So, you want to take a magical Walt Disney World Resort family vacation, without having to put a second mortgage on your home? You’ve come to the right place! MagicalDistractions.com is an excellent resource to find all kinds of tips and tricks to stretch your vacation budget to its limits.
My latest suggestion? Walt Disney World Value Resorts offer a real value.
Why listen to my opinion?
Being totally honest, I’m spoiled. Our family is part of the Disney Vacation Club (DVC). Every DVC property at Walt Disney World Resort is designated as “Deluxe.” Bay Lake Tower, the Polynesian Village Resort, and the Beach Club are a few of our favorites.
But, when we weren’t using our DVC membership, we’ve stayed at Disney’s Moderate resorts, like Port Orleans French Quarter.
Until this last October, I hadn’t stayed at any of the Walt Disney World Value Resorts in 21 years! Did I mention, I’m spoiled?
So, when my “Bestie” booked a last-minute trip for us to stay at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort (a Value property), I was more than a little skeptical.
Moderate vs. Value Resorts
First, what is the difference between a Moderate and Value resort? Both types of rooms have doors that open to the exterior of the building (vs. an interior hallway – only Deluxe Resorts provide that feature.) The average Value room is 260 square feet with two full beds or 1 king bed. Moderate rooms average 315 square feet with two queen or double beds (king bed rooms are available at an additional cost). Both offer pools, a pool bar, free wi-fi, and a food court.
Moderate resorts offer room service and (except Port Orleans French Quarter) a table service restaurant.
I found the room layout at the All-Star Music to be almost exactly the same as Port Orleans French Quarter, but in a slightly smaller proportion. Select locations offer family suites that sleep six (Value) or rooms with a pull-down bed allowing five Guests (Moderate). But the standard room at both Value and Moderate resorts sleep four. There was plenty of room for two of us in the standard Value resort room. Though four would have been tight, it would be manageable.
If I had to make a comparison, the Value resorts remind me of a Best Western or Hampton Inn (as far as size/room layout).
I’ve seen it argued that Moderate Resorts have better theming than the Value properties. I don’t agree. While the theming at the Moderate resorts is more subtly integrated, the Value resorts are bright and over-the-top. Subtle details, like vines climbing around the wrought iron railings in New Orleans’ French Quarter or the pastel palette of Colonial Caribbean “Villages,” await Guests to Moderate properties. While enormous iconic props from movies, music, sports, and pop culture are on display at the Value resorts. And, wow! there are some big displays!
Resort Guest Perks
Both provide all the benefits of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort (like free park transportation, extra magic hours, and use of the Magical Express service). At both types of resorts, Guests using the bus service are likely to make multiple stops around their resort, or share bus service with another resort.
We rarely waited longer than five minutes for a bus at All Star Music. And, though I imagine in busier seasons Guests may have to wait longer, we found the queue at the Resort and Parks were short enough to allow us to board the first bus that arrived. The one exception was departing Disney’s Hollywood Studios after Fantasmic. (There is no good value or moderate option for this scenario.)
Generally, the grounds of Walt Disney World Value Resorts are much larger than the Moderate Resorts. (Though, at more than 200 acres and eight bus stops, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is the largest Walt Disney World Resort.) The Value resorts often require a bit more walking to reach the bus stop. I always try to request a building near the bus stop. But, when clocking about nine miles a day in the parks, a few more steps won’t kill me.
Bottom Line on Walt Disney World Value Resorts
The bottom line is … the bottom line. Visiting Walt Disney World Resort can be expensive. A room at one of the Walt Disney World Value Resorts might save a family of four $70-$100 per night over a Moderate room. If you are planning to spend most of your time in the Parks, and are just looking for a place to rest your head at night, consider one of Disney’s Value resorts. Save a few dollars, while enjoying all the benefits of staying on-property as a Walt Disney World Resort Guest!