There are perks, benefits and drawbacks to each of the hotels in any category at WDW.
Coronado is the newest of the moderates. Personally, I think they have the best pool between the other moderate hotel choices. I also prefer the layout of Coronado and Caribbean Beach to the other two choices. The drawback is definitely eating. You can figure that out if you go there!
Caribbean Beach was recently renovated. The rooms are the biggest of the four hotels. I prefer the food court at Caribbean vs. the other four (except the don’t take the dining experience which is a drawback for me). The hotel also features a sitdown restaurant open from 5pm to midnight. Landscape wise, Caribbean Beach is beautiful. Caribbean Cay is a wonderful place to checkout and lounge around in. Also, they have a pool bar that is open 'til midnight… That’s one of the biggest perks! The drawback is the small pool and waterslide. Oh well, that gets rehabbed in '08.
POFQ is my least favorite of the moderates. It is smaller and has a more intimate feeling to it (which a lot of people prefer). When I say FQ is my least favorite, it is still a wonderful resort; so don’t take me wrong! They share a lot with Riverside which is kinda cool. The pool is nicer than Caribbean Beach, but (to me) nowhere near as nice as Coronado or even Riverside. Food court only here, no sitdown restaurant since Bonfamille closes years and years ago. Even though it’s my least favorite, I’d highly recommend staying at the resort! It is a pretty resort and I like the New Orleans atmosphere, but I do prefer the other three.
Riverside, last but not least! I love Riverside. I prefer Coronado, but stay at Riverside more often (go figure!). The pool is nice, has a waterfall, and is big! Riverside is a huge resort, they also offer horse drawn carriage rides that are great for the romantics! Boatwrights is the biggest perk and one of the best breakfast restaurants on WDW property. Layout wise, the resort is big and features the mansions and bayou areas. It’s a beautiful resort, but doesn’t compare to Coronado or Caribbean Beach. Still, I love Riverside and stay there often.
All the moderates offer virtually the same thing. Each resort has a food court, pool with hot tubs and waterslides and are a nice step up from the value resorts. The question of which one is a matter of personal preference. Riverside gives you a full service restaurant for breakfast and dinner. Caribbean Beach gives you a full service restaurant for dinner only, plus a pretty sweet pool bar! French Quarter give the most intimacy and less rooms for better transportation (not mentioned above). Coronado is the newest and has the nicest waterslide which makes it my favorite pool.
So, my suggestion is to stay at them all! I really enjoy staying at a different hotel each time we visit. We never do the same thing twice. Variety is the spice of life, so they say! If you haven’t stayed at AKL and that is a viable option… I’d definitely stay there over the moderates. In the moderate Category, I don’t know where the bad reviews are coming from. Coronado is a very nice resort. CBR is probably the outcast, and I have read more negative reviews recently about that resort. We just stayed there at the begining of Oct and was very happy. My recommendation goes to Coronado Springs first, Riverside second, CBR third and I wouldn’t even consider FQ as you recently stayed there. There’s my two cents! Sorry for the novel, but I hope it helps out in some small way!!!