We recently stayed All Star Movies Resort in a new room style that is coming over the next few years to all of the All Star Resorts in phases as part of Walt Disney World’s comprehensive hotel overhauls. In this review, we’ll cover everything from our experience staying in these redesigned rooms to the schedule (and delays), and whether you might or might not want to request a new room on your WDW vacation.
This is one of the projects we’ve been tracking in our Hotel Refurbishments & Renovations at Walt Disney World post, and our original prediction was that All Star Movies would finish by Spring 2019, after which All Star Music and then All Star Sports would each receive the same overhaul in building by building phases, with all three finished by around Fall 2021. This had less to do with any timetable announced by Walt Disney World and more to do with the pace of work at Pop Century.
However, that was before Disney hit pause on this project at All Star Movies for several months, which was originally said to be so that fewer rooms were out of commission during the busy Christmas season. It’s now unclear whether that was the actual reason for delay, but if work continues like this with delays whenever things get busy, there’s no end in sight to this project.
As for All Star Movies, work is entirely finished on buildings 6-10 and buildings 1-5 have not yet started. This means that you can potentially get a refurbished room if you make a request for the Toy Story, Love Bug, or Fantasia rooms. With around half of the rooms at Disney’s All Star Movies Resort finished, your request has a pretty good shot of being fulfilled.
The odds are good enough and the difference between a refurbished and non-refurbished room is so stark that we’d recommend booking at room at All Star Movies over the other All Stars at this point. Well, our actual Value Resort recommendation would be Pop Century, but if room rates are more attractive at the All Stars, there’s absolutely no reason not to book Movies at this point.
I was excited to get back to All Star Movies to stay in one of these new rooms. In part for the room itself, but we had already experienced pretty close to the same thing at Pop Century. More so because the All Stars make me nostalgic, evoking old memories of our past commando touring, long weekend visits.
The last time we had stayed at All Star Movies was way back in May 2011, when we attended the “Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th” event only a couple months after launching this blog. Tickets for that were a major splurge for us, so we stayed at the cheapest on-site hotel we could find: All Star Movies. I think we were at the resort for a total of about 5-6 hours per night.
We like nice hotels, but we’re pretty far from “luxury or die” hotel snobs. All you have to do is survey a few of the sketchy places we’ve stayed in Anaheim to know that isn’t the case. We find hotels of all tiers really fascinating, and it’s interesting to see how budget-friendly accommodations try (or don’t) to resonate with guests.
The All Star Resorts do this pretty well for hotels of their tier via the oversized decor, pools, and landscaping. Some Walt Disney World fans are quick to criticize these are overpriced and sketchy motels–as someone with a lot of experience staying at actual sketchy motels, I’ll can say with some authority that these people have no clue what they’re talking about.
Like them or not, the All Star Resorts offer a slate of amenities far superior to what the average motel offers in a setting that’s also dramatically better. People can quibble over the ‘thematic’ quality of those oversized icons, but even that appeals to some families.
The most legitimate criticism of the All Stars has long been the guest rooms, which are small, dingy, and have little redeeming qualities or character. Thankfully, with this All Star Movies room overhaul, that’s finally being addressed, too…
Suffice to say, the new rooms are an unequivocal upgrade from the old rooms at All Star Movies. Thanks to our experience in this new room, All Star Movies will once again be in our regular Walt Disney World hotel rotation, particularly during long weekend ‘rope drop until park close’ trips or when deals are lacking elsewhere.
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 Movies to provide some context for what we’re describing:
The biggest change is a new configuration with a regular bed flanked by nightstands and Murphy bed that doubles as a table. Both of these beds are queen-sized, versus the double beds previously in these rooms.
There’s a lighter color scheme, dominated by white with hints of red, orange, and lime. There’s Mickey & friends art above the queen bed, plus Huey, Dewey, and Louie Duck art above the Murphy bed.
There’s also a ton more storage space, including a dresser under the television, room for luggage under the bed, and a variety of random cubbies around the room. There are also a boat-load of USB-charging ports and outlets around the room, which is a huge plus.
In the corner, there’s a kiosk with drawers, a mini-fridge, and a coffee maker. This is debuted with the new rooms at Pop Century as a Walt Disney World Value Resort first, and thankfully continues at All Star Movies.
In the bathroom, 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.
All of these things, to us, are upgrades to the room with zero downside. Each individually might be a minor thing, but collectively, they make for a room that is significantly “plussed” over the Value Resort defaults.
One of the biggest complaints that we’ve heard about the 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, these All Star Movies rooms being less themed than their predecessors is not really a valid critique. These have always been low on theme. In looking through my old photos of these rooms, the only thing that could arguably pass for “theme” are framed Mighty Ducks movie posters, film strip 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. They were “All Star” in about the same sense that a 1987 Chevrolet Celebrity is “Hollywood.” 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 are not good.
Now, you have the character art, chairs with various symbols from the All Stars, and vaguely star-looking curtains on the window. It’d be nice if there were a bit more, but at least the rooms are nicer now.
The biggest valid criticism, I think, is the aforementioned lack of color. Even having one red or some other colored wall would go a long way in giving the room warmth and a bit of flavor. As it stands, the complaints about this room looking clinical, sterile, or “hospital-like” have a degree of validity.
If I had to choose this or the old look, I’d pick this in an instant. I feel Value Resort rooms have always been too dark and drab, and this brightens them up. Perhaps it was an over-correction to the old style, but I’ll take a hotel room that looks crisp and clean over one that’s dark and drab any day. Still, I can appreciate the desire for something of a happy medium.
Another complaint is that the removal of carpet and addition of laminate flooring makes the room louder. This has yet to be an issue for us with any of the new rooms (here or at Pop Century), but perhaps we’ve been lucky.
If you end up on a lower floor with a herd of cheerleaders, football players, or bison above you, perhaps you won’t be as forgiving of this change. Noise aside, we 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.
The space that the pull-down Murphy Bed opened up for us was huge. It made the small room feel less claustrophobic, and that plus the brighter look of the room made it easier for us to spend time in the room without going stir-crazy. We think this change makes the new rooms at All Star Movies a significantly better option for couples and solo travelers.
For families, the layout with the Murphy bed not be ideal, especially since it means not having any table in the room when the kids are sleeping. That’s really the only downside for families that immediately jumps to my mind. There’s always concern that Murphy beds will be less comfortable, but we did not find that to be the case. I’m sure there are other changes that could be legitimate negatives for some parties, but I suspect that’ll largely be on a circumstantial basis.
Overall, we view the new rooms at All Star Movies as significant upgrades. This should be somewhat unsurprising given that these are essentially a clone of the Pop Century rooms, which we also really liked. While nothing that’s done here is going to revolutionize the hotel industry or earn accolades as the pinnacle of themed design, the new rooms at All Star Movies are a considerable improvement over their predecessors. In addition to visually looking better, they now feel more spacious, which is a huge victory given how small the Value Resort rooms can feel.
What do you think of these new rooms at All Star Movies? Excited for the 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!