So you’ve made your decision about the type of Walt Disney World Hotel resort that is right for you and your family and a Value resort has got your vote.
You’re ready to hit the parks hard whilst keeping your accommodation costs as low as you can so you have more to spend on Disney merch, food and drink, a splurge at the Outlets and other experiences around the Orlando area.
But you now need to decide which of the Value resorts is going to be your resort; well hopefully the information to follow will help you to make your decision…
What General Features do Value Resorts Have?
Let’s start with some general information about the Value resorts as a collection, some of which will be a recap of my previous post, that will hopefully have helped you to decide on the type of resort to stay at. So the features do the Value resorts share are:
- Rooms that will sleep up to 4 guests (usually 2 queen size beds in each room)
- Room access from external corridors, and in themed blocks. Each block also has a vending machine and ice machine.
- Free guest wi-fi throughout each resort
- Gift store where you can also purchase some medical supplies, camera supplies, etc.
- Quick service restaurant and plenty of seating
- In-room pizza delivery available
- Bar to the exterior of restaurant/near pool area
- Themed pool area (usually 2 per resort), with daily poolside entertainment by main pool, and lifeguards on duty for the duration of pool opening times
- Bus stop with free Disney transportation to each Disney Park and Disney Springs
- Baggage store for check-in/check-out days
- Laundry room
- Resort activities throughout each week, including Movies Under the Stars
- Preferred rooms (usually given as an option when booking for an additional cost) are located in the blocks closest to the central lobby that holds the check-in desks, gift store, restaurant and arcade. If you don’t select this option, please bear in mind that you will likely be located in the back 3 areas (for most this won’t be an issue, as these areas are not much further away from the hotel lobby, but if less walking around your hotel resort would suit your families needs, then it would be worthwhile paying a bit more for a preferred room).
- Themed areas of resort, where there are usually 2/3 blocks of guest rooms within each area
- Guest parking (if required, there will be an additional charge that you will pay for each day of your stay)
Now to talk specifics…
All Star Resorts
There are 3 resorts that collectively make the All Star Resorts, entered through one security check point: Sports; Music; and Movies (in order from check point). Together these resorts are generally the cheapest of the WDW Hotel Resorts; Music and Sports are usually the same in price, and then Movies slightly more expensive (probably due to the theming). Please do not worry about the resorts having ‘lack of theming’ as they are the cheapest resorts to stay in – Disney have done a great job of each of these resorts, and the theming provides some awesome photo opportunities. I definitely suggest going to visit the other resorts to that where you are staying – they are worth an explore one morning or afternoon, and check out their restaurants as you may find some snacks there that your hotel restaurant doesn’t have!
The All Star Resorts are located in the Animal Kingdom area, so are less than a 10 minute bus ride from Animal Kingdom. This does mean that you will have at least a 15 minute bus ride to each of the other Disney Parks and Disney Springs, but this does mean you can sneak in a little 40-winks on your bus ride back to your resort after a day filled with magic! Definitely make sure you check out the cupcakes at the All Stars Resorts – you’ll find some cupcakes that are unique to the resort’s quick service restaurants.
The pool areas at the All Stars resorts have plenty of sun loungers to use, and umbrellas too so you can get some shade from the sun. Pool side entertainment usually starts around midday and goes through to the evening, which is perfect if you need a little rest but the kids still need to be entertained. In terms of other resort activities that may be offered, you may be lucky enough to have one of the following offered during your stay:
- Movies Under the Stars on select nights each week
- Poolside entertainment, e.g. scavenger hunt, water games, bingo, dance party, trivia challenge, etc.
- Lawn games at All Star Sports
- One-mile running trail for those avid runners in your family, including weekly Fun Run (additional charge)
- Complimentary yoga session at All Star Movies one day per week
- Campfire and S’mores every evening at All Star Sports
This resort is usually priced more expensive than the All Star Resorts: the rooms in the resort have recently undergone refurbishment and are looking great; and the location of the resort is more central in WDW, making for shorter bus rides to each of the Disney areas. This resort also has the added bonus of now being on the Skyliner, allowing for another mode of transport to take to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. I am yet to stay at this resort, but I went for a run around it on my most recent trip, and I loved how ‘compact’ the resort felt – even the outer blocks that are further from the lobby didn’t feel as ‘spread out’ as in the All Star Resorts and Art of Animation. This is another resort that has great photo opportunities in its theming – look out for Baloo and Mowgli near the pool, and see if you can find the Potato Head’s too!
Although this resort has its own restaurant, I feel like its a two-for-one deal as just across the lake is the Art of Animation Resort, so if your feet aren’t feeling too tired, or you have just arrived back from Hollywood Studios via the Skyliner, and are feeling peckish, take a right and check out Landscape of Flavors in Art of Animation for a change, you might just find your new favourite dish for dinner!
Resort activities at Pop Century may include:
- Poolside entertainment, e.g. musical shapes, critter round-up, limbo, noodle races, etc.
- Trivia Night at the Pool Bar on select nights each week
- Movie Under the Stars on select nights each week
- Groovy Campfire three times per week
- Hair wraps and temporary tattoos for an additional charge
Art of Animation
This is the newest Value Resort that opened at WDW, and stands out as being a resort that is a must to visit, even if you choose not to stay there, just to see the theming. There are 4 distinct areas: Finding Nemo; Cars; The Lion King; and The Little Mermaid. If you have already priced up a stay at this resort, you will have already found that it is the most expensive of the Value resorts; not only that. but if sometimes comes in as more expensive than one or two of the Moderate resorts. One reason for this is that this is the first Value resort to offer Family Suites.
The Little Mermaid section of this resort is the only area that is of a set-up like the other Value resorts, and so these are the cheapest rooms in the resort to stay in. If you choose to stay here, expect a loooong walk to the lobby and bus stop of the resort. In fact, there is pool in the centre of The Little Mermaid area that may help to illustrate how much further from the rest of the resort this area is. The other 3 areas of this resort hold the Family Suites, and different to other Value Resorts, these are accessed via an internal corridor, with the exception of the Finding Nemo section. AS the name suggests, the Suites offer larger guest room spaces for larger families, and so may provide the option for 5 guests to stay in a room due to additional beds. Some of the suites also include a kitchen and couch area that may suit your family especially if you are looking to do some in-room cooking rather than eating out throughout your vacation.
Art of Animation is the only Value resort to have 3 pools: the main pool is Finding Nemo themed and located just outside of the lobby; the third pool is located near the Cars section. The theming of this resort is second to none, and the Big Blue Pool and Cozy Cone Pool do not disappoint. Another positive to this resort is that it is also on the Skyliner route, and shares the station with Pop Century Resort. This allows for another mode of transport to get you to EPCOT or Hollywood Studios, in addition to the buses. Make sure to check out Landscape of Flavors whether your an Art of Animation Resort guest or not – they have some great menu choices that you unique to this restaurant.
Resort activities at Art of Animation may include:
- Poolside entertainment at the Big Blue Pool, e.g. bingo, party games, trivia challenge, etc.
- Movie Under the Stars every night
- Trivia Night on select nights each week
- Mermaid School (at an additional cost) in The Little Mermaid pool
- Hair wraps and temporary tattoos for an additional charge
And so, we’ve come to the end of another post, but hopefully, now, you know the Value resort that is right for you and your family. But, if you do need one final bit of advice or guidance then I’ll leave you with this:
Choose All Star Resorts if your trip is all about the parks, and you need a base to sleep, shower and have the occasional chill by the pool.
Choose Pop Century if you want a resort that is a little more central than All Stars, and offers another mode of transport to get to you EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and other Disney Resorts to explore.
Choose Art of Animation if you prefer the option of a Family Suite, and want to spend more on accommodation than you would in the other Value Resorts.
Have a magical day, and see ya real soon!
Guest Post: @disneytoria