Walt Disney World’s Moderate Resorts
By Dave Shute
THE MODERATE RESORTS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD
You can have a wonderful visit at any Walt Disney World resort. However, this site recommends that first time visitors to Walt Disney World avoid the moderate resorts, while noting that these resorts are wonderful for visits after the first. (See this for why.)
That said, the moderates do represent almost 30% of the room capacity of Walt Disney World, and will be sought by some you because you aren’t a first-timer, or because this site’s recommended resorts are sold out.
Or you are just contrary.
(For what the moderates provide, and how they compare to the other Disney World resort classes, click here)
Because of this, I’ve stayed in each of the moderate resorts multiple times, including in each of their major room variants, and published and updated detailed reviews of them all. Since I began working on this site, I’ve stayed in the moderates more than 30 times, for almost 100 nights.
What follows is an overview–see the links to the detailed reviews for more.
Hey! A MAJOR refurb is kicking off at Caribbean Beach in May 2017. See this for issues and my advice.
Also, a significant (but not so major) refurb stared at Coronado Springs in February 2017. Details are here.
DISNEY WORLD MODERATE RESORT RECOMMENDATIONS
It’s easy to either under-rate or over-rate the moderates.
For the traditional moderates (the Cabins are a special case) you’ll typically pay about twice the price of the values, without them being clearly being twice as good. (In the summer, value prices go up a lot, and moderate prices so the moderates become a better financial choice.)
Compared to the values, the moderates provide much more and more livable space in their rooms; nicer landscaping (except the Cabins); queen rather than full beds except in the Pirate section of Caribbean Beach; coffee pots; table service restaurants in all but French Quarter, and less garish theming.
The moderates also provide the most cost-effective way to sleep five (in the Alligator Bayou section of Riverside, and in newly-refurbed five-person rooms at Caribbean Beach) and the most cost-effective way to get a full kitchen (in The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort).
On the other hand, they have both less overall kid appeal and less convenience than two of the values–Art of Animation and Pop Century–so if you don’t need queen beds or one of the other distinctive features of the moderates, one of those two will be a better choice for many first time family visitors.
Compared to the deluxes, the moderates are less fun, have much less good dining, are less convenient to at least one theme park, and have many fewer services and amenities. Bedroom sizes are more comparable to those in the deluxes than you’d think, especially at the deluxes with smaller rooms. See this for more on square footage and livability.
You’ll find many sites and books that act as though all the moderates have the same rooms (although they do get the differences at the Cabins). This has never really been true.
DISTINCTIONS AMONG THE DISNEY WORLD MODERATE RESORTS
On this basis, the moderates are recommended in the following order (links are to the full reviews):
- Caribbean Beach: most kid appeal, least convenient, mostly queens but still full beds in the Pirate rooms in its Trinidad South section; 5 person available except in the Pirate rooms. A major refurb will kick off in May 2017.
- Coronado Springs: best overall value for money, most amenities, some kid appeal, queen beds. A significant refurb started in February 2107.
- Port Orleans Riverside: most popular, queen beds
- Port Orleans French Quarter: most popular with adults, most convenient; no table-service restaurant; queen beds
- The Cabins at Fort Wilderness: only one that sleeps six, only one with full kitchen, much more expensive than first four, least convenient; queen and bunk beds in renovated Cabins, full and bunk beds in un-renovated ones.
(The first four are very close–especially 3 and 4…)
Only moderate with no elevators at all.
Only moderate with no indoor bar/lounge.
Only traditional moderate with some full beds, although full beds have been replaced with queens in all rooms except the Pirate Rooms in Trinidad South.
Best pool of any moderate.
A major refurb will kick off in May 2017.
Most kid-appealing of moderates. Many rooms now sleep five–the fifth on a fold-down murphy bed.
Only moderate with a spa.
Only moderate with a health club.
Only moderate with substantial room service.
Only moderate with only one sink per room, rather than two.
Second-best pool among the moderates
Only moderate that hosts conventions, and somewhat dull rooms as a result.
Sometimes a few dollars more per night than Caribbean Beach.
A refurb kicked off in February 2017.
One of only two moderates that can be booked for 5 (only in Alligator Bayou section, with fifth on a 66″ Murphy Bed).
No elevators in Alligator Bayou section. (Magnolia Bend section has elevators.)
With Port Orleans French Quarter, only moderate not on a lake.
Multiple room options–standard rooms, 5 person rooms, Royal rooms. (Standard room shown)
Well-loved but uninteresting pool.
It and French Quarter typically a few dollars more per night than Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs.
Only moderate with no sit-down restaurant.
With Port Orleans Riverside, only moderate with no lake.
Only moderate with no quiet pool. Main pool features a sea serpent.
Most compact of moderates.
Most romantic of moderates.
It and Riverside typically a few dollars more per night than Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs.
Only moderate that can sleep six.
Only moderate with a full kitchen.
Only moderate with 2 rooms–back bedroom shown.
Only moderate that takes two transport acts to get to a theme park.
Weakest pool among moderates.
Only moderate materially more expensive than the others.