March 5, 2012

Disney World Moderate Resorts

This week we are covering the moderate resorts. We've already covered the pros and cons of staying on Disney property and a couple of your options for off property stays. We've also covered Disney's Value Resorts and soon we'll cover the deluxe resorts, starting with Monorail Resorts

The moderates are just what they sound...slightly larger and with more amenities than the values but not as large or as luxurious as the deluxe resorts. As for price, they too fall in between and vary based on the time of year and which moderate you stay visit.
(photo credit:

The first moderate is coincidentally the first moderate built (although at the time there were no value resorts so it wasn't called a moderate back then). It's the Caribbean Beach Resort. I don't have any personal experience with this resort yet but we are excited to stay there this fall and I'll be sure to update any tips I find while there. One of the biggest reasons we're excited to check it out is that we will be staying in one of their Pirate Rooms.

(photo credit:

The CBR is a large resort with over 2,000 guest rooms divided into 6 villages. The big thing you should know when booking this resort is that there are no elevators here so unless you enjoy walking up stairs with small, sleeping children, request a ground floor room. The room prices vary on which type of room you get...standard, water view, standard pirate or water view pirate and range from $159-314 per night.

(photo credit: main pool at CBR)

The next moderate is one many "non-Disney" type people often stay at. It's the Coronado Springs Resort. Because the Coronado has a 95,000 square foot convention center, it often hosts large groups and organizations. The resort is huge and has it's very own internal shuttle system.

(photo credit: Springs Resort)

Because Coronado plays host to so many conventions, it has some amenities other moderate and value resorts don't such as the La Vida Health Club and Rix Lounge-a 300 seat upscale lounge/bar that has a full bar and a dress code (no sneakers).

Room prices at the Coronado vary, like at all the resorts on what time of year you visit but also because it's a convention hotel, the Coronado has some suite options available as well. For a standard room with an occupancy of between 2 and 4 (2 for the rooms with a king sized bed) the rates range from $169-284 per night. For the suites where the max occupancy can be up to 6 in a room (all rooms also allow for ONE child under three in addition to the max occupancy) the prices range from $365-1330 per night...again based on what sort of suite you select and the time of year you visit.

(us. complete with anniversary buttons and Joshua's 1st time button...this was just after check-in at Port Orleans Riverside back in the day when all we had was a crappy camera)

The next resort is a personal favorite for my hubby and I...the Port Orleans Riverside resort is our home away from home. We've stayed in both the Alligator Bayou (southern bayou lodge style buildings) and Magnolia Bend (southern plantation mansion style buildings). We prefer the Magnolia Bend but that's just thematic differences and preferences. The biggest benefit to the Alligator Bayou is that instead of the standard room holding 4 people (and a single child under the age of 3), it hold 5 people (and a single child under the age of 3-although that would be quite a tight fit). They used to so this by using a trundle bed but POR is just finishing up a large remodeling project which has transformed many of the rooms from standard rooms to "Royal Guest" rooms themed after the movie the Princess and the Frog. Since the renovations to the Magnolia Bend are set to be complete on the new rooms in four days...March 9th, I don't have any pics to post except that which Disney has released. I'll update with some non-official pics as soon as I can get my hands on them. I did, however, find some non-Disney pics of the Alligator Bayou specialty rooms.

(photo credit: pic) 

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(photo credit: fold down bed inside the top of the bench has replaced the former trundle beds in the alligator bayou section of POR)

(photo credit: it looks like with the bed up)

The specialty rooms range in price from $189-314 per night based (again) on the time of year you visit. Standard rooms vary also based on the time of year and on whether you select a water or standard view from $159-279 per night. But before I finally move on from Port Orleans Riverside, I must mention Piano Bob. He's one of our favorite Disney stops. He's a family-friendly piano lounge entertainer inside the lounge at Port Orleans Riverside. He's hilarious. It's a great place to have a drink and sit and laugh with or without the kids. He usually preforms every Weds-Sat nights starting at 8pm. Check him out!

(Port Orleans French Quarter)

The biggest reasons we love Port Orleans Riverside are because it's small, quiet and a very peaceful resort. All these can also be said for Riverside's sister property Port Orleans French Quarter. When originally built, the two resorts were one property name Dixie Landings. Now each has it's own management, check-in, restaurants and pools. French Quarter has what probably seems like a logical theming motif given the feel like you're in the middle of New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside share a bus line (although usually when the parks close and all day during busier times of year, Disney will split them and send more buses out so you won't have to wait too long). Because they're so close, one of our favorite things to do when staying Riverside is just walk over to French Quarter and enjoy some of their yummy beignets. I've had beignets in New Orleans during Mardi Gras and the ones at Disney's French Quarter are easily as good.

(yes, I'm fully aware that I'm a giant dork)

Although we haven't stayed at French Quarter, from our visits in the past and especially since Riverside will no doubt become very popular with their new specialty rooms, staying at French Quarter could be wonderful. Pricing for French Quarter varies (broken record much?) by the time of year and what sort of view you have...standard, water or river from $164-254.

There is one more resort which Disney considers as a moderate resort. That is the Ft Wilderness Campground and Cabins. The name pretty much sums it up. You can either bring a tent or an RV and pay for a lot (there are showers and such if you go the tent route) or you can rent a cabin which holds up to 6 people (and one infant/child under the age of 3). Ft Wilderness is VERY large and you cannot get around on your own by just walking. You will either have to use the internal bus system that Disney provides (free of charge of course) or as many people do, bring a golf cart of your own.

(photo credit: Disney. It's the official promo pic for the Ft Wilderness Cabins)

Campsites range from $48-126 per night based on the time of year AND what sort of amenities come with the campsite. It's anything from just a place to pop up your tent to a full hook up premium campsite. Meanwhile, the cabins can be booked for anywhere from $285-455 per night and all include a FULL kitchen...

"Kitchen includes:
full-size refrigerator with icemaker
electric stove
1 4-cup coffee maker (with 1 filter-pack of coffee)
1 10 cup coffee maker (stored in cupboard)
tea kettle
flatware for 6: forks, salad forks, teaspoons, soups spoons, knives and steak knives
dinnerware for 6: mugs, cereal bowls, dinner plates, dessert plates
6 handled mason jar glasses
1 serving spoon
1 glass measuring cup
1 2 qt. pitcher
1 2 qt. casserole with lid
1 glass baking dish
1 oval platter
manual can opener
bottle opener
cutting board
bread knife
1 12" skillet
1 1 qt. saucepan with lid
1 2 qt. saucepan with lid
Dutch oven with lid
metal colander
spoon rest
2 potholders
2 sponges
4 cloth dish towels
fire extinguisher (under sink)
packets of dishwasher soap
liquid dish soap
paper towels (under sink)
trash bags (under sink)"

....list found on

Ft Wilderness offers everything you would hope for in a camping experience from laid back employees (cast members in Disney language) to campfires complete with your favorite Disney movie under the stars. Another big reason so many people love Ft Wilderness is because it is the only Disney resort that is pet friendly. For an additional $5/day your own Pluto can go to Disney World. Speaking of which, if you decide to stay at any other Disney or non-Disney resort in the area, keep the Best Friends Pet Care facilities in mind. Although not owned and operated by Disney, it is essentially the Disney pet resort. They'll take great care of your little fur babies and they don't discriminate based on breed.

I know this week was a long one but the moderates are all just that much more themed and have that much more to offer than the values. Of course, next week we'll take a look at the deluxe resorts (although I'm thinking we may need to split that into a couple weeks given the sheer amount of amenities and unique thematic elements each resort has). 

In the end, where you stay comes down to your family. Your budget. Your preferences. And your style. We have never stayed in the deluxe resorts because we can't justify the cost for our family when we're very rarely in the room. We spend at least 10-12 hours a day in the parks and our kids have never had a hard time sleeping in their strollers so moderate and value is the way we go.