How to Pick the Best Disney Moderate Resort for Your Family

by Mommy Frog on April 30, 2024
26 Orlando Video

Inside This Post Inside This Post

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.

Disney Moderate Resorts - Port Orleans Riverside - Riverside Mill Food Court exterior

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. Pssst! The Frog Family also offers discounts on all Walt Disney World hotels to help save you some green! In fact, right now you can save up to 35% on select stays through Oct. 3, 2024.

There are four Disney World Moderate Resorts:

Disney 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.


disney moderate resort — Alligator statues playing instruments

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 manors and bayous.

Disney Moderate Resort Rooms

The theming continues into the resorts' rooms, some of which are extra themed such as the newly refurbished Little Mermaid 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. At Port Orleans – Riverside, elevators are only offered for the three-story Magnolia Bend section of rooms.

Location and Transportation

disney moderate resort - Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort - Aerial shot from the Disney Skyliner

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.

Overnight self-parking at resorts is complimentary for hotel guests. If you drive to the parks and are staying on-site, you will not be charged to park at the theme parks. This can be a big cost savings because standard car parking at the theme parks is $30 each day! You can also pay the difference between standard and preferred parking if you want to upgrade for a shorter walk.

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.)

disney moderate resort - Disney Skyliner character gondolas

Disney Skyliner provides direct access to EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios. Because the Caribbean Beach 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.

Disney Moderate Resort Pools and Recreation

disney moderate resort - Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort - Pool

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.

Speaking of pools, starting in 2025, Disney Resort hotel guests can enjoy admission to Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park or Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park on their check-in day included with their stay.

Dining and Shopping

disney moderate resort — Mickey Beignet

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!

Disney Moderate Resorts - View of Gran Destino Tower at Disney's Coronado Springs

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 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 moderate resort — 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.

Disney Moderate Hotel - Caribbean Beach Rooms

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, with new touches inspired by "The Little Mermaid."

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. Want to learn more? Our Caribbean Beach Resort guide has all the details!

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. If you didn't know any better, you'd think you were at a Disney World Deluxe Resort — all for a moderate price.

disney moderate resort - Coronado Springs Resort - Dig Site Pool

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

disney moderate resort - Port Orleans - French Quarter — Lobby

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 for tadpoles under 48". 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. Head over to our French Quarter guide for more details.

For the outdoorsy adventurer — Disney's Port Orleans Resort – Riverside

disney moderate resort - Port Orleans - Riverside — Arches in Magnolia Bend

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.

disney moderate resort - Port Orleans Riverside - Royal Room with princess paintings

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

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
View Comments


Apr 29, 2022 at 4:01 a.m.
KC Says...

We have stayed at Caribbean Beach since 1998 except for staying at Port Orleans in 2001. I prefer CB by far,

Apr 29, 2022 at 8:45 a.m.
FrogBlog Says...

Wow, KC, that's awesome - what a tenure :) Thanks for sharing with us! When is your next stay?

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jun 8, 2020 at 10:45 p.m.
Joseph Paul Says...

I'm 81 and use a walker, any suggestions for which moderate resort is the net for me!

Jun 9, 2020 at 8:26 a.m.
FrogBlog Says...

Hi Joseph!

We would opt for Port Orleans - Riverside or Coronado Springs! Port Orleans - French Quarter is the smallest in size of the moderates and is absolutely beautiful ... but part of its charm includes cobblestone-esque "streets" around the property, which certainly is not ideal to navigate with a walker! (If you do opt to stay at Riverside, French Quarter is a quick boat ride away if you would like to check out the atmosphere or grab a beignet; Disney Springs is also a quick boat ride away!) Caribbean Beach is the largest of the moderates, and while there's an internal bus loop to hop around, it can be a trek to the areas of interest around the resort (and it doesn't have elevators). When booking, you can also request a lower-level room or even a specific building if you know you'd like to be a comfortable distance from the lobby, pools, transportation or restaurants. Hope this helps - have a wonderful trip!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

May 29, 2019 at 2:10 p.m.
Karen Says...

I've stayed at Caribbean Beach resort since 1998 and most recently earlier this month. I love this resort and the updates in check-in and food court are nice. My main disappointment this trip was lackluster housekeeping service. I was also unhappy with the island I would up in and the kids didn't want to change. Apart from that I wish the guests themselves would be nicer and more aware if their treatment if others.

Apr 21, 2019 at 8:39 p.m.
PPrice Says...

One very important note that people may need to realize about both Caribbean Beach Resort and Port Orleans Riverside. Not all their buildings have elevators. None of Caribbean's do & only the 3-story buildings at Riverside do. And even in Coronado, the Casitas section has an elevator to the 2nd floor, but it doesn't go to the 3rd (which makes no sense).

So if you're disabled like I am and can't climb stairs, these are resorts to avoid. You can ask for a ground floor for medical reason when booking, but not all cast members seem to know how to do that.

Mar 25, 2019 at 11 p.m.
Stacey lawrie Says...

What about Fort Wilderness? It’s a moderate too!

Mar 26, 2019 at 7:38 a.m.
FrogBlog Says...

Hi Stacey!

You're so right - the cabins at Fort Wilderness ARE considered a moderate! Thanks for the reminder :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jan 5, 2019 at 8:08 p.m.
Michelle Says...

I’m your opinion, once the gondola system is complete, which resort would be better for a family going to Disney mainly to visit parks in October 2019: Port Orleans Riverside or Carribean Beach resort? We want the decent resort, but want to be able to get to the parks easily.

Jan 16, 2019 at 6:09 p.m.
FrogBlog Says...

Hi Michelle,

This is hard to say, but based on your timing and the expected launch of the gondolas in fall of 2019, they may or may not be up during your visit, and if they are up they will likely be busy since they are new! Both of the resort hotels are toadally awesome and comparable in terms of amenities (aside from the gondolas), so it's really up to you.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jul 31, 2018 at 8:02 p.m.
Desiree Rapp Says...

With CBR having multiple things closed ( old port, arcade, pool bar, and other food areas) and construction, would you still recommend it as much as previously or go with another hotel? We want the full Disney experience, and fell in love with this hotel, but am concerned now of construction. Has anyone stayed there since, what were your feelings? This is our first time to Disney!

Aug 1, 2018 at 9:29 a.m.
FrogBlog Says...

Hi Desiree!

We have still enjoyed our stays at Caribbean Beach during the construction, but the experience is certainly not quite the same as when the full resort accommodations are open. Especially for your first ever visit to Disney, we would hate for you to be disappointed!

We welcome the Frog Pond to chime in on their experiences and any recommendations. Port Orleans (both Riverside and French Quarter) are our personal favorite moderate resorts!

Keep hopping!


Feb 28, 2018 at 1:49 a.m.
Kelly Says...

If i book my hotel through disney but buy tickets through undercovertourist, do i still get complimentary magicbands sent to me? Or do I have to purchase the ticket+hotel package with disney to get free magicbands?

Mar 6, 2018 at 11:43 a.m.
FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kelly,

Yes, you'll still receive complimentary MagicBands!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Sep 15, 2017 at 7:54 p.m.
Peg P Says...

We stayed at Port Orleans last year. They do not offer the Pirate Adventure cruise. That's only at the Grand Floridian, Beach/Yacht Club, and Caribbean Beach resorts.

Sep 15, 2017 at 7:59 p.m.
FrogBlog Says...

Hi Peg,

Thanks for the note! We've updated the post.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Sep 3, 2017 at 7:35 p.m.
B. G. Says...

Coronado is now my least favorite WDW resort.

The rooms were very dated, in my opinion.

We also had, what I thought, was a beautiful view.

I didn't realize that the resort would be hosting convention activities by the lake until late in the evening, and clean up would be very loud and noisy. This wouldn't be a problem if I weren't getting up early with my young children to hit the parks early in the AM.

Keep in mind, this is a convention resort. The food courts were packed during the times I happened to be there. Seating was a problem when hitting the quick service court.

This is now on our *do not stay* list.

For moderate, it will be Port Orleans Riverside, or we will splurge and go back to some of our deluxe favorites, where we felt like our needs mattered.

Apr 17, 2017 at 12:37 p.m.
Shelly Says...

Will everyone staying at CBR, starting in May, receive the 75 gift card? Or do you have to book before a certain date to be eligible for that? Thanks!

Apr 17, 2017 at 8:11 a.m.
FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shelly,

According to Disney, Guests staying at Caribbean Beach during the refurbishment will receive a $75 Disney Gift Card per room for each night of their stay at check in.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Apr 22, 2017 at 12:37 p.m.
Shelly Says...

I just heard back from Disney and they said you had to book during a specific time frame in order to get the gift card.

Jan 9, 2017 at 3:21 p.m.
Greg Says...

What about Coronado being "too big" of a campus? I have read reports of people walking "great distances" to get to the pool and bus stops for transportation. We're planning to travel in Sept/Oct of 2017.

Jan 9, 2017 at 3:02 p.m.
FrogBlog Says...

Hi Greg,

Coronado Springs is one of the larger Moderate Resorts at Disney World. Depending on which building you're in, you could find yourself close to the bus/pool area. All of the other Moderate resorts, such as Port Orleans or Saratoga Springs feature similar layouts.

Keep Hopping!


Feb 1, 2016 at 2:58 p.m.
TIm Says...

Coronado rocks!! Best moderate hands down.

Apr 15, 2017 at 2:24 p.m.
Mom of 2 Boys Says...

Coronado is most luxurious of the moderates -- and as my children are getting older, the pool is much better for them. The Port Orleans has more of a "younger" pool with decor and slide, better suited for kids under 10.

Jan 9, 2017 at 3:23 p.m.
Greg Says...

Hey Tim,

We're planning on taking our first ever trip to Disney World in fall of 2017. What about the reviews Ive read about people saying they "had to walk forever" or "great disatnces" when staying at Coronado? Looks like a pretty expansive resort. We'll have a 4-yr old with us ;) Thanks!

Feb 2, 2016 at 9:02 a.m.
FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tim,

We like the Coronado too. The pool is awesome, and it always seems so peaceful around the pond.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog


Leave a comment

Search blog articles

About Undercover Tourist

Undercover Tourist is the leading supplier of online discount tickets to Orlando, Florida-area attractions, including Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando Resort™, SeaWorld® Orlando, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort and more.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Get the inside scoop on theme park news, planning tips, concert and sports announcements, special offers and much more!

Park Plans

Our step-by-step guides will save you up to 4 hours a day.