Inside Disney World’s Cheapest Family Suite
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.
Who knows, though. Maybe that’s what Walt Disney World actually has planned for the discontinued Pirate Rooms at Caribbean Beach, and my tinfoil-hat theories in Dead Rooms Tell No Tales: Caribbean Beach Pirate Retirement are all wrong!
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!
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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!
Will any suites let u bring in a cot?
I need a suite for 2 big teenage boys but we also have a girlfriend coming along and i dont want her in bed with the son.
And the sons wont fit in 1 bed. Lol. Any suggestuons.
My suggestion would be two rooms, you can request connecting rooms but they won’t guarantee, at Pop or one of the All Stars.
You might want to consider that Disney charges for every adult over the allotted 2.
The old family suites at All Star Music were ugly. They fell down the ugly tree and hit every branch.
The new suites are fabulous! Deciding between ASM and AoA suites, the biggest considerations seem to be Price vs Skyliner and if your group has a car or not.
For a group of 4 or 5 who don’t want to all sleep on top of each other, a contender for ASM suite is OKW 1BR DVC rental. Compared to cash rooms, DVC rental usually comes with less flexibility regarding reschedule/cancellation, and generally booking needs to be done further in advance. What is gained can be a nicer resort with washer/dryer and full kitchen, PLUS access to MK and Epcot’s night Extra Hours.
Compare ASM rack rates for trip dates on Mousesavers, then look up OKW point charts and ~$20 per point to rent. For December before Christmas both average roughly $450-500 (weekends = more $).
We stayed in these suites recently and we LOVED THEM! This was our first time staying at an All Star resort and we were impressed. We had an excellent stay.
The All Star Music suites were perfect for our family. We have 3 big children (14, 19, 22) and our main purpose of the room is for sleep and a quick morning breakfast. The beds convert so easily, and we loved all the storage. I felt like someone was very smart when they designed these rooms. I think the theming was simple but modern. And we strongly agree with you about the carpet- These floors were so nice and clean and no “lived in” rug smell.
My only *wish* is that there was either a toaster or toaster oven in the kitchen, since we don’t use a microwave for much.
Thanks for the review Deborah – we are planning a stay there in March 2023. How was the noise level? What section did you stay in?
Do the one bedroom DVC suites officially permit six people to stay? I thought they were up to five people, such that the 6th one would not be officially recognized for early entry, deluxe evening hours, etc.
That is correct. DVC 1-bedrooms either have a 4 or 5 max capacity, depending on the resort, so that would be significant for a family/group of 6.
We just booked a stay here for March 2023. The rooms look great, but I am concerned about the noise factor . What building/floor would you recommend to lessen the noise?
Stop reading my browser history! Ha! I was just looking at these last night wondering how they were.
In another not apples to apples comparison the cabins at Ft. Wilderness also sleep 6 and lit a low rate of $290 a night (this year even!) but have one bathroom I think.
This will go on my list to try. Thank you!
One of my children has severe IBS. Knowing that I can have his special food in the nice cold fridge is worth it. Also- we’d freeze water bottles for the day. GREAT freezers!!
We stayed at AoA with our two teenagers last summer. The access to the SkyLiner was a joy, but even on a strictly room-to-room comparison I would give the advantage to AoA based on the layout. At AoA the two Murphy beds are in slightly separate parts of the living area, giving the feel and appearance of each kids having their own space … while not actually having a whole room to themselves, their heads were at opposite ends of the room and far enough apart that it didn’t feel like they were sleeping right next to each other. At All Star those two extra beds are very close and aligned the same way, so they really would be sharing that sleeping space.
We have considered staying at AoA, but the pictures I have seen show only 1 murphy bed. The other looks like a fold out couch. Have they changed that one to a murphy too?
Given the relative insignificance of $35/night in the context of an on-site WDW vacation these days, I can’t imagine why anyone would choose this over a suite at AoA. Skyliner alone makes the decision a no-brainer IMO.
You’re afraid of heights or paranoid ab getting stuck on the Skyliner and needing to be rescued? You hate HS and Epcot and only plan to visit MK and AK?
Regardless, I enjoyed the write-up, Tom.
A lot of people drive down to Florida from other Southern states and take their car to the parks. Others are afraid of heights.
I’d always take AoA over this for the ~$35 difference, but there’s no one size fits all answer. (Also, the spread is larger for other dates–that’s just what we priced out for our stay.)
I have a kiddo who gets extremely nervous about heights. This may or may not be related to us getting stuck for over an hour on the gondolas at Six Flags Great Adventure. It was late September, and as the sun went down, the wind really kicked up. I’ve ridden the Skyliner once and found it to be a comfortable experience, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to talk my son onto it anytime soon. Transportation aside, AoA’s kitchens aren’t as functional as this one, and the three queen sized beds might make a big difference to parties without small kids.
You could say the same thing about renting points for a 1-bedroom DVC room. In terms of absolute dollars, it sounds like a more reasonable way to save money over a weeklong vacation from a cost-benefit point of view than, say, “eat PB&J every day.”
(If only they would have used the same high quality pulldown beds as the DVC, this could have actually been Disney’s Best Kept Secret!)
Aaron – I think you’re correct when looking at it from a cost-benefit perspective, as those DVC rooms are significant improvements, usually better located, and offer access to Extended Evening Hours.
But the cost difference can be pretty significant–not “only” $35 per night. Some of the point rental price increases in the last couple years have been staggering–those already at the upper end of their budget with a room like this may not be able to push it even further.
Great blog. I have used it for scheduling my trips. Saved me a ton of money
I like the All Stars for what they are. We originally booked one of these family suites for this summer’s trip, but ultimately decided we preferred the cabin layout and overall experience of Fort Wilderness. My kids are getting big enough that they don’t like sharing a mattress, so the bunk bed set up is preferable. I am biting my nails over the fact that my mom is going to be sleeping on the cabin’s foldout couch, and hope I don’t live to regret giving up these new Murphy beds. I’m just hoping we get a foldout that hasn’t been flattened by too much wear and tear! Anyone here have recent experiences with sleeping on one of those couch mattresses?
May 19-23, 2022 Cabins 2400 loop stay. The fold out couch was not comfortable. After that first night, I left it folded back into a couch, took the two upright back cushions off, and slept much better.
That might just have been my cabin’s couch, but I think taking out the Murphy bed was not a good idea.
@Ann, thanks for the reply! I’m glad to hear you could sleep tolerably on the couch – my mom is tiny and could probably make that work. Worse comes to worst, my husband and I will give her the bedroom with the kids and suffer through the foldout. Maybe next time we should choose these family suites!!
Until I realized what you were doing in the other room, Tom, the sounds from the fold-down beds provided an eerie horror-movie soundtrack to Sarah’s tour. I kept expecting a creepy monster (or any of the modern Mickey’s Shorts characters) to pop out around a corner. Then, I spent way too long staring at the hair dryer trying to figure out why Disney had installed a joystick in the bathroom. Clearly, I need to not read reviews at 2am in the morning, but I’m actually really glad I read this as I’d been considering this room category for an upcoming trip. I’m going with a Lion King suite at AoA due to a Lion-King obsessed member of my party, but if the right deal came along this seems like it might be worth switching to…
As you can hear, I had a heck of a time with the pull-down beds. A lot of the noise was because I didn’t move the chairs all of the way, so the second bed came crashing down on those. Then when I tried to move them, I knocked some over again. It was quite the ordeal–mostly my mistakes.
Yup – I now watch the room video tours with the goal of finding Tom.
This one, Tom was a little too quick behind Sarah.
So how many takes do you do to get it close to perfect?
The chairs – appears not much room to place the 4 chairs at night when both beds are down.
I would be tripping over them trying to get to the bathroom at night – old person problems
We stayed here with the grandparents in March. We LOVED it. They enjoyed having their own bedroom and bathroom, our little kids loved the Disney characters and theming throughout the room, and I loved the cast members. They were seriously fabulous. Everyone loved the options in the food court. We will definitely be back!
Those rooms do look nice. And I did watch the video. The 35 dollar difference though would hedge me to the AoA suites with the nice food court and skyliner however. I never understood why Disney didn’t have more affordable suites in the past. My family would cram into a 1 room hotel and it worked but in todays world more than 1 bathroom for a family is a game changer.
They listened to my complaints about the new Pop Century rooms and added some nice *wall art* and a *whimsical lamp*!
Anyway, another aspect to this that I just thought of: taking the lowest rate rooms out of service and turning them into higher profit rooms.