With over 20 Disney World hotels, choosing a room for your magical vacation is no small task.
Disney World places its resort hotels into four categories: value, moderate, deluxe, and deluxe villas. When choosing a hotel from the Disney World website, the first step you must take is to choose one of these categories.
So, what differentiates the Disney World hotels in these categories?
The initial and most obvious difference is price, with the two “deluxe” categories being the most expensive. We’ll discuss the features and benefits of the resorts in the deluxe categories in a future blog post, but for now, let’s talk about Disney’s moderate and value resort hotels.
So, why choose a moderate resort over a value resort? Are they worth the higher price?
This blog post will compare the features and benefits of Disney value vs moderate resorts to help you decide which category of Disney World hotels is right for your family’s trip. We’ll briefly review what’s the same about resorts in both categories and then contrast their offerings.
But first, let’s begin with a basic list of the Disney World resorts that fall into these two resort categories so you’ll know which resorts are being discussed:
Disney Moderate Resort Hotels
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
- The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
Disney Value Resort Hotels
- Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort
Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter, a moderate Disney resort
How are Disney World Value Resorts and Moderate Resorts the same?
Most value and moderate resorts have motel-style outdoor-entry rooms. You’ll have to jump to the deluxe resort categories for interior corridors. The exceptions in the value and moderate categories are the family suites at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and the Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resosrt.
Park transportation is comparable across all resorts in these categories. All resorts offer bus transportation while several resorts offer additional transportation methods, though these are not category-specific when comparing moderate and value resorts. Moderate resort Coronado Springs only offers bus transportation without any other form of transportation to any of the parks, while the value Pop Century is on the SkyLiner line to both Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
All moderate and value resorts have jogging trails, playgrounds, arcades, pools, and show a nightly Movie Under the Stars.
Differences between Disney World Moderate and Value Resorts
So, how do moderate and value resorts at Disney World differ? Let’s take a look …
- Lowest prices
- Disney theming with bright, oversized characters
- Compact grounds
- Basic pools without slides
- No spas
- No table service restaurants
- Smallest rooms
- Single sink vanities
- Rooms only sleep 4
- Moderately priced
- Beautiful theming with lush landscaping
- Sprawling grounds with internal bus transportation (except for Port Orleans: French Quarter)
- Themed pools with slides
- Spas at pools
- Table service dining
- Larger rooms
- Double sink vanities
- Some rooms at some resorts sleep 5
Before we take a closer look at each of these characteristics one by one, let’s first mention that the exception to nearly all of these are the family suites that make up the majority of rooms the value Art of Animation Resort. This resort consists of four themed sections: Cars, Finding Nemo, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid. While the Little Mermaid-themed rooms are standard hotel rooms and can be compared like any other value resort hotel room, all other sections are family suites which are twice the size of a regular hotel room, are housed in buildings with interior corridors, and are twice the price of the Little Mermaid standard rooms … or more. Since these rooms are unique and can’t be compared directly to any other standard hotel room, assume they’re excluded from these price comparisons.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, a moderate resort
Price of Disney value and moderate resort hotels
On any given day, a value resort will cost less than a room at a moderate resort.
The prices of Disney resort hotel rooms fluctuate greatly throughout the year and even in a single week. Rooms cost more during holidays and any time of the year when crowds increase. Think Spring Break, Thanksgiving weekend, and the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s. Room rates also increase in price on weekends versus weekdays.
These price fluctuations mean that you may find a rate on a moderate hotel room on a weekday in early February that’s actually less than a value resort room at Christmastime. However, comparing hotel costs on the same day will always result in moderate resort rooms costing more than value resorts before any discounts.
So, if price is your main determining factor when picking your Disney World hotel, choose a value resort.
Bold theming at Disney’s Pop Century Resort, a value resort
Theming at Value and Moderate Resorts
Theming at Disney’s value resorts is bold and bright with oversized Disney characters and other thematic figures. There’s nothing subtle about value resort theming!
Inside, rooms are basic with a few Disney character touches.
Moderate resorts are less “Disney-fied” with more immersive theming that takes you to a different time and place from the Caribbean to the American Southwest. This includes perfectly manicured, themed landscaping on lush grounds.
This theming continues inside the rooms at moderate resorts with furniture, art, and decor that continues the resort’s overall theme. Disney character touches are subtle if they exist at all.
If you’re looking for a hotel drenched in “Disney,” choose value. If you’re looking for an escape from the parks that’s more relaxing with a unique thematic style, choose moderate.
Size of Value and Moderate Resorts at Disney World
Most of the moderate resorts have sprawling grounds and an internal bus system. Only Port Orleans – French Quarter is more compact and does not. Many buildings at these resorts are small and only two stories tall.
Value resorts are more compact. Buildings are fewer, but taller with 3 (All Star Resorts) or 4 (Pop Century and Art of Animation) floors each.
At resorts in both categories, “preferred” rooms are available for a premium price. These rooms are the same as other standard rooms, but merely have the benefit of being closer to the resort’s main transportation, dining, and recreation hub. Due to the value resorts’ smaller size, paying extra for these preferred rooms isn’t recommended. At moderate resorts, they can greatly reduce walking distance if you plan on visiting the resort’s hub often.
If you’re looking for more space at your resort, choose moderate. For closer access to resort amenities without paying extra for a preferred room, choose value.
Pools at Disney’s Value and Moderate Resorts
Pools at moderate resorts have slides. Those at value resorts do not.
Moderate resorts also have a pool spa while value resorts do not.
Resorts in both categories have a feature pool, but additional smaller “quiet pools” are not dependent upon the category. The moderate Port Orleans – French Quarter only has a feature pool while its Riverside neighbor has a feature pool with 5 smaller quiet pools scattered throughout the resort grounds.
In addition to slides, the pools at moderate resorts are more intricately themed. The Fuentes del Morro pool at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, for example, is themed as a Spanish fort with towers and cannons. Nearby at Pop Century, this value resort’s feature Hippy Dippy pool has no slides and is merely shaped like a flower.
All resorts have kiddie pools as well, though, like their feature pools, these are more elaborately themed at moderate resorts.
If you’ll be spending lots of time cooling off in the pool, consider a moderate resort. If pool time isn’t a priority, value resorts are a great choice.
DINING at value and moderate resorts
Disney value resorts do not have table service restaurants. Their dining options are limited to a cafeteria-style quick service dining hall, pool bar, and pizza delivery.
Dining options at moderate resorts are more plentiful and varied. They offer a quick service food court, table service restaurant, and usually bars, lounges, and a few other dining locations.
If a variety of dining options at your resort is a priority, choose a moderate resort. If you plan on eating most meals in the parks and won’t be relying on your resort for meals or don’t mind the same cafeteria every time, choose value.
Room at Disney’s Pop Century Resort, a standard renovated value resort room layout
Rooms at Disney World Value and Moderate Resorts
By choosing a moderate resort over a value resort, your room will be larger and the bathroom will have a double sink vanity (except for Fort Wilderness cabins).
Queen beds used to be an advantage of choosing moderate over value resorts, though the value resorts’ double beds are being replaced with queens during recent and ongoing renovations. Currently, only All-Star Sports and half of the All-Star Music Resort rooms, where renovations are currently underway, are the only remaining value resorts that still have double beds.
These value resort renovations, however, do not change the bathroom vanity situation with all value resorts offering a single sink to moderates’ double vanities.
Looking for larger rooms?
Resorts in both value and moderate categories offer rooms that sleep more than 4.
On the moderate level, Caribbean Beach Resort and Port Orleans – Riverside both offer a “5th sleeper” price category which places a fold down twin-size murphy bed in a standard room.
Value resorts Art of Animation and All-Star Movies have family suites that are twice the size of standard hotel rooms with two full bathrooms.
Coronado Springs offers several different suite configurations for larger groups.
All cabins at Fort Wilderness sleep six.
Other than these resorts and rooms mentioned, all other value and moderate resort rooms sleep 4 adults.
“5th sleeper” twin-size murphy bed at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Which category of Disney World hotels does your family prefer? Value or moderate?