All Star Movies Resort is a Walt Disney World hotel in the “Value Resort” category that offers budget accommodations while still offering on-site Disney perks such as Extra Magic Hours, Disney’s Magical Express, and Disney transportation. In this hotel review, we’ll share photos from our stays at All Star Movies, thoughts on whether you should consider it if you’re weighing the Value Resorts, and offer some general planning info about the hotel.
Disney’s Value Resorts are quite divisive. Some people love them, some people love to hate them. Some people think they are tacky with poorly-made rooms, some people think they offer a cheap alternative to Deluxe resorts while still allowing Guests to take full advantage of on-property benefits. Although the Value Resorts are far from our favorite resorts, Sarah and I come down on the side of liking the Value Resorts–for what they are.
April 2018 Update: Room refurbishments have started and will occur in building by building phases (building 10 is currently down and will be the first finished, likely in late May or early June 2018) at All Star Movies to refurbish all rooms through November 2018. This will be a dramatic redesign strikingly similar to the updated rooms at Pop Century Resort, with only minor thematic flourishes to differentiate the rooms. This refurbishment should be fairly unintrusive to guests staying at All Star Movies, and we would not recommend altering your vacation plans as a result.
We think the divisive nature of the Value Resorts comes down to the fundamental question as to the nature of your visit. If you’re taking a commando-style, “the room is only for sleeping” trip during which you want to be in the parks as much as possible, a sub-$100 night room that offers perks such as the Disney transportation system and Extra Magic Hours is a great idea.
Conversely, if your resort is a large aspect of you vacation and you plan on spending a lot of time there, you may not think to highly of the Value Resorts. From my experience, this goes for all of the Value Resorts, especially the three All Star Resorts, which differ from one another little besides in theme.
We have stayed at each of Walt Disney World’s Value Resorts: Art of Animation, Pop Century, All Star Sports, All Star Music, and All Star Movies. Essentially, they are basic accommodations that are stylized with Disney icons. Sometimes we are traveling to Walt Disney World on a budget and the parks are a priority. The Value Resorts work well when that’s the case. If that’s the nature of our trip, we actually prefer saving money by staying at the Value Resorts since we won’t be in the hotel much, anyway. (Plus, I don’t mind what others sneer at as the garish design of the Values.)
I think the Value Resorts get bashed for their design far too frequently. Disney fans often lose sight of something: that a big part of Walt Disney World is captivating the fancy of children. I’m not suggesting everything should be squarely aimed at kids or that all we need kiddie coasters, but I do think the Value Resorts have their place. I know if we would have stayed at them when I was a kid, I likely would have loved exploring them. As an adult, sure, the Polynesian is much more to my liking. But for kids, giant toys and figures of their favorite Disney characters are pretty appealing.
With my theoretical thoughts concerning resort tiers in mind, here are my thoughts specific to All Star Movies: it’s an okay resort, but definitely not the best of the Values. Ultimately, I think I’d rank them: Art of Animation, Pop Century, Music, Movies, and Sports. Art of Animation and Pop Century are no-brainers in the #1 and #2 spots.
There’s far less of a difference between any of the All Stars, but we consider Music the best since it seems the ‘freshest’ and tends to have fewer large groups than Sports. For the most part, though, there’s little difference between any of them. Room size, amenities, transportation, location, etc., is all pretty much identical among all of the All Star Resorts at Walt Disney World.
Movies is probably the most dated of the three. Even as its World Premiere Food Court now has an updated menu, it never received the large-scale refurbishment the other All Star food courts received.
That, plus the fact that the Mighty Ducks are still heavily showcased, despite no longer being relevant, makes its age really show. If we are looking for the cheapest Value Resort, we usually opt for All Star Music during the Christmas-season, or All Star Sports any other time of the year (being careful to consult the ESPN Wide World of Sports calendar, first). We rarely stay at All Star Movies.
Aside from the Mighty Ducks area, you also have sections of All Star Movies that are themed to 101 Dalmatians, Toy Story, Fantasia, and Herbie: The Love Bug. I’m not sure I’d consider Herbie a timeless Disney creation, either, but the rest hold up well. We generally recommend the Fantasia or Toy Story sections to those guests who want to stay at All Star Movies. Both offer the best of location and decor.
Now, let’s take a look inside the rooms…
Unfortunately, we don’t have photos of All Star Movies since they were last refurbished. The biggest difference is that the comforters have been removed, and the headboards swapped out.
They also no longer have the CRT televisions, and instead have a more streamlined dresser. If you’ve seen the room photos in our All Star Music Review or All Star Sports Review, you know exactly what these rooms now look like.
Just swap out the music or sports poster on the wall for a movies one (well, unless you’re in the Mighty Ducks section…then it’s movies and sports. BEST OF BOTH WORLDS!)
Okay, let’s take a look at the pools. All Star Movies has two pools. The feature pool is the Fantasia pool, which is located directly behind the Cinema Hall lobby and food court, between the two Fantasia buildings. You could say this is the best “themed” area at All Star Movies. To be honest, it might be the best-themed area at any of the All Star Resorts. It’s pretty cool.
The Fantasia pool features a giant Sorcerer Mickey on a platform with streams of water shooting out from its base…just like you’re on the “set” of Fantasia, ha.
The Mighty Ducks section of All Star Movies contains the Duck Pond Pool. This is the resort’s quiet pool area, and is themed to look a like a hockey rink. It includes Goofy in a Mighty Ducks uniform as goaltender, and everything.
If you were not a child of the 1990s, this might be a bit perplexing…Goofy in the jersey of an NHL team based in Anaheim, California? First, shame on you for not seeing the ultimate film trilogy 1990s cinema. Second, in addition to making the movies, Disney used to own the NHL team.
However, Disney sold the Mighty Ducks (now just the Ducks) over a decade ago, and I don’t think anyone under the age of 25 has even seen the movies, so this area now sticks out like a sore thumb. Walt Disney World might as well theme an area of a hotel to Chicken Little.
Next up, dining at All Star Movies. The World Premiere Food Court actually isn’t that bad; it has a fairly diverse menu that includes options like the Turkey and Muenster Sandwich and Italian Sandwich, both of which are solid. We do not think it’s as good of a food court as the redone End Zone or Intermission food courts, but it is not bad, either.
Overall, All Star Movies Resort features a fun design-aesthetic that most kids will love, but it definitely isn’t for everyone–especially those on an adults-only Walt Disney World trip who want a relaxing hotel. If you’re reading resort reviews because you want to determine which resort is the “best” at Walt Disney World, All Star Movies definitely is not for you. It’s not even the best Value Resort, or the best intersection of quality and price among the Value Resorts. If you’re looking for a cheap place to stay while you’re at Disney, and you don’t want to rent a car or you want to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours (or both!), All Star Movies is an okay choice. However, even then we can’t help but think you’d probably be better off booking one of the other Value Resorts. Basically, unless your kids are huge Mighty Ducks enthusiasts, look elsewhere.
Are you a fan of All Star Movies, or is it too basic for you? Any comments on the bus transportation at All Star Movies? What about the food court? Any other tips to share concerning All Star Movies? Where does it rank for you in terms of hotels at Walt Disney World? Do you prefer staying off-site? Hearing from readers is half the fun, so please share your thoughts in the comments!