What is the best Disney World Resort for babies?
We evaluated all of the Disney World resorts to determine the best Disney resort for babies or infants (children under 12 months old). We picked a winner in each Disney resort category: Deluxe Villas, Deluxe, Moderate and Value. You can also checkout the best Disney resort for toddlers, preschoolers, and adults here. The Deluxe Villa ranking are at the bottom of page.
The Deluxe Disney resorts and villas are: Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas, Beach Club Resort and Villas, Board Walk Inn and Villas, Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower, Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Polynesian Village Resort, Villas and Bungalows, Wilderness Lodge and Villas, and Yacht Club Resort.
The Moderate Disney resorts are: Cabins at Fort Wilderness, Caribbean Beach Resort, Coronado Springs Resort, Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, and Port Orleans Resort – Riverside.
The Value Disney resorts are: All-Star Movies Resort, All-Star Music Resort, All-Star Sports Resort, Art of Animation Resort, and Pop Century Resort.
Other resorts include: Swan Resort, Dolphin Resort, Old Key West (DVC), Saratoga Springs (DVC), and Fort Wilderness Campsite (campers only).
Ranking Disney World resorts is inherently controversial and arbitrary. Remember, these are our choices for best Disney World resorts for babies.
The criteria we use to select the best Disney resorts for babies is a bit different than how we judge for older ages. For kids that are younger than elementary-school-age, we recommend taking a relaxed approach to Disney, and getting back to home base for a relaxing afternoon. Parks in the morning, naps and pool in the afternoon. Why? To avoid meltdowns and keep everyone happy, of course!
With this in mind, we rank location and ease of transportation highly. This comes through in the Deluxe resort category, where both of our choices are on the monorail. Other factors we consider are room quality, character dining, grounds, pools, and baby-friendliness of common spaces.
Best Disney Deluxe Resort for Babies
Best: Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Oh, the Grand Flo…pack that stroller up and roll through an easy vacation with a baby. It is relaxing, quiet, and only one monorail stop away from the Magic Kingdom.
The Grand Floridian has a great pool and splash pad that will appeal to even the littlest littles. The main pool has a zero-entry option and their second pool, Beaches, is quiet. Both pools have pool bars that serve food.
Grand Floridian has great restaurants for children and adults alike. They have one of the most exclusive restaurants, Victoria and Alberts (for an adult’s-only night out), in addition to other great table service restaurants like Citrico’s, Narcoossee’s and the Grand Floridian Cafe. Their quick service restaurant, Gasparilla Grill, is also very good. If you want to introduce your little one to some characters, there are great character meals at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Flo that include favorites such as Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, and Cinderella. You are also minutes away by monorail from other character meals at the other monorail Deluxe resorts. This can give your baby access to some Disney magic without even entering Magic Kingdom!
If you can afford to stay at a resort on the monorail with a baby, it is worth doing. You can easily get to Magic Kingdom and Epcot, as well as the other Deluxe monorail resorts, which can be fun outings in and of themselves. Taking a baby to dinner at a neighboring monorail resorts is a fun, low-stress outing.
Traveling along the monorail is ideal for doing parks in the morning and relaxing in the afternoons, which we recommend for anyone taking a baby to Disney World. One of the downsides is that the Grand Floridian is large, but there are tips for that. If it’s in budget, stay in the Main Building s0 getting to and from the monorail is effortless. If you are booking an outer garden building, ask for Big Pine Key after you make your reservations. Although they cannot guarantee you will get it, it is the closest to the main pool, the splash pad, and the main building, where you catch the monorail.
Runner Up: Disney’s Contemporary Resort
This one was a very close second. The Contemporary is another wonderful resort for a baby. The pools at the Contemporary are not exciting, but they tend to be fairly quiet. There is a zero-entry pool and a nice splash pad.
There are some great restaurants in the Contemporary, including character dining at Chef Mickey’s, California Grill, The Wave….of American Flavors, and their quick service restaurant, the Contempo Cafe, is good as well.
One of the best parts of this hotel is the same as Bay Lake Towers – it is super close to the Magic Kingdom. It is either a ten minute walk or a short monorail trip. This is probably the best resort when it comes to getting around. The monorail stops inside the hotel, and you can roll your stroller right onto the monorail from the air conditioning of the hotel. We recommend staying in the Main Building as opposed to the outer buildings.
Best Disney Moderate Resort for a Baby
Best: Port Orleans French Quarter
Port Orleans French Quarter is smaller than its sister, Port Orleans Riverside, and you can use the amenities at both. This can be a blessing when you have an infant because it is a bit more relaxing.
The French Quarter’s Doubloon Pool is whimsical and fun for all kids, although sometimes it can be busy as folks are allowed to come over from Port Orleans – Riverside.
There is only one restaurant at Port Orleans – French Quarter, Sassagoula Floatworks. But don’t judge yet…there are some really yummy things on the menu here, including beignets…which make my mouth water just thinking about them. You can go to Port Orleans Riverside (about a ten minute walk) and go to other restaurants, or you can take a boat to Disney Springs and go to one of their MANY, MANY restaurants, including some new ones in 2017.
Runner Up: Cabins at Fort Wilderness:
Yes, this might seem like a surprising choice, but hear me out. If you are traveling with just a baby (and not older siblings who need more stimulation), having a nice, quiet place to return to for naps and a kitchen kitchen complete with a refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave and 2 countertop burners can be nice. The Cabins at Fort Wilderness have a back-woods theming, but they have amenities that make traveling with a baby particularly easy. Let’s be honest, you spend a lot of time at your room when an infant is in tow! Each room offers a living room, at least one bedroom, a full bathroom. Baby can nap in the bedroom and you can shut the door and enjoy the living room or sit on the private patio and fire up the charcoal grill. Bonus: Housekeeping even does your dishes!
There is a dinner show called the Hoop-Dee-Doo review, which is a musical show with lots of music, dancing, and a delicious family-style dinner. There is even a character meal called Mickey’s Backyard BBQ that takes place at Fort Wilderness near the campsites where you can meet Mickey, Minnie and Friends. The table service restaurant is called Trail’s End.
You can park your car directly in front of your cabin if you plan to drive, and there is a boat that goes directly to Magic Kingdom, but the resort is huge, and the dock is at the opposite end of the resort from the cabins.
TIP: Rent a golf cart to get around this large resort easily. You can rent it at Disney, which is pricey, or from a rental company.
Best Disney Value Resort for a Baby
Best: Pop Century
Pop Century gets high marks for its theming. It is a bit like a trip back in time through decades past, which is fun for the adults bringing the babies! The location of your room within the property can be impactful. You can pay for a preferred room to be close to the main building.70s Building B or the 80s Building B are your next best options without paying extra. It’s always nice to be close to the action!
Pop Century has a flower-shaped 1960’s themed pool called the Hippy Dippy Pool. It does have zero entry pool, which is huge when you are bringing your baby. Next to the Hippy Dippy Pool is a water play area where you can take your infant to splash. There are also two quiet pools – the 1990’s computer pool (shaped like a laptop a.k.a. a rectangle) and the 1950’s bowling pool. Another small water play named Goofy Pop Jet Playground area is located at the end of Building 5 in the 1960’s section.
The food court at Pop Century, the Everything Pop Food Court, is often rated the best food court at Disney World – which is a big plus. Try the tie-dyed cheesecake for dessert, or stick with the fresh-baked cookies!
Disney transportation is exclusively by bus, which is true from all of the Value Resorts. You can choose to drive or take a taxi or Uber Family (Uber with car seats available in Orlando).
Runner Up: Art of Animation
The Art of Animation has whimsical theming and a large, often-lauded pool called the Big Blue Pool, which is Finding Nemo themed. There is even music piped underwater. Art of Animation is newer than the other value resorts. . The smaller, quiet pools are the Flippin’ Fins pool in the Little Mermaid section and the Cozy Cone pool in the Cars section.eThe various sections of Art of Animation are adorable, and make a stroll through the resort a fun distraction. Unlike Pop Century, Art of Animation does not offer Preferred Rooms. The Finding Nemo suites are located closest to the main building.
The food court at Art of Animation has a focus on healthy eating, which is often ranked second only to Pop Century of all food courts of in the value and moderate resort categories.
Best Disney World Deluxe Villas for a Baby
Best: Bay Lake Towers
I just finished up a fabulous trip to Bay Lake Towers with an infant. It could not have been easier. We had a two-room villa, full kitchen, two full baths and a half bath. This meant the baby could be napping in the pack and play in one room and adults and older kids could still be awake and enjoying the large living space.
There are not restaurants at Bay Lake other than a quick-service pool option, but it attaches to the Contemporary via a short walkway that lets out onto the fourth floor. On that floor, you can find Chef Mickey’s, Contempo Cafe, and the Outer Rim Lounge. That balcony and the walkway between resorts just happens to be one of the best places to watch Wishes if you have a babysitter! If you get a park view room, you will be able to see the fireworks well.The California Grill and The Wave…of American Flavors are also at the Contemporary.
Getting around Disney World from Bay Lake Towers is truly a breeze. It is a ten minute walk to the Magic Kingdom or you can walk over the Contemporary and hop right on the monorail! This particular hotel makes traveling with a baby about as easy as it gets. You never even have to fold your stroller.
If you want to spend the morning at the Magic Kingdom, you can easily head home when you sense your itty-bitty is getting tired or overstimulated. To get to Epcot, transfer monorails at the Transportation and Ticketing Center. Again, no need to fold up that stroller!
The pool at Bay Lake is quiet and has a zero-entry area and a splash pad. You are also welcome to use the pools at the Contemporary. These pools are a nice place to spend a relaxing afternoon with your baby after nap time.
Runner Up: Grand Floridian Villas
The Grand Floridian Villas are also extremely baby-friendly. They are located on the monorail, but are a bit more of a walk to the main building than the some of the outer buildings of the “Grand Flo.” See our info below on Big Pine Key. 🙂 These villas are absolutely beautiful, and they are located close to the Alice in Wonderland-themed splash pad and Beaches pool (and pool bar!) They are supremely well outfitted but their feel can be a little stuffy.
There are wonderful restaurants at the Grand Floridian and you can get easily to the Magic Kingdom and other Deluxe resorts for more options.
A note on why the Villas at the Polynesian didn’t make the list – the water. These incredible villas are located over water. From the standpoint of bringing a baby, this may not be a plus. They are beautiful, though!