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Differences between Value, Moderate and Deluxe resorts – PREP085

Differences between Value, Moderate and Deluxe resorts – PREP085

All of the resort categories at Disney World vary in many ways including size, price, dining options and transportation so I’ve got the differences between all of them to help you decide what makes sense for your trip.

I also have recent news and a quick tip that will allow you to use somebody else’s FastPass+ reservation.


These are notes from this episode. There’s much more info included in the audio so be sure to listen to the episode for a better explanation.

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Differences in resort categories

All Disney World resorts have mini-fridges (but microwaves are only in suites), Disney transportation, wifi, dining reservations can be made up to 180 days beforehand for the whole trip, and FastPass+ reservations can be made for the whole trip up to 60 days beforehand.

Value Resorts
All Value Resorts have:

  • Fun, bright, kid-friendly theming with large icons
  • Rooms that open to outside corridors
  • Food courts and pizza delivery available, but no Table Service restaurants
  • Themed pools but no water slides
  • Large, spread out layout
  • Bus transportation to all parks and Downtown Disney (and only 1 internal bus stop)
  • 260 sq. ft. rooms with 2 double beds or 1 king bed
  • Prices of $96-199/night for standard rooms

Art of Animation is slightly different in that it’s the newest, has mostly suites, doesn’t have Preferred Rooms, has a larger food court, slightly bigger standard rooms (277 sq. ft.), and is higher priced ($123-214/night for standard rooms).

My favorite Value Resort is Pop Century, which offers low prices and doesn’t share buses with other resorts. For families of more than 4 or who want more space, Art of Animation is a good option (and they don’t share buses w/other resorts either).

Moderate Resorts
All Moderate Resorts have:

  • Beautiful theming with lush landscaping and a very grownup feel
  • Rooms that open to outside corridors
  • Table Service restaurant (except at French Quarter), food courts and pizza delivery available
  • A main feature pool with a water slide and other quiet pools
  • On-site recreation options
  • Large, spread out layout
  • Bus transportation to all parks and Downtown Disney (and many internal bus stops, except at French Quarter). Boat transportation to Downtown Disney is also available at Riverside and French Quarter.
  • 314 sq. ft. rooms (340 sq. ft. at Caribbean Beach Resort) with 2 queen beds or 1 king bed
  • Riverside and Caribbean Beach can accommodate families of up to 5
  • Themed rooms available at Riverside and Caribbean Beach Resorts
  • Prices of $182-285/night for standard rooms

My favorite Moderate Resort is Port Orleans Riverside which is the most beautiful, in my opinion, and is the best value for a Preferred Room.

Deluxe Resorts
All Deluxe Resorts have:

  • Beautiful, impeccable theming with fantastic lobbies and gift shops
  • Rooms that open to inside corridors
  • Table Service restaurants (including 1 upscale option) and Quick Service, but no food courts
  • A main feature pool with a water slide and other quiet pools
  • Non-bus access to at least 1 park (except Animal Kingdom Lodge which always uses buses)
  • All Deluxe Resorts accommodate up to 5 people in standard rooms except Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge and Boardwalk Inn
  • On-site gyms, salons, and valet parking available
  • Prices of $320-835/night for standard rooms, with Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge being the least expensive

My favorite Deluxe Resorts are The Beach Club and The Polynesian which provide non-bus access to 2 of the 4 parks, have large rooms and great pools.

Recent news

  • Be Our Guest breakfast can be pre-ordered from the My Reservations page up to 30 days beforehand now.
  • The Boathouse restaurant in Downtown Disney is opening this week and reservations can be made through OpenTable for dates beginning on May 15.
  • Night of Joy, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tickets are now on sale from the Special Events page.

Quick tip of the day

You can use somebody else’s MagicBand or park ticket to use their FastPass+ reservations if you’d like. Everybody needs to use their own band/ticket to enter the park but you can use somebody else’s band/ticket to use their FastPass+.

Have a quick tip of your own? Call it in at

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Thursday 26th of May 2016

Grandma, Mom, and Grandson are going to DisneyWorld for the first time. This has been a dream of Grandma's for years, but was never able to make it there. We are staying at the Caribbean Resort in mid June. We are trying to decipher all of the information that is out there...and we would just like to get ahead of everything, prior to our signing in and getting our Fastpass and anything else that will help our transition in. We are driving down from Michigan, and will arrive early the day of our first night stay, but don't plan on going to the parks till the following morning. Will we be able to be onsite, use the ammenities at our resort? Any help will be appreciated. We are soooo excited!! Thanks again!

Megan Watson

Monday 13th of April 2015

Hi Shannon! Great post! I really enjoyed hearing your take on the different types of hotels available at Walt Disney World and thought this may also be a great place to link to your matchmaker quiz for your hotel link. I remember taking it and it gave me some helpful information and it was fun, even though I decided to book at a different hotel than what my result was originally matched as.

We chose Art of Animation for price and The Little Mermaid rooms for their theming because I'm a big fan of that movie. Since these rooms are not suites like the rest of Art of Animation, their doors actually do open to the outdoor hallways.

Also, a "preferred room" would not get you much closer to the main building. There is one building that is just a little further away from the others but you still need to walk past The Lion King buildings.

Thanks again for all your great tips.

Shannon Albert

Tuesday 14th of April 2015

Hotel matchmaker quiz is offline now. It wasn't working well anymore.

Katie P

Monday 13th of April 2015

Great podcast! currently booked at POR for last week of Oct, but considering the Beach Club. We have kids that are 8, 6, and 4 so the no food court thing jumped out at me. We used the Riverside Mill Food Court last time for breakfast, but was frustrated with how long the process took --- moving our family plus 4 grandparents through breakfast was FOREVER! Want to hit park opening this time.

What is the Beach Club Marketplace like? Could my husband head there for some breakfast platters (we like eggs!) for the adults and bring them back to the room to eat? We'd probably bring some more portable breakfast things for the kids. When you say no food court do you mean no place to sit and eat it? Or would it take a while to get say the sausage platters on the BC Marketplace menu? Thanks!!!

Shannon Albert

Monday 13th of April 2015

Yes! You can do that at the Quick Service at The Beach Club. By food court, I mean an open area with several food choices and lots of seating. Highly recommend The Beach Club and I think you'll find their breakfast options to be just fine (and not take as much time as a food court).