Top 6 Secrets Most People Don’t Know about Moderate Resorts

Some of my favorite places to stay on Walt Disney World property are the moderate resorts. Situated between the value resorts and the deluxe resorts in price (but closer to the values) I feel that these properties offer a lot of bang for your buck with several added amenities that make these resorts a perfect choice for families—they have a deluxe feel without the price tag. Here are 6 secrets you may not know about the moderate resorts:

6. Larger Spaces

While this is no secret since reading the room descriptions will give you this information, the fact that all of the moderate resorts have queen beds instead of the double size beds at the value resorts makes a big difference to many families. Since the rooms are a bit larger than the values you can have the larger beds and still feel like you have plenty of space to move around. Most rooms also offer families a double vanity which makes getting ready to get out to the parks so much easier in the mornings. One upgrade that my family has benefitted from in recent years is the addition of a fold down murphy style single bed allowing some rooms at Port Orleans Riverside and Caribbean Beach Resort to accommodate families of 5. While these rooms are not particularly spacious if you have 5 bigger people in them, it is a nice alternative budget-wise to reserving a deluxe resort.

5. Food Courts

I love the food courts at the moderate resorts. I think they all have a really neat “vibe” to them matching the theme of the overall resort. Not only does the décor of the food court match, but each one offers several dishes that match the “location” of the resort. The Pepper Market at Coronado Springs offers some delicious southwest inspired entrees in a very colorful atmosphere. At Port Orleans Riverside you find yourself in a cotton mill complete with a functioning waterwheel turning the equipment inside. Southern cooking specialties can be found among the entrees here along with some New Orleans foods. Over at Port Orleans French Quarter you will find lots of New Orleans style favorites—including beignets. Caribbean Beach Resort probably has my favorite food court as far as the look of the area. Where the various counters are set up it looks like an outside market (sort of like the atmosphere inside the Mexico pavilion). There are some nice seating areas inside, but I really like to eat outside here around the fountain. And you will find a few Caribbean specialties or inspired dishes here.

4. Outside theme

While I think the larger than life icons at the value resorts are super fun, I adore the theming of the moderate resorts on the outside. The separate buildings are designed to match the architectural theme of the area, and there are variations within each resort. Coronado Springs has 3 distinct sections representing a town (Casitas), the desert (Ranchos) & the beaches (Cabanas). The style of architecture and landscaping details in each area really bring that theme home. At Port Orleans Riverside you can find two very different areas representing the rural South found in Louisiana. The Alligator Bayou Section features more rustic buildings like you would find in the Bayou (and several different styles of architecture). The lush almost “wild” landscaping makes you feel like you are walking through the Bayou. The other section has four differently designed mansion houses with a more refined landscaping representative of those historic houses. Over at Port Orleans French Quarter you’ve moved into the town with row houses, fountains, manicured lawns and curbed streets (with very catchy names). Caribbean Beach Resort is filled with brightly colored buildings representing several different islands. Each one is unique in color and architectural details. And the landscaping here is gorgeous—it feels like a tropical oasis. I don’t think a lot of people realize how immersive the theme is at the moderate resorts, and how they feel very “Disney” but at the same time take you away to a completely different place.

3. The Pools

Walt Disney World designers have placed fun pools at all of the resorts, but when considering whether or not a moderate is worth the price increase from a value resort you might take a look at the pools. Each moderate resort has the addition of a pool slide to their pool, and you’ll find other amenities as well. Themed pool bars are available. Some even have a splash play area for younger kids which is a big plus. The pools themselves are themed to the resort and have features like the dragon slide at French Quarter or the Pyramid Ruins at Coronado Springs. I think my favorite may be Caribbean Beach with the fort structure and multiple slides, along with cannons—it is very easy to imagine yourself in a pirate battle there!

2. Lounges

The moderate resorts have some really nice lounges that have some fun happenings in the evenings. Because Coronado Springs is a convention resort you will find a little different atmosphere at the Rix Lounge, but it is a beautiful space and worth visiting if you are staying there. The River Roost Lounge at Port Orleans Riverside is a place you will want to visit even if you are a guest at another resort. You will want to make sure you go on a night when Yee Haa Bob is performing—and plan to arrive early if you want a seat! His family friendly show is high energy (& that is an understatement), and it is entertaining, interactive and funny. You can find his schedule on his own website (search for Yee Haa Bob or Bob Jackson). The wait staff here is also very good and they offer some very nice cocktails with a light menu as well.

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1. Specialty Rooms

These specially themed rooms are widely advertised by Disney, but I’m not sure that all guests realize how immersive they are. Disney’s first jump into these rooms were the Pirate Rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort. Here all of the elements of the room reflect swash-buckling adventure from the beds shaped like ships to the lighting fixtures and the weathered “shipboard” furniture. At P:ort Orleans Riverside two of the “mansion” buildings have “Royal Guest Rooms” where you are a guest of Princess Tiana herself. The magical details in these rooms are perfectly princess. You’ll find Aladdin’s flying carpet on the floor, the Genie’s lamp for the sink faucet, princess portraits, some Beauty and the Beast elements in the furniture and a note from Tiana herself left for you on the table. But, my favorite part . . . the fireworks over the Bayou that are in the headboards. Just press the button on the side and the fiber optic lights do a timed show—I can’t think of a better way to fall asleep after a day in the parks.

Do you love staying in the moderate resorts? What are some of your best kept secrets?

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).