We evaluated all of the Disney World resorts to determine the BEST Disney World resort for toddlers (i.e. the best Disney World resort for a 1 year old or a 2 year old).
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).
The criteria we used for the best Disney resort for a toddler has a lot of commonality with the Best Disney Resort for Babies. There are a lot of common needs across these two groups. For example, we value location very highly for both babies and toddlers, in particular Magic Kingdom area resorts on the monorail.
There are a few different recommendations, however. Besides location, the criteria we considered include theming, room quality, character dining options, grounds, pools, and age-friendliness of public spaces.
On to the winners!
Best Disney World Deluxe Resort for Toddlers
Winner: Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Ease of getting to the Magic Kingdom is why we ranked the Contemporary as the number one resort for toddlers. It is onl
y a ten-minute walk from the park, and the monorail stops inside hotel itself. Proximity to MK is a huge benefit. It makes getting around a breeze.
The food at the Contemporary is very good. Chef Mickey’s, Contempo Cafe, The California Grill, The Wave…of American Flavors,the Outer Rim Lounge, and The Sand Bar are all found at the Contemporary. Toddlers love a trip to Chef Mickey’s! Make sure to have the photographers take your picture before you get seated! It’s a great photo spot. 🙂 If you get a park view room, you will be able to see the fireworks well from your room.
Runner -Up: Disney’s Polynesian Resort
The convenience of being able to take a toddler back to the hotel in a short period of time without taking him or her out of the stroller cannot be overstated. We recommend requesting a longhouse close to the Main Building, like Samoa.
Polynesian has a zero entry pool called the Lava Pool, and a quiet pool. it also has nice grounds for little ones to explore with their parents. The Main Building is a nice place for new walkers to wander around. There is a Mickey character breakfast at O’Hana that can fill up, but you can usually book an ADR with a little planning. It is not as tough to get a reservation as some other character dining is.
Best Disney World Moderate Resort for Toddlers
Winner: Cabins at Fort Wilderness
The Cabins at Fort Wilderness are a great option for toddlers for a number of reasons. They are quiet and you have enough space for them to work off some energy after a day at the parks. This can be especially important when you are trying to fall asleep after a day at Disney! And??? The accommodations are fantastic for your family. They have an almost-full kitchen (only two burners on the stove), separate living area, patio area, and private parking spot.
Transportation takes effort – the resort is huge. But, like most things Disney, this is no big deal if you plan ahead. Good news: there is a bus stop close to the Cabins on the south side of Fort Wilderness. Not-so-good-news! Although there is a boat that goes to Magic Kingdom right from the resort, it departs at the north side of Fort Wilderness.
Tip: We recommend renting a golf cart from a non-Disney provider. There are some that work specifically with Fort Wilderness. They will save you money over the Disney rate of $59 per day. And seriously, how fun is a golf cart? Especially. when.you. really. need. one. Come on, it’s for the comfort of your toddler…
Runner Up: Port Orleans French Quarter
Port Orleans French Quarter is a great option for toddlers for a number of reasons. It is a smaller resort and can be less overwhelming than some of the mega-resorts, but it is quaint and fun to explore. It has a nice playground area and some fantastic food available at Sassagoula Floatworks. Think coffee and beignets in the morning.
The pool is also a really nice one. See more info on it here.
Best Disney World Value Resort for Toddlers
Winner: Pop Century
Pop Century is fun and full of bright colors and fun themes that will entice a toddler. AND…adults. Be honest. If you have a toddler now, you may find going back in time through decades of pop culture to be at least mildly entertaining. Next stop: oldies station.
The pools are great – the Hippy Dippy Pool is a 1960’s themed flower-shaped affair with a nearby splash pad. It get high marks. There are also two quiet pools. You spend lots of time at the resort when you have a toddler, and having pools at varying intensity levels can be very helpful.
TIP: It may be worth it to spend money on Uber Family (uber with carseats) or a taxi if your transportation times are long or you will be trying to leave a busy park mid-day. Download the Transportation Wizard app to get an idea of how long your travels will be.
Runner Up: Art of Animation
Art of Animation has to make our best toddler resort list for numerous reasons. There is a good chance your toddler has an affinity for one of the many characters that are featured at Art of Animation. From Lightning McQueen and Mater to Ariel, Finding Nemo, and the Lion King, this resort is all about the cartoons. It is famous for its Big Blue Pool, where music is piped underwater. You cannot pay for a Preferred Room, but the Finding Nemo Suites are located near the Main Building.
Our recommendations for the Deluxe Villas are the same for both toddlers and babies.
No matter your price range, there is a great Disney World resort for your toddler!