Resorts Unwrapped: All-Star Resorts

Resort: All-Star Resorts

Level: Value

Rooms: Sports: 1,920; Movies: 1,920; Music: 1,604

Today we take a look at the All Star Resorts at Disney. I initially planned on covering each resort individually, but after really thinking about it, they’re similar enough to combine into one large post.

Disney’s All Star Resorts, its version of a budget resort, features three different themes: sports, movies and music. The resorts are made up of three-story motel-style buildings with larger-than-life icons throughout the properties.

A favorite among younger families, the resorts are both budget and kid friendly. I stayed at the All Star Sports Resort as a child, and then the All Star Music during a marching band trip in high school. I remember loving it as a kid and fighting with my sister over whether we’d stay in the football-themed building, or the basketball one.

The All-Star Resorts are a bit dated. When the Sports and Music opened in 1994 and the Movies opened in 1999, the fun theming was seen as “token Disney” and almost “state of the art.” This same design has been carried over to Pop Century and Art of Animation. However, because the rooms are older and smaller, the All-Star Resorts have since taken a backseat to the newer, updated Value Resorts.

Theming: 4/10

Pop Century and Art of Animation’s building-sized icons was the same design used by the All-Star Resorts. At the time, it was a fun, new design. I remember my mom saying it reminded her of the buildings in Vegas, in a sense. The large sculptures made for a fun theme that carried throughout the resorts’ exterior.

The largest difference between Art of Animation and the All-Star resorts is the rooms, both in size and theming. There’s no way around it: the Value Resorts were built to hold many families and guests at a discounted rate. As a result, the rooms are tiny: 260 square feet, to be exact. As for the theme, Art of Animation is unmatched. Whereas Art of Animation continues the theme into its rooms, seemingly placing guests right into their favorite Disney animated movie, the All-Stars lack any standout qualities. The rooms feel almost like childrens’ rooms, decorated based on the child’s interest. The only true nods to the resorts’ themes are through a framed poster of a Disney character playing football or doing their best drum solo. The rest of the room feels like any other motel.

The theme is certainly fun and carries through the rest of the resort. Your kids will love it, however, the theming for adults may feel a bit cheesy.

Christmas Decorations & Theming: 4/10

You won’t find many decorations at the Value Resorts. However, Art of Animation and the All Stars do a great job of keeping the theme with their decorations. Art of Animation has a large white tree, reminiscent of an artist’s canvas, decorated with loud pops of color. All Star Music has wreaths decorated with music notes. Then there’s Pop Century, which has a massive Christmas tree decorated with… regular Christmas ornaments.

Whereas Pop Century misses its mark, the All-Star Resorts do a pretty good job. All-Star Sports knocks it out of the park. The outside is adorned with gigantic sports-themed wreaths. All-Star Music, which features musical notes throughout the maroon-colored lobby carries this tone into its decor. Wreaths, some star-shaped, others the normal circular form, are decorated with matching ribbons and musical ornaments. The tree and wreaths at All-Star Movies is decorated with film reels, cameras and clapperboards.

Overall, a nice showing from the All-Star Resorts. While they fall below Pop Century in many categories, they do a great job of holding their own during the Christmas season.

Size: 4/10

As with all the Value Resorts, All Stars are large and hold a lot of people. During peak season, this usually means a very crowded food court and even more crowded buses. Value Resorts are not the best choice for those looking to take a break from the crowded parks.

Of course, Disney finds ways to monetize prime locations. Preferred Rooms are closer to the the Lobby and Food Court, but will cost you more money.

Transportation: 2/10

The All-Star Resorts are pretty far away from the Disney Parks. Right around the southernmost tip of the Disney property, the resorts are closest to Animal Kingdom, which is still a solid 19 minutes away (according to TouringPlans.com.) You’ll be on the bus at least 20 minutes for the other three parks, which is a nightmare after a long night at the parks.

Because the Value Resorts, especially the All-Star Resorts, are built to take on so many people, the buses are often congested and crowded. During less-crowded times, the All-Star Music, Sports and Movies will often share buses. This often leads to overcrowded buses and long lines at bus stations when leaving the park. During Christmas, I believe each resort gets its own bus, with the only shared bus going to and from Disney Springs.

Pop Century has its own buses, giving it a major advantage over the All-Star Resorts. Regardless, Value Resorts are simply not an efficient place to stay during the holidays and other peak seasons.

Food: 4/10

There End Zone Food Court at All-Star Sports and Intermission Food Court at All-Star Music recently underwent renovations. The tacky oversized baseball players and musical notes were removed and replaced with clean, earthy colors. The only nods to the theming are the classical Disney characters pictured playing sports or performing musical numbers within the privacy dividers separating booths.

The food offerings follow those offered at Pop Century and Art of Animation: sandwiches, salads, pizza, burgers, etc. The standout offering at All-Star Sports is the create-your-own burger; the standout at Music is the giant taco salad and the specialty shop, which features salmon and carved turkey.

The decor is certainly an upgrade, however, both resorts look and feel like a mall food court. There were a few different ways that Disney could have gone with the food courts and I think they chose the most boring route possible. A “stadium” feel at All-Star Sports, similar to Casey’s at Magic Kingdom, and a classical music venue theme would have fit better. There’s a way to keep the theme and lose the tacky feel and Disney failed to do this. Also, I would have loved to see more on-theme offerings. Imagine a hot dog stand with all the toppings at All-Star Sports or dishes named for or after popular musicians at All-Star Music (like the King Cupcake at Pop.)

The lack of theming and lack of Table Service certainly take the All-Star Resorts down a few extra notches.

Overall:

There’s nothing wrong with the Value Resorts, especially if you’re on a budget. My problem lies in the incredibly small rooms (260 square feet), the long distance from the parks and the overcrowdedness of the resorts. I get that you only sleep in your room, especially at Disney, but the difference between the All-Star Resorts and Art of Animation or even a Value and a Moderate, I believe, is worth the price.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Guests staying at the All-Star Movies Resort should request a room in the Mighty Ducks building. The Mighty Ducks building is actually closer to the All-Star Music’s lobby and food court than most rooms at the All-Star Music. The shared buses typically stop at All-Star Music second and Movies last, so you can use the Music’s bus service and have a better chance of getting a seat, too!
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