Resort Reviews

Best Disney World Moderate Resort Hotel

by josh on March 15, 2013

Quick Introduction to the Disney World Moderate Resorts

The best Moderate resort choice is not as obvious as it is with the Value resorts, unfortunately.  There are many substantial differences in resort size and layout, transportation efficiency, theme, room amenities, pool size, dining choices, and more.  You may have to make some compromises and decide what features are most important.  For example, the French Quarter has the best transportation and layout, but the worst restaurant choices and pool.  Luckily, the Moderates are all priced the same, except for the Coronado Springs which is about $5 more per night, so differences in cost won’t be a major concern.  Take a look at the following ratings to identify which Moderate is the best fit for your group and be sure to read the full review of the resorts you’re interested in to make the most informed decision.  Like with the other resorts on property, all are run by Disney with similar standards of quality.  To a point, the following could be considered splitting hairs and it’s likely that you’ll be pleased with whatever resort you choose.

Click the highlighted links to read the full review of any of the resorts listed or click here for all of the Moderate resort reviews on a scrollable page.

Best Theme/Landscaping

  1. Coronado Springs
  2. Port Orleans Riverside
  3. Caribbean Beach
  4. Port Orleans French Quarter

This is the toughest category because the theme that appeals to you and your group may be different than what appeals to others.

The Coronado Springs Resort, with its Spanish-colonial theme, is a beautiful resort that encircles the 22-acre Lago Dorado lake.  The resort features three different villages with unique architecture that all sit on the lake, which is surrounded by white sand beaches, hammocks, and benches.

Port Orleans Riverside comes in second.  Its lush landscaping, picturesque setting on the Sassagoula River, and the working 35-foot water wheel help elevate its ranking.  Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend, the two distinct areas that make up Riverside, are visually interesting and provide two different interpretations of the Louisiana Bayou.

Caribbean Beach is a bright, whimsical resort.  While guest buildings are painted different colors, the architecture of the 50+ guest buildings is mostly the same.  Caribbean Beach also features a lake prominently in the center of the resort and is surrounded by the same kinds of beaches that you’ll find at Coronado Springs.

Port Orleans French Quarter drops to last place.  Many of its decorations appear cheap, especially in the food court and main building where New Orleans paraphernalia merely hangs from the ceiling on strings.  While Disney will tell you that they purchased “some” of the memorabilia directly from New Orleans, it still isn’t that impressive.  On the plus side, French Quarter does open up on occasion with some pretty courtyards.

As far as landscaping is concerned, all of the Moderate resorts are on a level well above the Value resorts and only a small step down from the Deluxes.  Chances are high that you will enjoy your surroundings no matter which Moderate resort you choose.

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Caribbean Beach Resort Review

by josh on March 15, 2013

Address: 900 Cayman Way Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-1000

Phone: 1-407-934-3400, Fax: 1-407-934-3288, General Reservations: 1-407-WDISNEY (1-407-934-7639)

Cost: Along with Port Orleans Riverside, French Quarter, and Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach is a Moderate resort. Room pricing is nearly identical to Riverside and French Quarter and all three are slightly less expensive than Coronado Springs. Standard rooms run $162 – $253/night. From there, you have Water View ($187 – $273), King Bed ($187 – $273), and Preferred Location ($187 – $273). Caribbean Beach also offers Pirate themed rooms that run $196 – $297 for Standard View and $221 – $322 for Water View.

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Address:

1000 West Buena Vista Drive
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-1000

Phone: 407-939-1000, Fax: 407-939-1001, General Reservations: 1-407-WDISNEY (1-407-934-7639)

Resort Class:

Coronado Springs is a Moderate resort along with Caribbean Beach and Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter.  Standard rooms are $5/night more expensive than the other three Moderates, running between $167 and $258 per night.  From there, Coronado offers Water View ($192 – $288), King Bed ($192 – $288), Preferred ($192 – $288), Preferred King ($202 – $298), Water View King ($202 – $298), Business Class ($217 – $313), Business Class King Bed ($242 – $338), Junior Suite ($370 – $608), 1-Bedroom Suite ($680 – $953), and Executive Suite Casitas ($1010 – $1364).

Because no rooms have balconies or patios, “upgrading” to a view won’t make much of a difference in your overall resort experience and is not recommended.

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Port Orleans French Quarter Review

by josh on March 15, 2013

Address:

2201 Orleans Drive

Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830-1000

Phone: 407-934-5000, Fax: 407-934-5353, General Reservations: 1-407-WDISNEY (1-407-934-7639)

Resort Class:

French Quarter is a Moderate Resort with similar pricing to neighboring Riverside.  Unlike Riverside, which offers ten room types, French Quarter offers just five.  Standard Rooms ($162 – $253/night) are the exact same price as you’ll find at Riverside and Caribbean Beach Resorts.  From there, you have Garden View ($172 – $263), Water View ($187 – $283), King Bed ($187 – $283), and River View ($192 – $288).  Because no rooms have private balconies and your “view” would be through your window through a railing, I don’t usually recommend paying extra.

A map to view and print is available here.

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Port Orleans Riverside Resort Review

by josh on March 15, 2013

Address:

1251 Riverside Drive
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830-1000

Phone: 1-407-934-6000, Fax: 1-407-934-5777, General Reservations: 1-407-WDISNEY (1-407-934-7639)

Resort Class:

Riverside is a Moderate resort, with prices in between the Value and Deluxe Resorts.  Riverside houses a whopping ten room types after its 2012 refurbishment brought Royal Guest rooms and Disney added additional view types:  Standard rooms ($162 – $253) are in line with the other Moderates.  From there, you have Garden View ($172 – $263), Preferred ($187 – $283), Pool View ($187 – $283), King Bed ($187 – $283), River View ($192 – $288), Royal Guest Standard ($192 – $293), Royal Guest Garden View ($202 – $303), Royal Guest Pool View ($217 – $323), and Royal Guest River View ($222 – $328).  Adding Garden View is an extra $10/night.  Preferred, Pool, or a King Bed add $25/night.  River View or  a Royal Guest room would run you $30/night more than a Standard room and there’s an additional cost within that category for upgraded views.

A map to view and print is available here.

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Best Disney World Value Resort Hotel

by josh on January 6, 2013

Quick Introduction to the Disney World Value Resorts

With dedicated bus transportation and updated furnishings, it was once easy to recommend Pop Century as the the clear winner in the Best Value Resort category.  With Art of Animation bringing newer rooms, dedicated bus transportation, and flashier theming in September 2012, that distinction became less clear.  Add room refurbishments at the All-Stars and higher pricing at Pop Century and the line begins to blur even more.  On the other hand, Art of Animation’s over-the-top theming, particularly inside the rooms, may not be for everyone.  And the All-Star may still share buses, causing longer, uncomfortable bus rides.  Luckily, picking the right Value resort for your group should be easy if you consider the following categories.

Click the highlighted links to each resort for a thorough overview, including pictures around the resort and inside the rooms.  For Art of Animation and All-Star Music, only Standard rooms are considered in the “Best Rooms” category, since Suites cost more than two times as much as Standard rooms.

When considering Family Suites, consider price, theme, and how many people are in the room.  Art of Animation Suites are $50/night more expensive than All-Star Music Family Suites, but they’re also newer, larger, and sleep a fifth or sixth person more comfortably.  The Art of Animation review linked below discusses the options and the differences between the two.

Best Theme/Landscaping

  1. Art of Animation
  2. All-Star Movies
  3. Pop Century
  4. All-Star Music
  5. All-Star Sports

Art of Animation is the clear winner in the “best theme” category, particularly when the Cars and Finding Nemo sections are considered.  Here, you’ll find Lightning McQueen, Mater, Ariel, Ursula, Simba, Pumbaa, Nemo, and other favorites in lands that could just as easily be transplanted into the theme parks.  None of the other resorts come close.  All-Star Movies arrives in second place with its popular Toy Story characters and other Disney properties that are sure to be a hit with kids.  Pop Century is more Disney focused than the remaining All-Stars, with appearances by Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Roger Rabbit, Lady, and the Tramp.  The final two resorts are perfectly themed for those that love music or sports, but the icons are unlikely to excite kids with only a passing interest in music or sports.  With prettier courtyards and a more cohesive theme, Music beats out Sports.  But don’t discount Sports if the kids are into basketball, tennis, football or the other themes represented – it’s a sure hit with certain demographics.

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All-Star Movies

by josh on January 6, 2013

Address:

1801 W. Buena Vista Drive
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Phone: 407-939-6000, Fax: 407-939-7111, General Reservations: 1-407-WDISNEY (1-407-934-7639)

Resort Class:

All-Star Movies is a Value, the least expensive Disney resort type.  There are only two room categories – Standard ($85 – $176/night) and Preferred ($101 – $192/night).  Pricing is identical to the other All-Stars, $5 less per night than Pop Century, and $10 less per night than a Standard room at Art of Animation.

Rooms in the Fantasia, Toy Story, and 101 Dalmatians buildings are all considered to have a “preferred” location and cost $16 more per night due to their close proximity to the main building, dining, and feature pool.  A third or fourth person on the reservation over the age of 17 costs an additional $10/night.

A map to view and print is available here.

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All Star Music

by josh on January 6, 2013

Address:

1801 W. Buena Vista Drive
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Phone:  407-939-6000, Fax: 407-939-7222, General Reservations: 1-407-WDISNEY (1-407-934-7639)

Resort Class:

All-Star Music is a Value, the least expensive Disney resort type.  The resort offers three room categories  – Standard ($85 – $169/night), Preferred ($101 – $184), and Family Suite ($202 – $375/night).  Preferred rooms, located in Calypso building 1 and 10, are closer to the main building and pool and cost an additional $16 per night.

In Standard and Preferred rooms, there is an additional $10/night charge for a third and fourth person over the age of 17 on the reservation.

All-Star Music is the only All-Star resort that offers Family Suites, which are found in the Calypso and Jazz Inn sections. Family Suites cost about as much as two Preferred rooms.  For example, during Value Season 1, Suites cost $202/night and Preferred rooms run $101/night, or exactly twice as much.  A Standard room at a Moderate resort during the same period would cost $162 per night.  During Peak Season, Suites cost $309/night, while Preferred rooms are $151/night.  That puts the Suite $7/night more expensive than two Preferred rooms.  A Standard room at a Moderate during the same time period is $211.  Family Suites are $50/night less expensive than those found at the Art of Animation Resort regardless of Season.

A map to view or print is available here.

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All Star Sports

by josh on January 6, 2013

Address:

1701 West Buena Vista Drive
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Phone:  407-939-5000, Fax: 407-939-7333, General Reservations: 1-407-WDISNEY (1-407-934-7639)

Resort Class:

All-Star Sports is a Value, the least expensive Disney resort type.  There are only two room categories – Standard ($85 – $176/night) and Preferred ($101 – $192/night).  Preferred rooms cost $16/night more than Standard rooms and are found in Surfs Up buildings 1 and 6.  There is a $10/person charge for a third and fourth person over the age of 17 on the reservation.

A map to view or print is available here.

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Art of Animation Review and Information

by josh on January 6, 2013

Address:

1850 Animation Way
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Phone:  407-938-7000 , Fax: 407938-7070, General Reservations: 1-407-WDISNEY (1-407-934-7639)

Resort Class:

Art of Animation is officially a Value Resort, though pricing is higher than the other Values.  Standard rooms ($100 – $191/night) are $10 to $15 more expensive than All-Star Standard Rooms and $5/night more expensive than Pop Century Standard rooms.  However, there are no Preferred rooms at Art of Animation because they are only located in the Little Mermaid section.  Family Suites ($252 – $433/night) are $50/night more expensive than Family Suites at All-Star Music and are located in the Cars, Lion King, and Finding Nemo sections.  Suites are also more expensive than most room types at the Moderate Resorts.  Recent promotions have either excluded Art of Animation rooms or the discounts have been lower than comparable rooms at other resorts.

In Standard rooms, there is a $10/night charge for the third and fourth person over the age of 17 on the reservation.

A map to view or print is available here.

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