Disney Value Resorts vs Moderate Resort Tiers – Best Choice?

Disney Value Resorts vs Moderate Resorts: Which is Best?
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort” by Jared licensed under CC BY 2.0

Are you looking to understand the major differences between Disney value resorts vs moderate resorts?  Well, whether you’re thinking of staying at the Pop Century or want to spend a little more money for the Port Orleans resort, we’ll help you understand which resort tier best fits your  family’s needs.

Assessing Disney Value Resorts vs Moderate Resorts

There are three main definitions of resorts at Walt Disney World: Value, Moderate, and Deluxe. You may also see a list of campgrounds and deluxe villas on the park’s website, but the three listed are the most common groupings. Value resorts are the lowest tier, Moderate is the next step up, and Deluxe is the premium option.  

The main difference between value resorts and moderate resorts is that value resorts offer Disney guests a cheaper alternative for staying at Disney World, while moderate resorts cost more money (and tend to offer a more immersive, higher-end guest experience).

List of Current Value Resorts

List of Current Moderate Resorts

Value Resort Offerings

While there may be variations between themes and hotels, Value resorts are generally the same between their dining, amenities, and activities.

Amenities at Value Resorts

You can enjoy access to the Skyliner at some value resorts like Pop Century at Disney.
Disney Skyliner Hourglass Lake” by elisfkc is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

These resorts will feature amenities that are similar to standard hotel chains. They will offer complimentary Disney transportation in the form of buses; or, in the case of Pop Century and the Art of Animation, the Skyliner. Onsite paid parking and a car share/taxi pick-up location are available.

All hotels feature a lobby with an ATM, currency exchange, mail services, a gift shop, and merchandise delivery/pick-up. Housekeeping is included as well.

Rooms at Value Resorts

Most resorts in this category have Standard Rooms and Preferred Rooms that sleep up to 4 adults. The exception of Art of Animation, which has Family Suites that can sleep up to six.

Like the property amenities, room amenities are standard for a hotel. You’ll find a hairdryer, in-room safe, telephone, coffee maker, iron with ironing board, and a mini-refrigerator.

Dining at Value Resorts

If you are a foodie, steer clear of the Value resorts. Each resort has a cafeteria near the main lobby, with crowd-pleasing options like burgers and pizza. While some unique dishes are at each location, most are designed to be made quickly and in mass.

You will also find a bar near the main pool for a cool cocktail. Some of these are themed to the resort, but most are classic drinks like margaritas, Pina Coladas, and mai tais. Beer, wine, and sangria are often available as well. While we wish there were more creative drinks on the menu, they are still delicious and help beat the heat.

Recreation at Value Resorts

One thing we love about these resorts is the amount of work Cast Members put into making your child’s stay fun, even when you’re not headed to the parks. Value resorts have pools throughout their properties, many of which are themed to a specific area. During the day, Cast Members play poolside games and trivia with guests for little prizes. It is fun to watch everyone get involved, especially on Disney music trivia!

Beyond the pool, there is an arcade available at each resort. Other activities are also available and change depending on the day and resort. You should pick up a schedule of events at the main lobby if interested!

Each resort has a campfire hour in the evening, followed by an evening movie, typically near the main lobby. Before heading to bed, you can cap off the night with a sweet treat while watching a favorite Disney movie.

While no premium recreation options are available, like fishing or golfing, we find the value resorts a treat for kids. Many families stay at these resorts, so Disney likes to ensure they’re entertained!

Moderate Resort Offerings

As implied, Moderate-tiered hotels are a step up from their predecessor. They also offer a greater variety of amenities, room offerings, dining, and recreation.

Amenities at Moderate Resorts

Property amenities are similar to Value resorts; however, guests start seeing premium options like business centers, concierge, and convention areas (depending on the resort). You’ll want to dive deeper into your research to ensure these resorts fit your travel needs.

Each resort has paid onsite parking, car share/taxi pick-up services, and complimentary Disney transportation. Buses are the primary offering, except for boats to Disney Springs from Port Orleans and the Skyliner from Caribbean Beach. Hotels with more transportation options appear more valuable for the increased cost.

Rooms at Moderate Resorts

Amenities and room sizes vary at Moderate resorts, with some offering Standard Rooms that sleep four adults to those with extra beds or suites. There are also more views, like the River View or Woods View at Port Orleans – Riverside. This also means that the cost will change significantly depending on your resort, the time of year you plan to visit, and your room choice.

Typical amenities resemble a value resort with a hairdryer, in-room safe, coffee maker, mini-refrigerator, telephone, and iron with ironing board. A few premium upgrades are available, like the lighted makeup mirrors at Coronado Springs. The significant difference is The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, standalone buildings with more amenities.

Dining at Moderate Resorts

Variety is the spice of life, and you will start to see dining varieties at these Moderate resorts. In addition to a standard cafeteria, table service restaurants and lounges become available. They often come with elevated food with a heftier price tag. Many resort restaurants do not need a reservation, but they are encouraged to make your stay easier.

Some unique dining options include Three Bridges Bar & Grill, Scat Cat’s Club – Lounge, and Boatwright’s Dining Hall.

Recreation at Moderate Resorts

Much like everything else mentioned about these medium-tiered hotels, more recreation options are also available. Depending on your stay, you can enjoy horseback rides, bike rentals, fishing excursions, and more. The prices vary based on your experience, so you can either look at the My Disney Experience app or call the front desk for details.

The pools also see an upgrade, which are often more extensive and heavily themed. Many properties also offer leisure pools that let you relax in a quieter setting. If you’re an adult traveling without kids, this can be a refreshing getaway from the energy at the main pools.

Best Value Resorts

It’s challenging to search through each resort and find its pros and cons, so we thought we’d save you the trouble by mentioning a few of our favorite resorts.

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Disney’s Pop Century Resort
Orlando – Disney World – Disney’s Pop Century Resort” by Jared is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This has been a flagship spot for many travelers – ourselves included. This pop culture-themed resort has seen updates in recent years, including room renovations and the introduction of the Skyliner. The Skyliner is your “highway in the sky” for transportation to Hollywood Studios and Epcot, making it a tremendous value and time-saver.

We consider Pop Century a mix between a Moderate and Value resort with the introduction of the Skyliner. The food options are plain, but the theming is more inspired by Disney than the All-Star Value resorts. Rooms are also standard but comfortable and offer a nice place to sleep.

Suppose your stay is independent of the hotel but prefers a mix of resort activities and parks. In that case, Disney’s Pop Century is a great option.

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Art of Animation Resort” by HarshLight is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Across from Pop Century lies the Art of Animation, one of Walt Disney World’s newest resorts. While it offers all of the standard amenities and food options like any Value resort, the benefit of the Skyliner and family suites are a huge plus. Trying to cram four to six people into one hotel room can be tricky. The family suites let you sprawl out a little more; however, they come at a high price.

The theming is also heavily geared toward Disney fans, and little ones will love the giant statues of Ariel, Simba, and Crush the turtle. It is a bright, beautiful hotel that brings extra magic to your Disney stay.

Best Moderate Resorts

While all of these resorts are a higher caliper than their Value resort competitors, we prefer some Moderate hotels over others.

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort - Riverside
Port Orleans Riverside” by Michael Gray licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

With its romantic theming, a plethora of room options (including some specialty suites), and access to the French Quarter resort and Disney Springs, this hotel is our top choice. This resort is enormous in terms of size and theme. We love the Sassagoula River that cuts through the walkways and carriage rides with horses that slowly gait by. Enjoy libations in the evening and sing along to Yeeha Bob at the River Roost lounge before retiring.

If you love theming and southern food, you will love this hotel. But, if you plan to visit the parks and use your resort as only a place to sleep, consider a Value resort for affordability. You travel to the parks by bus at Port Orleans Resort- Riverside. So, the price-to-value ratio is the better offer for us regarding transportation.

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Coronado Springs Hotel” by Michael Gray licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Disney’s Coronado Springs, a resort themed to Spanish, Mexican, and Southwestern American influences, lies a little off the main path. This spot is a convention center and hotel, making it ideal for events or business conferences. With this dual purpose, the resort lacks Disney charm but makes up for it with dining, drinking, and working areas.

The grounds are beautiful, with the big Lago Dorado lake in the middle. Unique to this hotel are activities like Sangria University (which we successfully graduated from), mosaic creating, and painting. There are also many food options, from cafeterias to lounges and signature dining experiences, that many Moderate resorts do not have.

For us, the most significant caveat to this hotel is the reliance on either a vehicle or the buses. The resort is near Animal Kingdom at the end of Disney World property, so getting to a park can be lengthy. But, if the goal is to visit the park for only one or two days and spend the rest of your time at a conference, then this is a great option.


In this Disney value resorts vs moderate resorts comparison article, I hope you better understand the major differences between these two tiers of resorts.  Always remember that with Value resorts, you will see more affordable prices but lack recreation and dining options. At Moderate hotels, you’re paying for a more upscale experience that offers more unique experiences.

When deciding on a hotel, consider your wants and needs. Will you be heading to the parks every day? Consider a Value resort. Are you looking for more food options? Try a Moderate hotel. Either way, you’re in for a treat on your next Disney World vacation.

This article was written by Angela and edited by Michael.

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