After reviewing Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort (which is a deluxe villa resort) & thought it’d be good to do a review of a resort on the other end of the spectrum. I’d say that this review will apply to far more people than the Bay Lake review. Disney’s All-Star Movies is a value level resort in the Animal Kingdom resort area in Walt Disney World. The value resorts are perfect for those with large groups or those who want to maximize their time in the parks and use the hotel only for sleeping and showering. What did I think of the All-Star Movies? Hit the jump for details on the resort and my thoughts about whether you should stay there as well.
Let me start off by giving a little background on my tastes. I tend to prefer “nicer” hotels. I usually will stay at a Hilton hotel while traveling or the Aria when in Vegas. So the value resorts are not places that I normally would pick. However, this was a quick trip & my goal is to stay at every resort in Disney World so that we can have a full review section! So, having said that…
All-Star Movies is the third resort in the “All-Stars family”. It’s next to All-Star Music with All-Star Sports being the furthest away from All-Star Movies. It’s a very family friendly resort with “larger than life” characters throughout the property. You’ll definitely see more families and children at the All-Star resorts than someplace like Bay Lake. The resort has a quick service restaurant, gift shop & arcade. There are two pools on property, the Fantasia feature pool & the Mighty Ducks pool. These pools were very nice, but a bit on the small side. They certainly don’t come close to the pool at Coronado Springs but are still better than anything at a standard hotel!. The Fantasia pool has Sorcerer Mickey spraying water on guests in the pool. This is definitely a nice touch. We never used the pools during our stay, but they never seemed too crowded. Granted this was in November, but it was still definitely pool weather in Florida.
The resort is definitely spread out just like Coronado Springs. If you’re staying at a room in the corner of the resort & need to head to the main building you’ll be in for a bit of a walk! This meant that I only used one refill of my refillable mug. I just didn’t have the energy to walk all the way to the main building after a full day at the parks. Another issue was the quick service restaurant is not 24 hours. I did not expect the restaurant to be staffed 24 hours a day, but having the drink machines accessible for guests getting back from the parks after midnight would definitely be welcome. This was a huge issue for me and definitely contributed to my refillable mug going unused during this trip.
Unfortunately we did have another issue during our trip that required multiple visits to the front desk. We used Disney’s online check-in system and I got the email with our room info when we were on the Magical Express enroute to the resort. When we got to the room my MagicBand wouldn’t work. Luckily it seemed to only effect mine and we were able to get in using my friend’s band. I thought this was most likely due to having multiple active MagicBands on my account even though I was using the one Disney Shipped to me just for this trip. On our way out we stopped by the front desk and explained the situation. He checked my band and confirmed it wasn’t activated. He worked his magic and activated my MagicBand. We headed out to the parks for our planned day & had a great time at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. When we got back we tried my MagicBand on the door and it worked without hitch, however when we tried my friend’s band (which we used to originally enter the room) it wouldn’t work. We decided it was best to just ignore the issue since the main building was so far away & her band was working for park tickets & fastpasses which is all we really needed. I’m sure Disney could have fixed this for us but since this was a quick trip and our plans had us essentially “rope-dropping” the parks it just wasn’t worth our time to fix it.
Location & Transportation
You may be wondering why we didn’t stop by the front desk on our way to the parks since we had to get on the shuttles anyways. Well, we actually only used the Magical Express from All-Star Movies. For all other transportation we used the shuttles from All-Star Music. We stayed in the Mighty Ducks section of the resort and our room was really close to the main building of All-Star Music. It was about a two minute walk versus five to ten for All-Star Movies. This was a huge benefit for us since bus transportation is the only option offered at the All-Star resorts. When leaving the park if we saw that the Music bus was full or just left we could hop on the Movies bus!
The rooms close to the main building are considered preferred rooms, so if you paid for a standard room you’ll most likely end up far away from the main building. That’s why I did the Mighty Ducks trick and made the best of it! Since there are three All-Star resorts in such proximity it’s common for them to share a bus, however this isn’t always the case. We saw Magic Kingdom get dedicated bus service but Hollywood Studios was a shared bus. The busses start at Sports, Music then Movies. So there will be times where an almost full or full bus will pull up to All-Star Movies forcing you to wait longer. If you’re staying at one of these three resorts and getting to the parks promptly and quickly is a big priority then a rental car will be your best friend. I’ve heard from many people who frequently stay at value resorts and will always get a rental car.
We stayed in standard room with two double beds. Our room was in the Mighty Duck section on the second floor. It was very quiet and peaceful in our area and noise was never a concern for us. The room was very plain and simple. There was a small table with one chair, a small fridge & of course the two beds. There was no closet, just an open area with hangers & an area for your luggage. The bathroom area was separated by a curtain so someone could get dressed & have access to the sink & not have to worry about others in the room. The actual shower & toilet area was in this area but separated by a door (thank goodness). This curtain is nice but not as nice as the doors at Coronado Springs. It looks like Disney is starting to use the doors in all of their hotels as they go through and renovate the resorts so hopefully this isn’t an issue for much longer.
The beds were very stiff & not the most comfortable. However, after spending 15 hours flying to all four corners of the US (literally) they were absolute heaven. The following nights they were just OK. I woke up feeling stiff but I slept fine. I did have an issue with the lack of pillows in the room. I like to sleep with four pillows (I know, I’m crazy but it’s what I’m accustomed to). Each bed had two pillows and that was it. There was one extra pillow in the closet area but no extra blanket which I thought was odd for a hotel room.
The bathroom is very busy and will not appeal to some people. Kids will probably love it since the wall looks like a film strip. We did find some mold in our bathroom which leaves me to believe that “Mousekeeping” is not giving them the attention they need. I understand that these are large sprawling resorts but we were still paying about $150 a night for the room and it would be expected to be clean.
So, would I stay here again? Yes and no. It was not the most comfortable resort on the planet, but it worked well for just sleeping & showering. I did spend a lot more time in the room during my stay at Bay Lake Tower. If budget is a huge concern for you then, yes stay here. It’s a fine resort and it won’t take away from your Disney World experience. Since I’ve stayed in both the moderate & deluxe resort categories at Disney World it was quite noticeable for me. Personally, I’d rather spend the little extra and get a room at a moderate resort. I’m sure there will be many trips in the future where I find myself at an All-Stars resort though. I do still have to review the other two!
Review disclosure: All reviews on Behind Magic are my sole opinion. I will never accept compensation in return for a review. I paid for my stay at All-Star Movies. If I do not pay for the product or service being reviewed this will be disclosed and will not impact my opinions in the review.