Many Disney guests absolutely love staying onsite at Disney world resorts! Are they too expensive? Which resort should you choose? This section of our website will help you make that choice. We’ll go through the 3 different types of Disney World resorts, explain the differences in these 3 types, and give you some tips and suggestions that will help you to choose.

Three Types of Disney World Resorts

Disney World has three different resort types that you can choose from:  Value, Moderate and Deluxe.  We are going to walk you through each of these three categories. When we’re done, you will have enough information to narrow it down into one of the three, then you can choose a resort from that category.

Disney World Value Resorts

Don’t let the name fool you, value resorts are a great way to experience Disney World, especially with young kids.  The food courts are large and plentiful, the atmosphere is phenomenal and the pools are big and full of fun activities. All value resorts will have gift shops, arcades, outside bars and laundry services. Most of them are also themed in a way that your kids will love. Art of Animation, for instance, has characters from the Lion King, the Little Mermaid and Cars.

The problem with value resorts, is that the rooms are very small. Unless you get a family suite, staying at a value resort can remind you of staying at a budget motel.  Many of the rooms open to the outside.  The rooms are small and cramped. Many of the rooms have been refurbished and while they are always clean, they leave you with very little room to move around.

So you’ll need to decide what is important to you. If you’re going to spend 90% of your time away from the rooms, you may be just fine at a value resort. If you enjoy napping and relaxing in your room, you’re going to be miserable. For those guests, I’d recommend upgrading to a family suite, or a moderate resort. 

Another downside to some of the value resorts is the travel time.  The All-Star resorts are pretty far from the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. During peak season, you’ll spent 30 minutes, if not more, travelling to and from the parks.

For more information on Value Resorts, see our article on Disney World Value Resorts. In this article, we break down the pros and cons of each of the five value resorts.

Disney World Moderate Resorts

The moderate resorts provide a big step-up from the world of value resorts. Most of the moderate resorts have unique theming that begins to get away from the the cartoonish feel of many of the value resorts. There are resorts with a New Orleans vibe, a river plantation vibe, and even resorts that are designed to make you feel as if you’re in the Caribbean.

These resorts have nicer amenities, tastier food, better restaurants, and excellent theming. Most moderate resorts have queen beds (instead of doubles), which is certainly nice if you’re kids are getting bigger!. But you’ll still need to temper your expectations for the rooms. Despite the excellent theming, you’re not going to be blown away by the size. We’re still dealing with rooms that are the size of a typical Hampton or Holiday Inn.

The pools are much better at moderate resorts. These pools will typically have water slides, which means you’ll need to plan some pool time. The food is also much better. Each resort has food that fits the theme, as opposed to the value resorts that offer your traditional Disney counter service food.

Transportation at a moderate resort is going to be by car or by the bus system. Some of the resorts have a lot of bus stops, which can add a lot of time to your Disney commute.

Moderate resorts are more expensive than value resorts by about $100 per night. If you like spending time at your resort, I definitely think it’s worth it.

For more information on Moderate resorts, please see our article on Disney World Moderate Resorts. In this article, we break down the pros and cons of each of the five Moderate resorts.

Disney World Deluxe Resorts

The first thing that must be said about Deluxe Resorts is that they are extremely expensive. There are 8 Deluxe resorts and the price ranges from 350-500 dollars a night! The price can be 3-4 times that of a value resort! That’s the downside to deluxe resorts. But it’s the ONLY downside. These deluxe resorts are awesome.

3 of the Deluxe resorts, the Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian, are all attached to the monorail system, making travel to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot a snap. It’s hard to describe how convenient this is. You can walk out of the Magic Kingdom, hop on the monorail, and be in your room in ten minutes. Very little dealing with traffic and congestion (You will use the bus system to get to the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios).

The Wilderness Lodge has a boat that goes directly to the Magic Kingdom.  The Beach Club, Boardwalk and Yacht Club all offer boats that travel to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, and if you like walking, you can walk to these parks as well.  The Animal Kingdom lodge, only uses the bus system.

The theming at Deluxe Resorts is amazing.  Deluxe resorts all have great restaurants, room service, incredible pools and all the amenities you are used to in a luxury hotel.

Many Disney guests are not going to be able to afford a Deluxe resort year after year. It might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for you. If this is your situation, my advice is to start out by staying at a value or moderate resort first.  Eat in all the deluxe resorts, walk around, get a feel for the grounds. You will quickly pick your favorite, and you can begin saving up for a dream vacation.

For more information on Deluxe resorts, please see our article on Disney World Deluxe Resorts. In this article, we break down the pros and cons of each of the 8 Deluxe Resorts.