I’ve stayed at all five of Walt Disney World’s Value Resorts at least once, and one of them MANY times. I think they offer a fantastic (and affordable) vacation experience for most people, but they certainly aren’t for everyone!
In this post, I’ll share what you should expect at Disney’s Value Resorts and what you won’t find there. If you are interested in my picks for the best and worst of the Value Resorts and my recommended resort for families and first-timers, check out Part 2 in this series (coming soon)!
What To Expect: Rooms at Disney’s Value Resorts
Disney resorts are divided into three main categories: Value, Moderate, and Deluxe. The resorts in the “Value” category at Walt Disney World are:
- All-Star Music Resort
- All-Star Movies Resort
- All-Star Sports Resort
- Pop Century Resort
- Art of Animation Resort
All of these resorts offer basic but comfortable standard hotel rooms with two double beds (a few accessible rooms have one king bed). Rooms at Pop Century are currently being refurbished to have one queen bed and one double Murphy bed, and it’s rumored that these changes will be coming to other Value Resorts as well.
All standard rooms are around 260 square feet and have a mini-fridge, table with two chairs, and drawers for storage. You’ll also find cute Disney touches such as hidden Mickeys in the carpeting and bedding.
There’s a curtain you can pull to separate the bathroom area from the rest of the room, which comes in handy when you need to have the light on in the bathroom area while the kiddos are still sleeping. There is a small room with the toilet and bathtub/shower and the one sink is outside of that room.
All-Star Music and Art of Animation also offer “Family Suites” that have a bedroom separate from the main living area and kitchenette. The bedroom has a queen bed and there is a full-size pullout bed in the living room.
The suites at Art of Animation also have a second bathroom and full-size Murphy bed (you can check out my detailed review of the suites here).
While the rooms at Disney Value Resort aren’t fancy, they are designed to be functional and fun.
What to Expect: Amenities at Disney’s Value Resorts
First, you should expect excellent customer service at any Disney World Resort hotel, include the Value Resorts. You won’t get treated like a second-class visitor because you are staying at the lowest-cost resorts, and you’ll be treated like a VIP by all of the Cast Members.
The Value resorts all have fun, kid-friendly theming. In fact, they are widely considered some of the most “kid-friendly” resorts on Disney property! Disney characters abound and everything is bright and colorful, so these resorts have a ton of kid appeal.
The Value resorts all have pools that tie into the theme of the resort, such as the Fantasia pool at All-Star Movies and the Finding Nemo themed “Big Blue Pool” at Art of Animation. You’ll now find towels available at the pools, which is a recent and VERY welcome change! There are multiple pools at each resort and a pool bar at the main “feature” pool.
There are daily poolside activities led by Disney cast members and nice playgrounds at each resort. Every night there is a Disney movie shown poolside on a giant inflatable screen, which can be a fun way to spend an evening away from the parks.
You’ll find quick service food courts at each resort and large gift shops, of course. I think the landscaping and general maintenance of the properties is excellent, far above what you’d expect from chain property at the same price points.
But the biggest pull for me of the Value resorts is that you get ALL of the perks of staying at a Disney World Resort hotel, including:
- Free transportation to/from Orlando International Airport and around Walt Disney World
- Free Magic Bands for everyone in your party (read all about them in this post)
- The ability to book FastPasses 60 days before you arrive (as opposed to 30 days before if you stay off-property)
- Access to Extra Magic Hours
- The ability to add a Disney Dining Plan to your stay (get my tips and tricks for using the Dining Plan here)
These are just the main perks of staying at a Disney World resort hotel and you’ll get them with even a one-night reservation. The perks are what keep me staying on Disney property, and I love getting them without a costly price tag at the Value Resorts!
What to Expect: Cost
The cost of staying at a Value Resort varies depending on when you travel. In general, expect rates in the $90 – $140 range per night. You can find the non-discounted or “rack” rate for every Disney hotel every day of the year over at MouseSavers.com. The most affordable times of year to visit are when kids are in school, such as the fall, January and February, and after Spring Break.
Also, I suggest using Orbitz to book your room-only Disney World resort reservations with a promo code to save an additional 15% ON TOP of any discount directly from Disney. Read all about how to save big by booking Disney resorts on Orbitz in this post!
I calculated that you will save around $90 per night (as opposed to renting a car) by taking advantage of Disney’s complimentary transportation. Magic Bands cost $22 per person out-of-pocket, so a family of four will save another $88 there.
While I’m on transportation, I need to mention that most of the time buses from the Value Resorts will take you directly to/from the theme parks. At the Moderate resorts (and some Deluxe resorts) you have to ride the bus around the resort itself while it stops up to six times to pick up guests. This adds a significant amount to travel time to and from the parks and is one reason why I’ve leaned towards the Value resorts over the Moderates on many occasions!
What You Won’t Find at Value Resorts
Now that you know what you’ll get at Value resorts, here’s what will you NOT find there.
1) While there are several fun pools at each resort, you won’t find water slides or hot tubs at the Value resorts. You also will not find zero-entry pools or water play areas, with the exception of Art of Animation which has both.
2) You will not find any table service restaurants at the Value resorts. Other Disney resorts (particularly the deluxe resorts) offer some incredible table service dining options, but you’ll just find food courts at the Disney Value resorts. I think the food is excellent at the Value resorts, but you will have to navigate a sometimes crowded food court to get it.
3) You won’t find queen-sized beds in the standard hotel rooms at Value resorts, though it appears this will change over the course of the next few years as they get remodeled. Until all of the rooms get queen beds (which will likely take until 2019 or beyond), you’ll find two double beds.
4) One of the perks of staying at the Deluxe resorts is the ability to get to a theme park without having to ride a bus. For example, at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort you can walk to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios, and you can take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot when you stay at the Polynesian. You will have to take a bus to get anywhere on Disney property when you stay at a Value resort.
5) And last, you also won’t find extensive resort activities at Disney Value Resorts like you would at the Deluxe Resorts. For example, Animal Kingdom Lodge offers daily cookie decorating, restaurant tours, cultural immersion experiences with cast members from Africa, and more. Poolside entertainment and nightly movies are all you’ll get at the Value resorts.
I hope this post helped you know what to expect from a stay at a Value resort. They are among my favorites of all Disney World resorts because of their fun atmosphere and valuable perks at an affordable price.
If you want help deciding which resort might be the best fit for your family, I highly suggest getting a free quote from an expert Disney travel agent at Destinations in Florida. They can help you plan every aspect of your Disney vacation at no charge to you!
If you have any questions about staying at a Value resort, please leave a comment below or send me a message at The Frugal South’s Facebook page!