Showing posts with label value resorts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label value resorts. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Art of Animation Resort - Lion King Family Suites

The newest Disney resort is the Art of Animation which just opened in May 0f 2012.

The resort features 4 unique sections - three of which are family suites.  The sections are Finding Nemo suites, Cars suites, Lion King suites and the Little Mermaid theme is standard rooms.  Today we are going to focus on the Lion King suites.

From the map, the Lion King section is buildings 10 and 6.

All of the suites have the same amenities and layout - it is just the themeing that is different.  Here is a model of the suites so that you can put these photos into perspective.

What is really cool about the family suites is that they will sleep 6 - a great option for larger families - or families that want to offer some privacy for mom and dad after the kids are in bed.

When you walk into your suite, you have a dining area - table with four chairs and then a kitchenette - a small fridge, microwave,sink, coffee maker and snack storage area.  The resort also provides some disposable plates and utensils.

This same area will also provide a sleeping nook.  That table, converts to a bed in just a snap.  First, pull the chairs away from the table, and then pull down from the wall.

Next thing you know, you have a very comfortable spot to sleep. 

Main bathroom.

There is a living room (with a sleeper sofa), chair, flat screen tv, drawers, and cool stools/table showcasing the Hakuna Matata lyrics.

There is a master bedroom with a queen sized bed, open closet area, flat screen tv, and a second bathroom!

Things I like about the family suites:
1.  That there is a separate master bedroom with a door - really nice when traveling with little ones and you want a later bedtime.
2.  Great for larger families - or even great for a family of 4 - especially when your kids balk at having to share a bed.
3.  Two bathrooms - I have two teen girls - this is a life saver!
4.  GORGEOUSLY themed resort
5.  3 themed pools - the main pool in the Finding Nemo section is the largest on property and it even has a zero entry section
6.  Great food court selections - including healthy eating, a gelato station, and even a tandoori oven
7.  Nice, new rooms with lots of storage
8.  All sections of the family suites are convenient to the food court, lobby and main pool.

Things I didn't like quite so much
1.  I think I am a linen snob - the thin sheets and heavy bedspread are not my favorite
2.  I wish the master had a king rather than a queen
3.  No ceiling fans
4. No slide or hot tub at the pools
5.  Because it's a newer resort and in high demand - the discounts are not quite as good at this resort (and completely nonexistent for the standard rooms!)

So...what about you?  Which themed room would you prefer?  Have you stayed at the Art of Animation before?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

All Star Sports resort - a review

My girls and I stayed at the All Star Sports resort for our Spring Break - the week before Easter.  Since our trip was a few weeks before my youngest's birthday, I let her pick which All Star resort we'd stay at - and she picked Sports.  Actually, I am not really sure why she picked it.  She does play tennis - but sports are really not her thing. 


We arrived on Monday afternoon knowing that the parks and the resorts would be really full because of the upcoming holiday.  But I was not prepared for the number of sports teams that were at the resort.  I know that this is the resort that lots of teams use when they come to compete at Disney.  But I really thought that this week would be more about families.  Ah - live and learn!

We had booked a preferred room which is in the "Surf's Up" section.  What does a preferred room mean?  It just means a location that is convenient to the food court, main pool, and the bus stops.  Preferred rooms are wonderful after a long day at the park and your feet don't think they can go another step.  Your preferred room is close by - while your standard room may require a hike.  However, preferred rooms are often far away from the parking lot - which we discovered as we schlepped all our luggage from the van to our preferred room!

Our room was typical of the value - two double beds, dresser, tv, small table with two chairs, bathroom area.  (I must apologize for my pictures.  I took them with my underwater camera and not my good one.  Oops!)

So, let's check out the resort.  If you are looking for a resort that is high energy, larger than life, and full of wonder, then the value resorts are the place for you.  All Star Sports carries that theme throughout all the sport icons and sections.

We've got Basketball

And Football

 (Do you know what those footballs are??  That is the stairwell!)

And baseball

 (The second themed pool is by the baseball section)


 (another stairwell inside of the can of tennis balls!)

and the preferred section - with Surfing

 (the main themed pool is by the surfing section - and you can see how close it is to the lobby and food court)

1.  Themeing is great - especially if you or your kids are sports fans
2.  Very nice food court with a great selection
3. When you share buses with the other All Star resorts, Sports if the first to pick up and the first to drop off.
4.  Cast members are great - courteous and friendly

1.  With all the sport groups that stay here, you end up with lots of teens and very little adult supervision.  And that lack supervision/adults leads to things like my own children being bullied on the bus by a group of teen girls.
2.  Again, with lots of sports teams, they travel in packs - and that could make for long waits in the food court, at check-in, at the buses.
3.  Pools are pretty crowded - and crowded and noisy pretty late at night.  I'd advise against a room facing the pool
4.  Another issue is that All Star Sports is unlike all the other resorts (all the other values - including the other all star values, and all the other moderates) - there is NO privacy curtain separating the sink area from the rest of the room.  So, if you want to get ready in the morning without waking everyone up with the lights, you are out of luck.

Overall, it's not a resort that I would stay at again.  It's not a resort that I'd recommend to my clients unless the sporting theme was just a must-have.  For our experience, the lack of supervision of the sports teams really clouded our experience and made the resort not as friendly to families.  Instead, I'd suggest the other All Stars and Pop Century as great alternatives!

So...what about you?  Have you had a good experience at All Star Sports?  Do you have a favorite value resort? 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pop Century Resort - a review

One of my favorite things about being on Disney property are all the signs - and the cast members who say "welcome home!" as you arrive - and as you come and go during your stay.  Most every resort we have stayed at as been our "castle" away from home (and yes, there is one that I would not stay at again - we'll talk about that one some other day!).

Today, let's talk about a value resort - Pop Century.  I stayed here last August as part of my mom's only trip (and if you haven't done an adults only trip - make plans to do it - someday, somehow - it's so worth it!).  We had a standard room (vs a preferred room which is close to the main pool, food court and bus stop) in the 80's section.

Pop Century's theme is the larger than life icons and sayings of pop culture in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

The preferred sections are in the 60s and are centered around the Hippie Dippy pool (which you can't quite tell from my photo is in the shape of a large flower).

There is also a pool in the 50s section that is shaped like a bowling pin.  And the pool right outside our resort room door was the 80s computer pool.

The food court at POP was fabulous - and they even have their own signature item - the tie-dyed cheesecake.

 (Photo source: Disney food blog - if you click on the link, there is a review of the cheesecake!)

Bus service from the resort was always prompt.  The resort does not share buses - and there is just one main bus stop location. is a value resort different from a moderate or a deluxe?  Here are the big ones:
1.  The values tend to be more about themeing - are much more "jaw-dropping" - and very much larger than life. 
2.  There are no ceiling fans in the rooms at a value
3.  At the values, there are double beds rather than queen beds (you can request a king bed, but they are not guaranteed)
4.  The bus stop does not have roof - so you are exposed to the rain or the sun.
5.  Speaking of buses - when you leave the parks to return to your resort, the value bus stops tend to be the farthest away.
6.  I think that the values have much better food courts than other resorts.
7.  Values cost a lot less money!

Overall, I enjoyed my stay at the Pop Century - and would absolutely recommend it to my clients - and would stay there again.

If you want to see other pictures of Disney castles, be sure to check out Focused on the Magic!

Did you enter my giveaway last week?  Be sure to check and see if it was you - the winner has not yet come forward!

So...what about you.  Have you stayed at Pop Century?  Which decade would you most like to stay in?