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The Beginner’s Guide to Disney Deluxe and Moderate Resorts

Trying to figure out where you want to stay at Walt Disney World during your vacation can be overwhelming. Disney offers so many outstanding Resorts at three different price points (value, moderate, and deluxe) that it can take a lot of work to narrow down your options.

If you are looking at either a Disney Moderate Resort or a Disney Deluxe Resort, you might be trying to determine what the differences are between these Disney Resorts. We are going to help break it down for you here. You can better decide what Disney Resort will work best for your family.

Walt Disney World Monorail


Disney’s Deluxe Resorts are typically located close to one of the four Disney Parks. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort all have quick monorail access and walking paths to Magic Kingdom.

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Disney’s Beach, and Yacht Club Resorts offer walking paths and boats to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This quick access to the Disney Parks sets these Disney Deluxe Resorts apart from the moderate Resorts.

Most moderate Resorts are centrally located within the Walt Disney World Resort Property, making it a 10-20 minute process to get to the Disney Parks of choice. The few expectations are Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort which has quick Skyliner access to both EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter, which have boat transportation to Disney Springs.

If you plan to spend a lot of time at one specific Disney Park throughout your trip, it can be a huge benefit to stay at one of the deluxe Resorts that offer such proximity.

Credit: Disney


A significant difference between the deluxe and moderate Resorts at Walt Disney World is transportation. Most deluxe Resorts have multiple transportation options for getting to the Disney Parks. Disney’s moderate Resorts typically provide one mode of transportation: the Disney buses.

Deluxe Resorts such as Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa offer a walking path, boat transportation, and the monorail to Magic Kingdom. Guests can take the monorail to EPCOT and buses to the other Parks.

Guests only have bus transportation when staying at Disney’s Coronado Springs, one of the top moderate Resorts at Disney. Although Disney does a great job of providing buses, this can be a major downfall for some Guests.

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is a moderate Resort that doesn’t fit this mold. As the central hub for the Disney Skyliner, it provides Guests with both Skyliner access and bus access to the Disney Parks.

Polynesian Room
Credit: Disney

Hotel Room Access

A significant and essential difference between deluxe and moderate Resorts at Walt Disney World is how Guests access their Resort rooms. At Disney Deluxe Resorts, many of the rooms open to indoor hallways. At moderate Resorts, most rooms are open to the outside.

Although it might not seem like a big deal, having those indoor corridors can make a massive difference if you are looking for a quieter experience or want to escape the rain or heat quickly.

The exception to this is at Grand Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Resort. The rooms that are located in the tower have indoor hallways.

Credit: Disney

 Room Accommodations

Deluxe Resorts provide more options for larger families and groups. Many deluxe Resorts have options for one, two, and even three-bedroom suites that accommodate up to nine people. These are great ways to have the family all together.

The moderate Resort typically can accommodate five people per room. Guests can choose to fifth sleeper option at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. These sleepers are suitable for younger kids, but if you have older teens, you will need to look at other options.


Dining Options 

When staying at a deluxe or moderate Resort, you will have at least one table service option nearby. Both can provide this option if you want a nice sit-down meal at your Resort.

The significant difference is that Disney deluxe Resorts have one signature or upscale dining option and other table service options. Disney’s California Grill offers the signature meal at California Grill and has Chef Mickey’s and Steakhouse 71.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa has a great variety of dining options for Guests. From the top-end experience at Victoria and Alberts to two signature dining locations of Citricos and Narcoossee’s and 1900 Park Fare (when open) and Grand Floridan Cafe (a favorite). All of these table services are fantastic dining options.

When staying at a moderate Resort, Guests typically only have one sit-down restaurant to choose from, such as Sebastian’s at Disney’s Carribbean Beach Resort or Boatwright’s Dining Hall at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside.

The deluxe Resort will be better if fine dining is important to you. If you prefer more low-key dining, moderates will have what you need.

Walt Disney World offers so many excellent Resorts to choose from throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. There is a lot that the deluxe and moderate have in common. From pools with fun slides to activities for Guests to enjoy, these two categories of Resorts can provide a lot of magic for Guests during their vacation.

If you are having difficulty choosing between these two categories of Disney Resorts, we hope our breakdown will help you determine what will work best for your family. Know that no matter what you decide on, your Walt Disney World Resort will be full of magic and fun for the whole family to enjoy together.

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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