Last week we gave you the ultimate First-World Disney question – “Would you rather stay on the monorail or on Crescent Lake?” This was a close one. Each location has advantages and challenges. So are you ready to break it down? Here we go:
Monorail resorts – 1173✅
Crescent Lake resorts – 928
Interestingly, Epcot resorts of Crescent Lake eked out the win on Twitter in a virtual tie, while the Monorail reigned supreme here on the blog.
The Monorail Resorts
These are some of the classic Disney resorts and located on the iconic mode of transportation, the monorail. There are the originals, the Polynesian and Contemporary; the flagship (if in price anyway) Grand Floridian; and the Disney Vacation Club properties, Grand Floridian Villas, Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, and Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary. It’s hard to imagination three more distinct themes.
Guests can travel to the Magic Kingdom via the monorail (all three) and resort boats (the Grand Floridian and Polynesian). Guests at the Contemporary have the option walk to Magic Kingdom (a short, pleasant 10-minute walk). An easy transfer on the monorail at the Transportation and Ticket Center (walkable from the Polynesian and on the monorail from all three resort areas) takes guests the front of Epcot.
That’s the good news about transportation. Here’s the other side. For trips to Disney Springs, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom park, and the water parks, you’ll be on a bus and that bus will most likely be shared with at least one other resort in the area. And if your outrage has died down and you’ve gotten on with your life, I’ll remind you that it costs $24 per night to park your own car at these resorts unless you are a Disney Vacation Club member staying at a Disney Vacation Club resort (on cash or points).
The settings of the monorail resorts are breath-taking. Whether it’s watching the Electrical Water Pageant or the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the beaches of the Seven Seas Lagoon (that’s the body of water the monorail loops) or staring at the peaceful Bay Lake, these resorts are tops for scenery.
Being on the monorail opens up your dining options here. There is no higher concentration of Signature Dining at Walt Disney World, and mid-tier and counter service options abound. There are three character dining choices here – Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary, ‘Ohana at the Polynesian, and 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian.
The Crescent Lake Resorts
With everything going for the monorail resorts, you may be asking how is it even a choice where to stay? That’s because the Crescent Lake resorts are no slouches either when it comes to amenities.
So what if these aren’t on the monorail – you walk right into the International Gateway of Epcot, and walk farther (20 minutes) to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. There are boat launches between the resorts and to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, but they are for the patient as most guests can get to their destinations quicker on foot.
Buses are available to all other guest areas, and may or may not be shared among the resorts depending on time of year.
The Disney resorts and DVC villas have the same parking fee and rules at the monorail resorts, and parking at the Swan and Dolphin will set you back $23. Regardless of whether you park there, the Swan and Dolphin charges a resort fee of $28 per night.
The Crescent Lake resorts are more subdued and more lightly themed than monorail resorts. And adults traveling without children may find them quieter than the more family-friendly resorts by Magic Kingdom.
Stormalong Bay, the most themed pool of the Disney resorts, is one of the biggest draws of the Yacht and Beach Club. It has a lazy river, a pirate ship water slide, and a sandy zero-entry pool. Stormalong Bay is reserved for Yacht and Beach Club guests only, and entrance is by Magic Band. The BoardWalk has the fun, but often mocked, “scary clown pool.” The Swan and Dolphin have an extensive pool area.
There’s no beating dining at the Crescent Lake resorts. Guests have options at five resorts plus the quick trip to Epcot’s World Showcase. And for those who want to drink “around the world,” it’s an easy stumble back to bed at the end of the night.
Families looking for character dining on Crescent Lake can choose from breakfasts at Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club or Trattoria al Forno at the BoardWalk. Garden Grove at the Swan has a character dinner nightly and character breakfasts Saturday and Sunday mornings.
The Swan and Dolphin are fan favorites for their relatively lower rates and participation with Starwood Guest Rewards. While these resorts have access to all Disney onsite transportation and Extra Magic Hours, they do not offer Disney’s Magical Express service to and from Orlando International Airport or packages with the Disney Dining Plans.
Which resort area did you choose? Talk about it in the comments and stay tuned for the next poll.