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The Pros and Cons of Walt Disney World Moderate Resorts

When you’re about to book a vacation at a Walt Disney World Resort, you may feel overwhelmed by the wide selection. Should you stay at a value, moderate, or deluxe resort? These categories may reflect a resort’s pricing, location, and luxury, but Disney ensures that its guests experience magic at all three levels. Making this decision depends upon your party’s particular needs and wants, so the positives and negatives detailed here should be considered in light of your vacation goals. Nevertheless, the following pros and cons of Walt Disney World Moderate Resorts can guide you in the decision-making process.

PROS:

5. Reasonable Pricing

Paying for a vacation to Walt Disney World already presents a financial challenge for many guests. Transportation, meals, park tickets, souvenirs, and lodging can add up to a heap of expenses that stretches your budget to the point of breaking it. However, staying at a moderate resort hotel will give you the comforts you expect from a high-quality resort without requiring you to pack peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day.

4. Spacious Rooms

Disney’s moderate resorts provide more elbow room than their value counterparts, allowing many of them to sleep up to five adults instead of the typical four. Also, these resorts feature queen beds rather than double beds, giving you more room to stretch out. For even more space, consider staying at The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort, since it affords plenty of room for six adults. It’s nice to be able to get around your hotel room without constantly bumping into your roommates.

3. Great Location

Moderate resorts are conveniently located near the theme parks and Disney Springs. Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort sits close to Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, the Caribbean Beach Resort is near Epcot, the two Port Orleans Resorts neighbor Disney Springs and Epcot, and The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort can be found across the lake from Magic Kingdom. The close proximity to these destinations reduces travel time, helping you to avoid missing reservations, arrive early, and stay late without taking all night to get back to your cozy bed.

2. Recreational Options

Value resorts offer limited recreation, and deluxe resorts present ample recreation. In the middle, you’ll find moderate resorts. They possess more engaging pools than value resorts and are the least expensive resorts to feature waterslides. Depending upon which one you select, moderate resorts may also offer campfire activities, fishing excursions, pirate cruises, horse-drawn carriage and wagon rides, bike rentals, and so much more. These options make moderate resorts more than just a place to hang your hat and sleep; you may actually want to skip the theme parks and enjoy your resort for a day.

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1. Awesome Theming

Walt Disney World obsesses over creating immersive themes that draw you into a magical experience. Moderate resorts take you deep inside their themes, coloring everything at the resort with details that orient you towards the concept. For example, you’ll notice a distinct tropical flair with a pirate twist at the Caribbean Beach Resort; it shows up in the décor of your room, the architecture of the buildings, and the fortresses and canons at the pool. This level of intense theming doesn’t appear at value resorts, which tend to feature pictures, characters, and icons that support their themes rather than place you within the imagine environment.

CONS:

5. Transportation

Transportation challenges present a setback for any resort during peak season, but the issue becomes particularly bothersome at moderate resorts. Buses comprise most of the transportation at the moderate level. The Port Orleans Resorts share their bus system, making wait times extend pretty long during peak season. The Caribbean Beach Resort and Coronado Springs Resort fare better with the buses, but their routes on their own property can be a bit long. It’s wonderful that you can catch a ferry boat from The Cabins to Magic Kingdom, but unfortunately, you have to deal with a slow internal bus system before you arrive at the docks. A boat ride from the Port Orleans Resorts to Disney Springs remains the sole exception to the transportation woes at moderate resorts.

4. Expansive Grounds

The distance between the central hub and hotel rooms often frustrates some guests of moderate resorts. The hubs contain all the best amenities, so be prepared for an extensive hike to experience them at the moderate level, unless you purchase preferred rooms at a higher rate. After trekking through theme parks all day, you may not want to take many steps to jump in the pool, sit down for a meal, or gather around the campfire. Though the grounds are beautiful, the buildings at these resorts are spread out so that some places, like The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort, even have internal transportation to move you around.

3. Crowds

Crowds may be a certainty at value resorts, but they also appear at moderate ones, as well. Unless you visit during the off-peak season, you’re bound to run into an army of tourists at the bus stops, restaurants, and pools. The problem isn’t as disruptive as it may be at value resorts, but it can annoy guests from time to time. These large groups probably won’t ruin your vacation, but if you can only endure crowding for a limited period, then choose a deluxe resort hotel or villa, since you’re already going to be wading through a sea of people at the theme parks.

2. Fewer Amenities

Guests of Walt Disney World Resorts may take advantage of a long list of amenities ranging from free transportation to extra magic hours in the theme parks. However, if you’re looking for upscale amenities such as spa treatments, supervised children activity centers, valet parking, and concierge services, then forego staying at moderate resorts. Moderate level hotels provide comfortable lodging and avoid the scaled-down services found at budget hotels, but they have their limitations. They feel appropriate for average families who desire an enjoyable resort at a reasonable cost without requiring constant pampering.

1. Limited Dining

Quick-service dining remains a standard feature of Walt Disney World Resorts of all varieties. However, value resorts only offer the food court experience, while deluxe resorts provide a wide selection of counter-service, casual, and signature dining restaurants. Except for Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, the moderate resorts supply a limited choice of both. In addition, these resorts aren’t particularly close to other areas where dining diversity can be found, such as Disney Springs or Epcot’s World Showcase. The foodies in your party may be disappointed that varied cuisine isn’t just a stroll away.

About D.W. Noonan

D.W. Noonan was blindsided by the magical universe of Walt Disney when he married a dedicated Disneyphile in 1994. His wonderful wife dragged him into countless days of binge-watching great Disney films. As children began showing up in the Noonan home, D.W.'s growing passion for all things Disney led him to vacationing with his family in Walt Disney World each year and taking a journey to visit Disneyland. He is especially proud of his two teenage daughters, who danced for Disney Performing Arts at Walt Disney World in 2015. Though D.W. lives in Maryland, he longs to hear these familiar words when he returns to the resort: "Welcome home."