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 two categories of Disney resorts. Those are the Disney deluxe resorts and the values.
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 Disney moderate resort is considered a step up in amenity and price from the value resorts at Disney. The main difference at a moderate is that you’ll have a larger variety of dining and recreation options.
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. Plus, 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.
Disney Moderate Resorts
Feel free to skip to any of these full resort reviews if you are looking for specific information. Or continue along as we take a closer look to see if a moderate resort is right for your Disney vacation.
- 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)
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 the two 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. That’s because the rest of the property is used for guests who have campers, RVS, or are renting spaces to pitch their own tent.
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.
The feature swimming pool at each moderate resort will have a water slide. This is something specific to both moderates and deluxe resorts. At a value category, you won’t find this type of extra.
Every moderate resort has the following dining options: one main counter service, a pool bar, a table service restaurant, and a lounge. They do not have signature dining locations or any Disney character dining meals.
The main counter service dining options at the moderates are food courts that provide various cuisines.
Additionally, Caribbean Beach sits adjacent to Disney’s Riviera, a Disney World Villa Resort. 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.
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.
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. The only moderate resort that has interior room access like a hotel is the Gran Destino Tower portion of Coronado Springs.
Furthermore, if you are considering a stay at Caribbean Beach, be aware that their buildings do not have elevators to access the second floors. 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 is another aspect to consider when choosing a Disney moderate resort. 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.
That resort is Caribbean Beach, which is home to the Skyliner’s central station. The line extends from the moderate resort to reach Pop Century and Art of Animation. 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.
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 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 close proximity.
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.
- Overall Size of the Resort
When it comes to the Disney 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 usually 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.
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 here are Resorts Gal’s Rankings for Best Disney Moderate Resorts:
First, I prefer Coronado Springs or Gran Destino Tower when it comes to the best Disney moderate resorts. While there are several reasons I chose this resort, the main one is because I love the landscaping and grounds of the hotel.
In addition, their pool area, the Dig Site, is amazing. It was even included in our top 10 best pools at Disney World review. The pool area is 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 when choosing a resort.
Next, the restaurants at Coronado Springs are great! The resort has El Mercado, a food court that has 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 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 is my second choice for best Disney moderate resort. 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 Disney’s 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 Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs 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.
#3 Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter
Coming in as our third choice for best Disney moderate is Port Orleans French Quarter. This resort gets its place 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. The boutique size of 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.
It’s unfortunate to rank this moderate resort as our fourth option, but it’s 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. Which is also part of the charm of spending a week’s vacation here.
A stay in a cabin 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.
#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. That’s because we have stayed here and found it extremely difficult to get around.
Word of warning, don’t think that 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
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.
Planning a Disney vacation? Make sure to check with an authorized Disney travel agent. I personally use and recommend Firefly Travels. You can contact them here.
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 definitely 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