Disney's All-Star Movies Resort: A Photo Tourby Donald and Bonnie Fink, contributing writer
A stay at Walt Disney World is a grand adventure, especially if you're staying at the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian, or maybe the Wilderness Lodge. But the reality is that many folks need to watch their budget and be realistic about their expectations. What's really important, at least to us, is to be able to stay on property. It's our number one piece of advice when talking to someone about coming to Walt Disney World for vacation.
Staying on property has several advantages:
- You park your car and use Disney transportation, meaning that you don't pay for parking at the parks, or even the hotels in most cases.
- If you fly in and use the Magical Express from the airport, you can make the whole trip without involving a personal car or a rental.
- You save time by not having to put up with lines at the park parking lots, or walking from the back 40 if you're a little late in arriving. The bus drops you at the front door.
- And most important to us, when staying on property, you stay in the Disney spirit for the whole visit. Make no mistake about it, we like living in Florida, but the world outside Walt Disney World is a different place. By staying on property, you stay with the Disney Magic.
For families that may have smaller budgets, Disney has provided a solution that goes a long way toward allowing people to stay on property and stay in the Disney bubble. They've provided what they call "Value" resorts, and there are quite a few. One of these resorts, and the subject of this month's Photo Tour, is Disney's All-Star Movies.
Disney's All-Star Movies is located near the southern end of Disney property, but that doesn't really matter. If you're staying on property, you're probably using Disney transportation, so exactly where the hotel is located is more of an issue for the bus driver. Your job will be to sit back and enjoy the ride.
This resort is designed in more or less the same fashion as the rest of the value resorts and many of the moderate resorts. The rooms are adequate in terms of size, and the accommodations in the rooms are what you'd expect in any decent hotel in the US. Like most hotels in the US, the WiFi is free. They don't have coffee makers or microwave ovens in the rooms, but they're clean, comfortable, and themed properly for the resort and to help you stay in the Disney mood. At 260 square feet, the rooms are among the smallest that are offered on Disney property, but we found them adequate. If budget overrides room size, the Value resorts could be a good fit.
Disney's All-Star Movies Resort is themed to depict five different movies or movie franchises. They are The Mighty Ducks, 101 Dalmatians, The Love Bug, Fantasia, and Toy Story.
This is a typical standard room at All-Star Movies. Its physical layout is pretty much the same as all the other Value resorts on property, and even most of the Moderate resorts. The theming is what sets it apart from others. The bold colors probably appeal to younger folks while the filmstrip on the wall near the ceiling depicts a scene from "101 Dalmatians," "The Love Bug," "The Mighty Ducks," "Fantasia," and "Toy Story." Photo by Donald Fink.
The Magic Broomsticks located outside the Fantasia guest buildings are busy characters. They appeared in "Fantasia" and again in "Fantasia 2000." They've also made cameo appearances in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," "Tangled" and other Disney movies, TV programs, video games, and park attractions. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
The Ballerina and the Tin Soldier are from the movie "Fantasia 2000." The roses on the handrails behind were a gift to the Ballerina from the Jack-in-the-Box in an unsuccessful attempt to win her heart from the Tin Soldier. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
The Jack-In-The-Box, from "Fantasia 2000" is watching. In the movie, he's the second toy in a boy's room to come to life, after the Ballerina. He tries to win the heart of the Ballerina, but is thwarted by the kind-hearted Tin Soldier. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
What's missing from this prop? The only thing missing is your smiling face looking back from the TV. This and other stations around All-Star Movies provide an opportunity for some really interesting family pictures. A bit too much of a stretch for a selfie, but you could get a passing guest to help with that. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
This is Pongo, from the 1961 Disney movie, "101 Dalmatians." You may remember the story where Pongo's mate Perdita had fifteen puppies. Cruella De Vil is so enamored with the pups that she decides to steal them to make herself a new fur coat. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
The Duck Pond Pool is the second swimming pool at Disney's All-Star Movie Resort. It's located north of the main entrance at Cinema Hall, between the two guest buildings that are themed after the movie, "The Mighty Ducks." Photo by Bonnie Fink.
A duck shaped goalie mask located in the Mighty Ducks area is of course referencing the animated TV series, the "Mighty Ducks." The original movies were live action films, using real humans. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
We don't follow sports all that closely, but in our preparation for this photo tour we learned there's an actual hockey team that was named after the first Mighty Ducks movie, which was released in 1992. In 1993, the Walt Disney Company formed a hockey franchise called The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. No doubt this venture was a publicity strategy for the movies, but it's interesting to know that the team has made the NHL playoffs twelve times and won the Stanley Cup once, in 2007. They were sold in 2006 and changed their name to the Anaheim Ducks a year later.
In this image, Mickey, as the sorcerer's apprentice, dreams he is standing high on a pinnacle, commanding the stars, planets, and water. This fountain is the centerpiece of the Fantasia Pool. Photo by Donald Fink.
At the "Love Bug" guest buildings, you can find Herbie, or at least part of him covering an entrance to a building. Herbie, or the Love Bug, was the focus of a series of Disney Movies starting with the Love Bug in 1969. The wrench to the right of Herbie shows the numbers 1219mm and 91.5mm. We were unable to find the meaning of those numbers, but if someone knows, we would appreciate a comment at the end of this article. Photo by Donald Fink.
Herbie, from "The Love Bug," was a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle, that apparently was a sentient being capable of driving himself and causing general mischief. In the original film, Herbie followed Jim Douglas (played by Dean Jones) home after the car was berated by pompous bully Peter Thorndyke (David Tomlinson) in a local car dealership. In order to avoid charges of car theft, Douglas agreed to buy Herbie from the dealership, and thus the adventure began.
The number 53 prominently displayed on Herbie's hood and side doors most likely stems from the fact that the film's producer, Bill Walsh, was a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1968, Don Drysdale, the Dodgers' pitcher went over 58 innings without a single score against him. Drysdale's number was 53.
Toy Story is the most recent of the movie franchises celebrated at Disney's All-Star Movies Resort. The original of three films was released in 1995. Since then, the franchise has grossed more than $1.9 billion. Toy Story is the fifth highest grossing animated franchise of all time, behind Shrek, Ice Age, Despicable Me, and Madagascar.
It's not uncommon to see Woody and Buzz Lightyear around Disney parks, including in the current Main Street parade, Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party. You can also find character appearances at the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Buzz Lightyear and Woody appear at Pixar Place in Hollywood Studios. Of course, don't forget the ride, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin in Tomorrowland.
Buzz Lightyear towers above the three-story buildings at All-Star Movies Resort. He's located in a courtyard and children's play area between the two Toy Story buildings. You may have noticed an image earlier showing an empty Bucket O Soldiers. Well, there they are on the roof. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
Every hotel has at least one gift store, and at All-Star Movies, it's called Donald's Double Feature. Mostly Disney gifts, this store is located at the main building to the Resort, Cinema Hall. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
The World Premiere Food Court is the main eating area at All-Star Movies. Like many of the Value resorts, the hotel concentrates on food courts for the main source of dining. Surprisingly, these courts put out a pretty good meal. Photo by Donald Fink.
Earlier in this article we mentioned that there are several "Value" resorts on Disney property. In fact, there are six of them:
- Disney's All-Star Movies.
- Disney's All-Star Music.
- Disney's All-Star Sports.
- Disney's Pop Century.
- Disney's Art of Animation.
- Fort Wilderness Campground.
Each one of these hotels offer equal value with different theming for guests in their rooms and around the hotel grounds. They are very similar in terms of quality compared to the moderate hotels with rooms that have similar amenities.
One of our favorite accommodations on Disney property is Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground, simply because we like to camp. We did a photo tour on Fort Wilderness, which you can see here. We've also stayed at several moderate and value resorts on property and wouldn't hesitate to stay at any of them again. Each one has been what we expected. It gave us a great place to stay on property and maintain our little Disney magic bubble. The Value resorts are no different, and Disney's All-Star Movies is a great choice.