Moderate vs Deluxe Hotels

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

moderate or deluxe hotels

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

Fireworks from the Wilderness Lodge

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.

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.

Dining

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!

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Choosing Disney Hotels

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Read Time:7 Minute, 33 Second

How Will I Know? Choosing the Right Walt Disney World Hotel for You!

There are 25+ hotels at Walt Disney World, so how do you know which resort is right for you and your family? There are a lot of things to consider when choosing Disney Hotels. Starting with the basics, the hotels generally fall into 3 categories: Value, Moderate, and Deluxe. There are also Deluxe Villas, which are generally DVC properties, and the Campgrounds. As you might imagine, the more amenities a resort has, the more it’s going to cost you. Is there a bad resort? Not really. They’re all really good hotels. But they do each fulfill a different level of needs and that is what sets them apart. So what should you consider when choosing Disney Hotels for your trip?

Choosing Disney Hotels: The Basics

value resorts
Choosing Disney Hotels - Value Resorts
Value Resorts – Art of Animation

Walt Disney World’s Value Resorts include the All-Stars (Movies, Music, and Sports), Pop Century, and Art of Animation. All five of these hotels are your basic hotels, some may even argue motel, due to their outdoor entry. Each room has beds, bathrooms, a closet, and a television. Nowadays, they all have a mini-fridge, too. The hotels themselves are collections of buildings set up in a cluster and, at Walt Disney World, these resorts are the most “Disnified,” usually featuring giant statues of Disney figures like Woody, and Cars, and Goofy, and Donald Duck, etc. They all have at least one large pool, a playground, and a food court, as well as laundry facilities, a gift shop, and an arcade. And they all have free transportation to the parks, mostly just buses but Pop and Art of Animation do have a Skyliner station.

If you have a larger family and a smaller budget, the Value Resorts do have options that include Family Suites. At Disney’s Art of Animation (one of my family’s favorite resorts) and Disney’s All-Star Music Resorts both have Family Suites available. They sleep up to 6, have two bathrooms, a kitchenette, and living areas that transform into sleeping areas. So for families of 5-6 (or sometimes even 4 but bigger people that want to spread out), these are some things to keep in mind when choosing Disney hotels for your trip!

Moderate Resorts
Choosing Disney Hotels - Moderate Resorts
Moderate Resorts – Coronado Springs

Walt Disney World’s Moderate resorts include Port Orleans (Riverside and French Quarter), Cabins at Fort Wilderness, Caribbean Beach Resort, and Coronado Springs. These resorts are some of the biggest on the property, representing that middle-of-the-road pricing that is supposed to replicate the “middle class.” These resorts all have multiple pools, multiple restaurants, gift shops, often internal busing as well as transportation to the parks, one big pool with a waterslide, an arcade, play areas, walking trails, and alternative transportation, including boats and the Skyliner. These are all heavily themed (from New Orleans to the Caribbean to the Spanish Southwest US) and have a vacation-on-vacation feel, but not necessarily Disney-themed. Usually, the Disney details are “hidden” within the decor as a cute little touch.

If you have a Deluxe Budget, but you want to parlay that into a longer stay, you might want to consider the Moderates when choosing Disney hotels. Sometimes moving from a Deluxe to a Moderate will give you 2-3 extra days, and you could use that for either extra days in the parks OR extra days to explore the beautiful resort you’re paying for! We have found, personally, that longer trips allow for much more downtime, and provide a much more relaxing Disney vacation.

Another bonus for many moderate resorts, too, is the option of fifth sleeper rooms. Gone are the days of the 2 kids and white picket fence dreams, and many families have a minimum of 3 kids. So the moderates offer rooms with fold-down daybeds, providing the space for fifth sleepers! Obviously this bodes well for families of 5 that maybe can’t swing the Family Suites in the Values, and the fifth sleeper may be the way to go!

Deluxe Resorts
Choosing Disney Hotels - Deluxe Resorts
Deluxe Resorts – Wilderness Lodge

Disney’s Deluxe Resorts are just that: Deluxe. Deluxe Resorts are Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club, Boardwalk, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge, Riviera, and Yacht Club. All of these resorts offer regular rooms, Club-level rooms, suites, and Villas. They have fine dining, casual sit-down dining, and quick service restaurants, as well as lounges and bars. There are larger pools with huge waterslides and, in the case of the Beach and Yacht Clubs, a MASSIVE pool that is more like a miniature water park. The Deluxe Resorts have convenient locations, in many cases offering walks to the parks, as well as monorail, busing, boats, and Skyliner. They offer guests amenities like full kitchens and washer/dryer units in some instances (mainly in the attached DVC Deluxe Villas) and a more peaceful, relaxed feeling to your vacation, with quieter environments than you’ll have at the larger Value Resorts, with their outdoor access.

Choosing Disney hotels are very personal, but don’t let the term “Deluxe” make you look elsewhere! It never hurts to consider a Deluxe, even if you opt for a split stay, and only spend part of your vacation in the Deluxe Resort!

Campgrounds
Choosing Disney Hotels - Campgrounds
Campgrounds – Fort Wilderness

If camping is your thing, they offer tent sites all the way to deluxe RV connector sites. This is by far the largest area on the property and is across the lake from the Magic Kingdom.

So how do you choose?

It all boils down to 2 things: budget and amenities. We would all LOVE to have 2-weeks Club-Level access in the Grand Floridian, but we can’t always get what we want. First, sit down and consider what you MUST HAVE for vacation, and then sit down and consider what you can afford.

1. Will I spend much time at my resort other than sleeping?

Some families like to buy 4-day tickets but stay 6 nights/7days and have a couple of resort days. If this is for you, you may want to see if a Moderate or even a Deluxe resort is for you. If you know you only have 3-4 days and you’re going to be spending them entirely in the parks, go for a Value. You only need a bed, so may as well go cheap on lodging and spend more on activities, dining, and souvenirs, right?

2. Are food options and varieties important to me?

Value Resorts only have one food location, and they are all food court, cafeteria-style. That is not to say that they don’t have many options, because they absolutely do, they just do not offer any sit-down options. If you stay at a Value and want to dine at a sit-down location, you will need to go somewhere else to do so. Therefore, you will need to account for travel time.

The Moderate Resorts have the best of both worlds, usually offering a cafeteria-style quick service location and at least one sit-down restaurant.

All Deluxe Resorts all offer one small quick service location, and at least (usually multiple) different styles of sit-down restaurants, from casual to fancy, complete with dress code.

3. What amenities are important to me?

All resorts offer beautiful and well-themed pools. Deluxe pools are a little fancier and have slides, while Value pools are more basic, but still quite fun. Some resorts offer things like surrey bikes, a marina, a health club, a spa, or kids programs. In-room child care is available at all resorts.

Remember, though, that many activities are available for guests staying at other Disney accommodations. So, for example, a guest staying at Pop Century can enjoy a boat rental at the Polynesian Resort. Going to another resort to use the pool is a definite exception. You cannot pool hop, though, except for two exceptions: All-Star guests may use pools at any of the three All-Star resorts and Port Orleans guests may use pools at either Riverside or French Quarter.

4. What is more important: amenities or just getting my family to Walt Disney World?

Like to workout but can’t afford a resort with a health club? Could you sub in body weight workouts while on vacation in order to just get your family to see Mickey? Decide what you can and cannot live without and make the best choice for you!

Choosing Disney Hotels - Grand Floridian
DIsney’s Grand Floridian

You’ve Narrowed Down Your Must-Haves, Now What?

So you know that you need a pool (that’s everything) but just having water is enough for you, you don’t need those fancy slides. Or you know you want a slide and at least one sit-down restaurant, but not necessarily Club-Level service. Whatever your needs, your next step should be to reach out to your favorite travel agent (which, of course, is me), and tell them EXACTLY what you’re after.

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