Disney Value Resorts. Someone unfamiliar with WDW may hear that and think of the local Holiday Inn or something similar. Not that there’s anything wrong with the chain hotels, of course. Value Resorts almost seem too nice to be thought of as discounted or the lower end of the Disney Resort spectrum. I have stayed in two of them, Pop Century and All Star Movies. I had good experiences at both. My kids loved the pools, the food courts, gift shops, etc. Great scenery too. We enjoyed our stay, even though we didn’t spend much time in the room. That whole point, of not being in the room much, is where I’m headed with this article!
On a previous WDW trip, we got to experience both the Deluxe Resorts and the Value Resorts one in the same week. Actually, now that I think of it, two previous trips were this way. In 2009, we were scheduled to stay at Pop. A few weeks before check in, we received an email from Disney, offering to upgrade us to Old Key West. We took it! OKW was beautiful. We had a pool close to the room, there was a big bathroom, patio, etc. I really did love it. When check out time came, we really weren’t ready to go home. So, we decided to stay at All Star Movies for two nights to extend our stay. I’ll admit, I did feel the size difference, since we just came from OKW, but it was ok. We spent most of the day at the Parks, and only were in the room to sleep.
In 2011, we were graciously offered to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge by a good friend of TMSM. We had a Savannah View room. It was great to look out from the balcony and see the animals. Again, big bathroom here too. The pool area was nice, had a water slide and play area for the boys, etc. It was nice, and we were grateful for being able to go. We stayed at AKL for 4 nights, then spent 3 more nights at Pop Century. Again, I noticed the size difference, being that we just came from a Deluxe Resort. However, Pop was really nice too. The atmosphere at Pop is really up beat and fun. The food court was awesome, and we even got some of their exclusive cheesecake! Our room was close to the main pool, and to the main building. Location, location, location!! It was fun.
Staying at two resorts in one week really gave me the opportunity to compare the experiences that both of them have to offer. I’ve stayed at Coronado Springs as well, so I’ve been able to try each level. My conclusion…… well, it depends! If you’re like us, and are on the go all day, then paying for the more expensive resorts doesn’t seem to make sense. We literally leave the resort in the morning, go-go-go, then come back at night and hit the food court for a snack before going to the room for bed. In this case, I would rather spend more money on souvenirs and other extras, then put that money into an expensive resort.
On the other side of the coin…. If you are staying for a longer period of time, and take breaks during the day, I can see why a Deluxe Resort might fit for you. Not everyone is on the go for the full day. Some like to go back to the room in the afternoon for a swim or a nap. I’ve done this too. Having a bigger room works well, if you’re going to spend more time in it. When we stayed at OKW, the pool was right outside the room, so we used it a bit more. The first day we arrived at AKL, we also hit the pool and relaxed. The kids took off and played on the water slides and participated in the pool side activities. I can picture it now…. palm trees, sun, pools, and Disney. I wish I was there.
As with everything else Disney related, people all have strong opinions on how they feel and what the best way to go is. For me, the Value Resorts make the most financial sense. Granted, I’m a shopper, so that makes a difference as far as money goes. I’d rather go to Downtown Disney in the evenings and go to World of Disney or Basin and get stuff to take home. Spending a lot more money on a resort just doesn’t fit my budget. It’s all a matter of personal preference. Maybe someday I will be able to stay at a Deluxe Resort and not sweat the cost, but for now, doing Disney on a budget works for me!
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