8 Reasons We Love Moderate Resorts at Walt Disney World

Disney's Port Orleans Resort

When people ask me to name my favorite resort at Walt Disney World I refuse—it is like asking me to choose my favorite child.  For me it is all about that particular trip, who is going, what we want to do, and where we are concentrating our time.  This is something I try to find out from all of my travel clients as well to match them up with the perfect resort fit for their family’s vacation.  The moderate resort category, as a whole (Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter, Caribbean Beach Resort, Coronado Springs and the Cabins at Fort Wilderness), is filled with wonderful resorts that satisfy the vacation wants and needs for many people . . . and with the changes coming to Coronado Springs and Caribbean Beach Resort I think there will be more to love in the future.  Here are 8 reasons why you’ll love the moderate resorts:


8. The Double Vanities

I know, this seems like a small thing, but if you have more than 1 person in your resort room trying to get ready for a day at the theme parks (or clean up for dinner after a long day in the hot sun), you will appreciate this little upgrade.  At the value resorts you will only find a single vanity in the bathroom, but the moderate resorts have an ample 2 sinks which makes getting ready all the easier for everyone.  That extra little bit of room and functionality is wonderful.

7. Room Renovations

Many of the moderate resorts are undergoing or recently completed room renovations—some more extensive than others.  At Port Orleans French Quarter the new hard wood look vinyl floors were installed making it easier to clean, and a bit of a facelift to the bathroom with bright lighting has made a big difference.  Port Orleans Riverside is just entering a room renovation where similar treatments will probably be applied.  Caribbean Beach Resort doesn’t have renovations of the current rooms scheduled, but I’m sure once the construction on other parts of the resort is complete they will turn an eye to these rooms.  And Coronado Springs has seen a fantastic re-imagining of their rooms complete with a new color palette and a more simple and sophisticated look. But they didn’t leave out the Disney, look for Three Caballeros touches throughout the rooms.  Even the Cabins at Fort Wilderness have gotten a recent facelift.

6. Sleep 5 People

As a family of 5, I have to say that the addition of the small fold down beds in the moderate resorts has been one of the best things.  This gives us a more economical alternative to a deluxe resort to fit our family in a single resort room.  The beds are small, so a larger child or adult would not necessarily find them comfortable.  But as a 5’ 2” person I found it to be fine, and smaller children will love the adorable graphics you discover once you fold down the bed for sleeping.  Port Orleans Riverside and Caribbean Beach Resort currently offer this option.

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5. Location

While the moderate resorts don’t have the easy access of the monorail resorts or the Epcot resort’s walking paths, they are located in really convenient spots to the whole of the Walt Disney World Resort.  No matter which resort you choose you are not a far bus ride from any of the parks.  I think Caribbean Beach may be in the best spot for easy park access.  If you stay at either or the Port Orleans Resorts you have the boat transportation option to Disney Springs which is a beautiful ride and lots of fun.  And once the Skyliner Gondola system is complete Caribbean Beach Resort will have great access points to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.  The Cabins at Fort Wilderness are a little more remote, but they do have the boat access to Magic Kingdom.

4. The Food Courts

With the exception of the Cabins at Fort Wilderness, all of the moderate resorts have great food courts.  Right now Caribbean Beach Resort is lacking in food service, but I am sure that once all of the extensive construction is done it will have excellent options.  Port Orleans Riverside’s Riverside Mill is one of my favorite options on property for a quick service food court.  Each one has your basic fast food dishes to please picky eaters, but they also have some specialties that reflect the theme of the resort which is always fun.  At Port Orleans French Quarter you can get beignets and other New Orleans/Cajun style signature dishes.  At Port Orleans Riverside you’ll find some southern cooking favorites.  And Coronado Springs features Mexican and Southwestern inspired dishes.  All have ample seating and the décor and theming of each food court is a lot of fun too.

3. The Cabins at Fort Wilderness

Disney classifies the Cabins at Fort Wilderness in the moderate category, so let’s take a minute to talk about the awesomeness of these.  First of all, the Fort Wilderness Campground is amazing.  It is a vacation all to itself with the recreational activities it offers (horseback riding; archery classes).  And the location on Bay Lake with boat access to the Magic Kingdom is fantastic.  The Cabins sleep up to 6 people with a bedroom (bed plus bunks), a bathroom, a full kitchen, a living area with a table and chairs and living room furniture including a sleeper sofa.  Recent renovations have updated the appearance, but kept that rustic theme and feel.  You also have a private deck as each cabin is a stand-alone unit.  I could totally do a family trip here and never set foot in a theme park.

2. The Pools

As a step up from the value resorts, the feature pools at the moderate resorts offer amazing theming—and pool slides!  This is a huge plus for my family of boys, a pool slide is a big requirement.  Caribbean Beach Resort’s pool may be my favorite of the moderates as far as the theme—you are in a fort in the Caribbean to match the pirate-y theme of the resort.  Cannons are around and two water slides.  So much fun.  Port Orleans French Quarter has the dragon slide, Port Orleans Riverside has the old swimming hold with a great slide, and Coronado Springs’ dig site has a huge pool with a great slide and other recreation.  A few of the moderate resorts have added splash pads and play areas for little ones like the one at Port Orleans French Quarter.

1. The Theming

As with everything at Disney—it is all about the details.  And this is something I love about the moderate resorts.  While the over the top, larger than life themes at the value resorts are fun and feel very Disney, the more subtle theming and details at the moderate resorts appeals to me so much.  From the street names at Port Orleans French Quarter (Rue d’Baga) to the horse drawn carriages walking through the streets it feels like I’m in the French Quarter—a very, very clean version of it.  At Riverside the stately mansions surrounding the river and the more rustic bayou houses show great architectural theming, and the touches like the working waterwheel at the mill bring it all together.  Caribbean Beach Resorts sandy beaches and palm trees tie in to the colorful Caribbean architecture.  And at Coronado Springs all of the southwest touches from the landscaping to the color scheme transport you to a different place.  Each resort has a carefully crafted backstory put together by the Imagineers to help keep the theme cohesive.

What do you love about the moderate resorts at Walt Disney World?

About Sarah Chapman

I am a long time Disney fan since I was hooked on Walt Disney World with my first trip in 1987. Since that time I’ve tried experiencing everything I can in the parks, with a total of 30 visits and counting (I’m always planning my next trip) to Walt Disney World—not to mention Disney Cruise Line and even (shhh!) Universal Orlando and Sea World. I’ve turned my Disney obsession into a profession helping others plan their magical vacations as a Dream Vacation Maker at LBAC Travel. I am a work at home mom to three wonderful boys, and each one has been properly indoctrinated with all things Disney. Walt Disney World is definitely our “Laughing Place.” Look for me on Facebook at Facebook.com/SarahLBAC for updates, discount announcements, tips, tricks and planning advice for your next vacation. You can also find me on Instagram (sarahdreamvacationmaker) and Pinterest (sarahlbactravel).