To help you decide your MOST IMPORTANT THING (where you’re staying), I wanted to explain about the different level resorts on Walt Disney World property. The resort classes are: Value, Moderate and Deluxe.
Ok, first, price.
I’m tempted to make this paragraph last instead of first because people grab on to the prices and think that it’s all that sets them apart. I don’t think it’s the most important division. But nonetheless, it’s interesting so we’ll start there.
Values can be had for as low as $79 per night, and I’ve seen that same room go for $194 in busier times. Some of the Values have suits and those would be more, maybe in the $300 range.
Moderate Resort standard rooms are between $185-$285.
Deluxes are about $300- infinity. Not really infinity, but sort of infinity. I have seen rooms book for literally thousands per night for some of the specialty rooms. Deluxe Resort standard rooms are usually less than $800 per night.
Values are geared toward young families. They are larger than life, colorful, in your face. Very large and very populated. Lots of noise. Big food courts (which means lots of selection). The theming is very evident. My kids always love the theming. The buildings are set up motel style where your door is directly to the outside. The Disney spirit is obvious.
Moderates are much quieter and much less Disney. The themes are more generic: typical travel destinations- beach, New Orleans, Mexico etc. Most of them are still on the large side. But the resort food courts are smaller, with less selection and shorter hours. You will see fewer kids, but it’s still Disney and you’ll still see a lot of kids. Most of them are still motel style. All moderates have a sit down restaurant in the resort and a slide at the pool too!
Deluxe Resorts are quieter still and while the theming isn’t characters and movies, it always feels more “Disney” than the Moderates to me. You’ll still see a lot of kids, but I tend to see families that are a bit older and a bit more mature. Maybe this has to do with the cost since young families are less likely to be able to afford a Deluxe Resort. Or it might be that if you have older kids, you’re less likely to want to be in a smaller room like at the Values. Quick service food is less readily available. There is at least one sit down restaurant, maybe more and of course, a slide at the pool. Most of the Deluxes also have a Splash Pad for the littler kids (under 48″.)
Some of the Moderates have these splash pads as well.
Because I’m having trouble describing how great the Deluxes are I asked my husband to describe it. He said, “You just feel more important. You’re living in the lap of luxury for a week.” Yes.
Most of the Value Resorts are located in the Animal Kingdom area. The Animal Kingdom area is somewhat far from Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. It’s about a 15 minutes ride and the only transportation they offer is busing. I find the busing to be better with the values than the Moderates and Deluxes though. Disney knows they have a lot of people to move and there are always buses. The three All Star Values (All Star Movies, All Star Sports, and All Star Music) are right next to each so they sometimes share buses which is a tiny bit inconvenient, but not common.
The Moderates are peppered throughout Disney World property, but in general they are near Epcot. Some of them have boat transportation to Hollywood Studios or Disney Springs, but mostly you’ll still be dependent on busing. Some of these resorts are massive, with several internal bus stops. You will have to wait for a bus at one of the many bus stops. Then the bus might already be crowded upon arrival. And you might have two or three (or six!) stops before you head off to the park. Personally, I find the Value busing much preferable!
Location, location, location! The Deluxes have it! Most are very near a park. Walking distance, anyone? Yacht Club, Beach Club, Boardwalk and Contemporary are all within walking distance to at least one park. Contemporary, Polynesian and The Grand Floridian are all just a hop on the monorail away from Magic Kingdom and Epcot. This is far preferable to busing as it’s faster AND you don’t have to fold your stroller up (SUCH a BONUS!) Boats are also available to some of the Deluxes (and sometimes you don’t need to fold up your stroller on the boats as well.)
So there you have it! While I love the luxury, I’m not a Deluxe only girl (someday maybe!) I actually love the Values, especially for trips with my kids. Trips can be surprisingly affordable.
Free Cheat Sheet!
Get our free planning cheat sheet!