Top Themed Resorts

Well, the agents at Believe Vacations had so much fun putting together articles for BEST ATTRACTION AT DISNEY and BEST RESTAURANT AT DISNEY that we decided to do it again.  This time, with resorts.  The scoring of this will be similar as we will reveal different categories over the next few weeks and list the resorts we have stayed at into different tiers within the category.  At the end of the categories, we’ll have a final results article that will provide the winner.  So here we go again:

Welcome to Believe Vacation’s weekly post where today, we begin our quest to determine what our agents thought was the BEST RESORT AT DISNEY.  For today’s article, we are looking at the best theme.  Theme will be interpreted as a cumulative of many aspects: design, rooms, names of stores/restaurants/pools/etc on resort campus, and other factors.  From there, our agents provided resorts with a score and now, we are proud to reveal the top 11.

Perdita and Pongo statues overlooking Disney's All-Star Movies Resort

Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney World

9-11) Disney’s All-Star Resorts (Movies, Music, Sports) – You’ll see a a few times over the course of this reveal that these 3 resorts will more than likely be grouped together.  Each one does have it’s own theme but by and large they are all the same.  With incredible statues and fun pools at each, you really can’t go wrong at any of these, especially when you have children in tow.  Movies may get the slight nod if your child would love to be among classic Disney characters while Sports often sees competition teams from around the world crashing on its property.  Regardless of choice, the theming at each can be considered “All-Star” level!

The colorful sign and entrance to Disney's Pop Century Resort

Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney World

8) Disney’s Pop Century Resort – Until recently, Pop Century was the Value Resort that did not get as much love as All-Stars.  Recently refurbished and updated rooms to reflect the pop culture theming has greatly improved its popularity.  Still inundated with large statues and throwbacks to decades of yesteryear, adults find that this resort brings back wonderful flashbacks to happy times while kids may not understand why a Mickey Telephone was totally rad!  Enjoy the trip down memory lane and make sure you visit each section!

A lake view of Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, lit up in the evening

Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney World

7) Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort – What Moderate Resorts lack in terms of large statues and over-the-top Disney theming, they more than make up with in regards to the setting where the respective resorts are based.  Take Coronado Springs – you and I may not know what Spanish Colonial Mexico looked like back in the day but we have a wonderful appreciation for the color, flare and theatrics of that part of the world.  With casitas, ranchos and a giant Mayan pyramid on property, a wonderful and celebratory escape awaits you!

The Sassagoula Steamboat Company building and marina lit up in the evening

Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney World

6) Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside  – The charm of the Old South is tough to pass up.  Especially when it is run by Disney Cast Members.  Imagine arriving for your Disney Vacation and instead of a typical hotel, you are greeted by a rustic resort complete with horse-drawn carriages, antebellum mansions, all headquartered on the sprawling bayou!

A tree-lined lane lit with antique-style street lamps

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

5) Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter  – Of course, there’s always the pageantry and flamboyance of Mardi Gras at the neighboring section within Port Orleans.  Enjoy the classic French charm complete with the iconic wrought-iron balconies and cobblestone streets.  Head over to the pool with a clarinet-playing gator and dragon water slide as you “Laissez les bon temps rouler.”

The treetops and thatched roofs of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge at daybreak

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

4) Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – I said this often describing Kilimanjaro Safaris but one of the most impressive feats Disney Imagineers have ever pulled off is transforming a central Florida swamp into an African Savannah.  At Animal Kingdom Lodge, that sentiment transfers over ten-fold.  Not only do animals roam right outside the lodge, but the architecture, interior make-up and decor all transport you to the land of the safari.  And with a zero entry pool, you’ll feel as if you are in a traditional animal watering hole without a care in the world.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort seen from the blue waters of Seven Seas Lagoon

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

3) Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – The pageantry, traditions and customs of the islands await us at this treasure located across the lake from the Magic Kingdom.  Rich with native vegetation, palm trees, and tropical tastes, you’ll soon realize why this opening day resort is still in high demand.  And for entertainment, stick with the feeling of being in the tropics with a nightly fire show and traditional Polynesian cuisine.  Aloha indeed!

A creek whose water cascades down rocks in the courtyard at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

2) Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – Just like the savannas, would you believe Disney Imagineers brought the rustic Northwest to Orlando?  It’s incredible really.  That type of wooden exterior and metal roofing should sorely stand out in the Southeastern portion of the United States, but not at Disney.  Soothing creeks, subtle wildlife and more allow you to embrace the great outdoors in its own serenity.  And for what it’s worth, no lobby at any resort has as fine and detailed craftsmanship than what you have at Wilderness Lodge.  Incredibly majestic!

Giant jellyfish and Crush from Disney•Pixar's Finding Nemo amid The Big Blue Pool

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

1) Disney’s Art of Animation Resort  – While Imagineers may take more pride in completely transforming a parcel of central Florida property and turning it into a whole new world, in this instance, it’s best to stick with what brought you to the big dance.  AofA is THE RESORT to stay at if you what a full-on, everything -must-be-Disney, vacation!  Large statues from Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid, Cars, and The Lion King tower over their respective sections.  Sketches of your favorite characters displayed on the interior of the lobby and the outside of the buildings.  The sights and songs of your favorite movies completely surrounding you.  Add a few pools that go right along with the theme of the section of your resort and you will have the true definition of one theme throughout!

Did we miss a resort? Which one do you think has an awesome theme?  Leave your comments in the section below and remember there’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow!

Brian Pavlick
brianp@believevacations.com

Brian Pavlick is a husband and father residing in Maylene, AL. His love of Disney goes back to his early memories of watching the New Disney Channel on cable, occasional vacations to Orlando Florida and attending Disney Institute Management Training classes. He keeps up with Disney news and updates by reading numerous websites, experiencing attractions by watching YouTube videos and introducing his family to classic and timeless Disney movies, attractions and songs.

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