Thursday, April 25, 2013

Travel Review: Disney's All Star Sports Resort

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Cheap but comfortable way to stay on Disney property
Cons: Pretty much just the basics
The Bottom Line:
A good place to crash
If spending all day in parks
Comfortable basics

Disney Shoots and Scores with a Fun, Cheap Place to Stay

Disney fanatic that I am, I recently made my first trip to Disney World.  I went with a large group of friends.  Since we had to keep costs down, we stayed at the All Star Sports Resort.  (Rather ironic since few of us are sports fans.)

The All Star Sports Resort is one of three All Star resorts located near the Animal Kingdom Park.  As you'd expect from the name, the theme here is sports.  The outsides of the buildings are themed after surfing, tennis, basketball, baseball, and football.  The buildings feature decorations to go with their themes.  For example, we stayed in one of the basketball buildings, and the outsides had giant hoops with balls going into them.  And the stairs were hidden by a giant megaphone.

The rooms are small.  I stayed by myself, but others in the group did manage to get four to a room.  It was doable but crowded.  The rooms contained two double beds, as well as the usual hotel amenities like TV small dresser, table, etc.  There is a small safe in each room which can be used for money or small valuables.  The sink is in the room while the toilet and bathtub/shower are in a separate bathroom.  The resort does provide you with shampoo and bars of soap as well as towels.  And everything was clean when I arrived and kept clean every day.

Prices start as low as $82 currently (I'm sure they'll go up in a year or two), but increase based on location in the resort and time of year among other things.

There are two pools at the hotel.  The smaller pool is the "Grand Slam" pool, basically a diamond shape near the baseball buildings.  The "SurfBoard Bay" pool is the larger pool near the main building.  I was only in the pool once, but it was nice.  There were people in it almost every time I walked by, even after midnight.  You do need to bring a towel from your room.

In the main building, you'll find a gift shop (like that's a surprise) and an arcade.  The shop had some over the counter medicines as well as many souvenirs.  I never did make it into the arcade.

The main building also houses the cafeteria for the resort.  Here, you can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner if you so choose.  Offerings range from French Toast and Breakfast sandwiches to waffles for breakfast.  Lunch and dinner (pretty much the same menu) offers chicken, sandwiches, burgers, and pizza.  There aren't many choices, but most people should be able to find something.  The food is filling and cheap.  Okay, cheap for Disney.

Of course, since you are staying on property, you can take advantage of such perks as Disney's Magical Express (which picks you up and drops you off from the airport for free), the complimentary buses that take you anywhere in Disney World, and the Extra Magic hours, which get you into one park a day an hour early or three hours late.

My plan when I went to Disney World was to spend as much time as possible in the theme parks and go to my room only long enough to crash.  That's exactly what I did.  And this resort was all I needed.  The beds were comfortable.  I could hear my neighbors running water in their pipes, but I didn't hear them walking around or talking.  I was only in my room late, so that might have helped.

I do think calling it a resort is a misnomer.  My friends and I agree that it is the Motel 6 of Disney hotels.  But if I had spent more money to stay at a nicer place, it would have been wasted since I was hardly in my room.

If you are looking for a cheap, no frills place to stay on Disney property, the All Star Sports Resort is exactly what you are looking for.  If you want more luxury, however, you'll want to spend the money on a nicer place.

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