What are the Best Moderate Resorts at Disney World?
Disney World’s Moderate resorts are extremely popular. They offer luxuries that you just won’t find at Value resorts. They are usually more conveniently located, have better dining choices, and larger rooms. So what are the best moderate resorts at Disney World? Obviously much depends on your situation. Today, we will briefly step you through the pros and cons of each of the four Moderate resorts and help you make the decision.
If you’re interested in an overview of ALL the resorts, go to our article on Disney’s best resorts.
Port Orleans – Riverside
Port Orleans Riverside is a large resort built around a river that winds its way through the resort. There are two main areas: Magnolia Bend and the Alligator Bayou. These two areas have a very different feel to them, and have their own strengths and drawbacks. The resort is the sister resort to Port Orleans French Quarter, and is a short walk away.
Pros to Riverside
The pool at Riverside is very nice. It is in the middle of the resort, has a bar and a nice slide and is much better than the pool at the French Quarter. The food court is perhaps the best food court at all of the moderate resorts. Riverside also has a table-service dining restaurant that is rarely ever crowded, but delicious. The resort’s location is phenomenal, as it is a short ride to Epcot and the Magic Kingdom.
Riverside is the only moderate resort that can sleep 5 people without paying for a suite. (Note: The fifth person should be very small.) Alligator Bayou has rooms with a trundle bed that can accommodate a child. This can really save you a lot of money if you have a family of 5. Another positive is that there is usually a bus stop relatively close to your room. There are 4 stops, and they are conveniently located around the edges of the resort.
The resort is rather big, and there are some parts of the resort that are quite a long way from the front lobby. The food court, while really nice, can get fairly crowded during busy seasons. If you try to eat breakfast from 7:30-9, expect very long lines.
Port Orleans Riverside is a very popular resort, so it will usually be busy. This means long lines in the cafeteria, a busy pool, and long lines at the bus stops. When the parks close, at times you have to wait for 2-3 busses to come to get on. Fortunately when you see very long lines at the bus stops, Disney usually notices that quickly and rallies a few busses to the area to fill the demand. But just be prepared for lines.
Overall Ranking among the four Moderates
1st – Great food court, nice rooms, beautiful grounds, huge pool and great location. The only drawback is the crowds, but those can be avoided if you time things right.
Port Orleans French Quarter
The French Quarter is much smaller than Riverside. The resort is much more compact and small. It has a “New Orleans” theme, which some people like, and some don’t. Be prepared to see Mardi Gras masks and other decorations that don’t have the general look and feel of Disney World.
Great walking times to the pool and the front lobby are really nice. In the past, French Quarter and Riverside would share bus systems. While this may still happen from time to time, usually the French Quarter has it’s own bus, and there is only one stop. This saves you a lot of time once you actually get on the bus, as you don’t have to make a lot of stops. Similar to Riverside, this resort has a phenomenal location.
The dining area of the French Quarter is solid, but not spectacular. It has far less options than Riverside. The pool is also not nearly as nice as Riverside, though it does still have a slide. French Quarter doesn’t have a full-service restaurant either, if that’s important to you. While the grounds are immaculate and beautiful, some don’t like the rather odd décor in the cafeteria and lobby area.
2nd – The French Quarter is a very quiet, relaxing resort. It’s not nearly as popular as Riverside, but just as convenient, if not more so. Riverside has a lot more to offer than the French Quarter, but the 5-10 minute walk means that you can walk over and check out their food court or pool if you’d like. It may not have the amenities of Coronado Springs, but you’ll spend much less time walking and on the busses, and more time at the parks if you stay at French Quarter.
Coronado Springs is a large resort that wraps around a lake. The theming is Southwestern/Mexican, and this is seen throughout the resort, the food and the decorations.
Coronado Springs is themed excellently, and has some very good food selections that differ from the usual Disney fare. There is a convention center at Coronado Springs, so there are some amenities that you can’t find at other moderate hotels. There is a nice gym, a massage parlor, a salon and a business center.
The pool at Coronado Springs is excellent, perhaps the best of the Moderate Resorts. You can also order food at the pool, which is very convenient. There are some nice restaurants as well, although the full-service restaurants are a bit pricey.
Coronado Springs is a large resort, and to get to different parts of the resort you have to walk around a lake. This makes for a lot of walking. The main pool is a long way from the front lobby, so no matter where you stay you will have to do a lot of walking. This can be miserable for those who don’t do well in heat.
The location is also not very good, as this resort is located in the Animal Kingdom area. Therefore, it is a longer ride to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot than the other moderates. Coronado Springs doesn’t share transportation with other resorts, but the large number of bus stops and location make this a definite con.
4th – While this resort is nice and has amenities that many of the other resorts don’t have, it is not a very convenient resort. If you love the theming and don’t mind walking, you may fall in love with this resort. Remember, 4th on this list isn’t a bad thing as you can have a blast at any of these resorts. But it’s hard to recommend a resort of this size to families with small kids, as the inconvenient aspects could make your vacation much more difficult.
The Caribbean Beach resort is the largest of all the moderate resorts. The resort has 6 different “villages” each with a unique style. This bright and cheery resort has a unique Caribbean feel that differs wildly from the other three Moderate Resorts.
The size of Caribbean Beach is immense, but this resort is unique in that it has an internal bus system that can take you around the resort. Caribbean Beach has a great pool, and the location is very close to the Port Orleans’ resorts. Caribbean Beach has some excellently themed Pirates rooms. If you have young boys, they will love them! Overall, it’s a bright and cheery resort that has a great Caribbean feel.
The food here is not on par with Coronado Springs or Riverside. Also, many aren’t a big fan of having to take busses around the resort itself. So whether that is a pro or a con depends on the guest. But there are at least 7 bus stops, so once you get picked up to head to a resort, it’s likely you’ll have to make a number of stops before you actually leave. This means you may spend as much time on the bus as you would if you were much further away.
3rd – The location and internal bus system give it the nod over Coronado Springs. These reviews might be a tad biased towards convenience, but that plays a major factor in a vacation that can at times be very hectic.
What about those value resorts though? Although they aren’t quite as nice, you can save a lot of money.
By: Ryan Shade