Disney Monorail Hotels: What You Need To Know

When many people visualize a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, they think of the three Disney Monorail hotels. The Disney Monorail hotels provide incredible amenities, excellent dining, and proximity to Magic Kingdom and Epcot using the monorail. Should you stay at one of these Disney Monorail hotels?

If you have visited the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World before, you have passed by the Disney Monorail hotels. These three hotels are located near the Magic Kingdom. Walt Disney World classifies them as deluxe hotels.

Disney Monorail Hotels: The Basics

Disney’s monorail is one of the most recognizable aspects of Walt Disney World. Many people who have never visited Walt Disney World have at least seen the monorail in ads in print or video media.  This single-rail transportation, the Disney Monorail, takes guests from the three Magic Kingdom area hotels to Epcot and Magic Kingdom. Guests parking in the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), the Magic Kingdom parking lot, can also use the express monorail to reach Magic Kingdom from the TTC.

Disney Monorail Hotels

Disney Monorail Hotels

The three Walt Disney World Resort hotels on the monorail loop, starting at Magic Kingdom and working your way around clockwise, are Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Each of these three hotels qualifies as deluxe hotels. They each offer similar styles of amenities and features.

Walt Disney World Deluxe hotels offer:

  • Larger standard-size rooms than most Walt Disney World Resort hotels
  • Higher standards regarding theming in the common areas and hotel rooms
  • Higher quality table service dining as well as more signature-level dining
  • Club/Concierge level room options
  • Pools with waterslides, whirlpools, and splash areas for kids
  • Guests can rent watercraft to use on Seven Seas Lagoon or Bay Lake when available.

Of course, these three Disney Monorail hotels provide easy access to Magic Kingdom and Epcot using free Disney transportation. Some guests express that the ability to visit one of those theme parks and quickly come back to their hotel room to relax is worth the price paid alone. The three Disney Monorail hotels make excellent choices for those wishing to focus their Walt Disney World vacation on Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

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Disney Monorail Hotels: Extended Evening Theme Park Hours

Guests that stay in these deluxe hotels (and the other deluxe hotels on the property) can enjoy some extra theme park time in the evenings on select nights. Walt Disney World recently announced that these deluxe hotel’s advantage of Extended Evening Theme Park Hours will continue through 2024.

Currently, these extra theme park hours for deluxe hotel guests only last two hours. They happen at Magic Kingdom on Mondays and Epcot on Wednesdays.

Most of the attractions will be open during those two extra hours. Also, deluxe hotel guests can attempt to acquire a virtual queue for the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind or the Tron Lightcycle / Run attraction on the night of their visit.

These evenings have provided very low crowd levels once daytime guests exited the theme park.  Some Walt Disney World visitors try to stay at Deluxe hotels for this perk alone. Disney Monorail hotels make an excellent choice for that purpose also.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Disney Monorial Hotel

View from Contemporary Resort

If you ask someone if they know where the Contemporary Resort is, you might not get much of an answer. Now, if you say something like, “Have you ever seen the hotel that the Disney Monorail goes through, “you will likely get a more positive response. Even people who have never been to Disney are familiar with that one hotel the monorail goes through.

The Contemporary Resort functions as a type of retro-futuristic resort hotel among the Disney Monorail hotels. The clean lines and more modern open look happened at this hotel a long time ago.

The Disney-style theming is more understated here than in other deluxe Disney hotels. Still, the rooms at the Contemporary have been refurnished with a touch of “The Incredibles.”

The Contemporary resort always seems busier than the other Disney Monorail hotels. That may not be a fair assessment. Nevertheless, the Contemporary Resort provides a less relaxing experience than the other two monorail hotels at Disney World. The lobby and other common areas at the Contemporary Resort look like they could be any upscale hotel in the world.

Nevertheless, the rooms in the main building all have balconies with great views. Several accommodation styles are available at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, such as the small Garden Wing room that sleeps three guests all the way to the posh Club Level two-bedroom suites that sleep eight.

Even though the Contemporary equates to the monorail for many people, guests staying here might not need it to get to Magic Kingdom. There is a short walking path (10-minute walk) between the resort and the Magic Kingdom. We find it faster to walk than take the monorail system. We do this often when leaving the Magic Kingdom area and visiting the Contemporary Resort for a meal.


The California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort has been one of the top table service restaurants at Walt Disney World for some time. This place offers excellent food and beverages, great views, and excellent service.

This table service restaurant provides a beautiful view of the nighttime fireworks at Magic Kingdom. California Grill is located near Magic Kingdom, with massive windows facing towards the fireworks each evening.  Also, there is an outdoor observation deck for people dining at California Grill.  Guests dining at the time of the fireworks or having eaten earlier in the day may go out on the patio for fireworks viewing. They even play music to match the fireworks display.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort also has two more table service restaurants, Chef Mickey’s and Steakhouse 71. Chef Mickey’s is a highly sought-after reservation. Guests can meet Mickey and the gang there. However, we struggle to recommend buffet food there.

Steakhouse 71 offers better food than Chef Mickey’s. Also, your meal will not cost as much. Still, no Disney characters here.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort has stood the test of time. Sure, the place could use some updating to be still futuristic. However, Disney’s Contemporary provides a wonderful stay, especially for guests visiting Magic Kingdom.

Disney’s Polynesian Resort

The Polynesian Resort brings guests into the Tiki-inspired vibe of South Pacific culture. This deluxe Disney Monorail hotel provides a more relaxing environment compared to the Contemporary Resort. You will be greeted when you arrive by a cast member with a lei upon your arrival. The Polynesian features lush landscaping and tropical music to enhance your adventure at this resort. The Polynesian Resort provides a respite from the real world like theme park resort hotels should do.

The Seven Seas lagoon area even offers a white sandy beach facing the Magic Kingdom. Please do not try to go swimming in the Seven Seas Lagoon. The Polynesian Resort has excellent pools for that.

However, if you let yourself, you might feel transported to a tropical island. Okay, a tropical island with dole soft serve and a view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks at night. Walt Disney World even pipes in the music from the Magic Kingdom fireworks so you can hear it on the beach.


Disney Monorail Hotels

Ohana Breakfast Skillet

We love the dining options here. Pineapple Lanai, a walk-up counter service operation, primarily serves Dole Whip. The food and beverage options at the Polynesian Resort continue with the tropical theme. At the Polynesian Resort, Ohana remains the most desired table service dining reservation at Walt Disney World. Ohana provides a character breakfast with Lilo and Stitch and a dinner option as well. Both are served family style for all you care to enjoy dining.

We enjoy the Kona Café, another table service option. Captain Cook’s quick service receives high marks from many guests.


Disney’s Polynesian Resort also presents guests with two of the most popular lounges at Walt Disney World. Tambu Lounge, just outside of Ohana, serves beverages and some of the Ohana dinner menu. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto can be found downstairs at the Polynesian Resort. This place draws a crowd starting in the afternoon, so be prepared for that. Trader Sam’s is known for its fun atmosphere and tropical drinks served in tiki mugs.

Disney’s Polynesian Resort gives guests the easiest way of the three Disney Monorail hotels to get to Epcot. Guests can access the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) through the parking lot. From there, they board the monorail system directly to Epcot.

Common complaints about the Polynesian Resort relate to a lack of a fitness center and the inability to rent a watercraft. Guests at the Polynesian must walk to the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa for those amenities. Some of the rooms at the Polynesian Resort lack a great view also.

Nonetheless, the resort makes a great place to explore and unwind. Disney’s Polynesian Resort offers various room styles and options like most deluxe hotels. If staying here, you will find a room to fit your group’s size and needs.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Disney Monorail Hotels

Grand Floridian Resort is an excellent choice if you are looking for Victorian elegance. Of course, with elegance usually comes a higher price point. None of the Disney Monorail hotels qualify as inexpensive. However, Grand Floridian Resort usually costs the most.

It is styled as a Victorian-era luxury property and has an enormous lobby area. The Grand Floridian is the only Disney Monorail resort to have a spa.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa displays a refined, sophisticated look.

One should not be surprised that this Disney hotel presents guests with a fantastic wedding venue. The concept of excess and grandeur permeates the entire resort, making you feel special.

These lavish common areas are matched by the largest rooms of any of the Disney Monorail resorts. In fact, the Grand Floridian has the largest standard rooms in all of Disney World at 440 square feet.

This deluxe hotel provides top-of-the-line dining. The award-winning Victoria & Albert’s resides in Disney’s Grand Floridian. Victoria & Albert’s does have a strict dress code and a multiple-course premium dining experience to match. In fact, small children are not allowed to dine here. Disney’s Grand Floridian houses three more table service dining options as well as lounges and a quick service dining option.

The three table service options each offer excellent food. These restaurants are Narcoossee’s (mostly seafood), Citricos (Mediterranean-inspired), and The Grand Floridian Café (more relaxing Victorian dining that serves a brunch-style menu until 2:00 p.m. every day of the week). A significant advantage of the Grand Floridian relates to dining options.

Why Stay at These Disney Monorail Hotels Over Other Walt Disney World Deluxe Level Hotels?

Walt Disney World has an immense number of hotels. Many of them are deluxe-level hotels. You can stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and soak in the setting with animals nearby and excellent unique dining. Several deluxe hotels can be found in the Boardwalk area between Epcot and Hollywood Studios. The highly regarded Disney’s Riviera Resort counts as a deluxe hotel also. It offers luxury and some dining options equal to, if not better, the Disney Monorail hotels.

Why choose the Disney Monorail hotels that tend to cost just a little more than the other deluxe options? We can consider several reasons to stay at one of these three Disney Monorail hotels. We have mentioned several of those reasons already.

1. Proximity to Magic Kingdom

All three of these hotels provide a short trip after the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom. In contrast to returning to the TTC and having your car parked there, staying at these hotels reduces that stress.

Also, these hotels work great if you attend an after-hours party like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom. Leaving Magic Kingdom after midnight becomes more pleasant when you know your bed is only 15 minutes at most.

Remember, the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Riviera, and Boardwalk area deluxe hotels will use a Disney bus as primary transportation to the Magic Kingdom.

2. Electric Water Pageant Viewing

An outside-the-theme park entertainment option happens at the Disney Monorail hotels. The Electric Water Pageant occurs nightly. The Electrical Water Pageant is a nightly light, music, and water floats display that traverses the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake for the Magic Kingdom area resorts. The view of the water pageant from the Disney Monorail hotels is lovely. Many rooms allow viewing from your room

3. Dining

The quality and variety of dining options cannot be beaten at these three hotels. Though we love dining at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, another deluxe hotel near the Animal Kingdom theme park, the dining options are better here.

4. Disney Service and Amenities

Sure, you are paying top dollar for these Disney deluxe hotels. However, in almost all cases, you get what you pay for at the Disney Monorail hotels.

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Disclosure: We have used all the products recommended on Mickey Visit. We may receive compensation when you click on links to some products featured.

About Jon Self

Jon Self is an avid theme park fan. You can follow him at @pastorjonself on Twitter. Jon has been writing and editing in the theme park media world for some time now. He also writes for several "foodie" sites as well as in the faith-based world at faithelement.net.

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