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Disney's version of a budget resort features three distinct themes executed in the same hyperbolic style. Spread over a vast expanse, the resorts comprise 30 three-story motel-style guest-room buildings.
Although the three resorts are neighbors, each has its own lobby, food court, and registration area. The All-Star Sports Resort features huge sports icons: bright football helmets, tennis rackets, and baseball bats—all taller than the buildings they adorn. All-Star Sports has two pools, the Surfboard Bay pool at the Surf's Up! buildings and closest to the main lobby, and the Grand Slam pool, in the Homerun Hotel section. Guests at the All-Stars may use any pool at Movies, Music and Sports. Some rooms are closer to another resort's pools, lobby, and food court than its own.
At 260 square feet, guest rooms at the All-Star Resorts are very small. They're so small that a family of four attempting to stay in one room might redefine "family values" by week's end. Each room has two double beds or one king bed, a separate vanity area, and a table and chairs. No rooms have balconies.
If you're planning to save for a Disney vacation, you may want to save enough for a bigger room at another resort if space is an important consideration. Also, the All-Stars are the noisiest Disney resorts, though guest rooms are well soundproofed and quiet.
The food court at All-Star Sports is somehow the worst of the bunch, and is currently undergoing a a refurbishment. Guests are told to seek out the food options at Music and Movies.
An Orland Park, Illinois, family had a tough time with their All-Star neighbors, copying us on a letter to Disney:
I am not a person who usually complains, but I had to write and tell you how extremely disappointed I was with the accommodations we had at the All-Star Sports. I was expecting that a Disney resort would be geared toward families. Boy, was I mistaken! What we mostly had staying with us were young teenagers who were extremely loud and foul-mouthed. We could hardly get any rest. We had groups of people outside our room partying on the football field one night until midnight before someone finally closed them down. Then in the morning (one time as early as 6:30 a.m.), we had cheerleaders practicing right outside our door, shouting their cheers.
A Canadian family had a similar experience:
The guide didn't prepare us for the large groups of students who take over the resorts. They're very noisy and very pushy when it comes to getting on buses. Our scariest experience was when we tried getting on a bus and got mobbed by about 100 students. We didn't know if our children would come out alive from the experience. We don't think we would go back to the All-Star Resorts for this reason (they offer packages to student groups). Also, the motel doesn't want to hear your complaints at all.
From a Massachusetts family of four:
I would never recommend the All-Star for a family. It was like dormitory living. Our room was about 1 mile from the bus stop, and the room was tiny. I'm in the hotel business, and it was one of the smallest I've been in. You needed to step into the bathroom, shut the door, then step around the toilet that blocked half the tub.
|Hotel||Definitely (+/- since last year)|
|Disney's All-Star Sports Resort||50% (-10%)|
|Average for WDW hotels||76% (+0%)|
|Average for off-site hotels||57% (+0%)|
|Hotel||Definitely (+/- since last year)|
|Disney's All-Star Sports Resort||80% (+0%)|
|Average for WDW hotels||92% (+2%)|
|Average for off-site hotels||79% (-7%)|
Good (and Not-So-Good) Rooms at Disney's All-Star Sports Resort
Though the layouts of All-Star Resorts' Movies, Music, and Sports sections are different, the buildings are identical three-story, three-winged structures. The T-shaped buildings are further grouped into pairs, generally facing each other, and share a common subtheme. For example, there's a Toy Story pair in the Movies section. In addition to being named by theme, such as Fantasia, buildings are numbered 1-10 in each section. Rooms are accessed via a motel-style outdoor walkway, but each building has an elevator.
Parking is plentiful, all in sprawling lots buffering the three sections.
A room near a parking lot means easier loading and unloading but also unsightly views of the lot during your stay. The resort offers a luggage service, but it often takes up to an hour for your bags to arrive.
The sure way to avoid a parking-lot vista is to request a room facing a courtyard or pool. The trade-off is noise. The sound of cars starting in the parking lot is no match for shrieking children or hooting teenagers in the pool. But don't count on a good view of the pool, even if your room faces it directly. The buildings' themed facade decorations are placed on their widest face—the top of the T—which is also the side facing the pool or courtyard. In some cases, as with the surfboards in the Sports section, these significantly obstruct the view from nearby rooms. Floodlights are trained on these facades and if you step out of your room at night to view the action below, looking down may result in temporary blindness.
The sort of traveler you are should dictate the room you request at All-Star Resorts. If you choose the resort because you'd rather spend time and money at the parks, opt to be near the bus stop, your link to the rest of the World. Note that buses leave from the central public buildings of each section, which are near the larger, noisier pools. If you're planning to return to your room for an afternoon nap, request a room farther from the pools. Also consider an upper-story room to minimize foot traffic past your door. On the other hand, if you choose All-Star for its kid-friendly aspects, consider roosting near the action. A bottom-floor room provides easy pool access, and a room looking out on a courtyard or pool allows you to keep an eye on children playing outside.
If you're staying in Home Run Hotel, don't forget the ball and gloves to maximize the experience (just keep games of catch away from the pool). Older elementary- and middle-school children probably will want to spend hotel time in or near the bigger pools or arcades in nearby halls. Periodically, cadres of teenagers—too cool for their younger siblings—effectively commandeer the smaller secondary pools. A playgrounds is tucked behind Building 6 in All-Star Sports. Rooms facing these are ideal for families with children too young or timid for the often-chaotic larger pools.
The following tip from a former All-Star Resorts cast member from Fayetteville, Georgia, illustrates just how big these resorts are:
Please tell your readers that rooms at the far end of the Mighty Ducks building of All-Star Movies are closer to the All-Star Music food court, pool, and buses than to All-Star Movies' own facilities. Follow the walkway from the Ducks building north to All-Star Music's Melody Hall.
The same reader also mentioned that All-Star Sports guests are usually the first to be picked up on the Disney bus route, even when the same bus services all three All-Star Resorts. During busier times of the year, Sports passengers can completely fill the first bus dispatched, resulting in longer waits at the other All-Star Resorts. Each All-Star Resort generally has its own separate bus for the return trip.
|Super-kid-friendly theme||Remote location|
|Low (for Disney) rates||Small guest rooms|
|Food courts and pizza delivery||No full-service dining or character meals|
|Convenient self-parking||Congested bus-loading areas|
|Movies and games at the main pool||No marina or bike rentals|
|A favorite for group travel, the resort's check-in and food court can be overwhelmed with crowds|
Disney's All-Star Sports Resort Dining
|Magic Kingdom||20 minutes|
|Disney's Hollywood Studios||17 minutes|
|Disney's Animal Kingdom||19 minutes|
|Quietness of Room||C|
|Shuttle to Parks||Yes|