Much larger than the Swan, the Dolphin has the same disadvantages in that it’s a Marriott resort, so the Disney theming is low. It also lacks some Disney touches in amenities and transport, not to mention fees for parking. But it also has the Swan’s charming pool area and a convenient location by Epcot and the Studios.
The Dolphin itself also boasts far better dining, from Shula’s Steakhouse to the cafeteria-style Picabu to Mexican eatery Rosa Mexicano. That alone makes it a top place for guests of all ages, so while it may lack serious Disney theming, the Dolphin remains a favorite for Disney visitors thanks to its location and sumptuous meal options.
5. Animal Kingdom Lodge
On the face of it, the Animal Kingdom Lodge is a once-in-a-lifetime resort. The fundamental reason is how it overlooks the Savannah of the Africa section of the Animal Kingdom, and nothing beats the sight of looking out the window to see giraffes, zebras, and other animals. It also boasts exquisite dining, like the underrated Sanna restaurant. The African theming is captivating, and to top it off, it’s the most affordable of the deluxe resorts.
So with all that, why is the Animal Kingdom not number one? Because its location is frankly awful. Sure, it’s close to the Animal Kingdom itself, but it’s a long trek to the other parks and only by bus. If the Animal Kingdom is the focus, the Lodge is great, but despite all its other strengths, that remoteness from the rest of Disney World undermines how much fun it is.