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Bask in the sun on the ebonies and ivories at Disney's All-Star Music Resort.

By Deborah Bowen

As the weather warms up, the mind and the body start to yearn for the bliss of immersion in a body of water, preferably one with some amazing features — and maybe, if you’re lucky — one with proximity to cool drinks, crispy chips and awesome fireworks at the end of the day. While South Padre Island and Daytona Beach certainly have their beachy spring break charms, you’ll find the best family vacation as you relax poolside at the Walt Disney World parks and resorts.

Disney has three levels of resorts: value, moderate and deluxe, which allow guests with a variety of budgetary requirements to customize a perfect Disney spring break vacation.  And each resort offers a heated pool that provides additional entertainment and lifeguards during regulation hours. Pool games and organized activities, dance parties and contests are integral parts of every resort pool, and you are sure to enjoy a variety of land- and water-based fun, regardless of which one you choose.

Deluxe Resorts
As you might imagine, pools at the deluxe resorts are more like mini water-parks than traditional hotel pools. At the Polynesian, for example, guests can jump into Nanea Pool and cruise down a waterslide that winds through a volcano, or hit the adjacent white sandy beach for some sports – or a lounge!  And there is nothing like savoring a delicious frosty Dole Whip from Captain Cook’s while the bright Florida sun reflects off the calm waters of the adjacent Seven Seas Lagoon.

Of the deluxe resorts, one pool stands out: Stormalong Bay, located at the Yacht Club and Beach Club resorts. This massive water complex features a huge, free-form sandy-bottom pool, with three acres of fun. Take a float on the lazy river or dare the water slide, one of the highest of the resorts. And, like the other deluxe resorts, Stormalong Bay offers a kiddie area, cordoned off from the main pool.

Moderate Resorts
Moderate resorts boast their share of fun water amenities as well. While these resorts might not offer an elevated tanning deck a la Stormalong Bay, each one offers a kid-friendly waterslide and a sizable pool area to accommodate all swimmers.

Two moderates will call your attention: Coronado Springs and Port Orleans (French Quarter). Port Orleans (French Quarter) is one of the smaller, more intimate resorts on property, boasting two-story buildings and brick walkways through the manicured grounds. The Coronado is a convention facility, so not only is it enormous, but its pool area caters to large numbers of guests.

The theme at the Coronado — aptly named Dig Site — is an archaeological excavation, somewhere in Old Mexico. Visitors become explorers in this area, discovering Spitting Statues and other hidden treasures. One fascinating feature of Dig Site, incidentally, is that nighttime ambient lighting is made to resemble the type of lighting found at a real site.

A playground and a kiddie pool tempt the little ones, while bolder swimmers immerse themselves in theMayan-themed main pool, featuring a five-story pyramid as its centerpiece. Of course there is a waterslide, and when the excitement becomes too much, there’s a quiet pool for some serious relaxing.

Port Orleans (French Quarter) welcomes guests with a cozy New Orleans flavor that calls to mind slow, lazy Southern days sipping cool drinks in the humid air. The pool, named Doubloon Lagoon, continues this metaphor by offering a twisty waterslide shaped like a Mardi Gras-style dragon. While this slide is by no means as imposing as the 123-foot tower at Coronado Springs, smaller swimmers are much less intimidated by its size and are more likely to try it out without too much resistance.

Value Resorts
At All-Star Movies, guests can choose from the Fantasia Pool (which features a Sorcerer Mickey fountain, a kiddie area and a poolside bar) or The Mighty Ducks Pool, which is shaped like a hockey rink.

The Guitar Pool at All-Star Music features an adjacent kiddie area. A squirting fountain in the center of the pool is modeled after the characters in “The Three Caballeros” and takes the place of a waterslide. A guest looking for a quieter swimming experience might appreciate the Grand Piano Pool. Neither of these pools is zero-entry.

All-Star Sports also features two pools and a wading area for kids: The Grand Slam Pool is shaped like a baseball infield, and SurfBoard Bay captures, through decor, the fun of hanging ten on some gnarly waves.

Dive through the decades at Pop Century Resort: Swim in a pool shaped like a giant bowling pin (1950s), the Hippy Dippy Pool, which features 1960’s-style fountain-flowers, and the computer-shaped pool, complete with a squishy keyboard-inspired pool deck.

Related resources

Deborah Bowen, an English professor at the University of South Florida and member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, has lived the majority of her life less than an hour from Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts.

Tagged: Disney, Family time, Hotels

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