The Best Disney Value Resort (and The Worst)

Posted in Disney World
on June 4, 2019

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buzz lightyear statue at disney all start movies resort

I have stayed at all five of the Disney Value Resorts in Walt Disney World and while I love the overall experience at these hotels, there are definitely some highlights and lowlights.

In this post I’ll share my ranking of the Disney Value resorts, followed by lots of pictures, descriptions, and details for support.

Best Disney Value Resort Ranking

There are five resorts in the “Value” category at Walt Disney World. Here they are listed from best to worst (in my humble opinion):

  1. Disney’s Pop Century Resort
  2. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  3. Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
  4. Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
  5. Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort

I’ll explain my ranking next – let’s start with #5 and work up from there.

The All-Star Resorts

The two oldest Disney Value resorts are All-Star Sports and All-Star Music, both of which opened in 1994.

It is probably no coincidence that these are the worst of the Value Resorts.

beds in disney all star resort

The rooms at the All-Star Resorts all look pretty much the same, though some details are different.

They are all 260 square feet and have two double beds or one king bed (only in accessible rooms).

table and chairs at all star resort disney world

Each room has a small table with two chairs, a mini-fridge, and some storage around the TV.

I’ve had roughly the same experience in each of the All-Stars, which is that the rooms are showing some wear, but are overall in good condition and work great if you are spending most of your time in the parks.

The All-Stars are scheduled to have major room refurbishments in 2019-2020, and the new rooms will look similar to these refurbished rooms at Pop Century.

While the rooms, dining, and layout of the All-Star Resorts are similar, it’s the theming and details that set them apart.

#5: All Star Sports Resort

walkway at all star sports resort

All-Star Sports is definitely the least “Disney” of the resorts because the icons are all sports-inspired.

You’ll find a few Disney characters scattered about, but it just doesn’t have the appeal of any of the other Value Resorts (unless you or your kid is a total sports nut, in which case you might prefer it over the other All-Star Resorts).

restaurant dining area

It does boast a newly remodeled food court (as does All Star Music). 

You can get a sense for what’s on the menu in the food court here – but keep in mind this menu isn’t complete and you’ll find more options than those listed. 

resort pool

The main “Feature” pool is surfing inspired and it very large. Even so, it can get crowded and loud.

It’s second pool is baseball-themed with Goofy winding up for a pitch in the center. 

Be aware that All Star Sports does tend to get noisy and chaotic with cheer and sports teams often staying here. 

#4: All Star Music Resort

All Star Music Exterior

I like the theming at All-Star Music much better than Sports. It is whimsical and has more of a Disney presence. 

little mermaid statue

I like the statues of Donald and friends at the feature pool and Ariel and friends at the leisure pool.

fountain at all star music resort

The courtyard that you walk through in the jazz section of All-Star Music is really lovely. It reminds of Port Orleans French Quarter and has more of an “adult” feel to it than other sections of the All Star resorts. 

All-Star Music has two-room family suites that can be a more affordable alternative to the suites at Art of Animation (more on those later). You can get details on the family suites at All-Star Music here.

main pool at all star music resort

Overall I like All Star Music better than Sports because you’ll find better theming and fewer cheer/sports groups staying there. 

It has a much more relaxed feel than Sports in my experience. 

#3: All Star Movies Resort

toy story courtyard all star movies resort

My favorite All-Star Resort is definitely All-Star Movies, which opened five years after the original two All-Stars.

The Toy Story section of the resort is fantastic, and we will walk over there to visit it even when we are staying at another All-Star Resort (you can easily walk among them).

resort pool
The main feature pool is inspired by Fantasia and it is wonderful classic Disney. 

splash pad

The kiddie pool is the best of the All Star Resorts. It has a splash pad area and a shallow baby pool that the little ones will love.

little girl with 101 dalmatians puppy statue

There are photo ops with Toy Story characters as well as the pups from 101 Dalmatians. 

Overall the resort has great theming, though you have to wonder why Imagineers dedicated sections of the resort to the movies Herbie the Love Bug and The Mighty Ducks.

Because of the better theming, kiddie pool, and Toy Story area, I suggest All-Star Movies over the other All-Stars for families with little ones. 

resort room interior

Plus as of May 2019 it is the only All Star Resort with renovated rooms – check out a tour of the fancy new rooms in this post!

In my experience, the food, cast members, and transportation have been similar at the three All-Stars.

You may read that these resorts share bus service to the parks (every bus stops at all three resorts), but I’ve found that is getting increasingly rare.

all star music bus stop

At peak times you will always go straight from your resort to the parks without any stops. Each resort has its own bus stop at the Magic Kingdom, so you will go straight back to your resort from there as well.

The only time you may experience multiple stops is if you are going to the parks at a non-peak time (such as a 3 p.m.), or coming back from Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.

Before I move on, I have to point out two advantages of the All-Stars compared to the other Disney Value Resorts: price and availability.

  • The All-Stars are some of the last of the Disney Resorts to fill up, so you may be able to find rooms available there for a last-minute trip.
  • You will pay slightly less at the All-Star resorts compared to Pop Century, but only about $10-$20 less per night.

I’ve booked rooms at the All-Stars for as little as $85 per night when I combine Orbitz promo codes with Disney discounts.

I’ve also been able to score a room at All Star Sports for as low as $48/night (!!!!) by using Hotwire – get the details here.

Now on to my picks for the best of the Value resorts. 

Best Disney Value Resorts

surfer goofy statue

The two other Disney Value Resorts are Pop Century and Art of Animation. These are by far my favorites, and which resort I prefer depends on who is in my travel party.

#2: Art of Animation

ariel statue at art of animation resort Disney World

My second pick for the best Disney Value resort is Art of Animation.

Disney’s Art of Animation is the newest Value resort and opened in 2012. It is located on the other side of Hourglass Lake, across from Pop Century. It takes less than 10 minutes to walk from the main building at one resort to the main building at the other.

While all of the rooms at Pop Century are standard hotel rooms, most of the rooms at Art of Animation are two-room “Family Suites” that sleep up to six.

beds in little mermaid room at art of animation resort

There are some standard hotel rooms at Art of Animation in The Little Mermaid area (read my review of these rooms here).

Because they are located the farthest from the main building and are usually excluded from Disney-released discounts, I prefer rooms at Pop Century to these rooms.

Bed at Art of Animation family suite

The family suites at Art of Animation feature two full bathrooms and a separate bedroom with a queen bed.

Murphy bed at Art of Animation family suite

They also have a table with four chairs that converts to a full-size bed, and a full-size sleeper sofa in the living room area (see lots of pictures of these rooms in this review).

The one big downside of these rooms is their cost – the starting rate with no discounts is $354. Discounts of up to 20% are common, but the cost still comes out to be much more than two rooms at another Value resort.

These rooms are perfect for a larger family, or a family traveling with a grandparent. I think one adult could comfortably sleep on the Murphy bed, though I wouldn’t recommend putting two adults on the bed or any adults on the sleeper sofa!

Finding Nemo pool at Disney Art of Animation Resort

The pools at Art of Animation are fantastic, especially the “Big Blue Pool” which has a zero-entry side and large splash play area.

cars pool at Art of Animation Resort

The Cars area with these Cozy Cone cabanas is also really fun. The theming in the Cars area (and around the whole resort, really) is outstanding.

Little girl playing on the resort playground

Even the playground area is themed to the movie Finding Nemo. My daughter loves playing there.

food court at Disney Art of Animation resort

The Landscape of Flavors food court offers a great selection and affordable prices. It is by far my favorite Value dining option, and I’ll often walk over to dine at Art of Animation when I am staying at Pop Century.

bus stop at Art of Animation resort

Art of Animation also has covered waiting areas for the Disney buses, which no other Value resort has. I really appreciate not having to wait in the sun or rain!

Overall, the amenities at Art of Animation are far superior to those at the other Values. I prefer Pop Century if I’m traveling with a small group, thanks to the better value and room locations.

#1: Pop Century

My first pick for the best Disney value resort is Pop Century.

Pop Century opened in 2003 and is a huge resort with 2,880 rooms. It is themed around American pop culture from the 1950’s to 1990’s and is very “Disney” without being in-your-face.

Check out my full review of the resort here.

mickey mouse themed room

Rooms at Pop Century are all recently remodeled as of 2018. The two double beds have been replaced by a queen bed and a queen-sized Murphy bed that transforms into a table.

There are coffee makers in the new rooms, as well as a huge TV and a sliding wooden door that separates the bathroom area from the main room.

pop century resort room interior

You can check out my photo tour of the new rooms here!

Needless to say, this renovation puts Pop Century a giant step above the rooms at the All-Stars.

If you are a family traveling with one or two small (7 and under) kids, I would suggest a room at Pop Century over all other Value Resorts and most moderates.

hippy dippy pool at pop century

Pop Century has three pools and one fantastic zero-entry kiddie pool with bubbling water features.

I particularly love the flower features at the feature “Hippy Dippy” pool.

everything pop food court - best disney value resort

The gift shop and food court can both be found in the “Everything Pop” shopping and dining area.

In my experience, the food court is a cut above the All-Star resorts. You’ll have more options and the quality is just a bit better.

lady and the tramp statue

There are four different room categories you can book at Pop Century: Standard, Pool View, Preferred, and Preferred Pool View.

Pop Century is huge and spread out, so if you want to avoid long walks I suggest spending a little more and booking a Preferred room (these are closest to the main building).

Best Disney Value Resort Summary

Art of Animation Cozy Cone sign

When I’m trying to visit on a tight budget, the Disney Value resorts almost always come out ahead compared to staying off-property. Plus, I think you’ll have a far better vacation experience – i.e. more relaxation and time with your family and less stress!

If you want help choosing the right resort or with any aspect of planning your Disney vacation, I strongly suggest getting a free quote from the expert agents at Destinations in Florida.

They can help you get the best price, book dining reservations, select FastPasses and more – all at no cost to you!

If you have any questions about the best Disney Value resort, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on my free private Facebook group!

And check out these related posts:

The best and worst of the Value Resorts at Walt Disney World! Not all Value resorts are created equal, so here are my picks for the best and worst options. #familyvacation #disneyworld

The Best Disney Value Resort (and The Worst)

22 Comments

  • Gianna

    Can you make an updated version of this since the rooms have been refurbished?

    June 28, 2020 at 11:22 am Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Gianna! This post is currently up to date with the refurbishment. It is possible a few of the buildings at All Star Music are now completed but with the resort being closed right now it is impossible to know. Sports is still the same as pictured in this post as are a vast majority of the rooms at Music.

      June 28, 2020 at 12:52 pm Reply
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