Monday, July 5, 2010

Values vs. Moderates and Which Moderate to Choose

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Which resort?  It's one of the many things to choose when you're planning a trip to Walt Disney World.  First, you need to figure out which category of resorts you'd like.  Normally I jump directly to values because of money.  They're the least expensive, and I love All Star Music.  On a potential trip in January, however, I'm thinking about the moderates.  This trip will (hopefully!) fall over my birthday and my boyfriend's birthday, and I thought it would be cool and romantic to stay at a moderate.  But is it worth the money?  What are we gaining?  This is where I run into a problem.

The price difference between a value and a moderate is roughly $70 more per night.  That's a lot of money over seven nights.  And what do you gain for this $70 extra?  Three main things: extra space in the room, a better theme, and a hot tub by the pool.  Location could also be considered an extra, but since we'd be taking Disney transportation anyway, location isn't a huge factor.  Now are these things worth it?  I'm not sure.  The extra space might be nice, especially because January means shorter park hours which may mean more time in the room.  This could also be a reason why a hot tub would be nice, though it may be too cold to use it in January, if last year is any indication.  And finally, the theme.  A cool theme would be nice for our birthdays.  But is it worth it?

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After choosing a resort category, the next step is to choose the resort itself.  In the value category, I would likely stick to the All Star Music, as it's tried and true for us.  In the moderate category, however, I am not as sure.  I have narrowed my choices down to Port Orleans French Quarter and Port Orleans Riverside, and I simply cannot decide between them.  On one hand, French Quarter is much smaller, and I'm told that it's rather romantic.  I like the theme for the most part, except for those shiny green plastic alligators.  There's also the beignets, of course.  On the other hand, I really like the Magnolia Bends section of Riverside, and I like the pool theme better than French Quarter.  I don't like the theme of the Alligator Bayou section, however, and I'm not sure I'd want to stay there.  I know you can't be guaranteed a section, but I would request Magnolia Bends at this resort.  Riverside also has Yeeha Bob and a table service restaurant, though I'm not sure we would use it.  It's also much bigger, and from what I understand, it's possible to be around 15 minutes distance from your room to a bus stop or pool or food court.  I'm not sure which resort has better transportation, since we won't be having a car.  Also, both resorts have boat service to Downtown Disney, a huge plus when park hours are short.  And guests at either resort could use the facilities at the other.  Thus, I am stumped.

And that's why you're here, faithful readers!  Do you think it's worth it to upgrade from a value to a moderate?  And which moderate would you choose?  Riverside, French Quarter, or another moderate altogether?  Let me know what you think (and why!) in a comment, a tweet (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook! 

This post is part of the seventh Disney Blog Carnival.  Click the link to see more great Disney articles!


  1. I vote POFQ (but I <3 either resort):
    One bus stop-much more efficient, and better. Making all those stops at POR, esp. if it's cold (remember the sleety marathon this year?, is not fun (IMO)
    I've never wanted a ts (esp. given it's only open for dinner) while @ pofq
    I loved YeeHaw Bob, but you can easily boat your way to/from POR, or walk.
    Boat to DTD is awesome!
    You can see parts of Wishes from POFQ building 5

  2. My first trip to WDW, I stayed at a moderate, Coronado Springs. My most recent trip, I stayed at the All Star Music.

    For me, the cost difference isn't worth it. The rooms were comparable in size, the amenities were the same (in my opinion) and both rooms were equally as comfy.

    The two major plus' that I saw to Coronado Springs as apposed to All Star Music is 1) The amount of kids, especially in the swimming pools and 2) the location of the bus stop to our resort room.

    The amount of kids thing might not bother some people, but if you're looking for a more romantic trip, then maybe this is a better option.

    As for the bus location, this was a BIG plus. The bus stop at Coronado Springs was right near our resort room (about a minute walk). At All Star Music, we were in the Country Fair building area, so we had to walk 10-15 minutes.

    For mine and my BFs next trip, I want to consider CBR or POFQ, but don't get me wrong, I'm with you, I LOVED ASMu. I think the major factor to take into consideration is: how much time will you actually be spending at the resort? For the 2ish hours I spent at the pool twice at the All Star Music, it was just fine for me :)

    Hope this helps! :)

  3. Hedy, I think I'm leaning toward POFQ, but I'm not positive yet. Thanks for the tips!

    Kim, yeah, I'm thinking in January we'll be spending more time at the resort because the parks aren't open as long. It's one of the reason's I'm leaning toward a moderate.

  4. I feel the bus service is MUCH better at the moderate resorts. Most times the stops at two or three value resorts is very time consuming when your hot and tired. Once we rented a car and realized the difference in sitting on a bus for 30-45 minutes two or three time a day makes.

  5. Interesting, I'll keep that in mind. Thanks!

  6. Funny, I'm headed for my first time at ASmu, so I'm glad to see you recommended that one as a value. And thanks for heads-up on the bus transportation issues at the values, William!

    I've stayed at POR and POFQ. I definitely agree that you should choose Magnolia Bends over Alligator Bayou if you choose POR. We stayed in AB in January (Marathon Weekend) to try something new. Nice enough landscaping in the area, but the rooms/buildings aren't built for romance. MB is more in lines with that.

    Me, though, I love POFQ. I like the smaller resort, although I didn't find POR to be THAT big & unmanageable, even after running a marathon.

    Still, a smaller resort may be good for bus transport times. And POFQ is so close to the beignets that it just calls out for a breakfast in bed moment. Or heck, the location just calls out for the beignets themselves. :)

    So I don't think you can go wrong with either POR – MB or POFQ. Like others have said, there's the boat to DTD and Yeeha Bob, etc. Don't forget about the carriage rides.

    Let us know what you choose!

  7. Woah woah... did I read may be too cold to use a hottub??! I live near Toronto, Ontario and the hot tub ONLY gets used in the winter time. There's nothing better than sitting in a nice hot tub while a nice snow is falling around you. You haven't lived till you've run in the freezing winter in a bathing suit and bare feet into the steaming tub! haha

    I've only ever done value, and even then that's a splurge from the usual off-site places we stay at. Maybe I'll change my mind when I have a real job and more money, and kids (which would be when the extra room would be extra useful I'm sure), but for now it's not worth that extra money for us- especially since I'm rarely ever in my room or at the hotel.

    If I were to go to the moderate, it would def be one of the Port Orleans just based on reviews, I can't even remember the last time I heard someone recommend a moderate that WASN'T port orleans. I'm not sure which one though, and opinions seem to differ!

  8. Debra, I love ASMu! And I'm glad you recommend Port Orleans! I hope to be able to swing the extra cost!

    Angela, lol, very true about the hot tub! As for hardly being in the room, though, someone told me that you naturally spend more time at the resort when you're staying at a resort that you really want to be at.

  9. Amanda, I can't help too much as I've only stayed on property at ASSp and at the Dolphin (though if someone you know is a Starwood Prefered Card holder Swan/Dolphin might be something to consider. Or know anyone who works for Starwood? Friend/Family discounts can be huge especially in a low season like January) but I was considering splurging on a moderate I was considering only the Port Orleans resorts. I had the same thoughts as you POFQ or the MB side of POR... So I guess that didn't really help at all did it?

  10. Lol, well I hoped the comments helped you decide!

  11. You know, you're probably right Amanda. I think if I were going to be spending more money on a hotel room, I would spend more time at the hotel just to get my moneys worth as well.

    On my trip in August we're using my bf's mom's timeshare for two weeks, but we had to book it a week at the time and ended up with one day inbetween where we needed to stay elsewhere. Since it's just ONE night and his mom isn't making us pay a dime for the stay, we decided to treat her (and us) to one night at the Beach Club using the 40% off deal. The day we get there we intend on not leaving the hotel at all!

  12. That's awesome! I'd do the same!

  13. January/February is a great time of the year to stay in a moderate. Disney usually always offers some great percentage discounts off room rates, or a buy 4 get 3 offer, something like that. Last year I was able to take advantage of a 40% off moderate resort during value season the second week of February, and the cost ended up being the same as the regular rate for value hotels, around $82/night. So a great deal! Also keep in mind if you book now, you can re-book using any discounts that Disney may start offering.

  14. Yup, we're probably going to book a bounceback, but that could be cancelled and rebooked if something better comes out!