The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (Photo: Kent Phillips/Disney)
I’ve gotten this question a lot and in many varieties: What Disney hotels are best for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend?
There is no “best” hotel for any runDisney race. The best hotel for you for any race depends on many factors: what you want to do while you’re at Walt Disney World, who is in your party, and what your price point is, among other things.
I’ve stayed at eight different Disney hotels (four of which Disney comped for me during runDisney events) and three off property hotels while visiting Walt Disney World. But my hotel recommendations for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend are based on two main factors: Whether or not you have spectators in your group and what you want to do while you’re not running.
If Your Group Includes Runners Only
Walt Disney World Half Marathon finishers. (Photo: runDisney)
If everyone traveling with you is running a race, all the Disney hotels are great.
All the Walt Disney World Resorts are official “host” hotels for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and offer event buses to shuttle runners to and from the start and finish of each race. The buses are comfortable and efficient, both before and after the race.
Having stayed at Disney hotels on the Monorail loop, on the BoardWalk and elsewhere on property for runDisney events, there’s not much of a difference from a runner’s perspective. The event buses got me where I needed to go and back every time from all those different areas.
The Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and Waldorf Astoria Orlando also offer free race transportation for marathoners and half-marathoners staying with them as part of their Marathon Weekends packages. The hotels are inside the Disney gates, have complimentary park transportation for their guests, and offer another great option for racers booking a Disney runcation. Check out my full post about their offerings.
A Dopey Challenge runner races around the BoardWalk. (Photo: runDisney)
So if all the people in your group are runners, I would pick the hotel that makes your days easiest and meets your price point.
Are you looking for a great pool to rest your legs each day while doing Dopey Challenge? Is there one park in particular where you want to spend most of your time? Do you want to be close to the Expo to stalk runDisney New Balance shoes? Different hotels are better suited for each of those scenarios.
The Wishes Nightime Spectacular at Magic Kingdom. (Photo: Disney)
If it’s Magic Kingdom you’re after, any resort on the Monorail loop is fantastic: Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and Disney’s Polynesian Resort, soon to become Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort as it undergoes major renovation.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground also have water taxis to the park.
The perks of each? The Contemporary Resort has my favorite quick-service restaurant, Contempo Cafe, and Magic Kingdom fireworks viewing from the hotel. Plus, it’s the next stop after Magic Kingdom on the Monorail. So at the end of a long day in the park, you’re home in a jiffy. Read the rest of this entry →