. Additional quick-service locations are Beaches Pool Bar & Grill and Courtyard Pool Bar & Grill. Guests can order a selection of entrees, sides, and desserts from both locations throughout the day. In Disney’s Polynesian Village and Disney’s Contemporary Resorts, quick-service restaurants are also located nearby. You may enjoy a short walk to either Disney hotel. Alternatively, you can use the Disney Monorail to travel between the Resorts.
The quick-service options at Disney’s Yacht Club are great, and the easy access to other Disney Resorts makes it a strong contender. However, Disney’s Grand Floridian is the winner. Gasparilla Island Grill has some exceptional entrees that can be enjoyed from the tranquil marina. Capt. Cook’s at Disney’s Polynesian Village is also nearby, offering fantastic menu items.
Both Disney Resort hotels have a selection of full-service restaurants to dine at.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort has the following full-service restaurants:
- Citrico’s – a fine dining experience in a whimsical restaurant inspired by Mary Poppins Returns.
- Narcoossee’s – a fine dining experience on the waterfront, serving fresh seafood.
- Victoria & Albert’s – the most exquisite restaurant on Disney property. If you want to celebrate a special event in style, this is the place to dine.
- Grand Floridian Cafe – enjoy Blunch or dinner in an elegant yet relaxed restaurant.
- Enchanted Rose – sip on cocktails while eating unique appetizers in a lounge area inspired by Beauty and the Beast(2017)
Meanwhile, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort has the following full-service restaurants available:
- Ale & Compass – enjoy gastropub-inspired breakfast and dinner in a cozy setting.
- Cape May Cafe – dine with Disney characters while enjoying a buffet breakfast. During the evening, the buffet serves up signature turf and seafood dishes.
- Beaches & Cream Soda Shop – enjoy a 50’s-themed diner that serves up old-fashioned ice cream sundaes and hot food items.
- Yachtsman Steakhouse – the New England-style steakhouse serves steak, seafood, and drinks in the signature restaurant.
Both Disney Resort hotels have easy access to other Resorts, providing access to additional Disney restaurants.
For fine dining, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is the best of the two Disney Resorts. However, we prefer Disney’s Yacht Club Resort for more affordable full-service dining.
You have two pool areas to enjoy when staying at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The Courtyard Pool offers a calm and peaceful experience. Relax on a sun lounger, or dip in the zero-entry pool. Nearby there’s also a whirlpool spa to relax in. Alternatively, stop by the Beach Pool. Take a ride down the waterslide, chill out underneath the cascading waterfalls, and enjoy views of Seven Seas Lagoon. Your little ones can have fun in the nearby Mad Hatter aquatic play area.
If you plan on staying at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, you can enjoy four pool areas. Three leisure pools are located around Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. But the best pool area to enjoy is Stormalong Bay. Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts Guests have exclusive access to a three-acre water park. The sand-bottomed pool includes a lazy river, water slide, whirlpool spas, and more. You want to make sure to take advantage of this incredible pool area!
Stormalong Bay is enough for Disney’s Yacht Club to take the crown in terms of the pool area. When staying at the Disney Resort, make plans to spend time there. You won’t be disappointed!
So where should you stay when deciding between Disney’s Yacht Club and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort? You are guaranteed a magical Disney vacation at whatever Resort hotel you choose. You may find that Disney’s Yacht Club may be slightly cheaper, depending on the time of year you will be visiting.
Based on our verdicts here, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is our choice of Disney Deluxe Resort. However, the cost or availability of rooms may encourage you to book Disney’s Yacht Club instead.
Which of the two Disney Resorts will you choose for your next Disney vacation?