Planning a Walt Disney World vacation is so exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. Once you have decided to go, one of the first things you will want to do is choose the resort you would like to stay at. Guests staying on Walt Disney World Property can make their resort reservations 499 days prior to travel.
With over thirty resort options, the decision can be a difficult one. There are several factors to consider including cost, location, recreational activities, amenities, including space, unique features, such as theming and how much time you plan to spend at your resort.
Guests who plan to spend most of their time at the Walt Disney World parks, may not need or want as many bells and whistles as those who plan to a lot of time in their resort. This article will compare two popular resorts, Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Resort
- Transportation options
- Available Recreational Activities
- How much time you plan to spend at your resort/in your room
An important factor when choosing a resort hotel are the nightly rates, as they vary depending on the resort category. There are four main categories at Walt Disney World – deluxe villas, deluxe resort hotels, moderate resort hotels, and value resort hotels. Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort is a value resort hotel, and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is a moderate resort hotel.
Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort nightly rate is, as of this article, $112.37 per night, whereas Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort’s rate is $229.50. If you are traveling to Walt Disney World on a tight budget, or you simply want to use your money in other ways, choosing a value resort may be the best option for you.
However, there are some differences between the two categories that are worth noting. At the moderate resorts, guests will experience more dining options, larger pools with slides, hot tubs and more room options.
Rooms at Disney’s All Star Sports, like most value resorts, are about 260 square feet and will accommodate four guests in two double beds, plus a child under the age of three in a pack-n-play crib. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort offers rooms that are about 315 square feet and accommodate up to five guests. These rooms have two queen beds and a Murphy style pull down bed that is best suited for younger children. There would also be enough room to fit a pack and play crib for guests under three years old.
Both resorts have kitchenettes and a vanity area. The kitchenettes at Disney’s All Star Sports have a small refrigerator while Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort has a small refrigerator as well as a coffee maker. The vanity area at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is significantly larger, with two sinks, instead of the one found at Disney’s All Star Sports Resort. This may not seem like a big deal, but it makes a big difference on those days when everyone is trying to get ready and you are hoping you will make it to your dining reservation or FastPass+ reservation on time!
The location of a particular resort is an important consideration because it will impact travel time to and from the Walt Disney World parks. There are five different resort areas throughout the Walt Disney World property. They are aptly named based on a park or place they are close to.
They are Magic Kingdom Resort Area, Epcot Resort Area, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort Area, Disney’ Springs Resort Area and ESPN Wide World of Sports Resort Area. Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort is located in the Animal Kingdom Resort Area, while Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is located in the EPCOT Resort Area. All resorts at Walt Disney World offer complimentary bus transportation around all parts of the property.
Some resorts also feature unique transportation options. For example, guests staying at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort can take a short boat ride to the Magic Kingdom, or those staying at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa can hop on the monorail. The only transportation option at Disney’s All Star Sports Resort is a bus. There are three All Star Resorts, Sports, Music and Movies.
Typically, each resort has its own bus route, but during slower times, like mid-afternoon, the three resorts share one route. The good news is that All-Star Sports is the first stop on the route. Buses come every twenty minutes and usually take about twenty-five minutes to travel to Magic Kingdom, twenty minutes to travel to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and because the resort is closest to Animal Kingdom, that trip is approximately ten minutes.
At Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, guests have two transportation options, buses or the newly opened Disney’s Skyliner. Buses here also arrive every twenty minutes. Travel time by bus is approximately fifteen minutes to Magic Kingdom, twenty minutes to EPCOT, fifteen minutes to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and about twenty minutes to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The biggest issue here is the size of the resort. It is quite large and requires seven bus stops before even leaving the resort. This can add significant travel time to your destination, depending on which area of the resort you are staying in.
The other transportation option available at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is the Disney Skyliner. These gondolas, which opened in the Fall of 2019, connect Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It takes approximately fifteen minutes to get to EPCOT and just five minutes to get to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The station at EPCOT is located at International Gateway, near the France Pavilion in World Showcase. Guests who want to begin their day at EPCOT’s Future World, should consider taking a bus to EPCOT as the bus stop is at EPCOT’s main entrance.
Guests flying into Orlando International Airport can also take advantage of Walt Disney’s Magical Express, a complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport. Once you disembark from the plan, you simply follow the signs for the Magical Express, and let Disney do the rest. If you are arriving after 5am and before 10pm, you do not have to worry about your luggage.
It will be picked up and delivered to your room. Just follow the signs leading the way to the Magical Express and begin your vacation! On board, guests are treated to Disney short films and videos highlighting the goings-on at the parks and resorts. Guests of all ages will feel the excitement before they even get to their resort hotel!
There are so many things to do in Walt Disney World, and not just in the parks. Every Walt Disney World resort offers guests recreational activities, but resorts in the moderate category tend to offer more options. Recreational activities at Disney’s All Star Sports include pools, jogging trail, outdoor movies, a playground and an arcade.
At Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, guests will also enjoy pools, jogging trail, outdoor movies and a playground. They may also enjoy campfire activities, adventure cruises, fishing, bike rentals, and volleyball.
Amenities at both resorts are the same and include the following: In-room celebrations, complimentary WiFi internet, self-service parking, online resort checking, airline check in, an ATM and currency exchange, childcare services, designated smoking areas, laundry and dry cleaning services, mail services, and merchandise delivery and pick up. Please bear in mind, guests may incur added fees for some of the amenities.
In-Room Celebrations – In-room celebrations offer guests an opportunity to celebrate special occasions, such as a birthday, holiday or anniversary, in a unique way, right in their resort hotel room with themed gift baskets.
Complimentary WiFi Internet – WiFi is offered to all guests throughout the entire Walt Disney World property.
Parking – Guests staying at a Walt Disney World resort can enjoy the convenience of being able to park right at the resort. However, there is a parking fee of $15 per night. Guests visiting a particular resort for dining, entertainment or shopping, may park for free at any resort, for the day.
Online Check-in – Online check-in allows guests to begin the check in process prior to arriving at Walt Disney World by simply logging into disneyworld.com or the My Disney Experience app (I strongly encourage all guests to download this app.
Guests can use the app to check all theme parks’ hours, check attraction wait times, purchase tickets, reserve Fastpass+ reservations, make dining reservations, order food, purchase park merchandise, and a whole lot more! I would recommend downloading the app prior to your vacation in order to familiarize yourself with its layout and functionality).
Be sure to bring your MagicBand with you and activate the “unlock door” feature on your smartphone and you may be able to skip the front desk altogether. You can also receive a text message when your room is ready.
Resort Airline Check-in – Resort airline check-in allows guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort to check into their flight, pick up their boarding passes, and check luggage. Participating airlines include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines (U.S. domestic flights only), JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. Resort airline check-in desks can be found in the lobby of most Walt Disney World resorts.
An ATM – There is an ATM machine available 24 hours a day in the main lobby of the resort. The following cards are accepted: American Express, MasterCard, Visa, Discover/Novus, Cirrus, Plus, Star and Honor. ATM machines are located at various locations throughout Walt Disney World. It is important to note that an additional fee will be charged to any card that is not issued by Chase. Some banking institutions will also charge their clients an ATM usage fee.
Currency Exchange – Should you require this service, you would need to speak to someone at the Lobby Concierge or Front Desk in the main lobby of your resort.
Childcare Services – Guests traveling with children ages six months to twelve years of age can enjoy a night (or day) out, knowing their children will be expertly cared for. Babysitting services are available right in your resort hotel room from an independent childcare service called Kid’s Nite Out. Rates vary from $18 an hour to $26 an hour based on the number of children. Parents can also reserve a childcare specialist to assist them while visiting the parks. The Walt Disney World guest would be responsible for all fees, including entrance tickets for the childcare specialist.
Designated Smoking Areas – Walt Disney World is a smoke free environment and smoking is not permitted in any resort hotel room or on any resort balcony. However, there are designated smoking areas at the resorts and outside the gates of Walt Disney World parks. These smoking areas do not include marijuana, as the smoking of marijuana is not permitted anywhere on Walt Disney World property.
Laundry and Dry Cleaning Services – Both resorts offer 24-hour self-service laundry facilities. Washers, dryers and soap dispensers accept credit card or debit card payments. Washers and dryers are monitored virtually so guests can check in to find out if there are any machines available before lugging their dirty laundry to the laundry room. They can also request to receive a text message when their laundry is done.
Guests wishing to utilize their resorts dry cleaning services should call “housekeeping” to schedule a pick up. Extra fees will be incurred for this service.
Mail Services – Guests have the ability to send mail including postcards, letters and packages from the hotel lobby front desk. Mail should be pre-stamped and sealed. If needed, stamps may be purchased at various gift shops. Guests may also receive mail or deliveries during their stay. Some guests choose to ship their luggage ahead of time to save on airline costs, while others like to have groceries or food delivered.
All packages sent to guests should include the mailing address of the Walt Disney World resort hotel and be labeled “Guest” on the front. The date of the guest’s arrival should also be written on the package. Please note, an additional $6 charge will be added to a guest’s room for any package that is delivered to the room by the resort Bell Services or Luggage Assistant (please note, this fee does not include luggage that is delivered to your room via the Magical Express.)
Guests wishing to have food delivered from area restaurants, not on Walt Disney World property, will have to meet the delivery person at the main lobby, as they are not permitted to deliver to a guest’s room.
Merchandise Delivery and Pick-up – Merchandise purchased in the Walt Disney World parks or on the Shop Disney Parks Mobile App can be delivered to the resort at no added cost. Guests staying at Disney’s All Star Sports can pick up their purchases at Sport Goofy Gifts and Sundries.
Purchases will be delivered to the Concierge at Barbados for those guests staying at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Merchandise ordered via the App can only be delivered to the resort if it is available on property.
From the moment you step onto the Walt Disney World property, you will feel magically transformed. Their attention to detail is what sets them apart from all others and creates a once in a lifetime experience. This not only true of the theme parks, but the resort hotels and their grounds as well. Every resort on the Walt Disney World property is uniquely themed and there truly is something for everyone.
For sports enthusiasts or those travelling with children, All-Star Sports is a great resort choice. This resort, which opened in 1994 and was Walt Disney World’s first “value” resort, features ten brightly colored buildings centered around baseball, basketball, football, surfing and tennis themes. The larger than life decor includes fan favorite Disney characters showing off their competitive sides as well as enormous sports equipment.
There are two pools – Surfboard Bay pool and Grand Slam pool. Surfboard Bay pool is surrounded by 3-story tall surfboards and is designed to make you feel like you are at the beach. Grand Slam pool is shaped like a baseball diamond with Goofy on the pitcher’s mound, spraying water on passing swimmers. The area around the pool mimics a baseball field’s outfield and is lined by 3-story tall baseball bats. The only dining option at Disney’s All Star Sports is End Zone Food Court. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served.
Slightly more upscale, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort offers guests a relaxing, Caribbean island feel. The theming of this resort is just as detailed as Disney’s all Star Sports Resort, but is less whimsical. This resort has five different areas named for five islands of the Caribbean – Barbados, Jamaica, Martinique, Trinidad and Aruba – each with its own pool. There is also a main pool found at Old Port Royale that is themed after an old Spanish fort complete with water canons and several slides.
There is also a spa and shipwreck water play area for younger children. Old Port Royale, which was recently renovated, is the central area of the resort where guests can find the main lobby, check in desk, concierge services and dining options.
Dining options include Centertown Market and Spyglass Grill, with quick service options, Sebastian’s Bistro, a sit down restaurant and a bar called Banana Cabana. Unique to this resort are specially themed pirate rooms, complete with beds shaped like ships, hidden treasures and nautical decor.
While it can be difficult to choose, the truth is, staying at a Walt Disney World resort, no matter which one you choose, is a magical experience. Walt Disney World cast members will do whatever they can to ensure their guests are well taken care of, whether they are staying in a value resort or a deluxe.
That being said, because it is a value resort, and affordable for many families, Disney’s All Star Sports tends to be more crowded and loud. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is quite large, so, though it may be crowded, it will not feel quite so much. There are also more dining options at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort which helps ease the crowds. While Disney’s All Star Sports is affordable and has a fun vibe, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is my family’s top choice.
We found Disney’s All Star Sports to be more chaotic and less relaxing than Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Disney World hosts many competitions and events, such as dance and cheerleading. Because of their value, these resorts are often the first choice for these groups. Disney’s All Star Sports Resort is a great choice for guests traveling with young children and/or sports enthusiasts.
The grounds of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort are stunning and the food is spectacular. Those looking for a more “grown up” resort will likely enjoy the charm and peacefulness of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.
Top 5 Reasons to Choose Disney’s All Star Sports Resort
- Affordable pricing
- Multiple pools
- Fun and affordable dining options
- The size – not too big
Top 5 Reasons to Choose Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- The beautiful grounds
- The transportation options
- The pools
- Newly renovated Old Port royale
- The rooms
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