We are all here for the same thing, to have the best Disney vacation regardless of our budget. I definitely want to help you do that by reviewing the best Disney moderate resorts.
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What are Disney moderate resorts?
You have decided to take the leap and plan a family vacation to Walt Disney World, Congratulations!
Planning a Disney vacation can certainly begin to feel overwhelming, which is where I come in. Vacations should be fun and relaxing, not stressful!
In this post, I’ll zero in on moderate Disney resorts, and rank the best moderate Disney resorts Walt Disney World has to offer.
Before I dive in, I should let you know that Walt Disney World Resorts are split up into 4 categories. These categories are value resorts, moderate resorts, deluxe resorts, and deluxe villas. Value resorts are the least expensive Disney resorts and deluxe resorts & villas are the most expensive Disney resorts. Then of course I have Disney’s moderate resorts that land smack dab in the middle.
As the name implies, Disney’s moderate resorts are the middle ground, they are for those who don’t necessarily want to splurge on a deluxe resort and are being mindful of their spending but at the same time are not willing to sacrifice some creature comforts.
If this sounds like you then you’re in the right place! A moderate Disney resort would be a right fit for you if you would like more varied dining options, more recreational activities, and access to different Disney transportation options.
Disney moderate resorts are the happy medium of Disney resorts. They are truly the best of both worlds, especially when it comes to location and affordability. That is if you are willing to spend a little more than you would at a Disney value resort, which is the difference of about $100 – $110 average cost per night.
At Disney’s moderate resorts, there are many amenities to enjoy, fun recreational activities, various dining experiences, and great travel options.
Disney’s Moderate Resorts include Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, and The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort.
All of these resorts offer variations of the same things and are totally suitable for the best Disney vacation ever. It all comes down to what is most important to you and your family while on your Walt Disney World vacation.
In this post, I will dive into what the Disney moderate resorts have to offer, what the best moderate resort at Walt Disney World is, and where the other moderate resorts fall on our list of the best moderate Disney resorts.
I have researched all of the moderate Disney resorts and have taken each one into careful consideration. I looked at the amenities offered, dining options, as well as recreational activities, proximity to parks, available travel, and theme.
Keep in mind that everybody’s Disney experience is different, which is just part of the magic if you ask us. Keep on reading to find out the pick for the best moderate Disney resort, where the rest of the moderate resorts rank on the list, and what to take into consideration when deciding between a moderate, value, or even a deluxe resort.
What is the best moderate resort at Walt Disney World?
This may be a bit controversial, but in my well-researched opinion, the best moderate Disney resort would have to be Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.
With the best bang for your buck, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is located among Disney’s Epcot resorts, which opens up a world of possibilities (no pun intended) but more on that later.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach draws inspiration from the islands of Barbados, Martinique, Jamaica, Aruba, and Trinidad, transporting guests to a tropical paradise. Guests will find pirate-themed rooms with shipshape beds (literally!) that invite an imaginative exploration of the open seas! This resort is especially fun for families traveling with young kids, but there is plenty of fun for the whole family.
Winner – Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort:
Includes 5 leisure pools and the Spanish fortress-themed Fuentes del Morro Pool. With 2 waterslides, a shipwreck play area, and a crow’s nest, The Fuentes del Morrow Pool invites youngsters over 47 inches to immerse themselves in this swashbuckler’s sanctuary.
Other recreational activities at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort include campfire activities, movies under the stars, fishing, volleyball, a jogging trail, bike rentals, a playground, and a pirate adventure cruise to name a few.
After you’ve hit the parks and the pools, grab a bite with the family at one of the many resort dining options. Sebastian’s Bistro serves meals inspired by Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort’s tropical surroundings, and Caribbean influence.
The Spyglass Grill features American fare with a Caribbean flare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and Centertown Market offers quick service meals for those days by the pool or serves as a great option for a grab & go breakfast when you are on your way out to hit the parks!
After a long day, Banana Cabana is the perfect way for Mom, Dad, and those 21+ to celebrate a successful day with a tropical cocktail or spirited beverage.
What truly sets Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort apart though, is that it is the only of Disney’s Moderate Resorts to offer transportation via the neist Disney transportation method, the Skyliner! Disney Bus Transportation is also accessible from nearby Old Port Royale Centertown, which allows guests the option of their choice.
The Skyliner offers riders a unique perspective of Walt Disney World from above! This feature alone makes Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort the front runner for The Best Moderate Disney Resort.
“Why?” you ask? well, from Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, guests can take the Skyliner to not one but two parks, Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Access to these parks is made easy thanks to the Skyliner but also opens up a world of transportation possibilities!
You see, once you are at Epcot, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, and Disney’s Boardwalk Inn are all within walking distance! These are Disney deluxe resorts and offer table service dining options, and Disney’s Boardwalk entertainment district. Enjoy the ESPN zone, Jellyrolls piano bar, and more!
That’s not all, from Disney’s Boardwalk Inn you can catch Disney Bus Transportation to any theme park, Disney Springs, and other Disney Resort Hotels! Talk about bang for your buck!
At an average of $299 a night (depending on the time of year, minus taxes and fees) A standard room at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is less expensive and around the same square footage as some of the bigger rooms at Disney value resorts, making it hands down the best moderate Disney resort.
Other amenities of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort include; housekeeping services, laundry, and dry cleaning services, mail services, merchandise delivery and pickup, complimentary WiFi, Online Check-in, ATM, and Disney Signature Services for guests staying at club level rooms and suites.
We looked at things like room rates, the proximity to Disney parks, and the transportation options as deciding factors. This is how we determined that Disney’s Caribbean Beach resort was the best moderate Disney resort.
So, if a lot of dining and transportation options and a fun theme are important to you and your family, then Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort could be the right fit for you!
Are Disney moderate resorts worth it?
Disney Moderate resorts offer Disney-goers more varied locations in relation to the parks than value resorts, which are for the most part located near the Animal Kingdom Resorts.
Overall, Disney moderate resorts have more recreational activities, extensive dining options, and amenities when compared to value resorts. all while managing to be relatively friendly on the wallet. Disney value resorts offer some similar amenities, but at times can cost more or an equal amount depending on the time of stay, and the size of the room.
Moderate Disney resorts are Ill-rounded, offering more than a value resort, but not necessarily less than a deluxe resort, which is why they are a good option. It really all comes down to personal preference, and what is comfortable for your family, and your wallet.
If a bigger room is on your mind, then The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort may be right for you, but you might not be into “roughing it”. In that case, maybe look into a deluxe resort or a larger room at one of the value resorts, they tend to cost the same amount or less than a standard room at a deluxe resort.
If atmosphere and romance are on your mind the Disney’s Port Orleans Resort could be the way to go. The great thing is, there’s a moderate resort for everyone! Just remember to take into account who you are traveling with, what comforts you can or can’t live without and which park you would like to be closest to. I break down the rest of the best moderate Disney Resorts below.
Top 3 Best Disney Moderate Resorts
I have already covered Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, which is our number 1 pick for the best moderate Disney resort, so now let’s move on to our second-place pick for the best moderate Disney resort.
What’s great about these resorts is that they are sisters, so staying at one gives you access to all of the amenities and dining options at the other. Between Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside and Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, there are 3 restaurants and 3 bars, Disney Bus and Water Transportation, 5 leisure pools, 2 themed pools, and with average nightly rates of $292, it seems like Disney’s Port Orleans Resort is a solid runner up. Oh, and did I mention Riverside is pup-friendly?
Located near Disney Springs, The Disney Port Orleans Resorts are ideal for those interested in shopping ‘til they drop or drinking around the world in Epcot. Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter transports guests from Central Florida to the Bayou, featuring mansard roofs, and wrought-iron balconies, it’s as if you are walking through Jackson Square.
Walking through the main lobby, guests will find a food court serving Creole-inspired dishes and hear live entertainment floating through the air, much like the town of the resorts’ inspiration.
Cobblestone streets pave ways between courtyards, with antique-inspired street lamps lighting the way. Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter may just be one of the romantic moderate Disney resorts. Don’t worry there’s plenty for the kids too! Make sure you take them to meet Scales, the giant serpent waterslide that resides at the Doubloon Lagoon Pool.
A walk down the Sassagoula River you’ll find Disney’s Port Orleans Resort- Riverside. The resort’s main building named, The Sassagoula Steamboat Company, is fashioned after a steamship ticket station where the front desk, dining, and entertainment are located. The Riverside Mill Food Court specializes in traditional Southern American fare, housed in a working cotton press powered by a 35-foot water wheel.
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort- French Quarter and Disney’s Port Orleans Resort- Riverside are romantic, whimsical, and fun for the whole family. Its great location, average nightly cost, pup-friendly, and Louisiana-inspired atmosphere are what make the French Quarter and Riverside two of the best moderate Disney resorts in our book.
The remaining moderate Disney resorts are Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort and The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort.
Let’s talk about Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
Located near Disney’s Animal Kingdom resort area, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort ranks as our fourth favorite option when looking for a moderate Disney resort.
With architectural influences from Mexican, Spanish, and South American cultures, Disney’s Coronado Springs is a wonderful option for those looking to spend a little more time resort side and is very popular with the conference crowd.
Featuring more modern comforts such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a spa, and a home to the romantic Three Bridges Bar & Grill, Disney’s Coronado Springs is the perfect choice for families traveling with adults or older children.
Disney’s Coronado Springs is not without its fun! Standing amid the Lost City of Cibola pool is a 50-foot replica of a Mayan pyramid, also home to the spitting jaguar waterslide. Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is also home to the largest outdoor hot tub in all of Walt Disney World! Enjoy many other recreational activities such as 3 leisure pools, campfire activities, movies under the stars, volleyball, a jogging trail, the Iguana Arcade, fitness classes, and more.
From casual fare to restaurants fit for a special celebration, Disney’s Coronado Springs has so much to offer when it comes to dining. Whether you’re looking for a romantic setting for two, a quick bite with the family, or a drink near the lake, there is no shortage of options right at the resort.
Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood offers guests a beautiful rooftop dining experience while serving, you guessed it! Tapas, steaks, and seafood. An open kitchen invites guests to take a peek behind the scenes and experience their meals being prepared. Highlights include Spanish wines as Ill as beer, cider, and hand-crafted cocktails.
Other dining options include the Dahlia Lounge wine bar, Barcelona Lounge for coffee and breakfast, poolside bites at Siestas Cantina, Traditional Mexican cuisine at Maya Grill, quick grab & go options at Cafe Rix and El Mercado de Coronado.
While Coronado Springs is a great option for some, it does come in last on our list. Other themed moderate resorts give more Disney magic than Coronado Springs in our opinion and isn’t that what Disney is all about?
Which moderate resort is closest to Magic Kingdom?
The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are the only moderate Disney resort located near Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Disney’s Water Transportation makes getting to Magic Kingdom super easy and fun, just a 10-minute boat ride will have you walking down Main Street USA in no time!
What sets The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort apart from the rest of the moderate Disney resorts is that the Cabins are private and can sleep up to 6 adults. They include a fully furnished living room, bedroom, bathroom, private patio, charcoal grill, and a kitchen complete with refrigerator, dishwasher, convection/microwave oven, and countertop burners.
At a rate of about $464 per night, The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are the most expensive moderate Disney resort. However, it boasts the most amenities, dining options, and recreational activities, of the 5 moderate Disney resorts, not to mention its prime location right near Magic Kingdom and the other Magic Kingdom Resorts.
It is important to note that The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort is the only moderate Disney resort that includes a convection/microwave oven, a toaster, a full-size refrigerator, and not one but two counter-top burners to make meals right in your room!
If cooking is not your idea of a vacation, then look no further than the 6 restaurants that Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort has to offer. There’s P&J’s Southern takeout which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Meadow Snack Bar by the Meadow Swimmin’ Pool, bar service at Crockett’s Tavern, breakfast, and dinner at Trails End Restaurant, and dinner and a show at an old Disney favorite, The Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue!
Guests of The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort can now choose from a menu of pre-selected grocery items to have delivered to their Cabin upon arrival. Items include but are not limited to frozen foods, fresh produce, coffee, deli meats, pasta, snacks, and desserts. All you have to do is print out the pre-selected grocery menu and email your selections to WDWFortWildernessGroceryOrder@disney.com
Do Disney moderate resorts have microwaves?
The only moderate Disney resort with an in-room convection/microwave oven is The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. The other moderate resorts have in-room mini-fridges but do not have microwaves. Microwaves are sometimes available upon request at moderate hotels, and are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis, and are given mostly to meet the medical needs of guests. Keep this in mind when planning your stay.
If an in-room microwave is a deal-breaker then looking into a deluxe resort villa might be the right move. Not only do they have in-room microwaves, but most have full kitchens and standard refrigerators.
Reasons to stay at a Disney moderate resort
As I said before, Disney moderate resorts are truly a happy medium when it comes to choosing a Disney resort. The rates, accommodations, amenities, and location all fall between those of the Disney value resorts and the Disney deluxe resorts and Disney deluxe villas.
A good reason to stay at a moderate resort vs. a value resort is that the transportation is usually a little farther from the rooms when staying at a value resort. Value resorts also tend to be popular for larger groups visiting Walt Disney World for sporting events or school trips.
If that sounds like something you would like to avoid, then definitely bypass the value resorts and go right for the moderate resorts. Moderate resorts offer at least one table service dining experience and have multiple pools for days spent at the hotel.
The Disney moderate resorts are perfect for families visiting Walt Disney World for the first time. Ythere is a stronger sense of community when staying at a moderate Disney resort because they are smaller in size than the value resorts.
Moderate vs. Deluxe Resorts
When decided where to stay when planning a Disney vacation it’s important to remember that when you pay more you get more, especially when you are paying to stay at a deluxe Disney resort or deluxe Disney villa.
Disney goes above and beyond when it comes to their deluxe resorts and deluxe villas, the themes are more sophisticated and subtle, but still possess that Disney flair. However, you are going to pay a pretty penny for that sophistication and you do get what you pay for. With rooms averaging upwards of $500 per night, you would be paying almost double to stay in a deluxe Disney resort.
Disney’s deluxe resorts include Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
There are usually more transportation options, there are various higher-end dining options as Ill as character breakfasts or meet & greets. Disney’s deluxe resorts are much closer situated to the theme parks, take Disney’s Magic Kingdom resorts, for example, they are all situated along the famous Disney monorail line, which is are every Disney-goers favorite.
By staying at a deluxe Disney resort you are most likely going to be a stones’ throw away from Magic Kingdom. Unless of course, you opt to stay a the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which is, you guessed it closer to Animal Kingdom.
Rooms at deluxe Disney resorts are bigger and more luxurious, especially if you are in a deluxe villa, which of course has a full kitchen, living room, bedroom, and usually a washer/dryer. If these are comforts you can’t live without while on vacation, then a Deluxe Resort would be right for you! If all you really need is a comfy room, with some table service restaurants and fun things to do, the moderate Disney resort will suit you and your family just fine.
Moderate vs. Value Resorts
Value resorts are great if you are looking to stay at a Disney Resort but don’t need all the bells and whistles of a Moderate or Deluxe resort. Disney’s value resorts include Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort, Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, Disney’s All-Star Movie Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, and Disney’s Pop Century Resort.
Value resorts have 1-2 quick-service dining options or food courts, a pool, and heavy-handed themed accommodations. At value resorts, most rooms are accessed by outdoor corridors, and because of their bigger size, tend to be busier than the Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. Disney Bus Transportation is available at each of the value resorts and the Disney Skyliner is accessible from Disney’s Art of Animation and Disney’s Pop Century resorts. Disney’s Moderate resorts offer Disney Bus Transportation and Disney water transportation.
Disney’s Moderate resorts have a much more subtle theme while still serving some Disney magic, it’s not too luxurious, but the decor is not as in-your-face as some of the value resorts. Everyone does Disney differently and where to stay is truly all about personal preference.
Make sure when planning your trip that you are taking into account your itinerary. What are your plans every day? Are you hitting the parks hard and really only sleeping in the hotel? Or are you looking to relax a bit in between Magic Kingdom and Epcot?
With one pool and no waterslides, and what you are willing to spend or sacrifice to make your Disney vacation work for you. Keep in mind, most if not all of the value resorts are located near Animal Kingdom, which is a bit farther from the other theme parks.
The Best Room
The best room available within Disney’s moderate resorts would have to be The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. While the overall cost is a bit higher, you are getting what you’re paying for.
If you’re a family of 4 or more you can’t really beat having a kitchen area and more square footage than any of the other standard rooms at a moderate resort. Also, I’ve never met a kid who doesn’t love bunk beds.
The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort sleep up to 6 adults, which is a great value! In comparison, a room that sleeps up to 6 adults at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort would cost upwards of $1,000 per night. Not to mention the savings possibilities when you can make a few meals in your room!
The Best Transportation
Most of Disney’s moderate resorts have 2 complimentary Disney transportation options, but only one has access to Disney’s Skyliner, and that’s Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.
The reason why the Skyliner is so great is that it gives access not only to Epcot’s International gateway and Hollywood Studios, but it also gives guests easy access to Disney’s Boardwalk entertainment district.
There’s something for everyone in the family at Disney’s Boardwalk entertainment district. If you’re feeling an adults-only night, Jellyrolls is always a good time!
The Best Theme
While Disney’s moderate resorts don’t boast themes as in-your-face as the value resorts. There’s something to be said about the subtlety of Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter.
By drawing inspiration from its namesake in New Orleans, Louisiana, guests will feel as if they were transported from central Florida to the Big Easy. Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter is one part NOLA French Quarter and two parts dreamy NOLA Garden District, which is a perfect balance if you ask me.
With charming cobblestone streets, whimsical lanterns, and ornate details, Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter wins best theme hands down, it’s the most organic feeling theme among the moderate resorts and is best executed.