Which Disney World Value Resort Should You Choose?
If you would like to try and save some money on your Disney vacation, one way to do so is by staying at a Value resort.
Let’s face it, everyone would PREFER to stay at a Deluxe resort. But if your primary goal is to tour the theme parks as much as possible, you may decide to save some money by choosing the value resorts. If you’ve made that decision, which Disney value resort should you choose?
There are five Value Resorts to choose from. For the sake of brevity, we’ll combine the three All-Star resorts into one section, as they are all extremely similar to each other in almost every conceivable way. We’ll give you the pros and cons of each resort, and help you make a great decision!
The All-Star resorts are the most inexpensive resorts in the entire Disney complex. They are about 20 years old, and there are three All-Star resorts that you can choose from: All-Star Music, All-Star Movies, and All-Star Sports. In reality, all three are very similar. The decorations are a bit different, but there are no other major differences in the three. If you decide to stay at one of these three, you don’t need to stress about which one to choose.
Pros to the All-Star Resorts
Obviously one pro is that they are cheap! Not only are the rooms cheap, but the suites are the cheapest suites in all of Disney. There are usually plenty of available rooms, and the dining areas are large and can fit a lot of people. You will find full-size pools in all three of the All-Star resorts, and they all have the usual Disney entertainment that takes place around the pool, as well as the movies that happen at night. The resorts are also bright and colorful, and so they are very appealing to kids.
Cons to the All-Star Resorts
The resorts are a long way from the Magic Kingdom, often being a 20 minute ride to the MK. The bus system often shares stops between the three resorts, especially during the off-season time periods. Usually the busses pick up All-Star Sports first, followed by Music (which is always picked up in the middle), and ending with All-Star Movies.
The rooms at the All-Star resorts are small, and the bright colors can give the resort a bit of a “cheap feel”, especially for adults. The cafeteria is also limited compared to some of the other cafeterias throughout the complex, although the seating area is very large. Another con is that some of the rooms can be quite a long distance from the front lobby, especially if you are at the back of the resort.
Our Recommendations: If money is your primary concern and you love to spend most of your time at the parks, you are fine staying at the All-Star Resorts. But if you want to enjoy some relaxation, and/if your kids are older, we highly recommend spending a little bit more money and staying at a nicer resort.
Pros to Pop Century
This is the largest Disney resort, with 2880 rooms. It’s much larger than the All-Star resorts , but the walk times aren’t as far, due to there being 3 stories. This gives it a more compact feel. Pop Century has dedicated bus service, which is very advantageous when compared to the All-Star resorts. Once you are on the bus, you go straight to the resort, which is very nice.
The Pop Century resort has a very big dining area, due to the large size of the resort. This gives you a lot of dining options.
The Pop Century resort is only about 10 dollars more than the All-Star Resorts, and the size, location, food court and dedicated bus service are plenty of reasons to pay for the “upgrade”.
Cons to Pop Century
Like other value resorts, the rooms are small, the colors are bright, and it still has a cheaper feel to it. It also is very crowded due to it being a very popular resort. But if you’ve already chosen to stay at a Value Resort due to price, you likely understand the reasons for the low price and are ok with them.
Our Recommendations: Pop Century is a good, solid Value Resort. If for some reason you can’t book a room at Art of Animation, Pop Century will be just fine. Don’t forget that even if you are staying at Pop Century, you can still swim and dine at Art of Animation, so cross the bridge and check out the new resort, even if you can’t stay there. It’s a no-brainer to upgrade from the All-Star resorts to Pop Century.
Art of Animation Resort
The Art of Animation Resort is Disney’s newest resort, finished in 2012. The fact that this resort is brand new has made it extremely popular. There are some really good reasons to stay here, but also a couple things you might want to be aware of.
Pros to Art of Animation
Of all the Value resorts, this one is without question the one with the best theming. It’s very “Disney” all the way around. You won’t forget where you are for one second. The rooms are bright and colorful and have Disney characters and decorations throughout. This makes it a very popular resort for children. I dare say that many kids would prefer this resort to some of the Deluxe resorts.
The resort is also new, which is always nice. Disney does a good job of hiding age at it’s facilities, but you can still tell when a resort is new.
Did we mention the theming? The pool area has cone cabanas, which remind you of the Cars movies. It’s exceptionally done and shows how good Disney does things when they do it right! They also have a self-serve beverage machine at the pool area! That’s VERY convenient for you soft drink lovers!
Like Pop Century, Art of Animation has a dedicated bus system, which can alleviate the stresses of a multi-stop bus. Finally, the dining area is full of really good food. They have a lot of natural and healthy foods. If you choose to stay at Pop Century, I recommend walking across the Lake and checking it out at least once!
Cons to Art of Animation
Nearly all the cons relate to money. The suites are very expensive, as some of them are more expensive than suites at Moderate resorts. Also, some of the promotions, such as free dining, don’t include the Art of Animation resort. That’s probably because it is still fairly new, and may change in the future. If you are going during a promotion season, we don’t recommend choose Art of Animation as long as it’s not included.
Our Recommendations: If you are going during the busy season, and if you aren’t booking a suite, try and get a room here. Book your room early on so you don’t miss out. It’s only about 15 dollars a night more than the All-Star resorts and 5 dollars a night more than Pop Century. The theming is completely worth it, as is the pool area and the cafeteria. However, don’t skip free dining to stay at Art of Animation, unless money isn’t important to you.