A Comparison Of Animal Kingdom Area Resort Hotels

Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby

There are innumerable options from where to choose to stay when you vacation at Walt Disney World Resort. Many park goers rightfully find that an extension of Disney magic can be theirs when they book accommodations right onsite at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel—opening the door to perks and possibilities you just wouldn’t get anywhere else in the greater Orlando area. A stay on Disney grounds offers plenty of diversified possibilities, from unique theming at a specific resort to distinctions in size, cost, and room extras. And for many, location is a vital forerunner when deciding where to stay.

This is especially true for those who are already familiar with the various theme parks, have an established favorite, or an intended itinerary for their trip that puts them in the heart of one particular park over another. Disney’s Animal Kingdom, for instance, is perhaps one of the most unique parks in all of Disney World, and as a result is highly sought after by countless visitors each year. Fortunately, staying in close proximity to all the park actions is fairly simple, with options ranging in all the aforementioned categories. From affordable Value Resorts to Deluxe accommodations, here’s a comparison of the various options available to those looking to stay within the Animal Kingdom Resort Area.

3. Value Resorts

Staying at one of Walt Disney World’s Value Resorts is strongly recommended for smaller parties looking to save money or for families with young children. And since all Disney Resorts offer up the same great perks and benefit exclusives, like complimentary shuttle services to the parks and Extra Magic Hours for all guests, you won’t be missing out on anything by opting to go Value. Three of Disney’s five Value Resorts are located within the Animal Kingdom Resort Area; these are known as the “All-Star” Resorts, with each one catering to its own personal theme.

--Disney’s All-Star Sports:

All Star Sports resort pool
Photo Credit: Disney - All Star Sports Pool

It goes without saying that the theme here is all about sports, including such favorites as basketball, baseball, football, tennis, and even surfing. So if you have a budding little athlete who likes to get his or her game on in full Disney fashion, you can’t go wrong booking your stay here. With fun larger-than-life icons displayed throughout the resort to impressive and creative dĂ©cor at every turn, it’s definitely eye candy for children and grownups alike. Onsite recreational highlights include a playground, jogging trails, an arcade, and swimming at the resort’s two onsite pools—the Surfboard Bay Pool and the Grand Slam Pool.  Designed to make you feel like you’re at the beach, Surfboard Bay Pool is full of 242,471-gallons of watery delight, surrounded by giant three-story surfboards all around. The Grand Slam is fashioned after a baseball diamond, hedged by three-story baseball bats. It even features a statue likeness of Goofy on a pitcher’s mound lobbing a stream of refreshing water to overheated swimmers looking to cool off. Another fun resident pastime at most Disney Resorts is enjoying Movies Under the Stars outdoors.

Resort rooms are pretty much all the same, though depending on which building you are in depends on the theme in which your room will be modeled after. Room sizes are generally 260-square feet in size and have the capacity to sleep up to four (plus a small child) amidst two double beds, and a crib if needed. All rooms come with the needed essentials, and all include a mini-refrigerator as well. While there are no onsite restaurants at any of the Value Resorts, plentiful options for eating can be found at the End Zone Food Court amidst various serving stations, which stay in operation from 6:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. There are also great grab-and-go items available as well as light picks and refreshing drinks at the onsite Grandstand Spirits Pool Bar.

--Disney’s All-Star Movies:

All Star Movies Resort
All Star Movies Resort Pool - Photo Credit Disney

If you just love Disney movie classics then get ready for act two of your overall Walt Disney World vacation by booking a stay at this resort. Echoes of iconic Disney movies, from older nostalgic films to newer classics from the 1990s, all co-star in an overall presentation of the resort’s theming. Top billing goes to such themes as Disney’s Fantasia, 101 Dalmatians, The Mighty Ducks, Toy Story, and “Herbie” The Love Bug. Depending on which room and in which building you stay depends on which of the aforementioned themes you will be sharing the spotlight with. Otherwise all rooms are pretty much the same, at the standard Value Resort 260-square-foot accommodation size and all the home essentials as well as an in-room mini-refrigerator. While the bed designations vary by room, all maintain the comfort and capacity to sleep up to four (plus a small child in a crib).

Step outside your room and you’re in for nonstop, scene-stealing experiences from amongst plenty of stellar recreational props and endeavors. Dive right into the Fantasia Pool, which even features a large Sorcerer Mickey fountain, or take a dip in the Duck Pond Pool. Themed for Disney’s The Might Ducks film franchise, this 105,438-gallon watery wonder is fashioned after the likeness of a hockey rink and attracts guests like a duck to the water.

Other onsite recreations to pursue include an onsite playground, jogging trail, the Reel Fun Arcade, and Movies Under Stars—the absolute perfect place to present such an activity.  And don’t forget about the delicious food possibilities to enjoy, featured daily from 6:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. at the resort’s own World Premier Food Court. Choose from five distinguished serving stations, starring a host of fan-favorite selections, or enjoy grab-and-go options on the run. Or take a bit of a hiatus for yourself to unwind with a specialty cocktail or other delightful drink concoction at the Silver Screen Spirits Pool Bar. 

--Disney’s All-Star Music:

All Star music Resort
All Star Music Resort Pool - Photo Credit Disney

This resort sings a different tune from all the All-Star others. With the exception of Disney’s newer Art of Animation Resort, this is the only other Value Resort to feature Family Suites in addition to typical room accommodations at the standard size of 260 square feet for four people (plus small child and crib). These family suites are larger, able to accommodate up to six, and come with two full bathrooms plus a kitchenette. It’s the perfect upgrade for those looking for value without sacrificing space and comfort (especially if you have many smaller children along with you).

The resort’s theming is inspired by some of the most popular musical genres in modern culture—Rock, Jazz, Country, Calypso, and Broadway show tunes. Like all Value Resorts, larger-than-life icons adorn the premises, with such flashy highlights as giant cowboy boots, guitars, drums, top hats and canes, saxophones, clarinets, maracas, microphones, musician silhouettes, a giant jukebox archway, and so many others. The resort’s recreational highlights are made up of a chorus of plentiful pursuits, from the Note’able Games Arcade to jogging trails and an onsite playground. And let’s not forget about Movies Under the Stars.

But perhaps the most popular pastime here, as in most other resorts, is swimming. And All-Star Sports boasts two main pools to chill out at. The first one is the 251,418-gallon guitar-shaped Calypso Pool, featuring the Three Caballeros (Donald Duck, José Carioca, and Panchito Pistoles) at its centerpiece acting as a refreshing fountain that shoots off bursts of water at nearby swimmers. The second is the Piano Pool—a 106,036-gallon leisure pool, which, as you may have guessed, is fashioned after a piano. Please note however, that the aforementioned Calypso Pool is currently closed for refurbishment through December, but guests may still enjoy the benefits of the Piano Pool.

For delicious food just head to the resort’s Intermission Food Court, open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. As is the case at all All-Star resorts, you’ll be sure to find a hit single or mixed demo to your taste buds’ liking from amongst various serving stations and options, including grab-and-go items. And for those looking for a spirited undertaking, there’s no better place to unwind than at Singing Spirits Pool Bar.

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