Walt Disney World: 10 best hotels that are free with points

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A trip to Walt Disney World is unforgettable and the theme parks are a great destination for a family. Unfortunately, as fun and amazing as Walt Disney World is, the price can add up quickly.

But if you plan ahead and use miles and points from some of the best hotel credit cards, you can save big on what could otherwise be very expensive hotel accommodations. For example, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card comes with 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points plus a free night reward after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership. And the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card currently comes with 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

The information for the Hilton Surpass card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

We’ve found 10 of the best options near Walt Disney World where you can stay for free with points.

You can visit Walt Disney World for free with points at any of these top hotels. (Photo by VIAVAL/Shutterstock)

Looking for the best hotels in Walt Disney World that you can book free with points?

How we chose the best free hotels at Disney World

We considered several factors in deciding on the best hotels in Walt Disney World for lodging on points.

First, we checked multiple popular travel-review sites to make sure that the hotel was well-reviewed by guests who have stayed there. Second, we wanted hotels with minimal fees such as resort fees, Wi-Fi fees, and other charges. We know how much it stinks to book a free room and get stung with unexpected fees on your booking. Unfortunately, they’re hard to avoid at many Disney World hotels.

Yes, a few of the hotels on the list do add resort fees, but they’re either waived for award stays or easily erased by using a card like the Capital One Venture.

Disney Resort hotel benefits

Another important factor that we considered is a hotel’s access to Disney Resort Hotel benefits. Since many of the hotels on this list share these same benefits, it is worth mentioning them in detail here.

  • FastPass+: Reserve access to select rides, shows, and attractions up to 60 days in advance so you can skip the long lines when you get there.
  • Extra Magic Hours: Spend extra time at one of the theme parks each day. Each day one of the parks will either open an hour early, or stay open up to two hours late, allowing you to enjoy a much less busy time at the park.
  • Complimentary MagicBands: Electronic wrist bands make it easy to get into your room, the park, and use your FastPass+. They usually cost ~$15 each.
  • Complimentary Airport Transport: Known as Disney’s Magical Express, this shuttle brings you and your bags from the airport to your Disney Resort Hotel.
  • Complimentary Parking at Parks: Standard parking at no cost at Disney Theme Parks, Disney Water Parks, and Disney Springs Area. Great for those renting or bringing a car.
  • Complimentary Resort Transport: Ride the bus, ferryboat or monorail between the Disney Hotel Resorts and the Disney Theme Parks for free.

These perks can add up to significant savings if you plan to spend a lot of time at the parks. With those factors in mind, here are 10 of the best hotels in Walt Disney World to stay for free using points.

Disney’s Beach Club Resort

The first time you see Disney’s Beach Club Resort, you will be taken by its classic charm. Its theme is the seaside resort cottages in New England in the early 20th century.

The famous Storm-Along Bay pool is a three-acre winding pool with real sand on the bottom, making it an instant hit with the kids. You will see children building sand castles while parents enjoy a cocktail at a poolside bar or enjoy a float down the lazy river. There are even waterslides in this small waterpark.

Reviewers consistently make this one of their favorite Official Disney World Resort Hotels with a 4.5 average rating on TripAdvisor across 3,200+ reviews. People write that this is the most well-rounded Disney World hotel with the pool area, themed facilities, tons of restaurant options, easy park transportation and access to the Disney Resort Hotel benefits.

Disney’s Beach Club Resort doesn’t belong to any of the popular hotel chains for points redemptions, but you can still book it with your Capital One Venture card and use your Capital One miles to erase the charge later. Just keep in mind that the price can vary dramatically depending on the season.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is themed in tribal African decor and has 30 species of African wildlife around the property. You might catch a glimpse of zebras, giraffes, gazelles, kudu, and flamingo. If you book a Savannah Room, you can watch these beautiful creatures from your room.

Yes, you can really see giraffes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. (Photo by legenda/Shutterstock)

An impressive 8,000+ reviewers on TripAdvisor have given this hotel an average of 4.5 stars. Folks mention the number of recreation activities for kids and the animals as favorite features. You’ll also have access to all the Disney Resort Hotel Benefits such as FastPass+ and free transportation, which helps justify the higher room cost.

Like Disney’s Beach Club Resort, this hotel doesn’t work with any traditional hotel points programs. However, you can redeem Capital One miles from the Capital One Venture for a stay. Again, the number of miles you’ll need depends on the season.

Waldorf Astoria Orlando

For more upscale accommodations, check out the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. This hotel offers more luxury than you will find at many of the Disney Resort Hotels but is still conveniently located near Disney World. There is a complimentary luxury shuttle between the hotel and all four Disney Theme Parks, plus Disney Springs, which many reviews say is actually faster than the buses that Disney Resort Hotels runs between their hotels and the parks (usually under 10 minutes).

Instead of waterslides, you can treat yourself to golf courses and spas and still be close enough to Disney World to see the fireworks at night. The Waldorf Astoria is a secret gem for frequent Disney World travelers, with reviewers giving it 4.5 stars average among 5,500+ reviews on TripAdvisor.

You can use Hilton points for free award nights at this hotel. There is no Hilton award chart, but an award night generally costs 80,000 Hilton points, though it can dip lower depending on the time of year. An easy way to earn Hilton Honors points is with a card like the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. There is a $30 resort fee for this hotel, but Hilton doesn’t add resort fees to award stays.

Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort

The Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort is a Sheraton hotel located on Disney World grounds next to Epcot and near the Disney World Boardwalk. This is an affordable Disney Resort Hotel option that also gets you most of the Disney Resort Hotel benefits (does not include airport transfer shuttle or Disney Park parking).

Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort is a fan favorite. (Photo by VIAVAL/Shutterstock)

The Dolphin is one of the largest Disney Resort Hotels, so it can be busy. It is also closest to the Convention Center making it a popular destination for business people, not just families on vacation. With 1,200+ reviews on TripAdvisor, this hotel holds a 4-star rating. Reviewers think it offers great value and location. Epcot is only 10 minutes away with a nice walk down the boardwalk or via a complimentary bus or boat.

Even though this is a Disney Resort Hotel, the Dolphin is a Category 6 hotel on the Marriott award chart. You can use 50,000 Marriott points for a free award night. During off-peak dates you can reserve a free night for 40,000 points, and during peak dates you’ll pay up to 60,000 points per night.

There’s a ~$33 per night resort fee at this hotel, which isn’t waived on award stays. But if you use the Capital One Venture to pay your resort fee, you can erase the charge with miles and make your stay truly free.

Westin Walt Disney World Swan

Just across from the Walt Disney Dolphin Resort, you’ll find the Westin Walt Disney World Swan.

The Disney World Swan is much different than the Dolphin, much more quiet and secluded. Many reviewers prefer the quiet of the Swan, which is still in the center of Disney World. You can walk over the bridge to Disney’s Boardwalk or take strolls along the waterfront at sunset. Folks have access to the transportation options that Dolphin visitors get and the same Disney Resort Hotel benefits. These are just some of the reasons that the Disney Swan Resort has earned four-star average on TripAdvisor with 800+ reviews.

The Walt Disney World Swan is a Category 6 hotel on the Marriott award chart, so you can use Marriott points for a free night. The hotel regularly costs 50,000 points per night — but during off-peak dates you can reserve a free night for 40,000 points, and during peak dates you’ll pay up to 60,000 points per night.

The Swan also adds a ~$33 per night resort fee to all bookings, even on award stays. Again, the Capital One Venture would be a good pick to pay these fees so you can erase the cost with your miles.

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs

The Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Disney Springs recently joined the family of Official Walt Disney Hotels. This is a terrific option in Disney Springs for folks who collect Hilton points. It’s an Official Walt Disney World Hotel, so you receive Disney Resort Hotel benefits like FastPass+ and Extra Magic Hours. They even have Disney character breakfasts on Sundays.

TripAdvisor rates this hotel 4 stars with 5,300+ reviews. Guests love the new benefits and the spacious rooms. A room at the Hilton Orlando Disney Springs Hotel usually costs 50,000 points per night, but it’s possible to find it for cheaper. 

There is a $35 resort fee, but Hilton doesn’t charge these on award stays.

Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort

When you stay at the Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort, you are staying in more than a hotel. These suites and villas are the size of apartments. There are options for one- to three-bedroom units, with plenty of room to spread out after a long day at the parks. And they have full living rooms, kitchens and even a washer/dryer.

Jasmin and her family stayed here a few years ago and the kids thoroughly enjoyed all the water activities. Plus, they saved a ton of cash by cooking meals in their two-bedroom villa which slept up to eight people. You may, however, get pressured into attending a timeshare presentation depending on how long you stay.

Happiness Is a choice of seven pools with waterslides, a lazy river and plenty of space to be a kid. (Photo by Jasmin Baron/Million Mile Secrets)

You’ll love the eight different restaurants/dining options, seven pools including water slides and a lazy river, four golf courses, three arcades, three fitness centers, two mini-golf courses, and daily activities in the kids center. With over 7,900+ TripAdvisor reviews, this hotel maintains a solid four-star rating.

This a free night costs 40,000 IHG points per night. With the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card, you can earn enough for two free nights in no time. There’s an ~$8 per night resort fee at this hotel.

Hyatt Place Orlando / Lake Buena Vista

For price and accommodations, you will be hard-pressed to beat the Hyatt Place Orlando / Lake Buena Vista. This hotel is less than a mile away from Disney World and offers a free shuttle to the Disney Theme Parks. The standard room includes two beds and a sofa sleeper in a 425-square-foot room, a comfortable arrangement for a family with kids. In addition, breakfast is complimentary for all guests who book directly with Hyatt (including award stays), so you’ll save even more. On TripAdvisor, over 1,000 reviewers have given it an average of 4.5 stars. Guests mention the newly updated interior and modern finishes, along with an unbeatable price.

This hotel is a Category 3 on the Hyatt award chart. You can stay here for just 12,000 Hyatt points per night, making it one of the absolute best deals on this list. If you can find the hotel during off-peak dates, you’ll pay just 9,000 points. During peak dates, the hotel costs 15,000 points. Read our Hyatt points review for more details.

If you plan to spend every waking moment at the parks and just need a place to sleep comfortably each night, the Hyatt Place might be perfect for you. To earn enough Hyatt points for several free nights at this hotel, check out the World of Hyatt Credit Card.

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is less than a mile from Walt Disney World. It is close enough to the park and offers such an amazing array of benefits that Walt Disney World has designated it one of its Great Neighbor Hotels. The stunning 1,500 acres surrounding the hotel include a private lake and a 45-hole golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus.

There’s complimentary shuttle service to and from Disney World Theme Parks. This hotel is also pet-friendly, which was a big plus among many of 7,000+ reviews on TripAdvisor where it’s rated an average of 4.5 stars. Reviewers also love the activities this hotel offers, such as mini-golf, rock climbing, rope bridges, water slides, and watercraft rentals.

This hotel costs just 12,000 Hyatt points for an award night (9,000 points for off-peak dates, 15,000 points for peak dates). Don’t forget, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio. A great way to earn a bunch of Chase Ultimate Rewards points is with the Chase Ink Business Preferred Card. Once you have enough Chase Ultimate Rewards points, simply transfer them to Hyatt for a free stay.

Although there’s a ~$39 per night resort fee here, you won’t pay it because Hyatt doesn’t add resort fees to award nights.

Airbnb vacation rentals

If you are traveling with a large family or group, you might be sticker-shocked trying to rent three or four rooms for your whole party. Instead, consider a vacation home on Airbnb.

There are plenty of Airbnb properties around Disney World. Many of these homes are rented specifically with Disney World visitors in mind. For example, here is a seven-bedroom/4.5-bath home that holds 15 guests and rents for ~$300 per night. Many of the bedrooms are even themed to popular movies like Frozen, Harry Potter, and Avengers, great for kids. Parents will be pleased with a large kitchen, private bedrooms and extra space.

While Airbnb doesn’t accept hotel points, folks with the Capital One Venture card can redeem Capital One miles to erase purchases from Airbnb. Because Capital One miles value is one cent each, a night at the sample vacation home above would cost ~30,000 Capital One miles per night. Check out our post on the best ways to use Capital One miles for more details.

Bottom line

You can stay at Disney World for free using points from the best credit cards for travel at any of these incredible hotels:

Don’t forget that many of these hotels even offer benefits of Disney Resort Hotels like FastPass+ and Extra Magic Hours, which are included even when using points. Most of these locations don’t charge resort fees on award stays, but for the few that do, consider using your Capital One Venture card and erasing the charge with miles to make your stay complete free.

Where do you redeem miles and points for free stays at Walt Disney World?  Please share in the comments! And subscribe to our newsletter for more tips and tricks for popular destinations.

Alex Curtis is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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