Need vacation planning advice quickly? Join our Facebook group and get your questions answered!
Skip to Content

The Best Disney Value Resorts Ranked

The Best Disney Value Resorts Ranked

The Walt Disney World Value Resorts are a great way to get all the perks of staying on a Disney property without spending an arm and a leg. You have five options when choosing a value resort: Art of Animation, Pop Century, All-Star Movies, All-Star Music and All-Star Sports. Below you will find our list of Disney World Value Resorts ranked, starting with our favorite. Use this list to help you decide if a Disney World Value Resort is the right choice for you.

You may be wondering what you are losing out on by spending less on your Disney resort. Some of the major distinctions between the value resorts versus the moderate and deluxe Disney resorts are that they don’t have gyms, waterslides in the pool area, or table service restaurants. Also, the layout of each resort is very spread out which means you may need to walk a bit to get to the food court or the one bus stop location at each property.  You do have the option of paying more to get a preferred room but the view and interior aren’t any nicer; your room just has a better location to the most visited areas at the resort.

If you are just planning on using your hotel room as a place to crash after a long Disney day instead of lounging around and enjoying amenities than a Disney World Value Resort is a great place to stay. You will have a clean and comfortable place to lay your head with plenty of Disney spirit. Each Disney World Value Resort has multiple pools, and a playground, gift shop and food court on site. Plus, you’ll have access to fabulous Disney perks such as extra magic hours, early access to Fastpass+ reservations, complimentary MagicBands, and free, convenient transportation to the theme parks and airport.

Finally, it’s important to note that the rankings below happen to reflect the average price points.  The top-ranked resorts are often more expensive compared to their lower-ranked counterparts.

Disney World Value Resorts Ranked From Favorite To Least Favorite

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

This resort lands at the top of the list thanks to its updated features and overall theming. It is the newest of the Disney World Value Resorts, having opened in 2012. Even with its relatively new construction, upgrades have been made since then, including the addition of wall-mounted TableBeds and the Skyliner gondola system, which began operating in September 2019.

The TableBeds, which turn into dining areas when not used for sleeping, add a nice amount of space to the Art of Animation rooms. Plus, roughly 75% of the resort rooms are family suites, which makes traveling with the whole clan much more comfortable and spacious. Family suites include a queen-size bed in a separate bedroom, as well as a double size TableBed and double-size sleeper sofa to sleep six in your party. A big bonus is having two bathrooms and a kitchenette.

The Skyliner is an exciting new addition to two of the Disney World Value Resorts – those being the Art of Animation and the Pop Century. These aerial gondolas are a quick and fun way to travel to either Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Each gondola is decked out with a different Disney touch, including characters from Toy Story and Star Wars

But one of the best reasons to stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is the immersive theming that makes you feel like you’re part of a Disney animated film. The resort is broken up into four blocks – Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. All areas offer up only family suites, with the exception of The Little Mermaid block, which has standard rooms.  All the guest rooms have been recently updated and are impressively decked out in wall-to-wall décor highlighting their respective animated movie.

For example, the Cars family suite touches include a road map coffee table, construction cone table lamps, and a bathroom that harkens a classic car wash.

Ariel Rooms at Art of Animation

Larger than life Disney characters are found around the resort and all scaled to make you feel like you are a part of a Disney animated film. You’ll find yourself surrounded by hungry hyenas from The Lion King when playing outdoors in the elephant graveyard area or with a towering Ursula as you head to your room in The Little Mermaid block. But not all the theming is meant to intimidate! Friendly vehicles from Cars are ready for young and young-at-heart to pose with or climb on, and The Big Blue Pool in the Finding Nemo section is a festive, upbeat fantasy.

For those who are health-conscious, there is a jogging and walking path around Hourglass Lake with some fun facts and trivia posted along the path. There are also some healthy choices in the Landscape of Flavors food court, such as hearty salads, protein smoothies and grilled fish. If you’re looking to swim, The Art of Animation Resort has the largest pool among all of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels.

Another major selling point of this hotel is that it is the only Disney World Value Resort that allows non-service dogs to stay in your room. Up to two are allowed per room for a fee and doggy daycare and other pet services are available for your dogs when you are out and about in Walt Disney World.

It is also important to reiterate that, with all these perks, Disney’s Art of Animation is the most expensive of the Disney World Value Resorts.

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

The Best Disney Value Resorts Ranked 1

If you enjoy experiencing blasts from the past, then this resort is themed perfectly for you! Each decade is represented here starting in the 1950’s and ending in the 1990’s. From yo-yos and Play-Doh® to Rubik’s Cube® and rollerblades, this resort gives a nod to all sorts of fads from the past.

Giving a preference to which decade you’d like to stay in is welcomed but not guaranteed. The five blocks of rooms to choose from are all recently refurbished and include either a king bed or a queen bed along with a queen TableBed. It is worth noting that while the exterior of each room block is themed by decade, the individual room interior is not.

If you’re heading to the 50’s area of Pop Century, you’ll be greeted by giant versions of the title characters of Lady and the Tramp, which was released in 1955. You will find the quietest pool on the property here, surrounded by lots of bowling pins and references to 50’s dance moves, as well as a poolside laundry area.

The 60’s block is where all the action is. It’s right by the Hippy Dippy Pool as well as the kiddie pool, pool bar and main building with the dining, shopping and arcade. The bridge across Hourglass Lake that connects Pop Century to the Art of Animation Resort and provides access to the Skyliner gondola system is also closest to this section of guest rooms. Don’t miss the signature 60’s tie-die cheesecake in the nearby Pop Century food court.

The Best Disney Value Resorts Ranked 2

The 70’s section is a flashback to an era of rotary phones, 8-tracks, and disco. A gigantic foosball game and Big Wheel® hover over this block’s courtyard as a reminder to many Disney-going parents and grandparents of their childhood. This area is next to the kids’ playground and, along with the ’80s, is nearest to the Disney bus stop. However, since the Skyliner has been introduced, keep in mind that bus service is now less frequent here.

Roger Rabbit was introduced in 1988 and you’ll find a larger-than-life version of him in the 80’s section of Pop Century. Other icons of the era that can be found on and around the building exterior include Mr. Potato Head®, Rubix Cube®, PacMan®, and Walkman®. There is a computer-themed pool here that is shared with the 90’s block of rooms.

The ’90s makes up the smallest section of Pop Century’s guest rooms with only one building. Giant cell phones and pop culture phrases like “wassup” and “phat” are how you’ll identify this area. The guest laundry facilities in conjunction with the computer pool are right outside the 90’s building.

If the décor at this resort wasn’t enough of a walk down memory lane for you adults, check out the timeline with detailed artifacts from each decade in the lobby of the Disney World Pop Century resort. 

Disney All-Star Resorts

The next three rankings all come from the Disney All-Star Resorts. These three resorts are similar in many features, including in layout and amenities. All have smaller, simpler rooms than do the hotels featured at our #1 and #2 rankings, with the exception of the family suites at All-Star Music. They are all laid out motel-style with exterior hallways and have multiple 3-story buildings with wide main areas and large themed figures. Each has a main building that houses the dining, shopping and check-in area with a Disney bus stop area in front. The Disney All-Star Resorts do not have access to the Skyliner that the Pop Century and Art of Animation properties do.

Each of the Disney All-Star Resorts includes two pools as well as a kiddie water area, pool bar, laundry, and locker rooms, children’s playground, gift shop, quick-service food court, arcade, Disney bus stop, and outdoor evening movies. They are all close to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Blizzard Beach.

There is a one-mile path for jogging and walking that connects all three hotels. Once in awhile, yoga or some type of other physical activity may also be offered.

Now that we have the basic similarities of the Disney All-Star Resorts down, let’s get to what differentiates them.

Disney All-Star Movies

This resort celebrates the magic of Disney films, including Toy Story, Fantasia, 101 Dalmations and The Mighty Ducks. The Disney character theming is a bit more encompassing here than at the other two All-Star locations, which helped put this resort at the top of the rankings among the All-Stars. 

Depending upon where your room is located, you may be greeted by a towering Buzz Lightyear or Pongo when you arrive at your guest room block. Each room has either one king bed or a combo of a queen bed and queen TableBed. Most of the rooms have been recently remodeled and are quite sleek looking. 

All Stars Movie Rooms

If you want to venture outside your room and explore resort grounds, check out the Silver Screen Spirits Pool Bar for a Celebrity Margarita for the adults and one of those famous Dole Whip® Smoothies for the kiddos. This outdoor bar is right next to the Fantasia main pool and kiddie pool, complete with a Sorcerer Mickey and water spouts. Nearby, there is also the Duck Pond Pool in a hockey-rink theme that is inspired by The Mighty Ducks movie series.

The World Premiere Food Court will make you feel like you’re attending a blockbuster movie event when you stop for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a late-night snack. The menu items aren’t as glamorous, however. Instead, they are tried-and-true classics that even the youngest family members will eat.  Think pizza, hamburgers, chicken strips, and macaroni and cheese. The fun cupcakes in the dessert case or any of the Disney-themed candy options in the Double Feature gift shop will top off your meal nicely.

Disney All-Star Music

The Disney All-Star Music Resort pays tribute to some of the world’s most popular genres of music, including jazz, country, rock ‘n’ roll, calypso and Broadway. Musical-inspired touches are found throughout the property, from the oversized guitars and jukebox to the nostalgic photos and memorabilia of music icons of the past and present.

This Disney All-Star property is the only one that offers family suites that sleep up to six people. In these fairly basic rooms in terms of decor, you’ll find a queen bed, one double-size sleeper sofa, one twin sleeper chair, and a sleeper ottoman, plus a kitchenette and two bathrooms. Rooms with just one or two beds are also available.

In the sleeping rooms, there are definitely touches of Disney with hidden Mickey’s here and there and Disney artwork, but nothing extraordinarily flashy. Updates to rooms are currently underway so a fresh new look and feel are in the near future without losing the spirit of music.

When you’re ready to enjoy hotel amenities, try out one of the two pools. You’ll find a guitar-shaped heated pool along with The Three Caballeros characters spraying water at swimmers, and a grand piano-shaped pool which is about half the size and much quieter. There is also a kiddie pool located near the main building housing the Disney gift shop, quick service food court, and arcade. 

A pro to this property versus the other All-Stars is that it has the best food options at the food court. There’s more diversity in the bakery case at breakfast and many more plant-based options throughout the day, including Thai Sweet Coconut Mickey Onigiri and Brownie Batter Cookie Dough. Having said that, the food courts at Art of Animation and Pop Century are still superior to any of the All-Star Resorts.

A con to this hotel compared to the other All-Stars is that the layout makes for a long walk to the main building and buses, especially if you are located in the country music buildings.

Disney All-Star Sports

This resort is dedicated to competitive sports like football, surfing, baseball, and basketball. Sports buffs will love it but those looking for more Disney theming may be disappointed. Sure you’ll find Disney characters here and there in the room décor, pool areas, and End Zone Food Court but it is nothing like at the other Disney World Value Resorts.

The focus on sports is a big draw for the youth teams coming to compete at the nearby ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. So are the large courtyard areas where they can practice or gather for a pep talk. The high concentration of under-supervised youth does mean it can get a little louder and rowdier here than at other Disney hotels. It can also mean the rooms take a bit more of a beating. It is important to note that the All-Star Sports Resort is the only Disney World Value Resort that hasn’t been remodeled with the TableBeds yet.

However, if you aren’t going to be on resort property much because you will be at the Disney parks all day, and you can sleep through a little extra outside noise, the Disney All-Star Sports Resort will do just fine. The layout and amenities are very similar to the other All-Star complexes and the price point is great for anyone wanting to budget their vacation money elsewhere, such as into special Disney dining experiences or Memory Maker photo downloads.  

We hope this article helped you uncover some more of the differences between the value resorts at Walt Disney World. What is your favorite value resort to stay at? What are some tips you have found after staying at a Disney World Value Resort?

Looking for other Walt Disney World resort recommendations? Check out our article on the most unique hotel rooms.

What is the Best Value Resort? - my Disney Planning

Monday 24th of June 2019

[…] WDW Vacation Tips […]