Everyone likes to get any type of good deal they can and that certainly includes a vacation trip to the Walt Disney World area. If you are vacationing at WDW, you probably realize that the only inexpensive Disney properties – the “value” resorts – are standard motel rooms with a huge food court, lots of kids in pools, and a morning bus ride to the parks that seem like New York’s Grand Central Station.
There are options in the more expensive categories and non-Disney hotels that offer what I view as an extra benefit. Here is a concept that you might not have ever considered in evaluating resorts. It works because of the heavy concentration of hotels in and around WDW.
You get two resorts for the price of one due to the shared facilities of two related resorts right next to each other. That means twice the options for restaurants, recreation, and services if you select the resorts in this article. You don’t take a bus or taxi, you just take a three minute walk between facilities.
I Like to Watch the Epcot Fireworks From a Dolphin Balcony
Since I like to gather my points to get free or less expensive rooms, I use my SPG Points at the Dolphin and Swan complex, two non-Disney resorts inside the Epcot hotel area and using WDW’s free boat service into Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios. These are deluxe resorts whose rooms usually cost up to 40% less than similar rooms at the adjacent Disney luxury resorts.
The Boat Leaves The Swan For Epcot or the Studios
Since these hotels share a monstrous convention facility, when there is no conventions, prices drop. The Dolphin features as main restaurants Shula’s Steakhouse and Todd English’s Blue Zoo, while the Swan has Il Mulino Trattoria from New York City (but without the super high prices) and WDW’s best sushi place. The pool area and the spa has to be large due to the number of rooms.
Just two hundred yards closer to Epcot is the Yacht and Beach Club resorts, two Disney deluxe hotels that share the same waterfront and facilities. The huge Boardwalk entertainment village with its nightclubs and restaurants are a short Disney boat trip across the lake as is Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios.
The two resorts at first look like one resort, but they have different personalities. The Yacht Club is more sedate and low key and has the yacht basin with its rental craft and the Yachtsmen Steakhouse, the best steaks in a Disney resort. The Beach Club is more colorful and family-oriented since it has most of the massive pool complex, an ice cream parlor, and a wonderful seafood buffet spot in Cape May Buffet.
Disney’s Best Resort Pool Collection
Disney’s only lazy river is here and the Beach Villas are so close to Epcot, you can hear the music from the England exhibit. These four resorts are on Disney property.
Most visitors are not aware of Bonnet Creek. If you look at a Google Map, you will be shocked to see the resort area, with its golf course and hotels, is surrounded by Disney World on three sides and I-4 on the other. You are closer to some Disney parks then if you were staying in some Disney resorts. Bonnet Creek is not something Disney people want to advertise. In the 1960’s when the Disney team was secretly buying up 27,000 acres of Central Florida there was a Taiwanese businessman who would not sell this land. And the Courts won’t let Disney block it off at Buena Vista Drive.
At the Waldorf Its Four Chairs Or Golfing Fore
The guests at the Caribbean Beach Club might wonder what are those tall hotels peaking over their trees. It is the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and the Hilton Waldorf Astoria, complete with a small convention hall between them and the beautiful Bonnet Creek Golf Course in their backyard.
Outside of the Five Star Four Seasons Resort north of WDW, the Waldorf Astoria has the best service I have seen in the Orlando area. When you arrive you get a personal concierge who will make you feel like Richie Rich. There is 24 hours room service including food from the Bull and Bear restaurant, which duplicate’s its noted New York City menu of the closed 1931 landmark.
Pools at the Waldorf Astoria
While the Waldorf is adult creature comforts, the nearby Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek is more fun and games with a giant lazy river complex. The prime restaurant here is La Luce. Yes, it is under the wing of Napa Valley super-chef Donna Scala who owns the California restaurant with the same name.
Why stay at one resort when you can use two for the same price?