PHOTO: Walt Disney World's Art of Animation Resort. (photo by Susan Young)
What’s the one resort seemingly every grandkid wants to visit?
Walt Disney World, of course.
You have the chance to become the greatest grandma and/or grandpa in the world by choosing one of these lodges for your “extended-family” stay. All are kid-friendly and have a certain appeal not only to the 'grands', but also to mature adults who appreciate fun, kitsch and comfort.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
You might choose to stay in the Jambo House, the Lodge’s main building, with its thatched roof and savanna views, or the Kidani Village’s Studios and multi-bedroom Villas, if you need more room.
When the grandparents need some down time, the grandkids will be engaged with the constantly changing view off the balcony. The exotic African wildlife just outside your door amazes all generations while providing an education for the little ones (and you might learn a few things yourself).
After a tiring day in the parks, check out the several pool options to tire out little ones even more while you lounge poolside. Restaurants range from upscale African-inspired cuisine to kid-friendly, themed dining, to casual pool-side fare. You might even opt for the Wanyama Safari package, which will provide close-up encounters with giraffes before enjoying a multi-course meal at Jiko and its authentic wood-burning ovens.
The rooms are spacious, with options for bunk beds—the perfect choice for assuring a good night’s sleep for all. Several roomy options are available, all within steps of gorgeous lobbies where you'll explore fountains, creative nooks and crannies, and rocking chairs to relax and enjoy the view.
A nighttime option—if a break is needed from the parks—is the Starlight Safari. Much of the wildlife comes alive after dark and can be seen from an open-sided safari vehicle with the benefit of night vision goggles.
So many lasting memories will be made, and they might crown you the greatest grandparents in the world!
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Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
The younger grandkids will be wide-eyed at the colorful architecture and sculptures that make up this resort, including Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid designs. The affordable family suites are large enough for six adults with creative sleeping arrangements like the dining table that magically becomes a Murphy bed.
The color schemes and delightful art will put a smile on the face of even the grumpiest toddler.
Swimming choices are many with three pools—one of which includes underwater speakers providing your favorite Disney movie soundtrack. The kids might even find Nemo in Squirt’s Righteous Reef, a playground providing a great way to release some pent-up energy.
Movies Under the Stars provides nightly down time while enjoying an outside flick before bed.
Dining is casual and easy at Landscape of Flavors, where you can build our own burger along with salads and tandoori dishes. If you don’t want to leave your room, pizza delivery is available. Pool-side fare is also available at The Drop Off.
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Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
One of the original hotels on the Disney property, the Polynesian Village Resort has undergone a massive renovation over that last few years and offers many new features and lodging choices—the newest being the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows.
If you are a member of the Disney Vacation Club, you’ll have access to the Bungalows located on an overwater deck with views of the Magic Kingdom for fireworks and an unobstructed view of Cinderella’s Castle. Your private back deck includes your very own plunge pool. With room for up to 8 guests, the bungalows boast two bedrooms and two baths, with living and dining area plus a full kitchen. You’ll even have your own washer and dryer.
In addition to your in-room amenities, the Polynesian also serves as a Monorail stop, with access to the Magic Kingdom, as well as other hotels and the main transportation hub. One transfer will take you directly to Epcot. A trip across the Seven Seas Lagoon on a water taxi also provides a direct route to the Magic Kingdom.
Sometimes, grownups need a break from even the most darling grandkids. If the grandparents need a night out on their own, this resort offers childcare at Lilo’s Playhouse. This goes beyond just babysitting. There's an activity area providing arts and crafts, science and baking events as well as educational opportunities.
The Polynesian Village Resort also offers standard room choices in the main building where you can enjoy several options of cafes and restaurants. The Polynesian is known for its authentic luau, the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, with hulas and fire dancing to wow the kids. It includes an all-you-can-eat family-style feast, which should satisfy even your pickiest little diner.
The choices are endless to spoil the grandkids while getting a dose of Disney for yourself. Unforgettable memories await when you take advantage of the many activities available in each resort.
That “Best Grandma & Grandpa in the World” medal could be yours!