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Finding the Best Walt Disney World Resort Fit For Your Family: Value, Moderate, or Deluxe? 

When planning your magical getaway to Walt Disney World, Florida, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing the perfect resort for your stay. There are a myriad of options available, ranging from budget-friendly Value resorts, such as the family-style rooms of Art of Animation, to indulgent Deluxe resorts, such as the classic style of the Grand Floridan or the impressive savannahs of Animal Kingdom Lodge. Let’s dive into the distinctions between each tier to help you find the ideal match for your family.

Disney’s Value Resorts: Affordable Magic 

Value Resorts offers budget-friendly Walt Disney World accommodation without compromising on the magic. The resorts are comprised of the following: each one has its style and larger-than-life Disney touches.

  • Disney’s All-Star Movies, Disney’s All-Star Sports & Disney’s All-Star Music Resorts
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort (*Skyliner Resort)
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort (*Skyliner Resort)

While rooms may be more modest in size and amenities, value resorts boast charming character influences, sizeable outdoor pool areas, and recreation areas. Art of Animation, in particular, offers themed family suites for those looking for more space than a standard hotel room but are still managing a budget. Value resorts are also linked to the Walt Disney World free transportation network, making getting to and from the parks easy. All Value Resorts have an expansive Quick Service Dining Food Court offering many fast but delicious grab-and-go options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Disney’s Moderate Resorts: Budget Conscious But With A Touch More Pixie Dust

Disney’s Moderate Resorts balance affordability and luxury, usually between $60-80 dollars per night more than a value resort (depending on dates and season). Resort rooms are also slightly larger. Moderate Resorts include:

  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort (*Skyliner Resort)
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort and Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort

Disney’s Moderate Resorts offer guests additional recreational amenities, with each resort home to at least one sit-down table service restaurant and a Quick Service Dining Food Court. While they don’t serve up the a la carte dining experiences of the Deluxe resorts, Coronado Springs, in particular, offers varied and exciting menu options to suit all budgets and palates. If resort recreation is essential to your family, all moderates have additional activities such as boat rentals and bars/lounges, adding to a more classic resort vacation vibe.

Disney’s Deluxe Resorts: Ultimate Indulgence

For the ultimate Disney Vacation experience, Disney’s Deluxe Resorts and Villas define luxury with stunning accommodations and unparalleled service. Averaging 20-30% more per night than the average moderate resort rate (again, depending on dates and season), they offer large rooms, iconic locations, exquisite dining experiences, and (in some cases) premiere transport options. Deluxe resorts are the dream Disney World vacation experience. Deluxe Resort and Villa Resorts include:

  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Polynesian Resort
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Disney’s Boardwalk Villas
  • Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s Riveria Resort (*Skyliner Resort)
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground

With signature dining experiences, exceptional rooms, enhanced recreation options, and stunning theming, a Deluxe Resort is the jewel in the crown of Disney’s accommodation offerings. If you are looking for a more ‘Home Away From Home’ experience, there are 1, 2, and 3 bedroom Villa available at most of the Deluxe Resorts as part of the Disney Vacation Club, which are also bookable as a standard resort guest (although these options come at a very premium price)

The ‘Skyliner’ Factor

Disney’s newest transportation option for getting to and from Epcot and Hollywood Studios quickly and easily. The Skyliner connects Disney’s Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach, and Riveria Resorts directly to Epcot and Hollywood Studios on a continuously rolling (and fully accessible) cable car system. It is a quick, hassle-free, and enjoyable way to navigate Walt Disney World. On my last visit, I clocked the time it took me to get from my resort of Caribbean Beach to Hollywood Studios front gate at an impressive 11 minutes. Buses, boats, and monorails that comprise the rest of the Disney Transport System are also phenomenal. However, having the innovative Skyliner transport option directly attached to some of the value and moderate resorts should be noted when looking through your vacation resort choices.

Planning your Walt Disney World Trip? 

Ready to embark on your magical Disney World Vacation adventure? Booking a Disney vacation can be overwhelming, with so many choices and options for your family. With our insider knowledge and expertise, we can help you find the perfect resort tailored to your family’s needs. Whether you choose a Value, Moderate, or Deluxe resort, your family can have a magical vacation at Walt Disney World. Contact us now to chat through your options …

The options at Walt Disney World are as diverse and magical as the parks. From world-class cuisine to immersive dining experiences, there’s something to satisfy every palate and create unforgettable memories. Let’s give you a quick overview of our favorite restaurants and most unique dining experiences at Walt Disney World that you might not heard about.

Culinary Excellence at Monsieur Paul’s

Everyone knows about Victoria and Albert’s at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, but it is notoriously hard to secure a reservation. Monsieur Paul’s, located in the France Pavilion at EPCOT, offers an exquisite comparable dining experience inspired by the culinary traditions of France. With its elegant ambiance and sophisticated menu featuring classic French dishes with a modern twist, Monsieur Paul’s is the perfect choice for a romantic evening or special celebration.

Best Character Breakfast on Walt Disney World Property?

Start your day with a magical character breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort. This rooftop restaurant offers stunning views of Walt Disney World and delicious cuisine inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean. Meet beloved Disney characters dressed in their stylish, unique Riviera attire and enjoy a delightful breakfast experience perfect for the whole family. As Disney’s Riviera Resort is on the Skyliner route, onward journeys to EPCOT or Hollywood Studios couldn’t be more accessible.

Table Service for the Whole Family; Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria

This classic Italian pizzeria is a firm favorite among guests in the heart of the Italian Pavillion at EPCOT’s World Showcase and is repeatedly referred to as the best pizza on the property.

The prices are reasonable by Disney table service standards; most larger entrees are around $45 but can serve 2-3 pizza-loving guests. The attention to detail and commitment to bringing an authentic Italian pizzeria dining experience are second to none. The dough is flown in from Napoli, meaning you get truly authentic Italian ingredients and deliciousness. It’s a great all-around dining choice.

A Side-Splitting, Rip-Roaring Dinner Show at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue

Head to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground for a rip-roaring good time at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. This interactive dinner show features lively entertainment, a hearty three-course meal full of classic comfort foods, unlimited drinks, and plenty of laughs for the whole family.

Tours and Experiences

Walt Disney World is known for its attractions, world-class entertainment, and touches of Disney magic. But did you know that the resort offers a variety of more unique activities and experiences? From behind-the-scenes tours to private cruises, there’s no shortage of one-off choices waiting to be discovered. Let’s look at some of the more bespoke activities you can enjoy on your Walt Disney World Resort vacation.

A cult favourite family attraction in the Land pavilion at Epcot, Living with the Land, is a whimsical boat tour that explains where our food comes. But did you know there is a ‘Behind the Seeds Tour’? This cast member-guided tour takes you behind the scenes of the greenhouses and fish farms you see from the attraction for a small additional cost. Learn how they supply the park’s restaurants, the latest farming techniques, and innovative conservation methods.

Or, if you have always wanted to spend longer on the savannahs at Animal Kingdom, the Wild Africa Trek could be the experience for you! Embark on a guided safari adventure through the Harambe Reserve at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Get up close and personal with exotic animals, traverse rope bridges and scenic overlooks, and then enjoy a gourmet lunch in the heart of the savannah. Prices start from $219 per guest, and park admission is required.

Set sail on a private fireworks cruise around the Seven Seas Lagoon at Magic Kingdom or Crescent Lake at EPCOT for a truly unforgettable evening. Watch the night sky light up with dazzling fireworks displays over Cinderella Castle or EPCOT’s World Showcase while enjoying your private boat’s comfort and luxury. Whether celebrating a special occasion or simply looking to make magical memories with loved ones, a fireworks cruise will surely be a highlight of your Walt Disney World vacation. Prices start from $449 plus tax, and it can seat up to 10 guests.

Add Some Extra Magic to your Next Walt Disney World Vacation

Walt Disney World offers a wide range of unusual activities that allow guests to explore, learn, and create unforgettable memories. Whether you’re delving into the secrets of the parks or indulging in culinary excellence, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at the most magical place on earth.

So, when planning your next Walt Disney World vacation with your Disney Travel Expert, venture beyond the traditional attractions and discover the hidden gems and unique activities that await around every corner. After all, unexpected moments often become magical memories.

For many first-time visitors, the draw of staying onsite at Walt Disney World Resort is irresistible. From convenient transport options to extra magical hours, there’s a lot to love about the onsite experience. However, budget can be a determining factor when it comes to accommodation. It can be considerably cheaper to stay in accommodation outside of the Disney bubble, but when you look at all the benefits of stopping onsite, is this always the case? You might be surprised to learn that staying onsite has many cost benefits.

Let’s examine the pros and cons of staying ‘onsite’ at the Walt Disney World Resort compared to staying outside the resort.

Proximity to the Parks:

The most significant benefit to staying onsite at Walt Disney World Resort Hotels is convenience. Staying onsite means you’re just a stone’s throw away from the magic of the Disney Parks. Once on the property, all guests, whether you are stopping at a Value, Moderate, or Deluxe Resort, can use the complimentary transportation between parks, hotels, and other onsite locations. With options including monorail, buses, boats, Skyliner gondolas, and even walking to the parks, it’s a massive perk that can save you time, stress, and the cost of driving into the theme parks every day.

If you decide to hire a car or are driving, Walt Disney World Resort guests will now receive complimentary self-parking at their resort. In addition to overnight hotel self-parking, as a Walt Disney World Resort guest, you will also receive complimentary standard parking at the theme parks. In 2024, standard parking at the theme parks will cost $30 per day. For preferred parking, this rises to $45-$55 per day, which, if you are staying offsite, would soon add up.

You can also book Lyft or Uber ride-share apps from the parks to your Disney resort at their standard fare. You can also use the premium ‘Minnie Van Service,’ similar to an Uber or Lyft but operated under Disney control; these super cute vehicles can chauffeur you from the theme park entrance right up to your Walt Disney World Resort building, fantastic if you are staying in one of the more spread-out locations such as Saratoga Springs or Old Key West. A Lyft or Uber from a theme park to an offsite hotel or resort can be anything from $25 upwards each way (also dependent on peak travel periods)

No resort fees exist for staying in a Walt Disney World resort hotel. Resort fees can sometimes apply to offsite hotels, which can add up and also come as a shock at check-in for some guests. Using a Disney travel specialist can help determine if these apply to your chosen offsite resort.

Early Theme Park and Extended Evening Theme Park Hours:

These hours have been updated in the last couple of years after a shakeup in early theme park entry and extra magical hours. A definite perk to staying onsite, Early Theme Park Entry is available to all Walt Disney World Resorts guests at all four theme parks every day. The new iteration is 30 minutes of access for Disney World Resort Guests, just enough time to get in line for ‘Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance’ or ‘Slinky Dog Dash’ at Hollywood Studios or ‘Flight of Passage’ at Animal Kingdom.

If you are staying at a Deluxe Resort or Villa (or either Swan and Dolphin or Shades of Green), you will have access to the Extended Evening Hours, typically twice a week and usually at EPCOT or Magic Kingdom. Guests at Value or Moderate Resorts and offsite guests cannot access these extra hours sessions. Still, if you are lucky enough to stop in a Deluxe resort, it is a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of usually significantly reduced wait times.

To Disney Dining Plan or To Not Disney Dining Plan:

The Disney Dining Plan returned to guests in 2024. This pre-paid meal option at various Disney restaurants, with both Quick Service and Table Service plans, can help with budgeting your trip and create a hassle-free dining experience throughout your stay. Occasionally, Disney may offer dining plan-inclusive booking offers, which can save the savvy visitor a fair amount of cost. This is why we always recommend booking through a Disney travel specialist to make sure you are getting the very best vacation deal for your family.

If you are looking to book dining reservations at some of the premiere dining locations (Cinderella’s Royal Table, Space 220, or Topolino’s Terrace Character Breakfast, we’re looking at you), it’s worth noting that Walt Disney World Resort Guests can book an extra ten days out on top of the 60 days for everyone else. This can greatly benefit those with larger parties or during busier travel periods.

While plentiful, Walt Disney World Resort restaurants can be costly, and one of the main benefits of stopping offsite is access to more budget-friendly restaurants. Staying offsite gives guests access to local restaurants and chain eateries, and they can often find a wider variety of offers and discounts. Walt Disney World Resort guests may feel confined to the Disney bubble and miss out on exploring other nearby attractions and dining options.

Ride Reservation Booking Windows:

Since the introduction of the Genie+ and Lightening Lane queuing beating system, there’s been a lot of controversy about cost, access, and onsite guest perks. We know that the pre-booking of Lightening Lane slots is looking to be rolled out in 2024. In what we suspect will be similar to the Disney Dining booking system, onsite resort guests will be looking at being able to book lightning lanes for the entirety of their stay ahead of time in front of offsite visitors. However, this will play out over the next few months; one thing for sure is that onsite guests will have a significant advantage over those stopping offsite when booking access to premium rides.

Onsite or Offsite?:

Ultimately, the choice between staying onsite or offsite at Walt Disney World depends on your personal priorities, objectives for your vacation, and budget. You may have significant hotel perks for one of the offsite options, find that you will be spending more time at Universal Orlando, or feel overwhelmed at the thought of spending all your vacation at Disney.

Whether you choose to stay onsite or offsite when visiting Walt Disney World Florida, we can create the perfect package for you and your family to get the balance just right. One thing is for certain: we can help you make your Disney vacation filled with magic, memories, and moments you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Are you planning a trip to the most magical place on earth? Whether you’re a seasoned Disney pro or a first-time visitor, here are plenty of insider tips and tricks to help you make the most of your vacation. From securing the best deals to navigating the parks like a pro, here are our top 10 insider tips for booking your Disney vacation:

Consider Off-Peak Travel Dates To Save On Accommodation Costs

Traveling during off-peak times, such as weekdays or quieter seasons, can result in significantly lower crowds and shorter wait times at attractions. Plus, you can snag some super hot deals on accommodations and park tickets. By choosing to visit during less busy times, you can enjoy a more relaxed vacation experience. Plus, don’t worry about missing out, there are year-round festivities in all the parks from ‘Festival of the Arts’ in Epcot in Ferburary, to ‘Food and Wine Festival’ from August through to November.

Advance Dining Reservations – Snag those hard-to-get dining reservations.

Don’t leave your dining plans to chance—make advance reservations for table-service restaurants up to 60 days in advance. If you are stopping at a Walt Disney World Resort property, you can make those reservations up to an extra ten days in advance, as you can book for the entire length of your stay as soon as you hit that 60-day marker. Popular dining locations fill up quickly, especially during peak times, so book early.

Take advantage of mobile orders at quick service locations.

Many park quick-service restaurants now offer mobile ordering through the My Disney Experience App. This quick and easy method of ordering food is super popular, and we can see why. You can preorder your food to pick up during peak times, beating the queues and ensuring you make the most of your time in the parks.

Extra Hours of Fun

Take advantage of extra park hours exclusive to Disney resort guests. These hours allow you to enjoy select attractions half an hour before regular park hours. Those stopping in a Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort also have access to extra magic hours on select evenings. Check the schedule for these evenings during your stay and plan your park visits accordingly. By arriving early or staying late, you can experience shorter wait times and make the most of your time in the parks.

Pre-book your stroller rental.

You can pre-book your stroller hire at Walt Disney World. By pre-booking a stroller rental in advance, you can avoid the hassle of lugging a stroller through the airport. Your stroller can be waiting for you at your hotel upon arrival, saving you valuable time and hassle. Pre-booking your stroller rental also ensures that you’ll have a high-quality stroller suitable for navigating the parks with ease. It can also work out more cost-effectively than hiring directly from the parks daily. Please get in touch with us to learn more.

(If you are using a stroller, make sure to tie a ribbon or other identification marker to it to make sure it is easily identifiable)

Queuing tips and tricks

Start from the back of the park, you will often find that people head straight through the gates and into the nearest attraction line. A prime example is Spaceship Earth at Epcot; it can frequently have a 25-30 minute wait upon opening but will be walk-on later in the day as visitors disperse throughout the park. Single-rider lines tend to be much shorter, so if it is not a necessity that your group sits together, hop in the single-rider line. If you are returning to the park later, skip the parade; lines are often shorter during parade times, and finally, lines close at the park closing time. However, you will ride the ride if you get in line before the official close time.

Tap into the knowledge of the pros.

Use a Specialist Disney Vacation Planner to help you navigate the booking process, find the best deals, and plan your itinerary. Knowledgeable professionals can offer expert advice and assistance at no extra cost. They can help you with everything from selecting the right hotel to making dining reservations and booking other experiences.

Stay hydrated and comfortable.

Did you know you can get water and snacks delivered to your resort? This can save you money and time when buying snacks within the parks. Using services such as Amazon or Garden Grocer, you can have packs of water and necessary groceries waiting for you on arrival at your Disney World Resort hotel. (Disney will usually add a $5 service charge)

Take a break!

Taking a break midday can be a game-changer during your Disney vacation. Head back to your resort for some much-needed rest, whether a quick nap, a dip in the pool, or a leisurely lunch. By recharging your batteries, you’ll feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle the rest of the day. And don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes to keep your feet happy as you explore the magic. After all, comfort is critical when making the most of your magical adventure!

Stay Flexible and Have Fun

While planning is essential, remember to leave room for spontaneity and adventure. Embrace the magic of Disney, go with the flow, and savor every moment of your vacation. Keep an open mind and be willing to try new experiences and attractions. After all, you’re on vacation!

Ready to get planning?

Let us help you book your next magical Disney World Vacation. Contact one of our dedicated Disney experts and let us help you create some magical memories.


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