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Disney World moderate resorts are a middle ground between the value and deluxe resorts in almost every regard – price, theming, dining, and room amenities. Following my family’s Disney resort selection criteria that focuses on comfortable sleeping space for four with two school-aged kids, peace and quiet, and a modest budget, the moderate resorts usually don’t fit our needs with a few notable exceptions.

Disney World Resort Hotel Guide

Don’t miss my complete Disney World Resort Hotel Guide for Families of 4 with recommendations for Value Resorts, Moderate Resorts, and Deluxe Resorts.

What sets Disney World moderate resorts above value resorts is slightly larger rooms, double vanities in the bathrooms, spas and slides at the pool, beautiful theming with lush landscaping, and table service dining options. They still fall short of deluxe resorts by remaining outdoor-entry rooms and not being adjacent to any parks.

With the exception of Port Orleans French Quarter, the moderate resort grounds are the largest Disney resorts with sprawling grounds requiring internal bus service. In general, bus service for moderate resorts is notoriously slow so you’ll probably want to drive if you have a car or take a Lyft or Uber. We always have a car so bus service isn’t a consideration for us when selecting a resort.

Remember, this aren’t comprehensive reviews of every resort. These cover the aspects that are a value for our family. In most cases, the small benefits over the value resorts are not enough to justify the higher price so few moderate resorts earn a recommendation.

Continue reading for the full list of Disney World moderate resorts and how each hotel stacks up to our criteria for a family of four with two school age kiddos:

Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Caribbean Beach occupies a huge chunk of land at Disney World. Over 2,000 rooms are spread out among 24 two-story buildings surrounding a lake in five villages. Phew! All that space with scattered beaches makes for a pretty peaceful stay.

A significant number of rooms include a kid-sized murphy bed, adding that 3rd sleeping space that we love while Caribbean Beach is typically the lowest price of all moderate resorts. Pirate-themed rooms are also available but these only have double beds with no 5th sleeper option so they’re a resounding “nope.”

Caribbean Beach easily checks off our three Disney resort room must-have’s and more than half of our bonuses making it our favorite moderate resort. The Fuentes del Morro main pool has a fun fortress theme complete with cannons and an enclosed slide. When the Disney SkyLiner opens in 2019, it will service Caribbean Beach with access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

T+S Deal Breakers

  • Comfortable sleeping space for 4 – 2 queen beds are standard except in pirate-themed rooms, 5th sleeper available

  • Peace and quiet

  • Budget-Friendly – lowest rates of all moderates with discounts rivaling Pop Century value rates.

Extra Resort and Room Features

  • 3rd sleeping space

  • Table with chairs

  • Fun pool

  • Close proximity to at least one park – No, but Disney SkyLiner will soon provide access to Hollywood Studios and Epcot
  • Private outdoor space

Choosing a Disney World Hotel

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Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Coronado Springs is one of the few resorts that we have never visited and likely won’t stay barring a substantially low discount that puts it on par with the values, which we have not yet seen. Sure, it looks like a beautiful resort with southwest theming and gorgeous recently-refurbished rooms. However, the rooms only have two queen beds and there is no table, just a long desk with a single chair.

Coronado Springs is also the only moderate resort with no alternative transportation … anywhere. Buses are the only option for public transportation to any park and Disney Springs.

Rack rates and discounts often put nightly rates at Coronado Springs within several dollars of Caribbean Beach, so I always choose Caribbean Beach in that case because it’s a much better value for our family’s needs. So, yes, we consider Coronado Springs budget-friendly for being on the low end compared to other moderates, but ultimately do not give it a recommendation because other resorts offer more benefits for the same price and resorts with similar features are less.

Coronado Springs does offer suites that Caribbean Beach does not, but those rates are typically on par with deluxe pricing and we would always choose a deluxe resort instead for park proximity alone.

T+S Deal Breakers

  • Comfortable sleeping space for 4 – 2 queen beds

  • Peace and quiet

  • Budget-Friendly – rates usually nearly the same as Caribbean Beach

Extra Resort and Room Features

  • Fun pool

  • Table with chairs – 1 chair at a long desk
  • Close proximity to at least one park
  • 3rd sleeping space
  • Private outdoor space

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter

Many of the same issues as Coronado Springs apply here with typically higher rates. Port Orleans does have a table in two chairs in all rooms which we like and also has the advantage of boat transportation to Disney Springs. Unlike the other sprawling moderate resorts, French Quarter is also quite compact and easy to walk.

The rooms at Port Orleans French Quarter are recently refurbished with wood flooring and platform beds, but still no 5th sleeper option. For a family of four that does not need that third sleeping surface or smaller families, I would absolutely consider French Quarter, likely over all other moderate resorts for it’s small size, but it does not fit the needs of our family.

I’m also going to give French Quarter a “no” for pools. This one features a large sea serpent but the slide is very short and boring for older kids compared to longer slides at the other moderate resorts.

T+S Deal Breakers

  • Comfortable sleeping space for 4 – 2 queen beds

  • Peace and quiet

  • Budget-Friendly – rates are on the higher end for moderates

Extra Resort and Room Features

  • Table with chairs

  • Fun pool

  • Close proximity to at least one park – offers boat service to Disney Springs
  • 3rd sleeping space
  • Private outdoor space

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside

Port Orleans Riverside is a popular favorite, consisting of two Louisiana-themed sections – the beautiful Magnolia Bend and swampy Alligator Bayou. Rooms in the Magnolia Bend mansions all have just two queen beds and, averaging over $200 per night, they have never been a consideration for us. Rooms in Alligator Bayou, however, have a twin murphy bed which satisfies our third sleeping space bonus, making them the better choice for families of four or more with school age kids.

Ignoring the obvious theming differences, rooms in Alligator Bayou are comparable to the 5th sleeper rooms at Caribbean Beach. Both are housed in numerous two-story buildings without elevators. Rooms at both have two queen beds with a twin murphy bed, table with two chairs, and double sinks in the bathroom. Caribbean Beach usually has the lower price advantage and more storage while Riverside has better transportation (for now) with boats to Disney Springs.

T+S Deal Breakers

  • Comfortable sleeping space for 4 – 2 queen beds, 5th sleeper available
  • Peace and quiet

  • Budget-Friendly – rates are on the high end for moderates

Extra Resort and Room Features

  • 3rd sleeping space – in Alligator Bayou section

  • Table with chairs

  • Fun pool

  • Close proximity to at least one park – offers boat service to Disney Springs
  • Private outdoor space
Disney's Fort Wilderness cabin

The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Disney throws the Fort Wilderness cabins into the moderate category, but they’re really a category all their own. We view the cabins more of a destination in themselves rather than a park-heavy Disney World vacation home base. And that’s exactly how we’ve stayed there, for a few relaxing days in the middle of a longer Disney trip with split stays at other resorts that are more convenient for park hopping.

The cabins are on the high end of the moderate price range and transportation can also be frustrating. Cars can be parked right in front of each cabin (super convenient!) and can be driven out of the resort to get to the parks every day, but cars can’t be driven to other destinations within Fort Wilderness. Due to the sprawling size of the resort and vehicle restrictions, we highly recommend renting a golf cart to travel around Fort Wilderness and avoid transportation frustrations. There is an internal bus system and bringing bikes would also help to cover ground more quickly, but renting a golf cart is the most convenient … and fun!

Aside from price, the Fort Wilderness cabins check off all our Disney resort requirements. We absolutely love them! If that quiet retreat at the end of the day is at the top of your list, then Fort Wilderness is the #1 choice for a Disney resort. No rooms are shared with others, no rooms above or below, complete tranquility!

T+S Deal Breakers

  • Comfortable sleeping space for 4 – queen bed and bunk beds

  • Peace and quiet

  • Budget-Friendly – highest of moderates

Extra Resort and Room Features

  • 3rd sleeping space – bunk beds in all cabins

  • Table with chairs – dining table with bench and 3 chairs

  • Close proximity to at least one park – boat to Magic Kingdom

  • Private outdoor space – private deck with picnic table

  • Fun pool

Disney's Fort Wilderness cabin

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Best Disney moderate resorts for families with school age kids