Best Disney Moderate Resorts

Pool at Coronado Springs Resort
Mayan Themed Pool at Coronado Springs Resort

Disclaimer: Some of the links and images below contain affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

You know you want more luxury than a Value Resort but aren’t ready to jump to the price tag of a Disney Deluxe Resort. The amazing news is that the Walt Disney World Moderate Resorts truly are the best of both worlds. They allow you to keep your budget under control, but offer great amenities and theming (not to mention Queen Size beds!). If you are looking for the Disney Moderate Resorts ranked, you have come to the right place! We will figure out the best Disney moderate resort for you in no-time!

Best Moderate Disney Resort

If you just want to know the answer, Port Orleans Riverside takes our top spot. It scores the highest marks for location with solid marks for theme, transportation, and room options. Read further for all of the criteria used and to explore the specialities of each of the Disney Moderate Resorts!

What are the Walt Disney Moderate Resorts?

Walt Disney World breaks its hotels into 4 categories : Value, Moderate, Deluxe, and Deluxe Villas. The big differences between the categories are price, amenities, and distance to the parks. For the most part, the closer you get to Deluxe, the more luxurious your stay. The Moderate Resorts are able to provide the more affordable price and snag some of the Deluxe-style amenities as well.

The Moderate Resorts range in price from $172 / night up to $637 / night for the larger cabins or over $1000 for the Executive Suites. Each is also conveniently located to at least one of the parks, but largely depend on bus transportation. The Deluxe resorts usually provide other forms of transportation, like Monorail, boats, or are within walking distance. The Moderate Resorts also come with mostly queen size bed options, compared to the typically double beds of many of their Value Resort companions.

Disney defines the Moderate Resorts as:

  1. Caribbean Beach Resort
  2. Coronado Springs Resorts
  3. Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  4. Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  5. The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

If you decide a Moderate Resort isn’t right for you, you can also check out the Deluxe Villas and get a similar price by renting DVC points. You can check these experiences out here :

  1. Disney’s Grand Floridian Villas: DVC Studio Review
  2. Animal Kingdom Lodge Tips
  3. Say Aloha to Disney’s Polynesian Resort!

Criteria for Ranking Disney Moderate Resorts

In order to choose the best moderate Disney resort, several criteria were considered:

Best Disney Moderate Resorts Comparison

LocationProximity to Parks or Disney Springs
RoomsRoom Options, Number of Guests, Quality
ThemingHow Well the Resort Represents a Unique Theme
DiningOptions, Number, and Quality
AmenitiesPools, Activities
TransportationOptions, Transit Time to Parks
PricePrice Range

Best Location for Disney Moderate Resorts

Location is king in the world of Disney, and it is what the larger price tag of a Deluxe resort buys you. If you want to walk to Magic Kingdom, you are going to pay. Some Moderate Resorts, however, still come with fairly convenient locations despite being in a lower tier.

  • Caribbean Beach Location

    • Disney’s Caribbean Beach is officially an Epcot Resort and is about equidistant between Epcot and Hollywood Studios. It is also fairly convenient to Disney Springs, but it is the furthest Moderate Resort from Magic Kingdom.
  • Coronado Springs Location

    • Coronado Springs is the closest resort, aside from Animal Kingdom Lodge, to Animal Kingdom which is a great bonus for anyone who loves this Park.  It is located in close proximity to Hollywoods Studios. Epcot, Disney Springs, and Magic Kingdom are a fair distance away.
  • Port Orleans – Riverside and French Quarter Location

    • Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter are located right next to each other. They are closest to Epcot, but also convenient to Disney Springs. They are located north of both Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs which puts them in 2nd place for location to Magic Kingdom.
  • The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Location

    • The Cabins at Fort Wilderness are the furthest north of the Moderate Resorts with the closest proximity to Magic Kingdom. If you have toddlers or just Love Magic Kingdom and expect to spend time there, then this is by far your best bet. It is furtherest away from all other parks and Disney Springs.

Overall Best Disney Moderate Resort for Location

For location, Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter take the top spots. Being located closer to Magic Kingdom, with a quick ride to both Epcot and Disney Springs put these resorts as the winners.

Best Rooms in a Disney Moderate Resort

The Moderate Resorts have a lot of variety when it comes to room options. Some have themed Pirate or Princess Rooms while others are entire cabins with full kitchens included. The Moderate Resorts can sleep anywhere from 4 to 8 people.

Caribbean Beach Rooms

Disney’s Caribbean Beach has 4 room options, including a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed room complete with pirate ships for beds. They can accommodate between 4 and 5 guests making it an option for larger families. They are all standard, studio style rooms.

  1. Two Queen Beds
  2. Two Queens Beds and One Child-Size pull-down
  3. King Bed
  4. Two Double beds shaped like Pirate Ships

The  Pirate Rooms make an awesome surprise for a visit to Disney World. You an stock up on fun pirates-themed gear like a Jack Sparrow costume!

Coronado Springs Rooms

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort has the most room options of any of the Moderate Resorts. It also houses a convention center which leads to the various room options. The studio rooms sleep 4 guests, which the suites can sleep from 4 to 8 adults:

  1. Standard Studios:
    1. 2 Queen Beds
    2. 1 King Bed
  2. Suites:
    1. Junior and King Suites – One King Bed with One Queen Sleeper Sofa
    2. Junior  and Casitas – 2 Queen Beds with One Queen Sleeper Sofa
    3. Executive – One King Bed, 2 Queen Beds, and One Queen Sleeper Sofa

The Gran Destine Tower at Coronado Springs is currently under construction, opening in July 2019. This new addition will bring 545 more rooms, including suites.

    1. Disney's Coronado Springs Resort Rooms

      The standard Coronado Springs resorts come with two queen beds.

Port Orleans – Riverside Rooms

Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside features four room configurations. Similar to the Caribbean Beach rooms, they are all a standard studio set-up. Port Orleans Riverside features the Royal Guest Rooms, a special princess-themed room. Princess Tiana welcomes you to her home as a royal guest and you sleep in comfort with photos of Princesses adorning the walls.  The themed rooms at Port Orleans – Riverside have Queen-Sized beds instead of the double beds found at Caribbean Beach. The rooms can sleep between 4 and 5 guests:

  1. Two Queen Beds
  2. Two Queens Beds and One Child-Size pull-down
  3. King Bed
  4. Two Queen beds complete with LED fireworks in the headboard!

You can load up on some fun Tiana inspiration to help your little one really enjoy their Royal Guest Room experience:

Port Orleans – French Quarter Rooms

Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter only has 2 possible room configurations and also only supports 4 guests. The rooms are all standard studios:

  1. 1 King Bed
  2. 2 Queen Beds

A nice upgrade in these rooms is the laminate floors. It makes it feel super clean and updated.

French Quarter Room

Love the laminate floors and the cool colors at French Quarter

The Cabins at Fort Wilderness

The Cabins at Fort Wilderness only come in one configuration, but it is the most spacious of all of the Moderate Options. The cabin comes with a separate bedroom, featuring a queen size bed and set of bunk beds. The living room has a queen size sleeper sofa. The kitchen contains a full-size refrigerator, dishwasher, 2 counter-top burners, and a convection microwave. The Cabins sleep up to 6 adults.

One of the big perks of the Cabins at Fort Wilderness is being able to cook your own meals. Did you know that Amazon Pantry will even deliver for you? You order and just pick it up and *poof* you have a fully stocked kitchen for your stay!

Overall Best Disney Moderate Resort for Rooms

This one goes to Port Orleans Riverside for a few reasons : The standard room can come with a fold-down bed to sleep 5 total guests and they offer a special themed room fit for a Princess!

Best Themed Disney Moderate Resort

There are two schools of thought towards your room accommodations at Disney. One assumes you never spend time in your room so who cares what it looks like. The other looks at your room like a part of the experience, immersing you in the magic even when you sleep. I’m solidly in the second camp!

Caribbean Beach Theming

Caribbean Beach tries to capture the feel of five different Caribbean islands. Overall, it is hard to transmit the theme throughout each at such a large scale.  The bright colors of the buildings bring some touches of the Caribbean while the pool actually feels a little out of place. The Spanish citadel might actually belong better to Coronado Springs. It does fit in with the Pirates of the Caribbean rooms, however.

Caribbean Beach Building

Each area of Caribbean Beach tries to pull in a different island vibe.

Coronado Springs Theming

Coronado Springs theme is probably best felt at its pool as a Mayan Pyramid emerges from the surrounding jungle scape. The resort is a Spanish colonial inspiration, with fountains and white stucco in the main building. Coronado Springs does a good job of integrating its food options into the theme as well. With several restaurants, they served up delicious Mexican food from quick service to table service.

Port Orleans – Riverside Theming

Port Orleans Riverside actually has two separate themes in the same resort:

  • Magnolia, Oak Terrace and Parterre Place that bring images of sprawling Lourisana estates.
  • Alligator Bayou with a more rustic theme and feel

These themes are perfectly paired with Tiana’s Royal Guest Rooms as you think back to the mansions and the bayou in the Princess and the Frog. The common areas of the resort take on a boathouse feel, with a giant waterwheel in front of the dining locations. Catch a horse-drawn carriage ride around the resort to really help set in the Louisiana theme.

Port Orleans – French Quarter Theming

Port Orleans French Quarter is themed after the French Quarter of New Orleans. The streets in between the hotel buildings have old-fashioned gas lamps and cobblestone streets which add to the feel of New Orleans. Similar to Port Orleans Riverside, you might see horse drawn carriages making their way around the resort. The pool continues the Mardi-Gras theme, but the giant sea serpent water slide feels a little out of place.

The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Theming

Fort Wilderness include the Cabins and also campsites. The theming is geared towards a rustic, camping experience. The 740 acres of land that comprise the resort add to this feel with lots of wooded areas. Also adding to the theme are the golf carts to zoom around the large resort and the general store. While other resorts might transport you to a different place or time, the Cabins at Fort Wilderness actually feel like you are doing a totally different type of vacation. The emphasis on camping and the outdoors really comes through in this resort.

Cabins at fort wilderness

The Cabins at Fort Wilderness give the ultimate “glamping” experience! Photo from Chris Harrison via Flickr

Overall Best Disney Moderate Resort for Theme

This category goes to Port Orleans – French Quarter. It sticks with its decidedly New Orleans theme, from the beignets to the cobblestone streets. The horse drawn carriages and gas lamps lighting the path really make you feel like you have stepped into New Orleans. Port Orleans Riverside, Coronado Springs, and the Cabins all get middle scores while Caribbean Beach comes in at the end.

Best Dining Experience for a Moderate Resort

When you have had a long day at the Parks, you want to come back to a delicious, leisurely meal at your resort. The number of options is often less at Moderate Resorts compared to Deluxe, but some boast a table service option. For this category, dining options are ranked based on the types (quick service versus table service), quality, and number of options.

Caribbean Beach Dining

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort has recently undergone renovations for their dining options and have luckily added a table service option, Sebastian’s Bistro. Centertown market resembles a street fair type atmosphere with different quick service options. There are Caribbean-inspired dishes at both dining locations as well as place to pick up quick snacks.

Coronado Springs Dining

Coronado Springs has more dining options than any other Moderate Resort, largely thanks to its status as a convention center. It is also undergoing refurbishment to add an additional high-rise hotel that will add to the need for several dining options. The current options are:

  • Quick Service
    • El Mercado de Coronado
    • Siestas Cantina (at the pool)
    • Laguna Bar
    • Three Bridges Bar and Grill (Opens July 2019)
  • Table Service
    • Maya Grill
    • Rix Sports Bar and Grill
    • Cafe Rix
    • Toledo (Opens July 2019) – Tapas, Steak, & Seafood

The quality of the quick service at Coronado Springs was the best we have found in the Moderate category. Specifically, the burrito bowls were amazing and actually led us to come back multiple nights.

Port Orleans – Riverside Dining

Port Orleans Riverside has both table service and quick service options as well. The Quick Service Riverside Mill Food Court is similar to other Moderate resorts with several different stations (burgers, salads, etc). The food here is a decent quality, but nothing too special. The table service, Boatwright’s Dining Hall, serves traditional New Orlean’s style fare. A downside here is that it is only open for dinner, so you can’t enjoy a table service lunch at the resort.

Port Orleans – French Quarter Dining

You will only be able to find Quick Service offerings at Port Orleans – French Quarter. Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory serves a variety of quick service meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When you upgrade to a moderate, a table service meal is a nice addition and it is a little disappointing that you can’t find one at Port Orleans – French Quarter.

The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Dining

The Cabins at Fort Wilderness has several eclectic dining options, keeping with its camping theme:

  1. Trail’s End Restaurant – You can enjoy a table service meal at Trail’s End for breakfast, brunch or dinner. It has really good quality food, and it was a good spend of a Table Service credit.
  2. PJ’s Southern Take-Out – You also have the option of getting your meal to-go from PJ’s Southern Take-out. You pick it up right next to Trail’s End. It’s a great option to be able to take a meal back to your cabin. 
  3. The Chuck Wagon – This meal on wheels serves up items in a quick service fashion like burger, hot dogs, and smores kits.
  4. Hoop-De-Doo Musical Revue – This meal comes with a show! You can enjoy a two hour dinner family-style. It’s one of the best dinner shows on property.

    Hoop Dee Doo Revue at Fort Wilderness.

    Enjoy dinner with a show at the Hoop Dee Doo Revue at Fort Wilderness. Photo from Leigh Caldwell via Flickr

Overall Best Disney Moderate Resort for Dining

This category goes to Coronado Springs. The shear number of options and the quality put Coronado Springs on top. The addition of a dinner show and take-out options bring the Cabins at Fort Wilderness into second place. Port Orleans – French Quarter comes up in last place due to its lack of a table service option.

Best Disney Moderate Resorts for Amenities

Upgrading from a Value to Moderate resort brings a new level of amenities. You earn a water slide in the pool, which is a huge deal for our kids! The Moderate Resorts also have tons of fun recreational activities if you are looking for things to do at Walt Disney World other than the parks. Rather than list all of the amenities, this comparison focuses on items that are unique to each resort.

Caribbean Beach Resort Amenities

Caribbean Beach has amenities and recreation towards its pirate theme.

  • Pools – Due to the size of the Resort, Caribbean Beach actually sports 6 pools! The main pool has a Spanish Colonial theme with TWO waterslides, child’s water play area, and water cannons to soak fellow pool-goers.
  • Pirate Adventure Cruise – Although it is an extra cost ($39-49 per child), this is a pretty fun offering. Children ages 4-12 can take a cruise around the Ports in the Caribbean Beach. They hear legends of pirates and find a treasure at the end.

Coronado Springs Resort Amenities

The jewel of Coronado Springs Resort amenities is the Dig Site. It’s an island located in the center of the resort and sports several options:

  • Lost City of Cibola Pool – This pool has the longest waterslide of all Moderate resorts  at 123 feet long. It also has the largest hot tub of any Disney Resort, holding up to 22 people! Coronado Springs is missing a water play area for kids where the other Moderates all have one.

    Pool at Coronado Springs Resort

    Mayan Themed Pool at Coronado Springs Resort

This pool can literally support an entire day of fun! Disney even provides life jackets for the little ones who want to go down the waterslide over and over again. Don’t forget to stock up on the sunscreen and pool essentials before your trip. These are our tried and true favorites:

Port Orleans – Riverside and French Quarter Amenities

These two resorts share so many of their amenities that it is hard to separate them.

  • Pools – Port Orleans Riverside boasts 5 leisure pools and one main pool on Ol’ Man Isle complete with a water slide. French Quarter adds one more pool with water slide, although it is a very small one at only 51 feet. It also has a kid play area.
  • Horse-Drawn  Carriage Rides
  • Surrey Bike Rentals – Take a spin around the resorts on a surrey bike that can hold your family of 4.

The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Amenities

Bring on the recreation! The Cabins at Fort Wilderness have tons of options when you are looking for things to do:

  • Pools – The Cabins have 2 separate pools. The Meadow Swimming’ Pool sports a kids’ water play area as well as a slide.
  • Archery
  • Tri-Circle-D Ranch – Pony, Carriage, and Wagon Rides
  • Chip N’ Dales’s Camp Fire Sing Along – It’s awesome (and rare!) to have a character experience at your resort. You can enjoy marshmallows around the campfire with Chip and Dale!

You can find a great description of all of these activities here

Overall Best Disney Moderate Resort for Amenities

This one is a super tough category to score. Coronado Springs definitely has the best pool, but Caribbean Beach and Port Orleans Riverside both boast more than 5 pools each!. For shear volume of recreational activities and for having its own Character Experience with Chip and Dale, this category goes to the Cabins at Fort Wilderness!

Best Disney Moderate Resort – Transportation

How you get to the Parks from your resort is almost as important as your room itself! The Moderate Resorts will not be able to take advantage of the Monorail since only Deluxe resorts are on the monorail loop. They also aren’t within walking distance of any of the parks. They do, however, use a combination of Buses and Boats to reach the four parks at Walt Disney World.

Modes of Transportation for Moderate Resorts

How do you get from Point A to Point B from the Moderate Resorts? It differs for each resort and park:

ResortMagic KingdomEpcotHollywood StudiosAnimal KingdomDisney Springs
Caribbean BeachBusBusBusBusBus
Coronado SpringsBusBusBusBusBus
Port Orleans - RiversideBusBusBusBusBoat
Port Orleans - French QuarterBusBusBusBusBoat
Cabins at Fort WildernessBoat / BusBusBusBusBus

Having extra options, like a boat, are a real bonus. The boat from the Cabins at Fort Wilderness actually takes you directly to Magic Kingdom, but stops at Wilderness Lodge first on the ride back. The boats to Disney Springs from the Port Orleans resorts are also a nice touch.

boat to disney spring port orleans french quarter

The boat to Disney Springs is a huge advantage to staying at Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter

Time for Transportation for Moderate Resorts

A big consideration with buses is whether or not you have to share and how many stops they make inside the resorts. This has a huge impact on your actual transit time.

Disney Moderate Resort Transit Times

Resort# of Stops Inside ResortShared?Magic KingdomEpcotHollywood StudiosAnimal KingdomDisney Springs
Caribbean Beach6No3515103015
Coronado Springs4No3525102020
Port Orleans - Riverside4Yes, French Quarter1515202520
Port Orleans - French Quarter1Yes, Riverside1515202520
Cabins at Fort Wilderness1*Yes, Wilderness Lodge1515202515

* – The Cabins at Fort Wilderness only have 1 bus stop, but you have to take a separate bus or golf cart to get to the station. In total, there are 12 bus stops inside the entire resort.

Of note is that Caribbean Beach will soon be on the Skyliner system! This new form of transportation will run it directly to Hollywood Studios and Epcot. This might be a game changer in the transpiration category in 2019!

Overall Best Resort for Transportation

Port Orleans French Quarter easily takes the category for best transportation. It occasionally shares a bus with Riverside, but only has one bus stop and makes it to all parks in less than 30 minutes. The addition of a boat option to Disney Springs also means this resort offers a variety of different transportation options.

The Most Affordable Moderate Resort

Sometimes this is what it comes down to. With all of these options, you are ultimately trying to balance cost and quality of a resort. The Disney Moderate Resorts do an amazing job of providing excellent Disney service and theme while helping to keep the cost of the room lower. Regardless of resort category, you can expect to spend more during peak times and for larger rooms. For a fair comparison, we picked a standard room with 2 queen beds during the weekend in March for our Disney Moderate Resort Prices:

Disney Moderate Resort Prices

ResortPrice Per NightMax OccupancyPrice Per Person
Caribbean Beach$2374$59.25
Coronado Springs$2524$63.00
Port Orleans - Riverside$2744$68.50
Port Orleans - French Quarter$2744$68.50
Cabins at Fort Wilderness$4586$76.33

Even adjusted for price per person based on occupancy, the Cabins at Fort Wilderness are substantially more expense. They do have full kitchens, however, so you might be able to save on dining during your stay.  Caribbean Beach is the most affordable with Coronado coming in next. Both Port Orleans resorts demand the same price.

Overall Best Resort for Price

Caribbean Beach carries this category with the  smallest price tag per person in the Moderate Category. Although they can hold more people, the Cabins at Fort Wilderness are the most expensive per person.

The Best Moderate Resort at Disney World

Drum roll please!!  When you take all of the categories into account the results come out like this:

CategoryCaribbean BeachCoronado SpringsPort Orleans - RiversidePort Orleans - French QuarterCabins at Fort Wilderness
Overall Rank54123

Port Orleans Riverside Sign

Congratulations to Port Orleans Riverside!

The Port Orleans Resorts take the top spots when you consider all of the different categories. That said, you can take each category and weigh it based on what matters most to you. If Dining is at the top of your list you might want to consider Coronodo Springs Resort. Similarly, if you want to spend a lot of time at your resort trying different activities, the Cabins at Fort Wilderness might be the resort for you.

While we took time to evaluate all of the different aspects of the Disney Moderate Resorts, you really can’t go wrong with any of them. Having stayed at all of them except French Quarter (which is on our list!), we haven’t been disappointed with a single stay overall.

Good luck planning your next trip and let us know in the comments which resort you would choose!

Disney Moderate Resort Pinterest pin

%d bloggers like this: