Art of Animation Hotel signage

Best Disney Value Resorts For Any Budget

The Walt Disney World Resort isn’t exactly what you’d call an affordable vacation destination. From expensive park tickets to spendy meals (and don’t forget the souvenirs!), there’s a good chance you’ll wind up dropping at least a few thousand dollars on your visit, especially if you’re traveling as a family.

Another high cost when going to Disney World is where you will stay during your trip. Fortunately, there are a handful of hotels available at the Central Florida resort with reasonable room rates, perfect for folks traveling on a budget.

For those traveling on a shoestring, Disney value resorts offer a winning combination of the basic necessities at cheap and cheerful prices, all with a healthy dose of pixie dust. Not sure if they’re right for you? Keep reading for all the pros and cons, as well as which hotel is best for your next Disney vacation.

Disney Value Resorts, the Cheapest Stay at The Most Magical Place on Earth

For some, it isn’t a vacation if they aren’t staying at a swanky luxury hotel. Still, others are content with a simple place to rest their head after a day of adventures, particularly if it means saving a few bucks. If that last one sounds like you, then you might want to consider booking a reservation for one of the Disney World value resorts.

What Are the Walt Disney World Value Resorts?

Similar to moderate resorts like Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs, value hotels at Walt Disney World are some of the largest on property, offering motel-style accommodations with exterior corridor access (with one notable exception – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort).

The cheapest and most basic of the Disney-operated hotels, value resorts may be farther from the theme parks, short on amenities like table-service restaurants and over-the-top poolswith waterslides and generally have smaller rooms overall. However, what they lack in creature comforts and convenience, they more than make up for with magically affordable room rates and plenty of character.

There are five different value hotels to choose from at the Walt Disney World Resort, as well as two similarly thrifty alternatives. Here’s the complete list:

Disney Value Resorts

Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Other Affordable Accommodations at Walt Disney World

The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
Shades of Green (non-Disney operated)

Why Stay at the Value Disney Resorts?

If you couldn’t already tell from our name, we at Park Savers are thrifty folk who love helping budget-minded travelers save money, especially when visiting the famously expensive Walt Disney World Resort. So, as you can probably imagine, we’re pretty big fans of the value resorts. Needless to say, if you’re anything like us, here are some things you’re sure to love about these wallet-friendly hotels:

You Won’t Find a Cheaper Place to Stay on Disney Property

Let’s be honest. Given how expensive a Disney vacation can be, we’re all here to save some money – and that’s just what you’ll do at Disney World value resorts. Unlike the deluxe resorts, where a standard room could start out at $500 or more during the off-season, value resorts are significantly more affordable, costing as little as $125 per night in slow periods.

Even during the popular holiday season, rates stay pretty reasonable, topping out at around $250 to $350 per night, depending on which hotel you choose to stay at. Since room prices vary throughout the year – and week, too – according to guest demand, try to travel during less in-demand times. This includes much of January, except MLK Day weekend and, of course, New Year’s Day.

Larger-Than-Life Theming with Plenty of Disney Magic

While the moderate and deluxe resorts are more subtle in their design, Disney World value resorts take things to the completely opposite end of the spectrum, opting for colorful icons as tall as buildings and detailed murals inspired by your favorite Disney and Pixar films. Do they look kind of kitschy? Sure, but that’s part of the fun, especially if you’re traveling with kids or searching for a great photo backdrop.

Guestrooms Are Modern and (Mostly) Fully Refurbished

Worried that Disney value resort rooms will be more out-of-date than their pricier counterparts? Don’t be! Although the pandemic was certainly a drag on life in general, particularly at The Most Magical Place on Earth, all that downtime made for the perfect opportunity to complete any necessary updates.

With the glaring exception of All-Star Sports, the Disney value resorts are officially renovated. Sure, the rooms might look a little cookie-cutter, especially at the renovated All-Star Resorts and, to some extent, Pop Century. However, the colorful, contemporary, character-inspired interiors are a big upgrade from the former furnishings.

Some Value Resorts Boast Spacious Family Suites

Although most of the rooms at the value resorts can feel a bit cramped, thanks to a smaller footprint, that isn’t the case for all of them. Over at Art of Animation and All-Star Music, family suites lend some much-needed square footage, making them both an affordable and comfortable choice for groups of up to six people.

Early Theme Park Entry Gives You a Head Start for Your Day

You might not get Extended Evening Hours like those staying at the deluxe resorts, but guests of the Disney value resorts can still enjoy some exclusive time in the parks pre-opening, thanks to Early Park Entry. This awesome perk awards you entry into any Walt Disney World theme park you want, on any day of the week, up to 30 minutes before it officially opens. And trust us, that head start will come in handy.

A Stay at a Disney Value Resort Isn’t for Everyone

All that being said, Disney World value resort hotels do have some downfalls, especially when compared to the moderate and deluxe resorts. So, if these next factors are dealbreakers, you might want to consider making a reservation somewhere else.

The Rooms Tend to Be on the Small Side

Value resort guestrooms aren’t just the cheapest at Walt Disney World. With the exception of the larger family suites at Art of Animation and All-Star Music, they’re also the smallest, clocking in at a mere 260 square feet for each of the three All-Star Resorts and Pop Century Resort. Talk about cozy!

As the newest of the Disney value resorts, standard rooms at Art of Animation also have the benefit of being slightly larger at 277 square feet. Accordingly, if you’re traveling with a family of four, take advantage of that extra square footage and make that your top pick.

There Aren’t as Many Restaurants or Other Amenities

If there’s one thing we love about the deluxe and moderate resorts, it’s all the great amenities – incredible signature dining like at the Grand Floridian, huge, themed pools with fun waterslides like Stormalong Bay at the Beach Club Resort, even horse-drawn carriage rides and surrey bike rentals. Sadly, you’ll find none of that at the Disney value resorts.

In exchange for the smaller price tag, amenities at the value resorts are slim. No table-service dining is available at any of Disney’s value resorts. Instead, along with a pool bar, guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner at the resort’s quick-service food court. And if you’re looking for a souvenir or something you forgot at home, there is only one on-site merchandise location available.

Having said that, there are still a few perks you can enjoy. A few pools are available, though there won’t be a slide or any over-the-top theming. And you can also go to Movies Under the Stars, one of our favorite free things to do at Disney World. Plus, you might even find unique activities like scavenger hunts or drawing classes.

They’re Farther Away from the Action

Unlike the deluxe resorts, which often sit within walking distance of one of the theme parks or are just a quick Monorailride away, the Disney value resorts aren’t exactly what you’d call conveniently located. Add in the car ride, or the time it will take to wait for the next Disney bus to arrive, and you’ve got a potentially lengthy process. So, be sure to plan accordingly.

The Transportation Options Are (Mostly) Lacking

Speaking of Disney World’s bus transportation system, that is, for the most part, the main option available to guests staying at the value resorts. The only exceptions are Pop Century and Art of Animation, which sit at one end of the Disney Skyliner route, making for an easy trip to Hollywood Studios and Epcot – a huge selling point in our book.

To top it all off, value resorts only have one bus stop, and it can often be quite a trek from your room, depending on where it’s located. This can especially be a problem in the mornings when folks are headed to the parks, resulting in crowded buses and long waits.

What’s the Best Disney Value Resort for Your Next Vacation?

Ready to stay on the cheap but not sure which Disney value resort is right for you and your crew? It really depends on your priorities and the overall vibe you’re looking for. From Pop Century and Art of Animation to the three All-Star Resorts, plus a couple of other affordable alternatives, keep reading for our breakdown of the best Disney value resorts for all group sizes and interests.

Disney Art of Animation Resort

Best for Big Families, Pixar Fans and Disney Addicts

Opened in 2021, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is the newest value hotel at Walt Disney World. With buildings painted with vibrant, larger-than-life murals of scenes from your favorite Pixar and Disney movies and elaborately themed guestrooms, Art of Animation is easily Disney World’s most kid-friendly resort. (And dog friendly, too! Two furry friends are allowed in certain rooms for a $50-per-night pet fee.)

Along with magical accommodations like Lion King and Little Mermaid rooms, guests can also try to find Nemo in the Big Blue Pool. After your swim or a long day in the theme parks, refuel for more Disney World adventures at Landscape of Flavors, the resort’s food court.

Location: Hollywood Studios and Wide World of Sports Resort Area

Disney Pop Century Resort

Best for Nostalgic Vibes on a Budget

Located just across the Generation Gap Bridge from Art of Animation, Disney’s Pop Century Resort is a blast from the past. With sections inspired by the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, adultswill love the nostalgic nods, like a massive tub of Play-Doh and gigantic Big Wheel, while kids will get a kick out of the oversized, old-school toys.

After your obligatory photo shoot, go for a swim in the Hippy Dippy Pool. Then, make your way inside to Everything POP Shopping & Dining, the hotel’s food court, for groovy bites like Tie-dye Cheesecake and a classic (with a twist) Flashback Oatmeal Crème Pie.

Location: Hollywood Studios and Wide World of Sports Resort Area

Disney All-Star Movies Resort

Best for Budget-Minded Movie Lovers of All Ages

Although Art of Animation may be the newest ode to Disney films of the value resorts, it certainly isn’t the first. That title goes to Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort. With appearances by gigantic characters from some of your favorite Disney movies, including Toy Story and 101 Dalmatians, it may not be as over-the-top as Art of Animation, but it’s still a lot of fun – and cheaper, too!

Summers in Florida (or really, anytime) can get hot, hot, hot. So, visit the Fantasia Pool to get a welcome splash from Sorcerer Mickey. If you’re feeling hungry, the World Premiere Food Court serves up all-American fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Just be sure to save some room for the Box Office Cupcake, a treat topped with marshmallow buttercream and a sweet-meets-savory brittle of peanuts, pretzels and popcorn.

Location: Animal Kingdom Resort Area

Disney All-Star Music Resort

Best for Bigger Rooms and Photo Ops with a Musical Twist

Would you rather be swaying to the beat than kicking back with your favorite Disney movies? Make a reservation for Disney’s All-Star Music Resort. This harmonious hotel takes its style cues from some of music’s most beloved genres, such as rock ‘n’ roll, country, jazz and the show tunes of Broadway.

Although there aren’t too many appearances by Disney characters at All-Star Music, you can swim alongside The Three Caballeros in the guitar-shaped Calypso Pool. While you’re there, be sure to stop by Intermission Food Court to try the ultimate homage to Elvis in food form, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Cupcake crowned with peanut butter buttercream, banana panna cotta and candied bacon.

Location: Animal Kingdom Resort Area

Disney All-Star Sports Resort

Best for School Groups, Athletic Teams and Sporty Families Traveling on a Shoestring

For guests trying to save some cash, Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort is sure to be a slam dunk. Featuring athletic accouterments like a football field next to a three-story helmet and giant-sized tennis rackets, this Disney value resort is perennially popular with school groups and teams heading to the Wide World of Sports Complex. In other words, if you’re looking for peace and quiet, this probably isn’t it.

Though the Surfboard Bay Pool is the resort’s largest, you’ll also want to check out the baseball diamond-shaped Grand Slam Pool, starring none other than Goofy as pitcher. After a filling meal at the End Zone Food Court, take yourself out to the ballgame with the MVP Cupcake. Stuffed with apple pie filling and topped with caramel popcorn-peanut crunch, it’s a real winner.

Location: Animal Kingdom Resort Area

(BONUS!) Disney Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

Best for Affordable Nights Under the Stars

Even though it’s not technically considered one of the Disney World value resorts, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground can be an incredibly affordable place to stay, particularly if you’re camping. Available in a variety of sizes to accommodate whatever you’re traveling with, campsites run anywhere from around $95 per night for a tent setup during the slow season to as much as $300 nightly during the holidays for a premium site meant for a large camper.

Best of all, it’s positively filled with fun things to do in the great outdoors, from canoe and kayak rentals to archery lessons. You can even meet the horses of Walt Disney World at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch. To top it all off, dining there is just as wonderful, offering such delicious options as the family-style Trail’s End Restaurant to the Wild West antics of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show.

Location: Magic Kingdom Resort Area

(DOUBLE BONUS!) Shades of Green

Best for Members of the Armed Forces and Their Families

Shades of Green might not officially be one of the Disney World value resorts, but with rates as low as $154 per night, it certainly deserves a spot on this list. But (and that’s a big ‘but’), you must be a member of the military or Department of Defense employee to stay there.

However, if you qualify, you’ll definitely want to give Shades of Green a chance. Although the theming is decidedly un-Disney, the hotel’s convenient location just across the street from Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is downright magical.

Location: Magic Kingdom Resort Area

Well, budget shoppers, that’s a wrap on the best value resorts at Disney World. Have you ever stayed at one of these wallet-friendly hotels? Which one tops your list? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how you can save even more money with our discount Walt Disney World tickets.