Moderate vs Deluxe Hotels

How Do You Choose: Moderate vs Deluxe Hotels at Walt Disney World

moderate or deluxe hotels Photo Disney

There are a ton of decisions to be made about your Walt Disney World Vacation, long before you book, let alone before you travel! Let’s compare Moderate vs Deluxe Hotels, and how you can choose the one that will work best for your family AND your budget!

Moderate resorts are the middle of the road resorts. These are good for those that want to spend a day or two at just the resort. Deluxe hotels offer the top-most level of amenities, have the closest proximity to the parks, more dining options, generally more transportation options, and way more perks. So which resort is right for YOU? How do you choose?

Walt Disney World Resorts All Have Amenities

moderate vs deluxe
Waterslide at the Luna Park Pool at Boardwalk Inn

It should come as no surprise that every resort hotel at Walt Disney World have basic amenities. There’s not really a hotel that is just a bland room. They are all themed in some way, and all offer free in-room WiFi, free WDW transportation to the parks, water parks, and Disney Springs, and have online check-in. Every resort has at LEAST one pool. Most have at least two, even.

And there’s even MORE basic amenities! While you have to pay to park overnight at your resort, you will have FREE parking at all 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, and Disney Springs. You will also be able to use your MagicBand to charge back to your room at all Walt Disney World resort hotels. And if you are staying at more than one hotel, you will get FREE baggage transfer within those resorts.

Finally, all guests at Walt Disney World resorts have early morning entry at all four theme parks. Get into the parks before everyone else and head to your favorite attractions before the lines get too long! You will also be able to reserve your Genie+ lightning lanes and Individual Lightning Lane purchases before offsite guests. And all resorts have dining options and a gift shop!

Moderates vs Deluxe Hotels: Pricing Comparison

moderate vs deluxe

Let’s just rip the band aid RIGHT OFF. How do the prices compare for Moderates vs Deluxe Hotels? Moderate Resorts range from $250-$400 per night, while Deluxe Resorts range from $400-$1000+ per night. This, of course, depends on the season, and even day of the week. For the most part, the Moderate rooms are standard hotel rooms, with most opening out to the outside. Kind of Disnified Motel Rooms, only not at all gross like Motels!

Deluxe Hotels, on the other hand, offer your standard hotel rooms, studios, suites, and family villas that have full kitchens and a washer and dryer! The rooms are also slightly bigger, and almost all Deluxe hotels have a patio or a balcony.

Moderates vs Deluxe Hotels: Location, Location, Location

Deluxe Resorts are the closest to the theme parks, with the exception of Animal Kingdom Lodge (it is WAY out there, but close to Animal Kingdom). In some cases, you can even walk to the parks. Deluxe Resorts have more transportation options, including monorail, boats, and even the Skyliner.

Fireworks from the Wilderness Lodge

The closest you can get to the Magic Kingdom is the five minute or so walk from the Contemporary. You can also walk from the Polynesian and the Grand Floridian, or hop on the monorail for both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Staying at the Boardwalk, Beach, or Yacht Club puts you within walking distance of both Epcot AND Hollywood Studios. You can also grab the Skyliner, take Friendship Boats to Hollywood Studios or Epcot, too! The Riviera has the Skyliner, and the Wilderness Lodge is a short boat ride to Magic Kingdom.

Moderate Resorts are farther away from the parks than the Deluxe Resorts, but not as far as the Values. They have bus transportation ONLY, with the exception of Caribbean Beach Resort, which is the hub for the Skyliner. Coronado Springs is the Moderate hotel that is also the Convention Center, so there are additional amenities there, including Gran Destino Tower. Gran Destino Tower is brand new with rooms and suites. It is best described as Moderate pricing with a Deluxe feel. Port Orleans (both Riverside and Port Orleans) are way over by Disney Springs. The Cabins at Fort Wilderness, somehow considered a Moderate, are located right across the lake from the Magic Kingdom.

Moderates vs Deluxe Hotels: Amenities and Entertainment

Dining on the Boardwalk
Dining on the Boardwalk – Trattoria al Forno

As previously discussed, all the resort hotels have basic amenities, but they get just a little bit better the higher you go up in resorts. At Moderate Resorts, as well as Value and Deluxe, you can watch a movie on the lawn, go to a bonfire, or take part in a number of activities taking place during the day. But at Deluxe resorts, you can usually catch the fireworks WHILE you watch the movie, a nice added perk!

Moderate Resort pools are bigger than value, with small waterslides and loads of fun for everyone. There is usually at least one other pool that is considered more of a quiet pool, for those looking for a more peaceful swim. The Deluxe pools, however, are much bigger, with bigger waterslides, splash pads, whirlpool spas, great poolside bars, a lazy river, and, at some pools, cabanas you can rent by the day! In addition, there is usually a DVC pool area and even an additional quiet pool area.


Ale & Compass Disney's Yacht Club Resort

Moderate vs Deluxe Hotels have a ton of amenities to compare, including DINING! All resorts have dining options. For the most part, Moderate Resorts all have one table service option (except for Port Orleans French Quarter) and at least one quick service. Deluxe Resorts, on the other hand, usually have at least 2 table service restaurants, one more casual and one fine dining option. In addition, Deluxe Resorts have a quick service restaurant.

Deluxe Resorts also have upscale Lounges, serving quick bites, beverages, cocktails, and beers. And as an extra special perk, a lot of Deluxe Resorts have areas to watch theme park fireworks shows while you relax at your resort. And some even pipe the music in while you do it!

Perks Available ONLY to Deluxe Resort Guests

There are a few perks available ONLY to Deluxe Resort Guests. Guests staying at Deluxe Resort hotels can enjoy extended hours on select nights at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. This includes an EXCLUSIVE virtual queue at 6:00pm on Epcot nights, for an additional opportunity for guests to ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Deluxe Resorts also offer gyms and fitness centers, as well as spas.

So How Do You Choose?

Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Totem at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

How do you choose? The honest answer is that only you will know. When deciding in the great Moderate vs Deluxe Hotels game, you’ll need to consider your budget, how long you want your trip to last, and what’s worth it to you. Split Stays are a great option to get a taste of Deluxe then transfer to a Moderate or Value. For me, personally, I LOVE the Deluxe hotels. Wilderness Lodge is my very favorite resort and the Boardwalk area, with Boardwalk, Beach Club, and Yacht Club, is my favorite area (can’t beat that short walk to Epcot AND Hollywood Studios). But I have had a lot of clients have their favorite vacations ever at Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs. Long story short, it all depends on what kind of Disney vacation you want to have! Either way, I’d love to help you plan it! Contact me today for your free vacation consultation!

What About Value Resorts?

Value Resorts Art of Animation

There is a noticeable difference between Value Resorts and Moderates and Deluxe, but that’s not to say they’re horrible resorts. In fact, Pop Century is quite possibly one of the most popular resorts at Walt Disney World! In addition, Art of Animation and All-Star Music have Family Suites that sleep up to 6. The theming of these resorts is very kid-friendly and feature large and familiar Disney icons.

Each Value Resort have cafeteria-style food courts that serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus a large selection of grab-and-go food items. And finally, all the Value Resorts have at least one very large pool, including Walt Disney World’s largest pool, the Big Blue Pool at the Art of Animation Resort. My personal favorite of the Value Resorts is the Family Suites at Art of Animation. Though quite pricy, they feature two full bathrooms, amazing pools, fantastic food options, a fabulous gift shop, and more! With the addition of the Skyliner, this resort is perfect for bigger families!

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