Every family needs to experience the magic of Disney World Theme Parks. The best way to do so is by staying at a Disney World resort, where benefits like park transportation and extra magic hours add to your Disney vacation. It’s really the only way to be completely immersed in Disney! The only downside? Accommodation costs can add up quickly. To help save your hard earned money, follow this guide to the best Disney World Resorts that won’t break the bank.

Disney's Art of Animation Resort

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Price: Starting at $115/night
The best bet for a Disney World value resort is Art of Animation. Comfort is key, as most rooms have been upgraded to suites. Plus, the resort has dedicated bus transportation, upgraded amenities and a food court–Landscape of Flavors–with offerings that raise the bar on value resort dining. The over-the-top theming, featuring scenes from The Little Mermaid, Cars, The Lion King and Finding Nemo, puts guests right in the heart of their favorite Disney cartoons.

Disney's Pop Century Resort

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Disney’s Pop Century Resort
Price: Starting at $102/night
Pop Century is the perfect second choice for families seeking a Disney value resort. Set amongst scenes highlighting pop culture trends from the 50s to the 90s, this resort highlights everything from yoyos and Play-Dog to Mr. Potato Head and Pac-Man. The whimsical atmosphere is complimented by updated furnishings, easy access to food options–including Art of Animation’s Landscape of Flavors food court–as well as pools with aquatic features and movies under the stars.

Disney's Port Orleans Resort

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort

Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside
Price: Starting at $170/night
For a moderate Disney Resort, you can’t beat Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. Invoking the charm of the antebellum south, the theming is some of the best of Disney World resorts. The picturesque setting is enhanced by white-columned mansions, backwoods cottages and tranquil bayous. Rooms here have been recently refurbished, allowing for more comfort and space to stretch out. Amenities like the 3.5 acre aquatic hideaway with a Tom Sawyer theme add to the appeal of Port Orleans Riverside.

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Price: Starting at $175/night
The lakeside, southwestern theme of Disney’s Coronado Springs is transportive. Spanish and colonial Mexico cultures are celebrated, both in the brightly colored casitas, ranchos and cabanas and the dining selections available like Maya Grill. It’s also seen in the Mayan-temple designed pool, complete with water slide. Heavenly bedding and modern updates make rooms rather inviting too. When you stay at Coronado Springs Resort, you have access to all of the Disney resort perks but at a fraction of the cost of other resort options.

Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Price: Starting at $170/night
Want a beach experience while visiting Disney World? Choose Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Located around the 45-acre Barefoot Bay, this tropical paradise brings a bit more fun in the sun to your Disney World vacation. Palm trees, sandy beaches, colonial architecture–it all puts you in an island state-of-mind. Villages of the resort are themed after islands like Barbados, Aruba and Jamaica, with vibrant colors and sea-worthy, pirate-themed rooms adding to the Caribbean cool. With 200 acres to explore, this resort is a nice choice for visitors who want the best of both worlds on vacation.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

If you want to stay at a Disney World resort, but don’t want to spend a fortune, Disney World value resorts are the solution. The resorts offer all the perks of a Disney World resort at an economical price point you can afford. Along with the built-in Disney resort benefits, value resorts feature larger-than-life theming that bring Disney characters to life. Definitely family-friendly, amenities like large poolscapes, easily accessible bus transportation and food courts add to the appeal of Disney value resorts. Curious about which are the best Disney World value resorts? Read on.

Disney's Art of Animation Resort

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

1) Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Price: Starting at $115
Imagine being immersed in the enchantment of Disney and Pixar movies: that is Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Scenes from Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King and Cars delight visitors. A renovation three years ago provides newer rooms, most of which are suites, and an upgraded Landscape of Flavors food court. In fact, the food court is probably the best of all the value resorts. Dedicated bus transportation also means less of a wait for a ride to the park.

Disney's Pop Century Resort

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

2) Disney’s Pop Century Resort
Price: Starting at $102
Talk about unique! Disney’s Pop Century Resort takes you on a journey through unforgettable pop culture fads, from the 1950s to 1990s. Think yo-yos, Play-Doh, Rubik’s Cube, Pac-Man and the like. The theming, although not Disney specific, is pretty rad. As is the dedicated bus transportation, kid-friendly pool areas and easy access to a food court. Interestingly enough, it’s not the food court at Pop Century that stands out, but rather that you’re within walking distance to the Landscape of Flavors food court.

Disney's All Star Movies Resort

Disney’s All Star Movies Resort

3) All Star Movies Resort
Price: Starting at $92
Surround yourself with scenes from class Disney movies at All Star Movies Resort. Walk among dogs from 101 Dalmatians, then stay in a room decorated with toys from Andy’s bedroom in Toy Story. Then, swim in a Fantasia-themed pool before watching a movie under the stars. It’s all possible at All Star Movies Resort. All Star Resorts do share bus transportation, which makes them less popular than the first two options.

Disney's All Star Music Resort

Disney’s All Star Music Resort

4) All Star Music Resort
Price: Starting at $92
Tributes to the world’s most popular music genres are found throughout All Star Music Resort. The harmonious atmosphere is complimented by jazzy décor both inside rooms and outside buildings. It’s not connected to any Disney theming, necessarily, and the rooms are also fairly basic, as are the on-site amenities. This makes All Star Music a good choice for those who simply want to enjoy the perks of a Disney Resort, but don’t plan on spending a lot of time in-room.

Disney's All Star Sports Resort

Disney’s All Star Sports Resort

5) All Star Sports Resort
Price: Starting at $92
Have a little boy or girl who can’t get sports off the brain? At All Star Sports Resort, they’ll go gaga for the athletic-inspired atmosphere. This resort is in many ways similar to the offerings of All Star Music Resort, as neither have a Disney theme and offer standard rooms and amenities meant to appeal to budget-minded vacationers. That said, the resort is very kid-friendly and is guaranteed to provide the Disney Resort perks promised.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Orlando’s summer season is bursting with activities for all ages and the region’s appeal just keeps growing. If you like to keep your heart pumping while sightseeing, you’ve got plenty of great options with the addition of exciting attractions at the new I-Drive 360 entertainment, dining and retail complex in the heart of Orlando’s International Drive. Follow this visitor’s guide to I-Drive 360 to make the most of the attractions available.

SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium

Sea Life Aquarium

Sea Life Aquarium
Photo Courtesy of Merlin Entertainment

This I-Drive 360 attraction is a tropical paradise that will delight all ages with its underwater adventures and gorgeous views of sea life in stunning displays. More than 5,000 sea critters including colorful fish, seahorses, jelly fish, sharks, turtles and more call this world-famous aquarium home. You can get even closer to the sharks, turtles and other species of fish swimming above and below by strolling through a massive 360-degree winding tunnel. For incredible eye-to-eye views, you can go under some of the tanks, and even touch various species.

Views from the Orlando Eye

Views from the Orlando Eye
Photo Courtesy of Merlin Entertainment

This new interactive journey features informative and inspirational guided tours and you can chat with the staff about the diversity of marine life. Sea Life Aquarium is also a great place to learn about marine biology and conservation efforts to preserve oceans and protect sea creatures. Kid’s activities, a fantastic play area, and an adventure trail are also located at the aquarium. It’s best to get there early in the morning, before the summer crowds arrive. Generally, the lines are not as long.

The Orlando Eye

Madame Tussauds Orlando

Madame Tussauds Orlando

Ride the 400-foot-tall Orlando Eye to experience breathtaking panoramic views of the region both day and night. Guaranteed to be a high point of your visit, you’ll see spectacular views of the dazzling cityscape. On a clear day, you can see Cape Canaveral, an hour away from Orlando. At night you’ll marvel at the city lights far below, and witness the beauty of an amazing fireworks performance. This exciting new attraction is the tallest observation wheel on the East Coast.

Madame Tussauds Orlando

Wander through themed areas where you can interact and pose with your favorite movie star or athlete at Madame Tussauds Orlando, a fascinating, acclaimed celebrity wax attraction. It’s packed with life like wax figures that pay tribute to the most influential celebrity and historical figures of our time. From award winning films to historical modern world leaders and athletes as well as music legends, this museum is a must-see. You’ll find it hard to believe the figures aren’t real.  Even better? You can post and take pictures with the figures.


Shake Shack Photo Credit: m01229/flickr

Shake Shack
Photo Credit: m01229/flickr

While visiting the I-Drive 360 entertainment complex, you’ll find a diverse selection of dining options. If you enjoy sushi, Asian and/or traditional Japanese dishes stop at Naru Restaurant & Sushi Bar. Tapa Toro will bring robust flavors to the mix, with a spicy Spanish tapas menu and paella pit. Topping it off is live music, flamenco dancers and a vast drink menu. Want something a little more casual? The cult-following diner Shake Shack serves up juicy burgers, old-fashioned custard and crisp crinkle cut fries.


Yard House Photo Credit: Yard House/Facebook

Yard House
Photo Credit: Yard House/Facebook

The Tin Roof is a hugely popular establishment. With its laid back atmosphere you can kick back and relax while enjoying some great food day or night. The scene really heats up, though, once the sun goes down. That’s when the Tin Roof turns into a live music joint, creating new location to see up and coming artists. At the Cowgirls Rockbar, things get a little bit country. Classic Americana will be on full display – there’s even a mechanical bull. The DJ spins the latest country hits, along with rock and pop, so the dance floor is always spinning. If you just want to hangout and drink a few beers, the place to go is Yard House. With over 100 beers on tap, from craft to domestic and everything in between, suds lovers unite and rejoice in this modern pub.

From family-friendly attractions to an adult night out, I-Drive 360 is going to be a favorite destination for Orlando visitors.

What makes a Disney World vacation even better? A Disney souvenir, of course! You’re going to make magical memories while on your Disney vacation. Remember them with a special keepsake all your own. At Disney World, there are more than 200 shops to browse, where everything from mouse ears to t-shirts to costumes and décor on sale. Use these tried and true tips for Walt Disney World souvenir shopping to make the most of your purchases.

1209352751_0611BZ_1649ND) Buy the Mickey Ears
It may seem cliché but nothing quite sparks the memory of Disney World quite like a pair of Mickey Ears. Whether you customize your hat, go for a new design or keep with tradition, this item is worth the average price of $13.95.

2) Pack Your Princess Gear
Want to add a bit more sparkle to your child’s day by playing dress up? If so, plan on packing your princess gear. This will save you a lot of cash as you won’t have to be a new dress at a premium price at the theme parks.

0813ZX_1485MS3) Utilize Merchandise Delivery Service
Why schlep your shopping bags through the park when you can don’t have to? Day guests of the park can use the Package Pickup program, where you have your purchases sent to a location at the front of the park for later pickup. Staying at a Disney Resort? You can have your shopping goods sent directly to the hotels gift shop. Best of all: both services are totally free to use.

4) Pickup International Goods at World Showcase Pavilion
Wander around Epcot World showcase and you’ll find an array of eclectic goods from around the globe. Each pavilion is dedicated to a specific country, in which items representing each region are for sale. Specialty salsas are for sale in Mexico; perfume in France; and kimonos in Japan. And that’s just the start of the unique shopping available.

Disney Copyright Frozen Princesses5) Visit Downtown Disney (Soon to be Disney Springs)
At Downtown Disney the mecca of Disney souvenirs awaits: World of Disney. This store, the largest in the world, is dedicated to all things Disney. Over 12 rooms are spread out over 50,000 square feet, so make sure you leave enough time to navigate through them all. Most of the merchandise can be found throughout the parks, but this is an easy one-stop shopping store.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

july_eventsCheck out these Orlando events happening this July:

July 1-August 9:  Summer Nights at SeaWorld
See a nighttime spectacular every evening at SeaWorld Orlando during Summer Nights. There will be special night shows like Shamu’s Celebration: Light Up the Night and Sea Lions Tonite, capped off by a fireworks spectacular.

July 1-August 16:  Summer Nights at Busch Gardens Tampa
Stay after dark for a music and acrobatics show every night at Busch Gardens. An amazing fireworks display will end each night.

July 1-July 25:  Sounds Like Summer Concert Series at Epcot
See some of the world’s best tribute bands at Epcot this summer at the America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase.  Showtimes are scheduled for 5:00pm, 6:45pm, and 8:15pm nightly.

July 3-5:  Red, Brick & Boom
LEGOLAND Florida’s Independence Day celebration will be one not to miss. 3D glass will turn fireworks into millions of exploding bricks.

July 4:  Fourth of July Celebrations at Disney World
There will be special fireworks displays at Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Epcot on July 4.

July 4:  Universal 360 at Universal Orlando
The Fourth of July Cinesphere show will feature a special patriotic finale along with brilliant fireworks. Show begins at 10pm.

July 4:  Fireworks at the Fountain
The City of Orlando is hosting Fireworks at the Fountain on Thursday, July 4th. Fireworks at the Fountain is a patriotic celebration of fun, food and fanfare at Lake Eola Park. Enjoy live entertainment and an area just for kids. Festivities begin at 4pm, so get there early for a great viewing spot of the fountain and the fireworks! The finale of fireworks will begin at 9:15pm

July 5:  Coke Zero 400
The stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Daytona to celebrate Independence Day.  Enjoy one of the nation’s biggest firework displays after the race.

July 4, 11, 18, 25:  Lakeridge Winery Summer Concert Series
Every Saturday in July hear live bands on the outdoor stage at Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards. Wine, beer, soft drinks, and food will be available for purchase. Shows are from 1-4pm.