The end of the school year is upon our household, and that can only mean one thing…SUMMER!!!  When I think of summer here in the middle of the country, I immediately start sweating.  With temperatures in triple digits almost every day the last few summers, we spend a lot of time in our pool. However, no matter what time of year we visit Walt Disney World, the first thing the kids do is change into their suits and head out to the resort pool. Here are our three favorites.

3. Nanea Volcano Pool at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

This may be one of the smaller pools on property, but we LOVE it!  Yes, it’s at our Disney “home,” but that’s not the only reason it makes our top three.  The proximity to Captain Cook’s is great for when we want to grab a Dole Whip and lounge.  The beach is just a few steps from the pool, and the cabana rentals are a nice touch, too.  Then there’s the awesome volcano slide that is much more than just a cool looking thematic element.  Our favorite feature of this pool, though, is the view.  You’re directly across from the Magic Kingdom and can see Cinderella Castle and, more importantly, the fireworks!  How great is it to be able to catch the Magic Kingdom fireworks while floating around a volcano pool?!

ŸGet Pool Wise: If someone is not sitting with your items while you’re swimming, consider using a waterproof case to store your cash, ID and room key.  I’ve often seen items moved from unoccupied loungers, and, even at Disney, tourists are a target for criminal activity.

2. The Big Blue Pool at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

The newest addition to the Walt Disney World Resort family is Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.  Offering three sections of family suites with indoor corridors and one section of standard rooms, this resort has something for everyone.  With three themed pools, there’s no shortage of water fun here.  Our favorite, though, is the Big Blue Pool just off of Animation Hall.  Remember to bring your hotel key because the area is gated and requires the key for entry.  This pool is huge!!  We never felt crowded like you can in some of the smaller resort pools.  With plenty of seating, a pool side bar and mug refill station, we were good to go for an afternoon at the resort.  Near the pool is also a great Nemo-themed sprayground full of colorful characters.  Don’t forget to dunk yourself underwater because you’ll be able to hear music and maybe even a conversation between some of your favorite characters from Finding Nemo.

This is a HUGE pool.

ŸGet Pool Wise: The laundry facilities are located in the gated pool area.  If you’re doing laundry on vacation, you might consider throwing it in and enjoying the sun in the seating area just outside the doors.  If you’re comfortable leaving your items unattended, the entrance to the laundry room is within clear view of the pool.

1. Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club

The number one slot, not surprisingly, goes to Stormalong Bay.  This is more than just a pool, it’s like a mini water park!  With its sand bottom, whirlpool, sand bar, lazy river, Flying Jib slide, smaller slide for little ones and, my favorite, the sinking sands, there’s enough here to keep you busy all day!  Stormalong Bay also offers several hot tubs for those aching muscles after a day in the parks.  The complex does require resort ID as armbands are issued to those staying at the resort to cut down on “pool-hopping.”  Also in the area is a pool-side quick service restaurant, an ice cream parlor and a pool gift shop.  Aside from location, this pool area is one of the biggest draws for our family to stay at the Beach Club!

ŸGet Pool Wise: Life vests are available at all Disney resort pools for guest use free of charge.

So, those are our family’s top three pools at Walt Disney World.  And now I’m wishing I was floating along the lazy river at Stormalong Bay.  What are your favorite Disney World resort pools?

  • jcruise86

    THANK YOU, Jessica! Your enthusiastic writing became my enthusiasm to travel to WDW.

    I’d like to read articles about your 3 favorite restaurants
    at each PARK too. Like your pool article–a top 3 would be enough.

    And maybe your 3 or 5 favorite resort restaurants across all of WDW’s RESORTS too.

    There are enough comprehensive reviews just a Google away–I’d like to instead to read your shorter, spirited & eloquent reviews.

    • I love a good list! Keep your eyes on Park Wise over the summer for lots of them!

  • StevenW

    I advise women to leave their purses in the hotel safe when going to the pool. Take your room key and that’s all. Take advantage of room charging. Or bring all your snacks and avoid the exorbitant hotel food charges.

    I hate people who save seats and don’t use them. I have nothing against moving items. Thus, if you’re caught in a situation where you’re not using your seat and just want a place to keep your towels, then just put all your stuff in one lounge chair. My family uses the pool. We don’t sunbathe.

    • I agree, I’m annoyed when I see an entire line of chairs covered in people’s stuff, especially over a few hours.

  • Kadiem

    As lovely as most of the Disney pools are, to me they are overall quite disappointing. When you’re 6’4″, and most of the pools are only 3 or 4 feet deep, it leaves a lot to be desired. (It’s tough to be a ‘freak’!)

    I seem to recall one of the quiet pools at the Polynesian that was 8 ft. deep. Enjoyed that trip immensely!

    • I can understand that. I’m about five inches shorter than you, and I’ve always got my knees bent to keep cool under water.

      I do know that the Polynesian quiet pool was recently refurbed, and they lost the deep end. I enjoyed that, too. Was a little bummed they got rid of it. There are some 8 foot areas along the lazy river at Stormalong Bay.

  • Big D

    Because I personally don’t have kids, I love the pool at the Swan & Dolphin. It seems like there are never a lot of families with kids that stay there, yet it’s an awesome pool with nice cabanas for rent, and drink service for the beach chairs. I’ve always found the staff at the Swan & Dolphin to be considerably better then the staff at a WDW hotel, which I’m sorry to say I’ve always found to be pretty poor. Price-wise, it’s usually the same or a little cheaper then the Yacht & Beach Club and Polynesian, so for me it’s absolutely perfect.

    • I was impressed by the size of the swim complex and the Swolphin. I stayed there on a solo trip and spent about an hour at the pool after a spa morning. It’s a great area!

  • Another of the great pools is the one at Coronado Springs. It has a huge Mayan pyramid with a slide and is plenty big to handle the rare crowds it gets.

    Boardwalk also has a great theme pool.

    Though, I prefer the quite pools at all of the resorts and usually avoid the more crowded theme pools.

    • The little Disney geek had a great time at the creepy clown pool (Boardwalk)! I love the theming around that pool, as well as Coronado Springs.

  • pixie chick

    Our favorites are the pool at Kidani Village (Animal Kingdom Villas) and the pool at Wilderness Lodge. We want to stay at the Yacht & Beach Club on our next visit so we can try Stormalong Bay. Pool time is a huge part of our vacations.

    I agree with those who voiced concern about people saving tons of chairs, especially for kids who most likely will never use them. We had such a hard time finding even a single chair at Boardwalk on our last visit. A little consideration could go a long way.

    • Both great pools!! If you’re pool people, you can’t go wrong with Stormalong Bay!