Wondering what the difference between Value, Moderate and Deluxe Disney Resorts are? The biggest factor in deciding where you want to stay is how much you are willing to spend. Disney breaks their resorts into 3 categories: Value, Moderate and Deluxe.
The Value Resorts are the 5 cheapest hotels at Disney. You have All Star Movies, All Star Sports, All Star Music, Art of Animation and Pop Century (where I’ve stayed).
$96 to $191 a night depending on travel dates. Suites are more expensive.
The moderate resorts are Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside, Fort Wilderness Campground and Fort Wilderness Cabins.
$182 to $315 depending on travel dates.
The deluxe resorts are Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club Resort, Boardwalk Inn, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge and Yacht Club Resort.
$325 to $3k+ depending on travel dates.
More facts to consider
The rooms at a Value Resorts are going to be smaller. A room at Pop is just 260 square feet, where a room at the Grand Floridian is 403 square feet. How important is elbow room to you?
The more rooms a resort has the more people it has, the longer you might have to wait for Disney transportation, their food court, etc etc. Keep in mind that Disney does have more buses for the larger resort. Pop has 2,880 rooms but they are constantly running busses. The longest I waited on a bus was 10 minutes and often we would pass a bus going to Pop on the way to our destination. So it isn’t like they only have one Magic Kingdom bus.
Do you plan to use Disney transportation? A lot of resorts have other transportation options than just a bus. The Grand Floridian, The Contemporary and The Polynesian are all on the Monorail Loop. This means that you can directly board the Monorail train from your resort. You can then take the monorail directly to the Magic Kingdom or to Epcot (you will have to change monorail trains to do this).
Wilderness Lodge and the Wilderness campgrounds both have boats that take you to the Magic Kingdom.
Disney’s Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn and Disney’s Swan and Dolphin are all within walking distance of Epcot (or by short boat ride) and actually have their own entrance to Epcot called The International Gateway. They also have boat rides to Hollywood studios.
Pop Century is the only resort that never shares a bus. All other resorts either share a bus with other resorts or have multiple internal stops within the resort. Now that doesn’t mean that every single bus is shared, it is just known to happen.
Are you looking to stay at a resort that has it’s own sit down restaurant? The values only have food courts (which I enjoy) but do not offer any sit down restaurants (such as ‘Ohanas at The Polynesian). If that is important to you, then that is something to consider when choosing your resort. Values also do not have room service (but do have pizza delivery).
All resorts have pools, but they do vary considerably. Value resorts pools are nice, but they do not have water slides like the moderate and deluxe resorts. Most resorts do offer multiple pools with different features. You must be staying at that resort to use their pools.
The beds at the moderate and deluxe resorts are larger and more comfortable than the beds at the values.
Don’t forget to browse Disney timeshares for sale by owner on the secondary resale market for some great deals. You may be able to afford a Deluxe or Moderate resort on a Value budget. Timeshare units typically come equipped with a kitchen and private bedrooms as well.
See this list of the top 5 Walt Disney World Resort pools.