Let’s be honest about this; if you want to do Disney on a budget, you’re probably going to base your stay outside the Walt Disney World Property. While some of the resorts and hotels are classed as ‘value’ offerings, they are still vastly more expensive than staying in a bog standard, International Drive motel. However, if your heart is truly set on the complete Disney experience, Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort is perhaps one of the better options.
It seems that the premium charged for staying at this fun hotel is simply for the privilege of Disney-fication’. The rooms are small – about the same size as those at the Rosen Inn Pointe Orlando. The standard offering of two double beds is designed specifically for young families of four. So if you have teenagers or larger families, this probably isn’t the Disney resort for you.
The set-up is very much a classic American motel affair. Rooms are on three levels, all with outdoor corridors and sheer drops to the ground below. I have to say that, after the initial excitement of arriving for a stay in a Disney resort, the All-Star Resort is a little underwhelming given the prices charged by many British tour operators. The suites are slightly more spacious, but you will still get more for your buck by upgrading to one of Disney’s more luxurious resorts.
However, with the negative stuff out of the way, there are still reasons to be positive. For a start, being surrounded by giant Disney characters does bring out the kid in even the most cynical of us parents. What’s more, the standards of cleanliness, food and service are exceptional – everything you would expect from Walt Disney World.
You get all the basis perks of being a Disney guest whilst staying in this functional resort hotel, including the ability to charge food and merchandise to your room in all the parks and free Disney transportation. And despite the underwhelming feeling I just mentioned, there is still a magic that pervades the entire resort.
There are two spacious pools – both in excellent condition – and a pool bar that serves cool drinks and refreshments throughout the day. Pool towels are freely available to resort guests, and the general atmosphere is one of fun. However, if I had one niggle it would be that there seem to be a lot of boisterous ‘spring-breakers’ using this hotel. If you have toddlers or babies in your family, you may be better off paying the extra for Port Orleans.
When you check into the Disney All Star Movies Resort, you’ll be issued with your Disney resort mug, which allows you to have as many soft drinks as you like whilst on Disney property – great for budgeting and essential in a state where temperatures regularly top 100F. There is a functional food court that sells all the usual suspects, including burgers, pizzas and oriental cuisine. But if it’s character breakfasts you’re hoping for, a trip to Disney’s Contemporary Resort will be necessary.
Although it pains me to say this, there are far better hotels in Orlando that charge only a fraction of the nightly room rate at Disney’s All-Star Movie Resort. If you’re adamant about staying in a Disney hotel, but money is tight, this is perhaps the best (and cheapest) option. However, if you want to get closer to the magic, my advice would be to pay a little extra and opt for the Port Orleans Riverside Resort or the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
But hey… if you’re staying in any Disney hotel this year, that’s reason enough to be very excited.