I have done the exact opposite. As a whole family we stayed Deluxe since we have 5 people, Poly, CR, BLT and BC. This was before AOA was built. This summer I took my kids alone and stayed at POR and POP.
In terms of quality, I was impressed with both POR and POP. I actually think that the Royal room at POR is the nicest room I’ve ever stayed in. POP was okay but a little tired and worn.
Since we have 5 in the family, those rooms are not options for us but even if they were, I can’t imagine more than 2 in a room at POP. I think 4 at POR would be okay but the extra space in a Deluxe room would be nice.
I completely agree that location is the biggest advantage to the Deluxe resorts. We don’t find ourselves eating at resort restaurants that often so that didn’t have as much impact.
My kids prefer the water slides at the deluxe resorts but again that is not a big deal.
I was equally impressed with all types of hotels in terms of the feel of the resort. My son said POP didn’t feel like a value. Everything is so bright and cheerful. It’s just well done.
So there’s my long answer. I think size of room and location are the biggest advantage to Deluxe. If I ever go again with a subset of the family, I’d stay value or mod again. I hope that helps. Good luck and have a great trip.