Disney Resort Tier System: Differences, Features, & Costs

Walt Disney World Resort Tier System

The Disney Resort tier levels classify the wide range of Disney owned and operated accommodations available at Walt Disney World into categories based on their amenities, location, and price point. This structure allows you to choose a hotel that matches your vacation preferences and budget. Each tier offers distinct experiences, with the Deluxe resorts providing the most extensive amenities, including signature dining and closer proximity to the parks, while the Value resorts offer more affordable options with cheerful, family-friendly themes.

Understanding this tier system can significantly impact your vacation planning. The Moderate resorts strike a balance, offering themed environments with added comforts and dining options beyond those found at the Value level, all while maintaining a moderate price range. Your selection not only influences where you’ll rest each night, but it also affects your overall Disney World experience, from transportation to recreational activities.

By identifying your priorities and comparing them to the offerings of each resort level, you will be able to tailor your stay to your personal needs. For instance, if proximity to a specific theme park is crucial for your trip, a Deluxe resort may be ideal, while those looking to extend their vacation budget may find the Value options more suitable. The Resort Tier System enables you to fine-tune your accommodations to ensure your Disney World visit is both magical and comfortable, fully embodying the enchantment of your vacation.

Overview Of The Resort Tier System at Walt Disney World

The Walt Disney World Resort offers a tiered system of hotels classified into three main categories according to amenities, service level, and pricing.

The Three Main Tiers: Value, Moderate, And Deluxe

Value resorts are the most cost-effective option at Walt Disney World, providing basic accommodations with theming that appeals to children. These resorts feature amenities such as pools, food courts, and complimentary transportation to the parks. The Value tier includes hotels like Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s All-Star Resorts.

Moderate resorts strike a balance between affordability and enhanced features. You’ll find more intricate theming, additional dining options, and recreational activities like boat rentals. This tier consists of resorts such as Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney’s Port Orleans Resort.

Deluxe resorts are the premium accommodations at Disney World, boasting superior services, extensive dining options including fine dining restaurants, and impeccably themed environments. They also provide the closest proximity to the theme parks. Hotels within this tier include Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

Value Plus

A ‘Value Plus’ category exists as an unofficial tier, bridging the gap between Value and Moderate resorts. It encompasses properties like Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, which offers family suites and additional theming reflective of Disney and Pixar films. These ‘Value Plus’ options provide amenities that exceed those typical of the Value tier, yet remain more affordable than Moderate resorts.

Value Resorts

Value Resorts at Walt Disney World offer budget-friendly accommodations with theming that celebrates Disney’s legacy.

Characteristics Of Value Resorts

Value Resorts provide the most economical on-property lodging options at Disney World. They feature larger-than-life themes and basic amenities. Guest rooms are comparably smaller with exterior corridor entries. These resorts include themed pools, playgrounds, and arcades, but lack table-service restaurants. Complimentary transportation via the bus system is available to all theme parks.

Pros And Cons Of Staying At A Value Resort

When you choose a Value Resort, you enjoy the benefits of affordable pricing and the perks of staying on Disney property. This includes early access to FastPass+ reservations, complimentary transportation to the parks, and extended theme park hours. However, there are drawbacks such as smaller room sizes, fewer dining options, and potentially longer bus transportation times compared to deluxe resorts.

Value Resorts At Walt Disney World

Disney World hosts several Value Resorts:

  • Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort: Sports-themed with areas celebrating baseball, basketball, football, surfing, and tennis.
  • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort: Music-themed showcasing genres like country, jazz, rock, and more.
  • Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort: Movie-themed with sections that pay homage to Disney films.
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort: Dedicated to 20th-century pop culture, highlighting the fads of each decade.
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort: Themed around classic Disney and Pixar animated films with family suites available.

Moderate Resorts

Walt Disney World’s Moderate Resorts offer a middle ground in terms of pricing, amenities, and theming. These resorts feature enhanced services compared to Value Resorts and strike a balance between luxury and affordability.

Features That Set Moderate Resorts Apart From Value Resorts

Your experience at Moderate Resorts is elevated with more intricate theming and landscaping compared to Value Resorts. You’ll find larger rooms, which typically range from 314 to 340 square feet, and each resort has a unique theme that is more nuanced and detailed. For instance, Port Orleans Resort captures the essence of the Louisiana bayou and Caribbean Beach Resort emulates a tropical paradise.

Transportation options are diverse at Moderate Resorts. Besides the standard bus service, some resorts, like Caribbean Beach Resort, offer additional transportation modes. The Skyliner, for instance, provides an aerial gondola to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, enhancing your transit experience.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Choosing A Moderate Resort

Opting for a Moderate Resort brings several benefits. You’ll have access to better dining options than Value Resorts, including table-service restaurants and lounges. Riverside at Port Orleans Resort is known for its popular table-service restaurant, Boatwright’s Dining Hall. Recreation options are broader, with several pools, water slides, and hot tubs.

However, there are considerations to weigh. Moderate Resorts are more expensive than Value Resorts, and the sprawling nature of these resorts can mean longer walks to use amenities or catch transportation. Also, while transportation is available, travel times to the parks can be longer compared to Deluxe Resorts.

Moderate Resorts At Walt Disney World

  • Caribbean Beach Resort: A tropical paradise with an island vibe and access to the Skyliner.
  • Port Orleans Resort – Riverside: Inspired by rural Louisiana with scenic waterways and lush greenery.
  • Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter: Reflecting the vibrancy of New Orleans with cobblestone streets and the feel of Mardi Gras.
  • Coronado Springs Resort: A Southwestern-themed resort with a blend of Spanish, Mexican, and Southwest American cultures.

Deluxe Resorts

Disney’s Deluxe Resorts offer the most luxurious accommodations within the Walt Disney World Resort. These resorts provide an unparalleled level of service, extensive amenities, and close proximity to the theme parks.

Understanding Deluxe Resorts And What Makes Them Premium

Deluxe Resorts are the highest-tier hotels at Walt Disney World, characterized by their exclusive amenities, distinct themes, and strategic locations. You’ll find exceptional dining options, meticulously themed decor, and the highest level of customer service on the property. These resorts are often located either within walking distance or a short transit ride to parks like EPCOT and Magic Kingdom, adding to their allure.

Benefits And Potential Drawbacks Of Deluxe Accommodations

Choosing a Deluxe Resort comes with several benefits, such as enhanced room features, signature dining experiences, and comprehensive recreation facilities. You also get extended theme park hours, allowing for more time to explore Magic Kingdom or Epcot. However, the cost is a potential drawback, as these premium experiences come with a higher price tag compared to other resort tiers.

Deluxe Resorts At Walt Disney World

  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort: Experience the lush, tropical ambiance and easy access to the Magic Kingdom, encapsulating the spirit of the South Pacific.
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa: Offering Victorian elegance and luxury, this flagship resort is known for its lavish decor and proximity to the Magic Kingdom.
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort: Famous for its modern architecture and the Monorail passing through the lobby, it provides contemporary luxury with views of the Magic Kingdom.
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge: Inspired by national park lodges, this resort offers a rustic retreat with majestic American craftsmanship and natural beauty.

These resorts provide you with immersive experiences, placing you within thematic surroundings inspired by locations from around the globe, and some even offer views of animals such as those seen at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Value Plus Resorts

Value Plus Resorts offer enhanced features compared to standard value resorts, striking a balance between affordability and additional amenities.

Explanation Of What Value Plus Resorts Are And How They Differ From Other Categories

Value Plus Resorts are a category of accommodations within the Disney Resort portfolio that provide a middle ground between the most affordable Value Resorts and the more upscale Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. You experience increased amenities and themed environments at a price point that is higher than Value Resorts but still lower than other categories. Unlike Value Resorts, which offer basic comfort, Value Plus Resorts include more dining options and room types.

Discuss The Unique Offerings Of Value Plus Resorts

At Value Plus Resorts, you can expect a unique blend of affordability and thematic sophistication. For example, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort immerses guests in the world of classic Disney and Pixar films with intricate decor and detailed landscapes.

  • Amenities: Art of Animation Resort offers family suites with kitchenettes and separate sleeping areas.
  • Transportation: Complimentary bus service to and from the theme parks is a standard facet of the Disney Resort experience here, enhanced by the inclusion of Disney Skyliner gondola transport.
  • Price Point: While you pay more than the standard Value Resorts, the extra cost brings a deeper level of theming and convenience.

This hotel category makes it feasible to enjoy a richer Disney experience without the premium cost of higher-tier resorts.

Choosing The Right Tier For Your Stay

When selecting a Disney resort tier, your decision directly affects the cost, experiences, and conveniences of your Disney vacation.

Factors To Consider When Selecting A Resort Tier (Budget, Amenities, Location, Etc.)

Your budget acts as the foundation for your choice. Disney resorts are categorized into three tiers: Value, Moderate, and Deluxe. Value resorts are the most cost-effective and offer basic amenities, while Deluxe resorts come at a higher price but provide extensive amenities and closer proximity to the parks. For example, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, a Value tier hotel, provides themed rooms and is an economical choice for families. In contrast, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, a Deluxe tier hotel, features signature dining and direct monorail access to Magic Kingdom.

Evaluate amenities such as swimming pools, dining options, and transportation services. List your priorities and compare them across the tiers. Deluxe resorts may include world-class spas, whereas Value hotels have standard swimming pools.

Location within the resort is pivotal, influencing both the atmosphere of your stay and ease of park access. Deluxe resorts typically offer premium locations, such as Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, which provides views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks.

Tips For Getting The Best Value No Matter Which Tier You Choose

Plan your visit according to the Disney calendar for off-peak times that result in more affordable pricing for higher-tier hotels, and take advantage of lower crowd levels.

Reservations made well in advance often lock in better rates. Schedule your stay outside of high-demand periods to ensure greater availability and choice across all resort tiers.

Seek promotions and packages that might significantly reduce your expenditure. Disney often has special deals, especially during non-peak seasons, that include resort stays, meal plans, and park tickets.

Stay informed on the latest Disney Vacation updates, as these can offer insight into upcoming discounts or new resort benefits that improve the overall value of your stay, irrespective of tier.