Disney's Monorail Hotels

Disney Hotels on the Monorail – Which is Best?

What are Disney Monorail Hotels?

A Disney Monorail Hotel is one of the three resorts situated directly on the route of the monorail transportation system at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The monorail system connects these resorts to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. The Disney hotels on the monorail are:

  • Contemporary Resort
  • Polynesian Resort
  • Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

All three monorail hotels are Deluxe Resorts, the most expensive category of accommodations at Walt Disney World.

Map of Disney's monorail transit system.
Map of Disney’s monorail transit system.

Benefits of a Deluxe Resort

The benefits of a Deluxe Resort are plentiful. Here are the major reasons travelers choose one of the deluxe resorts.

Prime Location

The location of deluxe resorts is often a deciding factor for guests. Why does location matter? You can take in some of the park events right from your hotel (i.e. fireworks, parades). Also, the reduced transportation time means more time enjoying Disney attractions.

More transportation options

While all Disney resorts have access to the bus transportation system, the high-end resorts have free access to additional transportation options, such as the monorail and the Skyliner (Disney’s gondola system). One resort even has a walking path just steps from the entrance of the Magic Kingdom. These additional transportation options can result in hours of time saved over the course of a week-long vacation.

Spacious rooms with Added Amenities

The extra square footage and variety of room options at the deluxe resorts is a huge benefit for some families. The rooms at Pop Century, the popular value resort, measure about 260 square feet. That’s slightly larger than a single car garage! That may be a tight fit for a family of four for an entire week. A small room at the Polynesian is almost double the size, at 475 square feet. 

The extra space means there are extra in-room amenities. You can choose from various suites, villas, and club-level layouts. And most deluxe rooms accommodate 5 or more people. Each layout is different, and may include extra features like bathrooms, private bedrooms, a kitchen, private laundry, and more!

Signature Dining Options

All Disney Resorts have dining available. But lower-level resorts tend to have basic quick service options. Many of the best Signature Dining are located at the Deluxe Resorts. All three monorail hotels offer multiple dining options and character dining experiences! 

Extra Perks

Deluxe resorts offer extra perks, such as child activity centers, fitness centers, mini-golf, and spas. They also offer motorized boat rentals, lake cruises, upscale shopping, and bike rentals. And you can experience spectacular themed events like a luau or camping activities.

Resort Details

Disney’s Contemporary Resort (built in 1971, refurbishment anticipated in 2021/22)

Theme/Style: Modern [By 1971’s Standards]

Restaurants: California Grill, Chef Mickey’s (Character Dining), The Wave, Contempo Cafe, The Contemporary Grounds (Coffee & Snack Bar), The Outer Rim (Bar), The Sand Bar (Bar), The Cove (Bar)

Price Range: $508+ per night


  • Lake view rooms can view Electrical Water Pageant each night
  • Top floor dining at California Grill offers spectacular fireworks view
  • The monorail drives through the resort
  • Home of Mary Blair Artwork, include a 90ft mural
  • Amazing pools with a slide
  • Very short walk to Magic Kingdom
  • Complimentary Wifi 
  • Water Taxi Service to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Disney’s Polynesian Resort (built in 1971, refurbished 2021)

Theme/Style: Pacific Island

Restaurants: Capt. Cooks, Kona Cafe, ‘Ohana (Character Dining), Oasis Bar & Grill, Kona Island, Pineapple Lanai (home of the Dole Whip), Trader Sam’s (Bar), Tambu Lounge (Bar)

Price Range: $604+ per night


  • Lake view rooms can view Electrical Water Pageant each night
  • Magic Kingdom fireworks view
  • Water taxi service to the Magic Kingdom
  • Almost all rooms accommodate 5 people.
  • Offers an opportunity to meet Lilo and Stitch
  • Known for its incredible dining
  • Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, an all-you-can-eat luau 
  • 2021 Renovations will add a Moana-themed room option

Fun Fact: On December 29, 1974 at the Polynesian Resort, John Lennon signed the paperwork that ended The Beatles.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (built in 1988, refurbished 2008)

Theme/Style: Victorian

Restaurants: Narcoossee’s, Grand Floridian Cafe, Gasparilla Island Grill, Beaches Pool Bar & Grill, Courtyard Pool Bar, 1900 Park Fare (Character Dining), Citriocos (Dinner), Garden View Tea Room, Victoria & Albert’s, Enchanted Rose (Bar)

Price Range: $702+ per night


  • Lake view rooms can view Electrical Water Pageant each night
  • Magic Kingdom fireworks view
  • Water taxi service to the Magic Kingdom
  • Live orchestra in the breathtaking grand lobby
  • The only Disney resort to offer turndown service
  • Home of a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
  • Pool with a Water Slide
  • Campfire Activities
  • World-class, award winning dining 
  • Onsite Spa, Health Club, & Salon
  • View of Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom
  • Specialty cruises around the Seven Seas Lagoon
  • Festive decorations for holidays, including a life-size gingerbread house

So which of the Disney Hotels on the Monorail is best?

My choice is the Contemporary. Here’s why:

  • It’s the least expensive of the monorail hotels
  • It offers the best view of the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom
  • It has two of my favorite restaurants (California Grill and Chef Mickey’s)
  • It’s the shortest walk to the Magic Kingdom.

But the truth is you can’t go wrong with any one of these resorts. If you’re craving an island getaway, the Polynesian’s immersive experience is definitely a good choice. Or, if you want the royal treatment while you feast your way through your vacation, then the Grand Floridian is for you. If you’re struggling to choose, go with your gut! The good news is that all of these resorts are on the monorail, so you can easily visit all three during your stay.

The Best [Cheaper] Alternative to a Monorail Hotel

So what if you love the idea of a Disney hotel on the monorail, but $500+ per night just isn’t in your budget? I have a great alternative for you: Disney’s Art of Animation or Disney’s Pop Century

The rate is less than half that of the Disney Monorail Hotels. A standard room starts around $215 per night. Of course the rooms are smaller and don’t have the same amenities as a deluxe resort. But you’re hopefully not spending much time in the room. These two resorts are connected by a bridge (which also happens to be the Skyliner station), so you can easily use the pools and restaurants for both resorts.

Here’s why this is the perfect alternative: Both resorts have access to the Skyliner (Disney’s gondola system). The Skyliner travels to both EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. The monorail also has a station at EPCOT, so you could easily hop off the Skyliner and board the monorail to the Magic Kingdom or any one of the Disney hotels on the monorail (pools and restaurants included). 

Which Disney hotel on the monorail would you choose? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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