Are Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts Worth the Cost?

by | May 14, 2024 | Walt Disney World Resorts, WDW Blog

Thinking about splurging on a room at one of Walt Disney World’s Deluxe resorts, but not sure if you should spring for it? We’re breaking down when these expensive resorts are worth their cost – and when they aren’t.

Staying at one of Disney World’s Deluxe resorts is a total treat. From the incredibly immersive theming of each Deluxe resort to the beautiful grounds, varied restaurant choices, and special touches like extra amenities and hotel offerings, they’re gems within the larger Disney World Resort. But there is a bit of a catch: They’re also the most expensive resorts you can book on Disney property.

Deluxe resort rooms can cost hundreds of dollars more per night compared to Disney World’s Value and Moderate resorts. For some guests, that extra cost is simply too high – and it isn’t worth the splurge. But for others, Deluxe resorts can be a worthwhile spend. So, how do you know when staying at a Disney World Deluxe resort is worth the cost? We’re sharing our breakdown of when you should splurge and when you shouldn’t below.

Here’s When Disney World Deluxe Resorts Aren’t Worth the Cost

You’re Doing Disney World on a Budget

Okay, technically everyone does Disney World on a budget every time they visit. After all, you set a budget while you plan and book everything from your theme park tickets to dining reservations to your hotel room. But sometimes, you’re on a tighter budget – and in those cases, you’ll want to save money and skip the Deluxe resort.

When it comes down to per-night cost, Deluxe resorts are significantly more expensive. Here’s a quick comparison for you, using 2024 and 2025 Disney World hotel prices:

That means you’re spending roughly five times the amount to stay at one of Disney’s Deluxe resorts compared to a Value resort. And, depending on which Deluxe resort you’re considering, that per-night cost can rise as high as $668 (for Disney’s Riviera Resort) or even an eye-popping $747 (for The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa).

Now, that higher cost can totally be worth it! However, when you’re looking to save money or get more bang for your buck on your Disney World vacation, the price of a Deluxe resort simply isn’t worth splurging on. You can easily stay at a Value resort and have just as much fun for far, far, less.

You Plan to Spend Most of Your Time in the Theme Parks

If you’re planning to head to Disney World’s theme parks at rope drop and stay until closing time, you won’t be spending much time inside your hotel room. As a result, you really don’t need more than a comfortable place to rest your head – so we wouldn’t recommend splurging on a Deluxe resort.

Every one of Disney’s on-property hotels offers perfectly welcoming and comfortable accommodations, though some are more luxurious than others. However, if you aren’t planning to enjoy those extra perks and amenities to their fullest, why spend more to have them? You can save money and opt for a cheaper hotel, one you use solely to rest up and recharge for another day at the parks.

Plus, if you’re going to be in the theme parks each day of your vacation, you won’t have time to use offerings at the hotel like the pool, spa, or even activities like movie nights. Skip the extra expense of a more amenities-rich Deluxe resort and put the money you save towards more in-park perks, like souvenirs, food, or even the cost of Genie+.

You Want to Dine at Different Disney World Hotels

Character breakfast at Topolino's Terrace

Photo courtesy of Disney

When it comes to restaurants and delicious food, Disney World Deluxe resorts are home to some of the best options. These resorts typically have both quick-service and table-service restaurants onsite, making it super convenient to choose something that suits your preferences. And they’re also home to popular spots like Topolino’s Terrace (home to a fantastic character breakfast experience) and Steakhouse 71 (a great option for reasonably-priced steak dinners).

However, you don’t have to shell out all that extra cash to stay at a Deluxe resort if you just want to enjoy the restaurants. If you really want to dine at a restaurant that’s located at one of Disney World’s Deluxe resorts, there’s no stopping you! You don’t have to be a guest of a hotel to eat at its restaurants.

So, even if you stay at a Value resort, you can eat at any of the delicious restaurants that Deluxe resorts have to offer. Just be sure to get a dining reservation for the most popular spots!

Oh, and it’s worth noting: If you’re going to be resort hopping for food, you’ll definitely want to save some money by staying at a cheaper hotel. After all, those Deluxe resort restaurant bills can add up quickly.

You Have Loyalty With an Non-Disney Hotel Chain

If you’ve built up some level of status or points with a non-Disney hotel chain, you may want to opt to stay off-property. When you’ve earned points and hold status, your hotel stay can include extra perks such as free breakfasts, room upgrades, and more. And if that’s the case, then it’s definitely better to spend your money at a non-Disney hotel versus a pricey Disney Deluxe resort.

While there are advantages to staying at a Disney World hotel, like Extended Evening Hours, the ability to use your MagicBands across the resort, and Disney’s transportation systems. However, these perks aren’t exclusive to Deluxe resorts alone, and they don’t necessarily make the added cost worth splurging on. Sure, they’re convenient – but if you have status that gets you free meals, more space, and more at a non-Disney hotel, those freebies can add up fast (and save you money!).

Whether you’re a member of the Hilton, Marriott, or have another hotel rewards program where your loyalty lies, there are plenty of other hotel options in the Disney World area, including Good Neighbor hotels. You’ll likely get more bang for your buck too when it comes to rooms, too, as you can spend less and wind up with more space to spread out.

When Are Disney World Deluxe Resorts Worth the Cost?

You Want (or Need) Quick Access to Your Hotel

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, exterior from Seven Seas Lagoon

You can take a boat across Seven Seas Lagoon to reach the Deluxe hotels near Magic Kingdom Park. Photo by Danny Shuster

For the most part, Deluxe resorts are located in close proximity to the parks. Some are even walking distance, which is a helpful perk if you’re hoping to beat the wait for buses, boats, and other forms of Disney transportation. And that close proximity is, overall, especially important if you’re someone who needs quick hotel access during your Disney World vacation.

If you’re someone who needs to quickly come back to your hotel during the day (e.g., if you have a small child who takes naps), a Deluxe resort can be worth the cost. The added convenience of being able to walk back to your room at any time, without waiting 10+ minutes (plus the drive time) for another form of transportation, can be a make-or-break detail for parents or anyone who wants to rest ASAP. 

The Grand Floridian, the Polynesian, and the Contemporary – or the monorail resorts, as they’re called – are all great nearby Deluxe options for those planning their trip around Magic Kingdom. Likewise, any of the hotels located on the BoardWalk, such as the Yacht Club, Beach Club, and BoardWalk Inn, are fantastic places to stay for EPCOT-centric trips.

Additionally, even if your Deluxe resort isn’t within walking distance or a quick monorail trip, there’s another transportation reason you may want to splurge on one of these top-tier Disney World hotels. There are generally more transportation options available at Disney’s Deluxe resorts. For example, while the All-Star Resorts all share one central bus hub and can see very long wait times during peak seasons, Deluxe resorts tend to offer multiple transportation options and see all-around better efficiency.

There are some exceptions (Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and its two villas-style offshoots only have bus transportation, for example), but for the most part, Deluxe resorts are well worth the cost for the extra transportation options. Many offer two or more modes of getting around Disney World, whether via the Skyliner, a boat, a bus, or another option.

You Need More Spacious Accommodations

Disney World’s Deluxe resorts offer one particularly appealing perk: They have the largest rooms out of all the resort’s hotels. Sure, there are some exceptions (Wilderness Lodge, for example, has smaller standard rooms than all other Deluxe resorts) – but overall, you’ll enjoy more spacious accommodations when you stay at one of these resorts.

In addition to larger standard rooms, Deluxe resorts at Disney World also typically offer a wider variety of room types, with options for larger parties or guests who want more space and amenities. If you’re visiting with kids or a larger group, you’ll want more space… and you can really only find that added space at a more expensive Deluxe resort.

Villas are particularly great option at Deluxe resorts, as they can provide partial or full kitchens – a money-saving perk if you don’t want to eat every meal in a restaurant. Plus, if you’re hoping to provide separate spaces for older kids or when you’re planning an adults-only trip, the only way to offer everyone a bit of personal space is to opt for a larger space like those found in Deluxe resort villas. In these cases, splurging on the cost of a Disney World Deluxe resort is well worth it!

You Plan to Spend Some Time at Your Hotel

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge at Walt Disney World, savanna view with animals

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, you’ll be transported to the savanna – complete with animals! Photo by Danny Shuster

Like we mentioned above, some guests want to spend every waking second in the theme parks; others don’t. If you fall into the latter group and like to plan some down time while you’re at Disney World, a Deluxe resort is worth paying extra for. These resorts feature standout theming, with each destination offering its own style, its own inspiration, and its own mix of beautifully decorated spaces.

For example, you’ll feel like you’re visiting the islands of Polynesian when you step into the tropical lobby of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, which is home to standout spots like Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Bar and ‘Ohana (both guest favorites!). If you head over to the Riviera Resort, you’ll feel like you’re in a hotel on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, as the theming is inspired by Walt and Lillian Disney’s travels throughout the region. Every Deluxe resort offers a different yet equally immersive theme, whether you’re hanging out in your room or at the pool.

As a result, these resorts are well worth paying more for if you have the time to explore their grounds, restaurants, pools, and other amenities. Deluxe resorts are a fantastic place to spend a resort day (or maybe even two!).

Can’t Decide if a Deluxe Resort is Worth the Price? Consider a Split Stay

If you’re still torn on whether or not one of Disney World’s Deluxe resorts is worth paying for, we recommend balancing the cost by splitting your time between a Deluxe resort and a more affordable option. These divided stays are called split stays.

With a split stay, you can spend a night or two (or more!) at one of Disney World’s Deluxe resorts and the rest of your stay at a Value, Moderate, or non-Disney resort. You’ll get to enjoy all of the perks of a Deluxe resort, without paying those higher prices for the entire length of your vacation. It’s an especially great option for those who are planning trips that cover 5 nights or longer.

Posts by Heather Adams

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Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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Authored by
Heather Adams

Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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