On my last trip to Walt Disney World, I had a couple of non-park days and I decided to tour Disney’s Monorail Resorts, hotels that I will never have the chance to actually stay at. I quickly drafted half a day at the Monorail Resorts and one afternoon visiting the Skyliner Resorts.
Even though I traveled with my family, I decided to have this experience by myself and here’s why. If your party isn’t interested in touring hotels or you know they’ll get bored in the first 10 minutes, tell them politely that you’d rather do this alone. They might slow you down and in the end, nobody will enjoy the experience. Having said that, I will walk you through my tour.
Disney World has 3 hotels that are within the Monorail line: Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. These are Deluxe Resorts and honestly, I only knew these hotels from pictures and until a few years ago, I never thought you could actually visit them unless you were staying there, buuuut, you can go to these wonderful places!
Let’s start the tour!
I was staying at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, so after breakfast, I took the bus from my hotel to Magic Kingdom. I was at the bus stop at around 9:00 am and got to the park in 15 minutes. After going through security (another 15 minutes, it was quite packed at that time, but I wasn’t in a hurry) I headed to the monorail station. I hopped on just two minutes after getting there and started my Monorail Resorts Tour.
First stop: Contemporary Resort
I arrived at the Contemporary Resort at 9:40 am and the first thing I did was realize that the monorail was actually going through and entering the hotel. You see it in pictures or videos, but when you’re on the Monorail entering the Contemporary Resort, you just have no words. It’s truly astonishing that this resort was built back in the 1970s with such cutting-edge architecture (nowadays it’s a sort of past vision of the future). But what was indeed impressive was the Mary Blair art: The Grand Canyon Concourse mural in the main hall. I just couldn’t stop staring at it. I must’ve walked around the mural for at least 10 or 15 minutes examining it from all angles. A definite must-do at the Contemporary.
I also visited the Fantasia shop and then I went to have a second quick breakfast at Contempo Café (since this touring thing was a bit out of the blue. I wasn’t able to get reservations at Chef Mickey, maybe next time 😉 ). I never leave without my refillable mug, so I poured myself some coffee and kept wandering around. I kept walking around a little bit, just trying to see as many places as I could, but of course, the resort is so big (and I was so excited!) that many places were left unseen.
Second stop: Disney’s Polynesian Resort
I grabbed my things and went to security (remember that every time you board the Monorail you have to go through security again). My next stop was Disney’s Polynesian Resort, where I got around 10:30/10:40 am. I did a tour of the lobby and shops inside the Grand Ceremonial House, checked Ohana from outside because I didn’t have a reservation. Then, I headed outside to check the rooms’ buildings, pools and beach area. I stayed at the beach for a while, relaxed a little bit 🙂 Remember that like in every Disney hotel, you can’t access the pool area. Then, I decided it was time to go to the next hotel on my list.
Instead of taking the Monorail, I went on a boat ride to Grand Floridian. I was right next to the dock walking along the beach, so it was definitely more convenient. Well, here it’s where I learned something: boats don’t go from hotel to hotel, but hotel to park and park to hotel. So, I went back to Magic Kingdom, but let me tell you that it was soooo worth it. The view from the boat is breathtaking. Just seeing the park, the resorts, the lake… it was so peaceful. Mainly because everyone got off at the park and I was the only person going to the Grand Floridian at 11:30 in the morning. Even the boat captain joked about it 😉
Third stop: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
So there I was, walking the grounds of Disney’s Grand Floridian with my jaw wide open. I mean, I had seen pictures, but being there was just incredible. The Victorian buildings are so beautiful, so picturesque. Because of my budget, I’m a (proud!) Value Resort girl, so the Grand Floridian is a dream that I don’t know if it’ll ever come true.
I took some lovely pictures of the Christmas tree and decorations, I walked around the main building and then stepped outside. I just couldn’t believe how beautiful and luxurious this hotel is! I checked the pool area and the beach and headed to the place I really wanted to see: The Wedding Pavilion. I got a bit lost at this point: the resort is huge, but if you follow the signs, you eventually get there. And I did! Look at this place:
I wasn’t able to go inside the chapel because there was a wedding rehearsal taking place. But I still got to see plenty and imagine what it would be like to get married there <3
I exited the Wedding Pavlion through the beach and walked all the way back to Disney’s Polynesian Resort. I have to say that I was just so impressed by the view that I wanted to stay there walking as much as I could.
Back at the Poly, I did some shopping at Moana Mercantile and then took the Monorail back to Magic Kingdom. At this point, it was around 1 pm and I had to meet my family back at my resort to go to lunch and do some shopping in the afternoon.
I know that I could’ve seen many other places inside these hotels, but for a first tour, it was more than enough. This was also a family trip so, we had a compromise: I took half a day for this, and in the afternoon we’d do something together.
Sometimes you think that going to Disney World is just visiting the parks, but there’s so much more than that. Visiting hotels is an amazing experience, and it’s free. Although they may not be thrill rides, they are definitely “attractions” worth seeing and exploring. My recommendation is to go for it! Just take into account how much time you want to devote to this, especially if you’re coming from other resorts. But one thing is certain: you’ll love it!