Do Disney Your Way, pg. 3
Six Great Family-Friendly Disney Resorts
The Wilderness Lodge: Modeled on the Ahwahnee Lodge in Yosemite, with its towering log-cabin lobby and a river running through it, a geyser that erupts hourly, bunk beds for the kids, and a great pool and sand beach, this resort has the feeling of a true rustic getaway (though rooms are on the small side). Access to the Magic Kingdom is by boat, but transportation is less convenient to the other parks.
The Beach and Yacht Clubs: On the water near Epcot, these romantic New England-style seaside retreats share a pool that's a virtual water park, with a winding sand-bottom lagoon, tide pools, and a shipwrecked pirate galleon with a fantastic water slide, as well as a kiddie pool and slide. The nearby Boardwalk area offers lots of great restaurant and entertainment options.
The Polynesian: Great with young kids, this older, low-rise resort is right on the monorail (so it's easy to make shorter jaunts to the Magic Kingdom), with a view of Cinderella Castle and the fireworks. The South Seas island theme is fun, and the pool features a waterfall and slide, plus there's a quiet, sandy beach.
Animal Kingdom Lodge: This new resort is like an overnight stay at the zoo, though you should splurge for Savanna rooms to make sure you get a good view. Bunk beds are available, plus fun restaurants and an evening story time by the fire. (Downside: It's one of the farthest resorts from the Magic Kingdom).
Port Orleans-Riverside: For a moderately priced resort ($129 to $199 a night), lots of families love this resort (formerly Dixie Landings), which has antebellum romance and Ol' Man Island with a large pool, waterfalls, slides, a fishing hole, and a playground.
All-Star Resorts: The price is right at these resorts, themed by music, movies, and sports, plus the new Pop Century resort. Though rooms are small ("think dorms," says one parent) and the hotels are sprawling, the themes are fun, the pools are big, and the food courts are family-friendly -- plus all the perks of staying chez Mickey for only $77 to $104 per night.
Having dinner at different resorts or parks can be a fun way to soak up more atmosphere. Young children usually aren't that interested in Epcot, but dinner at one of the restaurants in the World Showcase followed by the IllumiNations light show can be a nice way to get a taste of the park. "We ate dinner at Wilderness Lodge and had a character breakfast one morning at the Polynesian, and it was a fun way to experience the ambience of those resorts," one reader says. One caveat: It can be time-consuming to get from one resort to another on Disney transportation. If you're not renting a car, take a taxi instead.