A Comprehensive Guide to Disney Resort Categories- Which One is Right for You

One of the first decisions that you have to make when planning a Walt Disney World vacation is where you want to stay. Determining which of the amazing Disney Resorts you want to stay at can be a hard decision to make.

To help make this decision slightly easier, we are going to break down the three main Disney Resort categories to give you a nice comparison and guide. You can then use this to help you find the right Walt Disney World Resort for your magical vacation.

Walt Disney World offers Guests three main Resort categories on property.  These categories are value, moderate, and deluxe.  Each category offers different amenities and magic for Guests that are choosing to stay there. We are going to break down the differences between each of these three Disney Resort categories so you can better determine where you want to stay while visiting Walt Disney World.

Grand Flo
Grand Flo

Deluxe Resorts

We are going to start with the best that Disney has to offer. Disney Deluxe Resorts are designed to be a home away from home for Guests. These amazing Resorts offer the best amenities, location, dining, and pools that Disney offers.

The Deluxe Resorts at Disney include Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Yacht, and Beach Club Resorts, Disney’s Boardwalk, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.


Starting with what all the kids want to know, the deluxe resorts offer both outstanding themed pools with fantastic slides as well as quiet pools for Guests.  Hot tubs can be found near the main pool areas as can a water play area.  Guests at the deluxe resorts will find health clubs, water recreations, and even spas available at many of them.

pork two ways Disney World California Grill

For dining options, some of the best table service meals can be found at a Deluxe Resort. Fun and entertaining character meals such as Chef Mickey’s or Topolino’s Terrace are available at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Riviera Resort. 

High-end signature meals are also available throughout the Deluxe Resorts. Top dining experiences such as California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort or Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge are excellent for those special celebrations.

Ranging from family-style to characters and signature, the deluxe resorts offer a variety of dining choices for Guests.

credit: Disney Tips

Deluxe Resorts are also typically close to at least one if not more of the Disney Parks. Quick access via walking paths, monorails, skyliners, or boats get Guests to and from most Disney Deluxe Resorts. This ease of transportation is one of the big perks of staying at a Deluxe Resort.

The Deluxe Resorts also provide the biggest accommodation at Walt Disney World. From standard rooms to large three bedroom villas, these rooms provide enough space for everyone. 

If you are looking for the best accommodations at Walt Disney World, then a Deluxe Resort is going to be your best option.

Caribbean Beach Resort
Credit: Disney

Moderate Resorts

If the Deluxe price range is out of your budget, then look at the moderate Resorts. The Walt Disney World moderate Resorts includes Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, and the Fort Wilderness Cabins.

Caribbean Beach Resort Pool
Credit: Disney

Like the pools at the deluxe resorts, the moderate Resorts also offer well themed pools with slides along with quiet pools throughout the Resort as well. 

Guests are able to enjoy poolside games, movies under the stars, and playgrounds.  Also offered at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort are two fitness centers and there are water recreation and bike rentals at some of the moderate resorts as well.

Moderate Resorts offer a nice combination of both quick service food courts, pool bars, and table service options. Guests can find a variety of food choices at moderate Resorts making these Resorts a great option for families or large groups.

Buses are offered at the moderate resorts; however, Guests at Caribbean Beach Resort have easy and quick access to the Skyliner.  Over at Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter, Guests can take a relaxing boat road down the Sassagoula River to Disney Springs.

Moderate rooms will be a smaller layout compared to the deluxe Resorts, but there are some options for larger families with 5th sleeper rooms and a few suites.

Moderate Resorts offer great theming as well as fun recreational activities and dining.

Disney's Pop Century Pool Area
Credit: V Mills

Value Resorts

The last Resort category is Disney Value Resorts. These include Disney’s Pop Century, Disney’s Art of Animation as well as the All-Star Resorts (Music, Movie, and Sport).  These Disney Resorts are considered valued because of the price and accommodations they offer.

When looking at the pool area, all the value resorts offer large, themed pools; however, they do not have slides but might have interactive water areas for little ones.  Guests will be able to enjoy pool slide games daily, movie under the stars on select days as well as explore the playground equipment on the property.

Pop Century Dining
Photo Credit: Disney

For dining, value resorts offer a food court for Guests with a variety of options to choose from.  The Landscape of Flavors at Art of Animation and Everything Pop over at Pop Century are two of the most popular quick-service locations at a Disney Resort.  Although the food courts are fancy, they are fun, bright areas with a lot of variety when it comes to food choices.

When it comes to transportation, buses are the only option at the All-Star Resorts; however, Pop Century and Art of Animation have the Disney Skyliner.  Guests staying at these two value Resorts are able to use the Skyliner to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT.

Rooms at the value level are basic and small. They are perfect for those wanting to save some money but still enjoy the Disney Resorts.

There are some big differences between the three Walt Disney World Resort categories; however, it really depends on your priorities for your stay as to what will be important to you in your Resort.  We hope this will help you find a good fit for your vacation.


Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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