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Set amid the tranquil waterways and mangrove forests of central Florida, Walt Disney World is an enormous complex of theme parks, water parks, golf courses, and resort hotels that sprawl over 25,000 acres. Theme parks include the Magic Kingdom, based on the original park in California and filled with roller coasters, iconic rides, and the fairy tale Cinderella’s Castle. Animal Kingdom allows visitors to ride safari-style in jeeps, past live animal enclosures and giant dinosaur exhibits arranged around the majestic Tree of Life. There is also Epcot, an educational playground showcasing world cultures and futuristic innovations, and Hollywood Studios, which immerses guests in the spectacle and glamour of Tinseltown. Elsewhere around the park, green golf courses are carved out from thick tropical vegetation and ferries carry people along sheltered canals between resorts, parks, and other attractions.
The park contains a number of resorts, many of which come with a particular theme to enhance the Disney experience. From contemporary towers to faux-rustic cabins, there is an ambiance to suit most any visitor, and luxurious villas are available to host groups ranging from couples looking for a private retreat to large families and groups looking to share in the fun and excitement. Below, the best Disney villas to book now.
Best Overall: Treehouse Villa at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Perched 10 feet off the ground amid thick forest, the Treehouse Villa at Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa surrounds guests with leafy tree canopies and offers elegant furnishings with a natural wood finish. Bathrooms come with soaking tubs and marble highlights, and full kitchens contain fridges and microwaves. An alfresco deck allows guests to lounge in carved wooden chairs while taking in the surrounding natural beauty. The hotel is located right next to the Lake Buena Vista golf course, a challenging series of greens that has hosted championship tournaments, including the PGA tour. The Paddock Pool contains a giant waterslide, plus two smaller ones for little kids, as well as a zero-entry ledge and an adjoining horseshoe whirlpool spa. The High Rock Spring Pool offers splashing waterfalls alongside a waterslide and zero-entry ledge. At the Senses spa, guests can relax with a variety of massage treatments under the caring hands of professional masseurs. Dining options range from the hearty pub fare of The Turf to the organic sandwiches and other snacks at Artist’s Palette and the in-room pizza delivery service.
Best Waterfront: Disney's BoardWalk Villas
Curving around a picturesque lake bay, the waterfront promenade of Disney's BoardWalk Villas evokes the glitz and glamour of a 1920s seaside resort town. The property is even complete with a wooden walkway lined with boutique shops and restaurants that light up at night with warm streetlights and glowing neon signs, not to mention a colorful old-timey carousel. The evocative atmosphere extends to the guest villas, which host retro furnishings complemented by modern amenities. Three pool areas include the fun-filled Luna Park Pool, which features a 200-foot waterslide and friendly elephant statues spraying jets of water from their upturned trunks, as well as two all-age leisure pools, which encourage a quieter atmosphere with a peaceful garden setting and heated whirlpool spas. The Fantasia Gardens and Miniature Golf is a great way to spend the afternoon, with 36 holes of varying difficulty winding between statues and other features inspired by the iconic Disney film. Other facilities include the Community Hall which is filled with foosball, pool and air hockey tables, books, games, DVDs, and art and crafts activities.
Best for Romance: Disney's Old Key West Resort
With lush palms, sheltered inlets, and graceful hotel structures built in the style of historic Florida mansions, Disney's Old Key West Resort perfectly captures the romantic tropical atmosphere of the Sunshine State. Guest villas are full of 1970s Florida style, decked out in pastel shades of green, orange, and cream, with retro touches such as plaid couches and conch shell prints. Bathrooms contain a large whirlpool tub with room for two. Furnished balconies overlook the green lawns and tropical vegetation of the surrounding gardens. Couples can keep active with a game of tennis on the floodlit tennis courts or play a round of golf amid lakes and forests on the surrounding greens. Bicycles can be hired for relaxed jaunts along the trails lining the waterways. Three leisure pools and whirlpool spa areas make pleasant respites from the popular Sandcastle Pool, which contains a waterslide and a sandy sunbathing beach zone. The waterfront Gurgling Staircase bar is the perfect place to enjoy evening cocktails while watching the sun set over the lagoon.
Best for Families: Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village
Guests staying in the savannah-view villas of Animal Kingdom's Kidani Village will enjoy the incomparable pleasure of gazing over grassy plains where more than 30 species of African fauna roam. Villas come with contemporary décor softened by the addition of tables, chairs, and dressers made with richly-textured, natural-finish woods and colorful African art pieces. Villas also include full kitchens, bathrooms with walk-in showers and whirlpool tubs, and furnished balconies for wildlife viewing. On-site facilities include the Samawati Springs pool complex that has waterslides, two whirlpool spas, and a water playground with water cannons and rope swings. Other resort activities include sports such as basketball and tennis and indoor games including billiards, ping-pong, and video games. Guests can dine on delicious contemporary cuisine influenced by the tastes of Africa at a variety of resort restaurants, with Sanaa offering the opportunity to dine with wildlife biologists while overlooking the savannah. Guests finish the evening by roasting marshmallows around campfires while listening to entertaining fireside tales or viewing night-time Disney movie screenings under the stars.
Best Lake Views: Disney's Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
Set on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon, guests staying at Disney's Polynesian Villas & Bungalows are guaranteed superb lake vistas day and night. Studios sleep up to five guests and contain kitchenettes, bathrooms with shower/tub combos, and lake or landscape views, while bungalows can accommodate up to eight guests and come with full kitchens, bathrooms with walk-in rainfall showers and soaking tubs, and furnished lake-view balconies. An authentic Polynesian air is created with décor consisting of floral bed runners, wicker furniture, and hand-carved indigenous statues. Two pools offer peaceful swimming environments, but there's also a fun-filled zone featuring an enormous volcano and waterfall, a zero-entry edge, and a long winding waterslide. Walking trails along the edge of the lagoon make for a picturesque stroll, or guests can choose to partake in more exciting activities such as volleyball, fishing, or cruising on the lake in a motorized boat. In the evenings, guests gather around campfires before heading down to the water’s edge to watch the magical spectacle of the Electrical Water Pageant which floats by on tranquil lagoon waters.
Best for Luxury: The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Housed in a magnificent Victorian-style mansion, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is one of the original Disney resorts and continues to be one of the best thanks to a stunning location and an impressive range of facilities. Villas come with full kitchens and bathrooms and contain classically elegant décor like hardwood floors and overstuffed armchairs with floral print cushions. The full-service Senses Spa provides treatments such as Swedish, hot stone, and aromatherapy massages, facials using cocoa, bamboo, and coconut ingredients, and citric-infused body therapies. A dedicated concierge service can assist in making restaurant, activity, and show reservations and summon a complimentary water taxi to whisk guests to different areas of the Disney World complex. Two pools include the relaxed Courtyard Pool and the Beach Pool, with waterfalls, walking bridges, and waterslides, that overlook the shaded private cabanas lining the sandy shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon. Delectable restaurant fare ranges from contemporary Mediterranean-style dishes to gourmet haute-cuisine, fine dining experiences, and sophisticated tasting menus paired with regional and international wines.
Best for Character: Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Set amid thick forests of pine and cypress, Boulder Ridge Villas offers comfortable and scenic accommodations built in the style of a 19th-century mountain lodge, with cozy common areas containing stone fireplaces, wooden furniture, and rustic ceiling beams. Villas are contemporary, with hardwood floors, landscape prints, full kitchens, and soaking tubs. On the grounds, the Copper Creek Springs pool is lined with boulders to create a natural feel and it features a waterslide and hot and cold whirlpool spas. The more tranquil Boulder Ridge Cove pool contains a zero-entry ledge, a whirlpool spa, and seating areas. Travelers can escape into the surrounding nature — either by foot or bike — by exploring the network of trails that wind past thick forests and open lakes. Guests can also get out onto the water in hired motorized boats to indulge in a bit of fishing or just to enjoy the serenity. Once night falls, guests gather on the lawns to watch movie screenings or toast marshmallows over blazing campfires.
Best Contemporary Design: Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort
Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort is one of the park's newer properties and it's foregone the usual themed experience in favor of a more upscale luxury feel. Rising 15 stories in the air, the modern tower complex is shaped like a horseshoe that curls around a leafy courtyard. While some villas overlook an unattractive carpark, they do offer views of the castles, towers, and rides of the Magic Kingdom in the distance. However, for villas with a bay view, the vistas are fantastic, overlooking a glorious sweep of bay that dazzles in the morning sun and presents softly-lit scenery in the evenings. The exclusive courtyard pools contain a zero-entry ledge, a fountained water park, and whirlpool spas, and Tower guests also enjoy access to the pools and the Contemporary Resort next door. Bay views can also be enjoyed from the restaurants and bar in the resort, most notably the panoramic California Grill restaurant and the lakeside Cove Bar.
Best Pools: Disney's Beach Club Villas
Modeled on the old-world charm of a New England country estate, Disney's Beach Club Villas feature elegant Victorian architecture of gabled roofs, latticework porticos and ornamental gardens. Fronting onto a peaceful lakefront with a sandy beach and a life-sized shipwreck model, the resort is home to one of the largest pool complexes in the park. The pool network includes the main pool, with a sandy bottom and zero-entry slope, a gently flowing lazy river ride that winds under bridges and around islands, and three leisure pools, all with adjacent heated whirlpool spas. There is also an elevated sunbathing terrace and sun lounges lining both the pool edges and the lagoon beach. Two-bedroom villas have recently been renovated with beach-themed colors and décor, and are kitted out with full kitchens and bathrooms which have marble highlights and both walk-in rainfall showers and soaking tubs. The Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf course is located close to the hotel, and there are tennis and beach volleyball courts on the hotel grounds.