Value, moderate, or deluxe? There are so many choices when it comes to Disney World Resorts! However, which resort is best for you and your family? This is one of the biggest questions, and oftentimes the biggest decisions, about booking a vacation at Walt Disney World. What are the main differences, and how do they affect your decision when choosing where to stay? Today, let’s discuss these differences and hopefully give you a little insight on which resort level is best for you on your next stay.
Disney World Resorts: The Value Resorts
There are five value resorts to choose from at Walt Disney World. Art of Animation, the “newest”, opened in 2012. Pop Century, which sits next to Art of Animation, and the three different All-Star Resorts (Music, Movies, and Sports).
Value resorts, as the name suggests, are the “cheapest” resort accommodations on Walt Disney World property. They all have over-the-top theming, such as gigantic Rubik’s Cubes covering the stairs on the 80’s section buildings at Pop Century. The theming inside the rooms isn’t nearly as prominent as around the resorts, especially with the recent refurbished rooms at the Value Resorts.
The Value Resorts also lack some of the amenities you will find at Deluxe or even the Moderate Resorts. For example, none of the Value Resorts have any table service restaurants, with each only having a food court that offers a decent variety of options. Additionally, you won’t find a water slide at any of the Value Resorts like you can find at all the other resorts. Finally, transportation options to the parks and Disney Springs are limited, with the All-Star Resorts only having bus service to all the parks as well as Disney Springs. Pop Century and Art of Animation have bus service to Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Disney Springs, but also share Disney Skyliner access to both Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
Disney World Resorts: The Moderate Resorts
The moderate resorts are the “mid-tier” resorts at Walt Disney World. While they are a little more expensive than the Value Resorts, they come with slightly better amenities and generally a little less “in your face” Disney theming found at the Value Resorts.
Each of the Moderate Resorts have at least one table service restaurant in addition to food courts. At Port Orleans, you have Boatwright’s, which serves a menu inspired by Louisiana cooking. Caribbean Beach has Sebastian’s Bistro, which serves Caribbean-inspired cuisine. Finally, Coronado Springs will give you a few options since this is typically Disney’s “conference” resort. Now that ESPN Zone has closed at Boardwalk, Coronado has what is probably the next best place to catch a game with Rix Sports Bar and Grill. Additionally, they have Toledo on the rooftop that serves Spanish-inspired cuisine. Finally, Maya Grill serves more of traditional Tex-Mex fare.
Additionally, each main pool at the moderates has theming tied to the resort’s theme and each main pool contains a water slide also themed to the resort. Moderate Resorts also have hot tubs near the main pool areas, but be sure to ask where the “spa” is when trying to locate it, as Disney does not refer to them as hot tubs.
Finally, transportation options are similar to Value resorts, with bus service being available at all resorts for most parks. Caribbean Beach is on the Skyliner, giving you that as an option for Epcot and Hollywood Studios access. Additionally, guests at either of the Port Orleans resorts have boat access to Disney Springs. Most people forget that the Cabins at Fort Wilderness are technically moderates, and with those you have boat access to Magic Kingdom as well.
Disney World Resorts: The Deluxe Resorts
Technically, Disney claims two more resort categories between Deluxe Resorts and “Deluxe Villa Resorts. For the most part these Deluxe Villa Resorts are sister resorts to their Deluxe counterparts, so I will lump them all together when talking about them. Deluxe resorts are just that, deluxe. They are the best accommodations you will find on Walt Disney World property.
The Deluxe Resorts at Walt Disney World are the top of the top, and as such, you will pay a premium to stay at each of them as well. In true modern Disney fashion, there are also more Deluxe and Deluxe Villa resort options than Moderate and Value resorts combined. With Deluxe Resorts, you generally will have larger rooms than Moderates or Values. Also, the Deluxe Villas excluding the studios, come with full kitchens and a washer and dryer in the unit. The deluxe villas are all Disney Vacation Club properties, so they are built with extended stays in mind, hence why most have full kitchens and washer & dryers.
Deluxe Resorts also have multiple dining options between quick service, table service, and some even have signature dining options, such as Victoria and Albert’s at Grand Floridian. Other great food options at Deluxe Resorts include California Grill at the top of the Contemporary Resort and Yachtsman’s Steakhouse and Yacht Club Resort. Dinner with a view of the castle at California Grill during fireworks at the Magic Kingdom should be on your bucket list if it isn’t already.
The pool areas and water slides generally are themed to the resorts. The Deluxe Resorts all have hot tubs, or spas, as well. Just a tip, but relaxing for a few minutes in a hot tub after a long day walking around the parks is just what the doctor ordered!
Probably the thing that separates the Deluxe Resorts from Values and Moderates the most to me are the transportation options. If you stay at any of the monorail resorts (Contemporary, Polynesian, or Grand Floridian), you will have monorail access to both Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Those three, along with Wilderness Lodge, also have boat access to Magic Kingdom. Boardwalk, Beach Club, and Yacht Club all have boat access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios and all three are within walking distance to both parks as well.
In conclusion, whichever level of resort you choose; you can’t go wrong. If your family’s budget can include a Deluxe resort stay, go for it! If you are the type that only needs a bed to sleep in because you are always in the park, maybe save your money and stay at a Value resort. For a little of both, choose a moderate resort.
If you would like assistance with planning your next Walt Disney World trip, and would like our help choosing one of these great Disney resorts to stay at, head on over to our Quote Page and request a FREE, no-obligation quote today!