Comparing Walt Disney World Resort Categories

With more than 25 different resorts to choose from, deciding where to stay can often be the most difficult part of planning a Walt Disney World vacation.  They all have stunning & bright design & top notch Disney service.  It really all boils down to personal preference and taste and maybe even your budget might play a part.

Walt Disney World Resort categories compared.  Value, Moderate & Deluxe Resorts compared. -

When you book a package, at any Walt Disney World Resort, you will get:

  • Free transportation from & to the Orlando airport via Disney’s Magic Express
  • Free MagicBands (one per person)
  • Exclusive Extra Magic Hours in the parks, for Disney resort guests only
  • Complementary parking & transportation to all the Disney Parks and Disney Springs
  • Early access to Fastpass+ planning
  • Early access to dining reservations
  • Complimentary entertainment and recreation at your resort
  • Access to refreshing pools at your resort
  • Select ‘Magical Extras’ like one free round of mini-golf & shopping discounts

Value Resorts

All value resorts offer:

  • Several themed pools but no water slides
  • Bus transportation to all the parks and Disney Springs (only 1 internal bus stop)
  • Rooms that open to outside hallways
  • 260 – 277 square foot standard rooms, with 2 double beds or 1 king bed, that sleep 4 guests.
  • Mini refrigerators are usually standard in every room
  • Coffee makers and coffee included in only the family suites
  • Art of Animation & All-Star Music Resorts offer family suites that sleep up to 6 guests.
  • Food courts and pizza delivery, but no table service restaurants
  • Family friendly theming that is bright & fun with larger than life icons around the resort
  • Price Range: $96 – $214 for the standard rooms

Value resorts are Disney’s most economical choice for your vacation.  They offer the best ‘value’ for your dollar and are perfect for people that plan to spend most of their time in the parks and less time relaxing at the resort.

My favorite value resort has to be a tie between Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Art of Animation.  Art of Animation has amazing themeing around the resort, lobby & pools with a more upscale feel to the food court, but is at the upper end of the value resorts.  I also like Pop Century resort, while still well priced, it has it’s own bus service that it does not share with other resorts, an satisfying food court and great pools.

• Parking fees for overnight guests – $13 per night

Moderate Resorts

All moderate resorts offer:

  • A ‘feature pool’ with a water slide and other quiet pools throughout the resort
  • A calm and romantic atmosphere with beautiful landscaping and walking paths
  • A table service restaurant (except for French Quarter), food courts & pizza delivery available
  • Recreation options on-site for an additional fee as well as free recreation & entertainment
  • Large resorts with spread out layout
  • Bus transportation with multiple stops throughout the resort, to all the parks & Disney Springs.  The Port Orleans Resorts have boat transportation to Disney Springs.  Port Orleans French Quarter is smaller and only has 1 bus stop.
  • Rooms that open to outside hallways
  • 314 – 340 sq ft rooms with 2 queen beds or 1 king bed.  Most standard rooms sleep up to 4 guests.
  • Mini refrigerators are usually standard in every room
  • Coffee makers and coffee
  • Riverside and Caribbean Beach Resort have some rooms that sleep up to 5 guests
  • Coronado Springs Resort has Jr Suites that sleep up to 6 guests
  • Riverside and Caribbean Beach Resort have special themed rooms
  • Price Range: $182 – $285 a night for standard rooms

Moderate resorts have a more upscale feel, but also less bright and ‘Disney’ themed areas.  The resorts all have wonderful landscaping with nice walking pathways around the resorts.  The quick service food options are a little more upscale and most of the moderate resorts offer a table service restaurant.

It’s so difficult for me to choose a favorite resort out of these four fabulous choices.  I LOVE the pools at the Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs resorts, but the quaint size of the French Quarter Resort is also nice.  My kiddos have really enjoyed staying in the themed rooms.  Choosing your resort is really unique to your family and to what kind of experience you are looking for.

• Parking fees for overnight guests – $19 per night

Deluxe Resorts

All deluxe resorts offer:

  • A ‘feature pool’ with a water slide and other quiet pools throughout the resort. Many have hot tubs to relax in.
  • Amazing, unmatched theming with luxurious lobbies and gift shops
  • Table service restaurants (with 1 upscale option) and quick service food, but no food courts.
  • Bus transportation to all of the Disney Parks and Disney Springs
  • Non-bus access to at least 1 park (except Animal Kingdom Lodge)
  • Walking paths from some of the resorts to the one of the theme parks
  • On-site gyms, salons and valet parking available
  • Recreational options for an added fee
  • Free fun and recreation scheduled daily around the pools and movies at night
  • Rooms that open to inside hallways
  • Standard room sizes that start at 316 sq ft and sleep up to 5 guests
  • Mini refrigerators are usually standard in every room
  • Coffee makers and coffee
  • Some deluxe resorts offer villa rooms that have multiple bedrooms, bathrooms and full sized kitchens and sleep up to 12 guests
  • Price Range: $320 and up, per night.  Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge are the least expensive

If you want your vacation to be unforgettable in upscale style, than you should consider a deluxe Disney resort.  At the deluxe Disney resorts I could easily spend a  relaxing day sitting around the pool and enjoying the food & free recreation.

It would be difficult for me to choose a favorite resort in the deluxe category.  I like the Beach Club Resort for it’s easy access to Epcot Park, but I also like the Polynesian resort for it’s rich theming and monorail access to the Magic Kingdom.  The Contemporary is such a Disney icon and Animal Kingdom Lodge has a special place in  my heart because I love Animal Kingdom and watching the animals from my savanna view room.  Each deluxe resort offers impeccable amenities and service.

• Parking fees for overnight guests – $24 per night

Perhaps the best advice that I can offer when choosing the right Disney Resort for you family is to enlist the services of an experienced Travel Professional.  (((Maybe even yours truly)))

If you want to see more resort photos, visit my website and check out the Photos tab. or watch video tours on our YouTube channel 

Let me help plan the details of your Walt Disney World Vacation!

Which hotel is the right fit for your family? Where to dine, attractions, crowds and all that goes along with planning a vacation is a lot to think about.  With a Disney-focused travel agent by your side, you can plan as much or as little as you desire.  My planning assistance all comes at NO additional cost to you and is based on countless hours of personal experience.

3 Reasons to book through Pixie Dust Adventures

  • Complimentary planning with no extra fees
  • Concierge service offers you a dedicated travel advisor from start to finish who knows you
  • Customized vacations that are all about you and what is best for you & not anyone else


  • We watch for discounts that can be applied to your Disney vacation and automatically apply them.
  • We sit on hold so you don’t have to.
  • We assist you in making sure you are in the know about your vacation, so you don’t miss any dining, Fastpass or other reservations to make your trip run smoothly when you arrive.

You get all of this and more when you book your Disney vacation through Melissa of Pixie Dust Adventures (me).  Click here to visit my website & get started with a no obligation quote.

Thank you for reading.  My name is Melissa and I am a princess living among three princes and a pooch, I’m also a theme park fanatic and the owner of Pixie Dust Adventures.  You will find me almost every weekend, in one of the Orlando theme parks with my family, lying on a beach or planning our next cruise.  I am insatiably curious about the world around me and I love being entertained; that is what sparks my desire to travel.

To contact me directly, send an email to

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