Best Disney World Moderate Resort Hotel

by josh on March 15, 2013

Updated 4/12/15

Quick Introduction to the Disney World Moderate Resorts

There’s a bit more variety in amenities, transportation efficiency, theme, layout, and dining options at the Moderates than with the Values. You may have to make some compromises and decide what features are most important. For example, French Quarter has the best transportation and the smallest footprint, but the worst restaurant choices and pool. Luckily, the Moderates are all priced the same, except for Coronado Springs which is about $6 more per night, so differences in cost won’t be a major concern. Room quality and furnishings are also nearly identical among the four resorts, with a recent refurbishment at Caribbean Beach Resort bringing queen beds and a wood door separating the sleep and vanity areas. 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. Port Orleans Riverside
  2. Coronado Springs
  3. Caribbean Beach
  4. Port Orleans French Quarter

This is the most arbitrary category because the theme that appeals to you and your group may be different than what appeals to others, but we’ll try to take an unbiased look at each.

Port Orleans Riverside arrives in first, with its lush landscaping, picturesque setting on the Sassagoula River, and the working 35-foot water wheel helping to 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.


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.

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.

Best Layout

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

French Quarter is the smallest Moderate resort with the fewest rooms and the lowest overall square acreage. This means that your room won’t be more than a five minute walk away from the food court, bus stop, pool, main building, or boat dock regardless of which building Disney assigns. This is a huge advantage, especially in times of suffocating heat or torrential downpour. It also makes it much more convenient to refill a mug or get a snack. The rest of the Moderate resorts are large and spread out and it’s more important to take heed of the “best rooms” section of the full resort reviews and consider paying extra for a “Preferred” location.

The map below illustrates how much smaller French Quarter (at the bottom of the map) is compared to Riverside (sprawling on top).

The full PDF map: http://www.easywdw.com/reports13/portorleanslayout.pdf

Port Orleans Riverside is slightly ahead of the other two due to the fact that most of the rooms are close to something of interest, whether it be the feature pool, main building, or food court. Unlike the Coronado and Caribbean, there isn’t a gigantic lake in the middle of Riverside that you have to maneuver around, though the Sassagoula River necessitates the need to use one of several bridges from certain rooms. Some buildings, particularly in the Alligator Bayou section, are remote. Some guests may prefer the peace and quiet, particularly with a car to drive to the main building and/or the theme parks.

The full PDF map: http://www.easywdw.com/reports13/coronadolayout.pdf

It’s as much as a mile from the main building to the most remote rooms at the Coronado and Caribbean Beach resorts, which can be a significant hassle with children or those who have trouble walking. Luckily, Caribbean Beach has an internal bus that travels around the resort’s exterior and employees of the Coronado Springs will drive you around the resort in golf carts if necessary. While both of those methods may be convenient once you board them, it’s not always easy to hunt down interior transportation.

The full PDF map: http://www.easywdw.com/reports12/cbr.pdf

Caribbean Beach is even more sprawling than Coronado Springs and requires guests to visit a separate remote building to check in, which is why it falls to last place.

Best Dining

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

Port Orleans Riverside has the best quick service location with a wide variety of high quality, varied offerings and plentiful, air-conditioned seating. Boatwright’s is the table service restaurant, offering a nice selection of Louisiana favorites like Jamalaya and Crawfish Etouffee, in addition to pot roast and other comfort foods. Service is among the friendliest you’ll find on property. Finally, River Roost is one of the only resorts on property that offers live entertainment, unique food, and Abita beer on draft. Riverside’s pool also offers food and beverage service at Muddy Rivers.

Coronado Springs Resort comes in second, with a variety of quick service and table service options, in addition to an upscale lounge area and outdoor bar. Pepper Market is the major quick service and while it operated differently than most for years, now follows the same guidelines as most resort quick services. There is no mandatory tip and guests seat themselves. Las Ventanas is a relatively new addition to the resort, offering casual breakfast, lunch, and dinner options with menus that shy away from the south-of-the-border focus found elsewhere. Maya Grill has improved in recent years, upping quality and variety at a lower price point. I don’t have any qualms about recommending it for guests looking for a leisurely dinner at their resort. Food is also available at the casual Cafe Rix and at the pool bar.

Caribbean Beach Resort features a quick service location by the name of Old Port Royale and Shutters, the dinner-only Caribbean themed full service restaurant. While the food at Old Port Royale is good and the setting is pleasant, the space is too small to handle the amount of people that fill it during peak times. Fortunately, Shutters has improved immensely with the arrival of a new chef and is a convenient spot for dinner if you find yourself back at the resort. Food is largely unavailable at the pool and there is no dedicated lounge, which drops the resort to third place.

Finally, Port Orleans French Quarter drops to last because it doesn’t have a full service restaurant. Guests staying at French Quarter are invited to walk, bus, or boat over to Boatwright’s at the Riverside. It’s an additional hassle and it’s unfortunate that the small number of guests staying at the resort can’t support their own restaurant. French Quarter’s quick service location is also lacking, with a small capacity and a limited selection of food. It will suffice if you’re not in the mood to travel elsewhere, but don’t expect to be impressed by the quality, prices, or selection. On the positive side, the beignets are excellent and several of the options are unique and served in large quantities. Scat Cat’s Lounge in the main building serves a few nice selections like a Chicken Alfredo Flatbread and Pimiento Cheese Fritters with Pepper Jelly.

For the most part, the table service restaurants at the Mods should satisfy for a convenient meal away from the Parks, or should you find yourself unexpectedly back due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. They are certainly not destination restaurants like Citricos or California Grill. Quick service food is above average for the most part with more choices than the Deluxes.

Best Transportation

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

French Quarter and Riverside sometimes share buses, particularly to Parks other than Magic Kingdom. French Quarter has the advantage because it is picked up and dropped off first for all destinations other than Downtown Disney. This usually guarantees French Quarter guests a seat on the bus and the the resort only has one bus stop, which makes it easy to navigate to the correct line.

Despite being picked up and dropped off after French Quarter, Riverside benefits from having above-average bus service. Waits are usually shorter at both Port Orleans resorts than they would be at the other Moderates. The Port Orleans Moderates are also somewhat centrally located, which means relatively short bus rides. Finally, the Port Orleans resorts both have a dock with boat service to Downtown Disney. The ride is scenic and it is the preferred transportation method when heading Downtown.

Both Coronado Springs Resort and Caribbean Beach Resort have 5+ individual bus stops. If you get on at one of the early stops, you’ll be more likely to get a seat (rather than stand), but you’ll also have to wait for the bus to circle the resort as it stops at the other six-or-so stops. Getting on at the final stop will lessen your transit time on the way to the Park, but will also result in you standing more often than not due to people boarding on previous stops taking the seats. On the return trip, you’ll also have to wait for the bus to stop and let off guests at all the preceding stops as well. With no watercraft transportation, it’s easy to rank it below the Port Orleans properties.

Coronado Springs Resort comes in third because the buses are usually empty if the resort is full of conventioneers who aren’t visiting the theme parks. The problem is that the conventioneers will probably go to the Parks at least one day and Disney isn’t that quick in upping the amount of buses necessary to service all the additional riders. This can lead to long waits and crowded buses, particularly to Downtown Disney in the evening. Coronado is also a bit more remote with longer transit times to Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom.

Caribbean Beach has the worst transportation of the bunch. Waits tend to be the longest of the Moderates and it also takes the longest for the buses to circle the resort to pick up and drop off guests.

Best Rooms

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

With a massive refurbishment that began in 2014 and ended in 2015, Caribbean Beach’s standard rooms are the nicest Moderate rooms on property with new furnishings, queen beds, and a wooden divider between the sleep and vanity areas. Almost all standard rooms sleep a fifth person on a murphy bed, which gives families of five with at least one small child more economical options. Riverside’s Alligator Bayou’s rooms are the only other Moderate that sleep four at this price point. Ft. Wilderness Cabins typically sleep move, but cost twice as much. The rooms are newer and brighter than Coronado’s, which is why it sees an advantage.

Caribbean Beach also offers higher-priced pirate-themed rooms in the distant Trinidad South buildings. Because the upcharge is so high and the rooms so distant from the main building, I don’t usually recommend them, particularly because they’re older and have double beds instead of queens.

Coronado Springs Resort  receives a small bonus for the wood divider between the vanity area and the sleeping area, which keeps much more of the light and noise out compared to the cloth divider found at the Port Orleans properties. Because it’s a major convention resort, Disney seems to pay more attention to the rooms, replacing aging pieces of furniture before they would make a move at other properties. Another extensive refurbishment is expected in 2016.

Port Orleans Riverside joins Caribbean Beach Resort as the only Moderate Resort that can officially sleep five people, this time just in the Alligator Bayou section, thanks to the addition of a fold down bed. While the fold-down bed is designed to sleep a small child under the age of nine or so, it may offer a cheaper alternative to one of the family suites. All rooms were refurbished throughout 2011 and 2012 and now feature nice queen size beds and new furnishings.

All rooms in the Oak Manor and Parterre Place sections of Magnolia Bend were converted to Royal Guest rooms at that time and offer a third unique theme.

Port Orleans French Quarter underwent a serious refurbishment in early 2011. Resort rooms now feature two queen-size beds, flat-screen televisions, and all new furniture, but lack the door separating the vanity and sleep area.

There are no longer major differences between the rooms and layouts at the various Moderates, save for the murphy bed that sleeps a fifth, small person and the wooden dividers between the sleeping and vanity areas at Coronado and Caribbean Beach Resort. Regardless of which resort you pick, the amenities will be very similar.

Best Pool

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

The Caribbean Beach’s feature pool, designed to look like the famous Fuentes del Morro Fort, comes in first place. There is also a quiet pool in each of the Caribbean Beach’s sections – six in total.

Kids also love the pirate-themed splash area.

Featuring a 50-foot tall Mayan Temple, 123-foot long water slide, and 272,000 gallons of water, the Coronado Springs boasts an impressive feature pool in the form of The Dig Site. Each of the Coronado’s three sections has a convenient quiet pool as well.

Riverside has decent pools, but they’re a significant step down from the top two choices. The feature pool at the Riverside is 158,000 gallons, more than 100,000 smaller than The Dig Site, and features a 95-foot slide. There are also five quiet pools located throughout the resort.

Coming in last is Port Orleans French Quarter, which only has one swimming pool and one small hot tub. Guests staying at the French Quarter are welcome to use the pools at the Port Orleans Riverside, but it isn’t ideal to have to walk the ten or so minutes both ways to enjoy a good swim.

Best Disney World Moderate Resort Overall

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

Considering that French Quarter comes in dead last in three of the six categories, this may seem like a surprising conclusion. Let me explain. Arguably, the two most important categories are transportation and layout. The bottom line is that a stay at French Quarter will allow you to spend more time where you want to be – the theme parks. First, French Quarter is the smallest of the Moderates, which means rooms are close to points of interest. If you’re placed in the Ranchos section at Coronado Springs or Trinidad South buildings at Caribbean Beach, you can expect to have to walk about one mile each way from your room to the food court, main building, or feature pool. That’s at least a 20 minute walk, round-trip. This makes it difficult to refill a refillable mug, get a quick bite to eat, ask the front desk a question in person, or transport your luggage after check-in. At the French Quarter, you’re only a few minutes away from everything.

Second, transportation is key. You don’t want to spend any more time on Disney buses than you have to and the French Quarter is by far the best in the transportation category. During peak times, the French Quarter will have dedicated bus transportation and won’t have to share with the Riverside, which is another plus. Considering the amount of walking you’ll be doing or have already done, it’s nice to be able to sit down and relax on the bus rather than have to hold on to a bar and hope the bus doesn’t make a tight turn or go over a bump. The scenic boat ride to Downtown Disney is also a nice bonus.

The major downsides to the French Quarter are its pool and dining options. You’re not necessarily missing much in the dining category, considering none of the Moderate resorts’ table service restaurants are particularly memorable, but it’s always nice to have the option of a convenient and relaxing full service meal. Luckily, Riverside is just a few minutes away and offers the best table service restaurant of any of the Moderates.

With recent refurbishments to the Port Orleans properties, all of the Disney Moderate resorts have similarly high quality rooms with virtually identical amenities. Your in-room experience will be similar regardless of which property you ultimately select.

Unfortunately, the French Quarter may not always be the best choice for your group. If swimming is important, you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, and you plan to eat some of your meals at the resort, then the Coronado Springs Resort may be the best choice. If you have five people in your group, don’t want to book two rooms, and want to stay in a relatively inexpensive room, then the Port Orleans Riverside or Caribbean Beach may be your only options. You’ll have to look over the ratings and reviews and decide which resort features are the most important.

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous June 18, 2010 at 12:29 pm

I disagree totally. The Coronado is by far the nicest Moderate and the food is far superior compared to the other Moderate resorts.

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Portcitymama January 18, 2011 at 6:49 pm

How well written and thorough! I must admit I still don’t know which one is best for my family but this was very helpful.

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josh January 18, 2011 at 6:52 pm

One other thing to consider is that Port Orleans French Quarter (and Riverside after that) is going through a complete refurbishment of its rooms, including new queen size beds, flat screen televisions, carpet, furniture, drapes, and more. It should be totally completed by April and some of the buildings are already done. More information and pictures are available at: http://portorleans.org/rehab.php

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Portcitymama January 18, 2011 at 7:17 pm

the info is helpful but my trip is the first week of March. We were booked at The Pop but just got a letter stating the Hippy Dippy Pool will be closed 2/14/11-mid March so we are relocating and would prefer to upgrade to a moderate. Trying to be quick on my decision in case I’m not the only one thinking of switching after the letter arrived today. The reviews on the website are the most thorough I’ve seen. Paired with photos from other sites I should be finished late this evening.

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josh January 18, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Well Pop would still have two pools open so I’m not sure a resort switch is absolutely necessary, but I understand where you’re coming from. I would lean towards either the French Quarter or Coronado Springs I think. French Quarter’s bus/boat transportation can’t be beat and the small size of the resort is really nice, especially if you frequent the counter service for drink refills. You might get lucky and get a refurbished room, especially if you request a room in a building that has been refurbished. The lack of a sit-down restaurant and lousy pools is a distinct disadvantage though. Coronado Springs is massive, but a “preferred” room would alleviate any concerns over walking distances to the bus station or restaurants. The pools are nice and the restaurants are a good “value” if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan. Good luck with the decision and feel free to add another comment if you have any specific questions.

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Kris August 25, 2011 at 11:31 am

What about Fort Wilderness? It’s listed as a Moderate resort.

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JunebugTN September 3, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Kris, Fort Wilderness is a deluxe resort. Hope that helps.

Josh, I thought this was a great, thorough review. Although we’ve only stayed at POFQ when we’ve chosen a moderate, it was for the same reasons you gave. We usually hopped on a boat over to Riverside for our counter service meals, since it was worth the short trip for better CS choices. Thanks for another helpful article!

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JunebugTN September 3, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Whoops, @Kris, I gave incorrect info. I guess the cabins at Fort Wilderness are not in the deluxe category. I’m sorry for an unhelpful response there! :P

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Portcitymama October 28, 2011 at 7:14 pm

well, 9 months later…………I can say we decided to stay at Coronado and LOVED every second of it!! Everything was great. Their sit down resteraunt was a bit of a joke but we were on the dining plan so it didn’t bother us that much. Aside from the sit down – we really can’t complain about anything. Smooth checkin and checkout. Only once did we have a long wait for the bus but it was an isolated issue. Staff was fine (I’ve read about some amazing staff at certain resorts and I’ve got to say I never encountered that but we also never encountered anything to complain about – just plain old decent service which seems hard to come by these days).

So…planning our second trip and leaning towards Carribean Beach Resort but feeling a little intimidated by all the negative reviews about the transportation. I can be pretty impatient and having to circle the resort and stop to pick up 6 other times sounds pretty annoying to me. Any insight?

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mike November 1, 2011 at 5:08 pm

hi……..i’m planning a family vacations and looking in the moderate resort witch would best fit my family of 4, kids are 8 and 5. i’m planning to go with the disney dining plan. Witch resort would you suggest for me……..

thanks for your time….

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Anita December 31, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Our family took our first family vacation March 2011 and we stayed at Coronado Springs. We absolutely loved the resort and the pool was amazing. There are two other smaller pools on site if you prefer a more private area or have smaller ones you need to hold on to in the pool. Our son was 9 at the time and loved the playground, the sandbox area and giant checkers off the pool deck. We stayed in a building a piece from the main building but found the walk not to be very long and the gator carts were always coming and going and you could hop on/off as you wish. As you stated, because it was a Convention center, meal times could get busy but it was only once full when we showed up. We loved the convenience of choosing from the different food service areas all under one place. For our son who is a bit fussy to say the least, his hands-down favorite was Cafe Rio which made awesome chicken fingers and pizza; any kids thumbs up meal. The bus stop was only across the parking lot and very convenient. If you are keeping a vehicle, this parking area is doubly convenient. The rooms were very up to date, and we especially loved that we could put our toddler to bed in his playpen next to the sink area and close the doors over to keep the noise from disrupting him as we would be up a bit later. The hours at Cafe Rio were very convenient and with the dining plan, you could enjoy Maya Grill and not shake your head over the inflated prices. It’s a great spot for an adult get-away for an hour or two if you have someone to keep the kids and it’s fairly quiet so you can hear yourself think. The only thing that was a bit of a downer is the length of the bus ride to Magic Kingdom, and Downtown Disney as you are a piece away. Fortunately, we never had to stand on the bus and we were there in peak time in March. have not one negative thing to say about this resort. I would highly recommend it; especially considering that your stay will only be 400-500 more than a value resort for the week.

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julie January 15, 2012 at 3:22 pm

the cb was great except the bus coments are true it is a long wait. and can be a long walk for a drink or a snack

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Bea January 25, 2012 at 9:52 am

I’ll be travelling to Orlando in mid-May partial business,partial fun and need a hotel where I can get in and out quickly(due to business) in the AM but also need a place to grab a quick breakfast. I want to be able to visit Disney World since I haven’t been there in 20 years where is the best place to stay?

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Barrett March 21, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I for one was not a fan of the Coronado Springs resort. The busses were not bad at all but the walk to and from the food court are right on in this resort evaluiation. Not to metention I felt the food options to be very limited. ( Table Service) The resort itself is very pretty and clean and the pool was very nice. We are going again and have chosen the French Quarter Resort for the reasons listed. But remember it is all Disney and you wont find find a better host than Disney!!

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Jeff May 10, 2012 at 9:32 am

We’ve stayed at both, and we prefer Coronado Springs for few reasons.

1) Location, location, location. It’s one of the most centrally-located of all resorts on the property. If you have your own car (which we definitely recommend), the farthest drive is to MK, and that’s still less than 15 minutes. AK is literally right around the corner, while HS and EP are mere minutes down the road. If you don’t have a car and are using buses, you’re still going to be better off than POR. This is where I disagree with Josh – he points out that it shares bus service with POFQ, but says that CSR’s buses take longer? Doesn’t make sense, and based on our experience I must respectfully disagree. In fact, when we were at POR we noticed significantly more personal scooters being used than at CSR. And if you’ve ever taken a Disney bus, you know that the loading and unloading of those can take some time.

2) The wooden door! 100% agree with Josh, that door makes such a huge difference when others in the room are doing hair/showering/shaving, anything that makes a lot of noise in the bathroom! It’s no small feature – we’d more readily entertain staying at other resorts if only they offered this in their rooms too.

3) The pool is AWESOME. Even for grown-ups, it’s spread out enough with plenty of deck chairs. Our daughter loves the pool and the water slide, we love having the bar right there and plenty of space to stretch out for relaxing afternoons.

Of course, those are just our personal preferences. We have nothing bad to say about POR – we just like CSR more. As Josh said – decide what features/amenities are priorities for you, and go from there.

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Laura June 18, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Coronado springs is by far the best hotel the pool is awsome and it is the best for familys :)

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Beth June 18, 2012 at 7:32 pm

I like the Caribbean the best but its up to you guys

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WDWRich June 21, 2012 at 11:35 am

With respect to Jeff, Coronado Springs is a great resort but it is the *least* centrally located moderate. Have a look at a (true scale) map of the WDW property, and you’ll see that POR, POFQ and CBR are all much closer to EPCOT, DHS, DTD and for the most part, MK. We’ve stayed a both CSR and POR and always with a rental car. POR was definitely a shorter/easier drive to the parks and DTD.

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don r July 2, 2012 at 11:59 am

We stayed at POR 3 times (05,06,08)and once at CBR(2010).The wait time for buses when we stayed at POR was long most of the time.When we stayed at CBR our niece and her family stayed as always at POR.The bus wait for us was always shorter.They waited over 45minutes longer then us when leaving Blizzard Beech.The moderate resorts(any of them)is the way to visit WDW.I feel a bad day at WDW is much better then a good day at home.

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WDWMOM July 15, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Stayed at CBR 2 times (2009, 2010) and I have no complaints! We rented a car though so I can’t speak to the bus transportation. The food court was pretty good though especially with a picky husband and 4 year old (at the time). I requested a Preferred Room in the Martinuque building, first floor. Very close to the food court and main pool and definitely worth the ~$60 extra for my trip! Remember CBR buildings have 2 floors and NO elevators. I’m looking to experiance something different this Nov and considering POR or CSR. Reviews are mixed I can’t make up my mind. Only now I have a 1 year old and a 6 year old and will be relying on the bus transportation. Any recommendations?

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Patrick November 29, 2012 at 3:52 pm

I would agree with mostly everything that is on here. I am going to POFQ, and I can’t wait!!!

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Sarah January 1, 2013 at 12:10 pm

I stayed at Port Orleans Riverside for the fourth time last August.It was just after the final rooms had been refurbished. We had the most fantastic time and we can’t fault POR in any way. Each time we start planning a holiday to WDW we look at other hotels both budget and moderate. We spend a considerable time researching all the hotels but in the end we head back to POR! I’m not sure what draws us back each time – maybe the memories of previous great holidays, or maybe the laid back atmosphere (very welcome after a hard day in a park), or maybe because it is quite spread out so it never appears to be busy or maybe just because it is so beautiful! Whatever the reason, we love it and i can safely say that if we ever return to WDW we will probably end up staying at POR again!

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Willaim January 12, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Going back to POR in May 2013 for the 4 the stay.. We have visisted WDW 6 times..What keeps us staying there is the river view rooms, the boat transportation to down town and the quick service meals we think are great compared to the other moderates as we have stayed at them all… Alot of people talk about the long bus waits at all WDW resorts and I can agree, but we are there we are not in an all fired hurry to keep running as we are on vacation. In fact our first trip many years ago we got on the 1st bus that came and made a day of it.. Your on vacation people relax and enjoy this greatest place on earth…Looking forward to May.

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Kat January 18, 2013 at 11:20 pm

I stayed at Coronado Springs and loved every minute of it. The rooms were nice, the kids loved the pool and the Pepper Market food was great.

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Jenn January 19, 2013 at 9:04 am

I can almost bet on the response that I will get, but asking regardless…(maybe I just need the excuse to spend the extra dollars). Booking a trip for early May. I have a 4 yr old and a just under 1yr old…Pools aren’t a big thing for us and we don’t do meals at the hotel except for the odd snack here and there. We have stayed at the All Star Resorts countless times and Port Orleans Riverside back when it was Dixie Landings. We’re looking for a change and considering Pop Century or Port Orleans French Quarter. I think our biggest consideration is getting around with a stroller (this will be our first visit with kids) and decent transportation.

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Adam January 19, 2013 at 12:51 pm

I have been trying to figure out what is the difference between a moderate and certain value resorts. I will be traveling to Disney this summer with kids, I can get a room in the Coronado, Carribean, or Art of Animation for viirtually tse same price. I don’t see a huge difference in room quality when I look at Art vs. say some of the moderates. Is it moderate because of room size, proximity to park, or just a step up in adult theme versus kids theme? I am leaning towards Art of Animation just because of age of kids but what is teh real difference?

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Allan January 26, 2013 at 10:42 am

Adam,

AoA is a tweener in that it is a bit better than the other values but not as nice as the moderates. All the Mods except CBR have two queen beds vs two dbls at AoA and other Values. All Mods but POFQ(POR with Boatwright’s is next door and walkable) have a table service restaurant vs just QS at AoA and the other Values. Mod rooms have 35 more sqft.

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Anna March 15, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I’ve stayed at POR, CBR and POFQ. I like POFQ the best. I like the small size, especially because I have very young kids. CBR is out because of only having double beds. I sleep in a Queen at home. I don’t downgrade on vacation and yes, it’s important to us to have space in our bed. POR is nice, but too big with small kids. I’d like to do CSR, but it’s a bit more and just not worth the extra cost. We don’t stay value, mostly because it attracts a lot of teenagers and sports groups. I teach high school and want to escape that when on vacation. I’ve also noticed that values seem to be busier than other resorts.

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mike March 15, 2013 at 4:48 pm

The cbr has the best location going for it it’s not to far from Epcot Hollywood studios and animal kingdom. So although the resort itself may not be the best it’s location more than makes up the difference

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Lauren March 15, 2013 at 6:05 pm

I stayed at 2 of the 4 moderates – POFQ and CSR and I thought CSR was MUCH better. The rooms are nicer at CSR (both stays were post-refurb) and I thought bus service at CSR was better. At CSR, it is always one of the first two bus stops a the parks. CSR buses seemed more frequent. And at POFQ we often had to cycle through the 4 bus stops at POR. So it felt like it took longer than CSR because at CSR even though there are several stops, it’s all in the same resort. In addition to superior rooms and better bus service, the food court at CSR is nicer and the pool is worlds better (the slide at POFQ is babyish and the theming at POFQ is closer to a value with big statues of alligators). POFQ does have the boat to downtown Disney but since POFQ is the second stop, it was often full before it got to POFQ or only had a few spaces, leading to long waits at the dock. I wouldn’t stay at POFQ again but I strongly considered staying at CSR again for my next trip. The only reason I didn’t end up choosing CSR is the fact that I want more space than a single room and 2 rooms at CSR is more expensive than a family suite.

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Disneyfan March 15, 2013 at 6:20 pm

You have been very busy. Thanks for all the updates!

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Matthew Wallace March 16, 2013 at 5:21 am

Josh,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts…I love Riverside, and may return there in December. It’s good to know that it holds up. Great reviews…thanks again!

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ErinElizabeth March 16, 2013 at 5:30 am

The Caribbean Beach Resort (CBR) is the best moderate if you want a resort experience. CBR is so lush, with its greenery and beautiful landscaping, it feels like a resort on the islands. The pool is goreous and friendly staff have events going all day long. We love roasting marshmellows in the evening on the CBR beach (and we live at the shore). We travelled there over Easter last year (busy season) and received excellent service from resort employees with no real transportation issues. In my opinion, if you don’t stay in a monorail resort, you can expect some transportation time and effort at any resort.
That said, I love the article- as always. Truly a superior blog!

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Scott March 16, 2013 at 10:21 am

Whichever side of the debate you are on, you have to agree that was a well reasoned analysis. Thanks Josh.

We’ve stayed at CSR 3 times and love the beauty of that resort. On the flip side, we also experienced stupid long bus delays during peak times. TWO OR THREE FULL buses would drive by our stop (#4). We stayed near stop #2 our last stay there, which strangely enough is the first stop for the buses, and it was much better. WE were the ones driving by the people staring at us at stop #4. The only good food we had there was at the fresh fruit at the convenience store. I also agree that the pool is outstanding, almost a water park. At lower crowd level times, I would stay here again, but always request something near stop #2.

Last time we stayed at the POFQ at Thanksgiving crowd levels and loved the short walks and empty buses. The theming is also nice, but we never ate there, since our favorite restaurants are at the parks (or Boma). But that is what works for us. We stay on Disney property to go to the parks.

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Sharon March 16, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Thank you so much for the review, it was so helpful! We ultimately decided to go with POR as our resort for our honeymoon this coming May. Although the layout and the possibility of being stuck in one of the remote rooms, we (read: I) are so excited to stay there and enjoy the amazing theming! BTW, your blog is so much fun to read.

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John March 16, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Swan? Dolphin? Normally I wouldn’t think of them either but I happen to be heading to Dolphin tomorrow for a one night business stay so its on my mind. But you get EMH and the dining rocks. Not sure how the rooms are yet but considering I can walk to Epcot for 209/night (booked 3 days before going without trying to plan for a deal) I would think this would be a strong contender in the Moderate category.

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Brandy March 10, 2015 at 12:01 pm

John, 2 years later I’d have to say I’d skip the Swan and Dolphin. We’ve stayed a few times now and had several issues the last time. Location was great for walking to the Boardwalk or Epcot. However, hidden fees in that great rate – tack on $15 a night for parking per room (if you all came together in one car you’ll have to make it clear – in our case, more than once) plus extra resort tax because they’re not Disney owned hotels. We lost a lunch reservation because we got bad directions from the front desk (gave up after an hour and a half by bus) that today would have cost us a downpayment. Gorgeous hotel but not worth the extra. We had other issues but figured it was the refurbishing at the time that caused the oversight (dirty bathtub, phone and internet didn’t work). That stay was in 12/2013. It was not representative of Disney. Booking POR again. CSR is lovely but I miss the feeling of camaraderie I get at Riverside! CBR have had several issues with the 2 times we’ve stayed. Slow buses and disoriented staff (last stay 10/14).

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Jeff March 18, 2013 at 8:25 am

Didn’t see this mentioned and it may not matter but it does to us. When we stayed at Coronado Springs, there was only one sink where as the other moderates have two sinks. Since we usually had three to four people getting ready at the same time, having the two sinks was a big plus for us.

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Bill March 18, 2013 at 6:55 pm

We have stayed in seven of the resorts with our five kids(I told you I love kids) including four moderates. For price, grounds, convenience, and yeehaw Bob, we like Riverside. That is unless you are at Food & Wine, then it has to be Beach Club due to the shorter stagger.

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Trudy March 19, 2013 at 12:06 pm

This may not be relevant to a lot of people, but on the dining front, CSR restaurants are not actually owned an operated by Disney. If you have food allergies, they are nowhere near as well equipped to handle allergies as the other moderate resorts.

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Stacy March 27, 2013 at 9:52 am

Loved reading all the comments!! We stayed at Coronado Springs last December and I have to say initially I was so disappointed we had to book there. We were travelling with extended family and needed 3 rooms. Because we were taking advantage of the free dining option, if we all wanted to be on the same resort, we had to stay at Coronado. This was my 76 year old Mother in Laws first visit to Disney and I wanted it to be special for her. Coronado doesn’t always receive the best overall reviews and I was really nervous!! Plus, Coronado never held any appeal to me. It was always the resort I bypassed because I just didn’t like the theme. I never had any interest in staying there at all. Boy, I was wrong!! We really really enjoyed Corondo. The table service option was very good. As for the walking, we never found it to be a problem or excessive. As a matter of fact, we were in building 5 at the Casistas and it was a little stroll but not bad at all!!! I actually liked the Ranchos and wished we had been placed there. We were also travelling with my husbands 78 year old aunt and neither of the “girls” (76 & 78) got tired from the walking.

On a side note, I will say that based on the reviews, we did book a preferred room for my Mother in Law. However, upon arrival we realized that there really wasn’t anything “preferred” about the location at all. It is a gamble because you could luck out and get a close room to the main building. The preferred rooms are in the Casistas buildings 1-3. We got building 3. We ended up giving the preferred room to my sister in law and put my mother in law next to us in building 5. The “preferred” room they assigned us was very confusing to find. You had to go into the courtyard, between buildings, up a flight of stairs. Just like a maze. Too confusing!! I wouldn’t pay for a preferred room there again.

Again, I wouldn’t hesitate to stay at Coronado again. Very nice experience!!

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Derek April 3, 2013 at 1:04 pm

We are headed to Disney in November ’13. The review was extremely helpful, thank you! I still can not quite decide between Port Orleans vs CSR though.

One question I did not see answered yet… Is the first week in November too cold to go swimming in Disney’s outdoor pools? I hear they are heated and didn’t know if November is still tollerable for pool temps. If swimming in Nov is no issue, I think CSR win out, but if the pool is off limits, I think one of the port orleans resorts will win.

The child we are taking is 4 if that helps.

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Gretchen April 26, 2013 at 3:38 pm

My family of 4 just returned from an 8 night stay at Riverside. We had a blast and couldn’t complain about anything if we wanted to. We were in building 18 and it was convient to everything. The rooms were nice, clean and well themed. I don’t know if we just got lucky but we had a door on our bathroom not just a divider?? The 2 sinks was for sure a plus when all trying to get ready to make it to the parks early in the morning before the lines were too long. I do have to agree w/ whoever said there a lot of scooters at POR. We seemed to always have to wait for them to load and they also take up a lot of space on the bus, but it didn’t bother us we still got a seat most of the time. I would reccomend POR to anyone! Hope this helps!

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Karen May 6, 2013 at 10:00 am

Thanks for all the feedback. I have always stayed at All-Star Sports and had no problems thought buses were good and all. I had my trip planned at POFQ due to small space and transportation. However a room discount came today and switched it to a Carribeean Beach preferred room as I thought my son would like the beach and main pool. I tried for Beach Club but was booked. I am hoping it’s not the bad the transporttation but the good thing is it’s close to Epcot.

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Ben June 18, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Trudy’s comment is spot on. I had a very bad experience at Pepper’s Market. I simply requested the person handling my food allergy to change his gloves because he just handled food I am allergic to. Due to the layout, I was able to watch every move and saw he didn’t change his gloves. When I asked again, as he handed me the food, if he had changed them, he flat out led to me and told me he had. After I lodged a complaint is when I found out that not all the restaurants are run by Disney. As a general rule in Disney Florida, the restaurants owned by Disney do better with allergy procedures. Most of the other non-Disney restaurants are hit and miss with getting it right. An allergy is usually very simple to manage in a kitchen. If the kitchen cannot do an allergy correctly, what other food safety issues are going on? – Quick service food is pretty similar so I would lean recommendation based on theme. Of the three remaining resorts: Port Orleans French Quarter Resort is themed exactly like Marty Gras World which is a tourist trap in New Orleans that serves stale cake as part of the tour. If your entire party is immune to nightmare inducing party clowns this is a possibility for you. Riverside and Caribbean Beach tie for first in QS food theming with each having a unique charm. Riverside feels a bit claustrophobic when busy at the counter.

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Laura June 24, 2013 at 8:28 pm

We’ve done CB twice, and POR three times, and our family favorite is POR. The kids have been aged 3-9 on these trips. We had stayed at CS once, before kids, and it was fine then.
CB has a great pool. The kids loved the slides and the little one loved the pirate ship. However, the resort is big and a lot of walking if you don’t want to wait for the internal bus. The pirate room is amazing for a little boy!
POR is our favorite for the well landscaped grounds, the proximity of the rooms (we’ve stayed in) to the main area. The pool is fun. We’ve stayed in the Alligator Bayou section with a 5th person, the Royal Guest room as well as a regular room. Plenty of space for all of us, we even have a picnic in the room with room service pizza. The buses can get full, depending on which stop we go to, so we just adjust accordingly. Our other favorite thing is the movie on the grounds. We LOVED laying on the grass (towells provided) to watch a Disney movie. Oh, and riding the boat to Dowtown Dis is awesome!

Josh- thanks for your website! It’s one of my planning favorites.

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Laurie July 8, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Hubby and I are planning a trip to see all the Christmas decorations in 2014. We’re thinking the week after Thanksgiving. It’s just the 2 of us, so no school vacations to consider. We’ve stayed at POFQ and loved it but we’d like to try something different. We’ve been to WDW sooo many times but have mostly stayed off site. Anyway, we’re really torn between moderates. Any advice given that it’s 2 adults and a moderately slow time. (not busy like school vacations anyway.) Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

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Betsie July 26, 2013 at 10:31 am

Hi Laurie, I actually came here for the exact opposite advice – I’m planning a trip with the kids – but saw your question and wanted to let you know my husband and I stayed at Coronado Springs on our honeymoon and really enjoyed it. We were there the week of 4th of July and still never had any real bus complaints (and I believe we were either the last or second to last stop). It was a bit of a hike from our room to the dining/main area, but we generally enjoyed the stroll. We had some good meals in the table service restaurant. Granted this was all 7 years ago, but I assume it’s mostly the same. :) I’d definitely recommend Coronado for two adults at a non-peak time, have fun! (And personally I’d avoid CB like the plague – we were booked there over spring break 2012 and on top of being HUGE and therefore hard to manage, the resort seemed like it wasn’t being very well taken-care of. They weren’t able to accommodate our request for connecting rooms so we got upgraded to Wilderness Lodge, which if you’re willing to spring for a deluxe I highly recommend!)

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Mike Anderson August 5, 2013 at 1:43 pm

I’ve stayed at the CBR once (AUG) 2011 and POR twice (AUG 2012 and JUN 1993 when it was still Dixie Landings). I’m staying at CSR in NOV so can’t comment on that one until then.

The theming at CBR and POR are both nice. My wife prefers the beachy feel and I prefer the slow country feel of POR. CBR is much bigger than POR and the layout seems stretched out at CBR. Our room at CBR wasn’t especially close to the main building, but it was a nice not-too-long walk along the lake. I’ve stayed in the Bayou and Magnolia Bend sections of POR and pefer Magnolia bend. The Bayou is rustic and nice, but we enjoiyed the Royal Rooms much more. They’re nicely done, not too kiddish and not too princessy, but special enough to really enjoy. They’re all prefered rooms too so pretty close to the main building and a nice walk over the river. I really liked the boat transportation to DTD even though we only used it once. Buses are buses and you’ll have times where you feel like you wait forever and times where everything goes smoothly at either resort. Just remember you’re on vacation when you’re there and not only when you’re in the parks. Oh…the pool at CBR was nicer, but that’s relative becuase you’ll enjoy them both. I will say, CBR seemed dated to be…not worn out or dirty….just the theming in the room reminded me of an old florida.

CSR is more centrally located to the four parks. It’s right in the middle of AK, DHS and EP, while the other mods are on the east side of DHS and EP (use google maps). CSR is also right on World Drive which is a straight shot to MK. Not sure if any of that actually translates into anything anybody would actally notice though.

I would have booked POR this november becuse of the relaxing atmosphere, but the free dining had limited avilability at the mods so we’re going with CSR. If you don’t mind paying a little extra, I’d go with the Royal rooms (only way to guarantee a stay at Magnolia Bend as far as I know) at POR or if you need a room for 5 the rooms in the Bayou. The boats to DTD are a great touch for a mod resort even if you only use it once like we usually do.

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Mike Anderson August 5, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Forgot to mention…I liked the food court better at POR vs CBR too. Both (I imagine all) are very busy in the morning.

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mike January 3, 2014 at 3:01 pm

I think the Caribbean beach resort should be higher rated theme wise it’s the Polynesian resort for moderates and Polynesian is number 1

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