Pools & Recreation at Disney's Moderate Resorts
Mid-level hotels provide special touches
Friday, June 25, 2004
By Sue Holland , staff writer
Photo by Sue Holland.
Disney's moderate resorts fill the gap between their traditional
deluxe resorts that come with many amenities and a price tag
higher than most hotels and resorts in the area, and the value
resorts that compete with the cheaper motels found offsite. While there
are more similarities to the value resorts than the deluxe resorts, this
moderate class does have some amenities not found at the All-Stars and
There are four moderate resortsCaribbean Beach Resort, Port Orleans
French Quarter, Port Orleans Riverside and Coronado Springs. French Quarter
has approximately 1,000 guest rooms, while the other three have approximately
2,000 rooms. As a comparison, the All-Stars have 2,000 rooms each, Pop
Century has 2,500, and the deluxe resorts each have approximately 1,000
The main pool at Caribbean Beach Resort. Photo by Sue Holland.
One feature that sets these resorts apart from the value resorts is the
addition of a water slide at the main swimming pools. At Caribbean Beach
Resort the main pool area is themed as a pirate's fort, complete with
cannons. The pool itself is large and sprawling, with waterfalls as well
as a short water slide that is popular with both children and adults.
The water slide at all of these resorts is only open while the lifeguards
are on duty, but for most of the year those hours are quite extensive.
This main pool area is also home to the kiddie pool, a pool bar, and a
Quiet pool in the Martinique section of Caribbean Beach Resort. Photo
by Sue Holland.
At Caribbean Beach Resort, the rooms are separated into six distinct
villages, each named for a different Caribbean island. Each village has
its own quiet pool with no lifeguard or slide, a beach for sunning but
not swimming, and, in half of the villages, a playground set up right
on the beach. Although Parrot Cay Island, in the center of the resort,
is no longer home for several birds, it is still a pleasant place to walk
Port Orleans French Quarter pool. Photo by Sue Holland.
Port Orleans French Quarter is unique in that it is the smallest resort
of the group, and is not augmented with any quiet pools. However, the
pool area here is quite large, and seems to accommodate guests well. Anyone
staying at French Quarter is also free to use the several pools at Port
Orleans Riverside, which is not quite as convenient as being at the other
resorts but is a nice compromise.
Port Orleans French Quarter is home to the most unusual pool of the group,
with a large sea serpent extending throughout the area. The water slide
is actually the serpent's tongue, and is quite popular with children.
This slide is also the shortest of the four, so true thrillseekers may
be disappointed. There are Mardi Gras-themed statues located throughout
the pool area, making it all very attractive and festive. However, it's
large enough that a quiet spot can be found. A playground is located right
near the pool, just past the pool bar and guest laundry buildings.
Port Orleans Riverside main pool. Photo by Sue Holland.
Just up the river a short distance is Port Orleans Riverside, which was
formerly named Dixie Landings. Here the main pool area is on an island
at the center of the resort, and is named Ole Man Island. It is themed
to be fairly rustic, with a wooden bridge, water slide and a free-form
shape. There are lots of trees here, making shade a possibility. The Muddy
Rivers Pool Bar is nearby and has a number of nice wooden rocking chairs
on a shaded deck. The playground and kiddie pool are nearby, and Ole Man
Island is fairly convenient to all rooms due to its central location.
The food court is not far away, making lunch by the pool quite easy.
One of the quiet pools at Port Orleans Riverside. Photo by Sue Holland.
In addition to the main pool, Port Orleans Riverside is also home to
five more quiet pools. The Magnolia Bend section consists of four large
buildings, and there is a nice pool located between the first two and
the last two. The Alligator Bayou section consists of several smaller
buildings and is home to three smaller and more rustic pools. All of the
pools are attractive, and can be a great place to escape to with a good
book if you are looking for a break from the hectic pace of the theme
At Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter it is possible
to rent a horse-drawn carriage for a ride around the resorts in the evening.
This is also available at the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. The
two Port Orleans resorts also share boat transportation between each other
and to Downtown Disney, on what's called the Sassagoula River. Disney
buses are also available, but the boat always feels more fun!
Coronado Springs main pool. Photo by Sue Holland.
Coronado Springs is the newest of the moderate resorts and has a few
amenities not found at the others. This resort has a large convention
center and as such, needs to compete for business in that market. Coronado
Springs is the only moderate resort with a fitness center, beauty salon,
and room service (beyond pizza). It is also home to the pool with the
longest water slide of the four moderates, and the largest whirlpool spa
whirlpool on Disney property.
Located in the center of the lake, the main pool area is named the Dig
Site. In addition to the very large main pool featuring water running
down the side of a pyramid, there is also a large playground, pool bar
that also serves food, a second arcade, volleyball court, and a nature
trail. The whirlpool spa seats 22 people at a time, and is worth seeing.
Use of the pools and spa are limited to those registered guests staying
at Coronado Springs.
Quiet pool in the Casitas section of Coronado Springs Resort. Photo by
Coronado Springs has three distinct sections, each with its own theme.
Casitas is the urban area, with mostly four-story buildings and good proximity
to the convention center. Ranchos is furthest away, with two-story buildings
and an arid desert theme. Cabanas are the beach/coastal lodgings, located
near the main pool and the main building as well. While the building exteriors
vary, the rooms and amenities do not.
Disney used to provide bus transportation between Coronado Springs and
the Boardwalk, but that has been discontinued. To get there now will require
a bus transfer at one of the theme parks or Downtown Disney.
Beaches can be found at Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs. Photo by
Each moderate resort has at least one playground for young children,
either located on a beach or near the main pool. At all four moderate
resorts there is at least one video arcade, and room service that is limited
to mostly pizza delivery (except at Coronado Springs). Each resort has
a marina with several types of boats available for rental by the hour
or half-hour. Guests do not need to be staying at the particular resort
in order rent these items, but a resort identification card or driver's
license will be required. Bicycles can also be rented, along with complimentary
helmets for the children, and infant seats if needed. Surrey bikes seating
four to six passengers are always popular, and since the moderate resorts
tend to be built along or around water, a network of paved paths provides
enough distance to cover in a rental period.
Surrey bikes can be rented at Coronado Springs and the other moderate
resorts. Photo by Sue Holland.
Unlike the value resorts, each moderate has an indoor cocktail lounge,
which may include live entertainment in the evenings. With the exception
of Port Orleans French Quarter, they each also have a full-service restaurant
that is open for breakfast and dinner. Having an option besides the food
court can come in handy, especially without a car to travel easily to
the deluxe resorts. Prices at the full-service restaurants here tend to
be lower than those at the deluxe resorts as well.
While the moderate resorts may not have all the amenities found at the
other resorts, they tend to have more than would be found at non-Disney
hotels in the area, and they are a bit nicer than Disney's value resorts.
Whichever one you choose, you can count on it being clean, attractive
and full of Disney details and theming.
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Sue here.
Sue has been hooked on Walt Disney World since
her first visit in 1972 with her parents and younger brother. She kept returning
more frequently until she moved to Florida in 1986.
After joining the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) in
1997, she now visits almost monthly. She also spends time at
the DVC's non-WDW locations, and is experienced with the Disney cruise ships.
She takes many of these trips on her own, but
she's also toured WDW with large groups of people, including families, the elderly,
and people with disabilities.
She works as the Administrative Services Division Head
for a large residential facility administered by the Florida Department of Children
and Families. She currently resides in Southwest Florida with her teenage son.
Sue is one of our most prolific trip report writers.
Read her trip report archive here.
You can contact Sue here.
Get the latest info about the resort at Park
Update: Walt Disney World.