24 August 2012

Where in Walt Disney World: The All Star Resorts

I am a HUGE Disney buff, and my specialist subject would be Walt Disney World. I've been lucky enough to visit Disneyland in California and the one in Paris, but WDW is by far my favourite and in my opinion the ultimate.

After many years of travelling to the Sunshine state of Florida, and visiting Disney World i thought i'd impart some wisdom, tips and tricks, the best things to do and maybe what not to, just in case any of you are ever thinking of taking the trip or maybe i can intrigue you to do so. So, get ready for a the ultimate guide to Walt Disney World and the surrounding area while i'm away at the same destination!
Walt Disney World covers 30,080 acres and holds four theme parks, two water parks, 23 on-site Disney themed resorts and 8 resorts that aren't Disney owned. You can even find a campground, two spas and physical fitness centres, five golf courses and a plethora of other recreational activities and entertainment. Walt Disney developed the resort in the early 1960's but sadly died in 1966 before his original plans were fully recognised and before it's completion in 1971. Disney World opened on October 1st 1971 with only the Magic Kingdom but EPCOT was added in 1982, Hollywood Studios - formerly MGM Studios - in 1989 and Animal Kingdom in 1998.

It's a place where dreams are made. Come with me and explore the ins and outs of the happiest place on earth.
The Disney All Star Resorts are considered 'value' hotels, therefore they're cheaper than a lot of the other Disney resorts and cater towards families. There are three themed options: Disney All Star Sports, Disney All Star Music and Disney All Star Movies, each catering to a separate passion. The main difference between all three resorts is the decor however the rooms and the food court are pretty much identical. I say this because often you travel companies, etc, give deals on these hotels so don't be disheartened if the one you're ofter isn't on offer because they're all very similar as well as being close together, so are easy to visit to see the sights. The really cool thing about these hotels are the amazing larger than life statues that lean against the blocks of rooms. Each resort has statues relating to their theme, for example Movies has a giant Pongo and Perdita looking over it's guests, Music has a different music related icon for each block eg. cowboy boots, jukeboxes, xylophones and Sports has oversized tennis rackets, american footballs and all sorts of sport related objects.

 We'll start with Disney's All Star Sports as this is the resort i know least about, as i haven't stayed there personally. However, all three are almost identical just variation on the themes. All Star Sports has ten hotel blocks, divided into five pairs of three storey buildings; Hoops Hotel, Surf's Up!, Center Court, Touchdown and Homerun Hotel with Stadium Hall housing the main lobby, check in desk, the End Zone food court, the Sport Goofy's Gifts and Sundries shop and the Game Point Arcade. The resort has two swimming pools; the main beach themed Surfboard Bay Pool and the smaller Grand Slam Pool shaped like a baseball diamond. The smaller of the two has a Goofy atop a mound, in the middle, but instead of hitting baseballs he shoots a fountain of water at swimmers. "In addition to making a splash at the 2 swimming pools, kids can climb, slide and play at the Resort's playground and enjoy video and pinball games at the Game Point Arcade."

 In the End Zone food court you can surround yourself with sporting paraphernalia and where you can order quick meals form breakfast pancakes to dinner burgers. This range of resorts is also categorised under the 'value' price range so you can rest assured that the food courts are very reasonably priced.

 I love the All Star Movies Resort. This is the resort that salutes some of Disney's classic films, such as Disney Pixar's Toy Story, Fantasia and the Mighty Ducks. Like Sport, it's divided into five pairs of three storey buildings with each pair named after one of the featured movies; 101 Dalmatians, Mighty Ducks, Fantasia, Toy Story and The Love Bug. Each block boasts larger than life icons from the blocks film name, for example the Toy Story section features a 27 foot tall bucket of Green Army Men, a 30 foot tall Woody icon and a 47 foot tall Buzz Lightyear. The buildings are painted in bright colours with beautiful details as well as some hidden surprises.

The main building, named Cinema Hall, houses the lobby and check in desk, the 'World Premiere' food court, Donald's Double Feature shop and the Reel Fun Arcade. The World Premiere Food Court has five movie 'marquees' feature fresh and quick food options, from omelettes to pasta served in a setting that resembles a grand movie theatre. Also like All Star Sports, Movies has two swimming pools. The main Sorcerer's Apprentice themed Fantasia pool and the smaller Duck Pond pool shaped like a hockey rink, surrounded by the Mighty Ducks resort blocks.

Now for the final All Star Resort; Music and actually the resort i'll be staying at during this holiday. Another of Disney's value hotels, All Star Music features giant icons that pay homage to classic music genres, including Jazz and Broadway. Again there are five pairs of three story buildings with each being themed after a different musical genre; Calypso, Jazz Inn, Rock Inn, Country Fair and Broadway Hotel, each adorned with huge musical instruments, and icons. Up until the brand new Art of Animation Resort opened, All Star Music was the only value resort to offer homes to the larger Disney families. At this resort there are suites available to sleep up to six.

This resort's main building is called Melody hall and like the others houses the lobby and check in desk, the Intermission Food Court, Maestro Mickey's shop and the Note'able Games Arcade and of course, there's always the option to take a swim with the choice of two - the main guitar shaped Calypso pool and the smaller grand piano shaped Piano pool. The Calypso pool features a colourful fountain depicting the Three Caballeros - Donald Duck, José Carioca and Panchito. The Intermission Food Court is the place to find french toast to pizza and sandwiches to quesadillas, all in the surroundings of murals and iconic musicians. 

All three of these resorts have great facilities available to cover all sorts of different needs. At the concierge desk, in the main lobby, the cast members can help you buy Disney park and water park tickets as well as book dinner reservations throughout Walt Disney World and secure show seats. All the resorts have coin operational laundry facilities and dry cleaning, and laundry service is available for pick up from the front desk. If you're looking for a few hours away from the kids there are several childcare services available at the resorts, to keep your kids happy and safe. If you're staying late at the parks or you just fancy some time in your room, catching up on the Disney Channel, why not order in one of the delicious hot pizzas, sandwiches, salads or desserts direct to your door. There are multiple facilities for guests with disabilities and any cast member would be happy to to expand on what's on offer, but there are accessible paths to all blocks, pools, car parks and main lobby to make for easy access throughout the resorts. The rooms come complete with cable TV and Disney programming, wi-fi in rooms as well as select public spaces, hairdryers, iron and ironing boards, mini fridges as well as the resort has self-parking and pack & play playards available from the main reception. The resorts also have arcades and playgrounds to keep the littleun's active and happy, they all have their own gift and sundries shop or why not try walking or jogging the all star trail, that's around one mile long and trail cards can be found at the concierge desk.

I'm very excited to be back at these wonderful resorts, especially because of their great value and facilities. I hope you get the chance to experience them too!

All images sourced from Google Images

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