A family of five isn’t a “big” family by any means, but it is by Disney standards, where most rooms sleep four people. Because of this, many families mistakenly believe they won’t fit in a standard room, much less in a value room, when in reality there are some attractive options for “larger” families. Even better, these options don’t have to break the bank.
Value Resort Options:
Disney value resorts are the gold standard for guests looking to economize on vacation. The good news is that a value room gives you all the benefits of staying on property at a great price. The no-so-good news is that a standard room in a value resort can be a tight fit, with just two double beds and a small bathroom, and since these rooms only sleep four (plus one child under the age of three), they’re unsuitable for larger families. Fortunately, almost all Disney resort rooms connect, so you can book two rooms for up to eight people. Depending on the ages of the children, parents can have one room to themselves and the kids can share the other room, with the door open between them. This is by far the most economical option for most larger families. When you make your reservation, ask to book your rooms under one reservation number and one deposit.
Disney’s All Star Music and Art of Animation Resorts both have family suites that sleep six. In addition to two bathrooms, these rooms have a small kitchenette and a bedroom which affords more privacy than a standard hotel room. Of the two, I prefer Art of Animation. Not only is it newer, it also has the best theming on site. You’ll pay slightly more for Art of Animation, however, so keep that in mind if you’re on a strict budget. In addition, these suites are usually more expensive than booking two standard value rooms.
Moderate Resort Options:
All Disney moderate resort rooms sleep four except for Port Orleans-Riverside, which sleeps five. This is slightly tricky, however, since Riverside’s fifth person has to sleep on a small fold-out (or Murphy style) twin bed that’s suitable only for a child under the age of ten or so. Coronado Springs offers suites that sleep up to six, but the price is prohibitively expensive; I would recommend booking a Disney Vacation Club property over one of these suites, which are more popular with the convention crowd that fills that resort.
One nice option for larger families at the moderate level is to book a cabin at Ft. Wilderness. These cabins sleep up to six people, with a bedroom that features a double bed plus bunk beds, a Murphy bed in the living room, a good size bathroom, and a full kitchen. The cabins also have a large deck with a grill, so you can enjoy the outdoors at night. One thing I often tell guests is that while the cabins are not exactly “roughing it,” it’s also not a true resort experience in the sense that you won’t be able to just run down to the lobby for a coffee in the morning. However, if extra space and privacy are what you want, the cabins might just be the ideal option for you.
Deluxe Resort Options:
All deluxe resorts except for Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Wilderness Lodge sleep five in a standard room. In most rooms, you’ll find two queen-sized beds plus a daybed that folds out. Unlike the rooms at Port Orleans-Riverside, this fold-out is big enough for an adult.
Disney Villa Options:
If the above options don’t work for you, you have one more roomy, and very pricey, option: Disney villas. These villas, which sleep anywhere from four to twelve people, offer tons of space, a full kitchen, multiple bathrooms, one to three bedrooms, and even your own laundry room. Villas fall under the “deluxe” resort category and are most often attached to Disney deluxe resorts, so you can use the amenities at those resorts as well.
The advantage here is that everyone is under the same roof and there’s ample space. The trade off, not surprisingly, is the price. Keep in mind that these villas are part of the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) properties, so you may have some difficulty booking farther out because DVC owners have priority. In addition, discounts at the villas are very limited, so be sure that you’re comfortable paying the full price if a discount isn’t released later.
If you have a larger family or travel with a larger group, how do you handle the room situation? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.