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Which of the Amazing Monorail Resorts is Right for You

Which of the Amazing Monorail Resorts is Right for You

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Walt Disney World has 3 resort hotels that give you direct access to the monorail. Which of these resorts is right for you?

Disney’s Monorail Resorts

Credit: Katie P

If you are looking for a place to stay in Walt Disney World and you are willing to splurge for amazing proximity to the Magic Kingdom and access to Monorail transportation, then you have three fantastic options. The Walt Disney World resort hotels on the Monorail are Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Each of these is a deluxe resort, and they are three of Disney’s priciest options. Therefore, if you want to stay in one of these fabulous hotels, it makes sense that you should want to determine which one is the very BEST for you.

I (Katie) have stayed at all 3 multiple times. Once I even stayed at all 3 on one split-stay trip. I love them all; however, each has its pros and cons depending on your travel style. Here is some information about the Monorail resorts to help you decide which suits you the best of all.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Credit: Katie

Disney’s Contemporary Resort is a Walt Disney World original that opened with the Magic Kingdom. The Monorail runs directly through the iconic A-frame building. A stay here is a stay in a piece of Disney history.

Who Will LOVE the Contemporary

Credit: Donna

Disney’s Contemporary Resort is just steps away from the Magic Kingdom. The location is tough to beat if you plan to visit Magic Kingdom frequently during your stay. While you can hop aboard the Monorail, you can also walk down the path and be there in a matter of minutes.

This is an ideal situation for young families with strollers, especially if you have a double stroller or more than one stroller. Nothing is easier than just strolling. Furthermore, there is no need to wait for Monorail or bus transportation when you exit the Magic Kingdom. This is an especially HUGE benefit if you depart after fireworks or at closing time. Simply stroll back with no waiting.

Credit: KtP

Similarly, if you or someone in your party is using an ECV or a wheelchair, it is simple to just head out and go to the Magic Kingdom on that same path. It is much quicker than waiting on the boat or monorail to assist you in boarding. It is just so easy!

You will also enjoy it if you like really good food, particularly classic American dining options. California Grill, Chef Mickey’s, Steakhouse 71, and Contempo Cafe are all right there for you. The Contemporary offers is the BEST mix of signature, table service, quick service, and character dining on the Monorail ar present. Plus, how charming is it to dine and watch the Monorails travel back and forth?

Who Might NOT Love the Contemporary

Credit: Susan

Do not stay at the Contemporary if you do not do well with lots of noise. The Contemporary is so close to the Magic Kingdom that there is a good deal of noise all the time. Plus, the interior of the resort itself is a Monorail station. While the Garden Wing and the DVC property Bay Lake Tower are a bit quieter, the main building is usually noisy while the Monorails are running. Finally, keep in mind that the fireworks are also very close, so you can hear them nightly.

Additionally, this is not the best place for you if you really don’t do crowds. Sure, you should expect crowds during a Disney vacation, but some Guests prefer to use their resort to escape the crowds. The common areas at The Contemporary can become quite crowded with people visiting this piece of Disney World history.

Credit: Katie P

If you are really hoping for an amazing pool scene, the contemporary is the weakest of the three Monorail options. The pools are by no means horrible. They are fine, and you will have a waterslide to enjoy. However, they are much less impressive than the options at The Poly or The Grand.

Lastly, the rooms are cute with modular lines and theming from the Incredibles. However, if The Incredibles isn’t your thing, and you want something a bit more upscale, you may not be amused.

Disney’s Polynesian Villiage Resort

Credit: Katie P.

Next up on the Monorail is Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, another Walt Disney World original. Tropical vibes will take you to paradise outside of the parks!

Who Will LOVE the Polynesian

Credit: KtP

The Polynesian is great for anyone who likes an immersive experience and wants to feel like they are on a Hawaiian vacation during their time away from the parks. The atmosphere, the music, and the vibes are all very laid-back, tropical, and relaxing.

If you want a great pool scene, The Polynesian has Lava Pool, one of Disney’s best swimming pools. It is no Stormalong Bay, but it is easily the best pool on the Monorail. This is because Lava Pool offers heavy theming, including a watery volcano, waterfalls and caverns, a hot tub, a huge slide, and an excellent children’s splash zone.

Credit: Kate

The Poly is also a really good place for food, especially if you love breakfast! Kona, Capt. Cooks, and ‘Ohana are all great breakfast options. Moreover, dinner is fabulous at both ‘Ohana, and Capt. Cooks and Kona both have unique and delicious lunch and dinner offerings. Of course, if you love DOLE Whip there is no better place to stay as Pineapple Lanai makes it easy to enjoy it daily during your stay.

And, if you love a great bar, Trader Sam’s is one of the best in Disney World. While you do not have to be staying at the Poly to enjoy the amenities, it does make it easier to access it and hop in line for a spot.

Lastly, if you plan to visit EPCOT and want easy access, it is most easily accessible from the Poly. This is because you can walk to The Transportation and Ticket Center and hop on the EPCOT Monorail without having to transfer. Neither of the other two hotels have direct walking access to TTC, so you will have to transfer if you want to get to EPCOT via Monorail.

Who Might NOT Love Polynesian

Credit: Monica

If you prefer a quieter, more upscale vibe, the Polynesian is not going to be your favorite Monorail resort. It can get busy and feel touristy with people flocking to sightsee, dine, or shop.

It is also not fabulous if you prefer a luxury feel to your room with light airy finishes. The rooms at the Poly, while fun in their own right, can feel a bit dark. While they are certainly fun, they do not feel particularly luxurious.

Credit: Maggie

If you want to have easy access to signature dining experiences, this is one place where the Polynesian is lacking. There is no signature dining here. Even so, there is plenty of fine dining just a Monorail ride away if you prefer to dine elsewhere.

Finally, if you want to visit for the holidays and see the resorts decorated, know that the Polynesian does significantly less than the Grand Floridian or the Contemporary in terms of festive decor. You will find large displays devoted to Christmas at the other resorts.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Credit: Katie P.

The Grand Floridian with its white buildings and red roofs is the most luxurious resort on the Monorail loop. This gorgeous resort wraps visitors in all the elegance of times gone by.

Who Will Love the Grand Floridian

credit: Jamie F.

The Grand Floridian is by far the quietest place on the Monorail (usually). When you enter the lobby, it feels very upscale. It is one of those places that has a bit of a library effect. People are just quieter in a place like that.

This is especially true when the piano players are tickling the ivories at the grand piano in the lobby. People simply cannot help but listen. It is an amazing experience to enjoy live piano music as you drift to and from the magic of the theme parks.

Credit: @pixiedustforthesoul

Also, of the 3 Monorail resorts, the Grand Floridian seems to be the most peaceful and the least crowded. That’s not to say that guests who are not staying at the Grand don’t come to visit, but the influx tends to be less intense. So, if you want a calmer, quieter experience, this is your best bet.

There is an exception to this during the holidays. During the Christmas season, Guests flood the lobby to visit the striking Gingerbread displays. The same occurs at Easter when the egg display and Easter Cottage are present.

Credit: KtP writer Donna

However, this is also a mark in favor of the Grand Floridian if you love holiday decor. The Grand is by far the most festive of the Monorail resorts, with the Contemporary being second.

Moreover, if it’s signature singing experiences you want, the Grand delivers. Choose among Narcoossee’s, Citricos, and Victoria & Alberts for amazing culinary journeys.

Credit: Disney

You will also love it if you like a more luxurious feeling room. The refurbished rooms of the Grand Floridian’s DVC rooms are beautiful and nicely detailed. They are certainly the prettiest rooms on the Monorail.

Finally, this is a wonderful resort if you are looking for a spa experience. Senses Spa and its staff are fantastic, and you will enjoy a wonderful experience if you want a little pampering during your Disney vacation.

Who Might NOT love the Grand Floridian

Credit: Monica

If you feel out of place staying in luxe hotels, then this is not the resort for you. The resort is welcoming to all Guests who book a room. However, if places like this make you or your travel party feel like a bull-in-the-china shop, and you want something that feels less fragile, you will have more fun at the Polynesian or the Contemporary.

If you are a DVC member and you really want those studios with kitchenettes, you might also opt to spend your DVC points elsewhere. The new resort studios are more like standard hotel rooms than the typical DVC studios. The Grand does have some studios, but it has ever so many more Resort Studios.

If you want to have easy access to a character meal then at this time, the Grand Floridian is not your best option. We are hoping 1900 Park Faire returns soon!

The Choice is Yours

Credit: Katie

Overall, it is easy to have a nice time at all three resorts. Whether you are looking for city life, upscale elegance, or a tropical escape, you will find something to suit your fancy on the Monorail.

It is hard to go wrong when selecting one of these resorts. However, it is also possible to get it just right and find the place that gives you the very best vacation experience.

Credit: Maggie

Need more help deciding? Check out our resort guides. Click here for Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, here for Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and here for Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Are none of these for you? Check out our guide to EVERY resort for more options.

Do you know someone who is planning a Walt Disney World Vacation and would like a comparison of the three Monorail Resorts? Be sure to pass this along to help them. Do you love staying at the Monorail Resorts? Let us know in the comments.

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