Deciding where to stay at Walt Disney World is the one of the first questions in anyone’s mind when starting to plan a trip. Though Disney is not typically associated with being budget friendly, there are several budget hotels termed as “value resorts” on Disney premises. At around $100-125/per night, they offer tje cheapest hotel accommodation close to the parks. But what is missing in these value resorts with a price that is too good to be true?
Trying to decide where we should stay for an extra couple of days after our annual TravelingMom retreat needed some careful consideration. To me, a trip to Disney is synonymous with indulgence and luxury. Finding that there were budget hotels that were part of the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels was surprising. Learning that we can spend two nights for under $250 was unbelievable.
With our four year old son and infant daughter, we took the plunge to find out what a Disney value hotel is like for families. We stayed two nights at “All Star Sports” resort which was the cheapest offering at the time I booked. Here are the pros and cons of going for a budget hotel at Walt Disney World.
1. You can stay on Disney property for a cheaper price
Besides camping, staying at the budget hotel is the cheapest way to stay on Disney property.
2. Easy access to parks & airport
Even at value resorts, you get access to Disney transport buses that take you directly to the parks, Disney Springs and the airport. From All Star Sports, we got to Magic Kingdom and Epcot in about 15-20 minutes. You have the same access to the Magical Express bus from the airport and the facilities to check in your luggage and collect your boarding passes from the resort.
3. Comfortable room with amenities
We had a standard room with two double beds and it was spacious enough for our party of three adults and two kids. The sink area was separate from the toilet, which is always handy when traveling with kids. There was enough space for the pack and play that the hotel provided. The room had mini fridge, several power outlets and free Wi-Fi. A 24 hour self-service laundry was also located in the premises.
Despite being a value resort, you can expect the same standards of cleanliness and friendly service of any Disney establishment.
4. Basic facilities for dining & entertainment
If you stay at a value resort expecting grand features of deluxe or even moderate resorts, you will be disappointed. There will be no theme restaurants or fancy water slides. But for the price you pay, you will have access to pools and onsite dining with basic offerings like pizza, burgers and salads.
We were surprised by the nice variety of gelato offered at All Star Sports when we had expected to settle for ice cream sandwiches.
There was also a kid’s playground, an arcade area for teens and a gift shop offering a good range of Disney merchandise as well as necessities. We found the same offerings of baby food at All Star as we did at shops at deluxe resorts.
1.No special resort experience
Having stayed at deluxe and moderate resorts like Disney’s Boardwalk, Coronado Springs and The Grand Floridian, where the hotel stay was an incredible experience with Disney touches, a value resort only counts as a place to sleep.
Though each resort will have its own theme and décor to go with it, you will find the budget hotels to be kitschy. So if you’re looking to experience Disney magic with cute hidden Mickey details, beautiful artwork and landscape, it will be worth to upgrade to at least a moderate hotel.
So should you stay at a Walt Disney World value resort?
Having experienced a value resort, would I do it again and would I recommend it to others? Well….that depends on what you want your experience to be.
If you’re looking for a place to sleep with close access to the parks, absolutely! Value resorts will serve your purpose.
Even at what you expect to be the most Magical Place on Earth, you get what you pay for. So if you’re paying the lowest going rate and expecting to stay at fancy rooms with amazing service, you will be disappointed.
Instead, adjust your expectations and get your Disney luxury fix by visiting other Disney resorts. We had a lovely dinner at Kona Grill at the Polynesian and relaxed in the lounge area before heading back to All Star Sports to end our day.
Value resorts make it affordable for many families to visit Walt Disney World. But you have to go in knowing how it will affect your family’s Disney resort experience. If you’re looking to spend some down time at the resort, it will be worth saving up for a moderate or deluxe resort. Value resorts will certainly serve you well for getting to the parks quickly and easily.