As we've talked about a time or two, all of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels offer a little something for everyone. While the Disney moderate resorts have most of the same benefits and amenities, each one has its own unique theme, transporting your frog squad to South America, the Big Easy and more. Whether you’re looking for a frogtastic pool for the tadpoles or a room that’s big enough to fit your entire frog family, we’re here to break down these family-friendly resorts and lay out your options. The Disney moderate resort hotels offer a good blend of amenities and affordability that makes sense for many families.
Overview of Disney World Moderate Resorts
Disney World Moderate Resorts provide the perfect balance of on-site benefits, Disney theming and prime locations — all for a moderate price. If you're looking at the moderate hotels on our handy-dandy Disney World hotel decision matrix, you may have noticed that we have many "Frog Family Favorites." After all, we frogs love each one for different reasons! But which one is right for your family? We'll help you decide by going over the many amenities the resorts offer and what makes each one distinct.
There are four Disney World Moderate Resorts:
- Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
- Disney's Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
- Disney's Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
Disney World Moderate Resort Amenities and Benefits
One of the big perks of staying at any Disney property is Early Theme Park Entry. As a replacement for Extra Magic Hours (which allowed an extra hour before opening or two hours after closing at one designated theme park each day), Disney introduced Early Theme Park Entry, which allows hotel guests to enter any park 30-minutes early, every day. Hop over to our guide to see all of the reasons to stay on-site at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel.
The theming is quite different for each of the Disney moderate resort hotels; however, there is some overlap between Disney's Caribbean Beach and Disney's Coronado Springs. Caribbean Beach is the ultimate beach destination while Coronado Springs is inspired by Mexico, Spain and the Southwest. Port Orleans – French Quarter focuses on the Mardi Gras side of New Orleans while Riverside features Old South manors and bayous.
The theming continues into the resorts' rooms, some of which are extra themed such as the pirate rooms (Caribbean Beach) or royal rooms (Riverside). All of the Disney moderate hotels offer queen beds in their standard rooms. Many of the rooms at Disney's Caribbean Beach and Disney's Port Orleans – Riverside will sleep up to five adults, which makes them a better choice for larger families (the fifth sleeper gets a fold-down Murphy bed, which reveals fun, themed artwork). It's important to note that there are no elevators at Caribbean Beach, which offers two stories. At Port Orleans – Riverside, elevators are only offered for the three-story Magnolia Bend section of rooms.
Location and Transportation
With the exception of Port Orleans – French Quarter, which is the smallest resort on property, the Disney moderate hotels are among the largest on property in terms of sheer acreage and number of rooms. This is an important consideration and makes room location a bigger deal. After a long day in the parks, do you potentially want to have to walk another 10 minutes to get to the main pool or to grab a bite to eat? In most cases, you will pay a premium for the rooms closest to the lobby, dining and feature pools.
Like the values, the moderates all offer bus transportation to the theme parks. They are all about the same distance to Magic Kingdom. Disney's Caribbean Beach is closest to EPCOT, and Disney's Coronado Springs is closest to Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios. All of them, except for Port Orleans – French Quarter, have multiple bus stops around the resort itself. French Quarter does, at times, share bus service with Riverside. Additionally, both of the Port Orleans resorts offer boat transportation to Disney Springs, which is a nice option for families who want to do more shopping and dining (nothing gets Leap excited like a boat ride)!
The opening of the Disney Skyliner is a game-changer for Caribbean Beach Resort, providing direct access to EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios. Because the station also acts as the main Skyliner hub, you could even use it to pop over to Disney's Riviera Resort or Disney's Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts if you want a change of scenery or to take advantage of dining options at those hotels.
Pools and Recreation
The moderates have more elaborately themed pools that include waterslides and hot tubs (while the values do not). The larger resorts also have non-themed "quiet" pools closer to the rooms (Port Orleans – French Quarter is the exception since it's a smaller resort overall). We'll go over the details of the pools below (and check out our list of the top pools on Disney World property.)
When it comes to amenities, the Disney moderate resort hotels all offer a step up from the value resorts. Each of the moderate resorts has a playground, jogging trail, arcade, movies under the stars, bike rentals and lots of poolside activities. Additionally, both Port Orleans Resorts offer horse-drawn carriage rides, campfire activities and catch-and-release fishing. Disney's Caribbean Beach offers a pirate adventure cruise (temporarily unavailable), campfire activities, sand volleyball and catch-and-release fishing.
Because Coronado Springs also has a convention center, it offers additional amenities that the other moderates do not. This includes a salon, spa and fitness center and suites.
Dining and Shopping
Each Disney World moderate resort offers both a quick-service restaurant and a table-service restaurant. Port Orleans – French Quarter is the one exception and does not offer a table-service restaurant (though it's a short walk to Boatwright's Dining Hall, the table-service restaurant at Port Orleans – Riverside). French Quarter is also a boat ride away from Disney Springs, where there are tons of great table-service options!
Coronado Springs includes two table-service restaurants and additional bars. Additionally, Gran Destino Tower offers a rooftop restaurant, Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood, and a coffee lounge that turns into a bar at night. Not only does Villa del Lago serve up even more dining options, but also provides a shortcut through the middle of the lake.
Each of the moderate resorts also has a gift shop, perfect for grabbing forgotten essentials or a last-minute Disney souvenir!
How to Pick the Best Disney World Moderate Resort for You
Choosing a Disney World Moderate Resort depends on what is most important to you and your family. Rooms, dining, theming, amenities and convenience are a big factor, but sometimes it all comes down to just personal preference.
For those who want to be in the middle of all the action — Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
Disney's Caribbean Beach is divided into five island-themed "villages" — Aruba, Martinique, Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica — that form a tropical paradise around a lake, complete with their own sandy beaches and private pools.
The tropical theming is carried inside the rooms, which feature dark, carved headboards. Many of the rooms will sleep up to five adults, a great option for larger families. There are also more elaborately themed pirate rooms. The intricately carved pirate ship beds will only accommodate doubles, so these rooms sleep up to four adults.
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort offers a pirate's paradise in Fuentes del Morro Pool, with its colonial Spanish fortress theming, two slides and pirate ship water play area.
Because of the latest refurbishments and its access to Disney Skyliner, Disney's Caribbean Beach is one of our froggy favorites. It's centrally located, so it's a short distance away from all the theme parks and Disney Springs.
For the luxurious traveler on a budget — Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
The theming at Disney's Coronado Springs is easily the most diverse. The resort rooms are divided into three main standard room sections — Casitas, Ranchos and Cabanas — each with its own flavor of external architecture. All of the room interiors are exactly alike with more of an Aztec theme, with blues and browns as the dominant colors. Inspired by Spanish art by Salvador Dali, Gran Destino Tower added 545 rooms with additional square footage (including 50 suites), a club-level lounge and rooftop dining in 2019. The tower truly elevated the decor, amenities and dining to a whole new level, all for a moderate price.
The Dig Site at Disney's Coronado Springs is home to the Lost City of Cibola pool, with its 50-foot pyramid and 123-foot water slide, giant hot tub, sand volleyball court and sand play area. It's one of our favorite pools because of its grand size and elaborate theming. For more information, hop over to our guide to Coronado Springs.
For the Mardi Gras fan — Disney's Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
Welcome to New Orleans! You'll find lots of purple and green accents celebrating Mardi Gras at this family-friendly resort. Make sure to grab a Mickey beignet! Disney's Port Orleans – French Quarter features both Southern manor-style theming and bayou-theming inside its rooms. Look for some hidden "Princess and the Frog" gems in the bathroom at French Quarter.
The pool at French Quarter includes a 51-foot long sea serpent slide, hot tub and water play area. Being the smallest resort on property, its small size also makes it super easy to get around. We love how fast we can get back to our rooms after a long day at the parks.
For the outdoorsy adventurer — Disney's Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
The picturesque waterways, working water mill, magnolias and poplars make Port Orleans – Riverside a resort unlike any other. You can follow the Sassagoula River by foot or boat down to Port Orleans – French Quarter. You'll feel as though you're in the middle of The Big Easy because of the cobblestone streets and wrought-iron balconies. Enjoy a fishing hole, campfire, horse-drawn carriages, bike rentals and more!
Disney's Port Orleans – Riverside offers the royal rooms, featuring Tiana and her princess pals, which are fit for your own princess and offer light-up headboards and dark, royal colors.
The pool at Port Orleans – Riverside — set on Ol' Man Island — has the feel of a swimmin' hole and includes a sawmill slide. If you’re bringing along a furry friend, Port Orleans – Riverside is the only dog-friendly moderate resort. Check out our Port Orleans Resort – Riverside guide for more information!
Which is your family's favorite Disney moderate resort hotel? For more tips to help you decide, check out the Where to Stay in Orlando page inside our Orlando Planning Timeline! Don't froget to book your favorite Disney moderate hotel now!
Related: The Very Best Disney World Pools