Value, Moderate or Deluxe?

If you are heading to Orlando anytime soon, you will be faced with a few decisions to make about your accommodations.

Will you be staying at a Disney Resort, or off-site at a nearby vacation home or condo?

Now that I’ve had the experience of staying at a Disney resort, I’m not sure I could ever make the decision to stay offsite, unless the time I planned to spend is Disney was absolutely minimal.

People often ask me if staying onsite at Disney is worth the often-added expense. My answer is usually yes.

There are so many perks to staying at a Disney resort (free airport shuttle, transportation, access to dining plans), and luckily there are different accommodation levels that can help you budget the right resort for you. Don’t let the prices scare you from booking–while rack rates seem to be pretty high, you can usually get a great deal–sometimes up to 30 per cent off–during spring and fall months.

Can you find the hidden Tinkerbell?
Can you find the hidden Tinkerbell?

Disney resorts fall under three categories: value, moderate and deluxe.

Value resorts are made up of the smallest rooms of any Disney resort, and have limited amenities. They do, however, have a food court/quick service restaurant and pool areas for guests. It’s a great option if you plan on hitting the parks early in the morning and staying out until closing time. These resorts are typically farthest from Magic Kingdom.

Moderate resorts include enhanced amenities. This can include more dining options, upgraded pool and lounge areas and generally more recreational opportunities. Buses and boats transport guests to and from nearby resorts, Downtown Disney and the parks.

The Polynesian Resort: Home to Ohana, a volcanic pool, and the infamous Dole Whip!
The Polynesian Resort: Home to Ohana, a volcanic pool, and the infamous Dole Whip!

Deluxe resorts offer the best amenties–a great selection of restaurants (some that offer character dining!), elaborate pool settings, a variety of shops and usually more transportation options (especially true with the Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian resort, which are on the monorail line). Deluxe resorts provide a great getaway from the parks, and offer some recreation opportunities as well. You could spend a whole day at some of these resorts without having to leave.

My three picks to try from each category?

Value–Art of Animation
Moderate–Port Orleans French Quarter
Deluxe–The Polynesian Resort

What are yours?

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