Disney Value Resorts: Your Guide to Choosing the Right Hotel

Looking to do Disney on a budget? If so, Disney value resorts could be for you. They provide many of the Disney perks that come with staying on property, without all the cost. After all, if your family is primarily looking for a bed to sleep, a place to hold your luggage, and some fun themes, then you should stay at a Disney value resort. While the five Disney value resorts do lack the bells and whistles of the moderate and deluxe resorts, there are definite positives to staying at a Disney value hotel. In this review, I will rank the best Disney value resorts and discuss the pros and cons of each hotel. I will also review the key features of the Disney value resorts and compare them to what the moderate and deluxe resorts offer.

disney value resorts aoa

Great Features of Disney Value Resorts

Affordability

Disney value resorts are the most affordable option at Walt Disney World. While there are often online discounts and specials available during different times of the year, the prices don’t get any lower than the Disney value hotels.

Disney Perks

Guests staying at any of the five Disney value resorts receive complimentary:

  • Disney transportation to/from the airport
  • Fastpass+ reservation access 60 days prior to your arrival date
  • Bus service to the parks
  • Magic bands
  • Extra Magic Hours
  • Hotel parking
  • Theme park parking
  • Package delivery from Disney stores to the gift shop of your hotel
  • Dining plan purchase option
  • Advanced dining reservation options 180 days prior to your arrival date
magic bands

Theming

The Art of Animation and the Disney All Star Movies both have fabulous theming filled with classic Disney characters. Disney value hotels are definitely more kid-centered. They feature extra large characters and displays that are great for photos and bring out the kid in all of us.

Missing Features of Disney Value Hotels

Room Size and Beds

The standard rooms at the Disney value resorts are very small – 260 square feet. The Art of Animation rooms are slightly larger at 277 feet, while the moderate hotel rooms are 314 feet. The beds in the Disney value hotels are also doubles, not queens.

Table Service Dining

While all 5 Disney value resorts have quick service dining options, none of them have a sit-down table service meals.

No Waterslides

All 5 Disney value hotels have pools, yet none of them have a waterslide. This is a distinct feature at the moderate hotels and deluxe hotels.

Location

The Disney value hotels are among the farthest from a Disney park.

Limited Transportation

While bus transportation is offered to all Disney resorts, the All-Stars only offer bus transportation. Starting in the Fall of 2019, the Art of Animation and Pop Century hotels will be a stop on the Disney Skyliner gondola system.

Disney bus

Best Disney Value Resorts Ranked

Now that you have read the features that the Disney Value Resorts have and the ones that they lack, here is a list of the 5 Disney value hotels and my reviews and ranking of each:

Art of Animation Review

Opened in 2012, the Art of Animation is the newest and best Disney value resort, in my opinion. The theming at this hotel is spectacular! It is broken up into 4 sections: Finding Nemo, Cars, Lion King, and The Little Mermaid. Each area’s decor makes you feel as though you are walking through the movie set. It is very well done. It really should be considered a “value plus” resort because it has family suites in addition to the standard hotel rooms, which are much more expensive. Little Mermaid is the only section with standard hotel rooms, while the other three sections offer family suites.

Their quick service dining – Landscape of Flavors is our family’s “go to” quick service meal because of the variety, quality, and price. Even if we stay somewhere else, we usually make sure to have one dinner there and walk through each section to enjoy the theming. The Art of Animation also has three pool areas; however, The Big Blue Pool at Finding Nemo plays underwater music, has a zero entry, and is considered the main pool of the resort.

In terms of Disney transportation, the Art of Animation has a large covered bus stop, which the other Disney value resorts do not have. It will also be a stop in the Disney Skyliner gondolas opening Fall of 2019.

Overall, my Art of Animation review is that although this resort is the best Disney value resort, its’ steep price tag is tough to swallow. Family suites start at close to $375 a night, and the standard rooms start at about $160 a night. To me, this really isn’t a value. It does make up for it in many ways, but I find the room rates too high to justify the value category. Honestly, although we love the restaurant, theming, pools, and covered bus areas with little wait time, I would opt to stay at a moderate resort for the same price.

Pros

  • Fantastic theming and decor
  • The largest pool of the Disney hotels
  • Splash pad and slide for kids
  • Playground, arcade, and jogging trail
  • The best quick service dining
  • Has its own covered bus transportation
  • Family suites that sleep up to 6 guests
  • Disney Skyliner stop

Cons

  • Most expensive of the Disney value resorts
  • Rarely any discounted rooms

Pop Century Review

Of all the Disney value resorts, the Pop Century gives you the most “bang for your buck”. Opened in 2003, the theme here is American pop culture from the 50’s to the 90’s. The hotel’s decor is fun and whimsical. From giant play-doh to rotary phones and jukebox radios, Pop Century delivers decades of fads infused with Disney characters.

Room rates start at $130 a night and discounts are often available online. The hotel is enormous, with over 2,000 rooms. Because of this, it can be pretty crowded and noisy. The hotel also has three pools with some cute water features. Another bonus is that the Pop Century will have a Disney Skyliner stop and it has its own Disney bus transportation to the parks; while the All-Star resorts share.

pop century review pool

Pros

  • Best overall “bang for your buck”
  • Its own bus transportation
  • Above average quick service dining
  • Three pool areas
  • Disney Skyliner stop
  • Playground, arcade, and jogging trail

Cons

  • Huge
  • Crowded/Noisy

All-Star Movies Review

The All-Star Movies has a classic Disney theme and is the newest of the Disney value hotels (opened in 1999). Sections include Toy Story, 101 Dalmatians, Fantasia, The Mighty Ducks, and Herbie: The Love Bug. This is usually a kid favorite hotel due to the larger than life characters. The Fantasia themed pool is the main attraction with a Sorcerer Mickey water feature.

To me, it is the best of the All-Star category of hotels as the theme is movie nostalgia. Rates start at $120 a night during the value season, but discounts can be found often. The huge drawback for me is that this hotel not only shares the bus stops with the other 2 All-Star properties, but it is the last stop. This means that the buses will be very crowded every morning, and you are the last stop when you are exhausted from a day at the parks.

all star movies review

Pros

  • Toy Story theme is a crowd favorite
  • Great value
  • Kiddie splash area
  • Two pool areas
  • Playground, arcade, and jogging trail

Cons

  • Shares buses with the other two All-Star resorts
  • It is the last stop on the bus route
  • Crowded/loud

All-Star Sports Review

This was the first Disney value hotel opened in 1994. If you have a sports fan in your group, they will love the larger than life sports themes including football, baseball, basketball, tennis, and surfing. The decor is solely centered around sports; there are some Disney characters playing sports, but that’s about it.

Rates start at close to $100 a night, but discounts are very easy to find online. A nice perk is that it is the first stop on the Disney All-Star buses which means that you are the first on and the first off.

all star sports best disney value resorts

Pros

  • The first stop of the All-Star Disney buses
  • Great value
  • Perfect for sports lovers
  • Two pools
  • A huge football field to run around and play
  • Playground, arcade, and jogging trail

Cons

  • Shares buses with the other two All-Star hotels
  • Sports theme is not very “Disney”
  • Crowded/loud

All-Star Music Review

The All-Star Music was opened just after the Sports, and is considered tied in terms of the lowest price Disney value resort. To me, it is my least favorite Disney value hotel because the theme doesn’t scream Disney. My favorite part about this hotel is the Three Caballeros Calypso pool that is guitar shaped. The giant instruments and music inspired icons of rock ‘n’ roll, country, jazz, Broadway, and calypso are nice, but I don’t love them. The layout is also strange and if you happen to stay at the last section, there is a lot of walking to get to the main building.

Rates are about the same as the All-Star Sports starting at about $100 a night, yet it has one major perk – family suites. The family suites are much cheaper than the Art of Animation and start at about $275 a night. Although I have never stayed in a family suite here, I think that the price is too much for this hotel. Also, it is the second stop on the Disney All-Star bus route, and it is usually pretty full once it arrives.

disney value resorts all star music

Pros

  • Great value
  • Perfect for music lovers
  • Has family suites that sleep up to 6 people
  • Two pools
  • Playground, arcade, and jogging trail

Cons

  • Shares buses with the other two All-Star hotels
  • Music theme is not very “Disney”
  • Crowded/loud

On-Site or Off-Site

I believe that staying on-site at Disney World gives you more for your money. Besides the obvious Disney perks and free transportation, you never have to leave the magical world of Disney if you stay on property. I enjoy the feeling of being surrounded by the Disney magic 24 hours a day, but I know that not everyone shares my sentiments. If you still aren’t sure if the Disney Value Resorts are right for your family, then consider the Disney Moderate Resorts instead.

While I have stayed off-site on occasion, I know many families prefer staying outside of Disney due to budget, family size, or because they also want a middle point when visiting other Orlando attractions. You could also use rewards credit cards to get free hotel stays at major hotel chains. Here is a list of 15 of the best family resorts in Orlando that are not in Disney World.

If you are visiting Disney for the first time, then you’ll need to know what to pack for Disney World and about these Disney Fastpass Secrets.  I share my strategies for which fast pass to reserve and the reasons why at all four parks: Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom. If you’re looking for something to do besides the parks, consider going to Disney Springs.

Kids at disney

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14 thoughts on “Disney Value Resorts: Your Guide to Choosing the Right Hotel”

  1. All these resorts look fantastic! We’ve never stayed at a disney hotel and these all look like great options!

  2. Great breakdown of the value resorts! Keeping this close by for a future trip – always have the value resorts as our backup plan if we cant get in with DVC Request 😉

  3. Great tips! So many options out there! We are Disneyland people, but I hope to make it to Disney World one day. 🙂

  4. I’ve only stayed at the All Star Sports in the groups and completely agree on all your pros/cons. Thanks for all the info on the other resorts – I’ll use this the next time I visit.

  5. Living in Orlando, we rarely stay at the parks other than when I used to camp at Fort Wilderness as a kid. I know a lot of my friends who run Disney races like to stay at the hotels you mentioned here. Pop Century and the All Star hotels seem to be their go to for staying close since they have to be at the start line so early.

  6. JEFFREY HANDSHAW

    This post needs updating…parking is no longer complimentary (anywhere), and Disney no longer accepts packages. Also the comment about location is wrong, the value resorts are close to 3 parks; generally speaking with the parks spread out as they are ALL resorts are relatively equally distant from all parks (and Disney Springs)

    1. Parking is complimentary if you are staying at a Disney hotel and yes they do accept packages. There is a new $6 fee if you want to ship it to your room, but you can buy something at the Disney parks and ship it to the gift shop of your hotel for free.

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