Best Disney Moderate Resorts 2018-10-11T17:37:03+00:00

Best Disney Moderate Resorts

Disney Moderate Resorts are the mid-tier hotel option at Disney World. While Disney Deluxe resorts offer more in terms of luxury and convenience – and Disney Value resorts offer great kid-friendly theming at a low price – Disney’s Moderate resorts offer just the right combination of affordability, amenities, and ambiance. As such, they provide a great middle ground option for both young families and adults without kids. Let’s review some of the key features of these Disney World hotels, and then reveal our Top 5 best Disney Moderate resorts list.

What are Disney Moderate Resorts?

As you decide which resort to book for your Walt Disney World vacation, your decision will really come down to what compromises you are willing to make. If you must have the lowest cost vacation possible – or you are just trying to save money to spend elsewhere on your trip – a Disney Value Resort may be your best option. If you are willing to pay significantly more for superior rooms, amenities, and transportation options, then a Deluxe resort is your obvious choice. However, most people come down somewhere in the middle. Moderate Resorts tends to have more variety in terms of amenities, layout, dining, and transportation options in comparison to Value resorts, but certainly, don’t have all the bells and whistles of Deluxe resorts. As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” Moderates resorts are a great middle-ground. 

There are 5 Disney Moderate Resorts: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Coronado Springs Resort, The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, and Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter. Each has its own distinctive character and amenities. Let’s take a look at some of the attributes of these Disney Moderate resorts.

(Note: Several Disney Moderate resorts are undergoing refurbishment and expansion projects, so you may encounter some construction-related inconveniences. Check with your Disney World travel planner for more information.)

Price

Deluxe resorts can be too expensive for most people on a budget. On the other hand, Value resorts are certainly less expensive but have smaller rooms and more kids (noise) to contend with. Disney’s Moderate Resorts are appealing because they have better amenities than Values yet are still affordable.

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Port Orleans Resort – Riverside,  and Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter are all priced in the same price range, while Coronado Springs tends to be slightly higher. The Cabins at Fort Wilderness are considered a “Disney Moderate Resort,” but their rates are significantly higher than standard room rates at other Moderates.  However, the Cabins are larger and can sleep more people (up to 6).

Properties

As far as acreage and the sheer number of rooms, Moderates are some of the largest resorts at Disney World. Port Orleans – French Quarter is the one exception, as it is a relatively small resort by Disney World standards.

Each resort feels like its own world, spread out and away from the bustle of the park. It feels as though you are staying in an all-inclusive resort island; buildings/areas are separated from one other with walking trails and water features are found throughout the properties. Unlike most Disney World properties, you get more of a sense of tranquil isolation. One downside to the larger, spread-out Moderate resorts is that choosing a room location becomes an important factor. Rooms closer to the lobby, main pool, and dining areas are often more expensive and in higher demand. However, securing a better location means that you won’t have to walk as far to dine after a long day at the park.

Resort Themes

Compared to the over-the-top themes of Disney Value resorts, the theming of Moderates is tasteful, subtle, and more “adult.”  You will find a few Disney themes throughout each resort, but they blend into the landscape much more than at Values. Moderate resorts are a great low-key getaway and a nice retreat after your lively day at the theme parks.  You could stay at a Moderate Resort and easily forget you are still inside Disney World!

Moderate resorts are themed as follows:

Caribbean Beach: Caribbean Islands

Coronado Springs: Northern Mexico and the American Southwest

The Cabins at Fort Wilderness: rustic frontier

Port Orleans – French Quarter: 19th Century New Orleans

Port Orleans – Riverside: Antebellum Louisiana plantation, bayou-side retreat

Transportation

All Moderate resorts offer bus transportation to and from the theme parks. Unlike Value resorts, Moderates have multiple bus stops throughout each resort (with the exception of Port Orleans – French Quarter).  This means that you won’t have to walk too far to catch a bus. Boat transportation is available at the following resorts: Fort Wilderness has a ferry to Magic Kingdom, while French Quarter and Riverside share ferry service to Disney Springs (the lively shopping and dining district of Disney World).

Room and Beds

The standard rooms at Disney’s Moderate Resorts offer double queen beds or one king bed. This is a nice upgrade from the double beds of Value Resorts. And while Value Resorts sleep 4 guest per room (plus 1 baby in a crib), most Moderate rooms sleep up to 5 guests. Both Coronado Springs and Port Orleans Riverside offer two queens plus a child-size pull-out bed (sleeping 5), whereas standard rooms at Coronado springs sleeps 4 (they also offer higher-priced suites to accommodate more guests, if necessary).

Standard rooms at Moderate resorts are 314 sq ft vs. 260 sq ft of Value resorts. The one exception is Fort Wilderness Cabins. While they are priced much higher than other Moderate resorts, the cabins are the largest standard option at Disney World (504 sq ft) and come equipped with a full-sized kitchen, a queen bed, bunk beds, and a double-sized sleeper sofa.

Pools & Amenities

Moderate and Value resorts both have a great selection of pools. One major difference is that pools at Moderates have additional features like water slides and hot tubs. Pool theming is also more elaborate at Moderates, as opposed to the kid’s/Disney character themes that a common at Value resorts.

Besides the one featured themed pool at Moderate Resorts, the larger resorts also offer several smaller, non-themed pools in different sections/wings of the resort.  And like the Value resorts, you still have the arcade rooms, playground, and jogging trails,  but they feel more family-oriented instead of totally dominated by kids. 

Dining

Dining options at Disney Moderate resorts are a step above the Value Resorts. Unlike Values – which just have a quick service option – all Moderates have both a quick-service restaurant and a table-service restaurant. The one exception is Port Orleans French Quarter (no table service option). However, this isn’t really a problem because guests can easily walk to Boatwright’s Dining Hall (Port Orleans – Riverside). The two Port Orleans resorts also benefit from their accessibility to Disney Springs; guests can board a riverboat to Disney Springs and dine at some of Disney World’s best restaurants. Overall, Moderate Resorts offer excellent dining options  – from quick casual to wonderful table service meals.  

List: Top 5 Best Disney Moderate Resorts

Here is our list of the top 5 best Disney Moderate Resorts. We consider such factors as value, amenities (pools, dining, rooms), themes, and so forth.

cabins at fort wilderness

Resort: The Cabins at Disney Fort Wilderness Lodge

Location: Magic Kingdom Resort Area

Opened: Nov. 19, 1971

Theme: Rustic Frontier Cabins

Rooms: 409 cabins

1 Queen Bed and 1 Bunk Bed and 1 Double-Size Sleeper Sofa

Sleeps up to 6 Adults

(This is a dog-friendly resort)

5. The Cabins At Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground 

This Moderate resort is comprised of free-standing rustic cabins set on 750 acres inside Fort Wilderness’ “frontier.”  Each cabin features a full-sized kitchen, a queen bed, bunk beds, and a double-sized sleeper sofa.  Since each cabin comfortably sleeps 6, this type of lodging would be great for a large family or group. The layout of the resort makes you feel separated from other guests, so its a nice retreat after a day at the park.  It is also a great resort for kids; they can ride bikes around the campground and enjoy playing out in nature.  

Due to the size of the resort, internal buses can be slow, despite the numerous bus stops throughout the resort.  Some guests may opt to rent golf carts to get around the expansive grounds.  There is also a boat launch that will take you to the Magic Kingdom.

Key features of the Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort include the Meadow Swimmin’ Pool with corkscrew water slide and whirlpool spa, the ever popular country-themed show Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, dog-friendly lodging, and the ability to pre-order a pantry full of fresh groceries for your kitchenette.  Additionally, the rustic Trail’s End restaurant serves buffet-style breakfast and dinner, and lunch à la carte menu at lunchtime.

Bottom Line: The Cabins at Fort Wilderness are certainly unique and quite different from all other Moderate resorts. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on your preference. The cabins are comparable to a 1-bedroom suite at other resorts. They accommodate up to 6 guests, and you do get some nice features like a kitchen to do your own cooking.  Since the resort is so spread out, transportation can be slow.  The biggest downside is that Fort Wilderness Cabins are much more expensive than other Disney Moderate Resorts. They are certainly less than Deluxe Resorts, but staying here may not be worth the extra money when other Moderates are more affordable and less rustic.

best disney moderate resorts

Image by Michelle Tribe

Resort: Coronado Springs

Location: Animal Kingdom Resort Area

Opened: Aug. 1, 1997

Theme: Colonial and Ancient Mexico

Rooms: 1,915

Suites: 2 bay, 3 bay, and 5 bay suites

4. Coronado Springs

Disney’s Coronado Springs is themed around colonial Mexico and the American Southwest. Each of its three sections —Casitas, Ranchos, and Cabanas—has its own Spanish architectural flare which incorporates bright colors, interesting designs, and stucco exteriors. Coronado Springs Resort is unique in that it has its own convention center. This is probably the only area within Disney World where its commonplace to see people dressed in business suits.

Coronado Spring is often referred to as a “Moderate Deluxe” resort because it offers some nice amenities which other Moderates don’t offer. Key among them is a full-service spa, salon, and 24-hr gym (La Vida Health Club).  Other notable features include the  Lost City of Cibola Pool (built around a splendid 50-foot Mayan pyramid replica), the Latin fusion cuisine of Mayan Grill, and a 22-person hot tub (the largest of its kind at Disney World). 

Bottom Line: The southwestern architecture dazzles, the pool is magnificent, the 24-hour health club is great for fitness junkies, and the spa/salon provides offers an opportunity to splurge. As far as negatives, standard rooms at Coronado Springs are priced slightly higher than other Disney Moderate Resorts (with the exception of the Cabins at Fort Wilderness).  Some feel the price difference is justified due to the Deluxe-like amenities. However, if the health club/spa doesn’t interest you, then this resort might not be worth the extra money. Another negative is the number of convention people staying at the resort. Some guests may feel like they are staying in Las Vegas – not Disney World. That said, if you are looking for a large, spread out resort – with great architecture, water features, and amenities – then Coronado Springs fits the bill. 

best disney world moderate resorts

Image by Michael Gray

Resort: Port Orleans – Riverside

Location: Disney Springs Resort Area

Opened: Dixie Landings: February 2, 1992

Theme:  Antebellum South

Areas: Magnolia Bend, Alligator Bayou

Rooms: 2048

Suites: Royal Guest Rooms in Magnolia Bend

3. Port Orleans – Riverside

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside reflects a southern antebellum along the Mississippi River. Built in 1992, the resort initially opened the Alligator Bayou section, and later added the Magnolia Bend section a short time after. Each section has 1,024 guest rooms, with Alligator Bayou’s featuring rustic, weathered lodges and Magnolia Bend styled with building to mimic the grand manor homes of southern plantations.

Some notable features of Port Orleans Resort Riverside include the Riverside Mill Food Court (a quick service restaurant), Boatwright’s Dining Hall (casual table service),  the Ol’ Man Island pool, and 5 smaller leisure pools scattered about the property. Guest can take buses to/from the theme parks, or take the Sassagoula River Cruise boat to Disney Springs (the major shopping and dining area of Disney World).

Bottom Line: Port Orleans – Riverside’s theming is spectacular, particularly if you are an adult. There are quiet and scenic pathways stretching through the bayou wilderness along the banks of the Sassagoula River. You really feel like you are in a Louisiana port city instead of inside Disney World.  The manicured grounds – with the mansions as a backdrop – are also a sight to behold.  We also love the riverboat access to Disney Springs. We don’t recommend this resort for small children. However – for couples, adults, and possibly teenagers – both Port Orleans-Riverside (and French Quarter) resorts are a fantastic option. 

caribbean beach resort

Image by Darren06811

Resort: Caribbean Beach Resort

Location: Epcot Resort Area

Opened: Oct. 1, 1988

Theme:  Tropical Islands

Areas: Aruba, Barbados, Jamaica, Martinique, Trinidad North, Trinidad South

Rooms: 2112

Suites: none

(tie) 1. Caribbean Beach Resort

Best Moderate Resort for Families with Kids

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is a tropical paradise.  Located near Typhoon Lagoon water park in the Epcot area of Disney World, this resort has 6 villages with names to match Caribbean islands – Aruba, Barbados, Jamaica, Martinique, Trinidad North, and Trinidad South. In total, the area comprises 33 2-story building and surrounds the centerpiece of the resort, a 45-acre lake known as Barefoot Bay. The promenade around the lake provides plenty of leisurely activities like walking, jogging, and biking. In the center of Barefoot Bay lies Caribbean Cay, an island accessible by a footbridge. There you will find a children’s playground and a family picnic area.

Caribbean Beach Resort offers plenty of actives to keep you entertained. Guests have an opportunity to relax along the sandy shores of the lake, play beach volleyball, rent watercraft, grab a drink at the Banana Cabana pool bar, enjoy a quick service meal at Old Port Royale Food Court, or the Caribbean influenced cuisine of Shutter’s at Old Port Royale. The resort’s feature pool –  Old Port Royale –  is a teaming with it waterfalls, water slides, and shooting cannons.  In addition, each of the 6 villages has its own swimming pool (and most have playgrounds). So, as you can see, there is plenty of fun to be had. Kids will never run out of activities to keep them occupied after the theme parks close, and the relaxed Caribbean island theming makes everyone just want to kick off their shoes and soak up the sun.  

Bottom LineWhile Coronado Springs is a top-notch Disney Moderate resort, we rank Caribbean Beach Resort higher for a few different reasons. When it comes to family vacations, you are bound to have some different personalities. Kids may like one thing and adults prefer something entirely different. At Caribbean Beach, there really is something for everyone to enjoy.  Plus, who doesn’t like a laid-back Caribbean/pirate theme? Kids love the water features – like the water slides and the pirate ship splash pad – while adults love the relaxed vibe and island theme. Coronado Springs may have a few nicer upgrades, but Caribbean Beach is also slightly less expensive. Plus, you won’t have to deal with the convention center crowds.  If you looking for a family resort that is fun and affordable – but not as noisy or as “motel-like” as the inexpensive Value Resorts – you really can’t go wrong with Caribbean Beach.

port orleans french quarter resort

Resort: Port Orleans – French Quarter

Location: Disney Springs Resort Area

Opened: May 17, 1991

Theme:  Quaint New Orleans/Mardi Gras

Areas: French Quarter

Rooms: 1008

Suites: none

(tie) 1. Port Orleans – French Quarter

Best Moderate Resort for Adults 

Port Orleans – French Quarter is one of Disney’s smallest resorts. It is highly sought after for its quaint ambiance and quiet surroundings. Themed around the pageantry and romance of New Orlean’s French Quarter, this Moderate resort is situated along the lush landscaping of Sassagoula River. While much of the theming may be lost on children, adults will be charmed by the magnolia trees, cobblestone streets, gas lamps, and wrought-iron fences. There are jazz elements and colorful Mardi Gras icons throughout to contrast the romantic with the lively playfulness of New Orleans.

Some of the key features of Port Orleans – French Quarter include the Doubloon Lagoon 225,000-gallon swimming pool with sea-serpent themed water slide, the Sassagoula River path (great for quiet evening strolls), a riverboat ferry to Disney Springs, Scat Cat’s Lounge jazz club, a food court, and it’s close proximity to Port Orleans – River’s fabulous table service restaurant – The Boatwright.

Bottom Line: In our opinion, the Port Orleans resorts are the best moderate option for couples and other adults. While Port Orleans – Riverside has equally fantastic amenities, we really like the quiet charm of the smaller French Quarter.  A lot of the quaint features are lost on children. Besides the playground and pool areas, there isn’t the same level of kid-friendly features that resort’s like Caribbean Beach offer. But for adults, the leisurely pace, architecture, and ambiance make this a top pick.

We hope our Best Disney Moderate Resorts page has helped you prioritize your lodging for your Disney World vacation. For more useful Disney World information, please review some additional pages on MagicGuides, such as our helpful Disney Dining Plan CalculatorDisney Transportation Map, and Disney Travel Planners articles.

If you need help planning and booking your magical Walt Disney World vacation, contact our friends at The Vacationeer. Their services are always helpful and totally free of charge! Thank you for reading our page, and we hope you have a magical Walt Disney World vacation!

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