So, you’ve been doing your research and you are trying to figure out which is the best All-Star Resort at Disney World for your stay. Disney’s All-Star Resort is comprised of three different hotels All-Star Sports, Music and Movies. Technically this resort was Disney World’s first value hotel if you exclude the campgrounds at Fort Wilderness.
The resort opened in phases, All-Star Sports was the first to welcome guests on April 29th, 1994. Followed by music on November 22nd of the same year and finally, All-Star Movies opened five years later on January 15th, 1999.
Each of these three resorts contains about 1920 rooms but All-Star Music has a little less with 1604 given that the family suites are a little bit bigger and take up more space. But altogether the three hotels combined offer 5,444 rooms.
Each Resort also features one main quick-service restaurant or food court. There are additional ways to get food while staying at All-Stars but most of your dining will be at these food courts because there are no table service restaurants here.
When traveling to the parks from the hotel, buses will be your main form of transportation. This is free like it would be at any Disney World Hotel, but for those of you in a hurry you also always have the option to hail a Minnie Van.
In terms of location, All-Stars is actually very close to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Blizard Beach. So, if you plan on rope dropping the park to visit Pandora first thing, then All-Stars will give you a slight edge over the other Disney World resorts.
Each hotel features two pools, and at the very center of each is the resort’s main pool which is usually accompanied by an adjacent kiddie pool. For those of you who are looking to escape the bigger crowds, each of the three will also provide a secondary and quieter pool for relaxation.
All-Stars Resorts Layout
Whether you’re a couple looking for a romantic getaway or a family of five visiting the parks some resorts might work better than others because not all Disney hotels are created the same. But before we get into those nitty-gritty details, I want to first give you a more detailed tour of the All-Stars and a general look at the layout. This is going to be important later when you stuck deciding between a standard room and a preferred room.
The exterior style of these resorts is basic, there are simple rectangular shaped buildings with huge oversized characters right in the middle of them. Each building is about three stories high and each has an elevator for you to get to the higher floors. Unlike the deluxe hotels, these buildings have exterior hallways meaning if you’re close to a pool, things might get a little bit loud but still, these are basic, very colorful, and fun buildings.
The layout of each of the All-Star resorts is almost exactly the same; the Music resort is the only one here that’s a little bit different. Each includes the main building at the very front of the resort this is where a magical express will drop you off and when the main reception desk is located, this is also where you’ll find all of you dining and shopping.
There are ten different buildings at each resort and every resort has five different themes; meaning there are two buildings assigned to each theme.
All-Stars Sports Resort Layout
Let’s first look at the layout for sports and movies because they’re almost identical. The five themes that All-Star sports relate to different sports of course and there are the Surfs Up building, Hoops Hotel, Center Court, Touchdown, and Homerun Hotel.
The main pool is directly behind the lobby building in between the two surf buildings. The second and quieter pool is a little bit further down the path and in between the two baseball buildings. The preferred rooms at sports are in the surfs building and the touchdown buildings.
One quick tip is to avoid staying in the touchdown section of All-Star Sports. Many of you have probably heard that the All-Stars resorts get filled with school groups. While this is true, the only time I’ve really seen it impact my experience is in this particular area, because there’s a wide-open lawn in between the two buildings.
Cheerleaders and dance troupes tend to practice here if there’s a competition going on and it can get really loud. So, if you’re hoping to sleep in on the day of a competition you might be out of luck. No other building has a lawn quite like this one, so this one is best to avoid.
All-Stars Movies Resort Layout
All-Star Movies is almost exactly the same as sports just flipped around. You’ll notice that the secondary pool is located on the north side of the resort as opposed to the south side. The themes here tie into different Disney films. There’s a Toy Story section, Fantasia, The Lovebug, 101 Dalmatians, and The Mighty Ducks. An interesting feature to note here is that there are more preferred rooms to choose from at All-Star Movies. They are all located in the Toy Story section, Fantasia, and 101 Dalmatians.
All-Stars Music Resort Layout
All-Star Music is slightly different because behind the main lobby building Music is almost one long stretch that goes directly backward. Meaning you may have a slightly longer walk than you would at Sports and Movies if you get stuck towards the back of the hotel. Here the themes are related to different styles of music, there’s the Calypso building, the Jazz inn, the Broadway Hotel, Country Fair and Rock Inn.
Just like the Sports hotel, if you opt for a preferred room and music, you’ll be in either the Calypso building or the Jazz inn. And another thing to note here is that the secondary pool is centered towards the back of the resort and also an equal distance to four different themed buildings.
Best Rooms at All-Stars Resorts
Next, let’s dive into discussing the rooms. Booking a standard room in an All-Star is very straightforward across the board. It’s the one that’s most available at all three. These are best suited for a family of four. You will have the choice to upgrade to a preferred room but that only implies the actual location of the room. The layout and structure of both are exactly the same.
Each standard room at the All-Stars is 260 square feet it’s one of the smallest rooms you’ll find at Disney World. They usually come with two double beds and in between them you’ll find a simple nightstand. At the All-Star Sports, there was a central TV unit that was equipped with three different drawers. That’s all the storage that was available because you won’t be able to tuck things under the bed.
I also want to point out that there’s a small mini-fridge it’s a decent size and will hold several drinks and food items however there is no microwave in these rooms but there is one that you can use in each of the food courts. The bedroom and bathroom area are divided with a simple curtain this is helpful if someone wakes up in the middle of the night and doesn’t want to disturb anybody else.
There is one main sink and adjacent is an open closet area; you’ll find an iron ironing board hairdryer and a very small safe. You’ll only be able to store a few smaller items here and your typical laptop won’t fit. Then there’s the bathroom with one toilet and a tub shower combo. The room is simple and straightforward the decor is basic, and you’ll usually find a trim of Disney characters featured at each resort and of course a simple piece of art on the wall.
This is the type of room that you simply come back to at the end of a long day at the parks to just crash and get some sleep before waking up and doing it all over again. Now unlike other resorts, the standard rooms don’t come with any sort of options when it comes to the view. But like I said before you can bump yourself up to a preferred room, which gives you a better location to the main building, the room itself is exactly the same.
Now I think these standard rooms are best suited for a family of four with no more than two adults. If you’re a group of two adults with two kids you’ll be reasonably comfortable in these rooms. Again, we have to remember that these come with two double beds. If you’re a group of four adults and you want to be comfortable, I would suggest starting to look into the moderate hotels because those tend to come with two queen-size beds.
If you’re a couple you can request a king-size bed at the All-Stars, but it’s not always guaranteed, because those rooms are usually reserved for guests to need the accessibility features. But these standard rooms are also good for a family of four who want to keep things affordable. If keeping the budget down is a major priority for you and your family an All-Star is an obvious choice. But I do recommend this instead of staying off property if you specifically need and want to use add-on features like the Disney Dining Plan and Disney’s Magical Express.
While a family of four looking to stay on the budget is the most ideal group for the All-Stars, there are two other room categories that I want to highlight. I think they might accommodate very specific travel groups who still want to stick to a strict budget while on their Disney vacation. The rooms here have had a major upgrade from what they used to be, and are now on par with Pop Century’s refurbished rooms. These are the same exact size but there’s brand new furniture, laminate floors that look like wood paneling, a new flat-screen TV, and more. But the bed arrangement is different now because there’s one queen bed and one queen Murphy bed that pulls down. So when both beds are out it’s a tighter fit in the room, but a more comfortable sleeping arrangement. When you fold up that Murphy bed it doubles as a small dining area that fits about two people.
The other room category I want to briefly point out is over at All-Star music. This Resort offers standard rooms just like the other two but also a family suite. Now I use the term suite loosely here because, in reality, this is really two standard rooms combined into one. However, there are little perks here that may come in handy. In terms of beds, one room comes with a queen-sized bed for the adults and the second room (which really feels like a living room) features a pullout sofa bed, a pullout chair, and a pullout ottoman.
Technically this will sleep six people but again probably best if you’re a pair of adults, only traveling with kids and probably a little bit older than a toddler and still younger than a teenager. It’s going to feel like a giant slumber party in there. There are two bathrooms however which is very useful. And in the main room where the queen bed is, there is also a tiny kitchenette with no major appliances, but you’ll still have a fridge and a microwave. Keep this room in your back pocket especially if you’re looking at things like the cabins at Fort Wilderness, which also sleeps six, and the art of animation family suites.
By comparison, the one at All-Star Music is the smallest and cheapest of the three. It’s worth noting that the cabins only have one bathroom, but the trade-off is that you get a full-sized kitchen. Art of Animation suites are obviously newer than All-Star Music and slightly bigger. But there’s a more comfortable dining area to enjoy and of course, Art of Animation now has the Skyliner connecting guests to Epcot in Hollywood Studios, which is a huge advantage!
Dining at All-Stars Resorts
Now dining at an All-Stars resort is very straightforward, because all three of the All-Star hotels have a food court which counts as a quick-service restaurant and it’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Over at All-Star Movies, we have the World Premiere food court. The Music resort is the best of the three in my opinion because it’s been more recently refurbished and has a slightly better menu. And then at All-Star Sports, we have The Endzone food court.
Each of these quick-service restaurants have several stations within them. For example, at lunch and dinner, you’ll find the grill station which will serve up hamburgers and hot dogs. A second might be a pizza station serving up pizza of course and some pasta dishes. But to think that all three food courts are exactly the same would be a mistake because there are subtle differences between them.
Like I said All-Star music has a slightly better menu than the other two but only by a little bit. The Intermission food court seems to experiment with their menu more than the others, and features a decent alcohol menu which is especially handy if you’re on the dining plan. All-Star movies features some of those unique alcoholic milkshakes just like the Music resort, but I didn’t see any at the Sports resort. For those of you who don’t drink, the milkshakes and smoothies can be found at all three, so make sure to check the menus.
For the adults who need to unwind a little bit from the hectic nature of a Disney vacation, you’ll be happy to know that all of the All-Stars have their own bar. Each one is located just outside of the food court and just a few steps away from the resort’s main pool. Each of the pool bars are usually open from 12 noon to about 1 a.m. So this is a good place to unwind while enjoying the pool or after a long day in the park.
There’s a typical selection of beer and wine, just like you would find at any Disney bar. But there’s also an impressive number of cocktails on the menu both frozen and on the rocks. It’s a sizeable bar that seats several guests so there’s usually not too long of a wait. There’s no food served at the bar but again since it’s just outside the food court you’re only a few steps away from grabbing a bite to eat.
While deluxe resorts may offer room service for some sort of 24-hour food offering, the All-Stars sadly do not. If you need to get some food in the wee hours of the night you may only have the option of the All-Stars in-room dining and that’s because the food courts tend to close at midnight. The All-Stars in-room dining menu is limited, there’s an array of pizzas as well as other entrees such as assorted kinds of pasta, subs, and sandwiches and of course there are beverages both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
I must point out two key things here it’s only available from 5:00 p.m. To 1:00 a.m., you will be charged a $3 delivery fee and on top of that and 18% gratuity. Be warned if you’re on the Disney dining plans any delivery to your room counts as two adult table service meal credits, definitely not a good use of the plan.
Let’s finish things up by discussing recreational options while staying at the All-Star Resorts. The value hotels don’t have a gym, but the All-Stars have a very long jogging track that connects all three resorts. I’m not one to exercise on vacation but for those who are so dedicated, you’ll enjoy this mile-long track. Some of the hotels offer additional fitness activities as well, for example, sometimes they offer sunrise yoga sessions for free. That might come in handy if you need to get centered before attacking the big theme park crowds.
These activities change all the time so don’t bank on it but double-check for details when you check-in. For the younger guests or simply young at heart; each All-Star hotel features an arcade as well. These can be found inside each of the resort’s main lobby building just across the food court. It’s a sizable arcade filled with a big variety of games from classic skee-ball and air hockey to more high-tech racing games.
But of course, with any Resort in Florida, you’re probably wondering about the pool. The pools at the All-Stars are pretty basic. Each Resort has one main pool directly behind the lobby building and a smaller quieter pool tucked away in another corner of the resort. There are no slides or crazy water features or splash pads, it’s just one giant pool. These are sadly not zero-entry pools, but each main pool offers a kiddie pool just nearby. The one at movies is the better of the three primarily because of the theming.
All the polls have lifeguards on duty and towels that you can use at no additional cost. Like all Disney pools, there are vests available for little ones still learning to swim. They come in different sizes and again at no cost. When staying at the All-Stars I tend to always enjoy the quieter pool a little bit more, it’s no different from the main pool except the location and a little more relaxing. Each pool also has a locker and laundry room nearby, where you can do your laundry and will cost about $3 to wash and $3 to dry.
The locker rooms can come in handy if you’re enjoying the pool on your last day. I sometimes do this myself and leave the pool for the day that I check out. And since I’ve got to get everything out of the room, I use the lockers in here to store my essentials.
During the day cast members will come out and play games with the little ones. And of course, remember that movies under the stars always takes place just by the pool area. Just look for a board in the lobby area for showtimes and the titles being shown.
So which All-Star Resort is best? Like I said these standard rooms that the All-Stars are best for a family of four compromised of two adults and two kids. Of course, you can tweak that a little bit if you get a refurbished room or the family suite. But by and large, that’s who will fit best at these hotels.
The All-Stars are the cheapest of all the resorts at Disney and a good option if sticking to a tight budget is your priority.
The Movies resort has newer rooms, but Music, in my opinion, has slightly better food options. I oddly also think that music has a slightly better vibe as well there’s something about the calypso pool and the jazz building that almost reminds me of Port Orleans. But again if the price is the most important factor then just go for the cheapest one.
If you don’t want to pay extra for a preferred room but still want to score a good location, I recommend requesting the Mighty Ducks building at All-Star Movies. Just because you’ll be close to a quiet pool and actually only a few steps away from music’s lobby. You’ll actually be closer to that Lobby as opposed to the one in All-Star movies. So, you can enjoy their better menu and almost have a preferred location that’s also pretty close to transportation.
If there’s any building at any resort to avoid it’s the touchdown building at All-Star Sports. In fact, sports of the three can get the busiest and that’s because there’s a small convention hall at the very back of the parking lot in between sports and music and it’s very common to have some special events take place here.
Now you have a complete look at all three hotels at Disney’s All-Star Resorts. If you’re at the planning phase of your next Disney vacation and considering the stay at the All-Star Resorts. I hope this article helps you make some key decisions when trying to figure out the best Disney World resort for your stay.