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Walt Disney World Resorts: Value
Getting All the Facts
There is a myth that it is ridiculously expensive to vacation at Disney World. And many more people believe that they can't stay on property without spending their entire budget on lodging. While it is true that it is a little pricey there is a way you can stay on property without breaking the bank or killing your budget.
Disney has designed resorts to tailer to a wide range of budgets. The resorts are broken into three different categories: deluxe, moderate, and value Though, I would make the argument that there are actually five since the deluxe villas typically reserved for DVC members can be booked on occasion by non-DVC members and there is a campground at Disney, and since camping is not an attractive option to everyone I give it its own category.
All of Disney's value resorts can be found around the Wide World of Sports complex and Disney's Animal Kingdom park. There are five resorts that fall into the value category: All-Star Movies, All-Star Sports, All-Star Music, the Art of Animation, and Pop Century.
The Resorts Around Animal Kingdom
The three resorts located near Animal Kingdom are part of the All-Star collection. They are All-Star Movies, Music and Sports. These resorts are typically the cheapest at Disney, which means they are great for families that are keeping a close eye on their budget. They all have larger than life decorations throughout the resort property, as well as play areas for children.
These resorts also have some of the most child friendly pools on Disney property. Did you know that each resort has at least two pools? That's right there are two pools at each resort, three if you count the kiddie pool. Each resort has one large main pool that has a theme to match the resort, a kiddie pool near the main pool, and then typically located on the opposite end of the resort as the main pool there is another full sized pool. The main pool at Disney's All-Star Movies is themed after the movie Fantasia, it even has a Sorcerer Mickey that quirts water. The second large pool is shaped like a hokey rink and themed after the Mighty Ducks. All-Star Music boasts pools shaped like guitars and pianos, while all star sports has a pool shaped like a baseball diamond.
These resorts also have some of the largest cafeteria style food courts at Disney World. The menu for each different 'cafe' changes for each meal. And if that isn't enough they have a different menu for lunch and dinner each day. This means that if you are dining at your resort during your stay you will have a wide verity of culinary options. A nice change from the stereotypical burger and fries. The portion sizes are true to what you would find at the parks: large enough to get you through a busy day of vacationing. I highly recommend the taco salad at All-Star Movies, it is on the menu on Saturdays. Just like all of the resorts at Disney, each resort has its own travel mug that you can refill throughout your stay. That means you can get your morning coffee and hot chocolate for your kids every morning before hitting the parks, as well as a refreshing drink after a long day of riding rides. You can even order a pizza and have it delivered to your room, perfect for a rainy day when you don't feel like doing anything or just bring it to the pool for a pool side snack.
The rooms are set up like a typical hotel room. Two queen beds, or one king bed, in each room with a small table and chairs. One of the nice things about Disney hotel rooms is that the sink is not in the bathroom. This allows for at least two people to get ready at once. This makes getting ready for the parks in the morning, and bed at night, much easier. There is also a dresser and TV in every room, each room also has free WiFi. If you require a refrigerator, say for medication, or special items for very young children just let Disney know and they will make sure that your needs are met. Some of the value resorts not have family suites, which are set up kind of like a one bedroom suite. These are great for families with older children.
The All-Stars also boast some of the largest resort gift shops. You will find all of the 'must have' park gear right at your resort as well as some special resort only items. That means you don't have to wait until your first park to get those Mickey ears. In addition to the pools and play areas the All-Star resorts also have arcades located in the main lobby area.
A Video Tour of All-Star Movies Resort
The Value Resorts Around the Wide World of Sports Complex
The Art of Animation
The Art of Animation resort currently showcases four of the most loved Disney movies: the Little Mermaid, the Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars. Each themed block of buildings have larger than life decorations from those movies. Even if you don't stay at this resort it is worth the time to take a walk around and see everything it has to offer.
The lobby is filled with color. The chandelier has sketches of different characters in various stages of their development. It is truly one of a kind. The walls are covered in artwork showing how some of the most beloved Disney characters evolved into the forms we are familiar with today.
Pop Century and the Art of Animation
There are two value resorts that are in the Wide World of Sports Complex: Pop Century and the Art of Animation. Both resorts are set up just like the All-Star resorts, with each block of rooms having a different sub-theme within the main them of the resort. Pop Century has a really cool design concept. Each of the building blocks is designed to represent a different decade within the last century. For each decade the pop-culture icons appear larger than life. That means you will find giant yo-yos, rubix cubes, big wheels, and so on. The Art of Animation is very similar to All-Star Movies in that iconic Disney movies are used a sub-themes for the resort. Both resorts have the same large cafeteria style eatery with changing menus that you find at the All-Star resorts.
Pop Century is unique in that it is not yet finished. Once the resort is completed, if Disney ever chooses to continue with construction, they will have each decade represented. Currently only the 1950s through 1990s are represented at the resort. One of the most appealing aspects of the Pop Century resort is that it has three full sized pools. A 1960s themed pool that showcases flower power, a bowling ball pin shaped pool for the 1950s, and a computer shaped pool to represent the 1990s. Even the food at the cafe matches the resort's theme. You can get tie-dyed cheesecake. How psychedelic is that?
The Art of Animation is the Newest of the value resorts at Walt Disney World. It was also the first of the value resorts to have family suites. While this may put this resort at a higher price than the rest of the value resorts it is well worth it. These suites are revolutionary. They have two full sized bathrooms, a kitchenette, a living area, a small dining area, and a separate bedroom. They sleep a family of six quite comfortably. They are, in fact, some of the few rooms at the value level that can accommodate larger families. This resort also boasts the largest resort pool at Walt Disney World. This pool is themed after Finding Nemo. If that isn't enough for you this resort has two more pools, a Cars themed pool and a Little Mermaid themed pool.