Differences Between Moderate And Deluxe Resorts

Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort

We all know there is a big price difference between a moderate and a deluxe resort at Walt Disney World, but everyone wonders if it is worth it to pay the extra cash for a deluxe resort. So many want to know what the differences are and whether or not they should consider a deluxe resort. Here is what I found………

While the information below points out the differences with amenities, there are more to the differences that you learn by experience, which are discussed below the lists.

Moderate and Deluxe resort have the following in common depending on which resort you stay at:

  • Laundry Services and/or dry cleaning
  • Lockers
  • Child Care Services
  • Park Merchandise Delivery and Pickup
  • Parking
  • Banking
  • ATM
  • Resort Airline Check-in
  • Arcade
  • Spa/Fitness
  • Concierge
  • Fireworks and dining cruises
  • WiFi
  • Outdoor movies
  • Pool Bars (some moderate hotels have bars at select pools and/or just snacks and basic refreshment.)

Each moderate resort room is accessible through outdoor access (outdoor room entrances). Depending on which moderate resort you choose, this is what you will find**:

  • White Sand Beach
  • Playground
  • Jogging Trail
  • Bike and Watercraft Rentals
  • Beach
  • Fishing 
  • Volleyball
  • Located Near a Golf Course
  • Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides
  • Pizza Delivery
  • Room service (Coronado only–limited times at breakfast and dinner)

Most deluxe resort rooms are accessible through indoor access (indoor room entrances). Everything the moderate resorts have to offer above** plus, depending on which deluxe resort you choose, this is what you will find:

  • Tennis
  • Shuffleboard
  • Basketball
  • Children Activity Center
  • Electric Parade
  • Parasailing
  • Tubing
  • Water Skiing
  • Wake Boarding
  • Tea Party
  • Golf
  • BBQ
  • Character Campfire
  • Room Service (Except Old Key West)
  • Valet Parking
  • Business Center
  • Miniature Golf
  • Balconies

One of the biggest differences I experienced is the bedding. The pillows and beds at deluxe resorts are more comfortable. The furniture, decor, towels, floors and restaurants are better quality at deluxe resorts. You are still provided lotion at deluxe resorts consistently. Some have reported they received lotion at moderate hotels and some have reported no lotion and had to request it. Mousekeeping is not consistent with lotion in the moderate rooms. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with staying in a moderate resort. I love it! I am simply pointing out the differences and explaining why “you get what you pay for”.

Some may think the additional square footage at a deluxe resort is not a lot, it really does make a difference when you are there for several nights. Especially if you stay in a bedroom villa. It really does feel like home away from home with the washer/dryer, whirlpool tub, full kitchen, living room separate from the bedroom, etc. The more people in the one room, the more you REALLY notice the difference with space.

More Differences

The number of people allowed to stay in the rooms is the biggest difference between the two levels. The room capacity in deluxe resorts range from 4-12 people. The range in a moderate resort is 4-6 people. There are more options with transportation, the number of lounges, fitness centers, restaurants, the greater attention to detail and the quality of the table service restaurants in a deluxe resort, but, depending on where you stay, there are less pools at deluxe resorts. The French Quarter (moderate) and Animal Kingdom Lodge (deluxe) each have one pool. The most pools can be found at moderate resorts, Caribbean Beach (7) and Riverside (6).


As you can see, a deluxe resort has a lot more to offer, but which one to choose is based on what you are looking to utilize while there. If you want room service, a pool bar, valet parking, a balcony, business center and/or an outdoor movie steps away from your room, go to a deluxe resort.

If you can live without the items that are only found at a deluxe resort or don’t mind taking transporation back to your moderate resort after watching an outdoor movie, sitting at a character campfire, playing golf or dining at one of the numerous and favored restaurants at a deluxe resort, save yourself some money and stay at a moderate resort. It also boils down to how many people are in your vacation party and your wants/needs.

Are there more than 6 people in your vacation party? You may save money by staying at a deluxe resort in one room instead of booking two rooms at a moderate resort. That also depends on the dynamics of your group, because how Disney classifies the capacity is based on sleeping capacity. A room sleeping 8 people is usually 4 beds and, most likely, 2 beds are in one room. So much to consider based on your vacation party and your personal preference.