Planning a trip to Disney World and you want to stay onsite without breaking the bank?
Then the Walt Disney World Value resorts might be just what you are looking for.
Over-the-top theming, family-friendly dining, and budget-friendly rates are just some of what we love about them.
But, which one do we think is the BEST (and which ones should you skip)? Let’s take a look!
Excited to get to the rankings? Jump down to see how we think the Value resorts stack up.
Disney World resort categories
The Walt Disney World Resort is huge, and outside its 4 main theme parks, 2 water parks, shopping district, and sports facilities, it is also home to over thirty different resorts with a total of over 36,000 hotel rooms.
All of those resorts and rooms means you have a ton of options to choose from when planning your vacation.
When trying to decide which resort is best for your family, many people start by looking at average prices and resort amenities.
While most hotels and resorts in destinations outside of Disney World are grouped and designated by “stars” (such as 3-star hotels or 4-star hotels), Disney World instead groups their resorts with similar prices and amenities by the following terms:
Disney World Value resorts are an excellent choice for anybody looking to maximize their budget.
These family-friendly resorts are home to some of the most Disney-esque grounds of all the resorts, making them lots of fun for young kids (and the young at heart).
Which are the Disney World Value resorts?
Disney World has 5 resorts at their “Value” level:
- All-Star Movies Resort
- All-Star Music Resort
- All-Star Sports Resort
- Art of Animation Resort
- Pop Century Resort
Are Disney Value Resorts Worth It?
Whether this is your first trip to WDW or your fiftieth, you’ll probably find yourself changing your mind on which resort you’ll stay at several times.
Disney World has so many great resort options, and let’s be real: some are gorgeous.
And, if your budget is unlimited, we definitely think you should go with what your heart desires.
But, while the Deluxe and Moderate resorts certainly have a lot to offer, that doesn’t mean that the Value resorts are bad.
A common misconception is that your trip won’t be as good if you can’t stay in the fanciest resort or eat the fanciest food. All lies, we tell you! Lies!
The Value resorts may not be fancy, but they can be fun and truth be told, most kids (and kids at heart) LOVE the way they look.
We love maximizing our dollar when we visit Walt Disney World. And, because of our jobs, we’ve been lucky enough to stay at each of the Value resorts many, many times.
In fact, we sometimes pick a Value resort over the more expensive Deluxe and Moderate resorts simply because of their convenience.
Now, don’t get us wrong, we definitely enjoy our stays at the Moderates and Deluxe resorts. Who doesn’t enjoy a great Club Level lounge or turn down service every now and then?
BUT, if you choose wisely, you can have a great stay at one of the Value resorts, too.
Skip down to check out our Disney Value Resort Rankings (from best to worst)
Who are the Disney Value best for?
We know that anybody can have a
good great time at a Value resort, but here are the groups we definitely think should consider a Value resort:
- Anybody looking to maximize their vacation dollar
- People with small children that would get a kick out of the themeing
- Groups looking for more space that would benefit from one of the family suites
Value resort room size
Value resorts have 2 different room sizes: Standard and Family Suites.
The average room size for a standard Value room is approximately 260 square feet.
Want to see how that stacks up against other resort categories? Check out the comparison chart below.
As you can see, the Value rooms (outside of the Family Suites0 run quite a bit smaller than the rooms in the other categories.
For some guests, that can be a dealbreaker.
But for guests that use their rooms just for sleeping, the smaller size is well worth the money they save.
Two of Disney’s Value resorts (Art of Animation and All-Star Music) do offer slightly larger rooms called Family Suites.
Family Suites have:
- 1 bedroom
- a living space with several pieces of furniture that convert into comfy beds (a full-sized bed and 2 separate twin sized beds)
- a small kitchenette (with a microwave, a slightly larger-than-normal mini fridge, a sink, coffee maker, and cabinets/storage)
- 2 bathrooms
These rooms typically run slightly more expensive than booking 2 standard rooms at a Value resort, but they allow your family to all stay in one space while also giving you a small kitchenette area, as well as multiple bathrooms.
What will you find at a Value resort?
All of the Value resorts have a few things in common:
If you take away all the fun Disney stuff on the exteriors, you’ll see that the buildings themselves resemble motels like Super 8.
You may also notice that the rooms are accessible via exterior hallways and corridors versus interior hallways.
The only exception to this are the buildings housing the Family Suites at Art of Animation.
Those buildings all have the room doors opening up to interior hallways.
In comparison, most Moderate resorts also have exterior hallways (Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs is an exception). However, most Deluxe resorts only have interior hallways.
Lower price point (Rack Rate)
Disney World Value resorts have the most economically priced resort rooms when compared to any other on-site resort options.
Prices for some Value resort rooms start around $125 per night during the slowest times of the year.
That price point is a huge selling factor for many families and is definitely something to consider when planning your trip.
Discounts at Disney World Value resorts
The other room categories (Standard, Preferred, and the Family Suites) are frequently eligible for discounts.
However, the number of rooms Disney will allow to be booked at discounted rates are limited.
Most people don’t realize that just because:
1.) a discount is out and,
2.) the resort you intend to stay at is eligible to have that discount, it does not mean you will automatically get the discounted price.
Discounts have to be applied (either by initially booking under the discount or modifying an existing reservation to include it), but once the number of rooms that Disney has made available to be booked under a discount have been secured, that’s it.
More availability for rooms at a discount won’t open up unless somebody cancels or Disney decides to release more rooms.
When it comes to theming, the Value resorts at Disney World are about as fun and over-the-top as they can get.
From multi-story, giant Disney icons flanking the buildings, to larger-than-life sports equipment, to the immersive movie sets from your favorite Disney films, the Value resorts are all about in-your-face Disney fun.
Compared to the other levels of resorts, the Value resorts definitely scream “Disney” a lot louder.
Even though the resorts are at the Value level and some of their amenities (like room size) might be compared to less expensive hotel options (like a Super 8), they are definitely still on Disney property and the theming inside and outside the rooms reflect that.
Do the Value resort pools have slides?
Disney Value resorts have 1 large themed pool and usually a couple other smaller pools.
Value resorts do not have any slides (all other resort price levels do), but some may have water play “spraygrounds” and/or children’s pools.
The pool at Art of Animation also has fun features like underwater music, something you won’t find at any other Disney resorts.
Read more about all the ins and out of the pools at Disney World.
Food and Dining at the Value resorts
When it comes time to eat, your only options at the Value resorts are Quick Service (food court) or Pizza delivery.
Quick Service dining at Value resorts
Value resorts at Disney World have Quick Service dining options and in-room pizza delivery available.
All the Value resorts also have a bar area nearby the pool, making it easy to sip a beverage (or 2) while you soak up the sun.
The Quick Service dining at the Value resorts usually have several stations where you can find plenty of different options like burgers, pasta, pizza, etc.
When it comes to Quick Service dining, you can’t beat the number of options you’ll find at the Value resorts.
And, we’ve often found the dining at the Value resorts to be easier with kids because the food courts give them a wide assortment of foods to choose from – something most kids will appreciate.
Table service dining at Value resorts
Unfortunately, Value resorts do not have any table service dining options.
While the lack of Table Service dining may turn some people away, some of the restaurants, like Landscape of Flavors at Art of Animation, have good food at a fantastic value.
And since there are so many options for all meals of the day, it can make dining with picky eaters much less stressful.
Value resort transportation options
If you want to leave the driving to Disney, you’ll find bus service is available from all Value Resorts and 2 of the Value Resorts (Pop Century and Art of Animation) have another fun option: the Disney Skyliner.
The Disney Skyliner gondola system connects Pop Century and Art of Animation to 2 parks: Hollywood Studios and Epcot (at the International Gateway).
The trip to either park requires 1 transfer, but it is generally a quick and easy switch.
The one downside to this new addition is that while the Skyliner is running, the buses from Pop and Art of Animation to Epcot and Hollywood Studios will only operate once per hour.
Definitely something to keep in mind when planning out your day.
How much is parking at a Value Resort?
In 2018, Disney began charging all resort guests for parking. The cost for parking at a Value resorts is $15/night.
If you are thinking about driving to Disney World or if you intend to rent a car, we recommend you take a look at our giant post all about parking at Disney World.
Best Disney World Value Resort (Value Resort Rankings)
Not only are the All-Star resorts located right next to each other, they are all very similar in their layouts and amenities.
And, while Pop Century and Art of Animation are close together, there are definitely reasons why we think one is better than the rest.
Here are our rankings for the Value resorts at Disney World:
5. All-Star Movies
Themed after Disney movies like 101 Dalmatians, Toy Story, and Jungle Book, movie fans naturally gravitate towards the appearance of this resort.
One of the main downsides to this resort, however, is the fact that when the All-Star Resorts are sharing buses (typically during busy times of the day or busy times of the year), All-Star Movies is often the last to be dropped off and picked up.
That means by the time the bus makes it to you, there may not be any place left to sit.
4. All-Star Sports
This fun resort is themed after all things sports, including large icons celebrating baseball, basketball, football, surfing, and tennis and the larger-than-life aspects of it makes this resort especially fun to see.
All-Star Sports is also the first of the All-Star resorts to be dropped off and picked up, which is a definite plus to this resort.
The main downside to this resort, however, is that All-Star Sports is the primary resort for large groups.
So when school groups, cheer, Pop Warner teams, etc. book, All-Star Sports is the first Value resort that fills up.
Something to keep in mind when you book.
3. All-Star Music
All-Star Music celebrates a bunch of different music genres (including country, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, calypso, and Broadway), and you’ll find it located in the middle of the other 2 All-Star resorts.
Unlike the other 2 All-Star Resorts, All-Star Music has Family Suites in addition to the standard room layouts.
These Family Suites are slightly less expensive than the suites at Art of Animation but you still get the extra room and kitchenette.
The additional room layout options makes All-Star Music our favorite out of the All-Star resorts.
2. Art of Animation
The newest Value resort, Art of Animation is simply amazing.
Fun, colorful, and 100% Disney, the resort is primarily made up of Family Suites (in buildings themed after Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars), with a couple of buildings of standard rooms that are themed after The Little Mermaid.
The Little Mermaid rooms, however, are very far away from the front of the resort (where you would catch a bus, dine, or swim in the main pool), and the Family Suites are quite expensive.
In addition to being far away from everything, The Little Mermaid rooms are not always part of promotions so you may have to pay full-price if you want to stay in one of those.
When it comes to transportation, Art of Animation typically doesn’t share buses (although they do so more frequently now that the Skyliner is open), and the gondola access makes getting to and from Epcot and Hollywood Studios a breeze.
1. Pop Century
That means we think the best of all the Value resorts is Pop Century.
This resort has an almost cult-like following, and the recognition as the best Value resort is much deserved.
Themed after the decades from the 1950’s-1990’s, Pop Century has dedicated buses, and the price is more inline with the All-Star resorts than the pricier Art of Animation.
But since it sits so close to Art of Animation, you’re able to walk over to that resort to enjoy the theming or even to dine (but not to pool hop – that isn’t allowed).
Pop Century has also just gone through a recent lengthy room refurbishment.
This new room layout upgrades all rooms from full to queen sized beds, one of which folds down from the wall (all the other standard Value rooms are full-sized beds).
The fold down, Murphy-esque bed may sound like it would be uncomfortable, but it isn’t.
These are beds that are extremely high-quality and feel just like regular beds.
Being able to fold it up against the wall frees up a lot of space when the bed isn’t in use.
And, don’t forget: like Art of Animation, Pop Century also has access to the Disney Skyliner gondolas, another huge perk for this Value resort.
The price-point, transportation, and new room design make this resort our #1 choice out of all the Value resorts.
VIDEO: Ranking Disney World Value Resorts from Best to Worst
There you go! Hopefully we covered everything you’d want to know about the Disney Value resorts. Did we leave anything out? Let us know in the comments.