That’s the question posed this week on the Owning The Magic forums on the PassPorter message boards, and wow, what a great question!
It’s one that’s certainly got people thinking, and many are discovering it’s not that easy to give an answer. Of course, with Disney theming, you’d expect it to be tough to make a choice between which resort is your favorite. I’ll say here that Vero Beach, Hilton Head, Aulani, and the Grand Californian at Disneyland, wonderful as they all are, are out of the running here. The criteria is going to apply to Walt Disney World, and I think that’s probably only fair. After all, how can you compete with having four Disney theme parks on your doorstep?!
I’ll say straight off that Old Key West, and Saratoga Springs don’t appeal that much, simply down to location, although I noticed from the response to the original question that Old Key West was mentioned a number of times. It’s certainly got its fans, and I can’t deny that it has a lovely, laid back atmosphere, perfect especially if you’re planning that much park time, and the huge rooms are a definite bonus.
Let’s look next at the Magic Kingdom resorts. Of those, we prefer Bay Lake Tower for its location – nothing beats being able to walk back to your home for the night from the park or walk to one of our favorite restaurants, the California Grill, and the views are quite something, especially if you can snag a theme park view. However, the rooms are on the small side, and there are problems with the wear and tear on the furnishings in some of the rooms, although thankfully we’ve never experienced that ourselves.
The Villas at Wilderness Lodge get a lot of fans, because of the rustic theme to them, and I enjoy that, but our stay there was marred by being located in the furthest possible room from the main building. Not a great introduction to the place!
Another Disney Vacation Club resort with a real feeling of nature are the Villas at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Now how can you compete with having a savannah right outside your room? Well, in fairness, you can, because location wise, understandably, they’re pretty much on the edge of Disney property, which can be a pain, something which was pointed out in answer to the original question.
So it’s over to the Epcot resorts finally, home to the BoardWalk Villas, and Beach Club Villas. Location wise, you can’t really beat them, within walking distance to both Epcot, and the Studios. The difference really comes down to the theme of each, with the Beach Club Villas perhaps being slightly quieter, and a little bit further away from the evening action on the BoardWalk. We enjoyed our stay at the BoardWalk, although I’d really hate to be in one of the end villas, as a bit like the Wilderness Lodge, they’re so far from the action.
Not a problem you’ll encounter at the Beach Club Villas, where even the end villas are either close to the parking lot or the walkways to Epcot. Ah, now this is home to us! Why? Well, location, location, location first off – as someone said on the message boards, you can dine out every night on World Showcase. What finer endorsement can there be? But, perhaps more than that, this is the place that always feels like home to us, and isn’t that what we’re all looking for from a Disney Vacation Club resort?
Of course, the final thought to leave you with is one response to the original question, which is probably also a key consideration. Your favorite can change, depending on what your plans are for your trip. Want to spend time away from the parks? Saratoga, Old Key West or Animal Kingdom Lodge all may suit… If your focus is Epcot, perhaps during the Food and Wine or Flower and Garden Festival, then your attention will turn naturally to the BoardWalk and Beach Club Villas. Got young kids who want to spend all their time in the Magic Kingdom? Then perhaps Bay Lake Tower or Wilderness Lodge will work better…
So, how about you? What’s your favorite Disney Vacation Club resort, and why?