Everything You Need to Know About Moderate Resorts at Walt Disney World!
Updated: Feb 19, 2020
This is the second post in the 'Everything You Need to Know about Walt Disney World Resort Categories' Series! When traveling to Walt Disney World, there are a TON of resort options on property to choose from! I'm helping you make sense of the three resort categories: value, moderate and deluxe. I've already written about the pros and cons to the Value Resorts, and now we're going to dive into the moderate resort category.
Disney On-Site Resort Bonuses
Before we jump into the moderate resort category, remember that Disney offers special perks to all guests who stay at Disney Resorts, regardless of the category which they stay! As a guest at any Walt Disney World resort, you'll enjoy:
MagicBands for each member of your party
Free Magical Express Shuttle to and from Orlando International Airport
Shuttles to and from the four Disney theme parks, Disney Springs and the Disney water parks
Extra Magic Hours in the Disney theme parks
Movies Under the Stars at the resort
Early access to fastPass+ reservations before the off-site guests
Moderate resorts are the mid-tier resorts at Walt Disney World, providing more amenities, services and dining options than value resorts, but not the luxury level details of a deluxe resort. Some fun upgrades you will see at moderate resorts that won't be at (most) value resorts include: water slides, table-service restaurants, extra-special activities, and queen beds.
The Resorts Disney's Port Orleans Riverside
Disney's Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter (see below) are sister resorts, within easy walking distance of one another. These are fan favorite resorts, offering fantastic lush scenery with the backdrop of the Sassagoula River. Port Orleans Riverside takes you straight to the south! It features two sections: Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend. Alligator Bayou features rustic exteriors and here you will find rooms that sleep up to five people. Magnolia Bend is composed of stately mansions, and includes select themed "Royal Rooms", designed by Tiana for her princess friends!
Disney's Port Orleans Riverside is a huge resort and features abundant landscaping encircling Ol' Man Island where you'll find an old fashioned "swimming hole" with a water slide and a baby pool! Extra magical activities you'll find here include carriage rides, special nighttime entertainment at the River Roost Lounge, a waterslide, and free boat transportation down the river to Disney Springs. With four bus stop locations around the resort, your room will never be far from a bus stop.
Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter
Take a walk down Bourbon Street (albeit a much fresher version!) at Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort. In comparison to her sister resort, French Quarter is much smaller in size which - which can be incredibly convenient when walking to the food court or to your room after a long day at the parks! Here you'll find the famous New Orleans' snack, fresh beignets, with powdered sugar, which are truly not to be missed if you're staying at a Port Orleans resort!
Like Riverside, French Quarter also provides free boat transportation to and from Disney Springs. Head to the pool for a Mardi Gras party, complete with a "sea serpent" slide, Mardi Gras characters, and clams throughout shooting water from jets. A spray ground has recently opened with smaller slides, water shoots, and lots of fun for the younger guests in your party!
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
You'll find the bright Colors, stucco exteriors and geometric designs of Northern Mexico and the American Southwest at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. The three sections each feature a different type of Spanish-influenced architecture. Unique among the moderate resorts, Coronado Springs is a convention hotel, and because of it this it features some upgrades not found at the other moderates, including a full-service spa and health club.
The water features at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort are phenomenal. How about a slide down a 50-foot Mayan pyramid? Or relax in Walt Disney World's largest hot tub. Grab a margarita from Siesta's Pool Bar and relax after a long day at the parks!
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
Recently refurbished from top to bottom, Disney's Caribbean Beach resort is a tropical paradise for families. The resort is divided into six sections, each named after a Caribbean Island. The sections surround a central 45-acre lake, with footbridges crossing to Caribbean Cay, where you'll find playground and picnic area.
The resort's zero-entry feature pool includes two waterslides. For the little ones under 48", there's a pirate ship splash pad area. Other recreation includes boating, fishing and biking. Pirate fans will love the pirate-themed rooms, or board the Pirate Adventure Cruise in search of hidden treasure!
Don't forget to visit Sebastian's Bistro for a mouthwatering taste of the Caribbean! Coming to Caribbean Beach Resort in Fall 2019 is the brand new Skyline, a gondola-style transportation to Hollywood Studios and Epcot parks!
Disney's Cabins at Fort Wilderness
Completely different than the other resorts in the moderate category are the Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness. The cabins are located at Disney's own campground, Fort Wilderness, and each cabin sleeps up to six guests. Families will love the extra space, 504 square feet of it! Each cabin features a queen bed, a bunk bed and a sleeper sofa, as well as a full kitchen!
Fort Wilderness is a fun family area with nature, biking, horses and nightly campfires (with Chip and Dale!). Fort Wilderness is large - 750 acres! Many guests opt to rent golf carts to get around the campground. Bus transportation is available, as well as boat transportation to Magic Kingdom.
Trails End Buffet serves up a delicious (and one of the most affordable) buffets on WDW property, and the swimming hole features a large corkscrew waterslide. For pet lovers, the Cabins at Fort Wilderness are pet friendly!
The Facts: Moderate Resorts
Room averages 314 square feet (non-suite, excludes Cabins at Fort Wilderness)
Exterior room entrance
Coffeemakers & Ceiling Fans
Table-Service Restaurants at the resort (or within walking distance)
Large, themed pools, with waterslides and other water features
Resorts are often large and can be spread out.
Bang for Your Buck - Disney often has great deals for moderate resorts through Disney promotions. For just a little more than a value price point, you're getting a much nicer atmosphere and larger room!
Theming - definitely my favorite part of the different moderate resorts are the extra magical theming, each so different and immersive.
Accommodates Party of 5 - in the moderate resort category, you have some rooms that have fold-down beds that will sleep a fifth person, in addition to the two queen beds.
Ample Recreational Fun - No matter which moderate resort you choose, there will be countless recreational activities offered!
Resort Size - Excluding Port Orleans French Quarter, the moderate resorts are very large. This makes for extra walking after long park days. You can upgrade to a preferred room location, but in general, the resorts are very spread out.
Limited Transportation Means - while there are generally adequate buses for guests to get to the parks, there are no moderate resorts in which you can easily WALK to the theme parks, meaning if you do not have a car, you are dependent upon Disney transportation to get around.
The moderate resorts are fan favorites! For the family looking for fun theming, expansive and lush resorts with some dining options and adequate transportation, they're a fantastic option that isn't going to break the bank!
Are you hoping for a more up-scale, luxurious vacation that truly allows you to go all-out with award-winning food and amenities? Head over to my post all about Disney's Deluxe Resorts!
Or maybe you're someone looking for a place to crash after a long day at Disney, and don't need anything fancy. If so, head over to my post on Disney's Value Resorts to find out more about these budget-friendly accommodations!
I truly hope this moderate resort overview is helpful to you! Have you visited a moderate resort at Walt Disney World? Let me know your thoughts below!
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