We have gone to Disney a few times as a family and we have fallen in love with the Disney Moderate Resorts. So we’ve gone through the high and low points and ranked them best to worst.
There are 5 resorts that fall into the moderate category for resorts at Disney World.
- Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside
- Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
- Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
When you upgrade from a value resort there are a few things that are different at a Moderate vs a Value.
First, the theming is less cartoony and a little more subtle. Aside from French Quarter, moderate resorts are also more spread out. They are generally in my opinion geared to a bit older kids, but any age will still enjoy them.
The rooms found at Moderate resorts are a bit larger and nicer than at value resorts as well. They all have 2 queen beds vs most values having 2 full-size beds and the bedding tends to be a little nicer as well. This is a big reason that we love moderate resorts. You may not feel that just under 100 square feet more space will make a difference but it does! We also like having the bigger beds.
When you stay at a moderate resort another thing you will find if that all of the resorts have table service restaurants in addition to the quick service. That can be nice if you take a break around dinner time to be able to get a nice dinner at your resort. These restaurants can also be easier to get reservations or even have the possibility of getting in without a reservation, something that is unheard of in the parks.
Pools… can we just agree right here and there that they are super important to kids? Well if you stay at a Moderate resort you will also enjoy the hot tubs that come along with the Moderate Category. Kids will also enjoy the addition of slides at the main pools.
Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside
This one is our absolute favorite Moderate resort. Riverside is themed after the deep south with 2 areas. The Magnolia Bend and Alligator Bayou.
With Plantation style mansions, beautiful landscaping, and glorious tall trees you will fall in love with the charm of Magnolia Bend. There are 4 buildings 2 of which are home to the Royal Rooms that are decorated with royal touches from Tiana and her princess friends. We stayed in a royal room on our last trip and my daughter fell in love with everything about the room. We had a river view corner room in Oak Manor and had a nice short walk across a bridge over to the main check-in building, bus transportation and to the restaurants. For us, it was a pretty perfect location.
The lodges in the Alligator Bayou resemble the small cottages found in the bayous of Louisiana. With lush trees and rustic buildings, you will feel like you are down in the Bayou. In addition to the 2 queen beds, some rooms in Alligator Bayou also have a child size pull-down Murphy style bed for anyone under 5’2″. This is nice because it makes these rooms be able to accommodate 5 guests. In some of the preferred rooms ( located the closest to transportation and the main building) they also feature king beds.
Amenities at Port Orleans Riverside
The main pool is located on Ol’ Man Island. This pool has a 95 ft slide as well as a hot tub. The Muddy Rivers pool bar is a great place to get a drink, they even have frozen coke for the kids! Around the resort, there are also 5 leisure pools, 2 in Magnolia Bend and 3 in Alligator Bayou.
If you are looking for something fun there are a few activities that you can take part in, for an added cost.
Dockside Fishing- Head down to the Fishin’ Hole at Ol’ Man Island and grab a fishing pole to try your hand at catching a fish! They also offer fishing excursions if you are a little more serious of a fisherman.
Bike & Surrey Bike Rentals- Rent either bikes or a 2 or 4 person Surrey Bike at Riverside Levee Marina.
Jogging Trail- Run a lime long route along the Sassagoula River!
Horse-drawn carriage rides- Take a relaxing and romantic ride along the Sassagoula River in your own horse-drawn carriage. It is sure to be a favorite!
Guests staying at Riverside also have the ability to use the pools and amenities at French Quarter and vice versa.
You have a few options on getting where you want to go at Port Orleans. They, of course, offer the Disney Buses but if you are looking to go to Disney springs my favorite way is to hop onto the ferryboat and take a nice ride on the Sassagoula River!
Riverside offers their quick service location, Riverside Mill Food Court, open for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner. They have some really great options for New Orleans style food including bakery, grill, pizza & pasta, specialties, salads, and a carving station.
Their table service restaurant, Boatwright’s Dining Hall, is open for Dinner only. The decor is right out of a rustic shipyard warehouse serving up N’awlins favorites.
Looking for some night time entertainment? Head over to the River Roost and check out Yehaa Bob and his wacky piano playing and singing while enjoying a beverage or light snacks.
Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter
A sister resort to Riverside, Port Orleans French quarter will transport you to the New Orleans’s historic French Quarter with beautiful architecture. This is by far a smaller resort with the buildings closer together and not as spread out as Riverside. French Quarter offered 2 queen beds or 1 King bed, however, they do now have any specially decorated rooms like Riverside.
French Quarters one and only pool, Doubloon Lagoon, is themed after Mardi Gras featuring a 51-foot-long snaking sea serpent slide. Mardi Grogs is their pool bar where it’s Fat Tuesday every day!
Guests staying at French Quarter also have the ability to use the pools and amenities at Riverside and vice versa.
Beignet Fun Run – Most Sundays you can join other guests for a quick 1.5 mile run around French Quarter and Riverside and you’ll receive a finisher’s medallion—along with a tasty beignet! Check-in begins at 7:30 AM; the run begins at 8:00 AM. Entry fee is $15.00 per person, plus tax.
Transportation is the same as Riverside, Buses and the ferry boat to Disney Springs.
Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory is the only restaurant at French Quarter, a quick service restaurant offering American and Cajun/Creole Cuisine.
Scat Cat’s Club is a southern style Jazz lounge offering beverages and appetizers.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Slow down and relax at the Caribbean Beach resort where you will find 5 distinct islands: Barbados, Jamaica, Martinique, Trinidad, and Aruba. Lush landscaping and swaying hammocks will have you living the Caribbean lifestyle while staying there. If you have any little buccaneers in your group you may want to check out the Pirate themed rooms featuring a ship-shaped bed and nautical details and hidden treasures around the room.
The Fuentes del Morro Pool is the main pool at Caribbean Beach, with zero-entry, 2 slides and water cannons.
Scallywags 4 to 12 years of age can set sail on a pirate adventure, following clues to discover hidden treasure.
The newly renovated Old Port Royale is home to the table service restaurant, Sebastian’s Bistro, with fantastic surf and turf meals infused with rich Latin and Caribbean flavors.
Centertown Market is the quick service location featuring Caribbean-inspired meals. You can also use the Mobile Ordering to pre-order your food and pick up when you are ready!
Spyglass Grill is located in the Trinidad pool area offering Breakfast Lunch and Dinner with American fare with a Caribbean twist.
The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
If you are looking to Rough it in comfort then the Cabins at Fort Wilderness may be your best bet. These cabins also offer a larger group a great option to stay all together in the Moderate category, with the ability for 6 guests to stay together. They feature 1 Queen Bed and 1 Bunk Bed and 1 Double-Size Sleeper Sofa, kitchen with Refrigerator, 2 burner cook top, convection/microwave, toaster, coffee maker, dishwasher, cookware, dished and utensils, dining area and deck with charcoal grill.
There are so many fun things to do at Fort Wilderness!
Being that fort Wilderness is located on the Lake across from the Magic Kingdom, you can head down to the shore and view the Electrical Water Pageant featuring sea creatures float across the lagoon to electronic tunes in this fun nighttime water parade.
Rent a golf cart- why not explore all 750 acres while riding around in your own golf cart? Prices are currently $63 a day.
Fort Wilderness Archery Experience- take a 90-minute archery program, for ages 7 and up. Currently, the cost is $45
Tri-Circle-D Ranch- Offering horseback riding, wagon rides, and pony rides. You can also explore the ranch and visit with Cinderella’s Ponies and the majestic horses of Main Street.
Gather around a campfire for some old-fashioned fun with Chip and Dale while you roast marshmallows.
Meadow Swimmin’ Pool, the feature pool with a 67-foot-long corkscrew waterslide will defiantly entertain the kiddos.
Along with the Disney Buses that you would use at any Disney resort if you want to go to either the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort you can take a boat!
Trails End – Down home buffet for Breakfast & Dinner. Brunch offered on the weekends!
The Chuck Wagon – Dinner only, RV style food truck serving camp classics
P & J’s Southern Takeout- Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner quick service featuring old west grub that you can take to go!
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue – All you care to enjoy a dinner show at Pioneer Hall with finger-lickin’ southern style food. This is a super popular dinner show and books up fast!
Mickey’s Backyard BBQ – where you can Dance with Mickey, Minnie, and Friends at this finger-licking, foot-stomping BBQ buffet.
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Currently under some construction with 2 new restaurants coming in 2019 along with an additional building for rooms.
Coronado Springs is a Spanish inspired resort with classic Spanish influences set on the shore of Lago Dorado.
Also, the Convention Center at Disney’s Coronado Springs has 220,000 square feet of meeting space, including 2 ballrooms, an exhibit hall and 45 breakout rooms that can hold 6,500 people.
Coronado Springs is the only moderate resort offering a health club with a gym, massage therapy, facial treatments, and a beauty salon
The Lost City of Cibola Pool is Mayan ruins themed pool with 50-foot pyramid and a 123-foot-long waterslide featuring a spitting Jaguar. There are also 3 leisure pools on-site for a quieter experience.
El Mercado de Coronado is the quick service location offering Mexican fare for Breakfast Lunch and Dinner.
Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood – Spanish-inspired cuisine and sweeping views at this intimate rooftop restaurant—opening July 9, 2019
Three Bridges Bar & Grill – Offering sandwiches, shared plates, salads, and more at this relaxing lakefront restaurant—opening July 9, 2019.
The first couple of times we visited Disney we stayed at value resorts because our daughter was young and she loved all the cartoon-inspired resorts. Once she got a little older we wanted a little more grown-up of a resort. The moderate level resorts have not disappointed. You still feel like you are in Disney but these resorts are a bit more relaxed atmosphere. No matter what Moderate resort you choose you will love the theming and locations.