This is Disney World’s most budget-friendly hotel for large families

Mar 11, 2022

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There are more than two dozen resorts at Walt Disney World where your family can rest their weary heads (and tired feet) after a long day at the parks.

While Disney offers a variety of accommodation options, ranging from standard rooms with two queen beds to multibedroom villas and treehouses, at its properties, for a quick three-night visit like the one I recently took with my husband, three children and mother, it didn’t seem like the right time to splurge on a high-end suite or luxury cabin, especially since my family would be spending the bulk of our time in the parks.

Fortunately, a quick online search revealed that Disney has more affordable family suites that sleep up to six adults at two of its value resorts: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s All-Star Music Resort.

Of the two, Disney’s All-Star Music Resort is the most budget-friendly option. Standard rooms can go for less than $150 per night, while the family suites generally cost about $350 per night.

Impressed by these more cost-effective rates for our multigeneration trip, I decided to try one of the property’s family suites to see if it could provide the comfort and space my family needs when we travel. Read on for my take on the property based on my recent visit.

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In This Post

Booking

Traditional Disney resorts like Disney’s All-Star Music Resort do not participate in a hotel loyalty program, so if you are hoping to use hotel rewards to book your hotel room, you’re out of luck unless you look to the Marriott-affiliated Disney Swan, Dolphin and Swan Reserve. However, you can potentially use some types of credit card points that operate at a fixed cash value for your Disney hotel stay. For example, with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, you could use those points at a fixed rate of 1 cent per mile to wipe out the travel charge, or potentially even book your Disney hotel in the Capital One Travel portal.

While there are a few options for using your points on a Disney hotel stay, some of the credit card portals, such as the one operated by Chase, don’t display Disney hotels as booking options.

Since my family’s busy schedule meant finding availability through third-party sites like Expedia or Travelocity could be tricky, I opted to reserve my room directly through Disney. For our stay over a busy weekend — from Saturday through Tuesday — a family suite cost about $400 per night.

Oversized headphone art display in lobby of Disney's All-Star Music Resort
(Photo by Tarah Chieffi/The Points Guy)

Although there were no special offers available for our travel dates, select discounts (like $20 off the nightly rate for reservations lasting five or more nights, which I found when writing this review) occasionally pop up. If you find a special offer after you make your reservation, reach out to the property or modify your reservation on Disney’s website to receive the discounted rate.

Related: How to use Capital One miles to book a Disney hotel

Location

Most of Disney’s hotels are grouped near one of the four Orlando theme parks.

Disney’s All-Star Music Resort is in the Animal Kingdom resort area, meaning it’s closest to Animal Kingdom and farthest from the Magic Kingdom. Whether you plan on using Disney’s complimentary bus transportation or your own set of wheels, you can get to any of Disney’s parks in about 15 minutes once you are actually rolling.

Music memorabilia inside Disney's All-Star Music Resort
(Photo by Tarah Chieffi/The Points Guy)

There are two other All-Star hotels, Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort and Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort, within walking distance of the music-themed sister property, giving you easy access to additional facilities like pools, playgrounds and restaurants if you are looking for a change of scenery.

There is also a McDonald’s just outside the entrance to the All-Star resorts (though I recommend driving instead of walking on Disney’s busy roads) if the price of a burger and fries at Disney is a little too high for your liking.

Check-in

In the past few years, Disney World introduced the “Direct-to-Room” service, which lets you enter check-in details like room preferences and form of payment online after you make your reservation.

When your check-in day arrives, you’ll receive a notification saying your room is ready. You can then use your phone, MagicBand or Key to the World card (a plastic keycard that can be used as a room key and theme park ticket) to unlock your door and enter your room.

Lobby of Disney's All-Star Music Resort
(Photo by Tarah Chieffi/The Points Guy)

I’ve used the service many times without issue, and my room is often ready long before the 3 p.m. (or 4 p.m., for Disney Deluxe Villas) check-in time. On this trip, however, I received multiple text messages alerting me that my suite was not ready. It wasn’t until 3:20 p.m. that the space was ready for me to enter. The notification included my building number, room number, a link with a map of the resort and a phone number to call if I had any questions.

Guitar Hero game and TV inside lobby of Disney's All-Star Music Resort
(Photo by Tarah Chieffi/The Points Guy)

While I’m not exactly sure why check-in was a little delayed here, I assume the limited inventory of fewer family suites versus standard rooms was a factor. We were busy exploring the nearby Peppa Pig Theme Park anyway, so it wasn’t an issue.

If you don’t want to use the contactless mobile check-in option, you can visit the lobby where cast members are ready and waiting to help you with your room. Even though I skipped this option, I took a quick peek inside the lobby to get a lay of the land.

Unsurprisingly, the music theme was front and center. Check-in desks featured musical note illustrations, a free Guitar Hero arcade game sat to one side and walls were covered with memorabilia, concert photos and a giant headphones art installation. The theme wasn’t as pronounced as what you’ll find at many of Disney’s higher-end properties, but I appreciated the playfulness.

Related: How to visit Disney World on a budget

The room

Like the lobby and other public areas, the 1,704 standard rooms and 215 family suites at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort feature a musical theme. Depending on where your room is located, you’ll discover decor inspired by rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, country or calypso music, among other genres.

For this stay and a prior one, I was in the calypso section, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was the closest building to the main pool and Melody Hall, where the lobby, food court, arcade and gift shop were located. Factoring out the location, the building was hard to miss, as the exterior had large conga drums, maracas, xylophones and vibrant tropical colors.

Thanks to a recent massive renovation, rooms feature a sleek, contemporary design with tasteful nods to the property’s music theme. The look is far from what you might expect at a “value hotel,” as there are no faded carpeting and bulky, outdated furnishings in sight.

Living room area of Disney's All-Star Music Resort
(Photo by Tarah Chieffi/The Points Guy)

Our family suite, for example, had hardwood floors, chrome light fixtures (some with music notes), dark wood furnishings and seating areas with pops of red.

In the large living space (the first room we entered), there was a comfortable sofa, a storage ottoman, a dining table with four chairs and a flat-screen TV mounted above a dresser with drawers and shelves for storage.

Both the couch and dining table hid queen-size pull-down beds designed to accommodate four adults. We put these to use and found that they provided ample space when sleeping, though we definitely maxed out all available square footage, resulting in us folding the beds back up each morning for more elbow room when lounging and walking around.

My family loved the fun Disney illustrations on the pull-down beds’ headboards. The main bed in the separate bedroom also featured vivid character artwork above it, completing the noticeable but subdued Disney theme.

Both sleeping areas offered proximity to lights and charging outlets, another plus for me and my group, as we often have several electronic devices to charge. However, the bedding itself was a bit thin, so if you prefer a fluffy comforter, you may be disappointed.

Unlike the bedroom and living room, which were mostly white with red and gray accents, the two bathrooms featured green accent walls and pops of turquoise on the shower doors and H2O+ toiletry bottles.

 

One bathroom offered a combination tub and shower, while the other had a walk-in shower. Each space provided a separate vanity area with one sink and an abundance of counter and storage space, as well as a small closet. There were also two hair dryers and an iron and ironing board.

I appreciated having the option to close the door between the shower and vanity areas so multiple people could get ready at the same time.

Another highlight was the kitchen area. While the space itself was a bit drab and bare, having access to an apartment-size refrigerator and freezer, a microwave, a sink and a two-cup drip coffee maker is a major asset for a family. Not to mention, the area offered ample storage space and plenty of plates, bowls, cups, plasticware, coffee, tea and paper towels in the drawers and cabinets — ideal for those who prefer to buy groceries and eat in instead of dining out every meal.

Kitchen in family suite at Disney's All-Star Music Resort
(Photo by Tarah Chieffi/The Points Guy)

Amenities

Certain amenities are standard at all Disney World hotels. You’ll enjoy perks like complimentary transportation to Disney’s theme parks, water parks and the Disney Springs shopping, dining and entertainment complex, as well as access to jogging trails, a playground and on-site laundry facilities.

In addition to the amenities at the resort’s sister properties, you’ll find several right on the resort grounds. To start, there were two pools.

The guitar-shaped Calypso Pool had a “Three Caballeros”-themed fountain in the middle and a small splash pool for kids. This is also where the property’s poolside “movies under the stars” are shown on select nights.

Guitar-shaped pool at Disney's All-Star Music Resort
(Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World)

Additionally, there was the Piano Pool, which was about half the size of the Calypso Pool but featured a fun grand piano design complete with black and white keys. Both pools had lifeguards, complimentary towels and plenty of lounge chairs, though they lacked a waterslide or hot tub like the pools at moderate and deluxe Disney resorts offer.

A full schedule of family-friendly activities was available, too. During our visit, there was a station set up inside the lobby where kids could decorate their own Mickey or Minnie ears with bows and stickers. We skipped the arcade on this visit, but did take full advantage of the free Guitar Hero game in the lobby. It was very rarely being used by other guests.

Food and drink

Unlike higher-end Disney resorts, you won’t find any sit-down restaurants or coffee shops here. The only dining option available was the Intermission Food Court. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., the food court had multiple serving stations with different American-inspired bites.

Guests eating in food court at Disney's All-Star Music Resort
(Photo by Tarah Chieffi/The Points Guy)

You’ll mostly find Mickey waffles, oatmeal and pastries for breakfast and burgers, pizza and sandwiches for lunch and dinner. All options had a slight twist to what you’d expect.

I had the pimento bacon cheeseburger with french fries ($12.99) twice during my stay, and it was delicious (albeit messy) both times. There were also all kinds of grab-and-go items, such as fruit, snacks and bottled drinks.

If you purchase one of Disney’s refillable mugs, you have access to unlimited coffee, tea and soda refills at the resort (plus any others you visit during your stay). I don’t drink soda, but I was happy to find they served cold brew at the food court.

There was also a decent selection of beer and wine, though you can save a few bucks by stocking your in-room refrigerator with items bought at the Speedway by the Magic Kingdom or Disney Springs.

Should you crave a cocktail, you can head to the Singing Spirits Pool Bar, which sat just outside the food court by the Calypso Pool. I’m typically a beer drinker, but sitting by the pool on a hot day brings out my inner need for a frozen cocktail. I tried the Pina Colava ($15), a colorful rum concoction with coconut, pineapple and raspberry flavors. It was delicious and refreshing, but I switched back to my standard (and less expensive) Cigar City Jai Alai IPA after that.

Related: The best restaurants at Disney World 

Service

Disney resorts are currently only offering light housekeeping every other day due to the pandemic. As a result, our room wasn’t serviced until the day before we checked out, though we were able to request additional towels and garbage collection on other days.

I have nothing but good things to say about the housekeeping service we received. Six people in one hotel room can add up to quite a mess, so I was happy to find all of the garbage bins emptied, the beds neatly made and extra towels and kitchen supplies provided when we returned after the room was cleaned.

Sign with cleaning details at Disney's All-Star Music Resort
(Photo by Tarah Chieffi/The Points Guy)

Accessibility

Although our room was not wheelchair accessible, the hotel offered a number of accessible standard rooms and family suites. Simply tick the appropriate box on the property’s website when you search for dates to view the accessible room options. Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant amenities found in these rooms include roll-in showers, grab bars at the toilets and the option to add hearing-accessible features.

All buildings at the property had elevators large enough to accommodate guests in wheelchairs. Like at other Disney resorts, both of the resort’s pools also had chair lifts.

Overall impression

The family suites at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort can be the perfectly fitting glass slipper in the “Cinderella” rendition of Disney resorts: They are ideal for larger groups with five or more people who need extra space but are sticking to a tighter budget.

Every member of my family had plenty of wiggle room and privacy to be comfortable and stay organized, though we admittedly had to pull down and put away the spare beds each day of our stay.

Dealing with that minor inconvenience was more than worth it given the affordable price, especially by Disney standards. With the money you save by staying here, you can treat yourself to a souvenir (or two) from the on-site Maestro Mickey’s shop.

Featured photo by Tarah Chieffi/The Points Guy.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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