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 By Pixie Leslie
There are lots of good reasons to consider a Moderate resort for your next Walt Disney World vacation, but today we will focus on my personal Top 5, both as a professional travel planner and as a mom of three boys.
1)  Togetherness is fine, but being crammed like sardines does not make for a happy family vacation
Standard Value resort rooms have double beds, not Queen sized beds, and for a lot of people this fact alone is the deciding factor to bust out of the Value category and upgrade to a Moderate.  As of this writing in October 2013, all of the Moderate resorts except Caribbean Beach have been upgraded to Queen beds.
In addition to the beds, Moderate resorts offer you more square footage.  A standard Value room has roughly 260 square feet to hold 2 double beds, a dresser, a small table and chairs, your sink area and bathroom.  A Moderate resort, on the other hand, has a minimum of 317 square feet (or Caribbean Beach, which has 340 square feet, but still only tiny double beds.)  When you factor in bodies, luggage, and the fact that most Moderates also give you 2 sinks instead of one, for many families the decision is easy:  a little more room is worth the added cost.
2)  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
I’m going to be honest here, and give you my personal opinion:  I find the Value resorts to be exhausting in terms of their decor.  After I’ve been in the parks for hours and am totally over stimulated, the very last thing I want to do is return to my resort for some pool time and be faced with over-sized statues and primary colors as far as the eye can see.  At the Value resorts, the theming is very graphic, very bold, and all that adds up to be just too much for me. My kids love it.  Me?  Not so much.  I have heard the same thing from a lot of parents who feel the same way, but do it because it’s cheaper and the kids like the theming so much. Here’s my 2 cents:  the cost difference between a Value and a Moderate is not always that great, depending on the time of year and available discounts, and as the parent I’m paying for this boondoggle, so I should darn well enjoy where I’m staying.  Let’s face it: the kids are going to have fun wherever you stay – it’s Disney.  Shouldn’t Mom and Dad get a little more sophistication and relaxation in their resort?  I think so!  Moderate resorts offer much more subtle theming, lusher landscaping, and an overall feeling that is far more restful and luxurious than anything you’ll find at a Value resort.  My two favorites are Port Orleans French Quarter which is nice and small, and Coronado Springs which is larger but is absolutely stunning in the evening and early morning.
3)  More amenities
Part of the reason I think Moderates are the way to go is that you get so many more amenities and services than you do at a Value resort, but you’re still not paying Deluxe rates.  None of the Value resorts have slides, which are a big deal for kids once they reach swimming age.  Moderate resorts with the exception of Port Orleans French Quarter (which is very small) have a table service restaurant on site in addition to a food court-style dining hall.  Coronado Springs offers three different options!  Most Moderates also have a bar with some form of entertainment in the evening and the talent at these watering holes can be really outstanding and still family friendly.  Port Orleans Riverside offers fishing and has a marina where you can rent several different types of water craft as well as surrey bikes to cruise around the resort and even down the path towards French Quarter.
4)  Larger families need options, too!
The world seems like it is built for families of 4, and in the Value resorts that is all a standard room will hold.  While two Value resorts offer family suites (and a not-so-Value-like price), many families with 3 children over the age of 3 find they either have to choose between two standard rooms, or moving to Port Orleans Riverside, a Moderate resort.  In the Alligator Bayou section of Riverside, there is a banquette bed that folds down from the long side to create a twin bed for a third child, in addition to the two Queen beds.  While this still doesn’t give the family as much space as a family suite would, it’s also significantly less expensive than a suite, and less expensive than a Deluxe resort room.  This has made Port Orleans Riverside a popular option for families of 5.
5)  Moderates offer the best value on property
If you end up paying full price for your Disney vacation, one of two things is true: you’re either not working with an experienced travel agent, or you’re so limited in when you can travel that you’re only able to go at Easter or Christmas when discounts don’t exist.  Working alone to plan your trip is sheer madness considering you could have professional help at no additional cost.  So barring schedule limits, there’s no reason you should ever pay full price for your Disney trip.
This is the primary reason why Moderates are the best value on Disney property:  they get better discounts than Value resorts ever will. Disney’s lead rates that you see advertised talk about discounts as being “up to” a certain percentage, but the fact is that Value resorts are normally discounted only around 10%, and often less.  Art of Animation’s standard rooms are never discounted, ever, and in this most recent round of discounts even the family suites were almost entirely excluded.  In the remaining Value resorts, the discounts were slim.  At the Moderate level, discounts are usually closer to 20%, which put these bigger, nicer rooms and resorts within reach of most budgets.  Discounts at the Deluxe level can be closer to 30% but even those discounted rates can be steep for some families.
So there you have it, the Pixie Diva’s Top 5 reasons to stay at a Moderate resort!  For help planning your next Disney trip, use the Request a Quote button on the side bar.