Magic-heavy family fun without the hefty price tag
There are just around eight and a half hours of flying standing between you and your cheap holiday to the Walt Disney World Resort.
That’s time for just a couple of Disney films before you’re face-to-face with the real deal. With four incredible theme parks, two waterparks and hotels modelled after your favourite animated characters, the Walt Disney World Resort is a family favourite for a reason.
And there’s no age limit for fun here – meet-and-greets with princesses might be desirable for some, but hotel pool scenes, free shuttles to the bars at Disney Springs and more restaurants than you’ll know what to do with ensure everyone has a good time too.
Cheap things to do around the Walt Disney World Resort
If you’ve found yourself in or around the Walt Disney World Resort, chances are you’re here for the parks.
Their price tags can sometimes be a little on the steep side, but the character autographs, photos with Cinderella and the Mickey Mouse ear hat – not to mention the memories, of course – will be well worth it. Plus, you can bring food from restaurants outside the park to keep costs down.
But you don’t have to experience the parks to have an unforgettable holiday in this slice of Florida. The hotels within the Walt Disney World Resort area are practically theme parks of their own with a whole menu’s worth of pools on offer, arcade games, poolside films, playgrounds, sport courts and so much more.
You’ll find it tempting to just set up base at the themed pools and never leave – but the hotels here come with free shuttles to nearby parks and the cosmopolitan Disney Springs, for when you want to get up and go.
How to get a great Florida holiday deal
To get the best holiday deals, you’ll want to hold off on booking until eight weeks before your trip at most. This is when the last-minute steals come out to play. Hotel fares are likely to only include the room itself here, so you should prepare to pay for meals unless you’ve made prior arrangements.
But there are generally a good array of restaurants and simple takeaway spots in and around the Walt Disney World Resort where you can pay less than what you would in the parks.
If you aren’t sold on staying in the Walt Disney World Resort itself, you can still make your cheap holiday base elsewhere in Florida and travel in to the parks.
Close by are golf-course-based Championsgate and Kissimmee, with its historic downtown and Old Town theme park. Or International Drive is like a resort in itself, boasting one huge street of entertainment spots, museums, shopping malls and restaurants.
But if your heart is set on the Walt Disney World Resort, have a look at our travel guide for more information on getaways to this mouse-eared haven. And in the meantime, below are our top hotels for cheap holidays to the Walt Disney World Resort.
Walk into Disney Pop Century and you'll come face to face with a pop culture playground, kitted out with a bowling pin-shaped pool, a giant juke box in the side of the hotel and an oversized table-football. There are five different zones here, showcasing everything from the 50s to the 90s, sprinkled in with three pools, seven food kiosks within the food court, an arcade and a playground. Plus, there's a free shuttle service to get you to and from the area's theme parks.
This fun zone is all about what Disney does best – animation. There are four distinct sections here, each modelled after The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo and Cars. The massive lagoon pool is themed after Finding Nemo, and is the biggest in the Walt Disney World Resort. Five kiosks make up the food court, and at night come the outdoor films beside the pool. During the day you've also got a playground and arcade, not to mention the free shuttle service to the theme parks and busy Disney Springs.
With this mega hotel, it's all in the name – Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort is yes, you guessed it, themed after islands in the Caribbean. Trinidad, Martinique, Barbados, Aruba and Jamaica, to be exact, broken up by pools, including a giant pirate-themed one. There's a main dining spot here, but with island-themed markets on offer too. Also available are fishing and volleyball, a playground and an arcade, on top of the ever-familiar free shuttle bus to the Disney theme parks.
New Orleans has come to life in this French hotel, rife with hints of Mardi Gras and old world charm in the form of cobblestone lanes, wrought iron balconies and gas lamps. There's a pool here, of course, woven with an oversized sea monster that's actually a waterslide. In the food court, you'll find American-Creole cuisine on top of family favourites like burgers and pizza, while outside an arcade, playground and splash park await. Further beyond are the parks, reachable by the hotel's free shuttle service.