Disney World Value Resorts
When you come to Disney World, you can choose from 25 different resort hotel locations. 6 of these resorts are listed under the category of Disney World Value resorts. Because we don’t all have unlimited money, this may be the category that best fits your budget for an upcoming Disney World vacation. This article will give you an overview of the Value category, and then break down the 6 Value resorts to help you choose the best one for your family.
Value Resorts - The Good
Value resorts offer Disney World guests a great vacation experience at a low price. Despite the low price, these resorts have a lot of perks. Some of the things you’ll get at a value resort:
Large pools with many activities
Large dining areas with good food.
Outside bars near the pools
Excellent Disney theming
Use of Disney Transportation, such as the Bus system or the upcoming Disney Skyliner Transportation System (Art of Animation/Pop Century)
Very low prices! You can get pricing in the neighborhood of 90-125 dollars per night!
Value Resorts - The Downside
The downside to value resorts are the rooms themselves. Standard rooms are small and cramped. If you have a party of 4, you’re going to have very little room to move around once your family and all the luggage is inside! If you get 2 beds, most value resorts have double beds! That can be quite small for a family of 4, unless your kids are small.
You’ll also find that the value resorts don’t have table-service dining. Sometimes it’s nice to eat a nice meal at your own resort. While the food at value resorts is pretty good, it’s a typical Disney counter service meal.
Pros and Cons of Each Disney World Value Resort
The All-Star resorts are the most inexpensive resorts in the entire Disney complex. They are about 25 years old. There are three All-Star resorts that you can choose from: All-Star Music, All-Star Movies, and All-Star Sports. All three of these are very similar. The theming is a bit different, as you can imagine from the differing names, but there are no other major differences in the three.
If you decide to stay at one of these three, you honestly don’t need to stress about which one to choose. Just go with whichever of the 3 interests you the most. They are all located in the same area and in slow seasons may share a bus system, although that doesn’t happen much anymore.
Pros to the All-Star Resorts
Obviously one benefit 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 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 bus will 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 in variety 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. You may spend a long time walking to the front in the mornings as the resorts are spread out.
Our Recommendation: If money is your primary concern and you love to spend most of your time at the parks, you will be just fine staying at the All-Star Resorts. My family has spent two vacations at these resorts and we had a blast. 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.
The Pop Century resort is a huge resort that is across a lake from the other Value Resort, Art of Animation. We’ll go over a few of the pros and cons to this 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 each facility being 3 stories high. 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.
Pop Century is also getting the new Disney Skyliner system! This is a state-of-the-art gondola system that takes guests from Pop Century to the International Gateway in Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. This will be an awesome addition to this park. We can’t wait to try it.
The Pop Century resort has a very big dining area, due to the large size of the resort. They give you a lot more dining options than you’ll get at the All-Star resorts.
You can check prices for your vacation dates, but the Pop Century resort is usually only about 10-20 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 bit of that cheaper feel to it. It also is often very crowded due to it being a very popular and large 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 Recommendation: Pop Century is an excellent value Resort, our 2nd favorite. 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 this Disney-themed resort, even if you can’t stay there. Especially with the new Skyliner transportation system, upgrading to Pop Century from the All-star resorts is a no-brainer.
Art of Animation Resort
The Art of Animation Resort is Disney’s newest resort, finished in 2012. This resort is Disney themed with many of your kid’s favorite movies. There are three areas: Little Mermaid, Cars and the Lion King. They’ve done a great job of theming this resort, but this 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
As stated earlier, of all the Value resorts, this one has the best theming. The best thing about this resort is that the rooms are bright and colorful and have Disney characters and decorations throughout. They feel much newer and nicer than any of the other value resorts. 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, taken straight from the Cars movies. It’s exceptionally well done. There is also a Little Mermaid pool and the main pool with an outside bar.
Like Pop Century, Art of Animation has a dedicated bus system. Art of Animation will also be on the Disney Skyliner system as well, which is a massive benefit. 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 very popular. In the future this may change. In recent years they’ve changed this and given free dining to guests that stay in family suites. You’ll need to check for promotions for the time period in which you’re going.
Our Recommendation: This is definitely the best Disney value resort and our #1 choice. 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 as early as you can so you don’t miss out. It’s only about 20-25 dollars a night more than the All-Star resorts and 5 dollars a night more than Pop Century but the theming is completely worth it, as is the pool area, the cafeteria and the new Skyliner system. However, don’t skip free dining to stay at Art of Animation, unless money isn’t important to you!
Next, let’s take a look at the Disney World Moderate Resorts.