Re: Moderate now or Deluxe later?
It is a tough one. I say it depends on how much time you spend at the resort. Beach is just beautiful and if you hang at the hotel a chunk of time, it maybe waiting for.
I've stayed at all levels, Pop just once. We have stayed at multiple deluxe hotels, always during our short trips. Our long trips have always been at the Moderates, most trips we have gone the moderate route.
There was nothing wrong with Pop. It was nice and clean but the theming of the hotels is so far from my taste in resorts at Disney or anywhere. The rooms are very tight and frankly I found the bus service to be about the worst we've endured at park closing times. I found Pop to be a great idea if you actually opened and closed the parks and literally just crashed there. While the main pool is huge it lacks theming beyond paint IMO.
Me, I'd go for the moderate but I have tried to deliberately avoid the deluxe hotels most of the time because they really take a hit into our vacation dollars and I just don't think it is necessary. Now many could make the same argument about value to moderate.
Some people are like Slinkies.
They aren't really good for anything,
but they still bring a smile to my face when I push them down a flight of stairs.
Friends are Gods way of apologizing to us for our families.