To travelers of all ages, a Disney vacation is a dream vacation. You can immerse yourself into some of the world’s most famous animated films at any of the 12 Disney theme parks, from Anaheim to Shanghai. But once Disney fans have found the perfect park for them, what about the perfect hotel?
For a Disney experience that doesn’t stop when you leave the park, consider staying at a Disney hotel. With themed rooms, character experiences, incredible views, and proximity to the attractions you came to see, these are the best Disney hotels you can stay in around the world.
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Au’lani, A Disney Resort and Spa
On the island of Oahu, this Disney hotel stands out from the rest because it’s not actually located anywhere near a Disney theme park. Instead, the Au’lani Disney Resort and Spa, is the Disney attraction in itself. With characters like Moana and Stitch leading the way (as well as a Mickey Mouse crew in Hawaiian shirts), there’s plenty of Disney fun to be had.
With a spa with an outdoor hydrotherapy garden, a golf course right next door, and a pool that’s basically its own waterpark complete with a splash zone and a waterslide, this beachside Disney resort has something for everybody. Kids especially will love Aunty’s Beach House, a Moana-inspired kids club where ages three to 12 can explore Hawaiian culture through games and activities.
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Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
With some of the best dining options of all the Orlando-based Disney hotels and a full-service spa, the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is a stand-out. Maintaining its Victorian elegance, the hotel also offers a full-size pool with a large waterslide. While you’re there, don’t miss the chance to dine at the award-winning Victoria & Albert’s restaurant. You can reserve a table for a classic table-service or get a peek into the kitchen with a ten-course meal at the Chef’s Table. And if that’s not enough glamour for you, make sure to spend some time in the lobby to listen to the live orchestra play a mix of jazz, ragtime, and classic Disney songs.
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In Anaheim, California, you can have the classic Disney experience at the Disneyland Hotel. With up-to-date accommodations that pay tribute to the classic history of the park and a number of themed suites from pirates to princesses, this hotel is a good choice for anyone looking to make an extra special trip to Disneyland. At this Disney hotel, the biggest benefit is proximity. This hotel is located right next to the park and guests with valid tickets can enjoy early admission as a perk of staying at the hotel and enter the park an hour before general opening. After your day in the park, you can relax poolside at one of the rental cabanas or go for a stroll the promenade in Downtown Disney.
Editors’ Note: According to Disney’s website the Disneyland Hotel pool area will be undergoing refurbishments from January 7 to May 2019.
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Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta
Located inside Tokyo DisneySea Park, the Hotel Miracosta is not just a Disney hotel favorite for its direct access to the park, but also scores major wanderlust points for its stunning Italian-inspired architecture. Like a little piece of Italy in Japan, the hotel has three separate sections inspired by different regions of Italy: Tuscany, Venice, and Porto Paradiso. With 502 newly-refurbished guest rooms and an indoor pool that look like the personal bath of a Roman emperor, the MiraCosta is a grand hotel in the middle of a Disney park. Offering rooms with views of the Palazzo Canals and the Venezia pool—some with their own terraces where you’ll have great views of the outdoor shows.—there’s no doubt this is one of the most luxurious Disney hotels in the world.
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Disneyland Hotel Paris
Located a short walk away from Disneyland Paris in the city of Chessy, which is an hour drive outside of Paris, this five-star hotel is the perfect place to set up camp when visiting the European park. The opulent design and special amenities like a steam room and sauna, indoor pool, and kid-friendly bonuses makes the Disneyland Hotel Paris a classic European luxury hotel. And with Disney characters at breakfast, this is a great choice for an extra special trip to Disneyland Paris.
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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
In Orlando, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is the closest you can get to a luxurious African vacation while staying on a Disney property. You can sleep surrounded by over 30 species of African wildlife like zebras, giraffes, gazelles, and flamingoes, which reside on the 43-acre property. With kid-focused amenities like a playground, a large pool, and an outdoor movie screen, there’s plenty of fun packed into this resort experience. But the biggest joy for all animal-loving family members will be watching the animals from their room windows. For large families, consider one of the epic villas at Kidani Village or Jambo House.
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Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel
Inspired by a Victorian Palace and complete with a hedge maze in the shape of Mickey Mouse, the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel is a luxurious place to stay at Disneyland Hong Kong. If you can’t splurge for a themed suite but want to make the trip extra special for your little one, this Disney hotel offers theme room decoration packages, which switch out your room’s touches for something a little more festive.
In addition to being close to the park, there are plenty of fun Disney activities too like Tai Chi class with Master Goofy. For a special occasion, enjoy a meal at the hotel’s best restaurant Crystal Lotus, where you can try dim sum in the shape of all your favorite characters, and representing China’s four major culinary regions.
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Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
For any kid interested in art, there’s no better place to spur natural creativity than Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. From the lobby that’s decorated in sketches to the larger-than-life sculptures around the facility, there are plenty of photo-worthy moments. Not to mention, it has the largest resort pool of any Disney property, which is decorated with Finding Nemo-inspired fixtures and features underwater speakers.* With plenty of logistic-friendly amenities like complimentary transportation and luggage delivery from the Orlando airport, plus free bus transportation to the parks, this Disney resort one of the four pet-friendly Disney properties in the world. Bonus amenities include a mile-long jogging trail, a playground, and regular outdoor movie screenings, there’s lots to do back in the room when you stay at this Disney hotel.
*Editors’ Note: According to a notification on the Disney website, the Big Blue Pool will be closed for refurbishment beginning in fall 2020.
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Shanghai Toy Story Hotel
If your favorite Disney movie is Toy Story, don’t pass up an opportunity to stay in Shanghai’s Toy Story Hotel. Not only is this hotel fully decorated with iconic toy decor, like Etch-a-sketch touchscreens and Rubix Cube nightstands, it also has a well-stocked play room for kids ages two through 12, with slides and toys straight from the Toy Story movies. Guests at this Disney hotel will also have a priority entrance to Shanghai Disneyland, and will be within walking distance to shopping and dining options in Disneytown.
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Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort
If you think you’ll need a break from Disney-branded everything, the Four Seasons Resort Orlando offers the perfect respite without being too far away from the park. Although it’s not an official Disney resort, this hotel offers Disney-themed, in-room celebrations, character breakfasts, and access to the Extra Magic Hours benefit, which means you can still get into the parks an hour before opening or stay an hour after closing. With an elegantly designed splash zone, a lazy river, and movies by the pool, there’s still plenty of fun for the kids and plenty of relaxation for adults from the spa to the adults-only pool and nearby Tranquilo Golf Course.
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More from SmarterTravel:
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- Disneyland vs. Disney World: Which is Cheaper?
Jamie Ditaranto is a writer and photographer who is always looking for her next adventure. Follow her on Instagram @jamieditaranto.