Deciding where to stay at Disney World is a big check list item to address when planning your trip. Will you stay on the Disney Property at a Disney Resort or off the Disney Property at a nearby hotel or rental? If you do choose to say at a Disney Resort what is right for your family’s needs, preferences and budget? A Disney Value Resort, Disney Moderate Resort or Disney Deluxe Resort are all resort categories you need to understand before taking the plunge.
Wondering what the difference is between a deluxe and a moderate Disney Resort? We got you, let’s talk about the differences between these Disney Resort categories.
Table Service Dining Availability
Both moderate and deluxe resorts have table service dining on the property. Table service dining nearby could be a major convenience factor for families vacationing at the Walt Disney World Resort that are looking for an awesome meal without venturing out too far or without the need to buy a Park ticket.
Dining wise, the major differentiating factor between deluxe and moderate resorts are that deluxe resorts have at least one upscale dining option in the resort in addition to another table service restaurant and quick service dining option. Comparing two resorts of each category will help illustrate the differences.
At Grand Floridian Resort 1900 Park Fare, Citricos, Victoria and Albert’s are all options for those looking for fine table service dining. Grand Floridian also offers less formal dining spots at Gasparilla Grill, and the Beaches Pool Bar & Grill. On the other hand, moderate resort, Port Orleans Riverside offers only one table service dining spot, Boatwright’s Dining Hall. If you are looking for casual quick service dining at this moderate resort Riverside Mill Food Court is the place to go.
Extra Resort Activities
Moderate resorts offer fantastic activities for Guests that range from campfires (Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground) and carriage rides (Port Orleans Riverside) to poolside karaoke (Yacht Club) and dance contests (Polynesian Village Resort). Deluxe resorts offer a little extra magic in this area by having additional activities Guests can purchase to try new things.
Guided fishing tours (Polynesian Village Resort), boat rentals, sunset firework boat rides (Beach Club) and childcare (Animal Kingdom Lodge) are a few amenities that are offered at some deluxe resorts.
It is no surprise that a huge selling point of Walt Disney World Resort is the magical immersive Guest experience when staying on the property. Resort rooms, pools, dining and all-around resort theming are always on point with Disney.
Princess and pirate themed rooms are a huge hit with little visitors. Princess rooms can be reserved at Port Orleans Riverside. Little pirates can bunk in their own pirate ship at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort to experience pirate themed rooms complete with ship shaped beds.
Deluxe Resorts offer plush beautiful rooms with more sitting space and an overall more luxe experience for Guests. If you are weighing the options and want to see if the room cost is worth it for your family, take to YouTube to see Disney vlogs of resort rooms. You can virtually tour rooms at nearly all Disney Resorts.
Pros and cons of Disney World moderate resorts (FYI – the 2 Port Orleans resorts aren’t currently available) #disneyworld
While Guest rooms vary in size at every Resort, there are lodging options available for larger parties to stay at deluxe resorts. In fact, the BoardWalk Inn, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge are the only deluxe resorts that do not have the capacity to accommodate up to five guests in one room. For a deluxe villa option that sleeps up to 9 people, try the Tree House Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort.
Deluxe Resort properties tend to have that extra bit of glitz, glamour and drama that leave Guests with dropped jaws. Gorgeous chandeliers, plush resort rooms and sparkling pools are just a few of the wow-factors of deluxe resorts. Moderate resorts are also nicely themed and incredibly comfortable, but deluxe resorts just have that extra bit of magic.
Disney Deluxe Resorts tend to have additional quiet pools, over-the-top landscaping and sometimes spas, water features and concierge service available to Guests. There is no way to go wrong staying on the Disney property, but this is especially true when staying at a deluxe resort.
Transportation access is an important factor to consider for many families deciding on which Resort to choose. All moderate resorts have bus transportation to Disney Springs, Disney Water Parks and all four theme parks. Buses are efficient, comfortable and a great transportation option for Guests. Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort offer water taxi access to Disney Springs in addition to bus availability. Deluxe resorts offer the cream of the crop in Disney transportation.
Resorts on the monorail line like Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, The Grand Floridian and Disney’s Contemporary Resort offer quick access to EPCOT and the Magic Kingdom as well as boat transportation to Guests. The Yacht & Beach Club Resort and BoardWalk Inn are just a short walk away from EPCOT and a boat ride away from both EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is next door to Animal Kingdom and The Wilderness Lodge is just a ferry ride away from the Magic Kingdom. Disney’s Riviera Resort and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort are Disney SkyLiner Resorts that give you easy access to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. Regardless of if you choose a deluxe or moderate resort, Disney will ensure you arrive safely and quickly to your destination.
Sprawling Resort Design
Moderate resorts tend to be more spread out than deluxe resorts. It is not uncommon for moderate resorts to have multiple sectors so spread out that resort buses pick Guests up from multiple bus stops within the resort. This means there is even more acreage of magic to explore at your resort.
It also means more walking is involved when traveling to the Parks, pools, or around the resort. Needless to say, a room far from the central dining hub might result in fewer trips to refill your Resort mug out of the sheer time and effort the walk will take.
An upside of the size of moderate resorts is that sectors are often divided into certain themes or groups which means fun room theming. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is sectored off by names of Caribbean islands. Port Orleans Riverside is divided into southern themed room blocks with names like Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend. Separate sections have different fun architecture and winding paths to explore. In general, deluxe resorts tend to be more central with less of a sprawling design, meaning Guests rack up less resort walking time.
Hotel Room Location
A basic, yet key difference in resort rooms in this comparison is that deluxe resorts have rooms that open to inside corridors whereas moderate resorts open outside. This detail may be important to Guests traveling with small children. Dashing in late at night to escape from a cool winter evening or to dodge a Florida rainstorm takes more tactical skills when staying at a moderate resort.
Deluxe resorts tend to be a bit closer to the flagship Parks than moderate and value resorts. The Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Grand Floridian are all nearby the Magic Kingdom while The BoardWalk Inn and Yacht & Beach Club are within walking distance of EPCOT.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is of course located next door to Animal Kingdom Park. The moderate resorts are still conveniently located on Disney property but require a bit longer commute for Guests headed to the Parks.
The most obvious difference between moderate and deluxe resorts is of course, the price. Prices fluctuate so much based on the season in which you are visiting so its difficult to name a price range for resort categories. Still, you can base your price benchmarking on the knowledge that deluxe resorts are frequently as much as $300 more per night than moderate resorts. The best thing you can do is start planning early so you can monitor resort prices and make an informed decision on what resort is best for your budget.
Don’t forget, splitting your vacation between multiple resorts is allowed. If you want a deluxe experience but can’t afford it for your whole vacation, feel free to talk to a travel planner about booking two different resorts. You could save money by staying at a value or moderate resort during the days you go hard in the Parks. Then save your relaxing Resort days for the timespan you are staying at a deluxe resort!
Don’t forget to check out our resort and dining guides for Walt Disney World Resorts across the Disney Property!