While you may be wondering how great the theming could possibly be at a moderate resort compared to a deluxe, I would actually say that the moderates have some pretty excellent theming. From the style of the resorts, to the music played, and food offered in the restaurants, the moderate resorts stay very true to their themes, and prove to be truly immersive experiences. Though the same can be said for deluxe resorts, the theming of the values is a little bit different. They do have themes obviously, but I would say that the themes are more understated, as they are decorated with larger than life icons, but are otherwise fairly basic hotels. Moderate resorts will make you feel like you’re on a Caribbean island, or in French Quarter, without simply dressing up a basic resort or going more over the top like a deluxe would.
Moderate resorts are perfect for when you want to splurge a little, but you aren’t ready to commit to a deluxe. The overall style of the value resorts can be really hit or miss with guests, and particularly guests traveling without any children can sometimes have a tough time getting into the theme of those resorts. Even though they are the cheapest, they’re not always everyone’s first choice. The other end of the spectrum is the deluxe category, which can often be ideal for what guests are looking for but out of their budget. By this logic, moderate resorts fall into the comfortable category, of affordable enough that they can justify paying for the room rates, but nice enough for guests who are not interested in staying at a value resort.
In terms of the prices of moderate resorts (especially when compared to their deluxe alternatives) moderates offer a lot in terms of amenities. The pools at moderate resorts sometimes feature water slides, and are often more elaborately themed than values, making them more comparable to a deluxe. In addition, there can be double sinks in the resort rooms, and more elaborately decorated rooms like the pirate rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort and the princess rooms at Port Orleans Riverside.
Like most things in the moderate category, the rooms at moderate resorts tend to be generally nicer than values, but somewhat less elegant than deluxes. Moderate resorts also have more options in terms of king size beds, and the rooms are less standard than values. With more theming involved in the guest rooms, moderates beat out the values for adult trips where staying at a deluxe is out of the question.
As previously mentioned, the pools at some of the moderate resorts are my favorites at Walt Disney World. A quick look through the official Disney website will show you that the pools at the moderates are so well themed, you might even think you’re staying at a deluxe. While they might not have the recreational offerings on hand like deluxes such as the Contemporary where the marina is located right by the pool, they do have slides, pool bars, and fun themes to get the whole family involved in the poolside entertainment.
If you’re looking for some variety, the moderate resorts have a lot to offer that you may not realize. Not only in terms of pools, but in terms of dining and transportation, the moderates also have a lot to offer. Port Orleans for instance, offers boat transportation in addition to the buses to Disney Springs. While it’s not an exact replacement for forgoing a stay at a monorail resort, the boats are a relaxing way to get to Disney Springs, and a nice alternative to the bus transportation. The moderates also offer more than the values in terms of dining and bars, and sometimes even have table service locations in addition to the quick service-style food courts.
The best reason to stay at a moderate resort is quite simple—it’s a great value. In my opinion, the moderate resorts offer slightly less than deluxe resorts for a substantially smaller price. For any trip where you don’t want to spend upwards of $400/night for a room, but you’re also not interested in staying at a value, any of the moderates would come highly recommended. You might be missing out on some of the extra restaurants, and the large, detailed lobbies, but at a fraction of the cost, the experience you’ll have staying at a moderate will be well worth it. And remember—you can still visit different resorts regardless of where you stay to go to the shops and restaurants, so if you’re on a budget, don’t feel pressured to stay at the resort that’s home to a favorite restaurant.