Post Updated February 2016
If you are still on the fence about staying in property, make sure you read 8 Reasons to Stay at Disney World Hotel.
There are several moderate hotels to choose from. Each of them has their own unique charm as well as their own advantages and disadvantages.
Here is what you need to know to pick the best moderate hotel at Disney World.
Disney World Moderate HotelsDisney World Moderate hotels offer richer theming, waterslides, and start at $162/night, although there are lots of discounts available to bring that cost down.
Caribbean Beach Resort
You will feel like you stepped into a resort in the Caribbean when you enter this 200 acre tropical resort. This resort is very large which means you will need to pick your room carefully, do a lot of walking, or take the internal bus to get to the food court. Rooms start at $210/night in 2016.
- Beautiful grounds with relaxing beaches, hammocks, and flowers
- AMAZINGLY themed main pool – this is my favorite pool at Disney World
- Pirate themed rooms are super cool!
- Some rooms can accommodate up to 5 guests
- Campfire on the beach with marshmallow roasting (free!)
- Smaller pools located in your individual “neighborhood” that are less crowded and more convenient
- super cute themed food court
- fantastic selection of breakfast pastries
- sand bucket lunch special for kids
- movies under the stars and large pinboard near the courtyard fountain
- This is a LARGE resort and will require you to walk a lot or take a bus to get to the food court.(Hint: pay for a preferred room to stay in Trinidad North or Martinique for a convenient to the food court location)
- Because this resort is large, there are 8 bus stops means that getting to and coming back from the parks takes longer than the value hotels (especially if you have wheelchairs to load/unload at each stop)
- check in depot is separate and requires taking the internal bus (more involved check-in and check-out as a result)
Port OrleansStep into New Orleans at this lush resort with the iconic large water wheel. You’ll love the convenient check-in, and boardwalk to walk along the food court that is beautifully lit at night. Rooms start at $197/night in 2016.
- Beautiful grounds; perfect those who like to walk or job will love doing so along the beautiful river
- Can take a boat to Downtown Disney (and buses to other locations)
- Some rooms can accommodate up to 5 guests (Riverside only)
- Relaxing themed pool with waterslide as well as smaller “neighborhood” pools
- Bayou Pirate Cruise for kids 4-12 departs from marina
- Activities include Carriage rides, Paddleboat, Catch and release fishing, 4 people bikes, and more (fees apply)
- Royal Guest Rooms are available with incredibly rich theming! Kids loved the button the makes fireworks above their bed at night.
- Beignets are a delicious breakfast specialty in the French Quarter Section
- Spread Out so getting to the food court can be time consuming if you don’t request a preferred room
- Buses can be inconvenient; but with only 4 bus stops, it is the best option as far as moderate hotels and low wait times
This resort is the home of one of the convention centers which means aspects have a more “business” feel to them. But guest will love the beautiful Spanish-colonial Mexico theme around the 22 acre lake with the iconic 50 foot Mayan Pyramid. Rooms start at $266/night in 2016.
- Beautiful grounds and theming (the Mayan pyramid is impressive!)
- Best playground of any resort (includes a mayan dig sites and “fort” slide)
- Pepper Market Food Court
- Convention center makes it feel more “business like” with more adults and people dressed professionally than families on vacation
- Includes options like watercraft rental (kayak, pedal boats and electric boat), salon, health club and room service (these options are not available at other moderate resorts)
- Large and spread out which can mean long walks
- 4 bus stops
Fort Wilderness CabinsIf you have a larger family and don’t plan to use the dining plan these cabins that comfortably accommodate 6 in this relaxed resort nestled in 750 acre cypress and pine forest between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Rooms start at $348/night in 2016.
- Accommodates up to 6 per cabin in 500+sq feet air conditioned cabin with separate bedroom and 2 TVs
- Full kitchen
- Peaceful, away from the theme park noise
- Pool (hint: request loop 2100 or 2200 to be close to the main pool, trading post and campfire area)
- Lots and lots of on-site activities (archery, campfire, fishing, pony rides, etc.)
- Daily campfire with Chip & Dale (free)
- Fun main pool with waterslide
- Can park right next to cabin
- View of Electrical Water Pageant from beach
- Transportation - buses have to be taken everywhere (including internally at the resort where they take you to the bus stops to the parks). You can take a boat to Magic Kingdom and nearby resorts.
- There is a buffet breakfast/lunch/dinner here, MIckey’s Backyard BBQ, and Hoop De Do Revue, but no food court
So…. which one is the best?
If after reading all that you don’t have one in mind, here are my picks:
- Best Overall – Port Orleans
- Best Pool – Caribbean Beach Resort
- Best for those that Drive/not on Dining Plan – Fort Wilderness
Disney World Planning
- How Long to Stay at Disney World
- 5 Things You'll Want to Bring on a Disney Vacation
- Disney Vacation Packing List
- 28 Great Places to Eat on the Disney Dining Plan
- The BEST age to take kids to Disney World
- 20 Tips & Tricks for Families at Disney World
- Best Rides to Pick for Disney Fastpass+