Disney On-Property Resorts

So, you’re planning a vacation to the Most Magical Place on Earth, and you’ve decided to stay on property.

Now you’ve got to choose among 29 resorts!

Aside from the the Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, Disney’s resorts fall into three categories: Value, Moderate, and Deluxe.

This Goldilocks approach means travelers of virtually all budgets can visit Disney World and still stay on property. I’ve written more detailed posts for each category, but this post is meant to serve as a launching point if you don’t already know the key benefits (and drawbacks) to each tier.

Disney Value Resorts

‘Value’ is Disney-speak for budget motel-style resorts. There are five resorts in this category, some of which offer family suites featuring kitchenettes. Nightly rack rates start at $93 for weeknight stays, which makes these resorts quite affordable by Disney standards.

Staying at a Disney Value Resort will get you all the perks of staying on property, including Extra Magic Hours and Disney’s Magical Express Shuttle. Features you can expect at every Value Resort include the following:

  • Bus transportation to the theme parks, water parks, ESPN, and Disney Springs
  • Quick Service food court
  • Arcade ($)
  • Playground
  • Multiple pools (two each at the All-Stars, three each at Pop Century and Art of Animation)
  • Movies Under the Stars
  • New Balance jogging trail
  • Outdoor poolside bar
  • Gift shop

In addition to the above amenities, Pop Century and Art of Animation also offer bicycle and surrey bike rentals for a fee.

Disney Moderate Resorts

Where the Value Resorts are relatively spartan in their amenities and the Deluxe Resorts are lavish (and pricey!), Disney’s Moderate Resorts offer that Goldilocks “just right” level of comfort and budget. There are five resorts in this category, and nightly rack rates start at $166 for weeknight stays.

Staying at a Disney Moderate Resort will get you all the perks of staying on property, including Extra Magic Hours and Disney’s Magical Express Shuttle. Features you can expect at every Moderate Resort include the following:

  • Bus transportation to the theme parks, water parks, ESPN, and Disney Springs
  • Boat transportation to Disney Springs (only Port Orleans Riverse and French Quarter)
  • Boat transportation to Magic Kingdom (only Fort Wilderness)
  • Quick Service food court
  • Sit-down casual restaurant (except Port Orleans French Quarter)
  • Arcade ($)
  • Surrey bike rental ($) (except Fort Wilderness)
  • Multiple pools
  • Movies Under the Stars
  • New Balance jogging trail
  • Outdoor poolside bar
  • Indoor lounge
  • Playground
  • Gift shop

In addition to the above amenities that are found at all the Moderates, Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter also offer horse drawn carriage rides and pirate adventure cruises for a fee. Similarly, Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, and Fort Wilderness all offer volleyball courts (renting a ball costs a fee). Finally, Fort Filderness offers numerous outdoor activities unique to its resort, including archery, pony rides, and wagon rides.

Disney Deluxe Resorts

Disney’s Deluxe Resort tier is where you will truly find the most lavish Disney on-property experiences — with prices to match, of course! There are eight resorts in this category, and nightly rack rates start at $307 for weeknight stays.

Staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort will get you all the perks of staying on property, including Extra Magic Hours and Disney’s Magical Express Shuttle. Features you can expect at every Deluxe Resort include the following:

  • Bus transportation to the theme parks, water parks, ESPN, and Disney Springs
  • Boat service to Magic Kingdom (only from Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, the Contemporary, and the Polynesian)
  • Boat service to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios (only from BoardWalk Inn, Beach Club Resort, and Yacht Club Resort)
  • Boat service to Disney Springs (only from Old Key West and Saratoga Springs)
  • Monorail transportation to Magic Kingdom and EPCOT (only from Grand Floridian, the Contemporary, and the Polynesian)
  • Quick Service food court
  • Sit-down casual restaurant
  • Fine dining restaurant
  • Room service
  • Poolside bars and indoor lounges
  • Arcade ($)
  • Surrey bike rental ($) (available only at certain resorts)
  • Multiple pools
  • Movies Under the Stars
  • New Balance jogging trail
  • Indoor gym
  • Spa
  • Gift shop
  • Club level service ($)

While it is undeniable that staying at a Deluxe resort will likely set you back over $500 per night (if not much more), Disney truly does pull out all the stops at these luxurious resorts.

In my opinion, depending of course on your budget, Value Resorts are great for families on a tight budget who want to still be immersed in the magical Disney bubble, while Deluxe Resorts are perfect for honeymooners who want to splurge. I’ve yet to stay at a Moderate resort, though I have visited some for the purposes of blog research.

What are your thoughts on the three Disney resort tiers? Do you have a favorite tier or favorite resort?

Leave  your vacation planning questions in the comments below!

3 thoughts on “Disney On-Property Resorts

  1. I’ve stayed in quite a few Disney resorts over the years. I’m also an ex-cast member. I think my favourites are Port Orleans French Quarter and the Contemporary. Two different tiers, two totally different resorts. I love the convenience and style of the Contemporary. Yet I love the quiet of Port Orleans and the ambiance. Either way, staying on property is definitely something to do! It just completes the whole Disney experience!

    1. POFQ seems to be very popular among many guests! We had considered staying at POR during our last stay, but ended up choosing Pop at the last minute. As you say, the ambiance at POFQ is supposed to be amazing. Staying in the main building of the Contemporary is definitely on my Disney bucket list!

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