I have a very strong opinion of the best moderate Disney Resort. We’ve been to Disney World a number of times and have stayed in various resorts, including the deluxe ones but there is one moderate resort that we keep coming back to because it simply is the best.
Now, let’s go ahead and give the caveat here that clearly the best for me may not be the best for you. We all value different things because people are individuals and all unique BUT I would argue that my pick for best moderate Disney resort works well for most people and I’ll explain in more detail why in each section.
What is the best moderate Disney Resort?
Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter is the absolute best moderate Disney Resort in Walt Disney World. There are three other moderate resorts at Disney World: Caribbean Beach, Port Orleans Riverside, and Coronado Springs. All three of the other moderate resorts are also nice but I think that French Quarter is superior in a number of areas.
Port Orleans French Quarter is smaller than all of the other moderate resorts. To walk from one end to the other only takes a couple of minutes. The other three moderate resorts are much larger. We love that after a long park day you can get off the bus from the park and not have to walk too far to be back in your room. Going from your room to refill your resort mug at the Sassagoula Floatworks is also a super quick walk.
This might seem like a little thing typically we walk about 20,000 to 30,000 steps a day in Disney World and so it’s nice not to have to walk even more when you return home after a busy day in the parks.
I checked Google Maps and at Port Orleans French Quarter in order to walk from the bus stop to the farthest room it would be 0.3 miles or a 5 minute walk. The other three moderate resorts are so large that they actually have multiple bus stops instead of just one main bus stop because your room can be very far from the main bus stop or the lobby and dining at the resort.
Those resorts do offer you the option to pay for a preferred room to be closer to the lobby and main bus stop but you do not need to do that at French Quarter because the rooms are all close to everything you need.
With Disney resorts you are able to put down a room request and you can request certain buildings at your resort as long as they are the type of room that you booked. We have always asked to be placed in building 3 or 4 at French Quarter because they are the closest to the lobby and bus stop and we have always been placed in one of those buildings.
Even if we were not placed in those buildings the walk would still be very short to get to all the places in the resort.
Speaking of bus stops, transportation is a HUGE deal when you’re trying to get to the parks. As I mentioned, all three of the other moderate Disney World Resorts have more than one bus stop. This is great because it makes it easier to walk to your room at these bigger resorts BUT this means that when you get on a bus to go to a park that you will be making multiple stops before leaving your resort.
This can take a really long time as they load people onto the bus at each stop and especially if they have to load on ECVs or wheelchairs. If your bus stop is one of the last ones before the bus leaves your resort then you have an additional concern that the bus could be full and you would have to wait for another bus to come in about 20 minutes.
Port Orleans French Quarter has one bus stop. You get on the bus and it leaves to go to a park. This is much less time consuming and stressful. Occasionally French Quarter will share a bus with Riverside right next door, but I’ve only ever experienced this on the way back from the parks, not on the way there.
Now, Caribbean Beach Resort does have access to the Skyliner for going to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. To take the Skyliner from Caribbean Beach to Epcot it’s about 12 minutes and Hollywood Studios is about 6.
That is a nice perk and a lot of fun to ride but the time it takes to get to each park on the bus from French Quarter is short as well.
- French Quarter to Magic Kingdom: 12 minutes
- French Quarter to Epcot: 8 minutes
- French Quarter to Hollywood Studios: 8 minutes
- French Quarter to Animal Kingdom: 20 minutes
Proximity to Disney Springs
While French Quarter may not have Skyliner access, it does have a boat service to Disney Springs. We love the leisurely boat ride to Disney Springs and it makes it super easy to go to Disney Springs for a nice meal. None of the other moderates have boat service to Disney Springs. They do have bus service to Disney Springs, just not a nice boat ride.
Port Orleans French Quarter is right next door to Port Orleans Riverside and they are considered sister resorts. If you walk from the lobby of French Quarter to the lobby of Riverside it’s about a 10 minute walk. My one son and I speed walked it once in about 7 minutes. If you don’t want to walk then you can usually catch the boat going that way instead.
The great thing about the sister resort thing is that you have all of those amenities to enjoy. Normally at Disney World you cannot go swimming in the pool of another resort. However, if you are a guest of French Quarter then you are allowed to swim at Riverside and vice versa. The pool at French Quarter is a lot of fun and we love it so much (more about that later) but it is fun to have another option. Plus they have these fun hammocks around the Riverside pool.
Another perk of having a sister resort so close is that you can take advantage of the food offerings over at Riverside. They have a sit down restaurant called Boatwrights, their own quick service, the pool bar, and the River Roost lounge. Many nights the River Roost features shows by Yehaa Bob, a funny singer/piano-playing comedian.
Some of the deluxe resorts are loud because they are a destination. People not staying there visit to go to the restaurants and to see the resorts. This adds a whole bunch of noise. Value resorts tend to sometimes have big school groups and that can make things loud.
As for moderates Caribbean Beach attracts some people because of the Skyliner. Coronado Springs has a convention center. Riverside isn’t usually too loud but overall there are more people so it is a little busier and louder. With less people overall, Port Orleans French Quarter is a much quieter resort.
The pool at French Quarter is very nice. It has a cute splash pad area that is great for younger kids. It’s like a cute little water playground structure with lots of spraying things and two little slides. Our boys loved it until they became too tall for it a few years ago. Caribbean Beach resort is the only other moderate resort that has a splash pad area for the younger kids.
There is a slide that is great for children, and a hot tub. This pool has never been overcrowded and we have stayed here a bunch of times.
All of the moderate resorts have nice pools with slides and hot tubs as well but I prefer the French Quarter pool because it’s never over-crowded and some of the others can be.
Caribbean Beach and French Quarter are the only 2 moderate resorts that feature Coca-cola Freestyle machines. These machines open up so many options for drinks for your refillable mug and so we love them. Not a huge deal, but definitely a nice plus to the resort.
If you don’t know, beignets are fried dough that is sprinkled with powdered sugar, kind of like doughnuts. And they are delicious. French Quarter makes these all day long and they make a couple of varieties of them. I cannot adequately explain how good they are but basically watch The Princess and the Frog to understand or go to French Quarter and try them yourself.
That’s my basic advice: Go to French Quarter if you are trying to decide between the moderate Disney resorts. It really is the best moderate Disney resort of all.
If you want to see more pictures and learn more be sure to check out Disney’s photos and descriptions of Port Orleans French Quarter. There you’ll find pictures of rooms and the pool areas, playground, etc. which can help you get a better sense of the resort.
Have you stayed there before? Let me know if I missed something important or if you have a different idea of which is the best moderate Disney resort!