Disney resort categories are extremely confusing. In this blog series I am going to be comparing the resorts in each category.
Disney offers resorts with varying levels of amenities to fit every travel style and budget.
For more info check out Understanding Disney World Resort Categories
Basically, as you move up categories the amenities increase, and so does the price…
I love the moderate resorts. More often than not this is what I book for my own trips. The price allows me to afford multiple trips a year. There are 4 different resorts to choose from and each one offers great amenities and activities during your stay.
Caribbean Beach Resort
Coronado Springs Resort
Port Orleans French Quarter
Port Orleans Riverside
I love the added amenities at the moderate resorts like:
314 Square Foot Rooms
Table service restaurants
Elevated pools with a slide
With fun themes and Disney Characters
I think Disney World’s Moderate Resorts offer more “adult” accommodations, however children of all ages will still enjoy them. They don’t have the big character icons like the values, instead they transport you to a different place with a lot of Disney Magic.
Moderate Resorts offer more dining options, including Table-service and, in most cases, full service bars beyond just the pool bar. A main pool features a water slide and each area has its own quiet pool.
Moderate Resorts at Disney World are best for those who want a little more than just the bare essentials. These resorts have sprawling properties with immaculate landscaping that puts you in the theme of the resort. They add a touch more luxury, slightly larger rooms and some extra amenities but without the deluxe prices.
I want to make sure that you have all the information that you will need to make your decision on which resort is perfect for your family Disney vacation.
What are the resorts in this category and how do you decide which one?
A tropical paradise built around 45-acre Barefoot Bay, this Resort hotel brings the Islands to you with swaying palm trees, colonial architecture and so much more.
In the room, you will find a host of colors and some that are pirate-themed! Depending on how large your family is you are able to book a 5th sleeper room which is a slightly larger room with a twin Murphy bed suitable for children under 12. Enjoy “island hopping” (or pool hopping) as you explore 200 lushly landscaped acres, or simply find a hammock and soak up the sun.
Located in the Epcot Resort Area you are never far from some bus, taxi or skyliner transportation to all the Disney parks.
You will find some of the best restaurants at the Caribbean Beach Resort. Anything from sit down feasts to grab and go options you will not be disappointed.
Grab and Go Options for Coffee
Latin and Caribbean Flair for dinner
Order your meal on your phone for pick up
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Late Night Pizza Delivery
There are plenty of things to experience while you are at the resort.
6 Quiet Leisure Pools
Access to Beach
Water Play Zone for Kids
A Caribbean Pirate Adventure (additional cost)
4-12 years old
Follow clues to discover hidden treasure
Caribbean Beach Fire
Roast Marshmallows by the fire
Movies under the stars
This is the largest resort which means that there will be a lot of noise throughout the day and night. This is also an older hotel and in my experience it does have a damp smell to it. It has 8 bus stops and it can take a while to get to your park when taking the bus transportation.
If you have pirate-loving kids, a love for relaxing by the pool and on the beach and great fishing trips, the Caribbean Beach Resort is a place where you can call home for your family vacation to Disney World.
Relive the romance of Spanish Colonial Mexico at this enchanting Resort hotel. Find your mythical city of gold in a Southwestern-themed haven—from brightly colored casitas to rustic ranchos. Each unique accommodation provides its own unforgettable escape… and a welcoming home away from home.
This resort is a lot less kid friendly and modeled towards adults. It is a great place to enjoy your honeymoon, engagement, birthday or just a nice relaxing weekend away. This is where my husband and I enjoyed our engagement trip.
This beautiful resort is located near the Animal Kingdom. You will find bus transportation to all of the parks with 4 internal bus stops located in each of the resorts themed sections.
If you do not want to spend your whole vacation at the parks walking around, standing in lines and sweating (because it is Florida) this resort has a lot of amazing things to do.
The Lost City of Cibola Pool
Dig site Playground
Available for all ages
Sprawling pool complex
Mayan ruins theme
123 foot long water slide
3 Leisure Pools
Aqua Fitness Blast
Outdoor Fitness Blast
All classes are free for guests and children must be with an adult.
Coronado Springs Resort has less of a Disney feel and is more adult-friendly than other resorts at Disney. Book yourself a relaxing massage and facial after a long day running around after your kids. There is also a full salon that you can make sure your hair looks amazing for that nice (and much needed) night out.
You can keep up with your fitness while away from home with two state of the art gyms fully equipped for both cardio and strength training.
If you enjoy running you can find a jogging trail and every Sunday morning there is a fun run around Coronado Springs Resort. Room Service is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner for when you feel like taking it easy.
You will also find some amazing restaurants and lounges on site:
Toledo- Tapas, Steak and Seafood
Spanish Inspired Cuisine
Intimate rooftop restaurant
Disney Resort Room Service
Traditional Mexican Cuisine
Lake View Dining
Coronado Springs Resort is a very large resort and walking to your room can be very long. The resort is also used as a convention hotel which can mean large groups are around all the time. Some people feel like people walking around in business attire take away from the magic. This resort is more focused on adult amenities, so if you have really young children this might not be the best option for your family vacation home away from home.
Port Orleans Resort- French Quarter is located in the Disney Spring Resort Area. Transportation to all of the parks is available by bus and you can also take a boat ride to Disney Springs.
It is the smallest of the Moderate Resorts with only one feature pool and one bus stop. The compact size makes its a favorite for many. Because it is so small it doesn’t have some many of the amenities of the other resorts but is a quick walk away from Port Orleans- Riverside if you need something.
When visiting New Orleans historic French Quarter you will feel like you are right in the middle of New Orleans with:
Wrought- iron balconies
Colorful Mardi Gras Characters
Cajun and Creole Specialties
There is so much to do while on site at the Port Orleans Resort- French Quarter.
Mardi Gras themed
51 foot long water slide
Mardi Gras bar
Ages 2-12 years old
Adult supervision is required
Dance to the beat
Mile long path around the resort
Beignet Fun Run every Sunday
Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Court
Quick Service Restaurant
Late Night Pizza
Delivered to your room
Scat Cat’s Club Lounge
Swinging Jazz Music
“Big Easy” Appetizers
Mardi Gras Pool Bar
This is a beautiful resort. You feel like you are in New Orleans with the beautiful architecture and cobblestone streets, but without the less savory party atmosphere. The colors of Mardi Gras and the smell of Beignet will make you happy that you chose this resort for your Disney stay. You will not find a quiet pool and there is not table service available but you will experience a great vacation or celebration.
Travel from the stately white-column mansions of Magnolia Bend to Alligator Bayou’s quaint backwoods cottages, delight in a picturesque setting that evokes the romance of rural Louisiana. Take a short walk along the Sassagoula River to Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, known for Southern specialties like gumbo, jambalaya, and beignets.
Port Orleans – Riverside is located in the Disney Spring area. You will have bus access to all the parks and a short boat ride to Disney Springs.
There are two sections in the Port Orleans-Riverside Resort. The Alligator Bayou and the Magnolia Bend. You will discover two very different sides of decorations and ambiance when you stay at this wonderful resort. Plus, if you want to bring your furry family member with you on vacation, this resort is pet friendly.
Murphy beds suitable for children under 12 in select rooms (to sleep 5)
Some rooms are Princess Themed
Fiber optic headboards
Ol’ Man Island
3.5 Acre refuge with a swimming and fishing hole
95 foot long rustic water slide
Daily Pool Party
Five Quiet Pools
3 in Alligator Bayou
2 in Magnolia Bend
Perfect for a nice relaxing day by the pool
2 to 12 years old
Dance to the beat
Mile long jogging path on Sassagoula River
Open for dinner
New Orleans Style home cooking (try the Mardi Gras Fritters)
Riverside Mill Food Court
Dinner and late night
River Roost Lounge
Live entertainment (Yeehaw Bob is a can’t miss!)
Muddy Rivers Pool Bar
Located at Ol’ Man Island
This is a beautiful resort full of amazing activities for all family members. You can also catch the boat and head to Disney Springs for a night of fun. The dining at Port Orleans – Riverside is not as strong as other resorts and the buses to the parks are spread out, this can make getting the parks inconvenient. However, with the pet friendly options and beautiful decorations this resort is still a great choice.
The right resort can upgrade your entire Disney vacation—but with more than 25 Disney resorts and hotels to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed! I can help you so you can choose the perfect-fit resort for your family—based on your budget, travel style, and family’s interests.
DOWNLOAD the Guide to Choosing the Right Resort to understand the differences in amenities, how to choose the resort with the right location and which resorts offer the activities you are looking for.
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