Disney World Resorts – Which Moderate Resort Is Right For Me?
Last week I talked about the WDW Value Resorts, and gave some information that hopefully helped you decide if they would work for you and your family. While the Value Resorts are great, they aren’t for everyone, and if you’re not sure the over the top decor and super family friendly atmosphere of the Value Resorts is quite your style, then read on for some information about Disney’s Moderate Resorts:
Price: Moderate means “middle of the road”, so at these Resorts, you will pay more for a room than at a Value Resort (but you also get more too!). A single room costs anywhere from $170-$300 per night (with select resorts offering suites which can cost from $600 to $1300 per night depending on the season). There are “standard”, “preferred” and “water”/”river”/”garden” view” rooms, all of which vary in price, and unfortunately a ‘water view’ can equal a pond sometimes, so you’ll want to do your research on what type of room would best suit you. The exception to the price rule here is the Fort Wilderness Cabins – which will run you around $300-$450 per night
Location: The more you pay, the closer to the action you are! Not only are the Moderate resorts closer to the Parks, but some offer alternate transportation, so that you aren’t always waiting for a bus! Here is a quick rundown for you: Caribbean Beach is in the Epcot area and offers only bus transportation, Coronado Springs is closer to Animal Kingdom and also offers only bus transportation to the Parks, BUT they also offer their own internal bus system which can help cut down on the amount of time you are spending walking to and from your room to various other points within the Resort. The Port Orleans Resorts are nearest to Downtown Disney, and offer bus service to the Parks as well as boat service to Downtown Disney (a nice perk!). In my opinion, Fort Wilderness has the best options when it comes to transportation – they have an internal bus system plus you can rent golf carts or bikes to help you get around, and in addition to buses that can take you to the Parks, they offer a boat that goes straight across Bay Lake to the Magic Kingdom!
Dining Options: Each Resort has a Food Court similar to those at the Value Resorts, where you can grab a counter service meal or snack, but each Resort also has its own table service restaurant, where you can grab a meal and a drink in a more relaxed atmosphere. Some of the menu options here are really delicious, and these restaurants are often overlooked, as many prefer to eat at the Parks, so you may be able to walk into these eateries without an Advance Dining Reservation, or ADR – which is a bonus for sure!
Rooms: One perk to these resorts is much nicer rooms than the Value Resorts – they are bigger, better decorated, and most of the standard rooms include 2 queen beds. In addition, you can actually make a reservation for a room with a King size bed (instead of just requesting and crossing your fingers that you get one like at the Values!). The rooms come with mini refrigerators and coffee makers, and many are recently renovated (like the nice one we stayed at in Port Orleans French Quarter last year pictured above – we loved it!)
Amenities: Boat rentals, Bike rentals with lots of nature trails to explore on, live nightly entertainment in the lounges, and more elaborate pool and play areas for kids are just some of the bonuses to choosing a Moderate resort at Walt Disney World!
So now that you know a little more about the Moderate Resorts, let’s dig a little deeper to figure out which one would best suit you:
Caribbean Beach Resort – Escape to a tropical paradise where the beautiful landscaping, beach front with white sand, and bright colored buildings will make you feel like you’re vacationing in Aruba or Jamaica! In addition to their regular guest rooms, they also offer a select number (meaning they are hard to get!) pirate themed rooms complete with pirate ship beds! When it comes to dining options, you have your Market Street food court area, as well as Shutters (LINK), their sit down restaurant which serves items like jerk-style meats and seafood.
Coronado Springs Resort – This is Disney’s only moderately priced convention hotel, and it’s convention center and ballrooms can accommodate up to 6500 people. The resort has a Southwest/Mexican theme with gorgeous courtyards and plazas throughout the grounds, as well as beautiful flowers and fountains. All of the rooms were refurbished in 2009 to include 2 Queen or 1 King bed, and beautiful new dark wood furnishings. It is a BIG resort – which is why it offers an internal bus shuttle, to help you get to various places within the Resort itself. Pepper Market – their food court style eatery, offers some delicious Mexican inspired cuisine, and their table service restaurant, the Maya Grill, has a large wood fire grill. Since it is a convention Resort, it has some amenities that the other Resorts in this category don’t offer – like a health club, spa services, and a hair salon, and they also have some more room options – with some larger and executive suites available
Port Orleans Riverside Resort – this Riverboat/dock themed resort has an Old Southern flair which gives it a great, relaxing feeling. There are two styles of rooms – Magnolia Bend which are in plantation style mansion buildings, and Alligator Bayou which are housed in rustic lodges. ome rooms in the Alligator Bayou section have a trundle/Murphy bed, which is a nice bonus. In addition, some of the rooms in the Magnolia Bend area are newly opened as “Royal Rooms” – Disney Princess themed and the details are all exquisite and are great for your little prince or princess! The Resort has beautiful landscaping, and several walking/jogging paths throughout that give a great scenic tour of the area, and bike/surrey rentals are also available. If walking/biking isn’t your thing, you can take a romantic horse drawn carriage ride that winds through both the Riverside and French Quarter sections of the Resort. You can also go fishing or rent paddleboats here too. After all those activities, you’ll probably be hungry – grab a meal at Boatwright’s – seving up some delicious New Orleans cuisine and signature cocktails (note that this restaurant serves as the table service restaurant for BOTH Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter). The Riverside Mill food court is fun to visit too – as it was built to resemble a working cotton press!
Port Orleans French Quarter Resort – This smaller, romantic Resort is perfect for couples, or anyone who wants to enjoy some real New Orleans French Quarter atmosphere. There is a strong Mardi Gras theme here as well, but overall it’s a quiet, sophisticated Resort with lots of romantic spots! The Resort’s pool has a huge dragon water slide which is fun for kids (and those young-at-heart adults too!). The rooms are all recently renovated and most have 2 Queen beds (some with King Beds are available as well). One great thing about the Resort is the transportation options aren’t limited to just the bus, you can take a boat from here or Riverside to Downtown Disney – it’s a great little trip and a lot better than the bus! The Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory offers standard counter service fair like burgers/sandwiches, etc, but also offers some traditional New Orleans faves like gumbo, po’boys, and beignets
Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground – Fort Wilderness has two sections, the campground portion, where you can bring your own tent/RV, and the Cabin section – where you can stay in a real ‘home away from home’ – as all cabins sleep up to 6 and include a full kitchen (including cutlery, utensils, and cookware!) and bathroom, as well as a dining and living room area. The Cabins are great for families who want to enjoy Walt Disney World but who want/need the ability to make their own meals (groceries are available at the stores within the Resort, and this is definitely a great way to save money on food costs!). The Resort itself is huge and has it’s own internal bus system, and its natural beauty is truly breathtaking! Quick Service dining can be found at Trail’s End (with all you can eat breakfast and dinner buffets, with lunch served a la carte), and Fort Wilderness is also the home to two dinner shows, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ and the Hoop Dee Doo musical Revue. We stayed here many times when I was young, and it will always hold a special place in my heart!
So there you have it, WDW’s Moderate Resorts – in a nutshell! I personally love the Moderate Resorts, they have a lot to offer while still being a good deal
Not sure any of these Resorts are right for you? Well stay tuned right here on Chip and Co, where next week I will be talking about WDW’s Deluxe Resorts!
- Which Disney World Value Resort Is Right For Me? (chipandco.com)
- Resorts: Pros and Cons of the Deluxe Resorts (aglassslippervacation.com)
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