While my upcoming trip to Walt Disney World will be my 10th (cue the Celebration button!), my most recent end-of-summer trip saw me spending a night at a resort I’d never stepped foot in before.
Every WDW trip I’ve taken, you could always catch me staying at a Value Resort for a variety of reasons. Not only are they affordable when you’re trying to get some magic in while on a budget, but they have so much to offer, from the delicious menu at Art of Animation’s Landscape of Flavors to All-Star Movies shrinking you down to the size of a toy long before Toy Story Land did.
But this time around, I decided not to choose my stay based on food options or magical ambiance, but simply for its price. All-Star Sports was (and typically is) the cheapest resort option on property, but boy, was I impressed. Here are three hidden gems I discovered during my stay at WDW’s cheapest resort.
Decor That Takes You Out to The Ballgame
All I’d ever seen of All-Star Sports prior to my visit was pictures of decor largely themed around sports like football and tennis, and for someone like me who, 1) isn’t big on sports, and 2) much prefers to be emersed in my favorite movies and characters during my stay, I figured I might find this resort boring, at best.
But I was pleasantly surprised when I walked through the resort on the way to my room to see several appearances by characters everyone knows and loves. Huey, Dewey and Louie were playing an exciting game of baseball just by my room, while Uncle Donald was throwing a fit over his nephews’ shenanigans, as usual. I later found a statue of the big cheese himself with a banner behind him that read “Disney’s All-Star Resorts,” as if he was welcoming guests to the magic.
Just Keep Swimming in the Cleanest Pool
All-Star Sports has two pools – Surfboard Bay Pool and Grand Slam Pool – but the one I took a dip (or two) in during my one-night stay was the Surfboard Bay Pool. Just outside Stadium Hall, Surfboard Bay Pool is considered the resort’s biggest pool, surrounded by larger-than-life surfboards and beautiful Florida palms.
But what impressed me most was the cleanliness of this pool. Every pool – especially one outdoors beneath palm tree leaves blowing in the wind – is bound to get some foliage or litter or who-knows-what floating around in it once in a while. But this pool was immaculate from the second I stepped in, and the water remained crystal clear the second time I decided to get a swim in that day.
The Most Magical Cast Members
Cast members really are the driving force behind every ounce of magic guests experience at Walt Disney World, from the moment you arrive until the very last second when you say, “see ya real soon.” I’ve had some of my most memorable Disney World moments thanks to exceptional cast members, and the sporty bunch at All-Star Sports won’t be forgotten any time soon.
I regret not snagging their names and sending them some Cast Compliments, but I interacted with several magical cast members during a mere 24 hours at the resort. Right when we checked in, we were greeted by a cast member singing like a Disney Princess, who also made sure to give me a birthday button when they found out my birthday was the following week.
Another cast member in End Zone Food Court was efficient and kind while cleaning up after a spill the guest I was with had during lunch, the on-property pest management we interacted with was hilarious and helpful with a question we had, and most notably, when we ended up having an issue with our room and needed to change rooms, the leadership cast member we spoke to was like all the CMs above combined: quick, efficient, kind, and most certainly magical.
Ashley Amber is a former Disney cast member who rediscovered her love of writing when the 2020 pandemic ended her time making magic. When she's not bringing the magic to The DIS articles, Ashley works as a writer for Happy Productions and a live-blogger at MJ's Big Blog, and previously published over 300 articles with Collider. Ashley also authored a self-published fantasy/romance series of novelettes, and made her poetry debut in 2021's LGBTQIA+ anthology Deviant: Chronicles of Pride by InkFeathers Publishing. As a former pro ballroom dancer, when she's not writing, you can find Ashley on Youtube and TikTok where she posts dance videos featuring her own choreography and tutorials.