When visiting Walt Disney World you can stay right on Walt Disney World property by staying at one of their Disney resorts. There are 32 resorts to choose from and each of these resorts falls into one of four categories: Value Resort, Moderate Resort, Deluxe Resort and Deluxe Villas. Now there are a number of things that place resorts into any of these four categories and we’ve come up with 6.
The most obvious difference between these categories is cost. Value is the least expensive, moderate is middle of the road and the deluxe and deluxe villas are going to be more expensive. What does this actually look like in real numbers. Value resorts run between $125 per night to $175 per night. Moderate resorts cost $205-$387 per night. Deluxe Resorts are $402-$642 per night. Lastly, the Deluxe Villas can cost $397-$656 per night. Now these prices can change, if you’re vacationing while there’s a reduced price, which comes up quite often, there are sometimes deals with 25% off rooms. So as you’d expect as a rule of thumb the resorts in the value category are less expensive and the resorts in the deluxe category are more expensive.
2. Theme park proximity
The value resorts are further away from the theme parks and the deluxe resorts are going to make you the closest. The value resorts are found in one of two areas. Three are all together and the other two are neighbours. Both sets of resorts are within close proximity of ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, making them an easy choice for teams competing in competitions and tournaments. But all parks and Disney Springs are only accessible by bus transportation. The moderate resorts are closer to some of the theme parks than the value resorts but they don’t have park visibility. Deluxe Resorts on the other hand have fantastic proximity to the parks. The deluxe resorts in the Magic Kingdom resort area have multiple ways of accessing the Magic Kingdom, some by boat, monorail, walking or bus. The deluxe resorts sitting on Crescent Lake also have a couple different ways to get to both Hollywood Studios and Epcot. They can walk or take a boat. The Animal Kingdom Lodge is the only deluxe resort that doesn’t have the same kind of access as these other resorts but it is beside the Animal Kingdom so the bus ride is extremely short. The deluxe villas are in the same boat as the deluxe resorts, many of the villas are found on deluxe resort properties. The only exception is Saratoga Springs and Old Key West but they both have walking and boat access to Disney Springs. So the value Resorts are going to be further away from the action and the deluxe resorts are going to be closer.
Eating at Walt Disney World has become a huge part of many visitors vacations. I mean with the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot and the incredible pictures floating around Instagram, planning your Disney dining experiences can be as much fun as planning the resort of your vacation. If you are planning on spending each of your days at one of the theme parks and Disney Springs then dining options at your Disney resort shouldn’t be a concern. On the other hand, if you plan on having non-park days: sitting pool side, running a runDisney event, or taking in some of your resort’s daily activities than the amount of dining found at your resort should come into account. The less you pay for your resort, the less options you have for dining. The more you pay, the more options you have. All 5 of the resorts with the most dining on property are Deluxe resorts. At your Value resorts your options are quick-service restaurants, perfect if you want to keep your food budget small or if you’re on the quick-service dining plan. All the moderate resorts have at least 1 table service restaurant, which is the perfect amount if you want to stay back at your resort for one evening. Boatwright’s Dining Hall, found at Port Orleans Riverside is actually one of the tastiest restaurants we’ve eaten at on Disney property and is one of the 5 best restaurants to dine at when on the Dining Plan. Each Deluxe resort and deluxe villa has at least one table service restaurant. Quite a few even have character dining experiences, a fantastic way to start your day. Restaurants in style, price and quantity change depending on the resort category.
Pools are certainly a very important part of anyones Disney vacation plans, if you are vacationing most months of the year. I don’t think I would have survived our August 2018 trip if it hadn’t been for our multiple trips to pools found around Walt Disney World property, did you know you can visit other resort’s pools by pool hopping? Similar to restaurants, the more you pay for your resort the more pools they are likely to have, and not just boring square sized pools but pools with water slides or cool water features. Check out this list of resorts with the most pools. Each category of resorts have a similar layout. Value resorts have a couple of pools that are themed. They are your basic pool with a theme to reflect the resort. They have lifeguards at one on guard. At moderate resorts there is one feature which is home to at least one waterslide, sometimes 2. There are also leisure pools found in each of the resorts building areas, giving guests a quick place to grab a quick dip. The feature pool at moderate resorts can be far from the building you’re staying at. But you can always request to be close to the feature pool area. The deluxe resorts have at least one feature pool, which has a waterslide, sometimes water play areas, zero-depth entry. Many of these pools are like a mini water park. Check out this list of biggest waterslides found at Disney resorts. Lastly, deluxe villas also have feature pools, many with waterslides. The more you pay for your room the better to pools will be.
5. Room Style
Each of the categories have different styles of room. Each category has one style, what will differ from resort to resort is decor. A value style room will have your door walking you directly into your room with two beds, sometimes ones a murphy bed to give you some seating when the beds not being used. The bathroom is behind a sliding door which has your toilet, shower and tub and sink. They are small and compact. The moderate rooms are a little larger, the bathroom has two sinks, separate from the toilet and shower area. This bathroom area is either curtained off or has sliding doors. In a deluxe room you’ll have a little hallway when you enter your room which has the bathroom area, with a sink or two sinks separate from your toilet and shower/bath. The room itself will have a couch, and sometimes a desk. One of the biggest differences with a deluxe room from the value and the moderate rooms is you’ll have a balcony or a patio. Lastly, a deluxe villa gives you the choice between a deluxe studio, 1-bedroom villa, 2-bedroom villa and sometimes a 3-bedroom villa. Now each of the categories offers more than the standard room. Some resorts offer suites, themed rooms, concierge lounge and so on. But as a rule of thumb these are the largest differences.
Due to the lack of options for transportation with the value resorts and moderate resorts, these buses are jam packed with families heading to and from the parks. Meaning you’ll have to plan extra time for waiting to board the bus. Sometimes not even getting on the bus when it arrives at your resort or at the park. The deluxe resorts and deluxe villas have more options for transportation so the amount of people using the buses is smaller. The value resorts and the moderate resorts are very comparable for how many guests are on the bus, and of course at the park close every bus will be full no matter which level of resort you’re staying at.
So friends, those are the 6 largest differences. There’s of course more smaller minute details that you’ll likely notice. The deluxe resorts are more like a proper hotel, all rooms are in the same building, you don’t need to make long treks across the resort to get to the pool or the bus stop. The value resorts have characters who show up unexpectedly on the grounds, taking pictures with guests. But these are the main reasons for the difference in cost. Whether these things add up to monetary value for you will likely steer your choice when making your resort reservation.