Resort Recommendations for Toddlers


#1

Hope you all are doing well! Looking for resort recommendations. We will be travelling with two toddlers (DD3 and DS1), and thus plan to take midday breaks. We will also be lugging around a stroller and all the many bags of stuff you need to get through a day at that age. smile Basically, I'm looking for the best combination of quick / easy transportation as well as a great resort for toddler activities (and food) since we will be spending a decent amount of time there. And we will be using a pack n plan for the youngest, so space is somewhat important. Oh, can I make one other request since I'm on a roll?? Not too crazy expensive. I know that is subjective, but probably the most expensive Deluxe resorts won't make it past the budgeting stage. Basically, can someone please design the perfect resort for my family? wink

We did the AoA suites last Sept and we loved them, except by the end I felt we were on buses a lot, which can be a pain at this stage in our life. We did love this resort and the extra suite space was AMAZING. However, I also am thinking the suites may be over our price range this year.

Thoughts? Experience with toddlers? We have only ever stayed AoA suites and ASM with the kids. Prior to having children, we stayed once at BC and the proximity to Epcot / HS was amazing. I also have stayed in AKL, GF, and Poly, but those were all 10-15 years ago. I was not paying attention to anything toddler-related at that time.

Thanks for your input! I am driving myself crazy (aka loving constantly thinking about this)!


#2

That's a tough question to answer lol. Not sure when you are going but the summer promo's are really pretty good and combined with the current Orbitz promotion I found rooms for AKL around $168 a night and YC around $200 which is about the price of a mod and cheaper than the AoA suites.

Personally we loved AKL and I always recommend it. There are tons of activities for kids from animal watching, drum circles, I believe there is a cultural enrichment with some of the CM's from other countries. We loved everything about it.

As for transportation only the Deluxe resorts have any sort of non bus access, other than ft Wilderness. The cabins there do get great reviews but the cost is similar to an AoA suite.

Personally I'm a big advocate of driving. You aren't waiting around for buses to arrive and I would imagine with kids it's probably a lot easier with managing strollers and car seats. We looked at the weekly rental for our next stay and priced a premium car through Dollar for only $158 for the week.


#3

Hello! A monorail resort would work best if you spend a lot of time at MK, but if that is not in the budget, rent a car. We always do and never regret it. So easy to get from resort to park, back to resort for a break, and then back to the park. Well, MK isn't quite so easy unless you park valet at the Contemporary. It is much nicer to just walk out to your car for a break (especially if you are there first thing early in the morning because your car will be in one of the first rows of parking) than to wait for the bus, fold up your strollers, hope that there will actually be a seat so you aren't standing holding your child...you get the idea. I don't think it matters where you actually stay if you have a car. Without one you will always be at the mercy of the buses for most of the parks regardless of where you stay.


#4

We love WL for most of the reasons you mentioned. Last trip we were similar DD4 and DS1 and used a pack n play for my son. We are now a family of 5 so it gets a little harder this summer. We really like WL for the young kids. Most of the time during peak season they use the larger boats to MK so you can roll the kids on and off while in the double stroller. At night the boat to WL has hardly anyone waiting and the resort mono lines are backed up to the entrance. Bc we have young kids during a 7 day trip we will be at MK for 3.5 days so that is the deciding factor.

With summer discounts we can get WL woods view for around $1800-1900 for seven nights. That's about the same as POR was before discounts.

WL has a kiddie pool for wading in with the young kids. They have s'mores and campfire on the beach. They show movies on the beach and you can watch the water parade.

Hope that helps.


#5

Disney does a great job of offering resorts that are conveniently located near the parks and making you pay for that convenience. I've been able to stay in some of the Epcot resorts (BW and YC) and at Bay Lake Tower when traveling on family vacations (the BLT room was using my brother in law's family DVC points) and being able to walk to some of the parks is a great convenience. When traveling with friends and family that have kids, not having to fold up the stroller on the monorail or when walking has always been appreciated. However, when it comes time to actually pay for the resort, I always end up choosing cheaper accommodations.

One thing that may be a reasonable compromise is if you can find a decent dealing renting DVC points. The Wilderness Lodge is a great location for visiting the Magic Kingdom (though some of the boats they use do require folding up a stroller) and any families I have known that traveled there enjoyed the resort. Check prices renting DVC points vs. paying for a regular room and see if anything fits in your budget.


#6

Cabins at FW. Lots of activities. Quiet self contained units for naps. Lots of space, full kitchen and a bedroom door. Adults can stay up later. Shift sleeping kids if necessary. Boat to MK. Internal buses not that bad.


#7

We are now a family of four since ds1 came along... Usually we have stayed at AoA, the theme and space of the resort to run a muck is something we loved! We usually drove to the parks, so parking was great there. We have also tried Pop(for a night) and POR (ds5 at the time was 3 and not impressed) then Last oct we decided that for mnsshp we would try the WL... We loved it! The pool was closed for refurb but the boat to mk and the bus back (yes I took the bus!) were great! And we really enjoyed saying in one building which I never really thought about before but ds5 loved just gettin on elevator to get to the lobby! Ds5 also didn't say anything about missing the cars, nemo or king triton! Hahaha! We got a nice fl resident discount last oct but we usually don't stay too long anyways! Good luck resort shopping.... Sorry I'm not too much help smile


#8

Bay Lake Tower. We stayed there last month with our two kids (DS4 and DD2) and I don't think I'd ever stay anywhere else! We walked to and from MK in less than 10 minutes - so easy to shoot back to the resort for a nap and then waste no time travelling back in the evening!
Another major plus for us was that the resort was so relaxing. It isn't a pass-through like most other resorts meaning the only guests you will see there are staying at BLT - not crowds coming from outside for meals, etc.
I think it's easy for toddlers (and adults!) to get overwhelmed so having a more relaxing, less chaotic retreat was perfect for us.
We traveled via bus to HS one day and I couldn't imagine doing that everyday. Also, Wilderness Lodge is visually one of my favorite resorts but the transportation from there can be tricky with a stroller - folding it up to get on the buses/boats.


#9

I should add that we rented DVC points to stay at BLT.
Also, it doesn't take much to entertain kids as young as yours. Heck, my kids get excited over a trip to the grocery store! So being on any sort of vacation is amazing for them - throw in a pool, waterslides, mickey everywhere, the sight of the monorail going by your hotel, etc., they are in heaven! We spent an entire day just at the pool and my kids had to much fun swimming and dancing around in the splash pad. The activity room at BLT is fairly small but my kids did a bunch of arts/crafts one afternoon when it was a little chilly/rainy.


#10

Thank you all for your responses. You have given me a lot to think about. I really appreciate you sharing all your experiences. I'm now leaning towards... WL, AoA suite if we can afford it, and Contem-garden wing. AKL sounds amazing, too, but I think it will be even better when the kids are a little older. Unless we decide to rent a car... @Outer1 and @wahoohokie - I like the idea of driving! Although, I'm a little worried about long walks through the parking lot / fitting all our stuff on a tram (although I would have to do the same on a bus...). What has your experience been with the whole getting to your car from the park / driving / walking back to your hotel situation? Although, at least in the car/ tram situation you won't be standing holding a child. I know a lot of people prefer to drive, so I'm sure it has its perks! It just seems like a lot of work with kids, still. A solution may be an adults-only trip! wink @AllisonFamily and @FlyerFan1973 - You are making me consider WL! How do I know if a boat will let me "roll on" vs "fold up" a stroller? Which are more common? Also, this may be a stupid question, but do you "roll on" or "fold up" the stroller for a monorail? Also, how are WL rooms size-wise? (cramming in a pack-n-play...).


#11

We tried both last trip and the car won out just about every time. Getting back to the car from MK can seem like a walk, which is why we tried it on our party night, but believe me when I say I'd have given anything for a 20 minute walk rather than standing on my exhausted feet for an hour waiting on the bus that night. For the other parks the parking is well designed and if you get there early you are normally parked up front and often don't even need a tram. Plus the back row of the tram usually gives you a lot more room.


#12

@egkleinmann - BLT sounds wonderful! Would you say most of the perks also apply to the Garden Wing? How was the room size with two kids? I'm a little worried about naps / bedtime. My youngest will be in a pack n play, and it would be nice to have them somewhat separated. They currently share a room for bedtime, but naps are a different story since DD2 basically just reads / rests. But I'm thinking in Disney she may need one! I may start another thread just about toddlers napping in hotel rooms. Ha!


#13

@momatwork - Thanks for the idea! I like the idea of the different rooms! This is why we loved AoA so much. Only downside would be those internal buses....


#14

@rachaelmac22 - First of all, great name. smile I am also a Rachel (different spelling)! Good to know that the parking at AoA is easy. We do love the suites there!

We did POP for two nights last year and it was pretty squished. I'm not a fan of sleeping with DD2. At the time DS was only 5 months, and it was just way too loud / crowded for everyone to get enough sleep at night or during naptime, even in Sept. May have just been where we were, but since we sometimes go to bed a little "early", people getting back from the parks can be pretty loud.

How was the space in the WL rooms? How did it work with naps? I am all about the sleep apparently... why else does one go to Disney?? wink Also, WL is about $70 cheaper per night than the AoA suites when we are going, so... yeah.

So much (fun) stuff to think about!


#15

Whenever I've needed to get back and forth to/from the Wilderness Lodge and Magic Kingdom (staying there or dining at WL) half of the boats were larger and let you roll on strollers/wheelchairs and half were the smaller launches that required folding the stroller. So, I'd say there's a 50/50 chance you'll be able to roll on.

You don't have to fold up the stroller when using a monorail.


#16

Thanks, @Outer1. You are very helpful!


#17

Thanks! This is good to know.


#18

We had about the same experience with the boats. About half were the larger boats that did not make you fold stroller. The good thing is that you see the boat coming from a distance, so I would leave the kids in the stroller until I saw which boat was coming. If it was a smaller one, I would get them out and fold it. If larger just leave them in.

We book the two queen beds in a woods view. There is room for the pack and play to go in between the furthest bed from the door and the balcony. If you have it all the way against the wall there was still plenty of room to open the sliding door to the balcony. We love it there and will be there again this summer. Hope that helps.


#19

Also I just rebooked our room for the summer at WL through orbitz using "review15" for the promo code and saved about $300 over the Disney website.


#20

You could rent a golf cart. We never mined the internal buses. The wait is usually only a few minutes. With a wheelchair I didn't have to be concerned with "folding" a stroller. And depending on where you are from, there is assorted wildlife to entertain you on the short ride.