So you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and plan that Disney trip you’ve always wanted to take. You have budgeted and have come to terms with the cost, so now you want to start booking stuff (which is a good thing because reservations go quick at Disney!). You think, well this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, I’ll go ahead and splurge on that moderate hotel. To that I say- WAIT! It might be better to save that money for some extra Mickey Ice Cream Bars! Take a look at Bruce and I’s experience to see why we would (mostly) choose the value resorts over moderate at Walt Disney World.
What exactly is a “value” resort?
Walt Disney World has 3 categories of resorts on property; Value, Moderate and Deluxe. They categorize these based on their *typical* price range. Value typically ranges from $100-$200/night, Moderates go for $200-$400/night and Deluxe is a whopping $400-$1500. These are just ranges though and depending on the season, you may see prices much higher, or somewhat lower than those listed. Because Deluxe resorts are so expensive, they are typically booked through DVC by members or those renting points- more on that in another article! So most people are choosing between Value and Moderate. Typically the Deluxe and Moderate have better amenities (the better restaurants, pools, etc.). Here is our experience at both:
Moderate: Caribbean Beach Resort
Now, before I begin, I’ll admit that this is not a favorite Disney World resort of many people. We stayed here because we got a crazy deal on a room ($150/night!), so we thought we would see how the other half live (hah!). Caribbean Beach Resort was clean, it had many pools and a bus ran the entire resort to pick you up from your “section” to take you to the parks.
It is good to note here that Caribbean Beach is broken into sections named after Caribbean Islands. Before you book, make sure you look at a map of the resort to see where you want to request- though, they are not guaranteed.
The real winner here was the food. We absolutely LOVED the Banana Cabana Bar and the food (which was from Sebastians). It was such a relief to head to the hotel mid-day (at the hottest part) to swim in the pool and get a drink at the pool bar, especially in the July heat.
Pros: Food and Drinks were excellent in the Banana Cabana; Bus service from each “section” of the hotel; Nice facilities including a pool area with a slide for the kids; The Skyliner goes right to the hotel- easy access to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios
Cons: More expensive than a Value resort, some rooms are very far from the central area so it takes you a while to get to the main pool/eating areas; busses take a while because they stop at each section of the resort.
Value: All Star Resorts (Sports)
While Bruce and I have stayed at both Pop Century and All Star Resorts, I’m going to focus this section on the All Star Resorts. The reason being, that since Pop Century’s remodel, the prices for this resort have been much closer to a moderate range than a value. I don’t see personally see the hype- it feels like a regular hotel for 3x the cost! So back to the All Stars!
In our experience, the All Stars had much more of a whimsical feel. The entire resort was themed to the hilt. We stayed at the All Star Sports and there were sections for each sport that included oversized football goals, helmets and baseball stands. It gave it a very “fun” feel throughout the resort, you couldn’t turn a corner without feeling like you were in the “Disney Bubble”. We were also able to get a pretty sizable breakfast (held us over for a snack at the parks!) that we shared each morning.
Pros: Whimsical Theme; Cheapest prices; Food Court with many choices (think “mall food court” nothing too special but definitely does the job!)
Cons: Only one bus stop; Basic amenities; Can be very busy (lots of room with not a lot of space!)
Why We Choose the Value
So that’s our experience at both a Moderate and Value Resort. For our purposes, we would rather have limited amenities and pay less money, especially at a place like Disney World where you will be busy most of the day anyways. And as you see up top, the rooms are almost identical, so it doesn’t make sense to spend the money to us. However, this all depends on what type of vacation you are going to have! A more relaxed vacation might warrant the extra cost of a nice hotel, but with our face paced style, we go cheap!
What do you think? Do you like moderate or value resorts better?
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