The Value Resorts are a great way to enjoy being IN the Disney Magic on a budget. Our family really enjoys staying at the Value Resorts when we visit Walt Disney World. There are currently 5 Value Resorts to choose from: Art of Animation, Pop Century, All Star Music, All Star Sports and All Star Movies.
Here are 26 tips and information on the Value Resorts to help you decide if this would be a great, economical way for your family to stay at Walt Disney World.
A – Allergy Friendly Meals & Special Diets
I have written many articles here on Tips from the Disney Diva about how Allergy-Friendly Walt Disney World is. My son has severe Food Allergies. It is very difficult for us to eat outside at restaurants when we are home. It is such a great treat to be on vacation and to not actually have to prepare every meal in advance.
All the Disney owned restaurants and Quick Service Eateries in Walt Disney World, INCLUDING ALL the Food Courts in the Value Resorts can accommodate you or your family’s food allergies and any special dietary requests. For many who are Diabetic, have auto immune diseases such as Celiac or if you are on a Paleo Diet or are vegan and vegetarian, Walt Disney World has you covered.
If you or your family has severe food allergies, please do your research before going to Disney World. Join this informative Facebook Group Food Allergy Adventure Club: managing food allergies at Disney. You should also email Disney World directly at Special.Diets@DisneyWorld.com for any questions or concerns.
B – Budget Friendly
As mentioned above, Value Resorts are a great VALUE for those on a budget or simply for many who would like to save money so they can spend it on other magical things at Walt Disney World (like a longer stay or special events). For our family, coming from Canada and with the US Dollar being higher than the Canadian Dollar, the Value Resorts are such a great way for us to vacation at Walt Disney World, since costs are higher for us overall.
To make your trip even more magical, use a Disney Specialist Travel Agent like our very own Patricia Payne. Her services are free as long as you book a Disney Vacation Package through her. She can also be on the look out for the best deals for you, modify your reservation and save you even more money.
C – Cast Members
People who work at Disney World are called “Cast Members” or CMs. CM’s are always very friendly and accommodating, making sure you have the most magical time in the most magical place on Earth. The CM’s at the Value Resorts are phenomenal! Even though Value Resorts are not a higher end, more expensive place to stay like the Disney Deluxe Resorts, the service will always be the same signature, friendly Disney difference. There is always a CM at the Front Desk 24 hours a day, plus CM’s around the resort, if you have any questions.
D – Disney Dining Plan
If you add on the Disney Dining Plan to your Walt Disney World Vacation package before your trip, you can definitely use the Disney Dining Plan at the Value Resort. The Value Resorts do not have sit down restaurants BUT they all have food courts (see ‘F’ below). Whichever Dining Plan you are on, you can use your Quick Service credit meals at the Value Resort and SNACKS like the famous cupcakes, fruit cups, ice creams specialty smoothies etc. Also, if you have snack credits left over at the end of your vacation or if there are special snacks you see in the gift shop that qualify for a snack credit, use it to bring back as nice souvenirs home. To see more about our experience on the Quick Service Dining Plan, read my article here.
To read about the Refillable Mugs at all the Walt Disney World Resorts, see “M” for Mugs below.
E – Extra Magic Hours
One of the most wonderful perks about staying at a Walt Disney World Resort are the Extra Magic Hours. These hours are provided for only Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort which includes all the Value resorts. They are on select mornings and nights throughout each week and vary between parks. This means a theme park can open an hour or couple hours before the regular scheduled park hours or a couple hours after regular park hour closes. As a guest, you are able to ride on attractions with little wait time and hardly any lines.
From August 29 – November 1, Walt Disney World will be offer Extra Extra Magic Hours which are longer hours for Guests only, to accommodate crowds with the opening of Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Note that Hollywood Studios will be open for ALL guests (those staying on property and off) from August 29 – 31 from 6am – 10pm. For the other parks like the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort will be able take advantage of Extra, Extra Magic hours daily from August 29 – November 1. Check out Walt Disney World website for park hours.
F – Food Courts and Family Suites
The Value resorts do not have sit down service restaurants like the Moderate or Deluxe Resorts at Walt Disney World. However, every Value Resort at Walt Disney World has GREAT Quick Service Eateries. I like to call them upscale “Food Courts” as they offer such great quality meals. The dining areas are spacious and clean and there are many different stations as well as a lot of variety. As I mentioned above, you can order Allergy-Friendly or Special Diet meals and they have Disney Chefs and Managers on site to help guests with their needs. Our family has had so many special and wonderful meals in the Value Resort Food Courts. We also enjoy ordering meals at the Food Courts and bringing it back to our room if we don’t feel like eating there. The ‘Food Court’ names are pretty neat too, going along with the theme of each Resort:
Art of Animation: Landscape of Flavors
POP Century: Everything POP
All Star Movies: World Premiere Food Court
All Star Music: Intermission Food Court (this is my favorite name of all the Food Courts in Disney World)
All Star Sports: End Zone Food Court
Aren’t the names of the Food Courts brilliant?
Family Suites: If you have a larger number of people in your family, you can get a family suite for a great value! There are Family Suites at the Art of Animation and All Star Movies.
G – Games & Activities
You can never get bored at any resort at Walt Disney World including the Value Resorts. There are so many fun activities happening at each resort from Movies, to pool side activities with CM’s to tie dying shirts and even a Scavenger Hunt at POP Century (thank you Tammy Wright of Disney’s Value Resorts – A Magical Guide for this tip). Check the daily guide to see what’s happening each day.
H – Housekeeping
Or Mousekeeping is what these wonderful Cast Members are called at Walt Disney World. They help refresh your rooms so that you can come back from a busy day at the Parks to a nice clean space. Anytime you need anything, call the “Mousekeeping” button on your resort room phone and they will try and accommodate you as best as they can. If you are sleeping in or resting in your room for an afternoon nap, you can put a sign on your door to not be disturbed. You may also request for them to refresh your room later, as we have done when we were in our room all afternoon and they cleaned our room while we were out for the evening at Animal Kingdom.
It is not guaranteed but some do make cute towel animals and arrange your children’s toys in such a cute way, but again it is not for certain they will do this for you.
Please remember to tip your Mousekeeping daily as they may have a different Mousekeeper on certain days. For Value Resorts, guests usually tip $1 per person staying in the room. We usually give $5 or more per day because we have kids and we know how hard they work to keep our room magical!
To “Opt-out” of Mousekeeping, please see “O” below.
I – Icons
The Icons and statues are what makes the Value Resorts really stand out! You will get nostalgic at seeing all of the various larger than life Icons from so many Disney Movies as well as famous objects themed specific to the resorts. Even Adults get a real kick out of these incredible Icons at every turn.
J – Just in Case
Although we try to be as prepared as much as we can, there are times we forget things or there may be an over the counter medication we don’t have on hand. All the Resorts have a sundries place in their gift shops (which are also incredible and themed). You can also have groceries and other products delivered to your resort front desk, just know there is a delivery charge. If you don’t see anything or really need something, always ask a Cast Member at front desk, they will always try their best to help.
K – Kid Friendly
There is no denying that the Value Resorts have MAJOR kid appeal. No matter which Value Resort you choose, your little ones will be amazed by the décor of the whole resort as well as the fun, happy energy the resort exudes. When my son was 3 years old, he couldn’t stop looking around him. He was completely overjoyed and mesmerized by everything around him. You can read my review of Pop Century for Preschoolers here.
Each Value Resort even has cute splash pad areas for little ones. My preschooler at the time and I spent hours there. Read more about the Value Resort Pools below.
L – Lake
POP Century and the Art of Animation sit on the Hour Glass Lake and the two resorts are connected by the Generation Gap bridge. Although you cannot do any activities on this lake like swim or fish, it’s so beautiful to walk around. It has a very peaceful and serene feeling especially in the wee hours of the morning or late at night.
Unfortunately, the All Star Resorts do not have a lake directly by their resorts.
M – Mugs (Refillable Mugs)
I mentioned the Dining Plan above. With any of the Disney Dining Plan that you choose, you get the Refillable Mug WITH your plan. This means you have access to unlimited drinks through the beverage machine at your resort OR any other resort you visit. Please keep in mind that Refillable Mugs cannot be refilled in the Parks. If you are not on the Disney Dining Plan you can still buy a Refillable Mug for your length of stay. To read more about the Refillable Mugs, see this article here.
N – No Pool Slides
See also pools below. The thing that sets the Value Resorts from the higher priced Moderate and Deluxe is that there are NO water slides at any of the pools.
The Pools at the Value resorts are still a lot of fun with Great Themes especially the Art of Animation with their super decorative pools and underwater music playing. I also like the gentle water spilling out of the Flowers in the POP Century main pool. But alas, no fun slides.
O – Opt Out of Mousekeeping
You can save even more money by opting out of Mousekeeping. When you check in, you may ask to not have someone come to your room to clean it every day. You will save $10 per night. You can still request things like towels delivered to your room. For garbage in the room, Disney Travel Specialist, Patricia Payne said, “We tie up the garbage and leave it outside the door. We only leave it in the morning so Mousekeeping is sure to see it instead of the local wildlife”
P – Pools, Hopping & No Hopping
Tammy Wright of Disney’s Value Resorts – A Magical Guide gave this great tip of Pool Hopping. Pool “Hopping” (not to be confused with Park Hopping) is when you can go to another resort to swim in their pool. You cannot do this at any of Deluxe or Moderate Resorts (Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter can pool hop among each other’s resort but other resort guests cannot use the pool there and vice versa).
With all the All Star Resorts, you CAN pool hop within the All Star Resorts. Meaning, if you are staying at say, All Star Sports, you can walk over to All Star Music and use their pool there. If you are a guest not staying at the All Star Resorts, you will not be allowed to pool hop there.
Now, even though POP Century and Art of Animation are very close to each other and you can walk and visit between the two resorts with ease, you cannot swim in the pools unless you are staying there. If you are staying at POP Century, you cannot use the Art of Animation Pool and vice versa.
Q – Quiet Pools
Speaking of pools, the Value resorts have wonderful quiet pools. These pool are away from the main more themed pool area however they have great kid-appeal designs. We enjoyed swimming at POP Century’s quiet pools, one looks like a Computer Theme and the other is a shape of a Bowling Pin.
R – Rest and Relaxation
The Value Resorts may seem like high energy, happy and with lots of noise at the resorts, and it is, however there are many places to rest and relax at a Value Resort too. There are a lot of little shaded benches around the resorts that are off the beaten paths. Adults can enjoy a drink at pool bars available at all the Value Resorts. The Quiet Pools, can be such a wonderful way to get some sun on one of the lawn chairs during the afternoon while many guests are participating in the activities over at the main pool. Walking or going for a run in the early mornings is truly beautiful around the resorts.
S – Skyliner
Along with the opening of Star Wars, Galaxy Edge in the Fall 2019, another much anticipated event is the opening of the Disney Skyliner! The building of this gondola lift has caused a lot of mixed emotions as well as commotion during the construction of this transportation system. The Disney Skyliner is set to open on September 29, 2019. This mode of transport will be available at the Art of Animation Resort and POP Century Resort where it starts (or ends) and will run through to the Caribbean Beach Resort (a Disney Moderate Resort) to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (which will be a bus ride to transfer or a short walk) then to the NEW Riviera Resort and finally to Epcot Theme park. These Skyliners really brings transportation to and from the theme parks to new heights.
T – Transportation to the Parks
There is FREE transportation from the Value Resorts to all the Theme Parks and Disney Springs. Disney Magic Diva mentions about the app which even tells you the times when the bus will arrive to go to the park you want to go to. Sometimes the Busses can get a bit crowded so have patience. And for many, the resort room may be quite a distance to walk to the buses. You can book a preferred room to be closer to the bus stop and to the Food Courts.
Watch this informative Video Tip on when to know when your bus will arrive by Disney Magic Diva!
U – Uber or Lyft
If you need to get to a reservation quicker than usual, or want to get to a park extra early, or if you have a Dining Reservation at a resort and don’t want to transfer buses, you can use Uber or Lyft.
Disney Specialist Travel Agent Patricia Payne says, “Using Uber or Lyft from the Disney Resorts is a convenient alternative to Disney Transportation. Download either app and create your account. Once in, select your destination, double checking your drop off spot. Note that the Magic Kingdom has several Locations – the park on the Seven Seas Drive and the Tranportation Center. Complete the require steps and head to your pick up location. When your driver arrives, be sure the car, license plate and driver info on your app matches with your driver. From your resort, when you order the app will find your location and ask you to confirm. You can be standing in your room and it will direct you to head to the resort entrance. You can also track the time left before your driver arrives. Enjoy your ride, complete the service via the app and add tip after exiting the vehicle.”
V – Minnie VANS
Minnie Vans are THE ultimate fashionable way to get around Disney World.
Disney Specialist Travel Agent Patricia Payne says this about the Minnie Vans, “If you are wanting to use the Minnie Van, you have to use the Lyft App. After selecting your destination, a list of options will appear. On my Android device I had to swipe left several times before seeing the Minnie Van App option. This is a safer option for those with safety concerns. Minnie Van Drivers are Disney Cast Members, many that have been moved from other areas of he resort. They have been cleared by Disney and can even offer tips for your trip!”
To read more about Minnie Vans, read Disney Magic Diva’s article here.
W – Wake Up Call
Did know you can get a Wake Up Call from a Disney Character? Request for a wake up call the night before and it can be like another fun alarm for you and your children to get up to in the morning, especially when you want to make it to for Rope Drop or Early Extra Magic Hours.
X – Express or Magical Express
As mentioned above about the Transportation to the parks, you also get a FREE transportation service from the Orlando International Airport (MCO) to your resort and then from the resort back to MCO on your departure day. This is called the Magical Express, or some say Tragical Express when it’s time to leave.
When you know about your flight information, make sure you inform Walt Disney World and they will send you tags for your check in bags which will be delivered right to your resort! Just remember to pack some clothes and bathing suits in your carry on as your checked bags may not arrive in your room until later in the day. You don’t really need a car while staying at a Value resort because Disney World has it’s own incredible transportation system.
Y – You Can…….
Did you know that if you stay at any Walt Disney World Resort, including all the Value Resorts, you CAN have items that you purchase in the parks delivered right to your room. This is a great service so you don’t have to carry around all of the souvenirs or items you want to buy at the parks, during the day. Keep in mind that if you have less than 24 hours staying at Walt Disney World, you cannot use this service however you can ask to hold the merchandise for you at the front entrance of the Theme park and you can pick it up on your way out.
Z – Zzzzzzzz
The Value Resorts may not be the most fancy of all the Walt Disney World Resorts, or have the amenities that the Moderate or Deluxe Resorts will have. BUT if you are busy going to the parks all day and need a place to sleep, the Value resorts are such a cost effective way to stay at Walt Disney World without breaking the bank. We found the rooms wonderful, especially now with many Value resort rooms being refurbished. For up to date information on refurbishments and happenings at the Value Resorts, check out this Facebook page dedicated to the Value Resorts: Disney’s Value Resorts – A Magical Guide .
Also head over to our very own Tips from the Disney Diva: Facebook Page, Instagram and Twitter for all Disney Information and happenings.
Are you ready to start planning your magical vacation, but you aren’t sure where to start? Contact our recommended travel agent, Patricia at All Dreams for Travel, and she can do all the work for you. Best of all, all of her services are FREE, all you have to do is click here to request a quote!
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