When guests come to Walt Disney World, they expect to spend a lot of time in the parks. However, it's pretty common to take a break at the hotel, and the pools are a huge draw. That's especially true in the summer as visitors want to cool down big time, and every Disney resort boasts a couple of pools to keep folks happy. From the start, however, Disney has ensured a pool at a Disney World resort isn't just a typical pool.
It's not just putting in a waterslide or some decorations. Disney World goes all out theming their pools for each resort, making sure they fit and continue the unique illusion. The best pools are large, offering plenty of swimming and fun for folks of all ages. While a couple of pools stand out, the best resorts are the ones that boast more than one great swimming spot, and a few are amazing in their variety. Here are the ten Disney resorts with the best pools that can be a huge factor in where guests will want to stay.
10. Riviera Resort
Disney's newest resort can boast some of the sharpest-looking pools. They're styled after the Italian theme of the resort in the decorations, so they come off as more exotic. The larger family-friendly Riviera Pool is dominated by a lighthouse with a waterslide circling around it into a rock grotto. The S'il Vous Play area is filled with interactive water fountains inspired by the classic Disney film Fantasia. The Beau Solei pool is a smaller one but still has a good swimming size, and the poolside bar is an excellent spot to unwind. So while the Riviera may not have the largest size of Disney resorts, it can boast some fun pool sites.
9. Animal Kingdom Lodge
The pools here may not be as large and flashy but do stand out for capturing the African theme wonderfully. The Uzima Springs Pool is surrounded by canopy trees and Florida palms and slopes as if entering a natural beach with a 67-foot waterslide. The Samawati Springs Pool is flashier with a 128-foot slide, more like an adventure pool for the kids to enjoy. The Uwanja Camp offers plenty for younger children with mini-slides, a water tower and more. The theming is fantastic to make this a perfect oasis amid the African savannah feel of this resort.
8. Wilderness Lodge
The Wilderness Lodge pool is unique in that it starts with a small spring in the hotel lobby that trickles into rocks to become a river and then a waterfall ending in the main pool area, Copper Creek Springs. It thus looks like a natural formation, not as large as other pools, but still fun. The 67-foot slide is shorter than other hotels, yet the great hot tubs and overlooking the lake and geyser spark it up. There's also the smaller but sedate Boulder Ridge Cove pool for the Villas. It looks gorgeous at night, and a new water play area for the kids gives them more to do, so while underrated, this is a terrific spot to fit the "natural" setting of the resort.
7. Grand Floridian
Fitting the Florida setting, the Grand Floridian pools are as lavish as the rest of the resort. The Beach Pool is set right by the actual beach and uses the spring-themed setting well. The 181-foot slide is terrific, and the walkways are great for pictures and walking. The Courtyard pool is smaller but still good for swimming, and each has a play area for kids. The beachside activities are fun, and both are used for various activities, so it makes sense one of Disney's best resorts also boasts some of the best pools in WDW.
6. Coronado Springs
The "Dig Site" is the name of the main pool area located at the heart of this massive moderate resort. The Lost City of Cibola is the largest pool, dominated by the huge pyramid and 123-foot slide featuring a spitting Jaguar. There's also the largest hot tub in all of Walt Disney World and a kiddie pool near the pool eatery and arcade. Three smaller pools are located at each of the resort's three "settlement" areas for those who don't want to make the trek to the Dig Site. That architecture and design are another reason Coronado Springs feels more like a deluxe resort than a moderate one.
5. Port Orleans
These facilities may be different resorts, but each boasts some fun swimming. As guests walk through the outside area of the lobby at French Quarter, they'll see some odd decorations on the ground. As they head toward the pool, they grow more and more before becoming a massive sea serpent whose tongue is a 51-foot slide. That's a great sight for newcomers, yet the entire Doubloon Lagoon area is terrific with the alligator figures spraying water and a mix of a large pool, kiddie pool, and the pool bar combine for an experience that helps make this take on New Orleans a wild ride.
Meanwhile, the Riverside area has Ol' Man Island, a "watering hole" not unlike the late, lamented River Country. It boasts waterfalls, a 95-foot waterslide designed like a sawmill, a spa, a kiddie pool, and even a fishing hole. Guests of either resort can visit the other's pool and thus combine to create a fun experience.
4. Art of Animation
Not one but three amazingly fun pools highlight this terrific value resort. The Big Blue Pool lives up to its name with 308, 527 galleons, the most of any Disney resort pool. It has great decorations based on Finding Nemo, from jellyfish to characters and a splash pad for kids, and even a "dry area" playground. The Cozy Cone pool is based on Cars with giant vehicles and cones. Flippin' Fins is inspired by The Little Mermaid with Ariel, Ursula and other characters around. Put them together, and they make for perfect family fun without slides but with plenty of character to make this value resort a terrific stay.
3. Caribbean Beach
As such a large resort, the Caribbean Beach has five small pools, one for each of their "villages" for a quiet swim. The bigger draw is the Fuentes del Morro pool, which is a marvel. Built like an old Spanish fort, complete with cannons firing out water and mist, kids adore it. There are two waterslides, one over a hundred feet long, and the shipwreck play area includes another small slide and water spouts for smaller kids. A small spa pool is great for adults alongside the Banana Cabana pool bar. The pool area is a marvelously exotic spot fitting the Caribbean theme.
After a recent refurbishment, the former Volcano Pool is better than ever. The artificial volcano looks wonderful, as well as the waterfall, where guests can pass to the entrance to the 142-foot slide. The splash pad area is a great mini-for for the kids, and the cabanas are nice to rent. There's also the great poolside bar for snacks, and overlooking Seven Seas Lagoon makes it look better. Meanwhile, the Oasis Pool is quieter but also a good spot for adults. It's bright and fun with a new theme for Moana, yet still a classic area that makes the Lava Pool roar among the best Disney water spots.
1. Yacht & Beach Club
Is there really a debate? Since the Yacht & Beach Club opened, Stormalong Bay has been the standout of the complex. It was so popular that Disney had to institute a rule that only guests of the Yacht & Beach can use it rather than nearby resort guests. Yes, there are three smaller pools around the complex, but everyone flows toward the Bay.
The 3-acre spot is dominated by the 230-foot slide built in a shipwreck. There's how the pool floor feels like actual sand, the winding riverways, the unique whirlpool spinning guests around the lighthouse and nautical feel add to it. Throw in the cabanas, the poolside bar, and more, and it's little wonder why Stormalong Bay is the best place outside of the water parks to enjoy a swim.