Resort tiers at Walt Disney World tend to be a little bit of a mystery. Most people think that the biggest difference between resort tiers is price. And while that’s true, it’s not the only thing that determines which tier a resort ends up in. So when you’re choosing a resort for your Walt Disney World vacation, which is best? The answer may not be as simple as just deciding on a price. So let’s take a look a Walt Disney World resort hotels: Value vs Moderate.
Resort Tiers at Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World has 3 resort tiers. Value, Moderate, and Deluxe. Most people know ahead of time whether they’re willing to splurge on a Deluxe Resort or not. But not everyone has figured out the differences between Value and Moderate Resorts to know which is best for their vacations. Here we will compare the two types of resorts so you can see which is right for you. De sure to check out our post on Disney Resort Tiers to get a handle on the price change between each.
Walt Disney World Value vs Moderate Resorts
Pricing Value vs Moderate Resorts
Depending on the time of year, whether or not there is a discount, and how full the resort is, you can generally count on Value Resorts being under $250 per night. During the earlier parts of January 2023, we even saw some room rates for the All-Stars Resorts go under $100 per night. Now that’s quite a steep discount that you shouldn’t count on. But my point is, if you’re on a tight budget, a Value Resort might be just what you need.
Moderate Resort pricing usually caps out under $400, but in general, you can easily find them for closer to $325 even without a discount. Caribbean Beach tends to be the least expensive of the group. However, sometimes the standard Coronado Springs Rooms beat out even the lowest Caribbean Beach Resort prices. This is largely due to the fact that both of these resorts are huge. So not only do they have more rooms to fill, but they’re also less attractive to guests who don’t want to be at a gigantic resort.
Amenities and Activities at Disney Value or Moderate Resorts
Amenities at Disney Value Resorts vs Disney Moderate Resorts vary from place to place. But generally, there’s just more to do at the Moderate Resorts. Moderate Resorts often have lawn games and surrey bike rentals, you can find Carriage Rides at French Quarter and Riverside and fishing excursions at Caribbean Beach.
Value Resorts don’t have these things available for guests. But you are always welcome to resort hop over to another resort to try out their activities. And all of the resorts have Movies Under the Stars. And many of the resorts including some Values, have started adding in campfires and s’mores as well.
In general, neither Values nor Moderates offer a gym, with Coronado Springs being the outlier there. Attracting convention members make this a must-have at this resort. But it’s the only moderate you’ll find with one.
Theming at Value or Moderate Resorts
Another big difference between Value and Moderates is the theming. While all of the Value Resorts have larger-than-life, in-your-face theming, the moderate take on a much more subtle tone. Now, we aren’t saying that over-the-top theming is bad by any means. But taking an outside look at one vs the other, there’s definitely a big difference. Some people feel like the Value theming is more “Disney”, while others may see it as more childlike, or “too much”. On the flip side, moderates have a more upscale feel in general, with smaller touches throughout. As a result, their grounds also tend to be much lusher and more immersive. With elements like beaches, city streets, or elegant pathways, it feels more like a resort than a hotel.
The Value Resorts don’t have this. Their grounds usually just consist of the pathways that take you through the resort itself and don’t offer much more outside of that.
Both still offer outstanding Disney service, and of course, you can still stay in the Disney Bubble. But they both offer many different themes. It’s really a matter of personal preference! And while it might not have any real impact on your trip, you should love your resort, so it’s something to consider.
Restaurants at Disney Value or Moderate Resorts
The biggest difference between Value and Moderate Resorts in terms of dining is that Moderate Resorts have its own table service restaurant. This is with the exception of Port Orleans French Quarter, which technically shares its amenities with Port Orleans Riverside. I think it’s Disney’s way of pretending there’s a table service restaurant there, when in fact, there’s not. And with the removal of Trail’s End later this year, Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground will no longer have a standard table service restaurant. Hoop De Doo Revue will still be an option here, however, we consider that more of dinner and a show, rather than a sit-down dinner for a relaxing night in at your resort. Fort Wilderness is kind of a mixed bag anyway, so we can’t really fault it for not having a table-service restaurant. And it’s such an easy bus ride over to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, that you could easily take advantage of those restaurants while staying there.
Moderate Resorts also usually have a lounge of some kind that’s a bit fancier than the pool bars you’ll find at Value Resorts. But overall, their food courts are pretty similar. I’m not a huge fan of the food court at Port Orleans Riverside, but I think Landscape of Flavors at Art of Animation is pretty great. So in the case of the food court, it’s really just a matter of taste. Literally.
Pools at Moderate Vs Value Resorts at Walt Disney World
Another thing that is a big difference is the pools at the Value and Moderate resorts. If you’re not a pool person or don’t really care about theming of your pool, then this won’t matter much to you. Moderates tend to have more pools, and usually much more elaborate theming at their main pool. While all Values have at least one main pool and one secondary, quiet pool, they don’t quite match up to what the moderates offer.
Now, that being said, we’ve never noticed any issues with the pools at Value Resorts. But it is a difference you’ll find between the two. Either way, both resorts are set up great for pool time and days away from the Parks.
Walt Disney World Value Resorts
The Value Resorts include all 3 All-Stars Resorts: All-Stars Movies, All-Stars Music, and All-Stars Sports. Pop Century Resort is also a Value Resort. And Art of Animation is considered a Value-Plus Resort. It mainly houses suites for families, so even though it has one set of standard “value” rooms, the rest of the resort is considered the “plus”. Campsites at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds will also fall into this Value Category.
Walt Disney World Moderate Resorts
The Moderate Resorts at Walt Disney World include Caribbean Beach Resort, Coronado Springs Resort, Port Orleans French Quarter, and Port Orleans Riverside. The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground are also in the Moderate Resort category.
Which Resort Tier is right for your Walt Disney World Vacation?
Choosing which resort tier is right for you will depend on a lot of factors!
Value Resorts are perfect for those traveling to Disney on a budget, and those who plan to spend most of their time in the Parks during their trips. The Pools are nice enough that planning a day to rest is still enjoyable. But you won’t be able to do much else at the resort. Because there’s just not that much to do. But is that really that bad? Value Resorts also tend to be hosts to school, dance, cheer, and sports groups for their trips during the year. So if this is something you’d prefer to avoid, either stay at a Moderate or check the Calendar of Events at Walt Disney World before planning your trip.
Moderate Resorts are perfect for those who have a little bit more freedom with their budget but don’t want to splurge on a Disney Deluxe Resort. We also love Moderates for times when we know we want a little more of a relaxed atmosphere, or relaxed trip overall. If you want to be able to enjoy more amenities and eat at a nice restaurant at your resort, then a Moderate may be a good option for you.
One other thing to consider is transportation. Both categories have resorts that have only buses, as well as resorts that also have access to the Skyliner. So, if you’re on a tight budget but really want that Skyliner transportation, you still have options! And we love that. Happy Resort Shopping!
Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .