Our visit to Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort was our fourth stay at a Disney’s value resort. Having recently stayed at the nearby Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, we wanted to see how this sister resort compared. Read on to learn more about All-Star Movies!
Basics of Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
All-Star Movies is one of the three All-Star resorts at Walt Disney World (the other two are All-Star Music and All-Star Sports). These are Disney’s lowest-priced value hotels, and they’re all near each other and roughly equivalent in quality. Prices at All-Star Movies in 2019 range from about $112 to $239 nightly. Deal prices can get under $100 per night.
Staying at All-Star Movies, you get the perks of any Disney stay. You’ll have access to free transportation (by bus, as discussed below) to and from the parks and Disney Springs. You’ll also be able to book make your FastPass+ reservations 60 days in advance rather than the standard 30.
All-Star Movies Grounds and Theming
Like the other value resorts, All-Star Movies has simple amenities, small rooms, and somewhat kitschy theming. Let’s start with a map:
The grounds are broken into eleven buildings and two pools. The main building is “Cinema Hall.” That’s where you’ll find reception, the concierge, the Reel Fun Arcade, Donald’s Double Feature Gift Shop, the World Premiere Food Court, and the Silver Screen Spirits pool bar.
Nearest to Cinema Hall is the Fantasia Pool. Over by the Mighty Ducks rooms is the Duck Pond Pool. Both pools have laundry rooms next to them.
The ten room buildings—1 and 4 (the 101 Dalmatians rooms); 2 and 3 (the Mighty Ducks rooms); 6 and 7 (the Love Bug rooms); 5 and 8 (the Fantasia rooms); 9 and 10 (the Toy Story rooms)—form the outer border of the grounds.
There’s no denying that the Movies theming comes off as more “Disney” than the theming at Music or Sports. Obviously this is because Disney can surround you at all times with reminders of their movies, from Toy Story buildings to posters in the food court.
All-Star Sports has other issues (which we’ll cover in an upcoming review), but “sports” is definitely the least Disney of the themes. All this points to All-Star Movies being the best option if you’re torn between the three.
All-Star Movies Activities
All-Star Movies also has a decent activity schedule. Movies utilizes a dedicated theater room for its nightly movies.
Here’s the December 2018 activity schedule.
Booking Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
We were specifically looking to check All-Star Movies off our list, so we contacted our Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, Lauren Quirk of Enchanted Escapes Travel about upcoming nights. Lauren confirmed the lowest rate we saw online, a passholder discount for $126.22 nightly in a preferred room.
The value resorts see a lot of variation in pricing depending on where you look. In this case, the lowest we could find on other sites (Priceline, Booking, Expedia, etc.) was around $160. Other times, we’ve seen rates of below $100 on these sites.
As always, if you book through a non-Disney site you should be sure to link your reservation to your My Disney Experience account both as a means of confirming it and to be sure you get all the perks associated with your stay.
Arrival & Our Room at All-Star Movies
We arrived via Uber from our nearby apartment (read more about Uber at Walt Disney World). Most guests will arrive via Disney’s Magical Express. We had checked in online around 11AM, but our room was not ready by the time we arrived around 12:30PM. A Cast Member greeted us when we entered and suggested we might get a room more quickly if we went to the check-in desk.
We already knew this option to be a possibility, having done this successfully at our last All-Star stay. Nonetheless, we wanted to put online check-in to the test, so we said we’d prefer to wait and headed to lunch.
We received notice at 3:50PM that our room was ready. This seems reasonable for someone who checked in online and failed to visit the desk on arrival. Disney seems right to assume those people are at the parks into the evening.
The All-Star Resort rooms are mid-refurbishment right now, but we were fortunate to get one that was newly refurbished. I’ve been tough on Disney’s rooms lately, complaining particularly that they have all tilted toward a “modern” overly “clean” aesthetic.
While our preferred room at All-Star Movies was newly refurbished and thus reflected that same tilt, we actually found it to be a step up by comparison to the Music room (not refurbished) we stayed in recently.
A big upgrade for us right now is the use of a murphy bed in place of a second bed. As childless “digital nomads”, it’s great for us that the murphy bed serves as a table when it’s up. This really opens up the room.
Conversely, though, the room would be awful for us if we needed a desk and had a third person with us. Once the murphy bed is down, there’s no desk in the room!
First, the entire resort is super kitschy, and I don’t mind the rooms being a refuge from this. If a kid needs to squeal at Disney “details,” a stroll around the resort, particularly past the Toy Story buildings, should suffice.
Second, I cherish the All-Star Resorts specifically because of their practicalities. The key to the All-Stars, as I see it, is to not mess anything up. They aren’t swinging for the fences here—a simple, clean, functioning room is fine by me.
Finally, I have recent, vivid memory of the pre-refurbishment rooms at the All-Star resorts. In fact, I’ll probably be in one again in a few weeks. Value rooms have never been awesome, so I think by comparison I’m happy just to see them do something a little more modern.
A final note about the room. The shower had low pressure, and the door (no shower curtain) can be a bit awkward to navigate in the small space.
Food & Drink At All-Star Movies Resort
It sounds silly to keep repeating that we’re fans of the cafeteria-style quick service at the value resorts, but it remains the case. We see great value in having a wide-ranging, reasonably priced selection of basics (cheeseburgers, pizza, pasta) right at our fingertips.
Food court meals are quick service meals under the Disney dining plans. We don’t use the dining plans. Our favorite option is to purchase a full cheese pizza for $18.27 (includes tax). An individual (large) piece is $10+tax, making the full pizza a great deal.
The “World Premiere Food Court” is in line with the over-the-top theming of the value resorts. Attached to the food court is “Silver Screen Spirits,” which serves as the pool bar.
Transportation at All-Star Movies
Traveling to and from the All-Star resorts, you’ll be relying on buses and rideshare (Uber, Lyft, Minnie Vans).
Lines for the All-Star buses can get long, especially as buses are less frequent midday. For Extra Magic Hours, we had little trouble getting on a bus as one double-length bus came, immediately followed by a single bus. Keep in mind that the All-Star resorts often share buses, too, and All-Star Movies is usually last for pickup and drop-off.
When it comes to getting to meal reservations or getting to the parks (other than Magic Kingdom) in a pinch, we still favor using Uber. It isn’t a perfect service, but it generally will beat using Disney’s bus services in a pinch.
Conclusion - Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
We’re fans of the extremes. We love getting low-priced rooms at the All-Star Resorts because they offer access to perks and Disney theming without straining our wallet. We also indulge on Club Level at the Deluxe Resorts every so often. By comparison, we’re pretty tepid toward the moderate resorts.
All-Star Movies suit the aims of most Disney travelers well. The value resorts are more utilitarian than anything else. They have a place in a Disney vacation mostly because they don’t mess anything up. They aren’t bad hotels. Their transportation situation isn’t more awful than some moderates or even deluxe resorts. You’ll definitely find something you like in their food court.
The line between the All-Star resorts and Pop Century / Art of Animation is that I probably would never prefer the All-Stars over other options. Once the Skyliner opens in mid-2019, Pop Century and Art of Animation will be a clear step ahead of the All-Star Resorts.
But I also would never avoid the All-Star Resorts. If you’re planning a Disney vacation and at all worried about booking All-Star Movies, but it’s the one that makes most sense for your budget—stop worrying.
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