Of course, I'm kidding. Sigh. I'll keep putting my nickles away. Maybe one day I'll get to choose from the Delux resort list, rather than the Value or Moderate.
We stayed in a Savannah Side room at Animal Kingdom Lodge about 8 years ago. The room was very nice, and the lobby is jaw dropping along with the view of the animals grazing outside our sliding glass door. However, when you are at the parks from rope drop until they kick you out, it means you are only in the room to sleep and get dressed. It was cool to observe the animals while my wife was taking a shower and getting ready, but that 30 minutes (that you can get for free by just stopping by the hotel and walking out the back doors of the lobby) was not worth 3-4 times what one of our off-site hotels cost during that trip or double what Coronado Springs cost during that same trip.
Same goes for the Universal Hotels. While Hard Rock was very nice (we won that particular trip in a contest, so the hotel was free), I don't know if I would have chosen to stay there if I was footing the bill. The room again was very nice, and having Universal Express was pretty awesome, but we typically travel to Orlando in October when the lines are pretty manageable, so it's not something we would normally need. In fact, we're going through the calculations for our upcoming trip in October, and the hotel rates end up being almost double the nearby off-site hotels rates (that include breakfast) even if you subtract the cost of Universal Express from the room charge. Not only that, in order to get Universal Express, you have to pay the full admission prices from Universal (we often find cheaper tickets to UO through other sources), so it's not all that it's cracked up to be for us.
Many will say that staying in a themed hotel is part of a theme park vacation. I think that it's nice when it's within your budget, but since we travel to Orlando pretty much every other year, we'd rather come back again in 2 years than splurge on a fancy hotel that we'll only spend 8-10 hours a day in (including sleeping). We've look at DVC, but that's not really our style either (we actually enjoy the thrill of hunting for the best deals). So while all of these hotels are very nice (I've walked through almost all of them), I think many of the less expensive, and less prestigious properties are just as good. Personally, we've grown to like Pop Century along with many of the hotels along Major Blvd. across from Universal's main gate.
I think we need more votes cast so we can get a better list! Go vote people! I mean Port Orleans and Old Key West were also left off the list. Old Key West is my resort!
As much as we loved Portofino, the walk is just too far if the water taxis aren't running, and the Royal Pacific is not as bad, but seems to take a while (about 10 min). Hard Rock is right off the CityWalk, so we never take the water taxis. A Few minute walk right the Universal Studios main gate.
Looking forward to writing a trip report when I get back.....
I've been to 1-4 & 6. I can definitely get behind the list.
Wilderness Lodge was my honeymoon resort, and Artist Pointe is amazing! The lobby is really superb as well!
I stayed at Portofino the night after taking part in Harbor Nights - highly recommended!
I treated my dad to the Hard Rock for his 50th birthday many moons ago.
Boardwalk and Animal Kingdom Lodge are both really great hotels too, though they don't hold any special significance. I'd still go back, but prefer Boardwalk simply because of the location. And I loved the Flying Fish restaurant. Mostly it's the location I love.
Excellent list. I have to get to the other hotels on the list eventually.
I have stayed at Portofino Bay and while I admired the main lobby and the area where you wait for the boats, I wasn't overly impressed. The hallways and carpet throughout the resort looked dated (10-15 years old). I was also upset that I could hear people walking through the hallways while staying in my room. I would think if I'm paying a considerable amount to stay I should have complete peace and quiet. The rooms were somewhat impressive as someone else mentioned the bathrooms are huge and I agree. At most of the dinky places I stay, the bathroom of the Portofino room would be the size of the entire room.
The one thing I did like was that the parks and Citywalk are only a boat ride away. For someone that tends to get a bit tipsy on my trips every once in a while, it was good to know that all I had to do was get on a boat to get back to my room.
Does anyone know where they park your car while you are staying there? That is the one mystery I have yet to solve.