Multigenerational travel: My 5 fantasy vacations at Walt Disney World resorts

Grandparents treating grandchildren. Parents inviting their parents. Mother/daughter, father/son trips together as adults — no youngsters allowed.

Multigenerational travel is the way to go for baby boomers and beyond. In fact, about 36 percent of families are planning such a trip for and with their beloveds in the next 12 months.

I recently had my first taste of multigenerational travel when Disney invited me for a Disney Grand Adventure to Walt Disney World, and my daughter and two of her sons (my grandsons!) joined me for the fun. It was indeed fun. And fabulous. And memorable. And it led me to consider other multigenerational vacations I'd be delighted to pursue.

walt disney world resorts

I had the grand opportunity to tour several Walt Disney World resorts on my Disney Grand Adventure. So, naturally, when considering future trips with various generations of my family — all of which would have a different feel and outcome based on who may be on the guest list — I imagined how perfectly different resorts would suit leisure time with different loved ones.

My resort choices for five different multigen vacays (Descriptions courtesy Disney; photos courtesy my #DisneyGrandAdventure resort tour):

GRANDPARENTS AND GRANDCHILDREN

If my husband and I were to take our grandsons to Walt Disney World — no parents allowed — Disney's Art of Animation Resort would perfectly fill the bill.

Each of four distinctly designed wings celebrates rich storytelling, spirited characters, original sketches and playfulness with colorful icons and whimsical theming inspired by classic Disney and Disney•Pixar films. The three story, value resort opened in May 2012. Three family suite wings showcase “Finding Nemo” with 320 suites, “Cars” with 480 suites, and “The Lion King” with 320 suites. All the themed areas offer elaborate storytelling both inside and out, from each beloved film depicted. Standard guest rooms make up “The Little Mermaid” wing, the final phase that opened Sept. 15 with 864 rooms.

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, situated adjacent to Disney’s Pop Century Resort, offers rates for family suites from $248 per night. The 1,120 family suites include two bathrooms, a kitchenette and three separate sleeping areas that can sleep up to six. The 864 standard rooms at The Little Mermaid can sleep up to four, with rates as low as $94.

 

MOTHER/DAUGHTER GIRL TIME

My three daughters are three of my favorite people in the world. We've never had time dedicated exclusively to girl time together as adults. The currently under renovation Disney's Polynesian Resort — the Bora Bora Bungalows, in particular — provides all we gals would need for relaxing, reveling (regularly, at Sam's Grog Grotto!), and enjoying our far-too-rare time together.

Overlooking Seven Seas Lagoon, the 20 Disney Vacation Club Bungalows are the first of this type of accommodation at Walt Disney World Resort. Each sleep up to eight guests, and feature a full kitchen, two bedrooms and even a plunge pool where Disney Vacation Club Members and guests can enjoy views of fireworks over Magic Kingdom and Seven Seas Lagoon. This resort also is the first to have connecting Deluxe Studios (located in longhouses) that sleep up to five guests each, as well as kitchenettes and enhanced storage space for convenience and comfort.

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto welcomes explorers to a mystical and tropical oasis featuring a lounge area with exotic cocktails served in souvenir mugs, paired with Polynesia-inspired small plates. Other changes greeting Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort guests: the recently opened Pineapple Lanai kiosk, serving the world-famous Dole Whip soft serve and floats, and a new location for Capt. Cook’s quick-service restaurant.

 

GRANDPARENTS, PARENTS, CHILDREN

The entire family! All of us — those with kids and those without. Such a group would have diverse desires on how to best enjoy time at Walt Disney World, and Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort would cover all those bases.

Disney’s 2,112-room Caribbean Beach Resort gives Walt Disney World guests an island vacation experience in moderately priced accommodations. Located on 200 lushly landscaped acres near Epcot, the tropically themed, brightly colored resort’s “island” villages surround a beautiful 42-acre tropical lake. Five villages, made up of clusters of two-story buildings, are themed in Caribbean styles — Trinidad, Martinique, Barbados, Aruba, Jamaica — that blend cool pastel walls, white-wood railings and vividly colored metal roofs. Each building contains 64 guestrooms. A typical 314-square-foot room has two double beds and accommodates four. Guestrooms include mini bars and coffee makers. Individual villages have their own swimming pools, white-sand beaches and laundry facilities.

 

PARENTS AND KIDS — ADULTS ONLY

I love my grandchildren dearly, but how fun a weekend reconnecting with my adult children and their spouses would be. Disney's BoardWalk Villas (and the BoardWalk Inn) would be my choice for grown-up fun with grown-up kiddos. I imagine each couple could have their own little home away from home situated in the elegant Boardwalk Villa neighborhood. (Or those in the family who want to load up on luxury to the nth degree can book a suite at the glorious Boardwalk Inn.)

The charm and flavor of the 1930s mid-Atlantic coast is recaptured at Disney’s BoardWalk. Nestled on Crescent Lake adjacent to Epcot, this waterfront village includes an array of dining, entertainment and shopping experiences; meeting facilities; Disney’s BoardWalk Inn deluxe hotel; and Disney’s BoardWalk Villas (part of Disney Vacation Club), featuring studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom villas offering a variety of amenities.

 

MY HUBBY AND ME

Okay, admittedly this one's not multigenerational as my husband isn't from a different generation (seemingly another planet, at times, but not another generation). I would love to share with him Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa — the charming resort my daughter, grandsons, and I so enjoyed on our Disney Grand Adventure.

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, a Disney Vacation Club ownership resort, is modeled after the grand hotels found during the late 1800s heyday of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., America’s first vacation destination. True to its namesake, the resort features Victorian-inspired accommodations interwoven with the historic influence of horse racing. Also featured is Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, a full-service spa and health club.

 

With 25 themed Disney-owned-and-operated resorts on the more than 40-square-mile Walt Disney World property, there are clearly many, many more options for lodging during a multigenerational visit — or any visit — to the Magic Kingdom, all of which you can learn about here. For me, though, the five above are my favorite as far as fantasy fun with my family might be imagined.

I'm wishing upon a star — and Disney magic — that one day at least a few of those fantasies really do come true.

Today's question:

What sort of multigenerational vacation would you be delighted to plan — or already are?