Q: I’m trying to decide on the best place to stay for my family. What are the big differences between Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts?
A: Well the main difference is an obviously going to be one of cost. The Value Resorts are designed as an entry-level option for those wanted to stay on site with rooms typically in the $100 – $200 a night range. The moderates will be a step up and are usually between $200 – $300 a night and then you have the Deluxes where costs can range anywhere from around $300 all the way up to over $700 per night. However, there are other distinct differences between each of these amazing options which may help you determine which resort is “just right” for your family. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the big differences you may find.
Value Resorts – This resort category is perfect for those looking to travel on a budget with prices the most affordable of the Disney categories. Here’s some other features;
- Larger-than-life Disney Characters – Whether its one of the All Stars, Pop Century or the Art of Animation, each of these resorts are big on character. They are colorful, vibrant and perfect for small travelers. It’s not uncommon to see a 4-story Ursula from the Little Mermaid, towering Dalmatians or a swimming pool in the shape of a bowling pin when staying at one of these properties. What they lack in terms of luxury they completely make up for in fun.
- Double Beds – Whereas the Moderate and Deluxes feature Queen bed options, the standard rooms at the values will offer 2 double beds which can sleep up to 4 guests. The only exceptions would be All Star Music and Art of Animation which offer family suites or Pop Century if you’re lucky enough to get one of the refurbished rooms that come with one queen bed and one pull down double bed. However, guests interested in these options (with the exception of Pop Century) would be paying close to moderate prices. There are also a select number of king beds available at these resorts upon request.
- Rooms that Open to the Outside – I like to call this motel style. Rather than being in a central building, all of the resorts in the Value Category (with the exception of the Art of Animation Family Suites) have rooms that open right to the outside corridor and feature a window with curtain.
- Large Central Pool Areas but No Water Slides – Each of the Values has a delightful central pool area as well as some satellite pools. Each of the pools at the Values offer fun water features and cute theming that families love. The Big Blue Pool at Art of Animation even pumps in music underwater so your kids can have a listen while they swim. However, for those looking for waterslides, you’ll need to upgrade as its one of the added perks of staying at a Moderate or Deluxe.
- Food Court Dining – Each of the Value Resorts will offer a central Food Court where guests can choose cafeteria style from a range of different options. There are also central drink stations for soft drinks, coffees and teas. For those on a dining plan, these would be considered quick service. There are no Table Service options at the Values.
- Bus transportation to and from the Parks. If you will be using Walt Disney World transportation during your resort stay, it will be by bus. Resort buses typically leave from the Values every 10 – 20 minutes with stops at each of the four theme parks as well as Disney Springs.
Moderate Resorts – This category is best for those who want a little bit of luxury, slightly larger rooms and some extra amenities but without the deluxe prices. Here are some of the extra features you’ll find here.
- More Adult Landscaping and Theming – The Moderates are all set on sprawling grounds and with large lakes or rivers and lots of beautiful landscaping. As a matter of fact these properties are so large that a few offer an internal busing system and some of the outer buildings may be a 10-minute walk across the grounds to get to you central amenities. Whether it’s feeling like your on a tropical island complete with quiet spots to sit in a hammock at Caribbean Beach or walking the grounds of a beautiful Antebellum plantation at Port Orleans Riverside, the moderates tend to be a bit more relaxed and quieter than the flashy deluxes.
- Queen Beds with Some Rooms Sleeping 5. The reason the moderates are a big hit with families is that Port Orleans Riverside and Caribbean Beach resort each offer pull down beds allowing families of 5 to sleep comfortably. All of the Moderates will offer two Queen Beds per room which allows families to spread out a bit more and there are even King Bed options available at some of the resorts for adults travelling alone.
- Rooms That Open to the Outside – Similar to the Values, all of the rooms at the Moderate Resorts open directly to the outside corridors and walkways and feature a window. Guests at these resorts also have the option of being able to choose what view they want. You could save pennies by going with a standard view which will be landscaping or parking lots but also have the option of splurging if you’d like to overlook one of the beautifully landscaped gardens or waterways.
- Themed Rooms – For those looking for an extra little dose of Disney magic, Port Orleans Riverside and Caribbean Beach offer themed rooms. At Caribbean Beach, your little ones will feel like a member of Jack Sparrow’s crew in one of the swashbuckling Pirate Rooms which even have bed shaped like ships. Port Orleans Riverside is perfect for princess lovers who can stay in one of the delightfully appointed Disney Princess themed Royal Guest Rooms.
- Large Central Pool Areas With Waterslides – If you know you’ll be spending a fair bit of time lounging by the pool then the Moderates may present a nice option. Each of the resorts in this category features large central pools areas with fun waterslides that the kids will want to ride time and time again. They also boast other fun amenities like a kiddie pool, outdoor playground and whirlpools. Each resort will also offer smaller quiet pools located nearer the guest rooms meaning that you don’t have to go too far to take a dip.
- Both Food Court and Table Service Dining – At each of the Moderates you’ll find a range of dining options. The properties have Food Courts similar to those offered at the Value Resorts for guests looking to get their meals on the go. There’s also Table Service options for those wanting to sit down for a quieter meal and most resorts also offer a lounge or bar for adults looking for a nightcap.
- Bus transportation To and From the Parks – Similar to the Values, if you’re using Disney Transportation to get two and from the parks each day, it will be by bus. The only exception is Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter both of which offer a Water Taxi Service that takes guests to Disney Springs. The Cabin at Fort Wilderness Resort can also be grouped into the Moderate Category which also includes boat service to the Magic Kingdom.
Deluxe Resorts – This is Disney’s 5-star accommodation where guests will be completely swept up in the magic of it all from the luxurious theming to extra amenities like spas and fitness centers. There are a wide range of options in this category with some of the Deluxes starting at around $350 a night going up to in excess of $700 for a stay at some of the monorail resorts. But with so many delightful properties that fall into this category, you are bound to find your perfect fit. Here are just some of the advantages of booking a Deluxe stay.
- Beautiful and Elegantly Themed Properties – Each of these resorts has the ability to magically transport you to another time and place with its incredible theming Whether it’s feeling like you are on an African safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge, walking down the promenade of turn-of-the-century Atlantic City at the Boardwalk Inn or being whisked away to a tropical island at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, guests have lots of options when it comes to selecting your perfect holiday surroundings.
- Queen Beds with Some Rooms Sleeping 5. Similar to the Moderate properties, Deluxe rooms will often times feature 2 Queens beds, a King Bed with a pullout sofa bed or some rooms like Disney’s Wilderness Lodge even feature bunk beds. There are also resorts within this category that can comfortably sleep a family of 5. For a complete list of resort rooms for families of 5 or larger check out this article.
- Internal Rooms- Unlike the Values or the Moderate Resorts, most Disney’s Deluxe Resorts feature rooms that are accessed from the inside of the resorts. However, some resorts due have Outer Buildings like the Garden Wing at the Contemporary, The Outer Buildings at Grand Floridian or Dinsey’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Large Central Pool Ares With Waterslides – In this category, you’ll find some of the best swimming pools on Walt Disney property. From Stormalong Bay, the Yacht and Beach Club’s massive sand-bottomed pool area to the giant volcano-themed pool at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort the Deluxes are perfect for families who plan on spending a fair share of downtime enjoying all that the resorts have to offer. There are also smaller quiet pools throughout most of these properties meaning you don’t have to go too far to take a dip.
- Food Court, Table Service, Signature and Character Dining – In addition to Food Courts, all of the Deluxes offer more than one Table Service Restaurant. At each of the properties you’ll find a Signature/Fine Dining Restaurant which features amazing dishes from Disney’s most esteemed chefs. Several of the Deluxe properties also offer character dining allowing guests to enjoy meeting some of their favorite Disney friends from the comfort of their own resort.
- Extra Amenities – Most of the resorts also feature extra amenities including on-site gyms, salons, and valet parking. Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach and Yacht Club, and Polynesian also offer Children’s Activity Centers where your can kids can enjoy games, activities and even dinner while you indulge in some alone time.
- Enhanced Disney Transportation Options – With the exception of Animal Kingdom Lodge, all of the Deluxes offer alternative modes of transportation when visiting some of the theme parks. Stay at one of the Monorail Resorts (Grand Floridian, Polynesian or Contemporary) and you’re just a quick ride away from Magic Kingdom. Each of the Epcot Resorts (Yacht and Beach Club and Boardwalk Inn) allow you to either walk or boat to Epcot and Hollywood Studios and at Wilderness Lodge you’re just a short boat ride away from the Magic Kingdom.
A quick word about Deluxe Villas, the fourth type of accommodation on Disney property. The Villas, primarily designed as accommodation for Disney’s timeshare program, the Disney Vacation Club offers Studios, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom and 3- bedroom villa options. Those belonging to the scheme have first dibs on the villas but rooms are regularly released to Disney allowing guests to book them as you would any other resort room. The Deluxe Villas are housed on the property of a corresponding deluxe resort and therefore share the same amenities as the Deluxes. In addition guests saying in a 1, 2, or 3 bedroom villas will also get to enjoy a full kitchen, dining area, 2 bathrooms, and a washer and dryer making it perfect for those with larger families looking to spread out while enjoying the comforts of home. Villa options can vary in price with Studios sometimes starting as low as $350 but multiple bedroom options running in excess of $800 a night.
There are so many great perks of staying on property at Walt Disney World and so many fantastic resorts to choose from, that visitors are spoiled for choice. If you are in the beginning stages of your Walt Disney World vacation planning and want help finding and options that would be the best fit for your family fill out our form below to receive your FREE quote.
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