Comparing Moderate Resorts

Moderate Resorts are great for families who are looking for a place to relax and a feeling that they’re getting an upgrade without having to pay the cost of a Deluxe Resort. These Resorts surprise guests because they have a more “Sophisticated feeling” instead of the traditionally Playful Disney Decor. 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 (of course, there are some exceptions).

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

Caribbean Beach Resort


Families who want to feel like they’re on a tropical island love Caribbean Beach Resort. If you love the water, the sand, and the island feeling, then Caribbean Beach is a good choice.

Why it works for your family

It’s perfect if you have a pirate in the family. They have the cutest pirate rooms, complete with barrels and a pirate ship bed.

Each “village” has its own beach, so grab your shovel and pails and play in the sand (no swimming, though) But, if you’d like to get your swim on, there are also plenty of pools around the resort.

With the exception of the Pirate Rooms, Caribbean Beach Resort accommodates families of 5, with the addition of the pull down Murphy bed. It’s the perfect size for children.

Why it may not work for your family

This resort is currently being refurbished. During this time, Old Port Royale Food Court, Shutters at Old Port Royale, Banana Cabana Pool Bar and Calypso Trading Post will be unavailable. They do have alternative ways to feed guests, so no one will go hungry, but if you were looking forward to any of the above locations, you will be disappointed. However, if you made your reservation before March 19, 2017, you may have a $75/night Gift Card coming your way, when you check in at the Resort.

While you do not share buses with any other resorts, there are 6 bus stops within the resort, so 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).


Coronado Springs Resort


The 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, it hardly seems like a Moderate Resort.

Why it works for your family

Coronado Springs is said to have the best pools and playground in all of the resorts. It also includes a dig site for kids. Of course, you don’t need to be staying at the resort to play on the playfround, but it certainly makes it easier when it’s so close.

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

Coronado Springs is considered a “Business Hotel” due to the amount of conferences that this Resort sees. However, that means there are a plethora of outlets in the rooms! (or so I’ve heard) 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!

Why it may not work for your family

Coronado Springs is currently under construction and will remain so until sometime in 2019. This isn’t some small construction, either. Disney is currently building a 15-story  tower overlooking Lago Dorado and will add 500 rooms, including suites and concierge-level services. Once it’s finished, there will also be a rooftop restaurant with panoramic views of nighttime fireworks from Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Wow!

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.


Port Orleans – Riverside


Riverside is a beautiful resort with an Old South theme. The whole resort is nestled in trees, rivers, and sprawling Mansions. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, this is the resort for you.

Why it works for your family:

Yeeha Bob! Check him out in the River Roost Lounge. His shows are always family friendly and he will have everyone having a good time.

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’s a slow boat ride, but it’s so relaxing.

Have 5 people in your family? Alligator Bayou has a pull down bed, so the room accommodates the extra person. No need to book 2 adjoining rooms.

If you want a more “Disney-like” room, a Royal Room can be booked. Only 4 guests can be booked in this room, but it’s a great room if you love princesses and a quiet resort.

There are 2 restaurants in this resort. The Riverside Mill Food Court, is just that. It’s a grab and go Quick Service Restaurant with a Rustic Feel. 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. Your other option is Boatwright’s Dining Hall.  This 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:

The size! It is a HUGE Resort with 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, it will take you longer to get to the Parks. Just miss the bus? Allot about 20 minutes for the buses to make it back, due to the amount of stops it needs to make. Also, make sure you pay attention to which Depot your room is closest to. We forgot which one was ours in the first full day of our trip and ended up walking almost the whole Resort before we finally made it back to our room. I highly suggest taking a picture of your Depot, just so you have that reminder.

Most rooms only hold a maximum of 4 guests, with the exception of Alligator Bayou. While beautiful, it’s not very practical for larger families.


Port Orleans – French Quarter


Port Orleans French Quarter is like stepping into a New Orleans Mardi Gras (G-Rated, of course). Although I have no way to compare to it the real New Orleans, it’s what I think it would feel like. And the view as you walk through their front doors is just breathtaking.

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 without feeling overwhelmed.

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 listen to some local musicians while you take in some drinks and appetizers.

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.

Why it may not work for your family

I’ve really been trying to stick mostly with the facts, instead of just giving my personal opinion, but I feel like this needed to be said based on the fact that it wasn’t just me that thought this. I was really excited about eating here. I mean, they have beignets! But, while the Beignets were good, we felt like the rest of our meal lacked in presentation and taste. I don’t think any of us even finished our meals and we each got different things. We didn’t leave starving, by any means, but we had walked from Riverside to French Quarter, specifically to eat there, so we left feeling let down. The food court was small and choppy, but it was cute and even had an area for young kids, including a tv. But, it’s not enough to bring me back to this food court. I’ll get my Beignets in Epcot next time.

Back to food, there is no Table Service restaurant at this resort. If you have Table Service Credits you would like to use, the closest is Boatwright’s Dining Hall, next door at Port Orleans – Riverside (It’s doable, but if you’re hungry, you may not like the close to 1 mile walk).

The buses! Since it’s a smaller Resort, they only have 1 bus Depot. But, at certain times of the day, it may share buses with Riverside (Buses to Disney Springs ALWAYS shares a bus with Riverside). Going back 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 will have to make multiple Riverside stops before heading over to the parks.

Want to take advantage of Free Dining? Port Orleans – French Quarter is oftentimes excluded from this promotion, so if you would like the Dining Plan, one would have to be purchased with your Vacation Package.


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 The Cabins are a good choice.

Why it works for your family

The cabins hold up to 6 guests and it includes a full kitchen and living room. You can save quite a bit of money on food by not getting the Meal Plan and cooking all your meals in the cabin. Since you’re allowed to bring your own food into the park to eat, this would be a huge savings! Disney is now allowing guests to pre-order groceries, so you don’t even have to worry about grocery shopping or how to get food to your Cabin. They do have a limited list, though, so you always have the choice of ordering from other retailers such as Amazon Prime Now, Orlando Grocery Express, Garden Grocer, and Instacart (use referral CPOSATO184 for $10 off)

Kids love the bunk beds. No more sharing a bed with your sibling!

Drive your car to Disney? You can also park your car right up to your cabin. It makes unpacking the car SO much easier.

No need to take the bus to the Magic Kingdom. You can hop on the Water Taxi and before you know it, you’re there.

There are so many activities! The Hoop-Di-Doo Musical Revue, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, and Chip and Dale’s Campfire Sing-a-long are all within this resort. And lets not forget all the outdoor activities there are to do there.

Why it may not work for your family

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.

If you’re not into “roughing it”, then this Resort would not be for you. It’s not quite like camping because you do have all the modern amenities, but there is a lot of dirt and nature that some people just don’t like.


A contemporary log cabin with a raised deck
Photo Credit:

So, what’s your favorite Moderate Resort?



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