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What would you do? - Value verses Moderate Resorts

CarterFamilyof11

New Member
Original Poster
So here's my situation. We got a lot of kids and not a lot of money lol. Well, I mean, obviously enough to go to Disney but I need to stick to a budget. We have made it a tradition to take a child on a solo trip to Disneyworld for their 16th birthday. It's their sweet 16 present. (and who I am I kidding? Another excuse for me to go to Disney! Heehee!) My daughter and I are flying down the last week of January. We can go for 5 days and do the quick service plan if we stay at a moderate resort (I love love Riverside, but we are considering the new GDT at Coronado maybe). However, if we stay at a value resort - we can go for 7 days, do the upgraded dining plan and possibly even a dessert party or afterhours party. I havent stayed at one of the All-Stars in literally over a decade but a friend just came back and was super regretful she stayed at one and that has me second guessing my decision to even consider one. But I want some seasoned WDW-ers to weigh in and tell me whether or not they'd choose the shorter stay at a moderate or the longer stay at an all-star. This daughters last trip was in 2016 when the entire family went and we stayed at Pop then. Her only request is we stay some place she hasnt stayed before. (She's been to Pop, Caribbean Beach, and Swan and Dolphin.) With a new wave of promotionals being released next month for our booking window, I want to nail down the specifics now. Thank you in advance for your time :)
 

Queen of the WDW Screne

Well-Known Member
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I've stayed at all 5 value resorts, 2 mods (POR in RR and CSR), and 1 deluxe (splurged a r=few weeks ago stayed CL with TPV at CR).

I will say that I'm not a mod/deluxe snob.
There are some pros that I enjoy but overall I prefer values especially for theme, music, and transportation efficiency.

All Star Music would be my least favorite of the values
Then to people's horror AOA is my second least favorite.

If staying value I recommend POP as my number one choice and All Star Movies as my second choice.

All Star Sports is in the middle as I don't love it or hate it. Its a pretty ok resort and when the All Star resorts do share buses Sports is the first pick up.

I would definitely recommend dropping down to a value if it means more days, upgraded dining plan, and potentially extras like a dessert party or pay to play event.
 

JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
It depends on what you will value the most. Staying at the value resort gives you more park days and more time with your daughter to enjoy the time and give you both more experiences. Thats what I personally would do. I'd take the less comfort and make a better trip of it. Any time I can wrangle more days I will. But I dont spend lots of time at the resort. I do prefer the better resorts, especially over the all stars, but it will shorten the trip. You can do a lot with the extra 2 days. Go with the better resort in the future when its more within your budget.
 

CaptainAmerica

Premium Member
Step 1: Skip the dining plan. There's zero chance it's a good value for your family. You likely have young kids who aren't getting their money's worth on the kid's DDP and "Disney adults" (over 10 but under 21) who aren't getting their money's worth on the adult DDP, especially now that the adult DDP includes alcohol.

The DDP can "work" for some families, but it's a very bad decision for yours.
 

Mainahman

Well-Known Member
we always end up at POP. One we love the place. Its disney to us, and 2 were never actually at the resort so why pay for more, when we can spend that on something in the parks, or a longer stay.
 

WDWmazprty

Well-Known Member
Definitely go with the longer stay in a value. Our go to is Pop Century, its our favorite. We are always on a budget when we're at Disney and frankly we're not in the hotel room much anyway. Of course we thoroughly enjoy the resort and so we don't really feel we miss anything by being in a value. Our focus is enjoying the parks and staying as long as we can. Frankly the difference between staying at a Value and a Moderate isn't that huge to us and we are perfectly happy at Pop. I doubt your family will say at the end of the trip that they wished they would've stayed at a moderate resort instead, lol. Spending time at the parks together and experiencing Disney there will overshadow any doubts of the resorts. Go with the longer stay and upgraded plan.
 

Dave Ber

Well-Known Member
Step 1: Skip the dining plan. There's zero chance it's a good value for your family. You likely have young kids who aren't getting their money's worth on the kid's DDP and "Disney adults" (over 10 but under 21) who aren't getting their money's worth on the adult DDP, especially now that the adult DDP includes alcohol.

The DDP can "work" for some families, but it's a very bad decision for yours.
I think she said she is just taking her 16 year old daughter
 
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CarterFamilyof11

New Member
Original Poster
Yes the trip in January is just myself and my soon to be 16 year old daughter. Do you feel the bus transportation runs fairly quickly at value resorts? I went back in May with only my sister to Riverside and the bus transportation was so insanely slow we ended up Ubering several times to avoid 45 minute-1 hour trips back to our room. I want to avoid that if possible on this trip, too. I like to buy the dining plans for trips like this because it allows me to prepay the entire trip ahead of time. Plus, we have 2 daughters turning 16 next year so I have another Sweet 16 trip in September I have to book as soon as we get back from this on. (Crossing fingers for free disney dining or a sweet bounceback for that trip.)
 

Hula Baloo

Member
I personally do not enjoy staying at the value resorts. However, you said you can stay an additional two days if you stay at a value. That right there would make me choose Art of Animation so I could stay longer. It will also have the Skyliner at the time of your visit.
 

WDWmazprty

Well-Known Member
Yes the trip in January is just myself and my soon to be 16 year old daughter. Do you feel the bus transportation runs fairly quickly at value resorts? I went back in May with only my sister to Riverside and the bus transportation was so insanely slow we ended up Ubering several times to avoid 45 minute-1 hour trips back to our room. I want to avoid that if possible on this trip, too. I like to buy the dining plans for trips like this because it allows me to prepay the entire trip ahead of time. Plus, we have 2 daughters turning 16 next year so I have another Sweet 16 trip in September I have to book as soon as we get back from this on. (Crossing fingers for free disney dining or a sweet bounceback for that trip.)


Good thing about Pop is that it has its own buses. They don't share with the other value resorts. Of course, if its busy at the parks, it really won't matter which resort you stay at for transportation.
 

Wendy Pleakley

Well-Known Member
I would go for the longer stay, if these were my personal options.

I love the moderate resorts, but only if I have some time to actually spend at the hotel. With five days, I would be hard pressed to justify 20% of my trip being a resort day.

I'd prefer the longer stay, especially if it meant an After Hours party. You can still spend time time visiting other resorts. Coronado is a lovely resort to just stroll around.

Buying gift cards is a popular way to pre-pay for things without committing to the dining plan.
 

Worldlover71

Well-Known Member
Since others are advocating for the value resorts, I will play devil's advocate and argue for one of the moderates. Here is my reasoning.

1. You have said that both you and your daughter have been to WDW several times and that are very likely to go again in the future. Because of this, I feel the length of the stay is less important for you than for someone who is going on a once in a lifetime trip. Many of us wish we could stay longer but, knowing you will be back always cushions the blow. You are there to make memories with your daughter but staying in a more upscale resort with more amenities might make for some memories of equal value to those you would make on a longer trip.

2. My last three trips were very short (48 hours of less) and I stayed at Pop, ASMo & ASMu. For trips of this length, I found the value resorts perfectly acceptable. I had little time at the resort and found the decor and amenities were all I needed. However, on my longer stays, I have stayed at moderates (CBR & POFQ). I feel that when I am there longer, I prefer the more relaxing settings of the moderates as well as the added amenities, even if I do not use them much. A few minutes in a hot tub or a thematically themed landscape as you walk to the bus each day can indeed make a difference.

3. The transportation to and from the parks should not be a factor in your decision. I have not found a significant time difference between values and moderates.

4. Whichever resort you decide on, it is highly unlikely the meal plan will work in your favor. It is almost always better to pay out of pocket or, as someone suggested, with prepaid gift cards. Similarly, I do not find that the dessert parties are a good value. Look carefully at what you actually get for your money before you reserve one. I have a feeling that by skipping the dessert parties and not using the meal plan, you might actually be able to get six days instead of five.
 

Queen of the WDW Screne

Well-Known Member
Step 1: Skip the dining plan. There's zero chance it's a good value for your family. You likely have young kids who aren't getting their money's worth on the kid's DDP and "Disney adults" (over 10 but under 21) who aren't getting their money's worth on the adult DDP, especially now that the adult DDP includes alcohol.

The DDP can "work" for some families, but it's a very bad decision for yours.
Seems like you saw "dining plan" and focused on that instead of reading the whole post and answering OP's question.
 

Queen of the WDW Screne

Well-Known Member
Yes the trip in January is just myself and my soon to be 16 year old daughter. Do you feel the bus transportation runs fairly quickly at value resorts? I went back in May with only my sister to Riverside and the bus transportation was so insanely slow we ended up Ubering several times to avoid 45 minute-1 hour trips back to our room. I want to avoid that if possible on this trip, too. I like to buy the dining plans for trips like this because it allows me to prepay the entire trip ahead of time. Plus, we have 2 daughters turning 16 next year so I have another Sweet 16 trip in September I have to book as soon as we get back from this on. (Crossing fingers for free disney dining or a sweet bounceback for that trip.)
Values have the most efficient transportation in my opinion.

You'll likely find a room discount BB. But FD may already be released for September before you even go on your January trip.
 

Dave Ber

Well-Known Member
If they are going to eat good every night, do a character buffet and eat a lot of snacks, especially if they are soda drinkers, how can you say the plan will not work, makes no sense without asking what their eating styles are like
 

wendysue

Well-Known Member
I personally do not enjoy staying at the value resorts. However, you said you can stay an additional two days if you stay at a value. That right there would make me choose Art of Animation so I could stay longer. It will also have the Skyliner at the time of your visit.
Art of Animation shouldn't even be classified as a VALUE resort...unless you take the rooms 1/2 mile away form the bus stop and food court.
 

ladydi

Active Member
I agree that the dining plan is a waste. We went this summer for the first time without a “free dining” plan. Ate at a sit down every day and had snacks whenever we wanted. With three teens (and two that were 17 year old boys!) we saved several hundred dollars paying out of pocket. I brought cash that I had saved but doing gift cards instead is a great idea.
 
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