All Star Sports Review

We are back! I have so much fun stuff to blog about, I wasn’t even sure how to start. Sandy set me back, but we are up and running. Our trip was phenomenal: perfect weather, great company, great dining experiences and we got into the New Fantasyland! (more on that to come shortly).

I had read many negative reviews and some just “okay” reviews of the All Star Sports Resort. I am going to admit, I was a little nervous. It is been a good 8 years since I have stayed in a value resort. I have such high expectations of what a Disney resort should be that I was afraid this would tarnish it. I am happy to report, I was very pleasantly surprised.

Touchdown Building @ Disney’s All Star Sports

Check-in & Check-out

We arrived (after driving through the night) at about 10:30am on Saturday morning. Our check-in went flawlessly. We requested our rooms be contacted, and they were. The cast member that was helping us was “earning her ears”, however she was very knowledgeable and her manager was within arm’s reach to help with any questions she had. One of our rooms was even ready immediately, even thought check-in time is 3pm. By the time we had finished unloading tons of luggage, the other room was ready as well. This was great, because after driving all night we were so happy to be able to swim and relax before heading off to the park.

During check-in we opted for the easy check-out. This requires a credit card to be applied to your key to the world card (KTWC). We received a message on our room phone telling us our charges would be put through the next day and that we would receive a receipt via e-mail. This was very easy and saved us from having to hassle with check-out on our last day in the parks.

Rooms

Disney’s All Star Resort Room

We were located in the Touchdown buildings. As I had read, this is great building due to its proximity to the pools, main building and the bus stops. The boys utilized the football field multiple times to toss a ball around. In the negative reviews I had read that it can get very noisy at night because of people on the field late. Our rooms were located on the back side of the building, away from the field. We had no issues with this type of noise.

Touchdown Building & Football Field

My favorite part of the room was that it includes a mini-refrigerator. This allowed us to keep drinks & milk in the room. The room was always cleanly. The cleaning staff did a great job restocking and keeping everything neat. They left both my daughter and us great towel creation almost every day. This also meant that we had plenty of towels to go around.

One of our many towel creations.

I had only two minor issues regarding the rooms. The first is the size of the bathroom: it was actually a little difficult getting in and out. It was very small! The other issue was that sound carried very easily through the walls. I don’t think we had neighbors to the one side, but even above us we could hear feet and toilets flushing. These issues would not keep me from staying here. This is a VALUE resort, and our cost of the trip reflected this. The experience was still very uniquely Disney, the themeing was good, the pool was nice and it did not leave anything lacking.

Transportation

Even though we drove down, there were multiple times that we used the bus system. Again, I had heard a bunch of negative things about the bus system at the All Star Resorts. I had also heard that staying at the Sports resort is helpful in getting transportation. Most of our experiences were good ones. Typically, the bus came within about 10 minutes of us standing in line. However, on one day we did end up waiting over 20 minutes and then 2 buses came at once. Some of the time we filled up and went straight to the parks. Other’s we filled, and then went on to Movies and Music in order to collect more people. I could not find a pattern to this, and if I was at Movies and Music I may have had a very different experience. Twice we left people standing at these hotels because the buses were already full.

Food

We ate at the quick service dining option three times during this trip. Once for breakfast and twice for dinner, I was shocked to see the variety.  Everything from burgers, salads, and fried shrimp to lasagna, there was an option for everyone. We did not have one bad meal here. In fact these meals were better than most of our other quick service meals.  I love that the food is made fresh and not sitting in heating trays. But this comes with a wait, especially during busy meal times. If you are in a hurry and just want to grab something, be sure to look for a short line, or use your snack credit. We waited 15 minutes for dinner one night. However, the quality of food and diverse options made up for the slightly longer waits.

After reading the many reviews and then experiencing this resort on my own, I think this resort needs to be kept in perspective. This is a VALUE resort. The price of our trip was VERY, VERY low. We went to Wilderness Lodge one night for dinner, and this resort is amazing. However, the price would more than double what we paid. If you are looking for the Disney experience on a budget then the value resort is for you. Just be sure to keep in perspective the amount you paid per night when looking at the pros and cons.

 

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Tuesday Trivia

Did you know:

One of the Disney’s value resorts is the Disney’s All-Star Sports resort. Here are some fast trivia facts.

  • The dual, three-story “Touchdown!” buildings have giant football helmets. Each are large enough to fit a 200-foot tall player.
  • The “Home Run Hotel” pays tribute to baseball. The Coke cup could hold more then 20 million 12-ounce cans of Coke. This is equal to all the water in Typhoon Lagoon’s wave pool.
  • The “Hoops Hotel” features a 45-foot tall megaphone.
  • “Center Court” has a 51-foot tall racquet that is actually large enough to cover an entire tennis court. It would take 9.5 million tennis balls to fill one for the tennis ball cans.
  • “Surf’s Up!” features 38-foot shark fins. If there was a shark attached to the fins, it would be to be 300-feet long.

Personal Note: We are staying at the All Star Sports for the first time in 3 days! Although I have stayed at the All Star Music, this will be the first time at Sports. I cannot wait to see the over-sized wonders for myself!



Resort Choices Part II: Deluxe & Deluxe Villa

Resort Choices Part II: Deluxe & Deluxe Villa

In this second installment of “Resort Choices” we will talk about the Deluxe and Deluxe Villa options located on Disney property. These resorts are more spacious, have better amenities and are in prime locations. If you have the money to splurge on these resorts you will not find them lacking.

Deluxe Resorts

These resorts are the cream of the crop that Disney has to offer. There are eight deluxe resorts: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort and Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. These resorts range in price from $250.00 a night during the “off” season, up to $2965.00 a night for a 2 bedroom Grand Suite located in the Grand Floridian’s Royal Palm Club. These resorts are situated in the best positions throughout the park. They are typically within walking distance to at least one of the parks, others are located on the monorail and all of them make traveling between parks easy. These resorts also have the largest rooms and the nicest amenities. The pools are the largest, most extravagant and are themed to fit the hotel. They have extensive child play areas and water slides that are fun for all ages. All of these resorts have at-least one sit down meal location (most have 2 or more) and most have a signature a dinning choice (this is Disney’s “premiere” restaurant choice). They also offer room service (typically 24 hours). The overall accommodations at these resorts are superior.

These resorts are the best of the best; we have never had an experience like the ones they offer. We recommend that you take the time to visit these resorts, walk around the grounds, take a tour and enjoy the ambience they offer. Grab breakfast, lunch or dinner at one of the restaurant’s for a break from the madness of the parks. Hop the monorail or detour from your normal bus route to simply sight-see. Over the years we have stayed at every one of these hotels and each has its perks. For example the Boardwalk, Beach Club and Yacht Club are within easy walking distance to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios. The monorail is a wonderful perk for the three resorts located there (Grand Floridian, Contemporary and Polynesian). The Animal Kingdom offers a view of wildlife that cannot be beat. And the Wilderness Lodge is a boat ride away from most attractions. Choosing between these resorts is a challenge unto itself.

Deluxe Villa Resorts

The fourth category is the deluxe villa resorts. These resorts are more of a sub category to the deluxe resorts, in fact most of these resorts have sister resorts that are deluxe resorts. There are six deluxe villa resorts and they are Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas, Disney’s Beach Club Villas, Disney’s Boardwalk Villas, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. These resorts are designed for Disney’s time share owners. The deluxe villas offer 4 different room types:

  • Deluxe Studio: Sleeps 4, these have the floor plan of a resort room but have the added bonus of a mini-refrigerator, microwave and sink (these have one queen and one couch bed).
  • One Bedroom: Sleeps 4-5, these have a master bedroom with a whirl pool tub and full kitchen (a king bed in the master bedroom and a couch bed in the living room, also some have a sleeper chair in the living room).
  • Two Bedroom: Sleeps 5-9, these are a one bedroom connected to a deluxe studio (some have dedicated 2 bedrooms which have 2 queens in the second bedroom).
  • Grand Villa: Sleeps 12, 2,400 square feet complete with 3 bedrooms and a full kitchen.

These resorts are very expensive when booking through Disney and availability is very limited because Disney reserves them for time share owners. However, there are other ways to book deluxe villas, we will write about this in a later post. If you are traveling with a group it is always a smart idea to price out this option due to the dining and location flexibility they offer. Our mom and Chris are both DVC members and we have transitioned to staying at deluxe villas over the past 5 or 6 years. There are two reasons for this, we have a growing family and with our DVC points it is more economical to stay in the larger villas. The second reason is the kitchen, when traveling with infants and young children a refrigerator, extra sink and microwave become indispensible resources. We will be staying at the Animal Kingdom Villa’s in November of this year.

Fort Wilderness Campground

The somewhat loner of the resort world is Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground. This is where you can rent a camp site and actually camp at Disney. The prices for the camp sites range from $46.00 a night for a partial hook up during the “off” season up to $121.00 for a “premium” site during peak season. They also offer cabin’s that sleep as many as 6 people for $275.00 to $435.00 a night. The campground has a lot to offer and we will be going into in later blogs.

We have never stayed at the Fort Wilderness however; I (Katie) see this happening in the next couple years. We have just purchased our own travel trailer and I would love to use it on Disney property. We do go to the Fort Wilderness almost every time we visit Disney due to our love of the Hoop-Dee-Do Review which is located on the campground. It is a hike, with lots of bus time but it is by far our favorite dinner/show on Disney property.

Can you see why picking a hotel is such a challenge? There are so many great options at different price points. Deciding what is important for you and your family is critical. It is also fun to stay at a different hotel every time you visit, which is what we try and do. If you are stuck on the question of where to stay or need some help narrowing down your options feel free to contact us via e-mail or comment on the post and we are happy to help navigate the way.

Resort Choices Part I: Value & Moderate

Resort Choices Part I: Value & Moderate

As promised we are going to delve into the specifics of the Disney resort offerings. This blog is going to explain the different types of hotels that are offered. Disney has broken their resorts into several categories, value, moderate, deluxe and deluxe villas. This blog will focus on Value and Moderate Resorts.

Note: There are a couple non-Disney hotels that are located on Disney property, we will not be concentrating on these hotels but we wanted to make you aware that they do exist.

Value Resort

The first category is the value resort. As its name suggests it is the least expensive resort category Disney has to offer.  There are four value resorts, they are Disney’s All Star Movies, Disney’s All Star Music, Disney’s All Star Sports, and Disney’s Pop Century. These resorts range in price from $82.00 a night during the “off” season and are $179.00 during the peak holiday season. The value resorts are for the budget conscious traveler. This resort does not offer amenities, such as in room microwaves or mini-refrigerators. The rooms and pools are basic with very little theming, the entrance to the rooms are located outside (motel-like) and the location is furthest from all Disney parks and entertainment. That being said we have stayed in the All Star Sport and we will be staying in the Pop Century in November. The rooms are clean, updated and have as much space as a regular motel room. When choosing to stay in the lower cost room there are a few areas you should consider about your trip.

  • How much time will you be spending in the room?
  • Will you need extra space? (i.e. Do you have an infant that will need a Pack & Play?)
  • Will you want to spend time at a large, well themed pool?
  • Do you mind extra travel time to and from parks?
  • Do you mind having only quick service options at your hotel for meals?

In reality it is only a room and it is by all means satisfactory. If you are debating between a more expensive room or spending more time on vacation by all means stay longer in the value resort.

Moderate Resorts

The second category is the moderate resorts. These resorts are the middle of the road resorts offered by Disney. There are four moderate resorts Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter, and Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. These resorts range in price from $154.00 a night during the “off” season, up to $1320.00 for the Executive Casitas Suite at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. In contrast to the value resorts, here they will offer a counter service meal options, a sit down dinning location and room service. The pools at these locations will also be nicer and the over-all visual appeal of the resort will be higher. The rooms will also be larger then what is offered at the value resort. The small touches are what make the biggest difference between these two categories. The themes of the resorts will flow through all the little details, the mattresses will be a little more comfortable and the locations will be better than the value resorts. All of these resorts are high quality and offer a good experience for a mid range budget.

Throughout the years we have stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter, Coronado Springs and the Caribean Beach Resort. I (Katie) would love to stay at the Port Orleans Riverside when my daughter is a bit older. The pool at this resort is amazing and something that children could play in for hours. We have never had a bad experience at any of these hotels, but distance to the parks can still be an issue, especially if you have younger children who still need naps back in the room.

Our next post will continue along this theme and discuss the higher end resort options for your vacationing pleasure. Stay tuned!