Disney World offers more than 25 different resort and hotel locations around its property. To match varying budgets of vacationers, these options are divided into Disney value resorts, Disney moderate resorts, and Disney deluxe resorts.
Price is the obvious distinction between the three levels, value typically falling between $100-$200/per night, moderate between $200-$300/per night, and deluxe being $300+/per night. The three levels also differ in design and amenities.
Summary of Differences Between Resort Levels
Disney Value Resorts: decor to entertain the kids, two double beds in a standard room, motel-style entrances and balconies, kid-themed pools, food court dining options, transportation to the parks via bus, which leave every 10-20 minutes.
Disney Moderate Resorts: decor with a taste of luxury, grounds are less centralized meaning it could take you longer to get from the lobby to your room, offers queen and king beds with the option to fit 5 to a room, front doors and balconies open to the outdoors similar to the value resorts, pools include water slides, food court style and table service dining options, bus transportation to the parks with the exception of Port Orleans offering a water taxi to Disney Springs and Fort Wilderness offering a boat to the Magic Kingdom.
Disney Deluxe Resorts: meticulous decor specialized to the theme of the resort, offers queen and king beds along with pull outs to fit families of 5+, access to rooms from the inside of the hotel while still including a private balcony, extravagant pools and slides for families as well as quiet pools near the outdoor bar for adults, options of food court dining, fine dining, and character dining, extra amenities like gyms, salons and stores, quicker and more efficient transportation services to the parks.
Best Disney Moderate Resorts
Disney moderate resorts are a great option for vacationers looking for some relaxation and extra comfort during what’s bound to be a fun-filled and on-the-go stay. The top five moderate resorts are Port Orleans – Riverside, Caribbean Beach, Port Orleans – French Quarter, Coronado Springs, and The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness. Learn more about each resort below.
#1 Port Orleans – Riverside
Port Orleans – Riverside takes the cake when it comes to elegant themes among the moderate resorts. Designed as a step above the others, Riverside is laid upon a lot of land with perfectly manicured walkways lining the river and spread out architecture modeling old homes of rural Louisiana plantations. Divided into two equally beautiful sections of alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend, a simple walk around the grounds is a sight to see.
Guests agree that the dining options at Riverside are better than those at other moderate hotels with the Riverside Mill food court and Boatwright’s Dining hall, a low key table service venue featuring jambalaya, shrimp and grits, barbecued ribs and other southern delights.
Riverside guest rooms are updated and clean. While they’re pretty basic when it comes to decor and definitely smaller than what you’d find at a deluxe resort, they get the job done. With choices of standard rooms that include two queen beds or other sleeping options, pool views, garden views, and river views, the prices range from about $215/night through $290/night, depending on the time of year. The pools are also a cut above with Muddy Rivers pool bar opening back in 2015 with poolside servers working nearly all day.
Because the resort is so large, the Disney buses stop at multiple stops within the Riverside resort. It’s important to understand the distinction between the different stops as the one outside the main building is usually the last stop before the theme parks, however not every small station within the resort will travel to each park. The bus stops are equipped with a digital screen letting you know when the next bus is coming and where it’s headed, but know before you go as to not waste your time.
What Riverside has that others don’t is a water taxi that will take you directly into Disney Springs. So, aside from the slight inconvenience of having multiple bus stations, Port Orleans – Riverside is clean, fun, and worth its price tag.
#2 Carribean Beach
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is number two on the list because of it’s quality amenities, low price point, and most importantly it’s access to Disney’s Skyliner Transportation. Up until recently, Disney transportation was limited to monorail (which only serviced three deluxe hotels and the ticket and transportation center), boats found within resorts that sat on the lagoon, and buses that made pit stops at all Disney resorts and parks. The skyliner is a new gondola system hovers above the traditional means of movement. Caribbean Beach is one of four resorts that have access to the new experience. You can travel from Caribbean Beach to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios via the skyliner. Find the map here.
Aside from its convenience, Caribbean Beach encompasses one of the most relaxing themes within the moderate resorts. As noted in the name, the resort celebrates the Caribbean, more specifically 5 islands including Barbados, Jamaica, Martinique, Trinidad and Aruba. Those islands depict the 5 entire villages within the resort, making it necessary for an internal shuttle. You must make sure to factor in the time it’ll take you to get from your room to the lobby if necessary.
The outer architecture is definitely more impressive than the rooms themselves. The theme dies off once you enter your space, but it does the job nonetheless. Queen beds are the norm at Caribbean Beach, with options for a single king bed, or the addition of child-size pull-outs, which are perfect for a family of five. Depending on the view and time of year, these room rates vary from $299 to $375 per night.
Caribbean Beach also offers pirate-themed rooms, an attractive extra for the kids. For an addition $50 per night and being located in the most southern village of the resort, the cute headboards are not worth it. That money will go much further for the kids if you use it on a character breakfast or pirate makeover in the park.
Each village does have it’s own pool, so overcrowding on the hottest of days shouldn’t be a worry. Dining options are also far from scarce with Sebastian’s Bistro, a casual sit-down spot, the Centertown Market, for authentic quick-service meals, the Spyglass Grill for Caribbean cuisine, and the Banana Cabana, a tropical bar and lounge open until 11 pm.
Overall, Caribbean Beach Resort is a wonderful option for a moderately priced hotel.
#3 Port Orleans – French Quarter
Port Orleans – French Quarter, while in close proximity to Port Orleans – Riverside has a completely different vibe to the resort. Both set in the same era and general location, French Quarter encompasses downtown New Orleans with its cobblestone streets, gas lamps, iron balconies, and Mardi Gras colors. The rooms mirror those lining Bourbon Street in the famous city, and you can hear jazz being played as you would in genuine Nola. The lobby at Port Orleans is gorgeous, and the greeters are a notch above.
Slightly smaller than Riverside, and definitely smaller than Caribbean Beach, Port Orleans – French Quarter has just one Mardi Gras-themed pool and hot tub where Mardi Grogs pool bar sits close by. The pool is somewhat kiddie, so less relaxing for the adult parties out there, but kept pristine nonetheless.
The dining at Port Orleans – French Quarter is by no means fancy, but oh man is it good. There is no full service option, leaving Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory to be the only place to grab a fresh breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Though the quick service spot is somewhat of a chaotic dining hall, the cuisine is uniquely cajun/creole and tastes homemade.
For breakfast, choose from homemade pancakes, eggs and gravy, or the truly delicious house-smoked ham, american cheese, scrambled eggs and barbecue-mayonnaise on a whole grain croissant.
Lunch and dinner is even more authentic with choices like gumbo, beignet cheeseburgers, and shrimp po-boys. Even if you choose to dine out, make sure to stop in for dessert the beignets and pecan pralines are out of this world. There’s also a full bar in the main building called the Scat Cat’s Club, which serves Southern cocktails and other craft drinks.
The average room rate at Port Orleans – French Quarter is $292 per night depending on the view and bed choice. The transportation options at the French Quarter is limited to boat and bus, but only goes to the Disney parks via bus. Riverside resort is just a stone’s throw away and is connected by a walking path, making it easy to get to Disney Springs for shopping and dinner.
#4 Coronado Springs Resort
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort takes on a blend of themes with hints of Spanish, Mexican, and Southwest American cultures. This resort is hard to rate because of its upscale vibe, yet inconvenient location when it comes to accessing the parks.
Many guests think of the hotel as outdated and off the path, but Imagineers have been taking steps to improve Coronado Springs with a few enhancements. These include the brand new beautiful entryway lobby and Villa del Lago, a central hub where guests can come to relax by the fire pit or dine at the new Three Bridges Bar & Grill restaurant. While they’re not new to guests, other dining options like it’s upscale rooftop restaurant, Toledo, brings in guests from other hotels regularly. Dahlia Lounge and Barcelona Lounge can also be found in Coronado Springs, two awesome bars to relax after a long day in the parks.
One impressive amenity at Coronado Springs is it’s hot tub, the largest in all of Disney World. It’s also home to an arcade, playground, outdoor sand volleyball court, and three leisure pools. However, a major downside is that it’s only mode of transportation to the parks is via bus. The resort is situated closer to Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, so while busses do run really efficiently in Disney World as a whole, it can take extra time to get to the Magic Kingdom or Epcot.
The most basic of rooms at Coronado Springs can start at $180 (depending on time of year), but the resort also offers upscale suites that can run you over $1,000 per night. The standards rooms don’t over-do the Spanish theme and tend to look more like your usual hotel off Disney World property.
Overall, there’s plenty to do at Coronado Springs for those of all ages, but it’s easy to feel removed from Disney World while staying here.
#5 The Cabins at Fort Wilderness
The Cabins at Fort Wilderness are not for every Disney-goer. While they are kept up well and are scattered upon 750 acres of beautiful pine and cypress forest, you’re missing out on the “hotel” part of vacation. Some of the amenities, like the pools and whirlpool spa, bring that luxury feel back, it’s mostly a glamping experience if you will.
There’s plenty to do while on the resort. Archery, pony rides, wagon rides, boat rentals, fishing, canoes, campfire sing-a-longs, and so much more are all part of the Disney camping experience.
There are a considerable amount of dining options including Crockett’s Tavern, The Chuck Wagon, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical revue, and P&J’s Southern Takeout. Trail’s End Restaurant is the old west and deep south buffet offering, which you can’t pass up if you’re a guest.
As for transportation, to get to the parks you have to travel via bus, which stops at the resort regularly.
While it’s a wonderful option for those that love the outdoors, it can take away from the Disney World experience because there’s simply so much to do on the resort!
The cabins average $365 per night, but fit up to 6 adults.
That’s All Five Disney Moderate Resorts!
If you didn’t know much about Disney’s moderate resort hotels, you do now! They vary pretty wildly, so it’s good to read up on each resort before you book. Each one is good value in its own way, so it all depends on your personal preference.
What’s your favorite Disney moderate resort? Let us know in the comments below.
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