Join me for a photo tour of Disney's All Star Movies Resort!
Driving up to the resort, the first thing you see is Cinema Hall. Of course, it's virtually impossible to not know what resort you're at, with those huge letters spelling out "All Star Movies."
The resort's marquee and bus stop area.
The pull through drive in the picture is actually the bus stop for the WDW transportation buses that service the resort. You might be able to see the first couple of pull-in spots that the buses use. I was here in the middle of the afternoon, so few buses were around, but I imagine that this is a pretty busy place early in the morning and late at night when the majority of resort guests are making their way to and from the theme parks.
Walking inside Cinema Hall, the first thing that struck me was the relatively large number of people that were in line to check in to the resort. Of course, with 1920 rooms, big crowds stay at this resort which is probably the biggest drawback about staying at this -- or the other -- value resorts on WDW property. You'll see more crowds as we continue the tour.
The resort's check-in lobby.
Across from the check in area, there is a nice sitting area with a television playing Disney films. The other All Star Resorts do not have this little feature. I suppose that it was added to the resort design as a result of lessons-learned when the first two All Star Resorts opened a couple years before the All Star Movies. In any case, it's pretty obvious that this is a nice feature that can keep the kids occupied while Dad or Mom handle the check in chores.
Waiting area in the lobby.
Walking beyond the lobby area, there is a hallway with restrooms, the resort store, Donald's Double Feature, and resort's wall of fame.
The wall of fame is a neat detail of the All Star Resorts. Each photo is of some celebrity, many with Disney connections of one sort or another. Of course, the All Star Movies wall of fame features stars from the silver screen.
The resort's Wall of Fame.
The store sells the same kind of character merchandise, souvenirs, and sundries that the other resort's shops have. It's a bit smaller than the others, and only has the "basics", but it should meet most needs and even provide some opportunities for impulse buying. The shop is usually open from 7:00am - 11:30pm.
Continuing down the hallway, the Reel Fun Arcade is on the right and the World Premiere Food Court is on the left just before the doors that lead out to the main resort courtyard. I don't have much to say that will enlighten you on either of these facilities. The arcade was pretty busy with all of the kids that were playing in there. The food court sells the typical fast food. If you're a soft drink junkie, you may want to consider buying Refillable Mugs for your stay. If you do, you can get free refills of beverages here at the food court for the whole time you're on your vacation.
World Premiere Food Court.
The view out the back door of Cinema Hall is that of the Fantasia theme pool. The Fantasia buildings provide a great backdrop for the pool, which also features sorcerer's apprentice Mickey on a pedestal motioning to all of the swimmers that they should splash the water out of the pool, much like he did in the classic film.
The Fantasia pool.
A close up view of the sorcerer's apprentice building shows the brooms that Mickey recruited to do his work plugging away at the task. The buildings at the All Star Resorts are three stories tall. Those brooms (and all of the other icons you'll see on this tour) are HUGE!
The brooms from the Sorceror's Apprentice.
That sorcerer's hat in the middle of the building contains a set of stairs, one of many that are scattered around each building of the complex.
Across from the diligent brooms, are buildings decorated with the toys from Fantasia 2000. It's hard to see from the pictures, but the sorcerer's apprentice building and the toy building form a "V" shape, with the Fantasia pool in between them.
Fantasia 2000 area.
As I was strolling around the area, I noticed a detail that instantly elevated the All Star Resorts in my mind. I'd always thought of these resorts as the "cheap alternatives" to the "real" Disney resorts at WDW. Check this out, though. The plantings in front of the toy building are cut to look like booms buried in the ground, carrying the broom theme across the courtyard. I saw some other examples of this level of detail that impressed me -- details that I never realized existed at these less expensive resorts.
Fantasia area themeing details.
Before we move on to the other areas of the resort, I should point out the Silver Screen Spirits lounge nestled against Cinema Hall and facing the Fantasia pool. It's a nice place to quench your thirst...or to get some adult beverages if you're so inclined, while the kids cool down in the pool.
Silver Screen Spirits.
To the left of the fantasia area, walking beyond Silver Screen Spirits, is a doorway into Andy's room. The door is probably twenty feet high or so. It's also permanently open, so even though I obviously wasn't supposed to enter (a note from Andy tells all to "keep out"), I couldn't resist.
Inside, in all their glory, were the two main toys of Andy's room. Woody, the main man, and Buzz Lightyear, the "new guy in the room."
Toy Story's Woody.
Toy Story's Buzz Lightyear.
Notice the green army men along the top of the buildings, too. They're only two dimensional cut outs, but they still are cool since the green army men are such an important part of Toy Story.
Of course, some of the other toys (including the huge checkers board in the foreground of each picture, Bo Peep, and the dinosaur) are tossed in for good measure. The stairs for the two buildings in this area are concealed behind Buzz and Woody. Check out the book shelves behind Woody.
One other thing that I've failed to mention so far, but is clearly visible in the picture of Buzz here, is the railings for the balconies that run around the buildings. They are made up to look like movie film. Another neat touch.
Behind the fantasia courtyard are the Love Bug buildings, buildings 6 and 7 at the All Star Movies Resort. Of course, number 53, Herbie, is used to decorate this area. Huge wrenches, screwdrivers, checkered flags, and other automotive paraphernalia provide the themeing for these buildings.
The Love Bug area.
I should note that these buildings, and those of the Mighty Ducks section that we'll visit in a few minutes, are the furthest from Cinema Hall and the resort facilities (and bus stops) that are located there.
Heading across the fantasia courtyard in the direction opposite Andy's room, is the 101 Dalmatians and beyond that, the Mighty Ducks.
The 101 Dalmatians buildings are decorated in a way that would make any typical 30 foot high canine happy. Of course, the dogs themselves are prominently displayed. Check out that television set (with the lone Dalmatian puppy gazing at the screen).
101 Dalmatians area.
Another neat element here is in the concrete. See the bone shapes formed into it? All of the paving in the main courtyard of this section of the resort was decorated like this.
Themeing details in the 101 Dalmatians area.
Other great examples are the fire hydrant staircases that provide access to the upper floors of these buildings. I certainly wouldn't want to be walking up or down those steps when one of those huge pups came by ;)
Fire hydrant stairway in the 101 Dalmatians area.
Unfortunately, I noticed a potentially big negative about the All Star Resorts when I was in this area. Clearly, only a portion of the resort rooms have a view of the nicely themed courtyards. The rest of the rooms are accessed from much more quiet (that can be an advantage, I suppose) areas on the opposite side of the guest buildings, the side away from the themed icons.
I only mention this as a warning. If you have someone in your family that is just aching to stay in a particular area of any of the All Star Resorts, you may be disappointed if you don't also request a specific view (which you also may have to pay for).
In my experience, the Disney folks do their best to accommodate special requests, but they're not mind readers. Also, you should always make your requests a few days before your arrival, so you're more likely to get what you want. If you request a poolside room during Christmas week when you're checking in late, plan on disappointment.
The last area of the All Star Movies Resort is the Mighty Ducks pond. Even though the Mighty Ducks buildings, resort buildings 2 and 3, are probably the furthest from Cinema Hall, they have the advantage of having their own themed pool.
The Mighty Duck's "pond."
I took the pictures of the fantasia pool and the "pond" pool within twenty minutes or so of each other. Obviously, the central location of the fantasia pool makes a big difference in how busy it is.
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