Disney World Moderate Resort Rankings

Which Walt Disney World Moderate Resort hotel is best? It’s a question I often hear asked, and unlike Value Resorts, I think it’s a very, very difficult question to answer. This is the case because each has redeeming characteristics. Ranking Walt Disney World Moderate Resort hotels is more akin to ranking Disney Vacation Club resorts, and a lot of you enjoyed my list on those last week. I don’t want to render my own article superfluous in the first paragraph, but I think an argument could be made for each of the Moderate Resorts being best, and each being worst. (As long as you don’t rank Port Orleans French Quarter last because you’re scared of alligators, and there are some alligator-decorations around the pool–unlike some people in our overly-sensitive society, I do believe that there is such a thing as a bad opinion!)

The reasons that explain my rankings are more important than the numbers themselves, as they set forth what matters most to me and what doesn’t matter much to me. For instance, if staying at a compact resort is important to you to minimize walking, you’ll want to take note of my preference for more spread out resorts that offer more to explore and walk.

This is an important topic to discuss because, I believe that the Moderate Resorts don’t receive enough attention. Budget-minded tourists flock to the Value Resorts (read our Value Resort Rankings), and guests seeking more extravagant trips go to the Deluxe Resorts (read our Deluxe Resort Rankings). While these are good reasons to stay at Value and Deluxe Resorts, what about those who want a little compromise? Those for whom cost is a concern, but not the overriding concern?

We often find ourselves in this position, and frequently pick Moderate Resorts when looking for the best compromise. I feel that all of the Moderate Resorts offer exceptional theming (in many cases on par with the Deluxe Resorts) that is far superior to the Value Resorts (unless you have small children who really like the style of the Values), at a significantly lower cost than the Deluxe Resorts. The compromise, it seems, is typically that Deluxe Resorts offer significantly better dining options and are usually located closer to at least one of the Walt Disney World theme parks. Walking from Disney’s BoardWalk Inn to the International Gateway entrance of Epcot is pretty awesome, especially if you’re visiting during Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival or the Flower & Garden Festival, but if you won’t take advantage of this much, how much is it worth to you? Likewise, does it matter if you have fine dining in your hotel if you’re always going to be in the parks for lunch and dinner?

Being in walking distance of a theme park is a huge benefit for us (now that we’ve done it, I can’t imagine visiting for New Year’s Eve and not staying at Bay Lake Tower–it was so nice to walk to the Magic Kingdom at our leisure for midday breaks during that busy time of the year) and one around which we plan our trips. If we stay at a Magic Kingdom-area hotel, we spend a lot more time in the Magic Kingdom on that particular trip. Similarly, we tend to book Epcot-area hotels during festival seasons at Epcot and make that our park of choice. Conversely, while we enjoy fine dining, we rarely predicate our dining decisions upon where we’re staying. While we frequently leave the parks for dinner, it’s usually not to dine at our hotel, but rather, at a particular restaurant in a hotel that caught our attention. The point here is that everyone’s preferences differ, and your mileage may vary on how much these benefits (and other things like room service, valet, etc.) matter to you. My general point is that you shouldn’t default to a Deluxe Resort without considering what, exactly, you expect. You might find that these Moderate Resorts can deliver everything you want.

With that in mind, let’s dig into the rankings!

5. Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter used to be its own resort, simply “Port Orleans.” When the post-9/11 dip in tourism hit Walt Disney World, the former Dixie Landings and Port Orleans Resorts, which were in the process of being consolidated (purportedly because of Dixie Landings’ name), anyway, received further consolidations to save on operating expenses. This is significant because it meant shuttering Bonfamille’s Cafe table-service restaurant, and the loss of bike and boat rentals at French Quarter. French Quarter now “shares” these amenities, plus watercraft rentals and carriage rides, with its sister resort, Port Orleans – Riverside.

Fans of French Quarter are most likely to point to its size–it’s the most compact of all the Moderate Resorts–as the primary reason why it’s the best Moderate Resort. Personally, this gives it less for me to explore. More objectively, I think calling French Quarter the most compact is a bit deceiving. To enjoy many of its amenities, you have to walk all the way over to Riverside! This effectively makes it just as spread out as any other Moderate Resort if you plan on enjoying those amenities.

Beyond that, the theme at French Quarter just doesn’t do as much for me as the other hotels on this list. It is intimate and some of the wrought details look nice, but it seems like a bland take on New Orleans and Mardi Gras, with the exception of the alligator band picture here (who doesn’t love a musically-inclined alligator?!). Whereas some of the other Moderate Resorts have nuanced details that help tell their stories, French Quarter seems to have a lot of random junk scattered about (Imagineer A: “What can we put in this corner of the food court?” Imagineer B: “Oh, I know! How about a creepy jester head?!”) The main reason why French Quarter falls to the bottom of this list is its lack of amenities and fairly average rooms. I am firmly “neutral” on it because of this–I won’t give it a “recommend” or “avoid” rating if only because its compact layout may be a huge plus for someone who doesn’t care about the lost amenities. For those people, this will probably be #1.

4. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Caribbean Beach Resort is perhaps the most divisive Moderate Resort, and if you’ve read my full review, you know exactly where I stand in this debate. I love Caribbean Beach.

For me, the biggest selling point of Caribbean Beach Resort is the theming. The rooms are a bit bright (they’re also the largest of the Moderate Resorts), but we enjoyed this. Some people might consider this garish or tacky, but I disagree with them. It’s a place to stay while on vacation. What’s wrong with fun, bright, and festive colors? It’s not like you have to live in the place your whole life. This is a big problem that I have with how hotels are judged in general. Some people believe that “quality” and “kitschy” are mutually exclusive, or that in order to be nice or luxurious, something has to be understated or discreet. Everything has a place, and there is nothing necessarily wrong with some loud colors or over-the-top theming.

To be sure, Caribbean Beach Resort doesn’t have a restrained color palette anywhere in the resort. Bright, tropical colors are used in abundance, and to the benefit of the theme. The grounds pop because of this, and the buildings really stand out from the mature and lush greenery. Thanks to this, the tropical paradise theming is well-executed, and a morning stroll around the sprawling resort is a lot of fun. Expect a refresh on the rooms very soon, which might help bump Caribbean Beach Resort up a spot.

Caribbean Beach also has a nice fortress themed pool, complete with cannons, and a food court that offers plenty of variety. While it is the oldest of the Moderate Resorts, recent refurbishments have nicely modernized it. Even though it’s #4 here, I “highly recommend” it, except for those who don’t like a spread out resort.

3. Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

I caught some flak in the comments section of my full Coronado Springs review for calling Coronado Springs a “mixed bag.” On the one hand, I think the rooms are the nicest of all Moderate Resorts as they utilize space very well and are very modern in comparison to the other Moderates with by far the best bedding. The theming of the rooms is also more subtle, yet distinctly Disney. The pool is really cool with a fun slide, and the theming of the resort in general is really cool in places. Since the initial rankings, we’ve been back to Coronado Springs, and I have to admit that it has really grown on me. I’ve found the theming more appealing, and Pepper Market has become one of our favorite counter service restaurants at Walt Disney World.

Others who rank Coronado Springs low seem to do so because they feel the convention clientele drags down the atmosphere (they don’t want to see people in suits on vacation…I guess?). This is not a concern for us, as I would rather be stuck in a room next to some convention attendees than next to a rowdy group of cheerleaders or a tour group. We believe that the amenities that Coronado Springs has in order to appeal to this convention crowd, if anything, helps its rank. Another drawback for others is that the resort is really sprawling, and involves a lot of walking. As mentioned above, I enjoy early morning strolls, so I do not view this as an issue.

The theming still isn’t our favorite, but it’s not bad, and everything else Coronado Springs has going for it helps push it up into this spot. The neutral color scheme found in many of the buildings leaves a bit to be desired for me and makes large chunks of the resort very bland. This may seem like a more quibble in comparison to the many strengths, but in a tight competition, it’s enough to land Coronado Springs in the #3 slot. Despite this position, I still “highly recommend” it.

2. The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness*

*I almost didn’t even put the Cabins in my rankings because they’re not one of the resorts typically discussed in a conversation about which Moderate Resort is best. However, Disney has them listed as a Moderate Resort, so I’ll go with that…

Fort Wilderness is one of my favorite places (calling it a “resort” is playing a bit fast and loose with the term) in Walt Disney World. Until Shades of Green came into being, we stayed at Fort Wilderness every year on our family trips, and I made a lot of memories there. Beyond that, it’s one of the few vestiges of the original “Vacation Kingdom of the World,” and is a stark contrast to most other places to stay at Walt Disney World. The theming is natural: an undisturbed bastion of wilderness, with just enough artifice carved out so that Disney guests never are truly “roughing it.”

Fort Wilderness certainly isn’t for everyone, but preconceived notions and misconceptions of what it is will likely preclude some from giving it a chance. The Cabins are, in essence, Villas in cabin form, and are nicer than many other hotel rooms. This gives guests the best of both worlds: the ability to enjoy the natural world while staying in a nice hotel room. Fort Wilderness offers fishing, boat rentals, and a myriad of other activities that families (especially those with young boys) will enjoy, and has some great dining, too.

All of that said, given its price and the nature of the cabins, it doesn’t really make sense for me to compare it to the Moderate Resorts. I realize I’m still ranking it #2 on this list, but it’s #2 with an asterisk. For what it is (an alternative to a Villa or Family Suite), I’ll give it a “highly recommend” ranking, but if you’re in the market for a single Moderate Resort room, you probably shouldn’t be looking at the Fort Wilderness Cabins.

1. Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside

Port Orleans – Riverside has the theming of a Deluxe Resort for the price of a Moderate Resort. It has the entertainment offerings of a Deluxe Resort for the price of a Moderate Resort. So, where does it falter as compared to Deluxe Resorts? Room size, location, and dining (although its dining is excellent). Still, it does the things that it does so well that this is probably the best option for anyone who would like to stay at a Deluxe Resort but doesn’t want to pay Deluxe prices.

The biggest strength of Riverside, I feel, is the theming. Riverside is divided into Alligator Bayou (bayou) and Magnolia Bend (mansions), which assists it in offering more thematic variety. The backstory is interesting and engaging (and is executed cleverly throughout the resort), and the quiet pathways that litter Riverside make it a great place to take a romantic stroll. The grounds are absolutely stunning, with rich wilderness in the bayou and perfectly manicured gardens around the mansions. These grounds are fun to traverse on foot or by renting surrey bikes, and make the resort a lot of fun to explore. The beauty of the grounds really cannot be over-emphasized. It’s not just the natural beauty of Riverside that makes the theming shine. From the little details like the ports of call in the lobby to the huge working water wheel outside the Riverside Mill, Port Orleans – Riverside is absolutely the best-themed Moderate Resort. Despite being fairly spread out, it presents as intimate and romantic, and is the perfect budget resort for an adults-only or honeymoon trip.

Thanks to the bikes, carriage rides, and fishing, there’s a lot to do at Riverside. There’s also some great entertainment for adults, as Yehaa Bob, who performs at the River Roost bar on select nights. Bob has long been considered a hidden gem at Walt Disney World by fans, and I would put him right up there with the dueling pianos at Jellyrolls in terms of nighttime entertainment in Walt Disney World. Dining is also great at Riverside, with an excellent (and well-themed) restaurant in Boatwright’s and a very fun food court that offers plenty of variety in Riverside Mill.

Nice rooms, a fun pool and play areas, the kinetic energy of the Sassagoula River, and boats to Downtown Disney, round out the rest of the strengths of Riverside, and easily land it the top spot on this list. Riverside earns a “highly recommend” rating from us, and should cause some to seriously consider whether they need to splurge on a Deluxe Resort.

As stated in the outset, we know our opinions aren’t the gospel, and what separates any of the resorts on this list is pretty insubstantial–although we do prefer Riverside by a decent margin over the #2 Moderate Resort on this list (which is, in reality, Caribbean Beach…while great, Fort Wilderness is basically here because of a clerical error). Given that, and since we want our readers to have a variety of opinions upon which they can base their decisions, we’re curious to know how you feel about the Moderate Resorts. If you’ve stayed at any of them, please leave some thoughts in the comments!

Not sure which Walt Disney World hotel is right for you? Check out our Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews page, which offers quick-hit capsule reviews of every Walt Disney World hotel, plus links to our reviews and photo pages for every hotel we have reviewed.

If you need personalized help with planning any aspect of your vacation, including hotel–we recommend contacting a no fee “Authorized Disney Vacation Planner” (Disney’s term for a travel agent) to get a quote and to help you plan. They get their commission from Disney, so none of the authorized (key word) planners will charge you for booking their trip and helping. Here’s one such recommended Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.

Looking for comprehensive Walt Disney World vacation tips? Make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide.

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Your Thoughts…

What do you think? Which is your favorite Moderate Resort? Are there any that you dislike? If you have any questions or additional thoughts, please share them in the comments!

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111 Responses to “Disney World Moderate Resort Rankings”

  1. Elizabeth Wright says:

    Tom, you may very well have just convinced me to switch from POFQ to Riverside for our September trip. We’re normally not huge fans of the large, sprawled out resorts with multiple bus stops, but I do agree that the amenities are better at Riverside. Plus, we’ve already ‘done’ POFQ a few times; it might be time to change it up a bit! Great post.

  2. Corey says:

    Good stuff. But you aren’t making our choice any easier. Even with the Twitter universe giving high praise to POR, my wife doesn’t like the pics she has seen on other websites (Yours are great, by the way).

    So, the dilemma is this: I have a conference in October (I know we are late…) and some free flight coupons so the family is going with me (for five total people). The conference hotel is the Swan and Dolphin, which is great, but I really might prefer Riverside.

    Both hotels are comparatively priced (due to conference rates), so it really comes down to theming, room size (have to rent a rollaway at Swalphin), location (the Epcot area is hard to beat) and Magical Express availability.

    So, there it is. Any advice?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Swalphin. Without a doubt.

      Seriously, it’s a no-brainer decision. Being within walking distance of Epcot during Food & Wine Festival and going on a conference rate? Not even a close call.

      Even without DME, I’d do Swalphin in a second. Just make sure the comparative rates include all the “extras” at the Swalphin.

      • Corey says:

        Perfect. The Dolphin has an $8 resort fee covering internet, water and access to the health club, plus the conference is in the hotel. Not having a refrigerator is a drawback, but we will deal with it.

        But, you are right, proximity to the Boardwalk, Beach Club (Beaches and Bream), EPCOT and DHS are great perks that I think we would miss.


      • Rachel says:

        I couldn’t agree more! I just got back from staying at the Swan and it was wonderful! We visited the Dolphin as well, but didn’t like it quite as much. It seemed louder and not as cozy as the Swan.

    • Annie Cox says:

      DOLPHIN!!!!! I’ve been there 15 times. Half f them were spent at Dolphin. Great prich. Cool transport to Magic Kingdom. Great view from windows. Of course, if you don’t mind spending money…. Contemporarys always AMAZING!!!!! Good luck on your trip! Hope this advice helps!

  3. Karin says:

    I enthusiastically agree with your choice for Port Orleans Riverside as #1! We have a family of 5 and this is the only Moderate that we can stay at, as it is the only one that accomodates more than 4 (appropriately exempting the cabins). We love the detailed theming & lush landscaping, as you well described. The dixieland jazz music that is played throughout sets the tone beautifully. We visited at Christmas last year & loved the Christmas-themed music variation. The boatride to downtown Disney is a great bonus, very relaxing. We stayed in a room that had just been refurbished in November in the Bayou section & applaud the changes & improved theming. All in all, this is a spectacular gem for families. Great pick!

    Oh, and love your website! Thanks for all the time you both invest to inform and entertain us about all things Disney. We’re going to be taking our first DL trip, and your detailed information on DL/DCA has been fantastic.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Thanks for the kind words about the website. We have yet to see it decorated for Christmas, but now you’ve piqued my curiosity!

      • Terri says:

        I was at POR the first week of December. I thought it was a lovely resort-although by day 5 I was ready to never hear “Down by the Riverside” again (it play A LOT in the dining room)! It was decorated beautifully for Christmas-tasteful and not overdone. We took advantage of the pools-my nieces loved them. We also took the boat to/from Downtown Disney-it was a great, and I think, overlooked option. We had the quick serve dining plan and the food options in the dining room were great (and at all of the parks, really). I highly recommend the mahi mahi grilled sandwich. We used the north bus stop a couple of times because of the location to our building (#39). Hint: the other bus stops (north and west) were less crowded before it made it’s way to the south/main stop.

        This was my first trip back to WDW since I was a pre-teen in 1979. So much has changed so everything was Magical to me!

        Do any of the resorts offer a microwave in the room? That was our only complaint.

  4. Justin says:

    We stayed at riverside last year and loved it. The theming like you said is just amazing great for strolls at night. We’re trying carribbean beach this October from your review it sounds like we won’t be dissatisfied.

  5. David says:

    This year will be my first trip to Port Orleans Riverside and I am so relieved that you’ve placed it in first place. You’ve made me just that little bit more excited! I’m actually flying out from London to stay there in a week’s time for three weeks, so I’ll tell you if I agree with your rankings when I get back :)

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Don’t be relieved just yet. Plenty of people disagree with me! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do, though!

  6. Sharon says:

    Riverside is our favorite resort!! Stayed the over 20 times. You can not beat the theming. It is so relaxing. We have stayed at the Poly, WL, POP, and 3 out of 4 Moderates and we keep coming back to Riverside.

  7. Rose says:

    I wish you would stop telling everyone how great POR is…………….Only kidding! We love it and agree with you that if it can’t be the BW which is my absolute fav it has to be POR!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Don’t worry–this blog only has 7 readers, two of which are my pets. I think the secret is “safe” here! 😉

  8. Anna says:

    While I respectfully disagree with your #5 choice, I can certainly understand your rationale for ranking it as such (and were I an unbiased referee, I would absolutely agree with your ranking). I stayed at POFQ many times, as it opened shortly after my sixth birthday, and I learned to swim in Doubloon Lagoon (I’m not kidding); it was my family’s go-to resort for a number of years. So, of course, my reasons for contesting its ranking are purely nostalgic. However, after reading your review, I’m tempted to change my New Year’s Eve reservations from French Quarter to Riverside. Great post!

    On a slightly separate note: have you all dined recently at Boatwrights? I’ve read a number of extremely negative reviews, and I canceled my ADR last December as a result.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      It has been a while since I dined at Boatwrights, but I hadn’t heard anything negative recently. Care to share the reviews?

  9. John B says:

    Count me as one of the people that LOVE PO-FQ! The only Mod I haven’t stayed at is POR (next year!) and I do love its compact size. Honestly I’m not at the resort long enough to “explore” so that doesn’t bother me. And if by “explore” you mean “walk 20 mins from the front desk to your room” (like I did with Coronado Springs), well I’ll take the compact size! The alligators do freak me out though, and I like the subtle theming. Since I don’t use the watercraft and such, it doesn’t bother me that FQ shares with R. I do like the boat to DTD as well, and I agree the food court does freak me out a bit. But I do love the rooms! I think they’re some of the nicest. Richly themed rooms + easy to navigate = winner in my book!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I knew a lot of people would disagree with POFQ in last place. For what it’s worth, I think it’s a great resort, just not any better than the rest.

      The resort size element will be a decisive point for a lot of people. I love sprawling resorts, but judging by what I’ve read online, I suspect that many others don’t share that love.

  10. Keith LeLievre says:

    We’ve got a very small sample size, and I have to admit that CSR is a very close second to POFQ for us. We only spent 3 nights at CSR and were only at the resort to sleep, which did not give it its due. We spent 9 nights at POFQ and had an amazing time there. The only fault I can give it is the lack of “good” food options, but we did most of our eating at the Parks or Deluxe Resorts by design anyway. We spent the better part of 2 days at the resort and loved the small intimate appeal of it. I actually give it points for being such close proximity to POR, but we honestly didn’t miss any of the amenities that POR had that POFQ didn’t.

  11. @MattPerkins_ says:

    I have enjoyed each of my stays at the moderate resorts, Coronado Springs in 2010 and Riverside when I was a kid. My future plans include Caribbean Beach and maybe Fort Wilderness. However, I have no desire to stay at Riverside or French Quarter for a different reason than those discussed. I feel like I’m staying at home.

    Because I live in Pascagoula, MS (think Sassagoula) and frequent New Orleans for weekend getaways, I don’t get the “vacation getaway” feeling when I’m at these resorts. Riverside feels like my parents backyard on the Pascagoula River while FQ just doesn’t feel like New Orleans. Don’t get me wrong, the resorts and grounds are gorgeous, the amenities and theming great (and the beignets are quite good)…they just don’t work for me.

    My wife and I are huge fans of Coronado for the reasons stated in Tom’s post. The convention goers are there for meetings and don’t meaningfully influence our vacation. If we do interact with them, we are typically enjoying similar activities: eating a nice dinner, relaxing by the pool, having a late night cocktail, etc.

    Thread hijack: Does where you live affect your resort choice?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I can totally see your point, and I suspect if we lived in Pascagoula, we’d feel the same way. I know I’d have ABSOLUTELY no desire to stay in an Indianapolis themed hotel. Disney vacations are largely about escapism, and staying at a hotel similar to your hometown doesn’t offer the requisite level of escape. Sure, it differs, but probably not enough.

  12. kris says:

    Have been luckie enough to have stayed at 4 the hotels listed here.I like Riverside for it’s food court, sit down dining and Bob in the bar. French Quarter is next for the size, when yuo have RA the shorter the the better. Will be staying there again in Dec. with my 4yr old grandson and his mom and dad. Love you pix and all your great info. Used it last year for dining ideas. keep it up. Miss you on WDW Figment.

  13. Betsy says:

    I don’t stay at the moderates very often (I like to either save $ and stay at Pop or splurge and stay at a deluxe) but the first time I took my husband to Disney with me we stayed at POFQ. I chose this one because I thought it would be the most adult of the moderates, and I think I was right. I don’t know if kids don’t get the theme or if families just prefer Riverside because of the pool/amenities, but we hardly saw any children during our spring break trip here. At one point we were on a bus to one of the theme parks that was literally adults only.

    As a couple of teachers with no kids of our own yet, POFQ was a great resort for us. It was such a tranquil place to come back to each day. I really enjoyed reading your ratings and hearing your point of view on each moderate resort! Made me want to try Riverside sometime.

  14. Jason says:

    Great info here!!! We’ve stayed at three of the mods so far and I’d rank them (worst to best): POFQ, CBR and CSR. We’re going to POR in November so I’ve VERY excited to finally hit them all. Plus…my favorite beer (Abita Turbodog) in on tap at the PO resorts…so that’s always a positive!!!

    My wife and I just cannot justify the cost of going deluxe when the mods are so nice. We could almost do a 2 week vacation at POR vs 1 week at the POLY. I know a lot of people would still choose POLY…and we’d LOVE to stay there at some point…but I just can’t get over the price difference.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      You like Abita?! Man, I don’t know why that beer is so popular. We have a number of Abita varieties when we were in NOLA, and I was unimpressed. Of course, I come from Michigan, micro-brew capitol of the US! 😉

  15. San says:

    Great info about moderate resorts! I’ve never stayed at one. I’ve been to Disney 24 times, 11 times being the Poly and the rest were the Grand Floridian, the Swan, Wilderness Lodge, and one time at Pop Century for a friends wedding. Do you think I’d be sorely dissapointed if I stayed at a moderate? I was admittedly not a happy camper at Pop Century but didn’t have a choice in the matter.

  16. Wendy says:

    As always, very informative and enjoyable! We stayed at a moderate for the first time our last trip (May ’12) and we stayed at POFQ. It actually shot up to the being one of the top resorts for us (and we almost always do deluxe). We just LOVED the tranquility (good word – a previous poster used it!) of the decor. We loved strolling to and from our room. I’m not a huge fun of sprawled out resorts like you, so it definitely was appealing on that level for us! However, you do make good arguments for the others and now have me wanting to at least give them a try :)

  17. Sharon says:

    For our first trip to Disney this past April, we chose Caribbean Beach Resort. We wanted a moderate resort for precisely the reasons you stated above, we wanted a mid-level price with mid-level amenities. The tropical feel and the awesome pool were a hit with our 9 & 6 yr old kids.
    As a follow-up this October (yes, we loved it so much, we are on our way back a mere 6 months later!) we decided on Port Orleans Riverside, per suggestion from Len on May’s live podcast.
    The resort is just beautiful, and your wonderful article has me even more excited!! It was my husband’s first choice in April, but I could not get past the patchwork quilt coverlets in the Alligator Bayou rooms, they just seemed so grandmother’s attic-y. Ick, not on MY tropical vacation! But with the recent refurbishments in that section, the rooms look sooo nice now.
    Silly that bedspreads steered me away, but what can I say?!

  18. Lisa says:

    I have heard many times the Caribbean’s rooms are getting worn down and are due for an overhaul. Is that not true? And also, did you take into account the double beds?

  19. Mark D. says:

    I knew you would choose Riverside as your #1. Why did I know that? You guys are night owls and I have walked Riverside at 1am off-season when no one is around and it might be the most beautiful and romantic resort in all of Disney.

  20. Maureen says:

    Loved reading this. I agree with all you have written on almost every account. We have only stayed at the Caribbean Beach, but we have visited all except Port Orleans Riverside. CB has been an all time fav for me for all the reasons you stated in your article. Coronado Sp. felt as if I stepped out of the magic of Disney and I was anxious to leave the property. We had visited because my daughter at the time was smitten by the Three Amigos and this was the only place I was aware that I could find them at the time. While there, we dined at Peppers Market; while the food was decent the whole arrangement was a little confusing to us. We had to be seated and received a card with our food items we had ordered to present to the cashier, then had to tip the gentleman that was refilling our soda and clearing our table. This was quite different from “normal” counter service., I am not a cheap person.. but if I am choosing table service I tip very well.. but counter service I am expecting not to tip. When we visited Port Orleans French Quarter I felt the same as you with the themeing; I actually chuckled when reading how you felt they may have come up with this decor. I have heard wonderful things about PO Riverside. I am so use to CB’s vibrant atmosphere (which I love)that I am a bit nervous to take a step in the opposite direction. I was able to stay at a Deluxe (WL) for the first time this past May and very much enjoyed it for all the reasons you had stated you enjoy staying at a Deluxe as well. That being said our budget may not afford this on every trip and it caught my eye that you compared PO Riverside to a Deluxe. On our next trip I am not sure which resort will be the winner but this article has definitely helped put my feelings and ideas in a more organized perspective. Thank you

    • Tom Bricker says:

      If you’re concerned about Riverside being too subdued, consider staying there for a Christmas trip. It has more ‘pop’ then.

  21. stacy taatjes says:

    Dear Tom,

    Love your articles, blah blah blah, you’re a great writer blah blah blah.:) :)

    More importantly, WHAT TYPE OF CAMERA DO YOU USE ? You post FANTASTIC photos. The one of Caribbean beach pool actually looked 3D!!!

    PLEASE SHARE, I can’t take a good photo for the life of me!!

    Stacy (NH)

    Ps: I really enjoyed your article on the moderates. We are staying at Coronado Springs in November (with extended family). I was really nervous due to all the mixed reviews. Coronado was the only moderate that could get us all together. Your article made me feel a little better :) Thank You!!!

  22. Glenn Sullivan says:

    If your readership keep going up we will have to stop telling everyone about all the good places before they become overcrowded.

    Port Orleans Riverside is our favorite.
    Recommend staying at Port Orleans Riverside. Mid priced, great themeing. Nice quite grounds. river boats, romantic horse carriage rides, nice pools. River boats to downtown Disney.

    http://www.portorleans.org/ ( Best non Disney info for Port Orleans )

  23. Glenn says:

    One problem I have with all the moderate resorts is the bus service. Each has multiple bus stops, so if you are at the end of the route at a resort, the buses may be full and you have to wait for the next one. This is a big problem in the mornings. Also, leaving the parks to go back to your resort at night can take over an hour after you wait through long lines. We’re trying a value resort our next trip. It’s smaller than the moderates and only has one bus stop, so hopefully the bus service will be better. But, if I can afford it, a deluxe resort always has the best transportation.

  24. Alex says:

    I think this list is great. I’ve been fortunate enough to stay all over Disney in my 25 short years on Earth, having been 9 times (soon to be 10). Having stayed everywhere from the Polynesian and GF all the way down to All-Star Sports when it first came into existence I can say that the Moderate resorts are by far my favorite. My parents have sung the praises POR for their alone time visits to WDW and I think it really comes down to what you are looking for. Personally POFQ doesn’t even come up in my discussion of top moderate resorts, mainly because the whole Mardi Gras theme can be kinda creepy at times, i.e. the creepy clown heads everywhere.

    But like you said everyone needs to decide which side of the spectrum they lie on.

    Great post regardless! Your blog is one of my favorites that I have found this year. Keep up the great work!

  25. Kathryn says:

    We stayed at Coranado Springs last year and fell in love with the Spanish theme. We’re coming back March 1-5 2013, I’m torn on where to stay I found a great deal for the fort wilderness cabins but we liked being able to get a drink poolside at coranado springs. Any suggestions would help thanks!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Well…the two resorts couldn’t be more different. Trail’s End is a lot of fun at Fort Wilderness, but it’s not the same as sitting by the pool with a drink at Coronado. Not even close.

      Do you have any young boys or do you enjoy the ‘nature’ feel when on vacation? If so, maybe give Fort Wilderness a try. Otherwise, I’d probably just stick with Coronado.

  26. Patricia says:

    I stayed at the Caribbean Beach last September and my choice was due to movement of the bus inside the hotel as it has many buildings and the food court was far away. The Port Orleans Riversida also has buses circulating internally? My niece asked to stay in September of that year in the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean Beach is good?

  27. LH says:

    We absolutely loved French Quarter! The small size was one of the great things about it. It felt like home and you never had to worry about a long walk to the buses or to the dining hall. We enjoyed the boat ride to downtown disney and we found their food court to have great food (especially the beignets!).

    • Emily says:

      Thanks so much for this comment, i’m going to stay at the French Quarter for 5 days in june for my graduation, and we allready paid for the room. I felt very dicouraged about my choice before I read your comment :)

  28. Teri K says:

    Our family of 4 is planning on going in July, but we have a particular situation and maybe you can help. We have an adult child that will be accompanying us (23) and our 12 y/o, We are looking for someplace moderate so that we can make our 12 y/o’s Disney experience magical, as well as, an adult vacation for our 23 y/o, without my 23 y/o having to sleep in a room that looks like the Little Mermaid or Cars themed room or bed.

    Do you have any recommendations?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Port Orleans French Quarter may not be a bad idea in your circumstances. There are some fun gators (fake ones) around the resort that kids will enjoy, and young adults might like the Mardi Gras theming.

      Caribbean Beach would be my second choice, but the rooms are a bit “bright.” There are passing references to Nemo in them and the rooms are bright with colors. It would be perfect for a 12 year old and I think most 23 year olds would be fine with it, but I don’t know for sure. Take a look at our Caribbean Beach Resort review for photos: http://www.disneytouristblog.com/disneys-caribbean-beach-resort-review/

  29. Camille says:

    Hello, I am planning on going to disney with my fam of 4, 2 kids 13 and 17. I am debating between the dolphin , swan or pop century. After reading this site Im also considering POFQ. Any advice, I would like to stay somewhere that has good access to the parks, downtown disney and where you can enjoy a day at the resort. Not sure what ticket package we are getting this is our third trip to disney we stayed at Cor Springs before. Resort activites are improtant

  30. Alexandra says:

    My fiance and I are going to Disney World for our honeymoon in May, we usually stay at value but are doing moderate with this trip’s budget. Is Port Orleans Riverside best for honeymooners? Thanks! (great site by the way!)

  31. Kimi says:

    Great website and loved your reviews! Overall can’t go wrong with any of the resorts. We are planning our 2nd Disney trip this Fall, we stayed at POFQ last year. We loved FQ because it is so compact and we went with a “just” 4 year old, we wanted to be fairly close to transportation and food court.
    Having said that we don’t mind a little walking and really other than morning coffee we rarely needed the food court for anything. This year we would like to stay at another Moderate or MAYBE AoA which would be fun for my CARS fan. Leaning toward Riverside, one of the things we loved at FQ was the boat to Downtown Disney. In your opinion.. do you think the “preferred” room at Riverside is worth the extra $$? Again we don’t mind walking 5 min to our bus stop, but anything beyond that might be too much. Only because we will have a 5 year old with us.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      How far do you mind walking to the main building of Riverside? Some of the far buildings are a bit of a hike. I might go for Preferred in your circumstances.

  32. Mark says:

    Great feedback. Enlightening but also confusing. Booked a stay at the Caribbean Beach (Moderate) for this coming April (2013) late in the month. In terms of location (to minimize travel time to other parks at Disney, is this the best moderate resort? Also traveling with a 15 and 17 year old. Location is more important to us than food.


    • Tom Bricker says:

      If you want to minimize travel time, Caribbean Beach isn’t a bad option since it’s (relatively) centrally located. Port Orleans French Quarter is also a good option because it just has one bus stop.

  33. Tammi says:

    Wow! You guys are amazing with the wealth of information! With very little time to research like I’m used to doing, I am literally planning every aspect of my trip from this website. You cover it all, & fairly objectively! Thank you!
    We only decided 2 days ago that we were gonna just “do it”! …& leaving in just over 2wks! My dtr is in private school & gets out 2 weeks earlier than most so I’m hoping that’ll be to our advantage.
    After finding the link on your site, I have subscribed to TouringPlans(.)com, which is proving to be a priceless resource! I am narrowing down my hotel selection to either POR or CB (after reading most of your reader’s comments). After that I’ll focus on ticket / pass options – you have lots of info on that as well. Again, there is just so much info to sift through & trying to cover the bases in a few days seems crazy but I know we’ll have a great time either way.

    Considering the limited time I have to educate myself, are there any tips you’d recommend to maximize our 1st experience on such short notice?…any readings or specific posts, etc.
    Thanks so much for your time in putting together such a comprehensive bank of information… Tammi

  34. Lisa Peck says:

    I’ve gotta say, we stayed at Coronado Springs twice now & loved it! First time, we received a complimentary upgrade to a suite–nice! Casitas area is great, located up front. Property is just beautiful! So many animals at this place, I.e. gators, fish, ducks, even saw an armadillo! The main pool is very cool, excellent water slide, daytime fun activities at the pool, campfire s’mores at night, and a movie at the pool each evening (very fun!). Their food court just recently changed, but both times we stayed, it was a buffet breakfast & lunch too, which, on dining plan, counted as a counter service! We also thought the extra pools on Coronado property were very private & super warm. Oh, and the hot tub at the main pool is huge! Only other moderate resort we stayed at was Port Orleans, French Quarter. We loved its quaint, small feeling & loved being able to take the boat to DD.

  35. Leo Bourg says:

    Stayed at PORS for the first time May 24 – June 1. While it is a very nice resort & we enjoyed our stay, I will go back to Coronado Springs before booking PIRS again. Your info about the bedding at CSR is so true & makes for a better nights sleep. I also think that the decor & atmosphere of the resort is better at CSR. But then again, I live in Louisiana, so the theming at PORS just reminded me of being home. The food court was good but I really LOVE the Pepper Market at CSR. I also feel that CSR has better landscaping but found both resorts to be on equal ground in terms of size & amenities. Besides these two resorts, i have had many stays at the All-Stars Resorts, Pop Century & Grand Floridian. All things considered, I have stayed at CSR about 5 times & it will always be my first choice for my future trips to WDW. Great resort at a good value, very quiet & fantastic theming. And I have never found the conventioners to be a bother. They always put them in the casitas & I just request theCabanas so I am on the opposite side the lake from them & I am still relatively close to the main building.

    P.S. great job as always with your reviews.

  36. Davita says:

    Love the website! We are going to our second trip to the World June 20th-30th and staying at Riverside. We’ve heard great things and love all the pictures. We are VERY excited. We stayed at French Quarter in 2011 and loved it as well. We are also doing our first quasi bicoastal trip and going back to Disneyland for probably the 15th trip in July and staying at the awesome Disneyland Hotel. We are really gonna have a monstrous summer!!

  37. Rune says:

    Ohhh, great comments and as always, gorgeous pictures.

    Obviously there are pros and cons for every resort but my personal favourite is POFQ where myself and my daughter usually stay. It’s usually quiet, and we like the fact that there’s just the one bus stop and ‘no going round the loop’ to get home. True there are limited options for eating though.

    We’ve also tried Coronado and came away with mixed feelings, loved the references to Saludos Amigos / Three caballeros but somehow the place just felt kind of bland, possibly because the previous stay had been in Caribbean Beach in one of the pirate rooms – which are good fun. Loved the atmosphere and theming of CB, again that bus loop does get a bit thin on us after a while though.

    Never really considered the Cabins at FW but I am intrigued and Riverside always looks gorgeous when we pass through it. So many tempting options, so little in my bank account!

    Love the blog, all the best to you!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Totally get what you mean with Coronado Springs. It definitely looks a little bland in some spots. Same for CBR and its bus system.

      You’re going to run into the same issue at Fort Wilderness with the bus system, but both it and Riverside are great. Give them a try sometime!

  38. Mel says:

    As a family we’ve stayed only at PORS back in 2010 – I’m planning a trip next fall and we now have an additional family member who won’t yet be 3. So I’ve looked at the deluxe rooms and the villas and I’ve gone back and forth – we really enjoyed our time at PORS, and our kids (all 4)will still be 10 and under. I’m exhaustively looking at every option (Disney option that is) – and I just keep coming back to PORS – it’s familiar to us, the kids loved the food court, we enjoyed the boat ride to Downtown. The pool was never over-crowded (we tended to swim in the day and hit parks in evening). The newly redecorated princess rooms give us a reason to see something “new” there.
    So I guess I’m just reading everything I can to either sway me to cram all of us into one room at the Poly, OR just get connecting rooms at PORS. I think until my kids can better appreciate the table service restaurants, the PORS is the perfect place for us. We’ll save the Poly for next time….
    Thanks – loved your review!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I think that’s probably the right decision. As much as I love the Poly, I think you’ll appreciate the space at PORS.

  39. Maggie says:

    Hi,TOM,thank you for your describe about the resort in Disney. We will go there during Feb 2014 with a family. That family want to book the The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness because of their 6 people,and we want to near them but we only have 2 adults and 1 5-years-old kid. Do you know if Disney’s Fort Wilderness have a standard room for us?

  40. Brian says:

    Personally I thought Coronado was just about one of the best resorts I’ve experiences at WDW, but to each their own. Caribbean Beach was good, and we got to see Doug Flutie, so I guess that was cool. I thought the walking around Coronado was amazing. Beautiful sights, and the sunsets were gorgeous over the conference center buildings. I would stay Coronado again without a doubt!

  41. Katye says:

    We are taking our 3rd family vacation to Disney World in March 2014. We’ve stayed at Coranado we loved the bright colors and Spanish theme. We stayed at art of animation and were not pleased the food was not very good and compared to Coranado AOA wasn’t much. I’m torn on where to stay. We have 3 adults and 6 kids coming this time. We want to stay in a moderate resort I’ve considered Coranado again but I curios about Riverside especially since the rooms have undergone refurbishment. The agent I’m talking with recommends the alligator rooms. What do you think? Also when we came last year at this time it was freezing!!!! Is march usually cold in Florida?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      March can be cold. Personally, I prefer Riverside in the Mansion rooms, but we stayed in a refurbished Alligator Bayou room and it was really nice. If you know you like Coronado and are picky about your hotel, doing that again might be the safe bet, but I personally prefer Riverside.

  42. Katye says:

    Also do you know when the seven dwarfs mine train will open?

  43. Katye says:

    Thanks! Also do you have any idea when pin codes for dinning will be released for 2014?

  44. Jackie says:

    We are going next year to Disney for the first time for any of our party. We are taking my 7 year old daughter and will be traveling with another couple who has a 7 year old son. We will be spending most of our time at the parks, eating, exploring, etc. My question is, with children and not staying at the resort much, would you recommend the French quarter since there is less walking and less bus stops? From all I’ve read, some of the other resorts are so spread out that it would be a lot of walking for kids! Since I have never been, I am basing my whole trip on others recommendations!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      If you don’t want to walk a lot, French Quarter is the way to go. Based on what you said, it’s the resort I’d recommend for you.

      • Em says:

        Hi – just to second your opinion – I would recommend Mansions over alligator bayou. Our family with four girls were really freaked out by all of the alligators /artwork in alligator bayou rooms. I’m sure boys or adults wuldn’t mind, butg our girls do not want to go there again!

  45. Fred says:

    This is such a great website and resource. Thank you so much for all of your detail. I am still feeling a little overwhelmed. I am planning on going in March of 2014 with my daughter (7). It will only be us two.

    Can you tell me if I am understanding you correctly. It sounds like a moderate resort is probably best and we should consider the room only discount. Do you agree?

    Last I am concerned about getting to and from the parks. Do all of the moderate hotels have good shuttles or bus service? Is there any I should avoid?

  46. Lori says:

    I live in FL and we are only to Disney for one night. I get discounts from my work to stay at the local hotels. I get the best discount outside of value for swan and dolphin. Which one is better to stay at? We are going to Epcot for the day staying overnight and going home.

  47. Bryan says:

    Hey Tom…which moderte resort do you think would be best for my honeymoon that I will taking in May.

  48. Jessica says:

    Wow! This is the EXACT article I needed to read right now…you made my decision easy! Booking POR for our February trip without the kids (just 4 adults and we are going with first time Disney World visitors who grew up going to Disneyland, so we are so excited to show them around!) I’m eager to explore your website to plan the rest of our trip. Thanks :)

  49. Lori says:

    We stayed at Riverside last spring break and loved it. As a family of 5 it is hard to find a room that fits us at a decent price. It had a terrific theme… perfect for napping/resting in the afternoon to get a break from the parks. And my little girl absolutely loved sleeping on the murphy bed!

  50. Allison says:

    My husband and I stayed at the Wilderness Cabins for our honeymoon 18 years ago and we both still have some very fond memories of it. You did miss mentioning one very nice perk about it though. The not having to share any walls with your neighbors! There’s also something to be said about the romance of waking up out in the woods.

    As a very light sleeper, this was beyond price for me. Even with us starting to plan to go back for our 20th anniversary, we’re torn between going with deluxe accommodations or going back to the cabins. As kitchy as the cabins are, they are also very sweet and romantic in their own way.

  51. Tammy says:

    We’ve only stayed at two resorts, our first trip we stayed at CBR, second and third trip POP. We loved Pop so much more than CBR! The room size wasn’t noticeable at all….beds were the same size too. The buses at Pop were so much better than CBR and the room at CBR was run down and really seemed dirty.
    This summer we are staying at POFQ. They only have one bus stop and everything I’ve heard about the resort is high praise! Want to try POR soon and I will definetly request a room close to the pool/food court. We walk so much in the parks we want a room that we can get back to quickly for breaks and some of those bus rides at CBR were forever!!!

    • Jim says:

      Tammy, I have read all the reviews on this thread and yours is exactly correct. After walking in the parks all day/night, who wants to walk a long distance to your room or food court. Especially when you have free refillable mugs. One bus stop with rooms near the food court or bus stop is priceless.

  52. Kimberly says:

    Our absolute favorite resort is POFQ…my husband and I try to go every December. Mark the bartender at Scat Cat’s Club always remembers us. There are fewer children (not that we don’t like children, but we don’t have any ourselves, so a resort that has less children is nice for us)…we love this resort and will always make this our first choice when we are able to go…

  53. Sue says:

    We have a party of 16–two families with 3 children each …ages 1 yr.–7–8–9–12–and 16 and 3 adult couples…..most will be first time to WDW. Where would you recommend staying? Any help will be greatly appreciated!

    • Lucas says:

      Your biggest consideration will be finding rooms that suit 5 people (for the two families of 5). Most of the rooms only have space for 4. I guess once you figure that out your options might be narrowed down a little bit.

    • Lucas says:

      Actually this post from above answers that question….

      “I enthusiastically agree with your choice for Port Orleans Riverside as #1! We have a family of 5 and this is the only Moderate that we can stay at, as it is the only one that accomodates more than 4 (appropriately exempting the cabins). We love the detailed theming & lush landscaping, as you well described. The dixieland jazz music that is played throughout sets the tone beautifully. We visited at Christmas last year & loved the Christmas-themed music variation. The boatride to downtown Disney is a great bonus, very relaxing. We stayed in a room that had just been refurbished in November in the Bayou section & applaud the changes & improved theming. All in all, this is a spectacular gem for families. Great pick!”

  54. Charlie P says:

    I am surprised that more families do not take advantage of the cabins at Fort Wilderness. You actually have more room than most of the rooms at all other resorts, you can comfortably sleep more people, you have a full functioning kitchen which can save you money over a longer stay so you don’t have to pay to eat out ever single meal after meal and there are also more activities within the resort itself to do. Also, more than likely, your children will meet some other children to play with when not spending time at the parks.

  55. Betsy says:

    We are coming in May with our nine year old boy and can’t decide on the Caribbean versus Port Orleans. I was leaning towards Port Riverside but my travel agent is pushing CBR. I’m not big on the size of CBR and have seen mixed reviews on the food court. Also not big on the smaller sized beds. Agent felt pool was better at CBR and said Port is beard towards little girls? Thank you so much for your insight. This is our first family trip.

  56. Amanda Graham says:

    Planning first trip in about 20 years, to celebrate a 70th birthday and a 30th birthday. Leaning towards POR, but tempted by smaller size of POFQ. Just wondering how practical it is to get between the 2 resorts on foot? (eg. to catch POFQ bus even if staying at POR or visa versa. Thanks.

    • Cindaddy says:

      To regularly walk between the resorts, you would need to stay in Parterre or, maybe, Oak buildings. Otherwise, I would personally find the distance too much. For once or twice, it’s a pleasant walk. They do offer boat service between the two. You can view the maps at portorleans.org

  57. I have been wanting to take my daughter to Disney. Thanks for the information. Very informative.

  58. Shannon says:

    We stayed at Ft Wilderness Cabins last year and loved it so much we are returning this year. It was very nice not having close neighbors, like you would in a hotel room, and it had lots of space for the 5 of us to relax. Having the kitchen was also terrific for making breakfast in the morning. We rented a golf cart which turned out to be the best decision. After all day at the parks it was so nice to get off the bus/boat and zoom on back to the cabin. The restaraunt had great food and the pool was a blast. Storage was a big issue for us though. With my husband and I, two kids and my MIL there was THREE drawers to store clothes in. Three more tiny side-table drawers were scattered throughout the rooms. We had to stack clothing on top of the suitcases and the tv stands. It did hurt the experience some, having to make our beautiful room so “messy” due to lack of storage.

  59. Timothy Murray says:

    POFQ is absolutely our favorite! It just has this amazing vibe. It is too bad that Elliot Dyson is no longer performing there. In our opinion, he was miles more entertaining than Yeehaw Bob. We are going back July 4th! So pumped!

  60. Gail says:

    WE have just booked flights for April 2015 but as of yet have not booked our hotel. We are coming from the UK for 2 weeks with our 2 children, daughter will be age 11 and son will be age 3. I am really torn between POR, POFQ and CBR. I thought I had made up my mind with POFQ, I like the fact that it is small in size and only has 1 bus stop but POR seems to offer a little bit more on site (although to be honest I don’t know how much of our time will be spent at the resort site, on our previous 2 week visits I think we may have visited the pool maybe 3 times each time) but then there is CBR which has a lovely bright theme! We have always stayed in Pop Century and we have always found it very clean, bright and fun and the bus service was always fab (which is important as my husband has less patience than the kids) but with the fab deals that UK residents are getting from Disney it makes it cheaper for us to stay in a moderate resort. Any thoughts on what you think would suit us best. PLEASE HELP!!!

    • Jim says:

      You can always walk over to POR from POFQ if you want to enjoy some of the resort décor/food. But you are totally correct about the size and bus stop. I stayed at POFQ and was able to walk to the bus stop and food court (to fill up everyone’s free mugs) very easily. And one bus stop made being picked up and dropped off so much easier. It sounds like this is pretty important to your family as well. Good luck.

  61. Alan says:


    We just got back from our third trip to Disney World and we stayed at the French Quarter each time. Here is something for you to consider: three months prior to our last trip in June of 2014 we got an email from Disney saying that they were offering a discount if we stayed at any of the other three moderate hotels – BESIDES French Quarter. My wife called about this and the person on the phone said that we could save $330 on our 7 nights if we just moved to Riverside from French Quarter.

    Well my wife wanted to stay at French Quarter and she argued with the person on the phone because she wanted the discount at French Quarter. The person she talked to said that French Quarter has become a “preferred” moderate resort and the reason that they weren’t offering a discount on the hotel was that there was only one room left at French Quarter for that week!

    So consider this – people vote on which resort is best with the most important thing that they have – THEIR MONEY! So based on pure economics, your analysis seems to be off somewhat.

    Another point, I walked from French Quarter to Riverside myself and timed it -it’s only 7 minutes. I don’t think that’s a big deal, but I’m a country boy. It might be a big deal to someone else.

    Last point – I have heard so many complaints from folks who stayed at Riverside because there are 4 bus stops at the resort. It’s really spread out. So if you get on the first bus stop, it takes a while until you stop at the other three stops before you actually start moving towards your destination. You don’t have that problem with French Quarter. One bus stop. That is one of the biggest reasons people like that hotel – along with – the pool! If you are an 8 year old, you love that pool. Trust me. Both of my daughters loved that pool and they loved French Quarter. But you don’t have to believe me – just follow the money and the money says more people are staying at French Quarter than Riverside.

    I hope you found this useful.


  62. Kat says:

    In response to Alan’s comments regarding the selling out of POFQ, the reason rooms sell out faster there may be due to the fact that there are fewer rooms overall (approximately half the number of the other moderate resorts). For reference, POFQ has 1008 versus: PORS at 2048, CB at 2109, and CS at 1915. I am not arguing in favour of any moderate in particular, just pointing out that due to reduced capacity the “economics” argument that Alan makes may not be the case when you are comparing a hotel that required half the “votes” to be full.

  63. Allison says:


    My fiance and I are debating between Caribbean, Coronado Springs and Port Orleans for our 1 year wedding anniversary next October. We both are 26 years old (young)! We can’t seem to figure out what resort to stay at and we don’t know much about Disney! What would you suggest?


    • Elizabeth says:

      Having stayed at all 3 of these resorts with and without children I can honestly say you can’t go wrong at any of them. CS and CB are bigger resorts, more spread out, lots of walking areas. Yes, there are multiple bus stops at the resort because it is so spread out. They each have a “main” pool area where families seem to go to, but they also have several “quiet” pools where the adults usually end up with fewer kids. These areas are great to get away from the noise of excited kids on their Disney vacation. Both have very similar foods for quick breakfast meals, usually the only ones we eat at the resorts, both have great bars at the main pool area. CS has an additional tiki bar by the food area. We stayed at PO French Quarter and it is a much smaller, more compact resort. At French Quarter there was not a quiet pool (we didn’t find it) and the quiet area was the lounge area around the pool bar.
      I prefer to stay at the bigger resorts, when not travelling with my children because there are more areas to “escape” to with minimal children. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids, especially mine, but we’ve all been around that other persons child that just won’t stop screaming, you know the one. At CS and CB there was a place to go to get away from this, at POFQ there was not.

      My suggestion is to go to Coronado Springs and request building 8a or 8b. You will have to walk a distance to the food court but you have a bus stop really close, quiet pool really close and only a brief walk to the main pool. That’s what I always request with or without kids.

  64. son fishing says:

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Very well written!

  65. CoreneD says:

    Firstly Tom, thanks for all this great content on your site. It’s been really helpful in planning our upcoming trip to DL Paris. (booked the Sequoia Lodge as per your advice). I am also planning well ahead (for an April/May 2016 trip!) and am deciding between The Swan (using hotel points) for a full 10 night stay or splitting it 5 nights each at The Swan & POFQ or POR. I am also wondering if I do split my stay if I should have a car during the PO nights, as parking is free & makes it much easier to get to other resorts for meals, etc… Or should I just stick with the great location & pool at the Swan & be done with it? (But will have to pay a resort fee of $25/night there).

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