The 8 Best Budget Disney World Hotels

Disney's Art of Animation Resort takes the cake for best experience on a budget

Disney's Art of Animation Resort
Walt Disney Parks

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The Rundown

Staying at Disney World hotels for your Walt Disney World vacation is an integral part of the experience. The resorts are an extension of the magic of the theme parks and create an atmosphere of fun and relaxation, even when you’re lounging by the pool or chilling in your room. There’s a secret to saving money when you visit, though: You don’t actually have to stay on Disney property to get the same enchanting experience. Here are the eight best Disney budget hotels of 2021, both on- and off-property.

01 of 08

Best Overall: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Why We Chose It

This fun hotel truly feels like you’re immersed in a Disney movie (or four!) and has the largest pool at any Walt Disney World hotel.

Pros
  • Family suites sleep up to six

  • Skyliner gondola to Epcot and Hollywood Studios

  • Three pools

Cons
  • Long walks to some rooms

  • Cafeteria-style dining only

  • Large resort can be hard to navigate

There is no single resort on a Disney property anywhere else in America that feels as “Disney” as Art of Animation. The rooms at this resort are all Disney movie-themed, as are the common spaces and pools. The Little Mermaid area has 35-foot-tall statues of King Triton, Ursula, and Ariel. The Lion King area features its own Pride Rock. The Cars area is themed like the Cozy Cone Motel and features statues of characters light Lightning McQueen and Mater. The Finding Nemo section at the center of the property features the Big Blue Pool, a gorgeous ocean-inspired swimming area with statues of Nemo and his friends (which is currently under refurbishment until the end of April 2021). 

This sprawling property can be a little bit of a walk, but you can request rooms and suites closer to central resort locations. Keep in mind, though, that the closer you are to the main amenities like the lobby, cafeteria-style restaurant, main pool, or Skyliner the higher the room rate. Art of Animation features two kinds of rooms: standard value studios that sleep up to four people and family suites that sleep up to six. 

Notable Amenities

  • Extensive Disney themes
  • Affordable family suites
  • Excellent pool
02 of 08

Best Budget: Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort

Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort

Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort

Why We Chose It

Of Disney’s three All-Star resorts (their most affordable hotels), All-Star Movies feels the most quintessentially Disney.

Pros
  • Immersive Disney movie theming

  • Outdoor evening movies

  • Three pools, including the showpiece Fantasia pool

Cons
  • Long walks to some rooms

  • Cafeteria-style dining only

  • Large resort can be hard to navigate

  • Bus transportation only to parks and Disney Springs

All three of Disney’s All-Star resorts are similar in layout and in their immersive theming. All-Star Sports is entirely sports-themed, while All-Star Music is decorated with larger-than-life instruments. Only All-Star Movies has the feel of the theme parks right at the hotel, with an enormous central pool that has Fantasia’s iconic Sorcerer Mickey presiding over the water. There are also Andy’s toys from "Toy Story" decorating the property, huge statues of Pongo and Perdita from "101 Dalmatians," and two additional pools, including one that’s Mighty Ducks-themed. 

All-Star Movies has one large cafeteria-style restaurant and a pool bar at the Fantasia Pool. Guests connect to theme parks and to Disney Springs via Disney’s internal bus system, but there is no water taxi or Skyliner access. 

Notable Amenities

  • Magical scenery
  • Large showpiece pool
03 of 08

Best Family Option: Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Why We Chose It

In its homage to decades past, Pop Century is pure fun and has easy Skyliner access.

Pros
  • Skyliner gondola to Epcot and Hollywood Studios

  • Waterfront location

  • Three pools

  • Gaming arcade

Cons
  • Long walks to some rooms

  • Limited food options

  • No family suites

  • Less overt “Disney” feel

Each building at Pop Century is devoted to a different decade of the 1900s: The 1960s celebrates flower children and has the hotel’s centerpiece Hippy Dippy Pool, while the 1980s has a huge statue of Roger Rabbit and a giant Walk-Man. 

A bridge across Hourglass Lake connects Pop Century and Art of Animation resorts, and there’s no denying the two are similar in layout and amenities. In fact, Art of Animation was originally intended to be a counterpart to Pop Century’s theme, focusing on earlier decades in the 20th century. The main differences: Pop Century’s rooms are all studios, and the price point tends to be a bit lower. In addition to the resort's three pools and playground, there’s a lot of history about American pop culture to be learned simply from walking around the property and explaining to your kids that you used to have to carry cassette tapes with you if you wanted to hear music.

Notable Amenities

  • Outdoor movies by night
  • Small refrigerators in every room
  • Fun, quirky decor
04 of 08

Best for Luxury for Less: The Swan and Dolphin Resort

The Swan and Dolphin Resort

The Swan and Dolphin Resort

Why We Chose It

The Swan and Dolphin Resort has luxury amenities like water taxi service, but is part of the Marriott network and has bigger available discounts and rewards than Disney hotels.

Pros
  • Water taxi access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios

  • 18 restaurants and lounges

  • Pool complex with sand beach and lawn games

  • Pedestrian bridge to Disney’s BoardWalk

Cons
  • Not officially a Disney resort

  • Daily resort fee

  • No Disney theming

  • Restaurants don’t accept Disney dining plans

The Swan and Dolphin, located on the Crescent Lake that connects Epcot and Hollywood Studios, is an excellent choice for a Disney World resort stay. It feels like any of the deluxe Disney resorts but is part of the Marriott network, so Marriott Bonvoy members (a free membership) get access to discounts, upgrades, free wifi, and rewards points. There is a daily resort fee, but the on-property amenities and available discounts can offset that cost.  

The complex has a private lagoon between the two buildings, a sand beach, and a network of pools and hot tubs—and that’s just on the outside. Inside, the hotel has 18 dining and drinking spots, including a restaurant from Todd English and Disney’s only karaoke lounge. Swan and Dolphin also has a Mandara Spa and offers its guests discounts on the three courses at Walt Disney World Golf.

Notable amenities

  • Extensive fine and casual dining
  • Walkable to Epcot
  • Marriott network perks
Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Best for Relaxation: Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Why We Chose It

This sprawling resort offers so much family entertainment that you almost won’t want to leave the property, even for the theme parks.

Pros
  • Recently updated guest rooms and grounds

  • 10 restaurants and lounges

  • Four pools

  • 20,000 square foot playground

Cons
  • Large convention center on-site

  • Not much within walking distance

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort underwent a massive renovation in 2018, including the opening of the Gran Destino Tower, which includes a rooftop restaurant. A large property that requires some walking, Coronado Springs is unique in that it’s a moderate-level resort with the amenities normally offered in more expensive resorts, like suites and fine dining restaurants. 

There are three quiet pools on-site, but the centerpiece is the Lost City of Cibola Pool, which features a five-story Mayan pyramid “Dig Site” water slide, afternoon pool parties, and more activities for kids, like the attached sand beach volleyball court and huge, archaeology-themed Explorer’s Playground. For adults, there are Colors of Coronado wine and painting classes. Family activities include weekend fun runs, evening campfires, and movies under the stars.

Notable Amenities

  • Huge archaeology-themed pool and playground
  • Activities tailored to both kids and adults
  • Rooftop restaurant
06 of 08

Best for Adults: B Resort and Spa

B Resort and Spa

B Resort and Spa

Why We Chose It

This affordable hotel has a boutique feel and is an easy walk to the entertainment offers at Disney Springs.

Pros
  • Walkable to Disney Springs

  • Zero-entry style pool

  • Theme park shuttles

  • Car rental available on the property

Cons
  • Daily resort and parking fees

B Resort and Spa isn’t a Walt Disney World resort, but it’s an official partner of the company so there are Disney perks tied to the experience, like on-site ticket sales and park shuttles and, when they are offered again as part of Disney’s phased reopening, Extra Magic Hours. The hotel’s biggest perk: value pricing for proximity to Disney Springs, which is the shopping and dining area that offers entertainment like hot air balloon rides and amphibious-car sails around the lake.

This hotel has Aveda products in-room and offers guest rooms and suites that cater to adults but also make the experience appealing to those traveling with kids (for example, some rooms come with bunk beds). The hotel’s American Bar & Grill serves comfort food favorites, and there’s a pool bar near the zero-entry pool (a pool with a gradual slope entrance, rather than stairs) and the hot tub.

Notable Amenities

  • Great location
  • On-site theme park ticket sales
  • Rental cars on the property
07 of 08

Best Convenience: Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista

Why We Chose It

This Disney Springs-adjacent hotel has a pedestrian bridge to the shopping and dining area for the easiest access possible.

Pros
  • Seven restaurants on-site

  • Two heated pools

  • Theme park shuttles

  • Points and upgrades for Hilton Honors members

Cons
  • Daily parking and resort fees

  • Some rooms in need of updates, according to guest reviews

Another official Walt Disney World partner hotel, the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista offers on-site ticket purchases, theme park shuttles, Extra Magic Hours, and Disney character breakfasts. 

Touting extensive resort amenities like a business center with an on-site notary public and DVD/video game rentals for kids, this hotel offers lots to do right on the property. There are also two pools with a pool bar and a hibachi restaurant. Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista also has the easiest walking access to Disney Springs via the pedestrian bridge.

Notable Amenities

  • Proximity to Disney Springs pedestrian bridge
  • Seven restaurants
  • Two pools
08 of 08

Best Facilities: Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista

Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista

Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista

Why We Chose It

This hotel near Disney Springs has a resort feel with its extensive pool area and beach volleyball court.

Pros
  • Three pools and a hot tub

  • On-site car rental

  • Perks for Wyndham Rewards members

  • Discount golf packages available

Cons
  • Daily parking and resort fees

  • No theme park shuttles

  • Reviews mention limited services

Another hotel within easy walking distance of Disney Springs, Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista is also an official Walt Disney World partner but does not offer shuttle service to and from the parks. What it does offer is value pricing for an all-inclusive resort feel, with a network of pools and nearby outdoor facilities like a pool bar, beach volleyball court, and a basketball court. 

This hotel has four on-site food locations, but there is no full-service restaurant on-site for a sit-down dinner. A grab-and-go area is available until late at night, and all rooms have refrigerators and coffee makers.

Notable Amenities

  • Discount packages available
  • Ability to earn free nights for rewards members

Final Verdict 

A trip to Walt Disney World can be daunting, not just because of the planning involved, but because of how quickly the costs can accumulate. The simple truth is that you don’t need to splurge on the most expensive hotel to have a memorable Disney vacation. Choose a value hotel with a nice pool and good amenities like our top pick, Disney's Art of Animation Resort, and you’ll feel like you’re having a luxury experience without the expensive price tag.

Compare The Best Budget Disney World Hotels

 Property Resort Fee  Rate  Rooms Free WiFi
Disney's Art of Animation Resort Best Overall None  $$  1984 Yes
Disney’s All Star Movies Resort Best Budget  None  $  1920 Yes
Disney’s Pop Century Resort Best for Families $15/day  $$  2880 Yes
Swan Reserve at the Swan and Dolphin Resort Best Luxury for Less $35/day  $$ 756 at Swan and 1514 at Dolphin Yes, for Marriott Bonvoy rewards members
B Resort and Spa Best for Adults $30/day  $  394 Yes
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort Best for Relaxation $35/day  $$  1915 Yes
Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Best Convenience $35/day  $  814 Yes
Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista Best Amenities $25/day  394 Yes

Methodology

We evaluated all of the hotels affiliated with Walt Disney World, both owned by Disney and not, before settling on the best for the chosen categories. We considered the property’s dining options, resort fees, and what kinds of experiences (on-site activities, etc.) are included. In determining this list, we evaluated numerous customer reviews and considered whether or not the hotel has collected any accolades in recent years.

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