Review: Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
OVERVIEW: DISNEY’S ALL-STAR SPORTS RESORT
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is number one among the values.
These last three All-Star Resorts are very close in their rankings. Of these three,
- All-Star Sports is the most convenient, but kid appealing only if your kids are into baseball, football, basketball, surfing, or tennis
- All-Star Movies is the most broadly kid-appealing, and the most comfortable of the three
- All-Star Music is the most compact, most lovely, and the only one with family suites
You can have a wonderful visit at any Walt Disney World resort hotel.
However, this site recommends that first time visitors to Walt Disney World who can afford it should stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, a deluxe resort, and that those who can’t should stay at Art of Animation, a value resort.
Compared to other Walt Disney World owned and operated resorts, the value resorts are distinguished by having the lowest prices and smallest rooms.
You likely will never stay in a hotel with smaller rooms.
I could not imagine staying in one of these rooms if I had to add a crib as well. (The room sleeps four in two full-size beds, plus one more, younger than three, in a crib. A crib fits best between the clost and credenza–lower right in the floorplan.)
However, if your family will fit, the values have much more kid appeal than the moderate resorts, the next higher price class (about twice as expensive, but with much bigger rooms and nicer landscaping.)
(See this for much more on resort distinctions by price class–value, moderate, deluxe, etc.)
DISNEY’S ALL-STAR SPORTS RESORT
Kid Appeal. Several of the deluxe resorts–notably, the Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Polynesian Resort–have spectacular kid appeal. None of the moderates do.
All of the value resorts–Disney’s All-Star Sports, All-Star Music, and All-Star Movies, and its Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts–have terrific kid appeal.
This appeal comes from the approach to theming they all share: bright and vibrant exteriors, framing much larger than life objects of interest to kids. These objects reinforce that these resorts were designed for the sake of kids…and not necessarily for adults!
Of these, Disney’s Art of Animation is the most kid-appealing.
Its ten three-story buildings (all with elevators) are grouped into five sports themes (two buildings each): surfing, basketball, baseball, (American) football, and tennis.
You’ll find scattered around the resort a three story high football helmets, tennis rackets, and a baseball grandstand!
These shark fins are very close to the main Surfboard Bay Pool…perhaps not well-placed.
Sports is tied with All-Star Music among the values as the least kid-appealing of the values.
Each is thin on Disney-specific decor, and can be visually dull except to kids devoted to sports or music.
of the All-Stars, All-Star Movies is more kid-appealing, living more richly in Disney’s visual world. Art of Animation is by far the most kid appealing of the values.
Convenience. Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort is slightly more convenient than the other All-Stars, but not as convenient as Pop and Art of Animation.
During all but the busiest seasons of the year, the three All-Star Resorts share buses, except for the Magic Kingdom, to which each has its own bus.
Shared buses stop first at Sports–meaning that when you head to the parks, you are more likely to find a seat, and that when you return, you will be the first stop. (Music is second, and Movies third.)
To me, this is a minor issue…and I could argue that Movies is just as convenient, if you prefer a shorter (but perhaps standing) trip to the parks to a longer trip with a seat. I am in a hurry in the morning; I am not on return.
Best places to stay. This site suggests that first time visitors stay in standard rooms, not preferred rooms (because they won’t be spending much time in their rooms, or going to the main resort food area often.)
The single exception is visitors to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, who should always pay for savanna views.
Click the map to see the general layout.
Of these, a third floor room in buildings 2 or 5 (best) or 3 or 4 (next best) is the best place to stay.
Sports has the same problem the other values do, but even more so: it can be packed with teenagers who are at Walt Disney World as part of a tournament or other sports event.
As a result, the resort can be very loud and boisterous. Buildings around the pools are particularly so.
At All-Star Sports, buildings 1, 6, 8, and 9 frame pools. These are in the Surf’s Up (1, 6) and Homerun Hotel (8, 9) areas.
I write this from room 1303 in building 1: directly facing the main pool. It’s 9.55p, and very loud…as it was last night…and the night before.
Moreover, the Touchdown Hotels (buildings 7 and 10) are framed around a small football field. Anyone who has met an American male between 6 and 60 will understand that at times…perhaps even at 2 a.m. times…the game simply has to be played.
As a result, all of these buildings are to be avoided.
This leaves buildings 2 and 3 in the Hoops Hotel area, and 4 and 5 in the Center Court area. Of these, buildings 2 and 5 are slightly closer to the dining area, bus stops, and main pool, and are hence recommended.
Ask for the third floor because it is also the top floor, which makes it quieter.
Families than cannot afford a deluxe resort, or who are otherwise on a tight budget, who can fit into its small rooms, and find the sports noted an attractive theme.
Families who are tall or otherwise won’t fit into full-size beds, or who have more than two adult-sized people, or who will be using a crib.
This review continues here.