Last year we wanted to do a low-key Disney trip; be in the area but save a bunch of money by staying at a non-Disney owned resort. At the time, there was a great deal for the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, which is right around the corner from Disney Springs. It’s a little bit more expensive than the Hotel Plaza Blvd hotels but less than the true Disney resorts.
For comparison, a standard room at the Hyatt costs about $129 per night, while a value Disney resort like All-Star Movies averages to be about $155 per night. The resort fee here is $38 per night.
The pool area is the main selling point. It’s an impressive 800,000-gallon pool with caves you can swim through, waterfalls that splash down on you, a rope bridge to walk across, hot tubs, a waterslide, and a splash pad type area for little kids. The pool is open daily, from 7:00 am to midnight. It looks awesome at night, the way it’s all lit up. Surrounding the pool area, there’s a rock-climbing wall, a sandy lakefront beach with hammocks, lounge chairs, and umbrellas. There’s a volleyball net, a putt-putt golf course, a fire pit where you can roast smores at night, you can kayak around the lake, you can bike around the perimeter of the lake. This is why we wanted to stay here — if you never leave the resort, there’s still plenty to do to have an enjoyable vacation.
We had a 12th-floor room with double beds and a lakeside view. Plenty of room for our family of four, and by comparison, we’ve felt a little cramped in the value resort rooms. Lots of electrical outlets and USB ports. It’s a nice room.
For food, there’s a place called “Market” for convenience store items, pre-made salads and sandwiches, coffee, cereal, and that kind of stuff. We ate once at the On the Rocks Poolside Restaurant and it was fine. It took us a long time for us to get our order, and it was typical bar food. But it was fine. There are some fancier sit down restaurants that we didn’t visit: Hemingway’s, LakeHouse, the Trellises Lounge. What we did do is walk to the Qdoba a few feet from the resort entrance. There’s also a Subway and an IHOP in that plaza.
While the resort provides shuttle transportation to all of the theme parks and Disney Springs, those only run at a few specific times, which didn’t align with when we wanted to go. The shuttles to Disney Springs depart at 4 pm, 6 pm, and 8 pm, and return at 6:30 pm, 8:30 pm, and 10 pm. If you want to go at any other time, you’re on your own for transportation. Rather than spending $15-$25 each way for a 2-mile cab ride, we decided to walk to Disney Springs. If you are comfortable walking about two miles in the Florida heat, it’s very doable. There’s sidewalk the entire way, and even though there’s signs saying, “beware of snakes and alligators,” there was never a time that I felt unsafe. It took us about 45 minutes at a normal pace.
We bought discounted one-day park-hopper passes at the concierge station, and since we wanted to be at our first park before it opened, we had to take a cab, because the resort shuttle wouldn’t have gotten us there in time. Something to consider if you want to get there in time to rope-drop.
Because this isn’t an official Disney partner hotel, you don’t get the added benefits of extra magic hours or selecting your FastPasses 60 days ahead of time instead of the normal 30. You won’t see Disney characters plastered all over the place, and restaurants don’t participate in the Disney dining plan. You’re just outside of the Disney bubble, and it doesn’t have the same magical feeling you get when staying completely on Disney property, which makes for a great, memorable trip that I hope every family gets to experience at least once. But if you want a clean, upscale feeling resort just on the edge of the Walt Disney World resort that’s a little bit less expensive, then the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is a great value for your money.