I love Disney hotels. Like, LOVVVVVVVVVVVVVE them. So when I’m asked what is the best Disney moderate resort it’s something I can talk about all day long with someone. There is something so special about how they are designed that make me feel completely immersed in the Disney magic. Disney does such a good job creating resorts that appeal to different ages and interests. This is something Disney does well in the parks, too.
In a previous article, I discussed what I thought the best Disney Deluxe Resort was, which you can read here. To give a brief overview of the hotels in the entire Disney Resort, here are a few points to keep in mind:
- There are over 25 varieties of hotels on Disney property
- Disney categorizes their hotels into 4 groups – Value, Moderate, Deluxe, and Disney Vacation Club. DVC and Deluxe tend to get lumped together, as most Deluxe Resorts have DVC villas attached to them.
- Most of the hotels are categorized into the groups based on room price per night. Lower price point rooms are in Value Resorts, while higher priced rooms are found in Deluxe Resorts
Since I’ve already covered the Deluxe Resorts, I will now move on the Moderate Resorts.
The Best Disney Moderate Resort Review
Disney has 5 Moderate Resorts on property. Moderate rooms tend to be not as nice as Deluxe rooms, but on a higher level than Value rooms. You’ll find exterior hallways in all of the buildings that house the rooms. There is usually at least 1 table service restaurant at the resort and sometimes a special kind of transportation, which I will go into later.
With only a few Moderates to cover, I thought I would just rank them from least favorite to most favorite. These are based on my opinion and personal experiences of course.
5. Coronado Springs
I don’t really have too much to say about Coronado Springs. I have actually never stayed there, but there is a good reason for that: I am not a fan of Spanish/Mexican style architecture. It’s very Spanish Colonial and the theme is carried out throughout the resort. One positive aspect of the resort is that they have a fitness area and spa called La Vida Fitness Club (Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is the only other Disney resort to have a dedicated spa facility). On the negative side of the spectrum, the resort is really spread out, and walking to and from the lobby to your hotel room could take a while. It’s also a convention hotel, so you may run into more business-type individuals than parents and kids.
4. Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
As one of the first resorts built on Disney property, Fort Wilderness has a long history. There are guests that really get a kick out of the outdoorsy cabins that are offered, and those that have an RV or camper can park here during their vacation. The resort is pretty vast in size so you will often see guests with golf carts traveling around the campground, which looks like a lot of fun. For recreation, you can ride horses, make s’mores around a campfire, grill your own meals, take segway tours on scenic trails, go for a nice swim (like at all Disney hotels), take archery and fishing lessons, and even rent bicycles for a few hours. While I do love the different activities that are offered at this resort, camping, RVing, and being “one with nature” is really not appealing to me. But Fort Wilderness is still very popular 40+ years later.
3. Caribbean Beach Resort
Full disclosure: this used to be my favorite resort about 10 years ago. I stayed here with my sister during a trip with her while I was in college. It was just the two of us and we had a blast. So this resort holds a lot of fun memories for me. The buildings are so colorful and bright, and the theming is excellent. The rooms are simple and basic, but they have some Pirate-themed rooms that I hear are really neat! The table service restaurant, Shutters, is not that great, but the food court and pool bar offer some easy grab and go items. They do have their own sandy beach, where you can play volleyball, search for buried treasure, or watch movies under the stars. Be aware that this hotel is also spread out so make sure you are okay with walking a little bit to get to any rec or dining areas. Overall, I love this resort and would enjoy staying here again.
1&2. Port Orleans Riverside & Port Orleans French Quarter
I couldn’t decide on which resort was better, so I clumped them together. These are sister resorts located near Disney Springs. You can even take a boat to Disney Springs from these resorts, which is a scenic and relaxing ride. As you can tell by the names, both resorts are steeped in the New Orleans design and culture. On the French Quarter side, you will see a design similar to the buildings and streetmosphere of the famous French Quarter in downtown New Orleans, which is very beautiful. I love the street lamps and French-inspired balconies that house the hotel rooms. I also like that the pool is Mardi Gras themed!
Horse carriage rides are available to take around the resort. Step inside and you’ll find a smooth jazz club and bar. For Riverside, you’ll get a feeling of staying on the bayou. The resort sits right by the water! It is reminiscent of old time mansions and cottages with some Southern charm. What is really cool is that there are Royal Rooms in some of the buildings, decorated in the feel of Tiana from The Princess and the Frog movie. And this particular side has Boatright’s, a popular sit-down restaurant that overlooks the water and serves Cajun and Creole inspired dishes. These two resorts are the most popular of all of the Moderate resorts, and they are my favorite, too.
If you are interested in finding out more about Disney resorts then you should check out our best Disney value resort article here.