Best Disney Value Resorts
Its no surprise that Disney Value Resorts are the least expensive lodging option at Disney World. This hotel tier is quite popular with Disney World vacationers because they provide in-park lodging, some of the best perks of other Disney Resorts, and – of course – great value for budget-conscious families. But while there are really no “bad” Disney hotels, Value Resorts lack some of the amenities and bells and whistles that Moderate and Deluxe Disney Resorts have. They do, however, make up for this shortfall with lots of character and fun themes. With that said, let’s start by reviewing the pros and cons of staying at a Value Resort, then we rank them with our top 5 best Disney Value Resorts list.
There are 5 Disney Value Resorts in total: All-Star Sports, All-Star Music, All-Star Movies, Pop Century, and Art of Animation.
The latter – Art of Animation – is considered a “Value Plus” resort because it is generally priced higher and has slightly better amenities (as well we see later).
If you include The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, there are actually six Value Resorts. But since this lodging option is so much different than your average resort (ie, tents and RVs), we will not be comparing The Campsites on this page.
Here are some of the key features of Disney Value Resorts:
Let’s review the top 4 reasons why people choose to stay at Disney Value Resorts and the top 4 reasons to choose a Disney Moderate or Deluxe instead.
Attention music lovers! All-Star Music is a Disney Value Resort themed around some of the most popular music genres: rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, country, Broadway show tunes, and calypso.
Guests will marvel at the massive, music-inspired icons surrounding the buildings and the lighthearted musical elements inside each wing.
The most notable features of All-Star Music include the guitar-shaped pool and the expansive, music-themed Intermission Food Court.
*All-Star Music’s floor plans and standard rooms are similar to other All-Star resorts. However, All-Star Music also has 260 family suites, whereas the All-Star-Movie and Sports only offer standard size rooms.
The suites at All-Star Music can sleep up to 6 (and one baby in a crib), have 2 bathrooms, a master bedroom with queen bed, living room area, and are priced higher than standard rooms.
We have ranked All-Star Music number 5 for several reasons.
As far as positives go, All-Star Music is the lowest priced Disney Value Resort (tied with All-Star Movies and All-Star Sports – they are usually all priced the same).
The music theme is great and the buildings really light up and dazzle at night.
On the downside, this resort doesn’t have the same “Disney feel” that most other Value resorts have.
Another disadvantage is that some areas within the resort require lots of walking to get to the main area of the resort (food court/bus). In other words, the layout of the property isn’t the best.
And lastly, transportation can be an issue because all 3 All-Star resorts share a common bus to the theme parks. All-Star Music is the 2nd resort to on the bus line, which means the All-Star Sports guests are already on the bus when you get picked up (crowded).
Resort: All-Star Music
Location: Animal Kingdom Resort Area
Opened: Nov. 22, 1994
Areas: Calypso, Jazz Inn, Rock Inn, Country Fair, Broadway Hotel
Suites: 260 Family Suites
Disney movie buffs will feel at home in All-Star Movies.
The resort’s larger-than-life Disney characters (from Toy Story, 101 Dalmatians, Fantasia, The Mighty Ducks, and Herbie: The Love Bug) adorn the exteriors and interiors of their respective wing.
In fact, some of the characters reach 40 feet tall, creating the perfect photo opportunity for your family to cherish as a Disney souvenir.
The most notable features of the resort include the World Premier Food Court (with 5-movie “marquees” serving a variety of tasty foods throughout the day), the Fantasia-themed pool where Sorcerer Mickey sprays water on guests, and the nightly, outdoor screening of the Disney “Movies Under the Stars.”
*All rooms at All-Star Movies are standard size.
As far as All-Star resorts go, Movies has the best theming (in our opinion).
You get a distant “Disney” feel as you walk the grounds, and – if you love classic Disney films – there is a special magic in the air.
We love the movie-lobby design of the food court.
Like other All-Star resort, Movies is certainly a great value. Plus, all rooms are much more accessible to the front of the main building than those of All-Star Music.
The main disadvantage of All-Star Movies is its transportation options.
Since it’s the last stop on the All-Star bus route, buses are often already crowded with All-Star Sports and Music passengers before you get on.
If it wasn’t for this glaring blemish, All-Star Movies would be ranked higher on our list.
Resort: All-Star Movies
Location: Animal Kingdom Resort Area
Opened: January 15, 1999
Theme: Disney Movies
Areas: 101 Dalmatians, Toy Story, Fantasia, The Mighty Ducks, Herbie: The Love Bug
Opening in 2012, Art of Animation is the newest resort at Disney World.
It’s considered a “Value Plus” resort because it offers guests a little more in the way of a luxury-feel than the other four Value resorts.
Disney’s Art of Animation also has the largest pool at Disney World – The Big Blue Pool.
And like All-Star Music, this resort offers spacious family suites to accommodate up to 6 guests (the Nemo, Cars, and The Lion King sections of the resort).
The standard rooms are decorated with plenty of Little Mermaid, sea-inspired decor from the classic Disney movie and each room is accessed via an interior hallway.
There are numerous Disney icons throughout the property to keep any selfie-buff happy.
And if you enjoy a good meal, Art of Animation’s The Landscape of Flavor offers an amazing selection of counter-service food throughout the day. Hands down, Art of Animation’s food court is the best among the Value resorts.
*Art of Animation has 984 standard rooms and 1120 family suites.
We love everything about this resort.
The food court is fabulous, the pool is amazing, and the theming is spot on.
Art of Animation has a dedicated bus service directly to and from each theme park (so no bus sharing like the All-Star resorts) and a stop on the Disney Skyliner gondola.
The only real disadvantage is the price.
Because this is a “Value Plus” resort – and because many of the rooms are family suites – the room rates tend to be more comparable with a Disney Moderate resort than other Value resorts.
If it weren’t for this price consideration, Art of Animation would be ranked 1st on our list.
Resort: Art of Animation
Location: ESPN Wide World of Sports area
Opened: May 31, 2012
Theme: Disney characters
Areas: The Little Mermaid, Car, Finding Nemo, The Lion King
Rooms: 984 standard rooms
Suites: 1120 family suites
(now a pet-friendly resort)
All-Star Sports opened in 1994 and become the first Value Resort on Disney World property.
The resort salutes the world of competitive sports with themes to match each wing – baseball, basketball, football, tennis, and surfing. To this end, All-Star Sports boasts plenty of sporty decor on its grounds, including photo-worthy icons of all your favorite Disney characters striking a sporty pose.
Among its various features, All-Star Sports has a sprawling pool with an elaborate surfboard motif, the sports-themed End Zone Food Court, and nightly “Movies Under the Stars” by Surfboard Bay Pool.
The All-Star Sports jogging trail, Game Point Arcade, and kids playground ensure that boredom will never set in.
All rooms are standard size (sleeps up to 4 people, plus a baby under 3).
Let’s get the negatives out of the way.
Ok, so we like the sports themes, but don’t love them.
The resort has a Disney feel to it, but much less so than Movies, Art of Animation, and Pop Century.
The best aspect of All-Star Sports is bus transportation.
While you do share the bus route with All-Star Music and All-Star Movies, All-Star Sports guests are the first resort to get picked up and the first resort to get dropped off on your return.
If you are anything like me, you value a nice comfortable seat on the bus.
This huge advantage – combined with being tied for the lowest cost per room at Disney World – offers a compelling value proposition.
If we pick the best resort at the lowest total cost, it would be All-Star Sports. So, again, if themes are less important than transportation comfort and lowest cost, then this is our recommendation.
Resort: All-Star Sports
Location: Animal Kingdom Resort area
Opened: April 29, 1994
Areas: Touchdown!, Center Court, Home Run Hotel, Surfs Up!, Hoops Hotel
Pop Century immerses its guests in the unforgettable fads of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and the 1990s.
Here you can step back in time with the fashions, toys, dances, and catchphrases that were all the rage in the latter half of the 20th century.
The resort is full of amazing icons to behold – from the Lady and the Tramp themes of the 1950s, The Jungle Book themes of the Play-Doh 1960s era, the Mickey Mouse rotary telephone decade of the 1970s, the Rubik’s Cube/Sony Walkman decade of the 1980s, to the cellular phone and computer age of the 1990s.
Pop Century is filled with an assortment of zany themes, outlandish decor, and fun photo opportunities.
Besides the decades of retro decor, Pop Century features a 1960’s themed pool – called the “Hippy Dippy Pool” – with flower-shaped water jets to cool you off on this sweltering Florida days.
The Everything Pop Shopping and Dining area is a groovy food court with 7 food stations to please the discriminating palate.
Bring your yo-yo and immerse yourself in the fun of Pop Century Resort!
*Pop Century only offers standard rooms.
We choose Pop Century as our top pick because it strikes the right balance between fun, over-the-top theming and total value.
Pop Century is only slightly more expensive than the All-Star resorts, but it benefits from having its own dedicated bus transportation to and from each theme park (fewer crowds to deal with). And now there is a Pop Century stop on the new Disney Skyliner gondola! (See our Disney Transportation Map for the route.)
The food court is also a step above the dining options of the All-Star resorts.
Overall, we really couldn’t find much to complain about with Pop Century.
The cost is low, the themes and icons are fantastic, the pools are fun, and transportation is easy and stress-free.
If you can deal with a little bit of noise and a simple room layout, Pop Century offers you a magical resort at a low cost that will satisfy budget-conscious vacationers.
Resort: Pop Century
Location: ESPN Wide World of Sports Resort area
Opened: December 14, 2003
Theme: 20th-century American pop culture
Areas: 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s