For guests looking for nice accommodations at Walt Disney World and to stay within a reasonable budget, staying at one of the Disney Moderate Resorts can be a great option. But which Moderate Resort is the best? Our rankings will compare them all and help you decide!
In this post, we are going to share our list of the best Moderate Resort Hotels at Disney World, and rank them from best to worst. In total, there are 5 Moderate Resorts to choose from, but they are all so different and have a variety of advantages to each of them.
We’ll compare the resort theming, proximity to the theme parks, transportation options, guest rooms, and dining options, as well as the pools and other amenities to enjoy there.
We also know that staying at one of the Moderate Resorts is not the best option for everyone. You may have a more limited budget better-suited for a Value Resort, or you may want even more luxury and amenities and find that a Deluxe Resort fits you better. In any case, we’ll give you what you need to decide.
We had the pleasure of staying at all of the Moderate Resorts multiple times within the last couple of years so we know the ins and outs of all of them. And no matter which class of resort you prefer, we have some great tips on saving money to make it an overall more affordable vacation.
Like the theme parks, the Walt Disney World Resorts are always in a state of constant motion and change. Many of them have received refurbishments in recent years improving the quality of the rooms and other areas of the property. Our rankings are for 2023, and as more updates happen to the Moderate Resorts we’ll update our rankings to reflect those changes.
As always with any rankings article, our list is very subjective to our own tastes and it may look different than yours. You may have different likes and dislikes, preferences, and needs than us, so keep that in mind and read through our notes to see if you’d like something else.
And if you haven’t had the chance to read them yet, here are some of our best posts on Disney World Resorts:
- Best Disney World Resort Hotels Ranked
- Complete List of Disney World Hotels
- Best Disney Value Resort Hotels
- Best Disney Deluxe Resort Hotels
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Table of Contents
Disney World Moderate Resorts Overview
The Disney World Moderate Resorts are the perfect way for guests to get some of the nicer amenities of the deluxe resorts while only paying slightly more than the value resorts. The overall quality of moderate resorts falls smack dab in the middle of the two, deluxe and value resorts.
While the levels of posh and luxury won’t quite reach the level of the deluxe resorts, moderate resorts could be the perfect compromise for you and your family, and a pleasant surprise if you’re used to staying off-site or at Disney Value Resorts in the past. Our family, we’ve enjoyed our time at the moderate resorts, and in some cases, they’ve been our GO-TO choice for an upcoming stay.
The theming of moderate resorts ranges from taking a trip on the New Orleans Bayou to swimming on the islands of the Caribbean. The theming is classier and more reminiscent of the deluxe resorts in terms of style and quality.
You won’t get large-themed cut-outs all over the buildings, such as themed Disney characters on the sides of the buildings of your hotel which for some can be a bit tacky.
They are fun, family-friendly, and a nice step up from some of the more shall we say simpler offerings of the Disney Value Resorts. However, they have some negative similarities to the value resorts, including outside exteriors with no interior hallways.
In the below sections, we will preview each of these resorts as well as our rankings of them so you can see which one we prefer the most. And while our choice might NOT be your choice, it could still give you a gauge of what to expect when planning a trip.
How Many Moderate Resorts Does Disney World Have?
For those wondering how many resorts fall in this category, there are currently 5 Moderate Resort hotels at Walt Disney World.
Sometimes the Fort Wilderness Cabins get included in lists and sometimes they do not. In this article, we’ve chosen to list them as one of the moderate resorts, and therefore are going with the official number being 5.
Here is the full list of Moderate Resorts:
- Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort
- Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort
- The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
As you see Port Orleans has two different resorts on their property, Riverside and French Quarter. These two hotels share some commonalities and share the same grounds but are two entirely different resorts. We will explain later.
The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are considered a moderate resort and are priced very similarly. Don’t get this confused with thinking this means the campground too.
The campground is typically the cheapest place to stay on Disney property and is NOT considered a moderate resort, just the Disney cabins.
The moderate resorts are a healthy compromise between the more expensive costs of the Disney Deluxe Resorts and the very affordable value resorts. As you’ll notice there is a significant difference in the minimum or maximum cost per night price for each resort.
The reason for this is it is entirely based on the time of year you visit. If you’ve visited Walt Disney World in the past, you know that if you visit during popular school vacation times such as holidays it’s more crowded and more expensive. The same is true of Disney resorts.
When looking at these below prices you’ll see wild variances in prices per night and that’s the reason. Here’s a tip: if possible, go during slower times of the year!
Below are the prices you can expect to pay for a standard room at a Disney Moderate Resort in 2023:
- Coronado Springs Resort: $250 – $456
- Caribbean Beach Resort: $258 – $479
- Port Orleans Riverside Resort: $278 – $451
- Port Orleans French Quarter Resort: $278 – $451
- The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort (Fits up to 6 people): $448 – $872
Below are the prices you can expect to pay for a standard room at a Disney Moderate Resort in 2024:
- Coronado Springs Resort: $260 – $470
- Caribbean Beach Resort: $268 – $505
- Port Orleans Riverside Resort: $289 – $476
- Port Orleans French Quarter Resort: $289 – $476
- The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort (Fits up to 6 people): $466 – $920
(These prices include tax and are for standard rooms, except The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness.)
Many of these rooms have upgraded costs that would be additional fees, such as paying for an upgrade to have a 5th sleeper in the room or paying for a slightly better view. These prices above do NOT include those additional amenities and are just for the very base standard view rooms (the cheapest available rooms).
That is why we always recommend going to Disney World at the cheapest times of the year to save the most money possible.
The theming found at Disney’s Moderate Resorts is a more subtle and classier step up from the over-the-top theming found at Disney’s Value Resorts. While small children typically love the fun theming of Disney’s Value Resorts, adults will better appreciate the subtleness found within the theming of the moderate resorts.
The theming varies greatly depending on the resort that you choose. Here is the theming you will find at the different moderate resorts:
- Coronado Springs – Celebrates the blend of Spanish, Mexican, and Southwest American culture.
- Caribbean Beach – Captures the spirit of the Caribbean.
- Port Orleans Riverside – Rural Louisiana and Southern Mansions.
- Port Orleans French Quarter – The French Quarter in New Orleans.
- The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness – The timeless beauty of the American Frontier.
Comparing standard rooms at moderate resorts to standard rooms at value resorts and you’ll find a slight upgrade in terms of square footage. Moderate resorts have 314 square feet of space as opposed to the only 260 square feet found at the standard rooms at value resorts.
The only exception is of course The Cabins at Fort Wilderness which have 504 square feet of space, including a full-sized kitchen, a queen bed, bunk beds, and an additional double-sized sleeper sofa.
Disney Moderate Resorts Standard Room Size:
- Coronado Springs – 314 sq ft
- Caribbean Beach – 314 sq ft
- Port Orleans Riverside – 314 sq ft
- Port Orleans French Quarter – 314 sq ft
- The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness – 504 sq ft
While The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness are a significant upgrade in room size and additional guests (up to 6 guests), they come with a significant uptick in price and cost.
While you can expect to pay somewhere between $250-$278 per night for all of the other moderate resorts during the cheapest times of the year, a 1-night stay at The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness will cost $448.
However, this can be a great option for larger families if you are willing to pay a little more.
The amenities at Disney’s Moderate Resorts include some of the same perks as Value Resorts including:
Fun Arcades – Each of the moderate resorts has an arcade area for families of all ages, featuring a number of different games including the classics as well as newer ones.
Movies Under the Stars – An enjoyable way to enjoy your evenings on a beautiful night is to spend quality time watching a Disney movie outside under the stars! There is a different movie playing each night so ask the front desk for a schedule.
Jogging Trail – Each of the moderate resorts is equipped with a walking or jogging trail that allows you to take in some beautiful scenery while getting a little exercise!
Pool Areas – While the pool areas at the value resorts are fun for the entire family, the moderate resorts have some of our favorite pool areas and are a significant step up!
These include the Doubloon Lagoon at French Quarter, the Dig Site Pools at Coronado Springs, and the Fuentes del Morro Pool at Caribbean Beach. And unlike the value resorts, the moderate resort pools also have slides and hot tubs.
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Reasons to Stay at a Moderate Resort
Staying at one of Disney’s Moderate Resorts can be an unforgettable experience for the entire family! There are many reasons why your family might consider staying at one. Our stays at moderate resorts have been an enjoyable and worthwhile adventure, allowing us to get a slightly higher-end experience than staying at a value resort.
In this section we will touch on the 7 main reasons why staying at a moderate resort might be the absolute best situation for you and your family.
Disney Resort Perks
If you’ve never stayed on-site at a Disney World Resort you’ll likely be surprised that guests staying at a Disney World Resort have several perks that guests staying outside of Disney don’t get. And staying at a moderate resort allows you to take advantage of all of those perks! What are some of these perks?
- Early Theme Park Entry – Guests staying at any Disney resort can enter the parks 30 minutes before other guests every day with Early Theme Park Entry. Those 30 minutes are extremely valuable, possibly allowing you to get on an extra ride or two with minimal wait.
- Access to the 7:00 am Booking Window for Lightning Lane – For guests staying at Disney Resorts, they are able to buy Individual Lightning Lanes at 7:00 am each morning as opposed to waiting until the park opening allows you to get a huge leg up on those not staying on site.
- Ability to Book Dining Reservations 60 days in Advance – Those without a Disney Resort Reservation can only book Advance Dining Reservations 30 days prior. When you have a Disney Resort reservation, you can begin booking your reservations 60 days prior to the start of your trip which is a huge advantage in getting those difficult-to-book ADRs.
- Free Parking at the Theme Parks – If driving a vehicle, Disney Resort guests can park for free at any of the Disney theme parks. Our Disney World Parking Guide explains how it works in detail.
The transportation options found at Disney’s Moderate Resorts are better on average than the value resorts but are also mostly reliant on Disney’s Bus Transportation.
All of the moderate resorts have free access to Disney’s Bus Transportation which will take you to all 4 four Disney theme parks, the 2 water parks, and Disney Springs. And while bus transportation can be long and tiresome, it’s better than nothing!
However, we do feel that Disney’s bus transportation has gotten slightly better and more efficient in recent years, so it’s not quite as painful as before.
While the transportation options at moderate resorts aren’t as extensive as the deluxe resorts, they have gotten considerably better! Especially with the addition of the Disney Skyliner!
For those guests staying at Disney’s Caribbean Beach, the HUGELY added benefit is that you can be on the Disney Skyliner hub. That means you have extremely efficient access to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios!
In addition to those two parks, you can also easily access several of the other Disney resorts. It’s a great way to enjoy a nice afternoon exploring or a meal at one of the other resorts!
The other moderate resorts will be mostly reliant on Disney buses with a few exceptions. Those at Fort Wilderness have boat transportation access to Magic Kingdom. And those at both Port Orleans resorts have access to boat transportation to Disney Springs.
If you really do NOT want to take a Disney Bus, one of our favorite themed Disney experiences is splurging to take a Minnie Van. This is a unique way to get a Disney Cast Member to take you to any site on Disney Property! It is costly, but a fun and super convenient way to get anywhere on-site while getting the same great Disney customer service.
And if going the budget route, you can’t go wrong with paying for a ridesharing service such as Uber. We use these all the time and have had nothing but great experiences. And they’re SUPER reasonably priced.
For those staying at a Disney Moderate Resort, you can expect better and more subtle Disney theming. While Disney Value Resorts can be enjoyable for families with small children that love the over-the-top Disney Characters and icons on all the buildings and pool areas, don’t expect that at a Disney Moderate Resort.
Tastefully themed, moderate resorts blend into the landscape with more subtle and unique theming that will surely transport you to a different part of the world that maybe you’ve never had an opportunity to experience!
If you or your family enjoys the relaxed tropical vibe of the Caribbean Islands, you can’t go wrong with Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.
Or maybe you enjoy the more Southwestern feel of Arizona and New Mexico with the Spanish and American Indian influences, in which case, you’ll love the luxury of Coronado Springs Resort.
Perhaps your family has always wanted to experience New Orleans at Mardi Gras, then you’ll love the theming found at Port Orleans – French Quarter Resort.
If you think you’ll enjoy the picturesque cobblestones of rural Louisiana with horse-drawn carriages, magnolias, and poplar trees surrounding you, you’ll greatly enjoy Port Orleans – Riverside Resort.
Or maybe you want to be transported to a remote campground that feels completely removed from the Disney Parks and instead feels like you’re somewhere in the Great American Frontier, then you’ll love The Cabins at Fort Wilderness.
If you haven’t noticed, the theming at Disney’s Moderate Resorts is refined, nuanced, and highly varied depending on your interests so you can’t go wrong no matter your family’s style!
Better Rooms and Beds
The room and bedding situation found at moderate resorts is a class above the value resorts, which is great after a long day in the 4 theme parks.
Unlike the double beds found at most of the value resorts, moderate resorts offer either double queen beds or one king bed. Many of the rooms found at moderate resorts also allow for an additional sleeper, allowing up to 5 people to sleep in one room.
Many standard rooms at both Caribbean Beach Resort and Port Orleans Riverside offer two queen beds and an additional bed allowing for up to 5 people in a room.
Standard rooms at Coronado Springs and Port Orleans French Quarter still only fit 4. However, Coronado Springs has some upgraded rooms that will allow for additional people.
Great Pools and Amenities
The pools and all-around amenities are a big reason to consider staying at a moderate resort. For example, the resort pool areas here are awesome, and they have some of our favorite pools in all of Disney!
They also have slides and hot tubs, unlike the value resorts. This is a nice addition for families, especially for families that want to spend more time around the pool.
Couples will love having the hot tubs to lounge around in while their kids enjoy the pool areas while not feeling too far away so that you can keep your eyes on them at all times.
The pool areas found at moderate resorts are more elaborate and adult-oriented in comparison to the kiddie themes found at the value resorts and it just feels like more time and care went into creating them.
The moderate resorts also offer additional smaller pool areas for guests that want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the louder pool areas.
You should also expect to find the same fun amenities that the value resorts have including jogging trails, movies under the stars, playgrounds, and arcades. These fun common areas at the moderates feel more family-friendly for the entire family as opposed to the kid-dominated common areas at the value resorts.
Best Way to Save Big $$$ on Disney Resorts
Expensive but Still Affordable
And while the moderate resorts are a tick above the value resorts in terms of price, the price difference is more obtainable to stay at as opposed to the much more costly deluxe resorts.
Many families find the cost difference between moderate resorts and value resorts somewhat negligible, especially when comparing the cost of a value resort such as Art of Animation which can almost be classified as a moderate resort in terms of cost. (You will only save $30-$40 a night there over the moderate resorts anyway.)
What you pay in terms of price you’ll more than make up for in terms of experience, quality, convenience, and theming.
Moderate resorts are definitely more expensive than value resorts but they are still considerably more affordable than deluxe resorts. They can be a nice stepping stone for families that want a step up in terms of quality or perhaps if their kids have outgrown the theming of value resorts.
Better Meal Options
Options found at Disney’s Moderate Resorts for food are considerably better than what you’ll find at a value resort. While they do still have quick-service food options like at the value resorts, each of the moderate resorts (other than Port Orleans French Quarter) also has at least one sit-down table-service restaurant.
This can be a nice upgrade for families that want the convenience of enjoying a nice sit-down meal for one or multiple of their meals right within their resort.
Overall, moderate resorts have upgraded dining options with good variance between quick grab-and-go food options to unique sit-down restaurants if you are looking for something nicer.
Best Disney World Moderate Resorts Ranked
Just like when we did the Value Resorts, ranking the Moderate Resorts proved to be an exercise that was much more difficult than it appeared on paper. Even though there are only 5 of them on our list, many of them are very similar and hard to separate.
Two of them are even part of Disney’s Port Orleans Resort (French Quarter and Riverside). In the end, I can’t say there are a ton of differences and most of the time when we were comparing them it was like splitting hairs.
Even though there isn’t a huge separation between the Moderate Resorts, we still wanted to put them in order from our least favorite to our favorite, as well as the pros and cons you can expect to find at each one. It will likely come down to your personal preference in theming, location, and amenities that are the deciding factor for you.
Our Ranking Factors
Some of the things we looked at to help us form our ranking included:
- Value – What is the difference in price between them and what are you getting for that extra money?
- Theming – How much did the theming transport us away into that unique atmosphere?
- Convenience – Location in comparison to the theme parks, Disney Springs, or other interesting places?
- Rooms – Are the rooms comfortable? How big are they and how many people do they fit?
- Dining Options – Restaurants at that particular hotel.
- Amenities – Pools and other activities the resort provides.
- Transportation – What transportation options are available from here?
Some other factors included if the resort or guest rooms have recently been refurbished or if any significant upgrades have been made to the property.
We are budget-minded travelers, so perhaps the biggest factor in deciding our rankings was the price in comparison to the others.
To be clear, we enjoy all of the Moderate Resorts, and we’d recommend any of them to our readers. However, there are definitely some we like more than others and that we book more often.
Lastly, keep in mind that our list is based on our personal preferences, so it’s possible you will come up with a totally different order for them. Check out our list and then let us know how it compares to your favorites.
5. The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
- 2023 Cost: $448 – $872 a night (Includes tax)
- 2024 Cost: $466 – $920 a night (Includes tax)
- Location: Magic Kingdom area
- Theme: A campground that focuses on the beauty found on the American Frontier
- Rooms: 409 Cabins with full-sized kitchens and living areas
- Family Suites: No, but the cabins fit 6 people.
A stay at The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort is a unique experience you can’t find anywhere else! And while a stay here is truly one-of-a-kind, our family personally prefers a little more luxury and convenience for our trip.
We have camping sites located all around us and when we visit Disney World, we typically don’t want to have a rustic camp-style experience. That’s not to say we don’t ever enjoy Fort Wilderness, we do! But in most instances, we prefer the other moderate resorts.
The Cabins can use some freshening up to allow them to keep up with the other moderate resorts. Because of the cost associated per night and the dated rooms, we don’t feel that we can have The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort any higher on our list.
*Disney recently announced a major refurbishment to the Fort Wilderness Cabins, with a complete overhaul of the style and they are also changing into a DVC property.
The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort can be a great option for larger families of up to 6 people. It can be a terrific way to save money by cooking your own meals, with the convenience of having a full kitchen and charcoal grill on each site.
If your family enjoys the outdoorsy feel of a campground while feeling far removed from the craziness of the Disney parks, you’ll probably love The Cabins at Fort Wilderness.
- P & J’s Southern Takeout – Quick-service location serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Meadow Snack Bar – Snack bar featuring a medley of different snacks and sandwiches.
- Crockett’s Tavern – A lounge with an assortment of drinks and lounge fare inside Pioneer Hall.
- The Chuck Wagon – Quick-service area with a number of different foods. Serving dinner only.
- Trail’s End Restaurant – Newly converted marketplace concept with expanded quick service options on the menu. Breakfast and dinner serving classic American favorites (get the fried chicken!).
- Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue – 2-hour family-friendly dinner and show featuring dancing, singing, and comedy. All-you-care-to-eat fried chicken! A great time for the whole family!
We wholeheartedly recommend visiting the Tri Circle-D Ranch! Take a pony ride or a trail ride with one of the 90 different horses on-site!
You’ll also discover the Dragon Calliope, which is the horse-drawn musical instrument that Walt Disney personally purchased for the Mickey Mouse Club Circus Parade at Disneyland in the 1950s.
4. Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
- 2023 Cost: $278 – $451 (Includes tax)
- 2024 Cost: $289 – $476 a night (Includes tax)
- Location: Near Disney Springs
- Theme: Rural Louisiana
- Rooms: 2048
- Family Suites: No but for an additional cost you can add a 5th sleeper
While we prefer Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside to The Cabins at Fort Wilderness, we almost always prefer the other moderate resorts on our list, hence the reason why we have Riverside as our 4th-rated moderate hotel. Why?
Riverside is a beautiful resort, from the manufactured grounds to the rural Louisiana setting, but the problem is it’s not overly captivating for small children and the theming might not be overly interesting for many families.
We mostly enjoy the ‘Old South’ feel of Riverside, but it’s one of those places in which you have to be in the “mood for.” It’s not a place you feel like going to all the time, and when you do, it can be challenging to get there.
The transportation options are also limited and access to the Disney parks is strictly via the Disney bus system.
It’s an ideal stomping ground for people that love the theming of the “Old South.” It’s a great tranquil atmosphere for those that want to escape the loudness of the parks.
It’s also super convenient for guests that plan on spending a lot of time in Disney Springs, as it’s just a short boat ride away. Though we enjoy it, we typically DON’T recommend this resort for families with small children.
- Riverside Mill Food Court – Visit different stations to get a variety of food offerings for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- River Roost – A charming lounge found inside the resort. You’ll find a full bar as well as some tasty snacks.
- Muddy Rivers – A fun poolside bar that features a broad variety of specialty drinks.
- Boatwright’s Dining Hall – A table-service restaurant that serves specialties that one would expect to find in the Bayou. Only serving dinner.
Take a horse-drawn carriage ride! Along with Fort Wilderness, Riverside is the only other resort where you can take a carriage ride and at Riverside, you can enjoy a serene and peaceful ride on the banks of the Sassagoula.
This is a lovely way to surprise a loved one and a perfect romantic end to an evening and is surely something you’ll never forget! Carriage rides are about 25 minutes long and fit 4-5 people.
3. Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
- 2023 Cost: $278 – $451 (Includes tax)
- 2024 Cost: $289 – $476 a night (Includes tax)
- Location: Near Disney Springs
- Theme: The French Quarter in New Orleans
- Rooms: 1008
- Family Suites: No
We thoroughly enjoy Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter. It’s our preference between the two Port Orleans Resorts, and it’s the reason why we have it 3rd on our list.
What separates the French Quarter for us from Riverside is its quaintness. It just feels serene and exclusive, and the New Orleans-style theming is preferred for us over the rural Louisiana feel of Riverside.
Similar to Riverside, the theming of the French Quarter isn’t conducive or overly exciting for small children. The transportation options are limited, and generally, those staying at the French Quarter will have to walk longer due to sharing bus transportation, a table service restaurant, and pools with Riverside.
Due to these inconveniences, we couldn’t put it further up on our list, although we do enjoy the French Quarter!
Port Orleans French Quarter is one of the best resorts in all of Disney for those that enjoy peace and quiet! It certainly is the quietest resort among all the moderate resorts.
It is ideal for families that want to escape the hustle and bustle of being in Disney. Those who love New Orleans and the classic Mardi Gras feel will also LOVE this resort.
- Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory – Enjoy a number of Mardi Gras-inspired foods at this good quick service option.
- Scat Cat’s Club Lounge – A contemporary New Orleans-style jazz lounge featuring a number of themed cocktails.
- Scat Cat’s Club Cafe – You’ll love those Mickey beignets here along with other drink offerings.
- Mardi Grogs – Pool bar features a number of specialty cocktails and some straightforward snack and sandwich offerings.
One of the most popular spots for foodies is Scat Cat’s Club Cafe! The adorable and super tasty Mickey-shaped beignets can be had both with and without alcohol. They make them fresh on the spot and trust me, they shouldn’t be missed!
2. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- 2023 Cost: $258 – $479 per night (Includes tax)
- 2024 Cost: $268 – $505 a night (Includes tax)
- Location: EPCOT Resort Area
- Theme: The spirit of the Caribbean Islands
- Rooms: 2112
- Family Suites: No but for an additional cost you can add a 5th sleeper
Our family historically has visited Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort more than any other resort on the moderate list. We love it! And with the addition of Disney’s Skyliner, it’s even more convenient and accessible when it comes to the Disney Parks.
We have it 2nd on our list of moderate resorts due to its convenience and theming! Our family loves the island theme, and with the recently upgraded rooms and lobby, Caribbean Beach is more beautiful than ever!
It’s hard to select between Caribbean Beach and Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort for our 1st option for staying at a moderate resort, but the main reasons are luxury and dining options. Caribbean Beach is simply not at the same level of classiness or luxury as Coronado Springs. (More specifically the Gran Destino Tower.)
Caribbean Beach is a humbler and more down-to-earth resort that lacks the upscale nature, but it pales in comparison to the plethora of dining options at Coronado Springs.
Who doesn’t love the vibe of the Caribbean? Immediately upon getting to the Caribbean Beach Resort, you’ll feel like you’re hopping aboard one of the (5) islands that are featured at the Caribbean Beach.
If your family enjoys island life, including the music and Caribbean fare, you’ll love the setting at the Caribbean Beach. It’s also the most conveniently located resort among all of the Disney Moderate Resorts, due to being the home base for the Disney Skyliner.
- Sebastian’s Bistro – Celebrate the spirit of the islands with this table-service sit-down restaurant
- Centertown Market – A quick-service location that features a number of unique Caribbean-inspired choices for all times of the day
- Centertown Market Grab & Go – A nonchalant market that has a number of easy on-the-go snacks
- Banana Cabana – A walk-up poolside bar that offers tropical drinks and a variety of different snacks
- Spyglass Grill – A quick-service food location that features a number of different American foods with a Caribbean twist. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Enjoy Sebastian’s Bistro for one of your meals and get the famous Pull-Apart Rolls! An under-the-radar restaurant in Disney World, Sebastian’s has a number of great food items for adventurous eaters. The most famous and popular item has to be the Pull-Apart Rolls though! You gotta try them.
1. Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
- 2023 Cost: $250 – $456 per night (Includes tax)
- 2024 Cost: $260 – $470 a night (Includes tax)
- Location: Animal Kingdom Resort Area
- Theme: Celebrates the blend of Spanish, Mexican, and Southwest American culture.
- Rooms: 1,915
- Family Suites: Yes. They have a number of different suites for families of different sizes.
Our number one resort when it comes to Disney’s Moderate Resorts is Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. We LOVE Coronado Springs, and we often choose it over some of the deluxe resorts. In fact, we believe that a stay at the Gran Destino Tower is more premier in nature than several of the deluxe resorts.
Prior to the addition of Gran Destino Tower, Coronado Springs Resort would have been several spots lower on the list. But with the recent addition of the tower, Coronado Springs blows the other resorts out when it comes to class and dining options.
With multiple lounges and restaurants scattered throughout the resort, Coronado Springs has by far the most amount of places to grab food, both quality options, and grab-and-go options.
And yes it’s not quite on the same level as Disney’s Caribbean Beach when it comes to location and convenience, however, we prefer the difference in class and dining over the convenience of the location.
While some might feel differently or they might prioritize personal values more, our go-to pick for moderate resorts is Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
Coronado Springs feels the most ‘upscale’ in terms of quality and elegance, especially if staying at the new Gran Destino Tower. The beautiful Gran Destino Tower is a new addition that is now the main lobby area for guests staying at Coronado Springs.
It’s also a popular resort for convention guests since it holds a large convention area on-site. A wide variety of different people of all ages can enjoy Coronado Springs from couples to families and is one of my wife’s and my favorite romantic resorts in Disney due to its waterfront appeal.
- Toledo – Expensive sit-down table-service restaurant with Spanish-inspired cuisine at the top of Gran Destino Tower.
- Three Bridges Bar & Grill – Beautiful setting on the lake with sandwiches, appetizers, and shared plates. They have our FAVORITE sangria in all of Walt Disney World.
- Rix Sports Bar & Grill – A fun sports bar that features a large menu and handcrafted cocktails.
- Dahlia Lounge – Stunning lounge at the top of Gran Destino Tower. Enjoy lovely views with tasty cocktails.
- Barcelona Lounge – On the bottom floor of the Gran Destino Tower, you’ll find pastries, a variety of coffee drinks, and light fair for breakfast while transitioning to a full bar in the afternoon.
- Siestas Cantina – This poolside location features a variety of lunch-type foods, including specialty cocktails as well.
- Maya Grill – A sit-down Mexican table-service restaurant that features Nuevo Latino cuisines.
- Cafe Rix – A cute cafe that features a large number of sweet treats and coffee.
- El Mercado de Coronado – Quick-service location with a large assortment of offerings for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Laguna Bar – Fun lakeside bar where you can find an exceptional menu of cocktails.
One of the most underrated spots to catch a sports event in all of Disney is Rix Sports Bar. There aren’t many great spots anymore to watch games, especially with the removal of the ESPN Club, but Rix is a solid option.
Their food is solid, albeit not great, but the atmosphere and the drinks are good, and it’s a fun vibe. We’ve had good experiences here and it’s even a great place to watch the Super Bowl in Disney World if it’s on when you are there.
Best Moderate Resort for Large Families (5 People or More)
Our pick for our favorite moderate resort for larger families is The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort. Here you will have the option to comfortably fit even up to 6 people in a cabin. They are a truly unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else on site.
And while it’s not the best pick for people looking for luxury or a higher-end experience, for families of 5 or more, the cabins are a unique and fun experience for the whole family where everyone can share the same common area.
If you need a room for 5+ people, make sure to read our Guide to Disney World Suites for Large Families where we break down all the pros and cons of each choice on property.
Moderate Resorts vs. Deluxe Resorts
When comparing moderate resorts to deluxe resorts, a number of factors have to come into play. If the price differences aren’t massive, we typically will pay a slight increase to get the experience of a deluxe resort. Why?
- Convenience – Deluxe resorts are often located right next to the Disney Parks and in many cases, within walking distance away
- Nicer Rooms – Deluxe resorts have bigger rooms and are just slightly nicer in terms of quality and amenities
- Better Pool Areas – In addition to generally nicer pool areas, the pools in the Deluxe resorts also have splash areas for kids to play in
- More Entertainment – Deluxe resorts have additional entertainment offerings for those that would like to spend more time at their resort
- Dining – Deluxe resorts have better dining options for those that would enjoy a signature dining experience
- Gyms and Spa – Deluxe resorts have gyms for those that love to exercise with many also having access to a full-service spa
- Immersing Theming – While the moderate resorts do a nice job of theming their resorts, the deluxe resorts take it to another level with subtle little touches throughout the resorts
These are just a few of the things that make staying at a deluxe resort slightly more luxurious than moderate resorts. Consider them all. The one outlier here is the Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs. In our opinion, staying at Gran Destino Tower is nicer than many of the Disney Deluxe Resorts.
If price is no factor at all, we absolutely recommend staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort. If price is the biggest factor for your family, consider staying at a moderate resort.
Depending on how large the price difference is, if staying at a moderate resort is the only option, you will absolutely still have a great and unforgettable Disney Vacation.
Moderate Resorts vs. Value Resorts
On the other hand, comparing moderate resorts to value resorts is a completely different story. We typically recommend value resorts if:
- Cost is your primary concern
- You won’t be spending any time at the resort
- You have very young children
If none of these are true and you want a slightly higher quality vacation, we recommend staying at a moderate resort. Why? Here are the three main reasons:
- Better theming – The entire theme of the moderate resorts is more tasteful and more conducive to teenagers and adults. It feels classier and more upscale.
- Better rooms and beds – Unlike the full beds at value resorts, moderate resorts have double queen beds or a king bed option. Plus they have slightly more square footage.
- Better food options – Rather than being stuck with just food court-style food all the time as the value resorts provide, the moderate resorts all have easy access to a table service restaurant. In the case of Port Orleans French Quarter, you can simply walk to Riverside or take the boat to Disney Springs.
There are additional reasons why we prefer moderate resorts to value resorts but these are the three main ones. For each Disney Vacation, there are many factors that govern your selection, and they could be different choices depending on those factors.
Whatever your choice is, we’ve had great trips staying at both moderate resorts and value resorts. We recommend reading our post on the Best Disney Value Resorts Ranked for a more in-depth look at them.
Reasons to Avoid Moderate Resorts
Even though we personally love them, there are a number of different motivations for why some people should avoid moderate resorts. In this next section, we will touch on the 7 reasons why you might consider avoiding moderate resorts.
Give careful consideration to each of these while considering the needs of your family. It’s possible they might sway you from avoiding a moderate resort and it’s also possible that these reasons don’t apply to you at all.
Long Bus Rides Inside the Resorts
If you didn’t already realize, some of Disney’s Moderate Resorts are massive. That means that with all that property space comes a lot of internal bus stops, making each of your bus rides that much longer! You will likely feel that you are on the bus forever going and leaving the Disney Parks.
Most of Disney’s Moderate Resorts have three or more bus stops on their internal bus loop! Here are the number of bus stops at each of the moderate resorts:
- Coronado Springs – 4 Bus Stops
- Caribbean Beach – 7 Bus Stops
- Port Orleans Riverside – 3 Bus Stops
- Port Orleans French Quarter – 1 Bus Stop (But shared buses with Riverside)
- The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness – 3 Bus Stops
Thankfully for guests staying at Caribbean Beach, you have access to the Disney Skyliner, making it a lot easier to get to/from EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.
But for the rest of the resorts, you can easily see how these internal bus loops can eat up a lot of time and cause a lot of frustration!
Lack of Tranquility
While Disney’s Moderate Resorts typically are significantly quieter than value resorts, most of them still don’t feature the levels of tranquility that the deluxe resorts offer.
You’ll still likely be swarmed by other guests waiting for Disney Buses, in the food court areas, and around the main pool areas! While there are more places to escape at the moderate resorts in comparison to the value resorts, they still pale in comparison to the deluxe resorts when it comes to quiet.
Not Enough Luxury
There’s something nice immediately upon stepping foot at a Deluxe Disney Resort. The theming, the smell, the floors, and just the overall grandness. And while the moderate resorts are a significant step up in comparison to the value resorts, they still lack in the luxury department.
Whether it’s the outdoor-only access to your hotel room (like a chain motel) or the hoards of people in all of the common areas of the hotel, moderate resorts certainly don’t feel as exclusive as deluxe resorts.
Again, the only exception to the rule is the Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs which is amazingly nice for the price.
Want More Dining Options
And while Disney’s Moderate Resorts mostly have a table-service option unlike the value resorts, they still pale in comparison to the dining options of the Disney Deluxe Resorts.
Deluxe resorts have typically two or more table-service restaurants on-site, usually a mix of family-style, buffet, or signature options. They also have a quick-service option in addition to a lounge area.
Unfortunately, most moderate resorts (other than Coronado Springs) only have access to one table-service restaurant option. In general, the dining options are significantly more limited for guests that want multiple options for meals.
Check out our Guide to the Best Disney World Resort Restaurants to see which ones make the list.
Lots of Walking
Be prepared to walk, a LOT! At Disney’s Moderate Resorts, you’ll find some of the largest footprints in all of Walt Disney World. That means that your hotel room could be a significant walk away from the common areas of the hotel, upwards of 15-20 minutes away!
And for many guests, that’s a hill they don’t want to die on, literally and figuratively. You’re walking can take you across large bridges across a lake or into the depths of the woods. This can be incredibly time-consuming and exhausting especially if you just want to go to the lobby to grab something quick or if you want to go to the pool.
And when you have to deal with a hot Florida day, this can be a ‘not so fun’ vacation experience, especially if walking isn’t your thing or you’re in a time crunch.
External Hallways (Mostly)
Although themed prettier than their value resort equivalents, the moderate resorts, in the same way, have external hallways that lead directly to your room.
This is reminiscent of many popular motel chains in the way in which they are designed, lacking the charm and any sense of luxury that the deluxe resorts have.
Just remember, this could be a big problem if you are returning from the parks and it decides to start downpouring on you (which is a common occurrence in Florida). It’s also not a great situation if you are in Walt Disney World during a hurricane because you will be forced to “shelter in place” in your hotel room, at least for a while.
Some Missing Elevators
Imagine taking a 15-20 minute walk with several suitcases to your hotel building only to get there and find that there is no accessible way to reach your hotel floor! Sadly, that is the case with a couple of the moderate resorts, having no access to elevators.
This can be incredibly frustrating and is a severe design flaw of two of the moderate resorts. The good news is this is only the case with the Port Orleans Riverside Resort and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.
If this could affect you, you’d be wise to contact Disney ahead of time to make sure you get a ground-floor room so that you don’t get stranded! Disney is usually great about making sure you are accommodated.
Are Disney Moderate Resorts Worth the Money?
Disney’s Moderate Resorts are NOT cheap, especially in comparison with their off-site neighbors, such as other nearby hotels or vacation homes. We almost always find that staying at a Disney Moderate Resort is worth the money, even if they are a little more costly than the alternatives.
First off, we love staying within the “Disney Bubble.” Being on-site affords all the amenities and conveniences of being within the Disney gates and there’s an unquantifiable benefit of being there and being amongst the Disney magic that unless you’ve done it before is hard to put into words.
It certainly is true you could save more money by staying off-site or staying at a Disney Value Resort, but the value is all relative in terms of where you put your priorities. Our family prioritizes getting the most amount of Disney magic on our trip, and for us, staying on-site is incredibly important most of the time we visit.
And if we can financially afford a moderate resort over a value resort, we typically choose that route. For more information on this, we recommend you review our article on the Benefits of Staying at a Disney World Resort can give you more info to help you make your decision.
How to Save Money at Moderate Resorts
Saving money at Disney World is always a priority for us when visiting as it likely is for you too. Thankfully, there are certainly a number of ways you can save money by staying at a moderate resort!
Here are some of our favorite ways to save money:
- Book Sooner! Typically Disney allows you to book a trip at least a year prior, in most cases longer. If you use an authorized Disney ticket agent, such as Show You The World Travel, they’ll not only help you book your vacation they’ll also find you additional savings if the rooms get any cheaper in the time leading up to your trip.
- Go at Off-Peak Times. Avoid going during popular times, such as holidays and school vacation times. You’ll save significant amounts of money by doing so! Our Disney World Crowd Calendar is a good place to do some research on the least crowded times of the year.
- Use Rewards Credit Cards. By taking advantage of cash-back credit cards or cards that offer travel credits, you can save even more money by booking vacations.
- Use those Discounts – Throughout the year, Disney offers different discounts on room-only or vacation packages. Sometimes these can save you as much as 20-30% or more, so when you see a good one, jump on it.
Off-Site Moderate Resort Alternatives
While we usually recommend staying on-site at Disney-owned resorts, there are a few outside hotels we’ve had good experiences with that are technically “not Disney” but have some awesome extras and can save you a few dollars.
Here are a few of our favorites:
- Walt Disney World Swan, Swan Reserve, and Dolphin – Although they are on-site, they are technically not owned by Disney. They are actually nicer in quality than many of the Disney Moderate Resorts and they are better situated. They are right on the Disney Boardwalk which means you get tons of great dining choices. Many times you can find these hotels during off-peak times in the $200 a-night range. They are owned by Marriott and can be booked directly through Marriott.
- Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista – Within walking distance of Disney Springs, this Hilton hotel is a great value for those looking for an alternative option to Disney-owned moderate resorts.
- B Resort & Spa – A modern and chic boutique hotel also found in the Disney Springs area, this trendy hotel is upscale and convenient. It doesn’t feel like Disney, but it’s reasonably priced and super convenient.
- Doubletree Suites by Hilton Orlando – This is our pick for larger families! This hotel is also found in the Disney Springs area. It’s a little further of a walk but it’s still convenient and can fit up to 6 people in a room! The prices are usually very reasonable.
If you decide to stay off-site, check out our list of the Best Hotels Near Disney World to find the best option for your family.
Top 3 Places to Stay in Orlando
Ultimate Luxury: Four Seasons Resort Orlando – Five Star Dining and Best Luxury Hotel in Orlando. On-site with many of the same perks as Disney Resort guests.
My Favorite: Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress – Best Pool and Amenities, Close location
Budget Hotel Near Disney: Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista – Great Value and upscale feel at a low price
Which Moderate Resort Has the Best Pool?
When it comes to the best pool amongst the moderate resorts, our choice has to be the Fuentes del Morro Pool found at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. This zero-entry pirate’s paradise is incredibly fun for family members of all ages. It also has two Water Slides and an entire shipwreck play area.
Plus, it has a pyramid right behind it which is hard to beat! It even ranks high on our overall list of the Best Pools in Disney World, not just for Moderate Resorts but for all resorts.
Which Moderate Resort Has the Best Rooms?
When it comes to the best Disney Moderate Resort in terms of rooms, it’s a tie between Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort and The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort.
If the size is your number one factor, you have to give the nod to The Cabins at Fort Wilderness. They fit up to six people and have a full kitchen. They also have by far the most amount of square footage which is great if you like to spread out a bit.
If quality is your most important factor, I’d give the edge to Coronado Springs. They’ve recently renovated all of their standard rooms, and they utilize the space really efficiently. They just feel nice and are almost reminiscent of a deluxe room.
Also, it’s no contest if we include the Gran Destino Tower which are more luxurious than half of the Deluxe Resorts around the property.
Which Moderate Resort Has the Best Transportation?
The most convenient Disney Moderate Resort when it comes to available transportation options is definitely Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Since it’s home to the Disney Skyliner, access to both EPCOT and Hollywood Studios is a breeze!
Not only those two parks, but you can also easily access several of the other resorts via the Disney Skyliner including the Crescent Lake Resorts (Yacht & Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn, and Swan & Dolphin), as well as Disney’s Art of Animation and Pop Century Resorts.
Which Moderate Resort is Closest to the Magic Kingdom?
If wanting to be near Magic Kingdom is your priority, the best option among Disney’s Moderate Resorts has to be The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. A simple water boat taxi away brings you directly to the front entrance of Magic Kingdom. You absolutely can’t beat that view on the way in!
Best Moderate Resort for Adults?
This is debatable but in our view, however, the best moderate resort for adults has to be Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. With access to the most available dining options among the moderate resorts and arguably some of the most romantic spots in all of Disney, we love the Coronado Springs Resort.
It also has rooftop dining, waterfront dining, and stylish new rooms which make Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort number one. It’s even better if you pay the added cost to stay at the Gran Destino Tower.
Its on-site convention center also means in general it will attract fewer families and more singles or couples than some of the other moderate resorts.
Read our Guide to the Best Disney Resorts for Adults for a comparison of all the pros and cons.
Best Moderate Resort for Dining?
There is a clear winner among Disney’s Moderate Resorts when it comes to dining, and far and away it is Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Between Toledo, an amazing Spanish-style tapas restaurant at the top of the Gran Destino, and Three Bridges which sits on one of the most beautiful settings in all of Disney, it’s really difficult to top Coronado Springs.
Both in terms of quality and quantity of dining options, there’s no beating Coronado Springs. And Toledo-Tapas, Steak, & Seafood even made our list of the Best Places to Eat in Disney World.
Best Moderate Resort for Location?
When it comes to the best all-around locations among Disney’s Moderate Resorts, the clear winner is Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.
Between being within walking distance of Disney’s Riviera Resort (one of our favorite deluxe resorts) and having the best Disney Skyliner access, getting around at the Caribbean Beach is incredibly convenient and the most all-around versatile.
Are the Disney Moderate Resorts Pet-Friendly?
Many guests are surprised to know that Disney has four resorts that are pet-friendly. The good news is, this also includes two of Disney’s Moderate Resorts.
Both Port Orleans Riverside and The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are pet friendly. For $50 extra a night, you can have up to two dogs in your room which is enough for most guests.
Now that you’ve compared all the different Moderate Resorts and you’ve figured out which one is right for your family, it’s time to make your reservations. Figuring out how to book a Disney vacation doesn’t have to be difficult. There are two ways to do it:
- Book directly through Disney
- Book with an Authorized Disney Travel Planner
Booking through Disney – This is the most direct option and it’s easier for people who have been to Disney World a million times and know exactly what they want, and that don’t need any additional help. You can book your stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel directly on the Disney World website or by calling (407) 939-4357.
Booking through Disney Travel Agent – This is the easiest way to book your hotel and our preferred method. A friendly Disney vacation planner will help you during every step of the vacation process, they will answer any questions about your needs, and help you decide which resort is best for your family.
We highly recommend using René Cittadino at Show You the World Travel for your Disney World reservations. They are the absolute BEST, and I’ve used them countless times to book my own hotel reservations and packages. Trust me, her amazing team will give you the best treatment around and help you have your most magical vacation ever!
They will also help you with dining reservations, booking special events, and more. The best part is that they are 100% FREE and it doesn’t cost you any more money to use them than it does to book directly through Disney. They are even great at getting special discounts when new promotions come out to save you money after booking so give them a try!
That wraps up our ranking of the top Disney World Moderate Resorts. We hope that we gave you some good info so you can pick which one is right for your family to stay at on your next trip!
If you are going to Disney World soon, make sure to read our Disney World Planning Guide for all the tips and info you will need to cover everything! Also, check out our Disney World Crowd Calendar so you know when the best time to visit is!
I want to know what you think about our ranking of the best moderate resort hotels at Walt Disney World…
- What is your favorite Disney World Moderate Resort to stay at?
- Which do you think is #1?
Let us know in the comments section below!
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