Disney moderate resorts are a nice medium for anyone trying to figure out where to stay at Walt Disney World. A moderate resort falls in between a Disney deluxe resort and a value resort.
In this review, I’ll go over what you can expect when staying at a moderate resort compared to the other Disney Resort hotels. While you won’t get all the amenities of a deluxe, you’ll still get a lot of the same feel at a more reasonable price.
Additionally, a moderate resort is considered a step up in amenity and price from a Disney value resort. At a moderate, you’ll have a larger variety of dining and recreation options than you would at a value.
When it comes to choosing a Disney Resort, the options can become overwhelming. Understandably, you have worked hard to provide a great vacation for your family. Everyone wants to have the most amount of fun for the least amount of money when it comes to a vacation.
That’s where a Disney moderate resort comes into play. Below you’ll find a list of every moderate resort that links to specific reviews where available.
Feel free to skip to those if you are looking for specific resort information. Or continue along as we take a closer look to see if a moderate is right for your Disney vacation.
Disney Moderate Resorts List
- Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort Review
- Gran Destino Tower at Disney
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort Review
- Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort
- Port Orleans French Quarter Resort
- Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort (The Cabins)
Disney World Moderate Resorts
When it comes to theming at the moderate resorts, you won’t find much “Disney” unless you look at the details. The same goes for a deluxe resort. True Disney theming is only available at a value resort like Art of Animation Resort or Pop Century.
With that being said, the Disney moderate resorts do offer excellent theming.
For example, Coronado Springs provides a mix of Southwest American and Spanish vibes. It’s my personal preferred moderate resort. The reason I enjoy it so much is because it’s unlike most places that I have visited.
Those who have never been to the deep South will be mesmerized by a property like Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts. Both have the kind of landscapes and charm that you would find in the historic streets of New Orleans or the Bayou.
For those of you who are wanting a tropical feel at moderate pricing, you will be delighted to stay at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. This is a tremendous resort with each section named after the islands of the Caribbean.
As for Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, you can expect a campground setting. The cabins at Fort Wilderness are considered part of Disney’s moderate resorts category. This Disney World Resort is a destination within itself. From horseback riding to fishing excursions, there’s something for everyone here.
Aside from each resort having specific theming, the moderates have a few other upgrades. For instance, the feature swimming pool at each moderate resort will have a water slide. This is something specific to both moderates and deluxe resorts.
Additionally, every moderate resort has one main counter service, pool bar, table service restaurant, and lounge for dining options. This is similar to the deluxe’s. However, those hotels will have signature dining locations. The main counter service dining options at the moderates are food courts that provide various cuisines.
As far as the differences in a moderate resort room, the square footage will be slightly larger than a value. The main difference is that a Disney moderate resort will have a guest bath with a double vanity and two sinks. This is likely where the majority of that extra space comes into play.
Transportation is another aspect to consider when choosing a moderate. Normally, this category of resorts only has one form of transportation (buses) to the theme parks. However, the options have changed tremendously for one moderate resort with the new Disney Skyliner gondola system.
Caribbean Beach is home to the Skyliner’s central station. The line extends from the moderate resort to reach Pop Century and Art of Animation Resort. Guests coming from those resorts have to exit the Skyliner and re-board to visit a theme park.
If you are staying at Caribbean Beach, you’ll have the advantage of traveling via the Skyliner directly to Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This is not an option at the other moderate resorts.
Another advantage of Caribbean Beach is that it sits adjacent to Disney’s Riviera, a deluxe villa resort hotel. Being next to a deluxe adds a tremendous amount of dining options within a short, walkable distance. And they are good dining options like Primo Piatto (review) and the Breakfast a la Art at Topolino’s with characters.
Additionally, the resort has bus transportation to the other theme parks, Disney Springs, and the water parks. I have a full guide to Blizzard Beach with rides if you are considering visiting a water park.
While Disney’s Coronado Springs has a lot going for it, the only form of transportation the resort offers is the bus system. Therefore, you’ll have to wait for a bus when visiting any of the Disney destinations.
At Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter, bus service is offered to all the theme parks and water parks. In addition, guests can take a water taxi to Disney Springs. If you plan to spend a decent amount of time at Disney Springs, this might be a good resort choice.
Fort Wilderness has a resort boat service to Magic Kingdom and bus service to all other Disney theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs. Due to the vast size, most guests will have to take an internal bus around the resort to get to the main bus station.
When it comes to moderate resorts, one of the most important factors to consider is the overall property’s size. Nearly all of the moderates are massive in size and layout. Depending on your room assignment, a fair amount of walking might be involved coming and going from the resort.
Due to the size of these different resorts, an internal bus system is available. The only exception is Port Orleans French Quarter. That resort is more boutique in layout and has only one bus stop outside the front entrance.
If you are looking for a moderate resort that doesn’t require much walking, consider staying at Gran Destino Tower, which is part of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. The tower is similar to a hotel where the rooms are on different levels with interior access.
This brings us to another point about the moderates. Each resort is spread out into villages, and a moderate resort room will have exterior access. Furthermore, if you are considering a stay at Caribbean Beach, be aware that their buildings do not have elevators to access the second floors. While I wouldn’t let that keep me from staying there, I would request a room on the first floor.
Which is the Best Disney Moderate Resort?
While I know that many of you want to know which moderate resort is the best at Walt Disney World, I have to be upfront. It’s a subjective question. By that, I mean it’s truly what kind of experience you want to have.
With that being said the following two would be my top picks for best Disney moderates.
First, I prefer Coronado Springs or Gran Destino Tower when it comes to moderates because I love the resort’s landscape. Their pool area (The Dig Site) is amazing as well. It’s themed like a Mayan pyramid and has a Jaguar waterslide slide. We are pool people, so that’s a factor that always gets weighed in the equation for us.
Next, the restaurants at Coronado Springs are great! The resort has El Mercado, a food court that has a ton of variety when it comes to food offerings. And don’t get me started on Siestas out by the pool. I get their fish tacos nearly every time I’m over that way.
The addition of the Tower hotel to Coronado Springs brings even more dining options within walking distance. It’s truly borderline deluxe when it comes to dining options. And they have two fitness centers and a spa. This is not something you will find at the other moderate resorts.
Caribbean Beach would be my second choice for best moderate. This resort also has an awesome pool area with two waterslides. Plus, it’s pretty cool to be able to hop on the Skyliner to access two nearby theme parks.
With the Riviera Resort being next door, it provides more dining options in the immediate area, similar to Gran Destino with Coronado Springs. And what’s not to like about an island-themed resort that actually has its own island?
Both resorts are exceptionally beautiful, and are worthy of being called the best Disney moderate resort. They would both make a wonderful choice for a week-long vacation.
Don’t get me wrong, if you plan on getting in several dining reservations at Disney Springs during your vacation, either of the Port Orleans Resorts are convenient options. However, I would prefer French Quarter over Riverside. The boutique feel of the French Quarter is quaint and charming.
Wrapping things up, I wanted to review those key factors that distinguish a moderate from the other resort types.
- Moderate resorts have mainly bus transportation. In addition, you will find boat service to Disney Springs from the Port Orlean Resorts, Skyliner gondolas from Caribbean Beach, and boat service to Magic Kingdom from Fort Wilderness.
- Each moderate has a feature pool with a water slide. There are multiple quiet pools at the moderate resorts as well.
- There are laundry areas out by the pool at each of these Disney Resort hotels.
- Moderates all have quick service and table service dining options.
- Moderates have exterior room access, except for Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Spring.
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If you are looking for more information on staying at a Disney Resort. Or if you would like to know more about the differences between the different resort categories, you might like to check the following reviews.
Thanks for reading along, I hope this review was able to help you clarify if a Disney moderate resort will work best for your vacation.