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.

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

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.

• New in 2018: 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.

• New in 2018: 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.

• New in 2018: 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)))

For more of my personal resort photos, visit the gallery on my website at
– OR –
explore my Pinterest boards:

Let me help plan the details of your Disney Resort or Good Neighbor Hotel stay!


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.

  • Receive a welcome packet when you book, with  park information & a custom planning calendar.
  • Dining reservation assistance. Let me help you make your dining reservations for those popular Disney Restaurants. *based on availability
  • Fastpass+ assistance.  Undecided on which attractions are the best for your family? I’m happy to help you plan to utilize your Fastpasses to your advantage and will also provide assistance making those reservations *based on availability
  • Itinerary plans and printed itinerary with added suggestions to optimize your day and your experiences.
  • Fee-Free Planning. All of my planning assistance is complimentary when you book your trip through me, you will get all of the services that Disney offers, plus the personalized service that I offer.
  • Custom Client Portal – I always like to stay on top of the newest technology and once you are booked, we can set up a free client portal where we can share documents & you can view details about your vacation.
  • Help planning visits to other Orlando area attractions outside of the Disney theme parks.  If you are considering adding other Orlando attractions to your vacation, why not get assistance of someone who is local and been there?

You get all of this complimentary planning, 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 Disney fanatic, I’m also a travel agent.  You will find me almost every weekend in one of the Disney theme parks with my family exploring all of the newest things that Disney has to offer.
Melissa Mathies – Pixie Dust Adventures
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Why Use a Travel Agent for your next Disney Vacation?  Click through….





MyMagic+ MagicBand Guest Test Opportunities

Walt Disney World continues the testing process of MyMagic+ and MagicBands in select Disney World Resorts through November 2013.

MagicBands are Disney’s new ‘all access’ Key To The World. They may eventually replace the current Key To The World cards given to guests of Disney Resorts. They are your Resort room key, credit card, park tickets, photopass+, fastpass+, dining plan & reservations and pretty much everything that has to do with your visit to Walt Disney World. You can tap into all the fun with just the swoosh of your wrist.

No more getting to the parks before rope drop to get those fastpasses to popular attractions before they are gone. You can now make Fastpass+ reservations online before you even arrive. You can find more detailed information on my blog post HERE.


Select Disney will participate in MyMagic+ MagicBand testing until their newest addition in park technology is rolled out for everyone.  Are you someone who just likes to participate in the newest that Disney has to offer?  Contact your travel agent to book your trip today – Me ((wink, wink))

Participating resorts for people arriving on or after the following dates:

Now – November 30th 2013

  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge & Jambo House Villas
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort & Villas
  • Disney’s Polynesian Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village
  • Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter

October 7th – November 30th 2013

  • Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

October 14th – November 30 2013

  • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

October 21st – November 30th 2013

  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort

If you are already staying at one of the participating Resorts, within the test date window, and would like to participate go to to sign up for an account, link your resort reservation & begin customizing & ordering your MagicBands.

Participation in the testing is optional and you will be asked for your feedback on planning and your trip experience by Walt Disney World Research when you return from your trip.

The arrival of the new MagicBands for our family.
The arrival of the new MagicBands for our family.

The official start date for MyMagc+ is December 1st, 2013

Are you interested?  Contact me today to assist you in booking and planning your own Magical vacation.  I can help you get started making your dining and Fastpass+ reservations before you even leave your home.

Contact us today for assistance with booking and planning your next Disney vacation.  All of our planning services are FREE.
Contact us today for assistance with booking and planning your next Disney vacation. All of our planning services are FREE.