Yesterday I discussed how the All Star Resorts came into existence and gave specifics about the All Star Sports Resort. Today I’m going to discuss the All Star Music and Movies Resorts.
The All Star Music Resort was the second value property to open at Walt Disney World. From the exterior, the main building (Melody Hall) is almost identical to Stadium Hall located at the All Star Sports Resort. The only significant difference is the color of the building. All Star Sports is primarily blue while All Star Music is primarily red. Bus transportation to the various theme parks, water parks, and Downtown Disney is located outside of Melody Hall. Buses run every 20 minutes (more often during busy times) from 1 hour before a park opens until 1.5 to 2 hours after a park’s closing.
Like All Star Sports, the check-in desk at All Star Music is large and can handle large groups all checking in at the same time. The musical notes beneath the counter are the song “When You Wish upon a Star” from Pinocchio. Behind the check-in desk are drawings of Disney characters and a variety of musicians getting into the beat with a sampling of styles and instruments.
For a small daily up-fee, guests can reserve a room in one of the buildings close to Melody Hall. (This service is also available at the All Star Sports and All Star Music.) I highly recommend this for guests with mobility limitations as these resorts are humongous and require a lot of walking.
Souvenirs, sports apparel, postcards, snacks and sundries can all be purchased at Maestro Mickey’s.
A music “Hall of Fame” leads guest to the video arcade and the food court. Depicted here are many legends from the music industry. When you visit, take a moment to see some of the greats pictured.
Note’able Games is the spot to test your eye-hand coordination with electronic wizardry. It’s interesting to note, Disney only features non-violent games in its arcades.
Hungry? Intermission Food Court is the answer. Breakfast can be as simple as a bagel and coffee to a specialty omelet. Lunch and dinner options include sandwiches, made-to-order salads, and Italian specialties, just to name a few. And don’t forget to check for the Chef’s nightly special.
A beverage station and topping bar are located just past the registers. The dining room seats 550 guests. One wall features a large mural of eclectic entertainers. The music heard in the background mimics the various styles depicted on the mural.
The five sections of the All Star Music are as follows:
Calypso – opened October 22, 1994 (Officially opened on November 1, 1994)
Jazz Inn - opened December 18, 1994
Rock Inn - opened January 20, 1995
Country Fair - opened February 12, 1995
Broadway Hotel - opened February 17, 1995
Calypso is the first themed area you enter when exiting Melody Hall. As the name would suggest, a tropical paradise is yours for the taking. The stairwells are enclosed inside giant conga drums and the buildings’ entrances are marked by colorful marimbas. The giant maracas could hold 150,000 beads and there are 934 banana leaves on the railings.
Calypso Pool is shaped like a giant guitar and holds 251,418 gallons of water. In the rosette you’ll find Donald Duck, Panchito Pistoles, and José Carioca from the animated film “The Three Caballeros.” An all-weather Ping-Pong table is available for the competitive souls. The laundry room is located nearby in a tropical bungalow. Vending machines offer sodas and snacks.
Venturing onward we come to Jazz Inn. Silhouetted swing musicians shield the stairwells and a huge drum set marks the buildings’ entrances. Large instruments line the railings accented with 68 pairs of sunglasses and 470 musical notes. There is a “deliberate” Mickey (as opposed to a “hidden” Mickey) on top of the cymbals.
In the courtyard is a fountain (a la New Orleans) surrounded by a wrought iron fence. This is a wonderful spot to sit, relax, and enjoy the sounds of nature.
Beyond Jazz Inn is Piano Pool. As you can probably guess, the pool is shaped like a baby-grand piano – complete with 88 keys. This pool is usually much quieter than Calypso Pool and is better suited for adults wanting to sun and read. Keeping an eye on activities is Ariel, Sebastian, and Flounder. The laundry room can be found inside an oversized radio.
The other three sections of the All Star Music Resort radiate off of the Piano Pool. These are Rock Inn, Country Fair, and Broadway Hotel. Let’s start with Rock Inn.
Rock Inn uses giant speakers to house its stairwells and an oversized juke box to mark the entrances. There are 160 records on the balconies. Be sure to take a look at the call letters on top of the old-style microphone.
The railings at the Country Fair section of the resort feature giant fiddles, banjos, bolo ties (with Mickeys), and musical notes. The stairwells are concealed inside harmonicas and giant boots greet guests as they enter the building. The boots are size 270 and there are132 trucks circling the rooftop. Ten-four, good buddy.
Between the Country Fair buildings is a rustic picnic area. Tables are just waiting for guests to enjoy an al fresco meal beneath a shady oak tree.
Disney often invites high school bands, choral groups, and other musical troupes to perform somewhere on property. More often than not, these groups are lodged at the All Star Music Resort. This isn’t a problem in and of itself, but kids can be enthusiastic and if you’re looking for a quiet getaway, this might not be your best choice. However, sometimes you find unexpected surprises when you least expect them. While photographing this resort, I stumbled across a young group of violinist, practicing for their upcoming appearance at Downtown Disney. Their performance brought a tear of joy to my eye.
The last section of the resort is Broadway Hotel. A boulevard, complete with street signs, runs between the two buildings. Theater stage doors house the stairwells and a marquee graces the entrances. The top hats that line the railing are size 125. Disney’s musical “Beauty and the Beast” is highlighted on the marquee.
The rooms at the All Star Music Resort are remarkably similar to those at the All Star Sports Resort. Two double beds, a night stand, a small table and two chairs, and a chest of drawers make up the bedroom. A single sink and closet area can be found in the vanity area and the toilet and shower/tub are located behind a solid door.
I did have one complaint about the rooms at all three All Star Resorts. The high speed internet cable can be found on the nightstand located between the two beds. At the All Star Sports and Movies, the cord was 12 feet in length and just barely reached the table. If I had had kids staying with me, this would have been a hazard as the “floating” wire is an accident waiting to happen.
At the All Star Music Resort, the wire was only six feet in length. When I called the front desk to complain, I was told that this was the only length Disney offered. When I explained that the night before the All Star Sports Resort provided me with a 12 foot cable, I was connected to a supervisor. About an hour later a technician knocked on my door and installed a 12 foot cable. Still inadequate, but tolerable.
I realize that most people who visit Disney are spending their time in the parks, not in their room connecting to the internet. But enough people visit here on business that Disney really needs to rethink the location of their internet connections. I encountered this same problem at the Caribbean Beach Resort earlier this year.
This next video runs a little over seven and a half minutes and shows the entire resort plus the room. The second video is one and a half minutes and shows the room only.
The All Star Movies Resort looks remarkably similar to its sister resorts. The only notable difference from the outside is its color, teal.
Because the All Star Movies Resort was built more than four years after Sports and Music, some design changes were incorporated into this third iteration. In the check-in area, the concierge desk has been combined with the check-in desk. Although this has little effect on the guests, it allows greater flexibility for the cast members. A mural depicting scenes from Hollywood and Los Angeles can be seen behind the counter.
Donald’s Double Feature is the spot to buy souvenirs, sundries, and snacks.
The “Movie Wall” features photographs of Walt and other Disney Academy Award winners. Since 1932 Walt Disney Studios has one more Academy Awards than any other individual or studio. Walt Disney himself was awarded 39 Oscars. The second place holder was awarded 11.
Another subtle design change can be seen at Reel Fun Arcade. The entrance has been redesigned slightly from its sister resorts. However, the games inside are just as much fun.
But the biggest change was the redesign of the food court. The designers underestimated the demand at Sports and Music and these food courts are often overly crowded. World Premier Food Court is noticeably larger and better lit, creating a more comfortable experience. Each of the four food stations and the grab-and-go section are named after famous theater chains, Grand, Roxy, Lyric, Rialto, and Majestic. Disney movie posters line the walls of the dining room.
Refillable mugs can be purchased and refilled at any of the three food courts.
The five sections of All Star Movies and their opening dates are as follows:
The Mighty Ducks - January 15, 1999
101 Dalmatians - January 15, 1999
Fantasia - March 1, 1999
The Love Bug - March 1, 1999
Toy Story - April 15, 1999
Unlike the other sections of the All Star Movies Resort, the Fantasia section is represented by two movies, “Fantasia” and “Fantasia 2000.” Both buildings use spell books to conceal their stairwells, but the icons on the two buildings differ from one another.
The “Fantasia” side uses Mickey sorcerer’s hat and brooms to line the building. The sorcerer's hat is 45 feet high and 44 feet in diameter at the base. The brooms and buckets are 23 feet wide from bucket to bucket. The top of the broom is 36 feet high.
The facing building uses the story of “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” from Fantasia 2000. A 35 foot high jack-in-the-box greets guests and a 35 foot tall ballerina is watched over by dedicated soldiers.
Fantasia Pool holds 231,610 gallons of water and is surrounded by a number of lounge chairs and tables. Sorcerer Mickey stands high atop a mountain peak and directs the activities below. The laundry room is nearby and housed in an ice structure.
While you’re in the area, be sure to find Donald and Daisy as Noah and his wife from the “Pomp and Circumstance” section of “Fantasia 2000.” If you look closely, you can see Donald’s footprints in the concrete.
“The Love Bug” opened in 1968 and was the highest-grossing film of 1969. It spawned a number of sequels and a section at the All Star Movies Resort. Herbie’s front end and rear end grace the buildings’ entrances. His tires are 9 feet in diameter and weigh about 7 tons. Movie clapboards hide the buildings’ stairs and 35 foot tall pliers and 36 foot tall screwdrivers line the railings.
Located in the courtyard is the “Winner’s Circle.” Here you’ll find one of the actual Herbies used in the original movie. It’s interesting to note, all references to VW were removed for the movie as Volkswagen never authorized the use of its name.
“Toy Story” premiered in 1995 and was the first ever feature film to be made entirely with CGI. The characters were so enduring that they garnered a spot at the All Star Movies Resort. To enter the courtyard, guests must pass through a doorway leading to Andy’s room. Once inside, Buzz, Woody, Rex, and Bo Peep are waiting to pose for pictures. Buzz stands 47 feet tall and Woody is 30 feet tall from his waist to his hat as he sits on the ground. Woody's boot is 7 feet tall.
The stairwells are enclosed within “Bucket O'Soldiers”. The buckets are approximately 27 feet high and 36 feet in diameter. The green army men have escaped and stand guard around the building’s rooftop.
“101 Dalmatians” opened in 1961 and was the first Disney animated film to be set in a contemporary time period. This movie is represented at the All Star Movies Resort with giant replicas of Pongo and Perdita, each weighing 17,000 pounds. They each required 15 gallons of paint, not including the ottomans on which they sit. Pongo was shipped from California in four pieces on two wide load trucks. It took workers two days to put him together. Thirty-six foot high fire hydrants house the stairwells.
A scene from the movie creates a wonderful photo op. Here I am enjoying a canine moment. And be on the lookout for Horace, Jasper, and Cruella de Vil.
Kanine Krunchies, the puppy’s favorite treat, are strewn along the walkways.
If you added all the puppies that line the railings, the puppy watching TV, and Pongo and Perdita, the total would be… Well, I think you can figure it out.
Although some rooms do look out onto the parking lots, most of the rooms face the courtyards or into wooded areas. Disney has gone to great lengths to minimize bad views. Here is an example of a “garden” view.
The final section at the All Star Movies is the Mighty Ducks. This live-action movie was released in 1992 and starred Emilio Estevez. The two duck masks that guard the buildings’ entrances are constructed from more than 1200 pounds of plaster and 11,000 pounds of shotcrete. The hockey goalie nets that house the stairs are 31 feet high. If you look closely, you can see a puck flying into the net. The hockey sticks that line the railing are 31 feet high and made of aluminum.
The “quiet” swimming pool is themed after a hockey rink and Goofy plays the determined goalie. The laundry facility here is inside an enormous locker room.
All of the buildings at the All Star Resorts are three stories high. Two elevators and ice and drink machines can be found at each building’s core.
Room renovations have just begun at the All Star Movies. When completed, they will look unsurprisingly similar to those at the All Star Sports and Music. Subtle differences such as pictures and wallpaper boarders are the only significant variance from one resort to the next.
This first minute and a half video shows the old rooms. The second video shows the new rooms. And the third, nine and a half minute video shows the entire resort and a remodeled room.
That’s it for the All Star Resorts. I think these resorts are great. In fact, I think they’re worth visiting even if you’re not staying here. Take an hour out of your vacation one day and stop by. The picture opportunities are abundant and it’s relaxing to wander the pathways. It will be time well spent.
In closing, I’d like to ask a few questions and offer answers.
Are the All Star Resorts luxury accommodations? Nope. Do they offer lots of extras and services? Nope. Will they suit everyone’s tastes? Nope.
Are the All Star Resorts fun? Absolutely! Will they make you smile? Definitely! Would I stay here again? Positively!
I am a big proponent of staying ON Disney property. The extra perks add to my enjoyment and I love being surrounded by Disney magic 24/7. I totally understand that a Disney hotel is not within everyone’s budget. But given that the price is equal, I would prefer to stay at the All Star Resorts rather than a “nicer” hotel/motel on Hwy 192 or International Drive. For me, nothing beats the Disney experience.
The previous post in this blog was All Star Resorts - Part 1.
The next post in this blog is A Lazy Afternoon on Sassagoula River.