If your vacation planning has led you to the decision that it is best for your family to stay in an on-property resort the next choice you must make is what level of Disney resort do you want to stay in? Disney has three different resort categories and each of the three have some very distinctive features that make selecting them important. Below we will look at each of the three categories so that you know what you are getting with Disney’s tiered resort system.
The Disney value resorts are a very popular choice by many vacationing families due to their low price point and the theming that is loved by younger children. There are large icons around the resort from sporting icons to icons of pop culture and children seem to love these large figures. There are five value resorts on Disney property and they are going to offer the lowest cost hotel rooms on property. For this value price you can expect to also get the smallest rooms on property as well as double beds instead of queens. So, if you have a family with older children who have trouble sleeping in a small bed with others you may want to consider an upgrade, but if you have younger children these rooms can be a perfect fit. There are generally two room types at the value resorts, a standard room, and a preferred room. The preferred rooms are the same room, but with a upgraded location that is close to the pool, the main building, or transportation. Some value resorts do take this a step further and offer pool view rooms in addition to preferred rooms.
The resorts themselves will all feature a food court that will have a variety of good meal options, but none of the value resorts will feature a table service dining restaurant. Also, all of these resorts will have multiple pools for families to enjoy, but there are not going to be any extras such as pool slides or splash pads. Finally, the value resorts will feature exclusively bus transportation from the resort to the parks, despite this the transportation is usually fairly efficient because of the large number of people at value resorts.
One other feature to mention in the value category is that the Art of Animation Resort and the All Star Music resort both feature family suites. These suites sleep up to 6 people, but the prices are more than twice the cost of regular rooms, so they are a nice convenience, but are well above the base value price point.
The moderate resorts at Disney World are a great upgrade opportunity from the value resorts. The price differential is often not huge, so many people see the extra amenities you get to be well worth the extra cost. As far as the rooms the moderate resorts are not only going to have slightly larger rooms, they will have queen beds which can be a big factor the older your children get. The decor in the rooms is also upgraded from what you find in value resorts.
When looking at the resorts themselves the moderate resorts are generally about the same size as a value resort, but can be more spread out as rooms are designed in smaller pods instead of big hotel buildings. This can lead to a lot of walking if your room is far away from transportation, the pool, or the food court. This may also justify the cost to upgrade to a preferred room location that is closer to these areas. The moderate resorts, like value resorts, will feature a food court, but they will also have a table service restaurant for you to enjoy. When looking at the pools the moderate resorts will be a definite upgrade from the value resorts as they will have a themed feature pool complete with water slides and usually a pool bar. Another feature of the moderate resorts is that they often will have some themed rooms such as the Royal Princess rooms at the Port Orleans-Riverside Resort or the pirate themed rooms at the Caribbean Beach Resort. These rooms do have a slightly higher cost though. Finally, most of the transportation options from these resorts are simply busses to the theme parks. The only difference is that you can take a boat to Downtown Disney from the Port Orleans resorts.
Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villas Resorts
The final step up in Disney resort choices is to the Deluxe resorts. We are also grouping the Deluxe Villas into this category although Disney keeps them separate since they are mostly open to Disney Vacation Club owners, but they can also be booked on a cash basis. The Deluxe resorts are going to be a significant price increase over the moderate resorts. The rooms at deluxe resorts will be the biggest on property and will all feature queen beds. These resorts also feature many different room types from suites to king beds and many different types of views. In addition, the villa resorts offer one and two bedroom villas as well as a three bedroom grand villa at most resorts. Bottom line, these resorts offer many different options for room types, but the upgraded room types will come with a much higher price tag. A final add-on available at deluxe resorts is that club level rooms can be booked that include access to club level amenities including a lounge and planning/reservation services.
The deluxe resorts are often a smaller resort than the values and moderates and most are contained within one main resort building with interior hallways. This makes getting around much easier than the less expensive resorts. Also, the location of these resorts is always a positive as most are located close to theme parks. For instance the Beach Club, Yacht Club, and Boardwalk are located on Crescent Lake which runs between Epcot and Hollywood Studios making your transportation to those parks a boat ride or short walk. The monorail resorts, the Grand Floridian, the Contemporary, and the Polynesian, are located just a short ride away from the Magic Kingdom and Epcot making them much sought after. Almost all of the deluxe resorts feature some form of upgraded transportation like boats or the monorail. With that said the deluxe resorts also offer bus service to parks that are further away and this bus service is often not quite as quick or efficient as value or moderate resorts due to the fact that the bus routes for deluxe resorts are usually shared between two or three different resorts making for multiple stops and longer rides.
When it comes to the dining options at deluxe resorts they all feature multiple table service restaurants and many feature signature dining locations. With that said the quick service options at these resorts are often smaller and more limited than the food courts at value and moderate resorts. Deluxe resorts do offer nicer pool complexes with several slides, daily activities, and other nice thematic features. In addition several deluxe resorts offer a marina where guests can rent watercraft and do other fun stuff such as bass fishing excursions. Overall the level of the resort is much higher in terms of the services and the amenities, but along with this the price tag will be much higher as well.
If you have any questions on Disney resort categories please leave a comment below and we will by to help you.