Once you have decided what time of year you want to visit Disney your next decision is where to stay. This can be slightly intimidating, because Disney has over 25 different resorts to choose from.
The resorts are separated into four different categories, as well as a campground. The four different categories are Value, Moderate, Deluxe, and Deluxe Villas. Disney has some descriptions and pictures on their website for each resort. You can also do a search on Youtube for people who have recorded a walking tour around the resorts and a recorded tours of rooms at the resorts. Here is a rundown of the first category to look at.
The resorts in this category all have really fun, over-sized, themes. From the grounds, to the rooms, to the lobby, these hotels keep the theme of the resort in front of you at all times. Some people don’t care for the in-your-face decor, but if you are traveling with kids, they will love it. Also, if you are doing Disney on a budget the values are a perfect choice, because they don’t cost as much as the other categories but you are still on Disney property. The five value resorts are: All-Star Movies, All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, Art of Animation, and Pop Century.
*(Please note that at the time of writing All-Star Music and All-Star Sports do not have a reopening date yet.)
Value resorts usually have three pools, with one of the pools being the big main pool. The pools keep to the theme of the resort as well. For instance, Pop Century has the Computer Pool in the 80’s and 90’s section, the Bowling Pool in the 50’s section, and the Hippy Dippy Pool in the 60’s and 70’s section (the main pool). None of the pools have water slides, but the Hippy Dippy Pool does have fun flowers around it that will spray water into the pool. The main pool also has a pool bar with some seating where you can dry off and have a refreshing drink.
At Art of Animation guests can visit the main pool with a Finding Nemo theme, the Big Blue Pool, and see giant set pieces of Nemo and friends. There are also two themed quiet pools at this resort, the Cozy Cone Pool and the Flippin’ Fins Pool. Both quiet pools also have fun themes related to the movies Cars and The Little Mermaid. These pools also do not have water slides, but the themes are fun.
For some, the water slide is a must and if that is the case for you it is important to decide how much time you will be spending at the pool. If you plan on being in the pool a lot and a water slide is a must, then you might be disappointed with the values. If you like fun themes throughout, then you shouldn’t be disappointed. The pools at the values are definitely themed in a very fun way.
In addition to the pool, there are other recreational activities available at the values. They offer a playground for the kids to use. There is a jogging track for those that don’t want to miss their morning run. For the enjoyment of both children and adults, there is an arcade in each of the value resorts. Also, they usually have afternoon pool parties with music and dancing and movies under the stars by the pool at night. You should receive a sheet when you check-in that will list all of the activities available.
Dining and Shopping
There are no table service restaurants at the values. Each of them will have a pretty large food court that is open early until late in the evening. There are different food stations and each will offer a variety of food options. There is also a section that offers drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), salads, sandwiches, desserts, and pastries. It can get crowded and noisy in the food courts, depending on when you go. I would definitely stay away from the food court when the parks close down. Usually there is a dash to the food court from people who have left the parks at closing, so it can get a little maddening in there. The food courts carry the theme of each resort and it is really fun to look around while you eat. The resorts also offer pizza delivery to your room.
Each of the values will have a good size store to find lots of fun Disney merchandise. The stores will be located in the same building as the lobby and cafeteria. If you are staying at Pop Century you can get to the store from the lobby and also from the food court.
The rooms at the values are definitely smaller than the moderate and deluxe resorts, but if you are only using the room as somewhere to sleep it won’t bother you. Some of the values offer family suites, so you can have more space at a value, but it will cost you more. The standard studio rooms offer 2 queen beds (one bed is a table that turns into a queen bed) or one king bed, a television, dresser, and a closet area. The vanity and sink are separate from the shower/tub combo and toilet.
You can make certain requests on your reservation if you would like to be in a certain area of the resort. The values tend to be pretty spread out, so if you want to be closer to the pool or closer to the lobby you can make a note of that on your reservation. Certain requests may require a bump in category. For instance, if you want to be close to the main pool, you should reserve a preferred room. This will give you a room that is closer to the main pool, but it will also cost a little more. The food courts are located in the same building as the lobby, so if you want to be close to the food I would request ‘close to the lobby.
A side note about the rooms at the values, the room doors do not open to a hallway, they open to the outdoors. So, something fun that people do with their room windows is to decorate them with the souvenirs they have purchased on the trip. We did that and had a lot of fun participating. The exception to this are the family suites at Art of Animation. These rooms do open to a hallway, but again, the family suites are more expensive than the studio rooms.
All the values have complimentary bus service around Disney World property, but Pop and Art of Animation also have a shared Skyliner station. For both the buses and the Skyliner there are queue lines for guest to line up and wait to board. I’m not sure how the other values are, but the two values I have stayed in did not have covering over the queues. So if it is hot or raining, you are exposed to the elements. Something to be aware of, especially if it is sunny and you burn easily (like me).
I have experienced Pop Century (three times) and All-Star Music (once). Between the two I much preferred Pop Century. I liked the theme of Pop Century better and at Pop you can walk over the bridge to Art of Animation and check out the really cool themes of each section at that resort. We did that on our last stay at Pop and it was fun to see Art of Animation. If you are on a budget or you like big themed hotels then the value category is for you!
Thanks for reading!