All Star Music Resort has family suites that sleep up to 6 adults, which are the least expensive large rooms at Walt Disney World. In this hotel review, we’ll share photos & video from inside the budget accommodations, compare costs versus other non-standard rooms on-site at WDW, and whether you might want to book here for your next WDW vacation.
Following the hotel’s reopening, every family suite at Disney’s All Star Music Resort now has been reimagined. The redesigned rooms mirror the style of the New-Look (Standard) Rooms at the All Star Resorts, which is now finished at both Movies and Music, and in-progress at All Star Sports.
As compared to the All Stars as a whole, the family suites are a relatively new addition. They were converted from standard rooms back in 2006, at a time when Walt Disney World research revealed there was unsatisfied demand for family accommodations.
That same discovery resulted in Disney going a different direction with Art of Animation than originally planned; only the Little Mermaid section was finished as standard hotel rooms. It’s honestly somewhat surprising that Walt Disney World hasn’t done much more with family suites since then–perhaps they’re weary of cannibalizing the DVC cash cow.
In any case, the Family Suites at Disney’s All Star Music Resort were built in the style of the original standard rooms, and frankly felt antiquated as compared to the Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars counterparts at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort as soon as that opened.
Now, the script has been flipped and the case could be made that, functionally, the All Star Music Family Suites are slightly superior to the Art of Animation options. We’ll cover the improvements and everything else in this photo & video tour and review of the Family Suites at Disney’s All Star Music Resort.
Let’s start with prices. Nightly rates for the Family Suites at All Star Music cost around $394 per night during the regular season at Walt Disney World, with prices ranging from $310 per night during the off-season and $554 per night during peak travel dates like New Year’s Eve.
Of course, those are rack rates. With discounts–which are more common at the All Stars than Pop Century or Art of Animation–the price can drop considerably. For this stay, we paid $290.
In comparison shopping, that was lower than the best rate we could’ve gotten on the Cars, Finding Nemo, or Lion King Family Suites at Art of Animation by about $35 per night. It was also cheaper than the lowest price we could’ve done by using our Money-Saving Tips for Renting DVC Points for a 1-bedroom unit at the least expensive of those properties.
Neither are apple-to-apple comparisons. Art of Animation is on the Skyliner and all of the one-bedroom Disney Vacation Club units and resorts are nicer than All Star Music. Still, the point stands–if you’re looking for bottom-dollar price on a family suite that’s on-site at Walt Disney World, then All Star Music is your cheapest option.
We completed the pre-arrival check-in, received a text message when our room was ready, and proceeded directly to the Calypso section. We already have MagicBands and My Disney Experience on our phones, and thus could use those MagicBands and the app room key feature to unlock the door.
We could’ve instead gone to the front desk at Disney’s All Star Music Resort for check-in to obtain physical Key to the World cards. In-person check-in at the Value Resorts is often crowded and chaotic, so we’d recommend figuring that out prior to arrival and saving yourself potential hassles and headaches.
As we’ve mentioned previously, we have nostalgia for the All Stars, as these were some of our go-to resorts back in college when money was tight. Granted, we were seldom at the resort for more than 5-6 hours per night back in those days, but we have found memories of the few delirious hours before crashing at the end of a long night and waking up at the crack of dawn to do it all again.
We were also eager to see how the All Stars looked post-reopening. With the other Value Resorts adding the Skyliner and Moderates improving their amenities across the board, it would be nice to see the All Stars modernize or at least freshen up some of their grounds. Between the new rooms and some TLC to the oversized icons, that has happened to some degree. There’s still some datedness to address, but generally speaking, the All Stars are looking good.
Each time we’ve stayed at the All Stars in the last several years, I’m reminded how much better they are than their reputation suggests. Critics are quick to dismiss the All Stars as overpriced and sketchy motels. As someone with a lot of experience staying at actual shady motels, I’ll say with some authority: these people have no clue what they’re talking about.
Like them or not, the All Star Resorts offer a slate of amenities superior to what the average motel offers in a setting that’s also dramatically better. The oversized decor, pools, and landscaping are miles above anything you’d find at most real-world motels. People can quibble over the thematic ‘quality’ of those oversized icons, but even that appeals to some families.
From my perspective, there are a few legitimate complaints about the All Stars. Maintenance and cleanliness were one criticism; crowds and noise were another. Both were somewhat interrelated, and often a result of the hotels playing host to youth sporting events at the ESPN Wild World of Sports. We experienced no such issues with any of the above during this stay.
The most legitimate “year-round” criticism of the All Stars has long been the guest rooms, which are dingy, dark, and have little redeeming qualities or character. Thankfully, with the recent room overhaul, that has finally been addressed, too.
Before we get going with our thoughts on this experience, here’s a video tour of the new room we stayed in at All Star Music to provide some context for what we’re describing:
Suffice to say, the new family suites are an unequivocal upgrade from the old ones at All Star Music.
There’s a reason the prior incarnation was never mentioned on this blog–by the time we started writing about hotel rooms, Art of Animation had opened and totally changed the game.
Prior to this overhaul, the Family Suites at Disney’s All Star Music Resort felt like an afterthought.
They were a quick retrofix as ‘proof of concept’ (and to test the market), very clearly a combination of two standard rooms. When newer purpose-built family suites came along, the All Star Music ones lost relevance for most guests.
In terms of basics, these 520 square foot suites have two full baths, a kitchenette with microwave, a full-sized refrigerator & freezer, sink, and single-cup coffee maker. The main bedroom in the family suite has a queen bed and 55″ flat screen TV above the dresser.
The second room has two pull-down queen beds and another 55″ flat screen TV above the dresser. One of the two bathrooms has a tub-shower combo, whereas the other is strictly a walk-in shower.
For this room reimagining, the entire family suite has essentially been gutted and redone. Let’s start in the living area, which has seen the most significant functional and layout changes.
Previously, the All-Star Music Family Suites had a single couch that converted to a 2-person pull-out bed. Next to that was a chair and ottoman; each folded out into single-person beds. While I suppose you could say that this offered greater flexibility, that’s only in theory. The Transformers-style furniture left a lot to desired in terms of comfort.
Now, there are two queen beds that fold down from the wall.
One converts from a couch and the other from a kitchen table with seats for 4. Before, there was only a small table for 2 crammed into the corner. Both are arguably undersized for a room with a kitchen that sleeps 6 adults, but the new kitchen table comes closer to getting the job done.
These mattresses are thinner than dedicated beds, but they’re still sufficiently comfortable–worlds better than what was here before. Still, “sufficient” is the operative word. These mattresses are not comfortable to the point that you’ll be peeling back the sheets to scope out the label so you can order the same kind of mattress for home. They simply get the job done–especially after a long day in the parks.
On each side of these pull-downs, there are tables and cubbies for phones and whatever else you might need around your bed. Consistent with other new rooms around Walt Disney World, an array of outlets and USB charging ports have been added.
Aesthetically, the new-look family suites boast a lighter color scheme, dominated by white with hints of red, orange, and lime. There’s Huey, Dewey, and Louie Duck art above the convertible table Murphy bed and music note characters above the convertible couch Murphy bed.
The lighting is also fantastic. In addition to sconces flanking the sides of the beds or couch and table, there’s also uplighting from the top of this large unit. For these photos, I wanted the room as bright as possible, but you have control over the direction and intensity of the light. Great to get acclimated for bed with lower and moodier lighting!
The new rooms have a lot more versatility, and this main area can go from sleeping space to living area within seconds. (No exaggeration–you watched our room tour, right?)
There’s also more storage space, including a dresser under the (larger) television, empty corners where luggage can be placed, and a variety of random cubbies around the room.
In the bathroom directly behind the living area, you have a vessel sink, illuminated bathroom mirror, and make-up mirror.
There’s also an actual sliding door separating the bathroom area from the main room (instead of a thin curtain), glass door in the shower, and rainfall shower fixture in addition to the standard one.
Next, we’ll step out of the living area and to the second half of the room, where the kitchen, main bedroom and bathroom are located.
With the room reimagining, this space has been flipped to a more logical arrangement. Now, the main bedroom and bathroom are connected. Before, the kitchen was between the two–you had to walk through it to get from the bedroom to the bathroom.
Interestingly, this main bedroom in the Family Suites at Disney’s All Star Music Resort is a “custom” space.
By that, we mean it’s not simply the standard room bed grafted into this space. The headboard has been redesigned and an accompanying chair added. It’s disappointing that the same generic Mickey & Minnie art is replicated from the other All Stars, but the specific touches are still appreciated.
Viewed in isolation, this bedroom is smaller than a standard room.
However, it still uses its footprint effectively, benefitting from the same functional and space-saving innovations as the other redone rooms. There’s room for luggage under the bed, storage below the television, shelves, a plethora of USB ports, etc.
The bathroom is similar to the one adjacent to the living area, with a few tweaks.
For one, this is a walk-in shower versus a combination tub and shower. For another, there’s a larger mirror at the expense of storage space. The tradeoffs work and are sensible–the room already has plenty of storage space, and making this a walk-in is nice for adults.
On the other side of the wall opposite the shower and sink–essentially sandwiched between the two bathrooms–is the kitchen.
This also features some functional improvements, the most notable of which is a full-sized fridge. This is definitely great for families who want to prepare at least some light/frozen meals in the room.
These family suites are equipped with a standard Value Resort-caliber microwave and coffee maker. No Keurig or anything fancy here.
While we appreciate the improvements, it does feel like Walt Disney World is falling behind the curve here. Other family suites around Walt Disney World are stepping up their game with stoves and/or ranges, enabling families to prepare fully-fledged meals. (Just look at the kitchen in the Grand “Faux-ridian” at Flamingo Crossings.) Not relevant for those like me whose entire culinary repertoire consists of microwave moves, but some people do like to cook on vacation.
With that one exception, the Family Suites at Disney’s All Star Music Resort offer a lot of significant functional upgrades to the room with almost zero downside. Nothing of value was lost in the reimagining, which is a rarity. Most Walt Disney World room redesigns entail some degree of compromise.
Each individually might be a minor thing, but collectively, they make for a room that is significantly “plussed” over what was here before.
One of the biggest complaints that we’ve heard about the new Value Resort rooms is that they are sterile and thematically lacking. We can understand the sterile complaint, as a few more splashes of color (cough*bed runner*cough) would’ve done wonders.
However, the new All Star Music rooms are not any less themed than their predecessors. They’ve always been relatively utilitarian. In looking through my old photos of these rooms, the only thing that could arguably pass for “theme” are framed posters, wallpaper border, and bed runners with stars on them. That’s it.
Setting aside how laughably dated two of those things are, the old rooms felt dingy and claustrophobic. I get that Walt Disney World fan opinions about literally everything are colored by nostalgia, but there’s no good reason to be sentimental about the old rooms. They were not good.
Now, these family suites have framed album covers, character art above the beds, chairs with various symbols from the All Stars, and vaguely star-looking curtains on the window. I’d also add that the rooms aren’t nearly as sterile in person, especially once you dial down the lighting to something moodier.
Another complaint is that laminate flooring instead of carpet makes the room louder. If you end up on a lower floor with a herd of cheerleaders, football players, or bison above you, this could be an issue. We’ve never had a problem, and generally prefer the new floors. They are easier to clean and keep clean; in a budget-rate motel, we’re down with as little bodily fluid-retaining surfaces as possible.
If I had to choose this or the old rooms, I’d pick these in an instant. These family suites are light years better than their predecessors, both in terms of form and function. The old family suites always felt like a makeshift option, and one that was rendered obsolete once Art of Animation opened. The reimagined rooms are actually good, with plenty of modern and purposeful features.
Families may not be enamored with the layout and so much convertible space, especially since it means not having a table or couch in the room when the kids are sleeping. That’s really the only downside that immediately jumps to my mind–and this same complaint will exist with the Cars, Lion King, and Finding Nemo suites at Art of Animation.
However, to get a room with comparable features without the dual-purpose living area, you essentially need to move up to larger Disney Vacation Club units or Deluxe Villas. While we’d prefer a DVC or Deluxe Villa to this room, there are numerous little functional improvements that arguably give this the edge over the Art of Animation alternatives.
Ultimately, all of that views the various family suites and larger accommodations in isolation–only comparing the rooms to one another. Obviously, an actual vacation doesn’t work that way. There’s also transportation, dining, pools, and everything else that makes up the hotel as a whole. In all of these other regards, All Star Music falls short of its direct competition at Art of Animation, and is significantly weaker than the Disney Vacation Club options.
However, there’s one area where it trounces all of those accommodations: cost. If you’re looking for an on-site family suite and want to do so as inexpensively as possible, All Star Music is it. Now that these rooms have been reimagined, they’re actually good options, not just cheaper ones. We recommend these All Star Family Suites with those caveats in mind!
What do you think of these new-look Family Suites at All Star Music? Do you prefer these rooms, or the ones at Art of Animation? What about these versus DVC villas–when taking cost into account? Do you like this room redesign, or are you not a fan of the Murphy bed style? Do you agree or disagree with our take on the changes being appealing to couples or solo travelers? Any thoughts of your own to add? Have you stayed in one of the new rooms? Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!