Getting the Facts Right
There are two kinds of 'Disney people:' those who stay on property when they travel to the parks, and those who don't. Let me start by saying there is nothing wrong with either option. It is possible that you will save a little bit by staying off property, but you will lose some of the conveniences of the resorts on property. In my opinion, it is worth staying on property if you want the full Disney experience. That being said, if you plan on spending just as much time at other parks and attractions outside of Walt Disney World, it would probably be more cost effective to stay at a hotel off property.
If you have decided that you want to stay on property, you have a wide variety of choices available to you. Disney has three levels of resorts: value, moderate, and deluxe. The argument can be made for two additional categories: the campground and Disney Vacation Club resorts. If you are traveling with young children or you want to stay to a strict budget, I would recommend the value resorts. If you are looking for relaxation and the best amenities Disney has to offer, go for the deluxe resorts. If your budget allows for some wiggle room, you don't have very young children, you want a little more peace and quiet, or you are looking for a slightly more high end experience without breaking the bank, the moderate resorts are your best bet.
Typically these resorts run about $175 a night, though they can be more expensive during the busy seasons. There are currently five resorts that fall into the moderate category: Port Orleans French Quarter, Port Orleans Riverside, Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, and the Cabins at Fort Wilderness Campground.
There is only one moderate resort near the EPCOT area: Caribbean Beach. This resort is laid out around Barefoot Bay and is themed after different islands found in the Caribbean. One of the most relaxing things about this resort is that it has white sand beaches complete with hammocks. There are six different 'villages', each one is a few blocks of hotels: Trinidad North and South, Aruba, Barbados, Jamaica, and Martinique.
If you have a little boy that has ever dreamed of being a pirate you might want to consider staying in one of the pirate themed rooms. The beds are pirate ships, the TV stands on creates, and the dividing curtain is adorned with the skull and crossbones. No matter which type of room you request you can be sure that you will enjoy your stay.
There are seven pools at this resort. That's right: seven. Each of the village has a leisure pool and there is a large pool complete with water slides outside of the main building. There are different kinds of boats that you can rent to explore Barefoot Bay, ranging from motor boats to canoes. There is a jogging course that is a little over a mile and a half around Barefoot Bay. There are also playgrounds and an arcade for the little ones.
Coronado Springs Resort
There is only one moderate resort near Animal Kingdom: Coronado Springs Resort. Much like the Caribbean Beach resort this resort has its very own lake, complete with white sand beaches. This resort is themed after the Southwest and northern areas of Mexico. It has the romantic feel of colonial Mexico. This moderate resort is different from all the others in that it offers such a wide variety of rooms. Some rooms sleep only two while others can hold as many as six people. The suites are impressive in that they rival what you would find at the deluxe resorts.
There is only one pool at this resort, but it dose have a water slide and Mayan pyramid. One of the highlights of this resort is its massive hot tub. It is the largest on the Walt Disney World property and can fit up to twenty two people. This resort has a business center and a convention center, making it a very popular site for business trips. Like most of the Disney resorts it also boasts playgrounds and an arcade. If maintaining your fitness routine is important to you you will be glad to know that there is a mile long jogging trail around the lake and a health club located at the resort.
This resort has several different lounges in addition to the typical quick service dining areas. This resort is also unique in that it offers more than just pizza delivered to the rooms. Room service is available for breakfast and dinner.
The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Campground
There is only one moderate resort near the Magic Kingdom Area: The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Campground. This is the most unique resort in the moderate family. There are campground areas where you can pitch a tent or park your camper and there are cabins for your comfort. You actually feel like you are camping in the wilderness, because you are. This resort is in a 750 acre forest that is filled with local wildlife. It is not uncommon it hear peacocks at night either.
The cabins are made for roughing it in style. They have a full living room and will comfortably sleep six adults. There is even a charcoal grill, a full kitchen, and a private patio for each cabin. The best part is you don't have to clean up, there is a housekeeping staff that will make sure that your room is kept nice and tidy while you live it up at the parks. I would love to stay in the cabins if I was planning on staying for a week and only spending a couple of days at the parks. Imagine spending a rainy afternoon reading and relaxing in the cabins after spending the morning running around the Magic Kingdom. Its a nice thought isn't it?
There are so many different activities available at this resort. There are different arcades and playgrounds for the kids. There are several different jogging trails. There are volleyball, basketball, and tennis courts. There is even an archery program where you, and even kids as young as six can learn the basics of archery. During the holiday season Disney even offers a horse drawn sleigh ride.
Port Orleans Riverside
This resort has been designed to feel like you are in in the rural parts of Louisiana right along the bayou. The rooms can sleep between two to four people and have all the charms associated with southern hospitality.
There are arcades and playgrounds for children. There are boat rentals and fishing excursions. There is a jogging trail that connects Riverside to French Quarter. There is even a nightly campfire near the river. You can even ride in a horse drawn carriage along the river.
This resort is truly beautiful. The gardens are spectacular and very well maintained. It feels like you have stepped back in time when you stay here. It is a peaceful resort and nice for relaxing.
Port Orleans French Quarter
Mardi Gras is every day at this resort. Designed to be like the historic French Quarter of New Orleans from its heyday this resort is full of color and class. There is even a jazz lounge where you can listen one man jazz bands. Since this resort is associated with the Riverside resort it is not uncommon for pool hopping to occur. Each resort has several pools within their grounds, each themed to fit the resort.
One of the best things about this resort is the food. You can enjoy classics like gumbo and other foods native to Louisiana. One of my absolute favorite things about this resort are the beignets. They are made fresh for each order and are simply amazing.
The resort as a whole has a majestic feel, with all the purples and golds. It really feels like you are walking down the streets of the French Quarter sections of New Orleans, the only big difference is that it is much cleaner than the real New Orleans.
I love all the different resorts on Disney property. I am just amazed by all the different themes and how well they stick to all of them. The moderate resorts are a great place to spend a few hours relaxing by the pool or at one of the many benches along the grounds. They are made to allow for fun and tranquility. I know that you will have a great experience if you stay at one of these amazing resorts.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on May 17, 2015:
Congrats on Editor's Choice from 2013. This was a really good hub on Disney World resorts and what's so good or bad about them with informative details.Voted up for interesting!
Michael Nolan from Sarasota, FL on April 15, 2015:
Oh you have to talk about the Pepper Market and Maya Grill! Yum!
One thing about these resorts is that none of them have elevators.