By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.



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Review: Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort



By Dave Shute

The Value Resorts   Art of Animation    Pop Century    Movies    Sports    Music

OVERVIEW: DISNEY’S ALL-STAR SPORTS RESORT

Review Disney's All-Star Sports Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Among my 100+ stays in Walt Disney World resort hotels, I’ve stayed at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort multiple times, most recently in August 2013.

Review ~ Disney's All-Star Sports Resort from yourfirstvisit.netThis last stays confirms that for those who can’t afford a deluxe resort, Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort is the fourth best place to stay among the value resorts (the best value resort choice is Disney’s Art of Animation Resort).

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 Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, a value resort. (See this for more on the value resorts at Walt Disney World.)

(It also suggests that first time visitors should avoid the moderate resorts, while noting that these resorts are wonderful for visits after the first. See this for why.)

Compared to other Walt Disney World owned and operated resorts, the value resorts are distinguished by having the lowest prices and smallest rooms.

All-Star Sports Floor Plan from yourfirstvisit.netYou likely will never stay in a hotel with smaller rooms.

Like other value resort standard rooms, rooms at All-Star Sports sleep four in two full-size beds, plus one more, younger than three, in a crib; the crib fits best between the dresser and closet wall.

(I could not imagine staying in one of these rooms with five including a crib…but many do!)

However, if your family will fit, Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort, like the other value resorts, has 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.)

Compared to staying off-site, the value resorts are distinguished by their higher kid appeal, convenience, and access to certain key perks that off-site hotels can’t provide.

DISNEY’S ALL-STAR SPORTS RESORT

Bed Side at Disney's All-Star Sports Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Resorts are ranked on this site for first time visitors based first on their kid appeal, and then on their convenience.

On this basis, Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort is the fourth-best value resort for first time family visitors.

Kid Appeal. Several of the deluxe resorts–notably, the Wilderness LodgeAnimal Kingdom Lodge, and Polynesian Resort–have spectacular kid appeal. None of the moderates do.

All of the value resorts–Disney’s Art of Animation resort, Disney’s All-Star Sports, All-Star Music, and All-Star Movies, and its Pop Century–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!

Homerun Hotel All-Star Sports from yourfirstvisit.net

All-Star Sport’s theme is…sports.

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!

Elsewhere you’ll find 30-foot plus surfboards, and thingies that are meant to look like waves but remind me more of shark fins. 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.

Kids Pool at Night Disney's All-Star Sports Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

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 some quieter periods, the three All-Star Resorts share buses, except for the Magic Kingdom, to which each has its own bus.

Shared buses, if operating, 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.

Map Disney's All-Star Sports Resort

Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort is divided into five areas. 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.

Main Pool at Disney's All-Star Sports Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (3)

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.

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. …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.

Disney's All-Star Sports Resort Online Check-in from yourfirstvisit.net

The room request form available to you at on-line check in will let you pick the area (e.g. Hoops Hotel or Center Court) and the floor…but not the building. You can call your building number request in later…

BEST FOR:

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.

WORST FOR:

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.

A PHOTO TOUR OF A STANDARD ROOM AT DISNEY’S ALL-STAR SPORTS RESORT

This review continues here.

TOPICS IN THIS REVIEW OF DISNEY’S ALL-STAR SPORTS RESORT

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9 comments

1 Connie { 09.10.13 at 10:21 am }

My daughter and I stayed here last fall – and one of the things I noticed was that there were always kids and dads or just groups of kids playing football on the field there. I thought that was nice – it was a large play area and looked like a football field. The kids always seemed to be having lots of fun.

2 Jennifer M { 09.10.13 at 10:54 am }

Hi Dave, we will be staying at All Star Music and I was wondering if they let us go between all three All Stars and use their pools?

3 Dave { 09.11.13 at 6:37 am }

In some ways, Connie, All-Star Sports is one big playground!

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4 Dave { 09.11.13 at 6:55 am }

Jennifer, yes, you can–though I’m not sure why you would…there’s not much pay-off to the extra walking!

If you are curious, pool hopping is allowed 1. Among the three All-Stars, 2. Between the Beach and Yacht Clubs, and 3. Between Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter.

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5 Jane { 12.01.14 at 11:47 pm }

We loved the sport resort! And I don’t like sports. It was so cute for our little kids. We got 2 rooms with a connecting door and had a family suite setup, but paid a lot less per night than we would have for an actual family suite (the one we considered was Art of Animation). I would definitely stay at one of the all star resorts again…although I do want to try Art of Animation next.

6 Dave { 12.02.14 at 8:10 am }

Hi Jane and thanks! Getting connecting rooms is a great strategy if it works!

7 Tom { 06.05.15 at 5:27 pm }

Hi Dave!
We’ve made a reservation for the third week of November and the only available spot with the Dining Plan was here. We have already been to Disney before and to many other hotels, such as AoA POP or Caribbean, but we somehow evaded All-Star because we had the impression they were among the worst. We know Little Mermaid rooms are small, but these ones here are even tinier? How about dining? Usual stuff for the Quick Service? My wife is a bit dismayed about All-star sports and I’d like to cheer her up with some fascinating data you may provide? 😉

8 Dave { 06.07.15 at 7:26 am }

Hi Tom, the rooms at the All-Stars are the same size and layout as the Little Mermaid rooms. The difference is less theming in the rooms, and a less fun food court. It has the usual quick service stuff, not the more innovative food you’ll find at AofA.

9 Tom { 06.08.15 at 6:25 pm }

Thanks once more!
Well, I have to wait till November then.

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