Think you can’t stay at Walt Disney World without spending a fortune? Think again! After all, Walt himself wanted the average family to be able to afford to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth, and WDW’s Value Resorts are a great budget-friendly option for visitors who want to stay on property without breaking the bank. But, are they right for your vacation? Read on to find out!
Tiers of WDW Resorts
Any Resort at Walt Disney World falls into one of three main categories or tiers: a Value Resort, a Moderate Resort, or a Deluxe Resort. A fourth tier, the Deluxe Villa category, also exists for Disney Resort Guests booking Disney Vacation Club properties.
Disney Value Resorts, as the name implies, offer the best bang for your buck, and they’re popular with families with children, groups, first-time Disney Guests, and anyone planning on spending most of their time in the parks, rather than their Disney Resort Hotel room! WDW Value Resorts are massive, which means they’re typically easy to book regardless of the time of year (there are almost 10,000 rooms in total at the five Value Resorts).
5 WDW Value Resort Hotels
Disney’s three All-Star Resorts (All-Star Music Resort, All-Star Sports Resort, and All-Star Movies Resort), Disney’s Pop Century Resort, and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort are the main offerings in this tier. The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are also technically considered a Value Resort. While there are differences among these budget-friendly WDW Resort options, there are several features common to all of them.
Walt Disney World’s Value Resort Hotels are renowned for their over-the-top theming – they’re nostalgically, unmistakeably, unapologetically Disney throughout! Depending on the Resort you choose, you may encounter larger than life Disney characters, towering sports equipment or musical instruments, or gigantic depictions of your favorite scenes and sets from animated Disney films. Subtle, these resorts are certainly not. But they’re undeniably fun for those who want to be immersed in Disney theming from the moment they wake to the moment they fall asleep.
Like other Resorts, the price of a stay at a Disney Value Resort will vary, depending on the time of year, day of the week, and whether you book a standard or preferred room (a preferred room is the same size as a standard room, just has a more central location). Expect to pay between about $120 to $270 for a room at a WDW Value Resort Hotel.
Resort Room Size
Standard rooms in a Value Resort at WDW are smaller than those you’ll find in the other tiers (approximately 260 square feet), which may not be a big deal if you’re not spending much time in the room. They have a maximum occupancy of 4 Guests (or 5, if one Guest is a baby using a crib), and include either one king bed, or two double beds. If you’re looking for a bit more space, you can book a Family Suite at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort or Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, which offer larger rooms, multiple bathrooms, and a kitchenette, with a maximum occupancy of 6 people (again, not including a baby using a crib). With fun Finding Nemo, Lion King, and Cars themes, they’re sure to be a hit!
There are no table service restaurants at any Value Resort, but there are lots of quick service and grab-and-go food options on offer for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. You’ll be hard-pressed to find meals for a better price anywhere in Walt Disney World! Different food stations cater to different tastes, so whether you’re in the mood for a burger, salad, or ice cream, there’s something for you. There’s also a bar area located near each main pool complex, for poolside drinks and snacks. Let’s not forget the in-room pizza delivery service, which is perfect after an exhausting day in the parks!
The sheer size of Disney’s Value Resorts can be both a pro and a con. It’s easy to book a room here, and finding a table for a meal is generally not a problem. Nor is it hard to carve out a bit of space for your family to enjoy a playground, pool, or other recreational space. It can be fun wandering around the vast grounds exploring all of that fabulous theming! However, you may actually need to use the Resort map to get around, at least at first, to avoid getting lost. Depending on where your room is, you may have quite a hike ahead of you to get to the buses or the food court – or to get back to your room after a long day at a Theme Park.
You’ll find a large pool complex at each Value Resort, and usually a couple of smaller pools scattered around the Resort. While the pools don’t contain water slides, they’re all delightfully themed and a ton of fun for visitors of all ages – and because they’re huge, you likely won’t have trouble finding space to splash around or stretch out on a lounge chair to enjoy the sun.
There are a variety of complimentary activities available (check with the Resort Hotel for the schedule of events), including Movies Under the Stars, campfires, and poolside games. There’s an arcade at each Value Level Resort and a playground. For those craving more of a workout than walking through a Theme Park provides, jogging trails wind through each Resort.
Disney’s Value Resorts are the farthest from the parks, and there are fewer transportation options available than at the Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. Complimentary bus transportation is available from the Resorts to the Parks and Disney Springs, and it’s reliable and frequent – but because the three All-Star Resorts share buses, you may sometimes face a line for the bus if you’re staying there. If you stay at Disney’s Pop Century Resort or Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, you’ll also be able to take a gondola ride to EPCOT or Disney’s Hollywood Studios, using the Disney Skyliner.
If you plan to spend most of your time in the parks and only need the most basic of amenities at the Resort, or if adhering to a budget is an important consideration, staying at one of Disney’s Value Resorts could be for you! Whether you choose to stay at Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, or one of Disney’s All-Star Resorts, you’ll still enjoy the convenience of staying on property, immersed in all things Disney, but at a fraction of the cost of a stay at a Moderate or Deluxe Resort.