Disney prides itself on having a hotel to fit any budget. Remember that within these categories prices vary according to the time of year you vacation. The prices quoted in any Disney literature are usually the rack rate and do not delineate seasons.
The Value resorts are the cheapest in price and offer the least amenities. They are bright and colorful and offer themes such as toys from your childhood in POP century, 101 Dalmatians in All-Star Movies, Broadway in All-Star Music and Baseball in All-Star Sports. Each hotel has a food court, 2 pools, an arcade and gift shop. These rooms offer 2 full size beds and will accomodate 4 people. If you have more than four people to room you may try one of their Family Suites or you have to go up to a Moderate or Deluxe Resort. Family Suites are two rooms that have been joined at the Value Resorts with a queen sized bed in one room, a pull-out couch and a fold-out chair in the other room. There is also a small kitchen area with a microwave, coffee maker and sink. There are also two bathrooms within the suites. Each resort has a counter service food court, two pools and one bus stop for Walt Disney World transportation. These rooms are meant to be functional for guests who plan most of their time in the parks or at the pools.
The Moderate Resorts are slightly higher priced and offer more amenities than the value resorts with slightly larger rooms. Most have several themed pools, food court, table service restaurant and gift shop. These resorts tend to be more spread out with more bus stops for those taking Walt Disney World transportation to the parks. The design of the hotels try to make you feel less crowded and industrial than the Value Resort hotels. There are usually only 2 floors per hotel so you can feel like you are in your own little corner of Port Orleans or Trinidad and Tobago.
The Deluxe resorts are the premium of WDW hotels. They offer the most amenities such as beach views, counter service restaurants, one or two table service restaurants per hotel, gift shops, concierge services, turn down services and child care options. A wider array of transportation options are available depending on the resort such as boat service, monorail service or you are within walking distance depending on the hotel and the park you are attending.
Off-site options are also available but in our experience we love staying right on Disney property. It gives you access to Extra Magic Hours (EMH) where on certain days parks are open an hour early or stay open three hours later for resort guests. To gain access to the rides during EMH you will need to show each persons room key. Also, the magic surrounds you 24 hours a day. You may find a towel animal on your bed when you return from the parks or your children’s stuffed animals artfully arranged in your window. The magic is there if you just keep your eyes and heart open to it.