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Missing Fridges, No Food Court, and Too Little A/C: Roughing it at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort



By Dave Shute

My younger son and I just checked out of Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort.

Poolside Grab and Go at Disney's All-Star Sports ResortWe had a great visit, but the food court is down until December for rehab, the mini-fridge in our room—like those in thousands of other Walt Disney World rooms—is off until it’s replaced, and the heat and humidity were such a mess that the AC in our room could only make the temperature adequate, not comfortable.

So it was kinda like being dropped into the Mojave Desert portion of the Pacific Crest Trail with just some twine, a mirror, a broken hacksaw blade, and empty water bottles for succor…but it was still a blast, and because of that, it was kinda like every other Disney World trip I’ve ever been on.

Details follow.

THE CLOSURE FOR REHAB OF THE FOOD COURT AT ALL-STAR SPORTS

Food Options at Disney's All-Star Sports ResortThe food court at All-Star Sports, not much to start with, is now closed for a welcome rehab into December 2013.

Alternatives abound.

First, there’s dedicated bus service to the food courts at nearby sister resorts All-Star Music and All-Star Movies (for most people in the Homerun hotel section of Sports, and many in other southern rooms, walking to Music is faster).

Bus to Music from Disney's All-Star Sports ResortThe buses leave from the lobby bus point, not the theme park bus point—the same place where Disney Magical Express drops people off.

I checked the crowding in Music’s food court multiple times over the last few days, and except for one breakfast zoo didn’t find it that much more mobbed than I would normally expect it to be with no such closure…and the Movies food court—the best of the food courts at the All-Stars anyway—doesn’t seem much affected at all.

Second, there’s a couple of grab and go points at All-Star Sports.

  • Menu at Poolside Grab and Go at Disney's All-Star Sports ResortOne is by the Surfboard Bay pool, between the main and baby pools. It has a selection of muffins, hot dogs and such from carts.
  • The second is the bar, which now still works as a bar, but has some additional food options.
  • Main Grab and Go at Disney's All-Star Sports ResortThird is the main replacement.  Disney has stripped out the video arcade in the main building, and replaced it with a large grab and go section. Here you’ll find all kinds of room-temperature and cold options.  Lots of pastries, some great pre-made sandwiches, all the different drinks you could want, cold cereal boxes, etc.  The merit of this space compared to the other two is that it has a much larger selection, and is indoors.

This is a pain, but the alternatives do a pretty good job of helping deal with it.

MISSING FRIDGES AT ALL-STAR SPORTS

As has been widely reported, Disney is slowly replacing tens of thousands of mini-fridges which have  some risk of fire.

The deluxes are largely done, I hear mixed things about the moderates (see for example this, which reports 40%+ are in service at Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter) and so far as I can tell there’s not yet a ton of traction at the values—except for the family suites, unaffected by this replacement.

Note on My Fridge at Disney's All-Star Sports ResortOur room at Sports had the fridge present, but turned off, with this note on it.

Mini-Fridge at Disney's All-Star Movies ResortThe room I’m currently in at All-Star Movies has the fridge present and off, but with this working replacement in the corner by the window.

If you need a fridge for medication or allergies, and are in a moderate or value, call your resort and request one.  I also hear that people are having some success on site getting either a fridge or a refund for other less urgent reasons by calling and being firm.

Sometimes we have our mini-fridges stuffed full of breakfast and lunch fixins.  Sometimes it’s just beer. This trip, we managed just fine without the fridge, by drinking the beer before it got warm.

But there are other alternatives, all framed around the presence of the ice machines and some handy extra-strength trash bags and zip lock bags you bring from home:

  • Use your un-plugged mini-fridge (if it is still in the room) as an insulated box, cooling it with ice.
  • Use an emptied suitcase, trash bags and ice to make a cooler
  • At home, buy a soft-sided cooler, pack it in one of your bigger bags, use it and ice as your cooler, and then use it as an extra bag to pack your souvenirs into for the trip home

(The role of the trash bags and ziplock bags is to separate your food and the room carpet from the ice-melt water, especially for the first two alternatives.)

This is a pain in the butt, but not a disaster.

AIR CONDITIONING CHALLENGES AT ALL-STAR SPORTS

So in our room with no fridge, at a hotel with no food court, we also had trouble keeping our room cool enough.

Despite setting the AC as low as it would go, both my son and I were a little uncomfortable with the warmth of our room at All-Star Sports—not very, but just not quite cool enough to comfortably drift off to sleep.

Now, it’s August in Florida, and this weekend has been as hot and humid as any I’ve ever experienced at Walt Disney World.  Highs have been in the upper 90s, and the humidity, sadly, seems to be giving it that old mathematically impossible 110%…and I know you can’t size heating and cooling to be perfect every conceivable day…

But this room comfort issue is where the approach to our missing fridge—drink the beer before it gets warm—came in especially handy.

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15 comments

1 Heidi { 08.13.13 at 6:41 am }

The kids and I stayed at Music last September and had A.C. Issues. It didn’t help that I wasn’t feeling the greatest. My agent helped get us moved to a new room, which was much more comfortable. But, it’s partly what turned me off on the Values.

2 Dave { 08.13.13 at 6:55 am }

Yeah, I get you Heidi. The lowest I could drop the thermostat in both Movies and Sports was 68. Last night I was in the Poly and could lower it much more!!

3 Mary @Capturing Magical Memories { 08.13.13 at 12:26 pm }

Sounds like a rough trip there. All Star Sports is acutally my favorite Value but I definitley would have not been happy in the no AC situation. Like I you I can function with the other issues.

But I am glad you had a solid beer plan going in.

4 Tom { 08.13.13 at 3:11 pm }

Geeee Dave, it seems to me that IF it were my first trip to Disney (and perhaps the only one) and had to endure those issues, I would certainly not reccommend it to anyone else.
Gladfully, you’re there surviving all those things to benefit us all, your faithful readers! 😉

5 Dave { 08.14.13 at 6:44 am }

Oh Mary, we had AC or would have moved out. Just not enough!

6 Linda { 08.14.13 at 10:20 am }

Wow! I know you said it wasn’t a disaster, but for a single mom with small kids it certainly sounds like one to me!! I hope disney is giving people advanced notice of the situation so that they aren’t surprised when they arrive and can make an informed decision about staying there.

7 Dave { 08.15.13 at 7:32 am }

Linda, I knew about everything except the AC kjust form reading stuff on the web–but I don’t think I ever was told by WDW…

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8 Della { 08.18.13 at 5:44 am }

I usually stay at Sports , but decided to stay at Movies this year because of Food Court closure. Thanks for the great info on this site, otherwise my son would have been one unhappy camper with no food and arcade close. Can’t wait to see the refurbished space at Sports next year.

9 Dave { 08.18.13 at 9:53 am }

Thanks Della! I love the food court at Movies, and hope the Sports renovation creates something like that!

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10 Lily { 09.11.13 at 11:42 am }

We had reservations at the Sports resort for our trip coming up in October, but I received a letter from Disney back in June informing us of the food court/arcade/defective refrigerator situation. I called that day and asked if we could be moved to the Movies resort and they were very gracious in helping us. While I understand about the need to renovate, it didn’t sound too appealing to travel that far, stay that long, pay that much, and be uncomfortable 😉 I am very much looking forward to staying at the All Star Movies resort! I can, however, learn to deal with no fridge should that problem not be fixed by then haha.

11 Dave { 09.12.13 at 10:06 am }

Cool, Lily. Moving is definitely the simplest solution!!!

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12 Caralee { 09.17.13 at 8:10 am }

I just had to say this article made me smile and laugh; thoroughly enjoyed it! It kind of sounds like Disney World Survivor…

13 Dave { 09.17.13 at 5:34 pm }

🙂

14 Lizl martini { 01.09.14 at 12:38 pm }

Hi we are traveling from South Africa to disney all stars in September 2014. I need a refrigerator for my daughters medication and I am concerned about the reports of the food court being closed. Do you know any information about this or would you recommend we stay at another value resort. We are unfortunately on a tight budget because of our currency value to the dollar, so value resorts are our only option. My kids are 10 and 12 we won’t be able to return so this will be a first and last visit. I need tons of advice. Thx

15 Dave { 01.10.14 at 7:10 am }

Lizl, I’m sure these fridges will be fixed well before then!!

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