I love the moderate resorts. I hate to shell out money for expensive digs when all I do is sleep there. I'm a parks kind of gal...so most of our waking time is spent riding rides and seeing shows. We love Port Orleans Resort...have stayed at French Quarter and Riverside (formerly Dixie Landings). Love the fact that Downtown Disney is just a boat ride away. We have also stayed at the All-Star Sports value resort. It was OK, but the bus service was iffy.
Debi,I find if I'm going to go for a more inexpensive hotel, I'm better off getting the Hilton or one of the other Lake Buena Vista hotels within walking distance of Downtown Disney. (Ragland Road!) Often you can get a room for under a hundred bucks, so you actually get more hotel for less cash. (Although it's not Disney themed.)For first or second or even third trips to Disney, I totally agree that you'll want to spend more time in the parks than at the hotel. But my family and I are at the point now that we get to the park right when it opens, hit our fave rides, eat lunch and actually get back to the hotel a bit early to lounge by the pool, kick around in the sand, etc.
The only problem with the Lake Buena Vista hotels is that you can't get in for extra-magic hours unless you're staying at one of the official Disney resorts. When I say that I am a parks kind of gal...I mean it...I am at the gates when they open and I close the park down as well. Very rarely will I slow down to sit around the pool. Well, not unless I have a killer book to read, LOL! After being at WDW 30 times in the past 35 years...I pretty much have navigating each park down to an art.Remind me to buy you a beer at Bouchercon.
Debi,I'll admit I hadn't thought about the extra magic hours. My family and I are not late night people, but we do like to get there right when the gates open, and an extra hour in the morning is a nice head start.I admire your energy, but if I didn't have some lounge-around-the-pool time to recharge my batteries, I wouldn't be worth much the next day.
Your son is adorable, so I'm going to take his word that the Polynesian is awesome. (I've always wanted to stay there, but never have for some reason. Why do I always forget about the Polynesian??)I've stayed at the Animal Kingdom and loved it. Beautiful grounds, nice rooms, great restaurants, lots to do, but feels so very far away from where we want to be. (Magic Kingdom & Epcot.)I've also stayed at the Port Orleans and it was nice enough. The pool was awesome for little kids, at the time I had a 2 year old and a 4 year old, so the kiddie pool situation was a win for our family. I don't think I'd spend that money again for all the schlepping we still had to do though.Has anyone out there stayed at the Grand Floridian? It's another Disney property I've been wanting to stay at...Can anyone compare the Polynesian vs Grand Floridian? Just curious about the pros and cons of each.
Shelly,The Grand Floridian is very comfortable and all that, but I found the decor a little too prissy for my tastes. But they do have a spa if that's your kind of thing, and a couple of good places to eat. My wife and I had a very good meal at Citricos.