My stay at Disney’s All Star Music Resort was my first time staying at any Disney resort hotel, ever. Shocking, I know, especially when you consider that I’ve been a Disney fan since I was knee high to Jiminy Cricket. But, last summer, I thought it was time to see what all the buzz was about.
My late evening arrival (about 11 PM) meant the lobby was quiet and almost empty. But despite the late hour, the front desk staff was friendly and energetic. It wasn’t long before I was checked in and had been given directions to my room. I didn’t mind at all that it was the last building at the back of the property as this only ensured that I was given the grand tour right from the start.
I was amazed at the size of the main pool featuring the 3 Caballeros where the buildings here are Calypso themed. I continued through the center courtyard that features a beautiful fountain surrounded by an iron fence where thorny rose bushes entwine with the rails. The buildings closest to the courtyard are all jazz themed with a large drum set serving as the marker for the entrance to each building.
I have to say, that this was my favorite place to take a late night walk and look into the fountain at the reflection of the lit up drums beyond. I even met a resident frog one night who sat patiently while I took numerous pictures of him; or maybe I just blinded him with my flash and he couldn’t see to escape; either way I was grateful for the opportunity to photograph him.
A little further back I discovered the Piano Pool. Shaped like a baby grand with the sundeck designed to resemble the keys, it was fun and relaxing place to go for my first swim of the vacation. Another highlight of this pool is the giant boombox that plays classic hits of days gone by.
This is also where you’ll find the laundry facilities that has the façade of being a giant speaker system. Finally, beyond this pool, was my building, the Country Music Section. With giant banjos, fiddles and cowboy boots; I couldn’t help but feel it was fitting considering that I come from the cowboy capital of Canada, Calgary, AKA Cowtown.
I was so please to see the famous mickey shaped towel on the bed when I entered my room, and all though the accommodations were basic, the room was clean, pleasantly decorated and comfortable.
The next morning saw the lobby abuzz with activity. I didn’t even attempt to to go onto the cafeteria as it honestly reminded me of a preschool class convention with children running everywhere and parents trying in vain to quell the excitement and get them to sit still and eat. No, I was quite happy to let the occupants revel in their anticipation of the day ahead. Instead, I hit the gift shop. I was surprised at the size of it and of course it had all the most popular items for sale, ears, autograph books and numerous t-shirts. I opted for my standard mickey baseball cap to keep the sun off my head for my 2 day outing into the parks.
Next I ventured back into the lobby to line up to purchase my park tickets. I was surprised at how quickly the line moved which was helped along by the cast members that mingled with people in line to answer their questions so that purchases could be made quicker when you reached the desk. (Brilliant, but so simple really.)
I will admit that although I had been told that the buses were a great way to get to the parks, I walked back to my car and drove instead. I’m not one who likes to run on other people’s schedules and wanted the most direct route to the park; plus, as a resort guest, I didn’t have to pay for parking. This strategy worked well for me, but others may prefer the Disney Transportation System.
All in all, I was pleased with my stay, but a word of advice for those not native to the deep south; the woods and ponds that surround the property are home to some critters that can pose a danger, so it’s best not to go exploring, especially at night. Upon returning the second night, I was walking from the parking lot, up the path past the pond and woods when I heard a grunt. I turned to see what it was and as the woods exploded into a chorus of chirping and croaking, a gentleman encouraged me to keep moving. When I asked what it was, he informed me it was a gator and that if it was grunting at us, it wasn’t far off and considered us to be on his turf. I immediately resumed my walk to my room although I couldn’t help but think how cool it was.
So, would I stay at a Disney Resort Hotel again? You bet, but I honestly think they’re better for longer stays so you have time to enjoy the resort itself too. It was fun though, to be immersed in the magic for a few days, and when you consider the free parking, on site expert advise and special touches, the price at the value resorts are actually comparable to offsite hotels.