Finding the perfect hotel at Walt Disney World isn’t easy.
With three tiers; value, moderate and deluxe, there are currently 25 hotels, and that’s without including partner ones. All vary in price, decor and standard, so for any new visitors to the most magical place on earth, it can be really difficult to know where to start.
People often use price as a starting point, and as the cheapest hotel on Disney property, Disney’s All Star Sports can regularly mark the beginning of the exciting Orlando hotel search. But is the ‘value’ price reflected in the quality of the hotel?
As the destination of our last trip, we thought it’d be helpful to share our thoughts on Disney’s All Star Sports as a couple holidaying at Walt Disney World.
So without further ado, let’s get into the hotel review.
Why we chose Disney’s All Star Sports
We delved into our reasons in this post about why we chose All Star Sports but I’ll paraphrase here.
As our second Orlando trip in as many years, we needed this one to be a budget Walt Disney World holiday. We knew there was no chance of us being able to afford a moderate Disney hotel, and our first choice of Art of Animation was coming up expensive, so we decided to bite the bullet and go for one of the All Stars.
As a massive sports fan, Disney’s All Star Sports did it for Carl.
There are things other than the price that make this hotel great, but we’d be lying if this wasn’t the biggest reason for our booking. In all honesty, as a married couple without kids, we would have been much more comfortable with, say, Beach Club, but we’ll never have that kind of budget.
How much does Disney’s All Star Sports cost?
We paid £1,300, room-only for 14 nights in a preferred room in April 2018. Prices seem to fluctuate quite a bit but as a ball park cost you’re looking at no more than $100 a night.
We booked our room through the Disney website out of free dining season. If you’re a UK guest that chooses to book this hotel when the free dining offer is on, you get free ‘breakfast’ (aka one quick service meal) per person, per day.
Top Tip: If it doesn’t cost much more, we’d suggest booking a preferred room. The interior isn’t any different but the rooms are in the block nearest to the main building, a lifesaver if you want to grab a drink in your refillable resort mug before bed.
Where is Disney’s All Star Sports located?
Set in the Animal Kingdom resort area in Walt Disney World, the nearest parks to All Star Sports are Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. The former is so close, in fact, that it only takes around 5-10 minutes on the bus.
If you’re heading to Epcot or Magic Kingdom you can expect the journey to take around 20 minutes, and we always found Disney Springs took even longer. In fact, we ended up getting Uber’s a number of times because the bus ride just wasn’t worth it. All Star Sports is also located right opposite Blizzard Beach although if you’re heading there early you’ll need to get a bus via Animal Kingdom, with direct buses to and from running later in the day.
In terms of transportation to the parks, the bus is really your only option unless you choose to hire a car, as neither the monorail, the ferry boats or the planned gondola system drop by this hotel.
The buses are fairly regular although I’d say they were a bit more frequent during our stay at Caribbean Beach in 2017. We couldn’t fault them though, they always turned up and apart from the trip to Disney Springs, nothing was too painful.
Depending on the park and how busy the buses are, you do have to share with the other All Star Resorts which can mean a bit of a lengthy wait to get out of the resort area.
Top tip: If you’re struggling to choose between the three All Star Hotels, Sports edges it when it comes to buses, as it’s the first pick-up and drop-off point. Buses regularly left the hotel full meaning those in Movies and Music had to wait an extra 20 minutes or so for the next one, by which point the queue had got massive again.
If you’re in a rush and don’t want to wait for the bus, don’t hesitate to order an Uber. We always got one within five minutes of firing up the app and they were super affordable.
The hotel theming
Now I’ll be honest and say that although the over-the-top theming wasn’t the main reason we booked this hotel, we were excited at the prospect of being knee deep in Disney for fourteen nights.
Much like pictures suggest, the hotel theming is A LOT of fun, especially for sports fans. Carl was quite overawed by the giant basketball nets, baseball bats and tennis rackets, whereas I’m still kicking myself for not snagging an Instagram shot of the giant Coke cup.
Wandering around the grounds is a truly enjoyable experience and you do constantly feel like you are in the heart of the magic. The hotel was also impeccably clean, the staff were bloody lovely, and the pool was plenty big – a great place to cool off in the afternoon.
We also appreciated the drinks on offer at the Grandstand Spirits pool bar which had a fantastic selection of tasty cocktails. The Bourbon Breeze and Sunshine Margarita were my faves.
One of the things we will say is that the cast members at this resort were unbelievable and really added to the Disney magic. Carl fell ill during our first night and they couldn’t have been better at helping put us at ease at was a really stressful time. From check-in to check-out they were fantastic and did Disney’s amazing customer service reputation proud.
Overall, I couldn’t fault it. We did wander to All Star Music too which was an exact carbon copy just with a different theme.
Rooms and decor
So let’s get into the stuff that really matters, the comfort of the rooms.
We stayed in a preferred room in the ‘Surf’s Up’ section of the hotel. It was an excellent location being less than a one-minute walk from the main hotel lobby.
We were on the second floor (the rooms are motel style) which is easily accessible by stairs, or there’s also a lift if you’re not very mobile – or just really tired.
Our room had a single-sink bathroom, a bath with a shower overhead, two double beds and plenty of storage for clothing. There was also a TV which played local stations and a mini fridge to keep those all important beers cold.
In terms of decor, it was nice. There were some cool Disney touches to the wallpaper and shower curtain and the interior was pleasant enough. It was very dated though, and I wouldn’t say it’s the nicest hotel I’ve stayed in. I believe all the All Star hotels are due to be getting a refurb which I honestly think couldn’t come quick enough.
Due to the nature of the rooms, there isn’t a huge amount of natural light but I don’t think this is specific to Disney’s All Star Sports, we also struggled with this issue when we stayed at Caribbean Beach – I think it’s just the nature of motel-style rooms.
The beds were really comfortable but beware of the size. They were more like three-quarter beds than doubles and we ended up having to sleep separately after we both fell out when we shared the same one. I honestly think that a full family of four would find this room a real squeeze, but for just us two it was ok.
Top tip: We were offered to forgo daily housekeeping for $10 a night. We decided against it, as we like someone coming in to empty the bins, change the sheets and generally give the room a refresh. If you’re happy to do this yourself, this could be a good way of racking up some extra Disney Dollars.
Food and shopping
One of the things that differentiates the resort ratings at Walt Disney World is the dining and shopping offerings. You typically find that moderate resorts have at least one table service restaurant, whereas at the values, you’re stuck with just quick service.
Disney’s All Star Sports this is no exception, with the only dining on offer being the End Zone Food Court. We ate here a few times and found it to be pretty decent for a quick grab and go option.
The breakfast was varied, I particularly enjoyed the pancakes with bacon, sausage and lots of maple syrup whereas Carl tucked into a few bounty platters of scrambled egg, sausage, bacon, breakfast potatoes and Mickey shaped waffles.
In fact, the bounty platter was the exact same as the Feast a la Gaston at Be Our Guest for literally half the price.
For lunch and dinner you can expect pretty traditional theme park food options such as burgers, pizzas, pasta and some speciality meals. We really enjoyed the flatbreads and found them to be pretty tasty for a food court.
End Zone is also home to some of the most delicious Disney cupcakes and pastries – we certainly enjoyed having those so close to home.
When it comes to shopping, Sport Goofy is where you’ll find your Disney merchandise. This store carried a fantastic selection of items and walking through it every day when we left the bus was a pure joy for a Disney merchandise addict like me.
One of the things I loved was the selection of unique sporting goods they sold here, I just really appreciate the effort of offering resort-themed merchandise that feels a little bit special.
Top tip: Both End Zone Food Court and Sport Goofy stock a range of grab-and-go food items (such as beer, cereal, crisps etc.) as well as things you might have left at home like adaptors (we’re guilty of this one), paracetamols, plasters and more.
The Best & Worst Bits
The best bits:
- Cocktails at the pool bar – super tasty!
- The service was always impeccable, especially at reception
- A massive arcade with a fantastic variety of games
- Scent in the lobby – so distinctive that I couldn’t smell it without being transported back to All Star Sports
- Great selection of merchandise in the shop
- The beds were very comfortable
The worst bits:
- The beds were too small to fit two grown adults which was a bit of a bummer
- Dated decor and dark rooms
- Not much variety when it comes to restaurants and food choice
- Miles away from Disney Springs, at least an hour from arriving at the bus station to getting off at the other end
Finally, is Disney’s All Star Sports a good hotel for couples?
Ah, the million dollar question. Would we suggest this hotel for other couples looking for the perfect Walt Disney World hotel?
Honestly, we don’t think it’s the ideal spot in Walt Disney World for couples.
Of course, the hotel is geared towards families and children, so we weren’t expecting it to be a spot on choice for us, but the lack of sit-down restaurants and bars, small beds, and kids running riot meant there are other hotels that would be better suited to our needs. Oh, and two adults not being able to fit in the beds (admittedly neither of us are tiny) without falling out isn’t exactly romantic, so forget about it if you’re planning a honeymoon here.
In terms of value resorts, Pop Century is apparently a bit more understated but to be honest, if you can stretch to a moderate, I think they are a better option for couples visiting Walt Disney World.
Of course, if like us, this is all you can afford, don’t panic! It’s fine enough if you’re visiting without children and we think it was more than worth what we paid. But would we rush back? Probably not.