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Disney Resorts: The Moderates.

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.

Disney moderate resorts bridge the gap between Disney value and deluxe resorts, providing more elaborate theming, pools with slides, and slightly larger rooms. For guests who want more “grown up” theming than the values provide, the beautiful landscaping of Disney’s moderate resorts provides a little luxury at the end of the day.  Theming aside, there are some real tangible differences that separate Disney moderate resorts for the rest:

How moderate resorts differ from value resorts:

  • Pools:  Moderate resorts have slides and more elaborate theming.
  • Moderates have a sit-down restaurant, whereas Disney values have food courts. 
  • Moderates have covered bus stops, which is a big deal 9 months out of the year.
  • Moderate rooms are about only 50 square feet larger than value rooms.
  • You can upgrade to a room with a king-size bed at most moderate resorts; it’s only a request at a value and it’s unlikely it will be honored since only a handful are available.
  • You are less likely to encounter large tour groups at the moderates.
  • The biggie: Disney moderate resorts have two queen-sized beds (except for Caribbean Beach) while the values have two double-beds.
  • Standard Disney value rooms sleep 4, as do most moderates. The exception is Port Orleans-Riverside, which sleeps 5, and the Ft. Wilderness cabins, which sleep 6.

How moderate resorts differ from deluxe resorts:

  • Disney deluxe resorts are the most well-themed of all the Disney resorts with incredible attention to detail.
  • Deluxe resorts have world-class pools, beautiful landscaping and tastefully decorated rooms that appeal to adult guests.
  • Some of the best restaurants on property are at the deluxe resorts.
  • Deluxe rooms are approximately 50 – 60 square feet larger than moderate rooms.
  • Several deluxe resorts are within walking distance to the parks. Others are a short monorail or boat ride away.
  • Most Disney deluxe resort rooms sleep 5 people.

Ceiling in the lobby at Coronado Springs.

I have mixed feelings about the moderate resorts. On the one hand, there’s no question that I prefer the theming to that of the values, however, I’m not sure the mostly aesthetic differences make up for the higher price. It’s not that I don’t like the moderates–I do.  It’s just think that the values do such a great job of doing what they do that it’s hard for me to justify paying more for a moderate room. 

Port Orleans-Riverside.

The moderates definitely have a different “feel” than the values and that can add to your vacation, especially if you’re the type of guest who spends a time at the resort. The walk around the lake at Coronado Springs is beautiful, especially in early morning.  The boat ride to Downtown Disney from Port Orleans is relaxing and fun.   Moderate lobbies are some of the prettiest on site.  The amenities are better, the bedding feels more luxurious, and I definitely notice the extra space and better storage at the values. Still, I’m not sure that any of this makes up for the fact that a moderate resort can cost up to 40% more than a value.

When I talk to people who are vacillating between a moderate and a deluxe resort, I often suggest they base their decision on two things:  The size of the beds and the theming. The bed issue is a simple one. If you’re tall, you might be more comfortable in a queen-sized bed, especially if you’re sharing.  This seems to be a major deciding factor for guests.  The other issue is a little harder to pin down because it’s difficult to justify paying  more for a room based solely on how it looks.  Ask yourself how much time you’ll actually spend at the resort.  If you’re planning on taking advantage of the amenities, then consider a moderate, but if you’re a commando-style guest who spends most of your time in the parks, a value resort may be the best choice for you.

12 Comments

  1. and our experience at a moderate (CBR) had a terrible bed.. it just felt cheap. It makes me fear for what a bed at a value feels like.. we couldn’t sleep until we were Disney tired b/c it was so uncomfortable..

  2. My favorite resorts are the Moderates, specifically, Riverside and French Quarter. Based on this, and you have made me think REALLY hard I’m not sure I’ll keep going back to Moderates! I am thinking about going to Values!!!

  3. We loved the Port Orleans-Riverside, mostly for the theming. That little bit of luxury at the end of the day really made our vacation special, and it’s something I’m not likely to skimp on next time we go. I’m a little put-off by the loud, over the top theming of the value resorts.

  4. I will tend to agree with you on your conclusion. We stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge for our honeymoon because we were able to get a special discount Disney was offering. However we did not spend a lot of time the (sleeping and only 1 time swimming). My new wife and I have decided upon our next return we will save the money and stay at a Value resort as we pretty much only used the hotel for sleep.

  5. I have stayed at one of each. Of course the Deluxe Resorts are great, but again, don’t spend a lot of time there to enjoy the amenities. Last time we stayed at OKW because all my other choices were full, but we did get upgraded to a 2 bedroom villa for just 2 of us! It was great as I had a terrible cough and worried about keeping my husband awake. It worked out great for us! This summer I am taking my sister to WDW for her 50th birthday and are staying at POP to save some money. Will let you know what we think.

  6. I would say depends on my budget and time to go. In off season, I definitely like to stay in deluxe but in peak time not in there as they are expensive.

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  8. Thanks for the insight on Moderates. Our family was orginally booked for the new Art of Animation but when a new deal came out that allowed us to save 40% of our cost by switching to Port Orleans – Riverside, we jumped at the chance. I’m looking forward to trying a new resort. It’s always a new experience, some good and some not so good. But I am thankful to save the money and enjoy the magic of Disney…no matter where I sleep.

  9. I don’t know if this is fair, but the pictures of the values, seem so plastic. That does not entice me to stay there.

    I love that I can take my kids to Disney, but also stay at nicer hotels (for me!). We stayed at CSR last October and heading to POFQ this October. I can’t wait to compare the two.

    I think the real question is between the Moderate vs Deluxe. The price jump is large!

  10. I’ve stayed at several deluxe and moderate resorts. The deluxe are beautiful and have larger rooms (esp. the Poly — huge.) There is just one problem with the moderates — transportation. These resorts are LARGE and have many bus stops. If you are at the 4th or 5th stop, buses may already be full so you wait for the next one. It’s a big problem in the mornings. Also, at night the buses fill up quickly. So if your time is more precious than money, go deluxe!!

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  12. Thank you for sharing this article. I love it. Keep on writing this type of great stuff.

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