Thinking about staying at a value resort at Disney World? AWESOME! We love the value resorts and stay at them pretty regularly. In this post, we’re going to get you up to speed on the value resorts. We start with reasons to stay at the value resorts (admittedly—mostly money and fun). Then we get to the ranking of the best Disney value resorts. Since there are only five, we just rank them all. Read on for the full scoop on Walt Disney World’s value hotels!
We’ve reorganized our hotel content to be more targeted for what readers specifically want in a given post. It used to be all in a single post, and that was unwieldy and messy. Besides the reviews of every hotel (links are found later in this post), we now have the following posts:
Complete Guide to Disney World Hotels — post to start picking your hotel and for understanding the key differences between the different hotels at Disney World
Benefits of Staying at a Disney Hotel — covers the perks associated with Disney hotels
Best Disney World Value Hotels (this post) — in-depth mostly objective look at and ranking of the value resorts
Best Disney World Moderate Hotels — in-depth mostly objective look at and ranking of the moderate resorts
Best Disney World Deluxe Hotels — in-depth mostly objective look at and ranking of the deluxe resorts
Ranking of the Best Disney World Hotels — our subjective ranking of all the Disney hotels
If you’re looking for an introduction with quick, practical information about all the hotels, check out the guide post. If you’re looking for more detailed analysis, visit the different categorical rankings (like this one). And if you just want to know what two people who do this for a living think of every hotel, check out that last link.
Disney Value Resort Basics
If you want to skip this section, click here to jump down to the rankings.
The value resorts are Disney’s lowest-priced resorts. There are five value resorts at Walt Disney—Pop Century, Art of Animation, All-Star Movies, All-Star Sports, and All-Star Music. The value resorts range in nightly price from $112 to $330 for standard rooms. All-Star Music and Art of Animation also have more expensive family suites.
The All-Stars are sometimes referred to singularly as “All-Star Resort” because they are all a part of one giant physical campus. The only amenity they share, though, is a single bus route. Pop Century and Art of Animation are also near each other, connected by a small bridge over Hourglass Lake. They share no amenities.
All the value resorts have “motel”-style doors that lead directly outside, except for the Art of Animation Family Suites. All have food courts, pizza delivery, and no other restaurants. All have multiple pools and activity schedules with things like pool games and nightly movies under the stars.
Reasons to Stay at Disney World’s Value Resorts
If you already are set on a value hotel and just need to know how we rank them, click here to jump down to the rankings.
1. Disney Hotel Perks
Value resort guests get all the perks of the other Disney guests. If you are used to staying off-site, you might not know what you’re missing! You’ll get to book your FastPass+ reservations further in advance. You’ll get complimentary transportation via Disney's Magical Express to and from Orlando International Airport, and best of all, you’ll get access to Extra Magic Hours!
Some non-Disney hotels get access to some of these perks (and some of these have lower prices than the value resorts), but only the Disney resorts have access to the full suite of benefits for your Disney vacation.
2. Spend Your Savings On Something Else
A hotel is just a place to put your head between parks, dinners, bars, shows, and any other Disney experience you can think of. Why not save $200 per night on the resort and spend that $200 elsewhere?
Staying at a value resort doesn’t have to mean your entire trip has to be value-focused. For the most part, we stay at value resorts because we spend so little time at our resort during trips, so we’d rather have that money for all the other great things at Disney World.
3. Transportation is Improving
Reports of poor experience with the Disney buses continue to happen, but this isn’t unique to the value resorts. Getting between some deluxe resorts and some parks is no picnic sometimes, either.
But we do feel like the situation is improving. If nothing else, the addition of bus wait times to the My Disney Experience app means you shouldn’t be stuck endlessly waiting.
Moreover, it’s easier than ever to Uber (or Lyft, or Minnie Van) around Walt Disney World. If getting around quickly is your big concern, consider that two daily Minnie Van rides will still be significantly cheaper than the premium you’d pay to stay at a deluxe resort (where you’ll still have long trips to some of the parks)
The Skyliner gondola system is coming September 29 to Art of Animation and Pop Century, which will (probably) be a boost for those two hotels, as it will theoretically improve their access to Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
4. Ample Quick Service Food
Food courts might not be for everyone, but we love them. Deluxe resorts often have limited, expensive, and sometimes downright bad quick service food options.
Yes—there’s a trade off. At a deluxe resort you can wake up and walk to a character meal for breakfast. Or you can have a wonderful, fancy dinner night with a firework view (for, y’know, $$$).
But you can always go to another hotel for a nice meal. You can go before or after you go to a nearby park. You can spend an extra $20 to Uber / Lyft / Minnie Van there.
On the flip side, we’ve had several stays at deluxe resorts when we get back a late hour and just needed a burger or pizza but the restaurant was closed, or had a more limited menu. If I’m coming back to a place night after night following long days at the park, I’m picking the place with the food court.
5. Suites at a Reasonable Price
Okay, this is maybe just saying “value resorts are less expensive,” but it’s an important point to make. Many people don't realize that Art of Animation has wonderfully themed suites that tend to price around a standard room at a deluxe resort. All-Star Music also has suites.
If you’d like some extra space without paying the $1000s you’ll see deluxe suites going for, Art of Animation is a good way to do this.
6. They’re Not Stuffy
These next three points are all sort of the same idea—that being low-cost and fun doesn’t make the hotels bad and, in fact, can give them a more enjoyable “vibe” than the other resorts. We love and embrace this.
This is definitely just about taste, but some of the deluxe resorts can feel a bit stuffy. That can be nice for the right kind of day on the right kind of trip, but sometimes you want to be able to walk in flip flops to grab a bite to eat and a beer without feeling a little out of place.
The value resorts tend to be bumpin' with kids and adults alike running around, having a fun time. Keep reading this post and you’ll see us complaining about the number of teenage groups running around the All Stars—so obviously this is an “all things in moderation” sort of idea. (To be clear, it’s not like there’s no fun at the deluxe resorts. We’re just talking general energy here.)
7. Fun Theming
There's not much to be said trying to compare theming between the deluxe and value resorts. They reflect completely different understandings of what theming is, frankly. The deluxe resorts are stunning, brilliant, and deep (at their best, not always), the value resorts are, in a word, fun.
Animal Kingdom Lodge may have a savannah with real animals, but Art of Animation has The Lion King's elephant graveyard as a play place. Yacht and Beach Club may have the miniature waterpark of Stormalong Bay, but the pool at Art of Animation plays music underwater.
Yes—Id’ take Animal Kingdom Lodge and Yacht and Beach over Art of Animation if price were no issue—but there are just plenty of features at the value resorts that are entertaining, even if a bit kitschy.
8. Unbeatable Energy
We've written this elsewhere, but while Grand Floridian feels like an older couple taking a horse-drawn carriage down Fifth Avenue (read “stuffy”), the value resorts feel like a family of five zipping through the streets of Hanoi on a motorbike. The energy at the value resorts is just something else.
Obviously this isn’t all or nothing. At each resort you’ll have kids running wild and kids keeping it cool, parents who let their kids do anything and parents who quickly reel them in, other guests who laugh at it and other guests who sneer. But the balances are different.
Best Disney World Value Resorts (Complete Ranking)
Here for yet another ranking? Here’s how we rank the value hotels at Disney World. We’ll do you the solid of starting with #1, but we still recommend the full list, as every hotel has some advantages over its competition. We also have a more complete guide to the hotels of Walt Disney World.
For each hotel on this list, we provide a link to our review of that hotel. Those reviews have a lot more photos and video of a room at each hotel. A lot of finer details we don’t discuss in these snippets are covered in those reviews.
Rates are 2020 standard room rates (suites where noted) including tax, rounded. MouseSavers has a full rate table for every Disney hotel. Keep in mind, during deals (or by booking through someone like Priceline or Expedia) you may be able to beat these prices.
And as with our moderate and deluxe rankings, we try and keep this somewhat objective. Even though we might prefer some small touches here and there, this list focuses mostly on the things that will most significantly impact your vacation.
1. Pop Century Resort
2020 Rates: $154 - $304
Read our Full Review of Pop Century Resort
Pop Century is an easy pick for the best value resort at Disney World. Even better, the reasons why it sits at the top allow us to quickly get to what sets the value resorts apart from each other.
Unlike the All-Star Resorts, which share buses, Pop Century has its own bus service and—beginning September 29—Skyliner access (shared with Art of Animation) to Hollywood Studios and Epcot. We don’t yet know how big of a perk Skyliner will be, but we also don’t need it to justify the #1 spot here.
Along with having its own bus service, you can also use the Art of Animation buses if you don’t mind the walk between the hotels. We do this regularly. It won’t always save time, admittedly, but it also will pretty much never cost you more than five minutes max.
The proximity to Art of Animation brings us to another point—Art of Animation’s Landscape of Flavors Food Court. That food court is easily the best food court in the value resorts, if not all of Disney World. From Pop Century rooms, you’re looking at a maximum walk of about ten minutes to Landscape of Flavors, with some rooms at Pop being closer to Landscape than some rooms at Art of Animation.
At this point, you’re thinking “great, I’ll stay at Art of Animation.” But Pop Century has two advantages of Art of Animation.
The first is price. Standard rooms at Pop Century are cheaper than standard (Little Mermaid) rooms at Art of Animation (starting $154 vs. $180). Moreover, it’s more common for Pop Century rooms to be included in discount offers than the standard rooms at Art of Animation.
The second is room quality—with two caveats. We strongly prefer the new rooms at Pop Century to the Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation (picture a few spots down), both in terms of aesthetic and function. Look at the rooms, read our reviews. If you don’t agree, fine.
The bigger caveat is that Art of Animation primarily consists of family suites, which Pop Century doesn’t have. These rooms are better themed than the Little Mermaid rooms, and they are the best of the value suites.
In a sentence—Pop Century is a short walk from Art of Animation and all its great aspects (except the pool, since that is only for Art of Animation guests), but with better rooms and lower prices.
2. All-Star Movies Resort (New Rooms)
2020 Rates: $112 - $241
Read our Full Review of All Star Movies Resort
Our pick for the best Disney All-Star Resort is All-Star Movies. Comparing the All-Star Resorts is a pretty thin exercise. All-Star Movies, All-Star Music, and All-Star Sports are three hotels that are part of a giant single complex.
Because they’re low-cost and a large complex, the All-Star resorts frequently host teenage groups (e.g. for athletic competitions). I don’t know if there’s anyone offended by my saying that under-supervised teenagers can be loud, messy, vulgar, destructive, etc…but it’s more common in that demographic than others.
That said, we do still stay at the All-Star Resorts occasionally. There are times, particularly during deals with no availability at Pop—when the price too low for us to resist. So nothing about the All-Stars is a dealbreaker for us. Let’s talk a little more about these hotels.
Each All-Star hotel has its own bus stop, but they almost always share buses (buses stop at Sports, Music, then Movies). This means Movies guests have the longest trip home, but the shortest trip to the parks. In their value rankings, Disney Tourist Blog comments that if buses fill, they may skip Movies. (Sidenote: I try to only read other site’s pieces on the same topic after I’ve written mine to avoid subconscious copying or clouding my personal analysis. This was a good point I overlooked that was worth a mention and a link.)
I’m sure this is true, but I think it’s probably quite rare. In the mornings I’ve also seen each hotel have their own individual bus (particularly to Magic Kingdom).
Because Disney is most known for movies, All-Star Movies has the most “Disney” feel to it fo the three All-Star Resorts. All-Star Music doesn’t lean heavily into Disney classics, and Music and Sports are just themed straightforwardly to their names.
As the parenthetical in the header indicates, we favor the new rooms at All Star Movies. These rooms are nearly (or actually?) the same as the new Pop Century rooms we love so much. Not all rooms at Movies are refurbished, but they’re in the process. You’ll have to put in a request with Disney for a new room (we recommend working with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner if you’re doing this).
We will note that Movies has the oldest food court of the All-Star Resorts, with the food courts at Music and Sports having been renovated in the past few years. That said, we really have no idea what the differences between the three are.
Honestly, we sort of waver between Art of Animation and All-Star Movies for the second spot. The price / room-quality balance at Art of Animation’s Little Mermaid rooms is just off compared to Movies, where you can the same rooms as the top spot on this list for a lower price.
3. Art of Animation Resort
2020 Rates: $180 - $330
2020 Suite Rates: $428 - $771
Read our Full Review of Art of Animation Resort
Well. This section seems a little superfluous given how much we’ve already talked about Art of Animation. But there’s still a little bit left to say. Plus now you get the above picture, and if you swipe, we put in a picture of the Pop Century room to remind you what it looks like.
In addition to the things we talked about above—location, transportation, food court, and room types—Art of Animation has one of Disney’s better pools, which even plays Disney music underwater. This is definitely one of the more “magical” touches at a Disney hotel, and we don’t blame you if it’s enough to elevate the hotel into the top spot for you.
You might be wondering how Art of Animation managed to fall all the way down to #3, behind even All Star Movies (refurbished rooms). Well, it’s pretty simple—price.
At the low end, Art of Animation costs $180 for a night. All-Star Movies is $68 / night less. As much as I love Landscape of Flavors and prefer the transportation situation at Art of Animation, I think paying $68 more for a worse room and slightly better transportation and food court is a poor trade.
4. All-Star Music Resort
2020 Rates: $112 - $241
2020 Suite Rates: $289 - $547
Read our Full Review of All Star Music Resort
We’re through the thick of it now, and we honestly don’t have much left to say about Music and Sports. Music is the middle bus stop, which means you’ll have average trips both to and from the parks.
As of late 2019, All-Star Music is still sitting on an older room design. There’s some bad rooms in Walt Disney World, but unless you’re really offended by the modern aesthetic, the old rooms at the All-Stars are the worst rooms on property.
Until all the rooms at Movies are refurbished (or until you can guarantee a refurbished room by booking a preferred rate), we’re still open to staying at Music if the price is right.
All-Star Music is also the only All-Star that has family suites. These are lower-priced than Art of Animation suites, but also nowhere near as nice (you’ll have to search elsewhere for full reviews of these, sorry).
5. All-Star Sports Resort
2020 Rates: $112 - $241
Read our Full Review of All Star Sports Resort
All-Star Sports—because of its theming—is the resort that most commonly hosts teenage athletic teams. For this reason, we try and avoid it (again, t’s not like I think these kids are Ronan the Accuser, destroyer of worlds…I’d just happily pay the same amount to stay at Music or Movies, or $20 extra / night for Pop to avoid them if possible).
All-Star Sports has the newest food court, but we’ve never paid close enough attention to notice a difference. I’ll admit—the theming is sort of cool. I don’t know if it’s enough to justify a stay, but check out this football field.
One big note—if having a seat on the bus is important, All-Star Sports is a good choice because it is the first of the All-Star bus stops.
Beyond that, there’s really no reason to pick All-Star Sports unless you absolutely have to have the theming (which, we admit, is unique). Like every hotel on this list, we’ll still choose Sports if the price is great—usually during deal season or through a site like Expedia—and Pop Century is unavailable.
The important thing with Sports, as with all the value resorts, is that you know what you’re getting into. You won’t be impressed by the rooms. You won’t be impressed by the food. And you probably won’t be impressed sitting on a double-long bus serving three hotels.
But you will have Extra Magic Hours. You will have a variety of easy, quick food available. You’ll have theming. And above all, you’ll have fun.
All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered
Don't be overwhelmed by Disney World planning! Take a second to check out our most important content and you'll not only be an expert, but you'll save big $$$ along the way.
Just starting out? Check out our Walt Disney World planning guide! If you're still picking dates, we've got everything you need to know about Disney crowd calendars. For picking your hotel, check out our Walt Disney World hotels guide.
When it comes time to book, we've got you covered with posts on how to book cheap flights, how to get the best deal on your Disney hotel, and where to find discount Disney World tickets. And of course everyone wants to know whether or not they should get a dining plan—check out our Complete Guide to Disney World Dining Plans!
Don't forget to master your Disney World FastPass+ strategy a few months in advance. We'll keep you out of long lines so you can maximize the magical time in the parks! We've got park-specific guides as well: Magic Kingdom FastPass, Epcot FastPass, Animal Kingdom FastPass, and Hollywood Studios FastPass.
Know what to ride with our guides to: Magic Kingdom rides, Hollywood Studios rides, Epcot rides, and Animal Kingdom rides! Plus learn about the water parks with our guide to Blizzard Beach and our guide to Typhoon Lagoon!
Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you're interested in saving, there's no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.