I just got back from staying at the last of the Disney World Moderate Resorts so today I have my rankings for all of them.
I also have a quick tip about why it makes sense to show up last minute to some of the shows at Disney World.
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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Common characteristics between all moderates
All Disney World Moderate Resorts have beautiful grounds, well-themed buildings, rooms that open up to outdoor corridors, and food courts.
All of the resorts except French Quarter also have multiple internal bus stops (7 at Caribbean Beach, 5 at Coronado Springs, and 4 at Riverside), an on-site restaurant, and Preferred Rooms you can book.
#4 - Caribbean Beach Resort
We just returned from staying at Caribbean Beach which had great staff, beautiful landscaping, a view of Illuminations from the beach areas, and the ability for families of up to 5 to stay. However, it's also logistically difficult with 7 internal bus stops and having the check in/out building separate from the main building, a bad on-site restaurant, and the least value for a Preferred Room.
#3 - Coronado Springs Resort
We spent spring break of 2014 here and it definitely has a more grown-up feel than other resorts, particularly because it's a convention hotel that caters to that group more than families. The Preferred Rooms here are a fairly good value but don't put you close to the main pool. This resort has extra amenities that are not offered as other moderates such as an on-site salon, health club, and business class (concierge) option for rooms.
#2 - Port Orleans French Quarter
The small size of this resort means that everything is more convenient but it doesn't offer as many amenities as a larger resort. For me, the things it lacks (such as an on-site restaurant) are easily made up for by heading next door to Riverside. There is a boat to Downtown Disney which is a nice option. There's only 1 bus stop here which is often convenient, but buses are sometimes shared with Riverside.
#1 - Port Orleans Riverside
With the best value for a Preferred Room, ability for families of up to 5 to stay here, the boat to Downtown Disney, good food court and on-site restaurant, this is my favorite of the moderates. The reputation for transportation being difficult here is well-deserved, but Disney is working on making that easier. People with a car will find it even more convenient (though I don't recommend driving to Magic Kingdom since the buses can deliver you to the front of the park).
No discussion of Moderate Resorts would be complete without mentioning Free Dining. During the Free Dining promotion, Moderate Resorts get the Basic Disney Dining Plan for free, just like the Deluxe Resorts, so Moderate Resorts are the best bang-for-the-buck.
However, the Port Orleans resorts are usually excluded from the general public offer (but are often included in individual PIN code offers or bounceback offers). Families of 5 will need to stay at Caribbean Beach Resort, while others should decide if Caribbean Beach or Coronado Springs are better suited for their families.
Quick tip of the day
Some of the shows at Disney World have a better view from the back and it often makes sense to show up to those last minute rather than waiting in line far ahead of time. For instance, I usually slip in to Fantasmic just 5-10 minutes before it begins. Another example is the Finding Nemo show at Animal Kingdom which is easier to watch from the back.
Have a quick tip of your own? Call it in at https://www.speakpipe.com/WDWPrepToGo
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