There are a number of resorts at Walt Disney World resort, including some that are a great value for families (like Disney’s Pop Century) and some that are a big splurge (Disney’s Grand Floridian). It can be a little challenging to choose the right resort hotel because while you won’t spend too much time in the room, there are so many fun places that you’ll want to stay in.
Maintaining your budget is important, however, because it’s you’ll want to save money for park tickets, meals, and souvenirs. Staying at a Disney moderate resort can definitely be a great combination of price and amenities, but they can sometimes be overlooked in favor of a deluxe or value resort. Here’s what you need to know about Disney moderate resorts at Disney World. Have you ever stayed at one?
Through press trips, Disney Parks Moms Panel trips, and Disney Social Media Moms, I’ve stayed at some Disney resorts (moderate included) at no cost or discounted cost. I’ve also paid full price for many stays. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. A purchase/click through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us.
When booking your Walt Disney World vacation, consider purchasing through our affiliate Get Away Today. They offer great prices on tickets and can book many hotels.
All About Disney Moderate Resorts: What is the Best Moderate Disney Resort?
What is a Disney Moderate Resort?
Disney offers three categories of rooms – deluxe, moderate, and value. These three resort categories share the same benefits of staying on property at Walt Disney World but have varying amenities, themes, and room styles. While deluxe resorts are luxury resorts and value resorts are the most budget-friendly, moderate resorts can be a good combination of both if you want to save money and have some better amenities.
In general, you’ll find that the moderates have everything you need for a comfortable family vacation, including gift shops, restaurants (dining options include both food courts and table service restaurants), main pools, quiet pools, and other fun amenities and activities.
Rooms at Disney Moderate Resorts (Excluding the Cabins at Fort Wilderness)
Rooms at Disney moderate resorts generally are a bit larger than value hotel rooms, but smaller than deluxe rooms. There’s typically a small table or desk, a larger bureau with drawers and a small refrigerator, two beds, and a nightstand. You’ll also find a double sink, a safe, and a closet rod in a small area right in front of the bathroom.
There are usually sliding doors that separate that area from the sleeping area, for a little bit of privacy. I like having this small section separate from the toilet/shower so that two people can get ready at the same time.
Rooms are accessible through an exterior door and generally don’t have decks, balconies, or patios. Adjoining rooms may be available, by request. While the rooms aren’t huge, they definitely have what you’ll need for a fun and relaxing hotel stay. Keep in mind, however, that rooms may vary, even within one single resort.
The Cabins at Fort Wilderness are also considered a moderate resort, however, the configuration of the cabins is different from the other moderate resorts. The cabins sleep six and offer a patio, grill, kitchen, microwave, and more. They are a great option for larger families since they accommodate more guests than the regular moderate resort.
Amenities at Disney Moderate Resorts
In-room amenities include a hairdryer, refrigerator, coffee maker, and safe. They include a selection of H2O+ toiletries, including shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and facial soap.
Outside of the room, you’ll find food courts, restaurants, and bars. Coronado Springs, as a convention hotel, has a huge selection of food options, although you are likely to spend most of your time at the parks.
Each of the moderate hotels has at least one pool with a water slide and kiddie pool, as well as a small playground. The moderate resorts also offer activities including outdoor movies, surrey bike rentals, and poolside fun. These can be fun, lively resorts, with lots going on.
Current Disney Moderate Resorts
Walt Disney World currently has five moderate resorts (four if you combine the two Port Orleans areas):
Port Orleans (Riverside and French Quarter sections)
Port Orleans is two resorts in one. There are two sections, Riverside is themed after the countryside of Louisiana. Within that resort, there are two areas, Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend (which look like large mansions).
The Riverside section of the resort offers a large pool called Ol’ Man Island. This pool area is 3.5 acres and includes a 95-foot-long water slide. There are also five additional pools that are quieter. Riverside has a food court as well as a table service restaurant. There are other amenities, including an arcade, surrey bike rentals, catch-and-release fishing, and movies by the pool.
The Port Orleans Resort French Quarter side also has a pool area called Doubloon Lagoon, along with a 51-foot-long sea serpent slide and water play area. There’s also a food court, arcade, and playground.
There are several room types available at Port Orleans, including some rooms that can accommodate up to 5 people. There are also Royal Guest rooms available, which could be a special experience for families with little ones.
I love Disney’s Port Orleans resort. When my kids were younger, we preferred the French Quarter side, because it’s smaller and less intimidating. Now that they are older, I like the activities and energy of the Riverside section. Guests of the two resorts can use the amenities at either resort, making it a great place to stay for lots of things to do.
Coronado Springs Resort
As a conference hotel, Coronado Springs Resort is definitely a large resort. It recently underwent a renovation that made it even larger. Because there is a conference facility, it includes lots of amenities to appeal to that population.
At Coronado Springs, you’ll find a delicious food court called El Mercado de Coronado, which also has a coffee bar. The resort also has the Maya Grill, Three Bridges, Toleda, Cafe Rix, Siestas Cantina, and the Laguna Bar.
There’s a great pool area in the center of the property. Called the Dig Site, this pool area is a full recreational area with a small playground, volleyball net, arcade, sandbox, a kiddie pool, and a huge jacuzzi in addition to the large pool with a waterslide. If you are looking for something that is more quiet, there are three smaller pools located around the resort.
I really like Coronado Springs, but it may feel a little less exciting for the youngest kids, because of the convention center. The Dig Site is lots of fun though, and because so many guests are at conventions or the day, it can be quieter during the day than the pools at the other moderate resorts. I wouldn’t skip booking this resort if you are traveling with kids, just because of the convention center.
Caribbean Beach Resort
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort has also undergone renovations. This beach-themed resort offers a large pirate-themed pool called the Fuentes del Morro Pool. There are also two waterslides and a 12-person jacuzzi. If you’d prefer a more quiet swimming experience, there are five leisure pools located throughout the property.
There are several food options available to guests of the resort. There’s the Island Markets, the Centertown Food Truck, the Centertown Buffet, the Centertown Bar, and the Spyglass Grill. It’s also adjacent to the new Riviera Beach Resort, so you can walk over there for additional food items.
Several years ago, I visited Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort for the first time. I was so impressed with the amenities, activities, and location of this resort. In addition, the Caribbean Beach Resort is located on the Skyliner, making it more convenient for getting to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
If you are wondering what the best moderate Disney resort is, I’d probably recommend the Caribbean Beach Resort, due to the Skyliner and great activities.
The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort
One of the most unique lodging experiences at Walt Disney World is the cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort. While this resort is typically known for camping, it does have beautiful cabins that are great for a larger family. Visiting Fort Wilderness really feels like you are out in the woods. It doesn’t at all seem like you are on the grounds of a large theme park – it’s so quiet and rustic.
Amenities at the resort include the Meadow Swimmin’ Pool, which has a corkscrew water slide. There’s also a water play area that is great for younger kids. There are also other fun activities (some of which cost an extra fee) including archery, kayak rentals, fishing, bike rentals, basketball, volleyball, pony rides, wagon rides, and movies under the stars.
Transportation from Disney Moderate Resorts to the Parks
In general, you’ll need to take a bus to any of the parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios) from the moderate resorts (Fort Wilderness does have boat transportation to the Magic Kingdom). Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is also on the Skyliner.
Port Orleans Resort Riverside and French Quarter offers boat service to Disney Springs, which can be a great evening activity once you are done with the parks for the day. You won’t need a ticket for entrance to Disney Springs. It’s a great place to walk around, shop, and grab dinner.
Frequently Asked Questions:
That really depends. They are all great, and have their own benefits. We love the food court and pool at Coronado Springs, but I prefer the theme at Port Orleans Riverside.
Port Orleans French Quarter is a great option for families with young kids, because it’s a small, quaint resort. We stayed there on our first family visit to Walt Disney World when my kids were 11 months and 2 1/2. Because it isn’t too big, it’s easy to navigate.
The Skyliner at Caribbean Beach Resort is a game-changer though, especially if your plans include Epcot and/or Hollywood Studios. That’s my top choice now for the best moderate resort.
Unfortunately, none of the moderate resorts are on the monorail. In fact, most of the Disney deluxe resorts aren’t on the monorail either. The only resorts on the monorail are the Contemporary Resort, the Polynesian Resort, and the Grand Floridian Resort.
When it comes to Disney hotel rooms, I generally think that families should consider how much time they will spend in their rooms. Some families will build in a hotel day in their plans so that they can enjoy the amenities (like the pool). Others spend every minute at the theme parks, and really just need a bed and bathroom to get ready.
I don’t find that the moderate resorts are any more convenient than the value resorts when it comes to location. But they do provide a little more room in the hotel rooms, as well as a few more amenities. If you plan to spend even a little bit of time back at your resort, then yes, a moderate resort is probably worth the extra money over a value resort.
Disney’s Coronado Springs resort offers suites – they have junior suites, one-bedroom suites, and executive suites. In addition, the Cabins at Wilderness Lodge can accommodate up to six adults with one queen bed, one bunk bed, and one double sleeper sofa. The suites are definitely more expensive than a standard room, however, so it may move the price range from affordable to more pricey.