We have been a family of five, traveling to various vacation destinations, for nearly 20 years. It has always frustrated me that so few hotels can accommodate five people. Well, at least it used to! Over the years, MANY family vacation destinations, including the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, have worked hard to help larger families by adding day beds in many rooms, and sometimes even a second bathroom. Which this mom of 3 boys REALLY appreciates!
But what are the BEST options for a family of 5? My answers may surprise you as I share where we loved when they were younger (we started going to Disney when the twins were 4) and where we like now! I’m breaking it down into categories because I love all of the following resorts for different reasons and seasons! Let’s go!
This goes, hands down, to The Cabins at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Campground! The price can be almost as high as a deluxe room, but for that price you get SO MUCH more! Each cabin has a separate bedroom with a queen bed and bunk beds, a family room with pull out couch, a FULL KITCHEN (newly renovated, no less, so they are very swanky now), and (my favorite part) PRIVACY. Ever worry about your kids being loud or stomping around in a hotel room? No worries here because it’s your family’s own little house! I follow The Neverland Family on YouTube and loved their video review so go watch that for an even better idea of all you get!
And the recreation at Ft. Wilderness is RIDICULOUS. From horses, to Hay Rides, to bike rentals, fishing, archery lessons . . .you could literally come here for vacation and never set foot in a theme park. And the vibe is unlike anywhere else on Disney property.
The one notable downside: in my opinion, this resort does not work if you don’t rent a golf cart so keep that in mind (but seriously the golf cart, for my kids, was a solid 30% of the fun). Yes, there’s only one bathroom, but we requested Near Hospitality Station which meant we were near a campground loop with full bathrooms and showers so if somebody really has to go, there’s another VERY CLEAN option right next door. Oh, and bonus, that’s where the laundry is so very convenient!
Best for Younger Kids
This award goes to The Contemporary Resort, no question. The Contemporary is THE ONLY resort within walking distance of the magic kingdom, and when you have kids still in strollers, nothing beats being able to just mosey back to the hotel for naps without having to collapse a stroller with a sleeping kid in it!
But it’s not just the ease of transportation. My boys loved that the Contemporary has the monorail going through it, we all love the food court, and the garden wing views CAN be a great value if you can get a good discount. Add to that Mickey having breakfast and dinner EVERY NIGHT in the lobby and it’s a pretty cool place for the under 8 crowd.
Oh, and did i mention the rooms are GIGANTIC?? The biggest on Disney property (for a single hotel room) and they are oh so comfortable. With 2 queen beds and a twin sized day bed (that’s bigger than the ones at the moderates), it was a very comfortable stay for us many times. I could go on and on. . . oh, also, too, love that you can watch the fireworks from here because really, who wants to be squished into the Castle Hub with tired little people at the end of a long day? Not me! Put them in their PJ’s and walk them down to the 4th floor observation deck for a great view and then throw them in bed. Magical!
Best for Older Kids and Teenagers
This goes to The Epcot Area resorts, the villas if you can swing it. Once our boys got to 10 and up, staying in one room just wasn’t comfortable any more so we were left with a few choices: 2 rooms in a moderate or value resort (or a Family Suite at a value) or the Disney Vacation Club Villas. This was about the time we realized that Disney Vacation Club was a good call for our family, but honestly, with older kids you can’t beat having a villa with 2 bedrooms, a full kitchen, and 2 full bathrooms (GAME CHANGER).
The Epcot resort area (Beach Club/Yacht Club/Boardwalk) is the place we like to be (when we can get in!) because the boys love Hollywood Studios, Scott and I love Epcot, and everybody loves that we can walk/boat ride to both parks. There’s also so much great dining and entertainment on the boardwalk, and if you stay at The Beach Club Villas or in a hotel room at Yacht Club, we ADORE Stormalong Bay which is hands down the best pool complex on Disney property. Yacht Club does have pretty large hotel rooms that will accommodate five and if we HAD to stay in one room this is where you’d find us (but again, not my first choice any more. They are all well over 6 foot and 5 of us in that small a space is just . . dang.)
I ALMOST gave this award to the Animal Kingdom Villas at Kidani Village for one very simple reason: 3 bathrooms in a 2 bedroom villa. I LOVE this. But the location of the other resorts still give them a slight edge (but how can you beat giraffes right outside your window AND 3 bathrooms?? It was a tough call.)
So, larger families, what do you think?? Do you agree with my list or do you love somewhere else even more? We’ve never stayed at the Family Suites at the values so would love to hear about those as they can be a great value!!
Wherever you stay, have fun and enjoy every magical moment!