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Comparing The Moderate Resorts at Walt Disney World

December 10, 2022

In continuing our series of Comparing Resorts in Walt Disney World, this part is all about the Moderate Resorts. If you’d like to compare the Value Resorts, we’ve already covered them.

Walt Disney World has 5 Moderate Resorts:

  • Caribbean Beach
  • Coronado Springs
  • Port Orleans – Riverside
  • Port Orleans – French Quarter
  • Fort Wilderness

Moderate Resorts are great for many reasons. But, they often become the perfect choice for those looking looking for an upgrade without having to pay for a Deluxe Resort.

These Resorts tend to surprise Guests because they have a more “sophisticated feeling.” You’ll still find Disney accents. But, they’re much more subtle.

But, how do they compare to each other? And how do you know if one of these Moderate Resorts is right for your next vacation?

Caribbean Beach Resort

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

Relaxing at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort

Why your family will love it

The Center of the Skyliner Line

Caribbean Beach Resort is the main hub for the Disney Skyliner. This means that no matter where you’re coming from, you need to transfer at Caribbean Beach before making it to your final destination.

Staying at Caribbean Beach means that no matter where you’re going, you’re already halfway there.

Beds For 5

Most rooms at Disney are only set up to accommodate parties of 4.

This means that fellow families of 5 all feel the pain of going to the search results, just to be told that your “Party size exceeds max room occupancy.”

But, Caribbean Beach is one of those Resorts that can easily accommodate families of 5.

Many Standard, Preferred, and Water/Pool View rooms have a pull-down Murphy Bed. It important to note that these beds are specifically geared towards smaller children. At 30″ W x 63″ L, these beds are smaller than the average twin bed, which is usually 38” W x 75” L.

However, we’ve used these beds with tweens and young teens without any complaints from the boys. Even if they were lying, I guess it was still better than sleeping with their brother.

Bus stop at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort

Why your family may not like it

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, I recommend driving yourself to the Parks. Even with the hassle of parking and walking to the entrance, you’ll likely make it there faster than the buses will (plus Resort Guests get to park at the Theme Parks for free).

Large Resort

As I mentioned, Caribbean Beach Resort is huge. I mean, there’s a reason why there’s multiple bus stops and internal bussing. Even walking to amenities within the Resort may be inconvenient and a lot farther away than you would expect.

If you want to be as close to the Main Lobby and a bus stop as possible, I suggest booking a Preferred room. While slightly more expensive, not only will you be much closer to dining, you’ll be the first bus stop to get dropped off after a long day in the Parks. After doing this myself, I consider it to be worth the extra cost.

Coronado Springs Resort

There are 2 different parts to this Resort. There is an older (but updated) section and a brand new Tower, which opened in 2019.

In terms of pools at Walt Disney World, the Dig Site is often ranked as being one of the best. The focal point is the 46 foot tall Mayan pyramid. And because the pool is heated to a comfortable 82 degrees, Guests can enjoy the pool, and it’s 123 foot waterslide, year round.

Why your family will love it

Three Words…Gran Destino Tower

Gran Destino Tower is technically a part of the Coronado Springs Resort. But, in terms of design and amenities, it’s like it is more like a Deluxe Resort than a Moderate Resort.

With a two story lobby, Spanish Nouveau theming, and fine architecture, it’s easy to see why this is quickly becoming a Guest favorite. And there is a reason I recommend Gran Destino Tower to Clients (if it’s in their budget, of course).

Multiple Dining Options

If you’re a foodie, Coronado Springs is a foodie’s paradise. While it’s common to find a Quick Service option, a Table Service option, and a pool bar of some sort, especially at Moderate Resorts, there are so many options for dining at Coronado Springs.

In fact, according to Walt Disney World’s website, there are 10 different places to find something to eat or drink. Whether you’re in the mood for a specialty coffee, a quick snack, or a meal literally sitting in the middle of a lake, there’s a place for you here.

Why your family may not like it

It’s A Business Resort

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

Because the Resort is a place where a lot of business is conducted, the Resort has a more “Adult” feel than other Resorts do. This can be a positive to some. But, if you’re looking for overt Disney vacation vibes, you may have to look harder at this Resort than at others.

Large Resort

Large Resorts are a common theme with Moderate Resorts. And Coronado Springs is no exception, With 4 bus stops, you will want to plan for additional time to get to the Parks.

The current bus schedule follows the following route: Gran Destino Tower, Casitas, Ranchos, and then Ranchos and Cabanas.

Resting at Port Orleans - Riverside in a hammock

Port Orleans – Riverside

In terms of relaxing atmospheres, I still consider my stay at Port Orleans – Riverside to be one of my most relaxing Disney Resort stays.

With large trees and winding paths surrounding the Resort, it’s almost too serene for a place that’s so close to so many Disney Theme Parks.

Why your family will love it

Yehha Bob

By far, one of the best performance you’ll find anywhere on Disney property is performed by Yehha Bob, otherwise known as Bob Jackson.

Performing in the River Roost Lounge, you’ll constantly find Guests packed into the not-so-large space to see his performances.

If you have younger children, there’s no need to worry. His shows are always family friendly and everyone is guaranteed to have a good time.

Ferry Boat to Disney Springs

A huge advantage to staying at Port Orleans – Riverside is the proximity to Disney Springs. Of course, the bus is an option at every Disney Resort. But, Riverside also has the option to hop onto the Ferry for a leisurely ride to Disney Springs.

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

Port Orleans - Riverside Murphy Bed

Room for 5 Guests

Like Caribbean Beach, Port Orleans – Riverside has rooms in the Alligator Bayou section of the Resort with a separate pull down murphy bed.

Have 5 people in your family? Finally, you don’t have to book 2 adjoining rooms, or a more expensive Family Suite, just to accommodate that extra member of your family.

Get the “Royal Treatment”

The Resort, as a whole, is fairly low key in the terms of Disney theming. Aside from Louis, hiding inside the smaller pull down bed, we didn’t find any obvious Disney decorations in our room in Alligator Bayou.

However, the same can not be said about the Royal rooms at the Resort.

These rooms don’t have the extra Murphy Bed. So, if you are a family of 5, this room will not work for you.

But, if you’re visiting with a princess-loving Guest, they will absolutely love this room. Many think that the a “Princess-themed room” would be splashed with pink accents everywhere and glitter galore.

Fortunately, the décor is tasteful and not too over-the-top. Yes, there are photos of princess on the wall and magic lamp faucets in the bathroom. But, it’s attempt to be neutral is appreciated.

Even this pink-hating mama of boys would have no problem staying in one of these rooms.

Why your family may not like it

Another large Resort

Just as the other large Moderate Resorts, 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 does take 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 the sister Resort to Port Orleans – Riverside. But, while Riverside is themed to a Louisiana Bayou, French Quarter focuses solely on New Orleans.

Having never been to New Orleans, myself, the theming at French Quarter is what I think of when I hear the word “Mardi Gras.”

Why your family will love it


Port Orleans – French Quarter is much smaller, and therefore, much easier to walk around than its sister Resort. As a result, you will only find 1 Bus Stop at French Quarter.


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

One Word…Beignets

If I could go to Port Orleans – French Quarter and only order one thing, it would be the beignets.

There are some food around Walt Disney World that I think is a little bit overrated. However, beignets are not one of them. If you like soft, pillowy dough covered in 3 tons of powdered sugar, you will absolutely love these.

While I did not enjoy my main meal (in fact, none of my family did), the beignets were a different story. The beignets were made fresh, which was something that shocked me a little bit, considering it was about 6pm when we ate there.

Ferry Boat to Disney Springs

Just like Port Orleans – Riverside, you also have the option of hopping on the Ferry from French Quarter to Disney Springs. And if you thought a 20-minute Ferry ride was a little too long, French Quarter is a little closer to Disney Springs, so the ride isn’t as long.

Port Orleans - French Quarter

Why it may not work for your family

No Table Service

Guests staying at Moderate Resorts usually stay with the assumption that there will be some sort of sit down Restaurant location somewhere at the Resort. But, you won’t find one at French Quarter. Your only food option is the Quick Service Restaurant, Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory.

If you’re looking for a Table Service restaurant, the closest is Boatwright’s Dining Hall, next door at Port Orleans – Riverside. Although it’s walkable, it’s still going to be a heck of a hike for a meal.


Oh, these dang buses… I know what you’re thinking, “There’s only 1 Bus Stop. How is that a negative?”

Although Port Orleans – French Quarter only has 1 Bus Stop, it does frequently share buses with Riverside. I can not tell you how frustrated I was when I thought I was heading to the Parks or Disney Springs, just to pull into another Resort before finally reaching my destination

If you want a piece of advice: pack your patient pants…or have your own car.

Chip and Dale's Campfire Sing-a-long

Fort Wilderness

Fort Wilderness is made up of 2 different areas: the Cabins and the campgrounds.

If you have a camper (or you’re renting one) Fort Wilderness has all you need in terms of hookups. If you don’t mind sleeping in a tent, Disney has comfort stations for you to shower, use the restroom, etc.

And the Cabins are popular with families because you get more privacy and room than you do other Resorts.

Why your family will love it

Perfect for large families

The Cabins hold up to 6 Guests and it includes a full kitchen, bedroom, and living room. And I’ve seen campers that can sleep even more.

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

Your own driveway!

Will you have a car at Disney? Do you have a young child in a stroller and carseat?

Imagine pulling right into your very own driveway each day. 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 just a few of the activities at Disney’s Fort Wilderness.

Let’s not forget that Fort Wilderness has 750 aces. That means that if you’re looking for some outdoor activities, there’s no better place than at the Fort.

Whether you simply want to swim, take a horseback ride, a Segway tour, or let your child have their very first ride on a pony, Fort Wilderness will be a place you won’t forget.

Why your family may not like it

Very large!

As I just mentioned, Fort Wilderness has 750 acres of land. This Resort is HUGE.

Walking around the Resort is a fun way to spend some time, especially around the holidays when everyone decorates their campsites.

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.

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