Home ADHD Survival Guide How to Choose a Disney World Resort – Planning a Disney World Vacation with an ADHD Family Part 2

How to Choose a Disney World Resort – Planning a Disney World Vacation with an ADHD Family Part 2

written by familyadhd
disney world resort map
Disney World Resort Map (not created by us)

If you haven’t already, I suggest reading Part 1 of our Planning a Disney World Vacation with an ADHD Family series, which discusses flying tips!

Part 2 – Tips for Choosing a Disney World Resort

To resort or not to resort, that is the question! When visiting Disney World, you’ll have to make 2 very big decisions upfront:
  1. Will you stay on-property or off property?
  2. If you stay on-property, which Disney World resort should you choose?
When we were planning our Disney World vacation last year, we read a lot about whether or not it was worth staying in a Disney resort or not. We thought about it and quickly decided–it was!

Is Staying at a Disney World Resort the Right Choice for your ADHD Family?

Here are some questions worth considering when debating what would work best for your family.Would your family answer yes or no to the following questions?

  1. Do you plan to spend more than 1 day visiting areas of the Disney World property? This includes theme parks, Downtown Disney, etc.
  2. Do you think your kids (or you) will need a break during your trip to the park(s)?
  3. Do you like your vacation experiences to have a more seamless feel?
  4. Does your family get a notable amount of enjoyment from little details such as themed meals, rooms decor, etc.?
  5. Do you plan to avoid renting a car and/or will you be flying in?
  6. Would your family enjoy using some of the amenities at Disney World resorts other than the one you’re possibly staying at?
If you answered “yes” to all or most of these, then you should probably consider staying on-property at a Disney World resort.
Would your family answer yes or no to the following questions?
  1. Do you plan to drive to Disney and use your car to get around?
  2. Do you plan to spend no more than 1 day at a Disney World park or in the Disney area?
  3. Do you have a vacation condo or home available to you that you can rent for significantly less than the cost of staying on-property?
  4. Does your family anticipate spending the majority of your money on an event not related to visiting Disney World?
  5. Are all of the members of your family old enough to spend an entire day, beginning to end, at the theme park(s) you intend to visit without a break (outside the park) during the day?
If you answered “yes” to all or most of these, then you may want to consider exploring options outside of the Disney property.

The Verdict

For us, staying at a Disney World resort was unquestionably the right answer. We knew that as a family we would be flying in and not renting a car, so taking advantage of Disney’s Magic Express (the shuttle to and from the airport) along with the shuttles to and from the parks would be a huge benefit to us. We also acknowledged that we really enjoyed seamlessly themed vacations where everything from the soaps in our bathroom to the lampposts on the sidewalks were themed. And perhaps most importantly, we knew that we’d get the most out of our Disney World visit if our guys could take a break in the calm and quiet of our room when needed.
Honestly, unless you have a property you plan on staying at that is super accessible while visiting the parks, I think staying on-property is one of the most beneficial choices for any ADHD family simply because of logistics. Disney World can be very overwhelming for anyone, let alone little guys with ADHD. While we found there were little places we could stop and take a quiet moment during quieter times in the season, being able to go back to a semi-controlled environment if/when the need arose was a huge plus. We have no regrets about our choice last year and will be doing the same again this year.

Which Disney World Resort is Right For Your ADHD Family?

Each resort offers a number of different benefits and each theme is different. Prices also vary greatly, which may be a factor as well. We had friends that worked at Disney years ago and we did a lot of research online, so we felt we picked a resort that met most of our wants/needs based on a decent amount of information. I’ve had friends that have gone in the last year that happily stayed at resorts other than the one we stayed at, that plan to return to the same one again because their experiences were so positive. Choosing a resort is a very personal choice and one that needs careful consideration ahead of time in my opinion.


I admittedly got a little anxious debating between all of the available resorts and their amenities, which I don’t recommend doing! If you take the following steps you should be able to get through the process without making yourself crazy:
  • Take a breath
  • Create a list of must-have features/qualities/amenities your family wants/needs
  • Narrow your choices down to 2 or 3 resorts only if there is no obvious first choice
  • Evaluate objectively for a reasonable amount of time; give yourself a deadline so you don’t waffle too much!
  • Choose confidently knowing that you know your family best

Questions to Ask Yourself When Creating Your Must-Have Resort List

These are some of the things we considered when creating our must-have resort list:
  1. Do you want a resort right next to Magic Kingdom or is a shuttle ride of 20 minutes or so going to be okay? Some resorts are far closer to parks than others, though all are accessible by shuttle.
  2. Is there a specific theme your family would enjoy most?
  3. What’s your Disney World resort budget per night or per person?
  4. Do you need a suite/villa or will a standard room be large enough for your family?
  5. Do you want a resort with free activities for your children to participate in? I’ve noticed some resorts offer more of these than others.
  6. What kind of pool setup would best work for your family? Some resorts have water play areas for young children, while others have a large pools and toddler pools only.
Tip: Disney has a lot of maps on their site, including this interactive one, which shows you where parks and resorts are located in relationship to each other!

Once you find a resort that meets the criteria you’ve come up with on your must-have list that has a theme your family will enjoy–book!

I’ve read an incredibly amount of Disney sites, blogs and third-party review sites on the Disney World resorts and I can confidently say, no one resource told me everything I wanted to know. It definitely took a bit of searching to find all the answers to my questions, especially since some of my questions were specific to my family’s somewhat unique needs and quirks. I recommend starting with Disney World’s site and moving to sites like TripAdvisor, then googling specific questions you have and exploring blogs that discuss them.I hope this helps! Do you have any tips for determining whether or not visitors should stay on-property or off when visiting Disney World?

Check back soon as I’ll be doing a full review of our experience last year at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge from our Family ADHD perspective!


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