Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cheapskates at Disney - Lodging, Part 2

Disney's Pop Century Resort - a budget-friendly Tupua family favorite

The cheapest hotel rooms in the Orlando area are definitely found off Disney World property.  We stayed exclusively off-property for the first couple of years of Disney vacations.  We enjoyed ourselves just fine and weren't bothered by the commute to the parks.  Once we stayed on-property, though, we knew we were hooked and wouldn't choose to stay off-property again.  (And that was after just one night at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort.)  In light of that, I'll be focusing here on the types of accomodations available on Disney World property.  To find out more about off-property resorts, visit expedia or allears.

1.  Value Resorts:
     Disney currently offers 4 Value Resorts, with a fourth scheduled to begin phased opening at the end of next month (May 2012). 
          A.  All-Star Movies: With over-sized icons from movies like 101 Dalmations, the All-Star Movies Resort is a favorite among Disney movie lovers of all ages.  The rooms are small, just 260 square feet.  A family of 4 will find this snugly comfortable.  There is only one sink in the bathroom area.  Drawer space is minimal.  A small refrigerator is available.  I have heard rumor that these small refrigerators will soon be standard with all resort rooms, but the last time I visited Disney it did cost about $10 per day to rent one.  The All-Star Movies resort has a food court style dining area (breakfast menu and lunch/dinner menu) and connects to all theme parks, water parks, and Downtown Disney via bus.  At some times of the year, the resort may share bus transportation with the very nearby All-Star Music and All-Star Sports Resorts.  Published rates for an All-Star Movies standard room range from $84 to $184, depending on season and day of the week (weekends are more costly than weekdays).
          B.  All-Star Music: This resort has a special place in my heart.  Our first week-long vacation as a family of three was centered here, when Dianna was just over a year old.  Large icons, similar to those at All-Star Movies, dominate the courtyards.  Various drums, guitars, fiddles, or Broadway-style signs take the place of the dalmation (pictured above) in the center of each building.  While all standard rooms at the All-Star resorts are the same size, the All-Star Music does offer a family suite with more space (and a higher price tag).  A food court similar to that available at all other Value Resorts provides the dining options here; bus transportation is available to all parks and other major attractions.  All Value Resorts have themed pool areas which will appeal especially to children and families.  Laundry facilities are available at all Value Resorts, as well.  Standard rooms range from $84-$184 while family suites range from $198-$375.
          C.  All-Star Sports: You'll find giant footballs, tennis ball cans, and soda cups as the icons at this resort.  This resort is similar in many ways to the other Value Resorts.  The rooms are the same size; the food court has similar offerings; the pools are sports-themed but roughly the same size and in the same locations as the other All-Star resorts. Like the Value Resorts, resort activities are available through the day and into the evening.  Often when Disney hosts events at the Wide World of Sports Complex, this resort will teem with groups of youngsters (little leaguers, cheerleaders, etc). 
          D.  Pop Century: This is the resort that we choose to stay at when we have to pay cash.  It is roughly the same size and design as the All-Stars, but it is not located in the same area.  Currently, the Pop Century Resort does not share bus service with any other resort. (This may change upon the May 2012 opening of the Art of Animation Resort.) 
          E.  Art of Animation: This resort is not open yet but will offer families a whole new range of options.  Family suites abound in this new resort, with a much smaller number of standard-sized rooms.  Calling upon the characters from the very popular Disney-Pixar movies, this resort offers a new level of theming.  I don't know about the menu in the food court here; it may be a step up from other food courts at Value Resorts the way that other areas seem to be a step up.  We will be staying at the nearby Pop Century Resort when this resort is newly opened, so I look forward to exploring the grounds and taking a meal here. 
Much more information can be found at my favorite resort planning site:
I realize that I have touched on only one level (out of 4) of Disney Resort offerings.  The Value Resorts offer the best, well, value, for families.  I'll deal with the other levels in other posts.

No comments:

Post a Comment