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Comparing Moderate Resorts at Walt Disney World

June 11, 2019

Walt Disney World has 5 Moderate Resorts: Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans: Riverside, Port Orleans: French Quarter, and Fort Wilderness.

Moderate Resorts are great for families looking for a place to relax and feel like they’re getting an upgrade without having to pay the price of a Deluxe Resort.

These Resorts tend to surprise guests because they have a more “sophisticated feeling” instead of the giant statues and playful Disney decor you usually find at the Value Resorts.

You’ll find Disney accents surrounding the resorts, but most of the time they’re more subtle than anything you will find in Value Resorts.

But, how do you know which Moderate Resort is right for your family?

Comparing Moderate Resorts at Walt Disney World

Comparing Moderate Resorts at Walt Disney World

Caribbean Beach Resort

Caribbean Beach Resort is for families who love feeling like you’re on some tropical island and not in the middle of a Theme Park.

Check out our experience staying at this beach-themed Resort.

Why it works for your family


While all of the Moderate Resorts are roughly the same price, Caribbean Beach Resort is the cheapest. And when planning a Walt Disney World vacation, saving every penny possible is important.

Refurbishment brought beautiful decor

For awhile, there was a lot of construction surrounding the Resort. Now that the refurbishment is finished, the Resort looks beautiful.

There is a brand new lobby with lounge-style seating areas and 3 new food and beverage locations.

Old Port Royale at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort


Caribbean Beach Resort is set to be the main hub for the Disney Skyliner.

Guests riding the skyliner from Art of Animation or Pop Century to Epcot or Hollywood Studios will have to transfer at Caribbean Beach before making it to the Parks.

But, when you stay at the Caribbean Beach Resort, you’re already halfway there!

Skyliner over looking Resort Rooms at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort

Pirate Rooms!

The highly themed Pirate Rooms are absolutely adorable. Complete with barrels and a pirate ship bed, these are the perfect rooms for any little pirate in your family.

Pirate Rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort
Photo Credit: Disney

Room for 5

With the exception of the Pirate Rooms, Caribbean Beach Resort easily accommodates families of 5.

Many Standard, Preferred, and Water/Pool View rooms have a child-size Murphy Bed. The addition of the extra bed is perfect for those with 5 Guests, or in our case, 2 children who prefer not sleeping with his sibling.

While geared towards smaller children, we’ve used these beds with teenagers and have had no problems. The mattresses are smaller than a standard twin sized bed, but my son, who was almost 14-years-old at the time still said he was comfortable.

Why it may not work for your family

Overview of part of Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort

Large Resort

Caribbean Beach Resort is huge.

Walking to amenities may be inconvenient and a lot farther away than you would expect.

Bus stop at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort

Multiple Bus Stops

While you don’t share buses with any other Resorts, larger Resorts mean more Bus Stops. And at Caribbean Beach, there are 6!

You will be stopping multiple time before you start making your way to the Parks. Coming and going will take additional time, so plan accordingly if you have reservations. If you have your own car, you can drive yourself to the parks. Even with parking and walking to the entrance, you may make it there faster than the buses will (and hotel guests get to park for free).

Lobby at Coronado Springs
Photo Credit: Disney

Coronado Springs Resort

Coronado Springs Resort takes inspiration from Northern Mexico and the American Southwest.

Water plays a big part in this resort, as well. From the multiple pools to the fountains, you’re going to think you’re at a Deluxe Resort, instead of a Moderate Resort.

Why it works for your family

Amazing Pools and Playgrounds

Coronado Springs is said to have the best pools and playground in all of the Resorts. Coronado Springs also has a dig site for kids.

Of course, you don’t need to be staying at the resort to play on the playground, but it certainly makes it easier when it’s so close.

Large Rooms

The Executive Suite can hold up to 8 Guests! Larger families don’t have to worry about being split up into different rooms.

Outlets and coffee cups!

Coronado Springs is considered a “Business Hotel” due to the amount of conferences that this Resort sees.

Because so many Guests are doing business, I’ve heard that there are a plethora of outlets in the rooms! No more fighting for outlets to charge all of these electronics! I always bring a power strip with me, so all my devices are kept in one place, but multiple outlets are good, too.

Oh, and you’ll also get real coffee mugs for your coffee makers! You know you’re an adult when you get excited about cups.

Pool at Coronado Springs
Photo Credit: Disney

Why it may not work for your family

Business Resort

Because Coronado Springs sees a lot of Business Conferences, some families think it takes away from the “family vacation” feel they want when they’re on vacation.

Beautiful Southern Style architecture at Port Orleans - Riverside in Walt Disney World

Port Orleans – Riverside

Port Orleans – Riverside is a beautiful resort with Old South charm.

The whole resort is nestled in trees, rivers, and sprawling Mansions, perfect for taking a nice leisurely walk.

Why it works for your family


Yeeha Bob! Performing in the River Roost Lounge, his shows are always family friendly and he will have everyone having a good time.

Ferry Boat

A huge advantage to this Resort is the proximity to Disney Springs.

If you don’t want to take the bus, you also have the option of hopping on the Ferry.

It does take about 20 minutes, to get to Disney Springs, but it’s so relaxing and a nice change of pace after constantly being on-the-go.

The pool at Old Man River at Port Orleans - Riverside

Room for 5

Have 5 people in your family? Alligator Bayou has a pull down bed, just like the beds at Caribbean Beach. No need to book 2 adjoining rooms just to accommodate that extra memeber of your family!

Get the “Royal Treatment”

If you want a more “Disney-like” room, a Royal Room can be booked.

These rooms don’t have the extra Murphy Bed, so it will only accommodate 4 Guests.

It’s a great room to book if you have princess-loving Guests in your family. They do have pictures of the princesses on the wall, but the theming isn’t so strong that boys feel left out.

Royal Rooms at Port Orleans - Riverside
Photo Credit: Disney

2 Restaurants

The Riverside Mill Food Court is the grab and go Quick Service Restaurant at the Resort.

It’s smaller than the Food Courts at the Value Resorts, but we never had a problem finding a seat and I really enjoyed the food there.

Boatwright’s Dining Hall is a Table Service Restaurant, located right next to the Food Court.

It’s a good option if you prefer sit down dinners with real dinnerware and a quieter atmosphere.

Why it may not work for your family

Waiting for the Port Orleans - Riverside bus in Walt Disney World

Bus Stops

Due to the size of the Resort, Port Orleans – Riverside has 4 different bus Stops.

The multiple Bus Stops do make it easier and quicker to go from your room to the bus, and vice versa.

However, just like other Resorts with multiple bus stops, it will take you longer to get to the Parks.

Pro Tip: Take a picture of the Depot, closest to your room, on your first day. If you’re like me, after a long tired day in the Parks, my memory gets a little fuzzy and all the Depots look the same in the dark.

Entrance to Port Orleans - French Quarter lobby

Port Orleans – French Quarter

Port Orleans – French Quarter is like stepping into a New Orleans Mardi Gras.

Although I have no way to compare to a real New Orleans, the decor is what I think of when I hear Mardi Gras.

Why it works for your family


French Quarter is much smaller than Riverside, so it’s much more manageable to walk around and take in the sights.


If you like jazz, you’ll want to check out Scat Cat’s Club lounge. There’s memorabilia from great jazz musicians. You can also listen to some local musicians while you take in some drinks and appetizers.

Ferry Boat

A huge advantage to French Quarter is the proximity to Disney Springs.

Just like Riverside, you also have the option of hopping on the Ferry.

It’s also closer to Disney Springs than Riverside, so it’s a little bit of a shorter ride, as well.

Port Orleans - French Quarter

Why it may not work for your family

No Table Service

If you have Table Service Credits, the closest is Boatwright’s Dining Hall, next door at Port Orleans – Riverside. Although it’s walkable, it’s still going to be a bit of a walk.


Although Port Orleans – French Quarter is a small Resort, there is only 1 Bus Depot.

However, a certain times of the day, it may share buses with Riverside (Buses to Disney Springs ALWAYS shares a bus with Riverside).

Returning to French Quarter isn’t too inconvenient since it’s the first stop on the route. But, if you’re expecting a quick trip to the parks in the morning, be aware that you may have to make multiple Riverside stops before heading over to the parks.

Dining Promotion

Want to take advantage of the Free Dining Promotion?

Port Orleans – French Quarter is oftentimes excluded from this promotion.

If you’d like to add the Dining Plan during this time, one would have to be purchased with your Vacation Package.

Rental Golf Carts at the Cabins at Fort Wilderness
Photo Credit: Disney

The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness

The Cabins at Fort Wilderness are popular with families because you get more privacy and room than other Resorts.

If you like camping, but also like the convenience and perks of staying on Disney property, then you really can’t go wrong with the Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness.

Why it works for your family

Perfect for large families

The Cabins hold up to 6 Guests and it includes a full kitchen and living room.

It’s no secret the food at Walt Disney World can get expensive. If you don’t mind a little cooking, you can save quite a bit of money cooking your meals in the Cabin and bringing it into the Park.

Be aware that starting May 2019, you are no longer able to bring loose ice into the Disney Parks. Reusable ice packs and ice in ziplock bags are permitted.

Your own driveway!

Drive your car to Disney? Have a young child in a stroller and carseat?

Imagine pulling right into your very own driveway and right to your Cabin. It’s so convenient and makes unpacking the car SO much easier.


The Hoop-Di-Doo Musical Revue, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, and Chip and Dale’s Campfire Sing-a-long are all within the Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness.

And let’s not forget all the outdoor activities there are to do within the Resort. Horseback Riding is just one of those activities.

Chip and Dale's Campfire Sing-a-long

Why it may not work for your family

Very large!

This Resort is HUGE. If you’d like to walk, you can certainly do so. But, most Guests find it more convenient to drive their own car or rent a golf cart to get around.

You may even need to take the bus to different locations within the Resort itself.

“Roughing it”

If you’re not into camping, or “roughing it”, then this Resort would not be for you.

Of course, the Cabins aren’t exactly like camping. You do have all the modern amenities that you’re used to in a Disney Resort.

But, nature isn’t for everyone.

Which Resort is your favorite?

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Hawaii Destination Specialist

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