Disney Resorts, Disney Transport, Disney World

Disney Monorail Hotels: The Ultimate Comparison

September 7, 2022
disney monorail hotels

Have you been searching for information on Disney Monorail Hotels? Are you looking for the best accommodation at Disney World? If so, read ahead for everything you need to know about the Disney resorts on the monorail!

The Disney Monorail has been rocking Walt Disney World since 1971, and it remains one of the best park-to-park transportation systems around.

It’s convenient, it’s fun to ride, and it drops you right by the Magic Kingdom (and EPCOT if you’re on the right line!).

Really, what more could you ask for?

I’ve always found that the monorail is an efficient way to move between Disney Deluxe resorts and the Disney World parks. It barely stops and runs from early in the morning until late at night. So, you won’t have to deal with the resort buses that can get unpleasantly stuffy during the height of summer. Always a good thing in my book.

What makes it even better is the fact that you can easily hop between the Disney monorail hotels and the parks whenever you please.

Need a midday nap? No worries! Looking for a light bite in your room? The monorail has got your back.

Whether you’re looking for a detailed review of each Disney resort on the monorail or simply want to learn more about the monorail itself, I’ve got you.

I’ve broken down EVERYTHING you need to know about the Disney hotels on the monorail.

So, sit back, grab a Mickey waffle, and prepare to make a super-informed decision.

What are the Disney Monorail Hotels?

The Disney monorail hotels are three separate resorts that are found on the park-to-park monorail transport system at Walt Disney World.

The hotels included on the line are the Contemporary Resort, Polynesian Village Resort, and the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

The first hotel on the Disney monorail is the Disney Contemporary Resort, followed by the Polynesian and the Grand Floridian which is closest to Magic Kingdom.

I’ll quickly outline each resort before doing a deep dive into the features, benefits, and drawbacks to staying at each spot.

disney monorail
Image: www.instagram.com/aaron_vlaan

Contemporary Resort

The first resort we’ll talk about is the Contemporary Resort.

It’s within walking distance of Disney World and is a convenient pick if you’re planning to stay at the parks for the Happily Ever After fireworks.

The monorail system can be packed with guests after the nighttime spectacular, so you may want the option to walk.


Polynesian Village Resort

The second spot on our list is the Polynesian Village Resort, which is probably the most unique hotel on the monorail.

It’s incredibly relaxing and boasts a series of restaurants and quick service stops that are ideal for grabbing a quick breakfast bite before heading into the parks.

Oh, and it’s one of the Disney monorail hotels that offers an incredible view of the fireworks at night!

This is perfect if you’re traveling with young children and simply can’t wait for the park to close.

Better yet – you’ll avoid the crowds!

Image: www.instagram.com/tressamainstreetmagic

The Grand Floridian

I’d say that the Grand Floridian was the most iconic of the three hotels as it’s decorated beautifully and boasts luxurious décor and 5-star comfort.

During the festive season, it’s decked out with festive ornaments, an enormous Christmas tree, and a huge gingerbread house that’s well worth checking out.

And no, you can’t eat it!

Are Disney Monorail Hotels Also Disney Deluxe Resorts?

Disney resort hotels fall under three categories – Deluxe, Moderate, and Value.

I’ll often choose a value stay if I’m pinching pennies, but I always mourn the loss of the convenience factor (and luxurious amenities!) when I do this.

Just so you’re aware, every single resort on the monorail is a Disney Deluxe Resort.

The three resorts are dotted close together around Seven Seas Lagoon and can be easily reached using the monorail system.

The amenities will leave you wanting for nothing.

Seriously, you’ll get everything from fancy bath products to large bathtubs and concierge services.

Oh, and you’ll be treated to the most glorious breakfast buffets at the onsite restaurants which is obviously a major bonus!

A Detailed Comparison of All Disney Monorail Resorts

Now that we’ve briefly touched on the Disney hotels on the monorail, let’s explore them in more detail.

Each resort is incredibly different, so you’ll want to weigh up the pros and cons carefully before making a booking.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Disney’s Contemporary Resort is an extremely modern 4-star hotel.

It’s the first stop on the Disney Resort Monorail on the way to the Magic Kingdom.

Believe it or not, the monorail runs directly through the lobby here which is quite a sight to behold.

It boasts award-winning dining spots, sprawling pools, and a selection of comfortable rooms and suites to suit the entire family.

If you’re traveling with kids, you’ll also be pleased to know that there’s a dedicated game room (The Game Station) that should help kids burn off any excess energy before bedtime.

Although the hotel was built back in 1971, it’s still one of the most luxurious Disney monorail hotels on the map.

You can thank consistent refurbs and super-regular maintenance for that!

Image: www.instagram.com/wdw.hotels

Which part of the hotel is best?

I usually choose to stay in the Contemporary Tower as it’s slightly closer to the dining spots, but you can also head to the Garden Wing for beautiful views.

This section of the hotel gives you a great vantage point for watching the nightly water show (the Electrical Water Pageant), but you’ll need to call ahead to ask for a room with a view if you plan to do this.

What are the rooms like?

I’ve always found the rooms clean and big enough for most families.

They’ve also recently been refurbed to incorporate nods to classic movies like The Incredibles.

incredibles room contemporary resort
Image: www.instagram.com/fromny2dis

The regular rooms and suites sleep up to 5 adults, but you can choose a club-level room if you’re a large party as these rooms sleep up to 8!

If you’d prefer something more private (or need a break from the kiddos!), the Villas are probably your best bet. They come with fully equipped kitchens and separate bedrooms that’ll give you time to catch your breath after a day in the parks. If you can stretch your budget, go for the 3-bedroom Grand Villas which have private porches!

Alternatively, you can ask for a Theme Park View room which gives you incredible views of Cinderella’s Castle.

Whichever option you choose, it won’t come cheap!

Dining opportunities at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

One of the biggest perks of staying at this resort is being close to character dining spots like Chef Mickey’s and California Grill.

Each of these restaurants attracts tons of Disney lovers each year, but I adore the California Grill as it offers views of the Magic Kingdom from almost every angle.

And really – you can’t beat that.

If you’d like to dine at Chef Mickey’s, I recommend getting there for breakfast as early as possible.

This gives you plenty of time for character interaction while still giving you the chance to catch rope drop!

Image: www.instagram.com/nikkolas_michel

Don’t have time to spare? No worries!

Simply check out any of the quick service options like Contempo Café, Cove Bar, or Contemporary Grounds for a light bite before hopping on the monorail to visit Magic Kingdom.

How much does it cost to stay at the Disney Contemporary Resort?

This is a tricky question to answer, as the room rates vary depending on season and demand.

Rates around New Year can be around $810 – $900.

If you’re visiting during less busy periods, you can expect to pay around $500 and $700.

My overall opinion of Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Although this is one of the more expensive Disney World hotels, it’s also one of the best.

The theming is excellent, you can easily access EPCOT by changing at the Transportation and Ticket Center, and you can even walk to the Magic Kingdom if you want to!

Throw in the top-notch restaurants, vibrant lobby area, and recent refurbs, and it’s easily among the best Disney hotels on the monorail.

It’s not quite as characterful as the Polynesian Village Resort or the Grand Floridian (and the pools are a bit lacking if I’m being honest), but there’s lots to love about the theming.

Image: www.instagram.com/disneycollector2312

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

The next spot on our list of Disney Monorail hotels is the stunning Polynesian Village Resort.

As soon as you step off the monorail, you’ll be met by staff wearing leis, a gorgeous scent, and heavily themed décor that will transport you right to the South Seas.

Like the Contemporary Resort, this spot opened along with the parks in 1971 and is relaxed without being drab.

Thanks to the hanging lights and totems that are dotted around the lobby area, you’ll feel as though you’re on the ultimate Polynesian vacation.

Image: www.instagram.com/onelittlespark_adventures

Another huge benefit is the fact that you can easily walk to the Ticket and Transportation Center to hop on the EPCOT monorail.

If you’re staying at the other hotels, you’ll have to ride the monorail to switch lines.

The pools here are truly excellent, and the Lava Pool is ideal for kiddos as it has a designated children’s area.

If you’re visiting Disney World as an adult, you’ll appreciate the Oasis Pool which is geared towards older travelers.

Which part of the hotel is best?

The rooms are quite spread out and offer different views.

The different options are:

  • Theme Park
  • Pool
  • Lagoon
  • Marina
  • Standard

Where you choose to stay in the hotel entirely depends on what you want to see from your window.

I’d say the Theme Park rooms were the most popular (for obvious reasons), but you can easily save a bunch of cash by choosing a standard view.

What are the rooms like?

I’ve always stayed in a typical room, but you can also stay in one of their Bungalows or Deluxe Studios if you need more space or kitchen facilities.

I’m usually found tucking into a breakfast buffet at Ohana, so this has never been a huge draw for me!

The rooms and suites sleep up to 5 adults, with the Bungalows sleeping up to 8.

The major benefit to the Bungalows is the extra space, separate bedrooms, plunge pool, and washer/dryer. These amenities can be absolute lifesavers if you’re visiting Disney World as part of a large group.

It’s worth noting that the most expensive rooms at the Polynesian are expensive.

You’ll pay infinitely more for “Club Level” rooms with views, so decide how important this is before booking!

Image: Courtesy of Disney (https://www.disneyworld.co.uk/resorts/polynesian-resort/rates-rooms/)

Dining opportunities at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

The most popular dining spot at the Polynesian is Ohana. But Kona Café is a wonderful place to stop for light bites and Asian-inspired eats.

For something quick and easy, Capt. Cook’s (which serves the famous Tonga Toast!) or Kona Island will both serve you in record time.

tonga toast polynesian village resort

How much does it cost to stay at the Polynesian Village Resort?

Around New Year and the peak of the holidays, you can expect to pay between $888 for a Standard Room and a whopping $1238 for a Garden View room.

If you’re visiting during an off-peak period, it’s usually between $690 and $800.

This isn’t a resort I recommend for anyone trying to do Disney World on a budget.

Unfortunately, it’s going to cost a fair amount to stay here at any time of year.

My overall opinion of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

I think it’s great.

It’s more heavily themed than the Contemporary and gives you instant access to the EPCOT line (which other resorts don’t).

You can also watch the fireworks on the beach, grab Polynesian goodies at the onsite restaurants, and even stay in the newly renovated rooms which are Moana-themed.

Sure, it’s expensive, but I’d say it was worth the cost for the gorgeous setting and convenience factor.

polynesian village resort
Image: www.instagram.com/onlywdworldtravel

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

The final spot on this list of Disney monorail hotels is the famous Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

It’s one of the most iconic Disney resorts ever and is known for its luxurious Victorian theming and amazing attention to detail.

It offers guests everything from live music during the day to upscale restaurants, a spa, and incredible views of Cinderella’s Castle.

Oh, and did I mention the gorgeous afternoon tea at the Garden View Tea Room for anyone who wants to channel their inner Brit?

It’s pretty much a slam dunk, but it’s uber-expensive (we’ll get to exact prices in just a moment!).

grand floridian hotel

Which part of the hotel is best?

There are two different buildings in the hotel – the Outer Building and the Main Building.

Inside each of the buildings, there are rooms with views of the garden, lagoon, and theme park.

If you’re looking to save a bit of cash, choose a standard room.

If you have the cash to spare, I suggest choosing a room in the Main Building with a theme park view. You should get unbeatable views of Cinderella’s Castle from here.

What are the rooms like?

There are rooms and suites available, but I wouldn’t personally recommend stretching to a suite unless you’re seriously loaded.

The regular rooms sleep up to 5 adults, but you can get up to 12 adults into their 3-bedroom Villas.

Inside the Villas, you’ll find a fully equipped kitchen, living and dining areas, separate bedrooms, and a washer/dryer to keep you feeling fresh.

grand floridian room
Image: Courtesy of Disney (https://www.disneyworld.co.uk/resorts/villas-at-grand-floridian-resort-and-spa/rates-rooms/)

Dining opportunities at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Alongside the popular Grand Floridian Café, you’ll find the following restaurants at the Grand Floridian Hotel:

  • Gasparilla Island Grill
  • Narcoossee’s
  • Enchanted Rose (one of the best spots for grabbing drinks + cocktails)
  • Citricos
  • Courtyard Pool Bar
  • Beaches Pool Bar & Grill
  • 1900 Park Fare
  • Garden View Tea Room (for afternoon tea!)
  • Victoria & Albert’s (ideal for upscale cuisine + an elegant atmosphere)

As you can see, there are tons of places to grab a bite to eat or a glorious cocktail by the pool.

Image: www.instagram.com/disneyresortspodcast

How much does it cost to stay at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa?

The Grand Floridian is the most expensive resort in Walt Disney World by a significant margin.

If you’re staying during the peak holiday season and over New Year, you can expect to pay between $1030 – $3791 depending on the room you choose.

For less popular periods, the lowest you can expect to spend is $760-ish dollars for the cheapest room.

When you consider these prices cover a single night, it’s nuts!

You can save money by staying in the Outer Building, but the prices quickly go up if you choose 2-bedroom suites or rooms in the main building.

My overall opinion of the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

There’s basically nothing that I don’t like about the Grand Floridian apart from the price tag.

It has excellent facilities including pools, a health club, restaurants, and the famous Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

If you can add it to your budget, you can also get a massage to refresh your aching muscles after walking an unholy number of steps!

The only downside is that the rooms haven’t been refurbed to the same degree as the Polynesian and Contemporary resorts.

This isn’t a dealbreaker, but some things might feel a tad dated.

grand floridian hotel disney monorail hotels
Image: www.instagram.com/carolann70

Benefits of Staying at Disney Hotels on the Monorail

There’s so much to love about staying on the monorail, but I’d say the standout pros were:

  • You can easily get to the parks without getting public transport or driving
  • You’re really close to the Magic Kingdom and can get to EPCOT in a flash
  • Kids love riding at the front of the monorail, and it starts the day off on the right foot
  • The hotels are extremely luxurious and will take your trip to the next level
  • The Disney Deluxe hotels offer better amenities, pools, and service than lower-tier resorts

The only downsides to these hotels are the fact that they’re expensive and can get crowded during peak periods.

They’re obviously never filled past capacity, but you’ll have visitors from other resorts milling through the lobby, eating at the restaurants, and just looking around!

So, bear this in mind before booking.

Image: www.instagram.com/nikkolas_michel

So, Which Disney Monorail Hotel Should I Pick?

This is entirely down to personal preference, but I have such a soft spot for the Grand Floridian.

It’s extremely expensive, but it has a wonderful pool, great amenities, killer restaurants, and is the closest hotel to Magic Kingdom (if you’re traveling on the monorail and not walking!).

I always appreciate the castle views, the orchestral music in the lobby, and the incredible smell that gently wafts throughout the hotel.

I can almost guarantee that you won’t regret a trip here if you’re looking for the ultimate Disney experience.

Trust me when I say that you’ll truly be treated like royalty.


Do you have to stay at a Disney resort to ride the monorail?

Nope – it’s for everyone to use!

The only time this isn’t true is when the parks are extremely busy, and Disney is trying to manage crowds.

During these periods, you may be asked to show a resort card or restaurant reservation to prove why you’re using the monorail.

Otherwise, you don’t need to worry about it.

Does the Disney World monorail go to all parks?

There are three different monorail lines operating at any time:

  • The Express Monorail
  • The Resort Monorail (the one we’re talking about!)
  • The Epcot Monorail

The Express Monorail runs between the Transportation and Ticket Center and the Magic Kingdom.

The Resort Monorail runs between the Transportation and Ticket Center, the three Disney monorail hotels, and the Magic Kingdom.

The Epcot Monorail runs between the Transportation and Ticket Center and Epcot.

Is the Disney World Monorail free?

The Disney World Monorail is 100% free and is one of the best parts of the Disney experience.

How long is a roundtrip on the Disney Monorail?

An average roundtrip on the Disney Resort Monorail line takes between 15 and 20 minutes.

The total time between the Transportation and Ticket Center and the Magic Kingdom is 10 minutes.

So, it’s one of the fastest and most efficient ways to get between the resorts and the park gates!

What are the Disney Monorail opening hours?

The Disney Resort Monorail runs between 7:00 am and an hour after the Magic Kingdom fireworks finish.

This varies based on the park opening times, so make sure you double-check them before your visit.

There You Have It! The Ultimate Guide to Disney Monorail Hotels!

I totally get that trying to find reliable information on Disney World Resorts can be tricky.

So, I hope this has helped you plan the perfect itinerary for your next trip!

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