Many guests read or hear about cabana 9b or low numbered casita buildings but not all guests will be able to get a room in those buildings or may need a room in those buildings. These are not necessarily the best locations for every guest, in fact not best for most.
For conventioneers the Casitas 1 or 3 are often the best. These are close to the convention center; but quite a distance from pools and bus stops.
For adult couples, especially honeymooners or those celebrating anniversaries Casitas 4 or 5 with a water view is exceptional. Casita 4 has the quiet pool, fitness center, spa, salon, and both are close to bus stop #2.
For “leisure guests with children” here are some great locations; Cabana 8a, 7b, 8b, 9b, Rancho 6b, cabana 9a, and rancho 6a...in that order. Nearness to El Centro is usually of no importance to many guests. It's much more important to be close to the park bus stops and the “Dig Site”. Leisure guests may come to El Centro once or twice; but they will be at the buses twice a day (at least) and the pool often when they are at the resort.
For adults or large families who wish to be close to a park bus stop and to a “quieter pool” but are not interested in the theme pool, building 7a is great and has close proximity to parking.
Building 2 also is close to parking and usually one of the quietest buildings, especially from the 4th floor. The fourth floor of building actually includes part of the upper floors of building 3 and has easy access to the convention center by way of the elevator courtyard of building 1 (especially in a rainstorm).
In other words, there is no “best location for everyone”. Each building has its own plusses and minuses. The cast members will be happy to guide you into the building that fits your needs best……..if you let them know what those needs and expectations may be.
Also, for a reality check…….when there is a large convention……not everyone is going to get a room next to the convention center. In fact, most of the rooming blocks are set up by the group having the convention long before any of the convention guests arrive…… Sometimes, there is little cast member latitude on changing those assignments.
As always, if there are special needs that must be addressed, fax the resort a week before arrival. Be sure you are faxing to the resort and not to Walt Disney Travel Company, their booking agency. The resort cast is best able to accommodate special needs. Often guests call the reservation desk with these requests and do not understand that this is not the resort; but a central reservation desk for ALL of Walt Disney World. The fax number is available by calling Walt Disney World information and asking for the front desk operations fax number.
Cabana 9b is close to bus stop 1 and the main building with a short walk to the Dig Site (main pool) over the wooden bridge (most convenient location and most preferred).
Cabana 8a is close to the Dig Site (and playground) and bus stop 4 with a short walk to the main building (closest to the pool).
Cabana 8b and 9a are in between the 2 above (9a has a quiet pool).
Ranchos 7b has a quiet pool, is close to the Dig Site and bus stop 4 with a bit longer walk to the main building. 7b is behind cabana 8a.
Casita 1 is attached to the main building and is very close to the restaurants.
Casita 3 has great courtyard and fountain views.
Casita 5 has some nice fountain and lake views and is close to the Dig Site but farther from the main building. Close to bus stop #2.