7 Reasons to Stay at a Walt Disney World Value Resort
Disney categorizes their resorts by how much you’re going to pay for them. You start with value resorts and work your way up to multi-room villas in the Disney Vacation Club “home away from home” properties. In between you have moderate and deluxe resorts. Let’s check out the fantastic value resorts at Walt Disney World!
Disney’s All Star Sports, Disney’s All Star Music, and Disney’s All Star Movies were the first of the values, built back in the 1990s. These 3 resorts, all lined up in a row, are in the Animal Kingdom park area of Walt Disney World.
In 2003 Disney’s Pop Century came along, and finally in 2012, the latest value resort, Disney’s Art of Animation, debuted. These 2 resorts are separated by Hourglass Lake, but it is an easy walk between the two by crossing the Generation Gap Bridge. These resorts are in the ESPNWide World of Sports area.
Here are 7 Reasons to Stay at a Walt Disney World Value Resort:
- Price These are most inexpensive resorts on Disney property. These rooms are almost always under $200 a night, and usually under$150 a night. We have a rack rate room at All Star Movies for the few days after Thanksgiving this year for $100 a night. Booking a stay at one of these value resorts will still offer you all of the perks of staying onsite – Magical Express (free transportation from the airport for on-site guests), Extra Magic Hours, Magic Bands, and free parking.
- Theme You can’t get any more Disney that this. The value resorts are over-the-top with the theming and details. Larger than life Ursula from The Little Mermaid? Check. Giant Cowboy Boots that look like it could squish you if you were to stand under them? Of course. How about a colossal sized Baloo and Mowgli from The Jungle Book? You got it. You could spend a few hours wandering around the value resorts just doingphoto ops. One of my favorite areas is the Cars themed section of the Art of Animation Resort. It’s like a whole bunch of character meet and greets with no line!
- Food Courts We love the food courts at the value resorts. The prices are reasonable (by Disney standards), and everyone can find something they like. Our favorites are the Create-Your-Own Pasta and the Tandoori Station at the Landscape of Flavors food court at Art of Animation. Have you ever had tie-dyed cheesecake? You can get that at Pop Century. Burgers, pizza, salad, ice cream – it’s all on the menu at the value resort food courts. (By the way, All Star Sports and All Star Movies have gotten brand new food courts in the past few years too, and they look better than ever.)
- Bus Transportation We actually prefer the bus transportation at the value resorts over most moderate and deluxe resorts. Why? Outside of the main entrance at each resort you’ll find the single bus stop area, with signs marked for each park, Disney Springs, and sometimes Wide World of Sports. Everyone files into line and, well, you wait for your bus. At the moderate resorts, there are many bus stops over the entire resort so sometimes your bus will have to make a few stops before it gets going to its final destination. And the deluxe resorts often have to share with 2 or 3 other deluxe resorts. Now, we’ve heard that sometimes the All Star Resorts can share buses with each other, but we can’t honestly don’t remember that happening to us while staying at those resorts.
- Gift Shops Each value resort has its own gift shop, and who doesn’t love shopping? Pins, t-shirts, ornaments, magnets, candy, hats, purses… you name it. There are also sections for toiletry items and larger containers of milk and other food items. And hey, what’s that over there? Wine? That works! (Most gift shops also have a pin board for pin trading, so ask to see one if it’s not visible.)
- Activities You can pick up an activities guide at the front desk, and there you will learn about the movies under the stars and all of the pool activities. We recently stayed at Pop Century and noticed where you could design your own tie-dyed t-shirt for a fee. Sometimes there is cupcake or cookie decorating, also for a small fee. You can hang out at the arcade and play games (or do what we did – put a few dollars in the massage chairs). At Art of Animation you can take a drawing class. Of course, there is always just taking a dip in the pool. Each value resort has a main pool, with the hubbub of activity, and a few other “quiet” pools.
- Cast Members Disney’s cast members are great in general, not just at the value resorts, but they always deserve a special mention. We’ve traded pins, played trivia, and just chatted with the cast members at our resorts over the years. At Pop Century you’ll see cast members teaching the Hustle. We’ve always noticed cast members going above and beyond. Little things like that just shows you how special Disney is.
We’ve stayed at all of the value resorts and honestly, we like them all and wouldn’t hesitate to stay at them again. (We even honeymooned at Pop Century!) If I had to rank them, I would say the Little Mermaid section of Art of Animation is my favorite. The rooms are more elaborately themed than the other value resorts (the bathrooms are just over the top), and I love the food options at the Landscape of Flavors food court. Pop Century is currently doing room refurbishments, and rooms will now have new decor and an extra Murphy bed, which is interesting.
Before I stayed at one of the All Star resorts, I had read reviews online about how it was bottom of the barrel for Disney, it was full of unruly school groups, and in bad shape in general. I was very hesitant about booking a trip there. But in my quest to one day stay at every resort on property, I booked our first stay at one, the All Star Music Resort. Guess what? I loved it. On one non-park day, Gary and I did a 5K over all of the All Star resorts and it was one of the most fun days I’ve ever had on property. We ran around, got attention from cast members, and took a bunch of photos in front of all of the icons.
So what are you waiting for? Save some money and have an awesome time at one of Walt Disney World’s value resorts.