Orlando + Disney World hotels
Walt Disney World operates 19 hotels on its 27,000-acre campus, and while closer to the action, they all charge significantly more than comparable properties in the area. Anyone who has stayed at a true luxury hotel will never confuse the Mouse's tricked-up pillow mills for plush digs; the quality is fine, but you choose a Disney property for convenience and location, not pampering. The resort's three most expensive choices, the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian, and the Contemporary, start at around $350 a night in peak season and are situated on a monorail system that links them to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot in minutes. The Yacht and Beach Clubs, a half-step down, are just a five-minute stroll from the side entrance of Epcot's World Showcase area and connected to the other parks by road. Disney's cheapest rooms, which it terms "Value," start at $82 a night for motel-style digs quite a ways farther. Even if you go with a Disney property that is on the monorail system, make sure you have your own car: Only two of the four theme parks are connected by monorail and the free bus shuttles can be infuriatingly slow. For people who don't need to orbit endlessly in Mouseland for their entire vacation, less expensive and more richly serviced hotels can be found in Orlando proper and in the International Drive area a few miles northeast of the parks, where conventioneers demand good value.