Disney moderate resorts are an excellent medium for anyone trying to figure out where to stay at Walt Disney World. A moderate resort falls between two categories of Disney resorts, the values and deluxe.
This article will look at the best Disney moderate resorts for your Walt Disney World vacation. We’ll also discuss what staying at a moderate resort entails compared to the other Disney Resort Hotels.
As you have probably already figured out, a moderate resort won’t offer as many amenities as one of Disney’s deluxe or deluxe villa resorts. However, a moderate is considerably lower in price than a deluxe.
Additionally, Disney’s moderate resort category is considered a step up in amenity and price from one of Disney’s value resorts. A moderate resort will offer significantly more dining and recreation options than a value.
And we all know everyone wants to have the most amount of fun for the least amount of money when it comes to a vacation. Well, most everyone does.
So that’s where a Disney moderate resort comes into play.
This article was updated on February 28, 2022.
Disney Moderate Resorts List
Below you’ll find a list of every moderate resort at Walt Disney World.
- Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort
- Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort
- Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground
What to Expect at a Moderate Resort
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.
The only Disney Resorts that offer authentic Disney theming are the values, like Disney’s All-Star Resorts, Art of Animation, or Pop Century.
Related: Art of Animation Review
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 preferred moderate resort. And 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.
Anyone wanting a tropical feel at moderate pricing 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.
That’s because the property is mainly for guests with campers, RVs, or tents.
This Disney World Resort is a destination within itself. From horseback riding to fishing excursions, there’s something for everyone.
Aside from each resort having specific theming, the moderates have a few other upgrades. Let’s look at those differences in more detail.
Moderate Resort Benefits
Guests staying at a Disney moderate resort during 2022 will have access to early theme park benefits. Early theme park benefits allow guests to enter the theme parks 30 minutes before park opening time.
This benefit is offered daily at all of the theme parks. Therefore if you’re staying at a moderate resort, you’ll have early access to the parks.
While this might not sound like a huge benefit, you’ll likely have time to ride a headliner attraction in the park first thing if you plan well. And you could have time to get in line for a second attraction before off-property guests can enter the park.
Moderate Resort Pools
The feature swimming pool at each moderate resort will have a water slide. This item is specific to both moderate and deluxe resorts. At a value category, you won’t find this type of extra.
Additionally, all of the moderates, with one exception, have a feature pool and multiple quiet pools scattered throughout the different areas of the resort. That exception is French Quarter because it’s a boutique resort with only one large feature pool.
Dining at the Moderates
Every moderate resort has the following dining options: one counter service, a pool bar with counter service items, a table service restaurant, and a lounge.
Moderate resorts do not offer signature dining locations or any character dining meals.
All moderates have food courts for their main counter service dining options. Each one accepts mobile orders and provides stations with various cuisines.
Additionally, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort sits adjacent to Disney’s Riviera, a Disney World Villa Resort. Since the resort is next to a deluxe villa, there’s the added benefit of more dining options within a short, walkable distance.
Some favorites include:
Moderates will offer slightly larger rooms than the value resorts. The main difference is that the moderates have guest baths that offer a double vanity with two sinks.
Additionally, each moderate resort is spread out into villages. Resorts like Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, and Port Orleans Riverside sit on large pieces of property.
Therefore, it could be a significant walk back to your room after arriving at the resort. Thankfully, these larger resorts do offer internal bus stops. So there should be bus transportation available close to your room assignment.
All of the moderate resorts will have exterior room access. By this, I mean the moderate resorts are not like hotels with interior hallways to get to the rooms.
However, the Gran Destino Tower portion of Coronado Springs is a hotel with interior room access. So that is your best and only moderate option for interior rooms.
Related: Gran Destino Tower Review
Lastly, I want to point out one other important factor. The buildings at Disney’s Caribbean Beach and the Alligator Bayou portion of Port Orleans Riverside do not have elevators.
You’ll need to use the stairs. While I wouldn’t let that keep me from staying there, I would request a room on the first floor.
Transportation at the Moderates
Transportation is another aspect to consider when choosing a Disney moderate resort. In the past, moderate resorts only offered bus transportation.
However, the options have changed tremendously for one moderate resort with the new Disney Skyliner gondola system. That resort is Caribbean Beach, which is home to the Skyliner’s central station.
Related: Disney Skyliner Resorts
If you are staying at Caribbean Beach, you’ll have the advantage of traveling via the Skyliner to Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This form of transportation is not an option at the other moderate resorts.
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 provided 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, given the proximity.
Related: Port Orleans Resorts Transportation
Fort Wilderness has a resort boat service to Magic Kingdom. Additionally, the resort offers bus service to all other Disney theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs.
Due to the vast size of the campground, most guests will have to take an internal bus around the resort to get to the main bus station.
Best Disney Moderate Resort Rankings
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, here are Resorts Gal’s Rankings for Best Disney Moderate Resorts.
#1 Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
There is no question Coronado Springs Resort comes in as our top choice for the best Disney moderate resort. Let me tell you why.
First, there’s Gran Destino Tower, the newest addition to the resort. The tower is a separate hotel more comparable to a deluxe than a moderate.
Additionally, Coronado Springs has beautiful grounds. I love to walk the resort and take in all of the different landscapes in each village.
In addition, Coronado’s pool area, the Dig Site, is impressive. It is even included in our list of the best pools at Disney World.
The pool area is themed like a Mayan pyramid and has a Jaguar waterslide slide. Of course, we are pool people, so that’s a factor that always gets weighed in when choosing a resort.
Next, the restaurants at Coronado Springs are great! The resort has El Mercado, a food court with a ton of variety.
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 resort also offers two fitness centers and a spa. It’s the only moderate resort to provide a hotel gym.
Between the regular resort and Gran Destino Tower, Coronado Springs has a wealth of amenities. It’s truly the closest moderate resort to being deluxe.
Related: Disney’s Coronado Springs Review
#2 Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Caribbean Beach is my second choice for best Disney moderate resort. This resort 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 Disney’s Riviera Resort next door, the setup is similar to Gran Destino at Coronado Springs. For you, that means excellent dining options other than what’s at the resort.
And what’s not to like about an island-themed resort that actually has its own island?
Caribbean Beach is an exceptionally beautiful resort that provides access to the Disney Skyliner. If you think you’ll enjoy the Skyliner, it might be time to give this moderate resort a try.
Related: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Review
#3 Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter
Our third choice for best Disney moderate is Port Orleans French Quarter. This resort was chosen next due to the boutique size of the property.
Sitting right down the river from Port Orleans Riverside, this hotel is much smaller in size than the average moderate.
As you probably already know, bigger isn’t always better. However, the boutique size of the French Quarter makes it simple to get around the resort.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt that you can hop on a water taxi out back and head down the Bayou to Disney Springs. Of course, you’ll have to decide where to eat when you get there.
Related: Port Orleans French Quarter Resort Review (Coming Soon)
#4 Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground
It’s unfortunate to rank Fort Wilderness as our fourth-place moderate resort. However, a stay here is definitely not something for everyone.
Fortunately, you should be able to discern whether an outdoorsy vacation experience will work for your family.
Fort Wilderness is a tremendous resort, with tons to do right there on the site. It’s so tremendous, that you’ll want to rent bicycles or a golf cart (if you don’t bring your own) to get around.
A stay in a cabin at Fort Wilderness can be a nice upgrade and even offers some of the modern conveniences of home. You might even save a little money by preparing a few meals during your stay.
I’ll let you decide where this one ranks on your list.
Related: Fort Wilderness Resort Review
#5 Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside
As much as I enjoy a day visit to Port Orleans Riverside, it’s not anywhere we care to stay while on vacation. The last time we stayed here, I found the resort extremely difficult to get around.
Word of warning, don’t think upgrading to a Royal Princess room will get you in a great location. We did and ended up in a terrible location far away from any of the resort’s amenities or bus stops.
While the resort does have beautiful grounds, I find that most will be much better off next door at the French Quarter. And these reasons make it come in as our last Disney moderate resort.
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.
Final Thoughts on the Disney Moderate Resorts
Before we wrap things up, I wanted to reiterate the 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.
If you still aren’t sure whether or not a moderate resort is right for you, you might want to browse our overview of the deluxe and value resorts:
- The Best Disney Value Resorts
- Best Deluxe Resorts at Disney World
- Disney World Villa Resorts
- Best Off-Site Disney World Hotels
You might also enjoy browsing our Disney restaurant reviews. It includes every meal we’ve had to date at Disney.
And if you end up choosing one of the Port Orleans resorts, you’ll want to check out the best Disney Springs restaurant list.
Now that we’ve finished things up, have you had the opportunity to stay at any of these Disney moderate resorts? Do you agree or disagree with our choices for best moderates? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.