HOTELS,  TIPS & INFO

Staying at an All-Star Value Resort – The Pros and Cons

Are you considering a vacation to Walt Disney World? The planning process can be daunting, there are so many decisions to be made. Deciding which hotel is best for you and your family for your visit is one of them.

There are several factors that are considered when choosing a hotel, but one of the main deciding factors is price. Are you on a budget? Are you looking for no frills? Is a hotel simply someplace to put your head down at night and get a decent night sleep? Then the All-Star Value Resorts might be the right choice for you!

There are 3 All-Star Value Resorts at Walt Disney World to choose from; All-Star Movies, All-Star Music and All-Star Sports. All hotels were built in the 1990’s and are part of the Animal Kingdom Resort Area.

I have been vacationing at Walt Disney World for over 30 years and for the vast majority of those trips, I have opted to stay at one of the All-Star Value Resorts. Why? In most cases, it was the most economical choice, while still reaping the benefits of staying on the Walt Disney World Resort property (which happens to be one of my pros!). But there are some downsides to staying at an All-Star Resort as well. Now, these are somewhat subjective and based on personal likes, dislikes and lifestyle, but some of these I have not seen on other pros/cons lists for Walt Disney World Resort hotels, so I thought it would be a good time to share them. In my opinion, none of them are earth shattering, but if important to you, could sway you one way or another in your decision and ultimately play a part in your overall vacation experience.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into my unique list of pros and cons!

PROS

10. Low Cost/Low Budget

Without a doubt, price plays a BIG factor for many when choosing a hotel. There are over 25 hotels on property at Walt Disney World (and more on the way!), and the Value Resorts specifically the All-Star Resorts are the most economical per night. Rooms will generally start at $99/night, depending on the time of year you are visiting. Hotel rates are based on date/time of visit. If you are on a budget, the All-Star Value Resorts are a great choice!

9. Preferred Room Options

One of the nicest perks of staying at an All-Star Resort is the option to upgrade your room to a Preferred Room. The average cost of the room will increase with this option (average increase of $25/night), but in my opinion, it’s worth it. I recently opted for this upgrade and if I ever stayed at an All-Star again, I would ensure I had a Preferred Room.

The Preferred Room guarantees your assigned room is within very close proximity to the Stadium Hall, Dining, Shopping and Transportation. 

Note: If you choose a standard room, you will be assigned a room in a building further away from the bus stops and dining hall. Allow yourself a few extra minutes in the morning to walk to these locations, especially if you are walking to the bus to get to one of the parks.

8. Exceptional Theming

All-Star Resorts were definitely built with kids in mind! If you are looking for sophistication and a more adult-themed hotel, don’t choose the All-Star Value Resorts. One of the coolest features of the resorts are the life-size statues all over the resort. Each building at each of the All-Star Music, Sports and Movies Resorts represents a different decor aligned with the overall theme.

For example, at the All-Star Music Resort, you will find buildings representing different music types such as Calypso, Jazz, Rock, Country, and Broadway. At the All-Star Sports Resort, you will find buildings representing football, baseball, surfing, and basketball! And finally, at the All-Star Movie Resort, you’ll find buildings representing classic Disney movies such as 101 Dalmatians, Toy Story, Fantasia, The Mighty Ducks, and Herbie: The Love Bug.

Feel free to visit all of the resorts, walk around, take pictures and enjoy the larger than life statues and decor!

7. Amazon Prime Deliveries

The All-Star Resorts accept Amazon Prime regular and Same-Day deliveries (2-hour delivery windows available). All of the hotels on property do, but it’s great that the Value Resorts are included as well!

Order your groceries from the Amazon Now app or website and pick up your order right outside the main entrance of the hotel. When I used this service in June (2019), there was no additional service fee. I understood that there was a $6 service fee, although I was not charged one. I ordered snacks and a few cases of water to keep in the hotel room. Water is expensive at the parks, you can save a lot of money by ordering through Amazon and having it delivered to your hotel. If you order perishable goods, they’ll even keep them refrigerated or frozen for you!

6. Resort Perks

No matter if you are staying at the most expensive hotel on property or you choose one of the All-Star Resort hotels, you still receive the same benefits and resort perks! You’ll enjoy free WiFi, Extra Magic Hours, Movie Under the Stars, MagicBands and complimentary shuttle/bus service to all 4 theme parks, 2 water parks and Disney Springs! You also get to make your FP+ reservations 60 days in advance of your vacation.

CONS

5. Small Rooms and Bathrooms

The rooms are small at the All-Star Resorts. They do accommodate 4-5 adults depending on the type of room you book, but overall the square footage of the room is smaller than an average room in a Moderate or Deluxe hotel. If you need extra space, this may not be a great option for you. It does get a bit tight.

The bathroom area is also much smaller as well. Included is your standard shower and toilet (which can be closed off by a door), the sink is outside (and separate) from that area, but overall the space is small and it can be hard to maneuver. It is also worth noting (because it happens to be important to me), there is only 1 sink in the bathroom at the All-Star Value Resorts. I know for some that does not make a difference, but in Moderate and Deluxe resorts, there are double (2) sinks in the bathroom. And because there is only 1 sink, there is also less counter space, making it more difficult to spread out all of your toiletries and bath accessories. If there are several adults in the room, this can be challenging.

I happen to travel often with my mom or my best friend, so with multiple women in the room, there is inevitably lots of products on the counter tops! This is seemingly minor, but I prefer a room with a double sink and space for all of my things!

4. Lesser Quality Beds

One of the most notable differences in the Value Resorts compared to the Moderate or Deluxe Resorts are the beds. If you are used to or hoping for a comfy, cushiony, pillow top hotel bed, you will not find that here. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t horrible, but they aren’t the most comfortable either.

3. No Coffee Makers!

Ok, so this might be frivolous and down right picky, BUT, I LOVE my morning coffee. Know that if you stay at an All-Star Resort, there are no coffee makers in the rooms. You can always buy coffee at the dining hall, but I like to drink my coffee as I’m getting ready, so that option does require you to get up, get dressed and go and get it!

When I travel with my best friend, she is gracious enough to pack a mini/portable coffee pot in her suitcase. We bring coffee, creamer and cups so we can enjoy our morning coffee while we are getting ready for a day at the parks!

2. The Wall Outlets NEVER Work!

For some crazy reason, whenever I do stay at an All-Star Resort, nearly 50% of the wall outlets don’t work in the room! They are always loose and whatever I plug in, doesn’t stay put. This limits where things can be plugged in (such as hair dryers, phone chargers, laptop chargers, etc.) I can’t say this is the norm or the same for all rooms at the All-Star Resorts, but I find it interesting that I have not stayed in one All-Star room (and I’ve stayed in many), where I have not had the issue. Just worthy of noting.

1. Transportation

Note that the shuttles/buses are the only form of transportation to get to the 4 parks, 2 water parks and Disney Springs from the All-Star Resorts. Moderate and Deluxe Resorts (even POP and Art of Animation) have alternate options such as the Monorail, Friendship Boats, and the upcoming Skyliner.

Also note that the All-Star Resorts are the furthest away from 3 of the 4 parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios). Allowing extra travel time is necessary, as it can take up to 35-40 minutes to get to your destination. This could be especially true when the All-Star Resort buses stop at each of the 3 All-Stars to pick up or drop off Guests.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall I think that the All-Star Resorts are a great option for Guests on a budget, and want to stay on property in the Disney “bubble”, while receiving all the benefits and perks.

If you are looking for sophistication, an adult-like atmosphere and more luxurious hotel amenities, I’ll be honest, don’t choose an All-Star Resort. Consider staying at a Moderate or Deluxe Resort. You will not find “fancy” at the All-Star Resorts.

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