All-Star Music Resort Family Suite Review

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“I’m sorry. We don’t have a reservation under that name at this resort or any other Disney resort.”  This was the rocky start to my relationship with Disney’s All-Star Music Resort.  Baffled and sent away with my tail tucked between my legs, I found a seat in the lobby.  I needed wifi to pull up my confirmation email (which admittedly I should have already had with me), but I quickly learned there was no wifi anywhere.  I waited in the check-in line a second time to inquire about getting an internet connection but was told this was only available for an extra fee with (wait for it). . . a room reservation.  Sent away with my tail tucked between my legs for a second time, I spent some time seeking wifi and tracking down my confirmation email.

Once I was armed with the proof that my clan did, indeed, have the right to occupy one of the resort’s family suites, I waited in the check-in line for a third time.  The reservation was found under my last name with an incorrect spelling.  I was relieved–that is until I was told I needed to pay the balance on the room.  “This room should have already been paid for,” I explained to the lady behind the counter.  She pleasantly explained that the first night had been paid off but not the second, and I was bewildered when she asked if I would please hand over my credit card for the $300 per night charge. I was certain it had already been covered.  However, I thought it over for a few seconds and considered the fact that if I had to wait in that check-in line one more time I might hang myself.  With that visual in mind, I gave the woman my sparkling Disney Visa.  The matter would have to be figured out later as my family needed accommodations, and I knew we would not be able to find another room easily on the holiday weekend.

The papers were signed, and I was told that the room was available immediately.  Dragging my luggage and family of five along, I approached and opened the door to our suite on the second floor.  Bam! The intense smell of chlorine bleach hit me like a Mac truck.  “Whoa!” I exclaimed, “Back up! No children may enter here yet!”  My kids were tired. They were sweating. They were irritable, but there was no way I would let them in the room.  I reasoned that mild perspiration never hurt anyone; however, inhaling chlorine bleach had, and I made them wait out on the balcony while I did my best to air out the room.

After a few minutes with the door held open, the smell abated enough for everyone to enter.  This was when the course of our experience changed.  Everyone “ooohed and ahhhhed” as we inspected our temporary digs.  A living room featured a TV, table, a couple dining chairs, hidden beds in the sofa, stuffed chair, and ottoman.  It was simply but tastefully accented with a musical theme.  Equally simple and yet completely practical was a kitchenette with cabinets, sink, mini fridge, and microwave.  Around a corner was separate bedroom with TV, queen bed, and desk.  But clearly my favorite amenity was the set-up of two separate bathrooms, something of which even some DVC accommodations don’t boast.  We immediately felt quite comfortable in its crisp and clean atmosphere.

When I ventured out to the food court after settling in our quarters, it impressed me as just as clever.  It had separate stations such as a bakery, a grill, a pizzeria, an ice cream counter, waffle station, and beverage island.  The service was quick and efficient.  I sampled a burger and fries from the grill and sat amongst the colorful murals and posters of music celebrities in the court. It was a pleasant half hour for me.  My little ones colored at a strategically placed table that was stocked with coloring sheets and crayons .  I sat peacefully nearby and watched “Sonny With A Chance” on a mounted flat screen TV and finished my fries in peace.

“The grounds are somewhat eclectic and charming,” I noted when I scouted the area.  As with every Value Resort, All-Star Music was dotted with garish structures establishing its theme.  This style always creates a playful and energetic setting for families; however, hidden between the vivid musical monuments I found a rather serene environment–a fenced in rose garden with benches and a fountain.  Had I sought out relaxation, this would have been my area of choice.  But alas, relaxing is not my strong point when at Walt Disney World, and my family sought out action in these stomping grounds.

We followed the action trail to a central location of the resort.  Here we found the primary attraction of All-Star Music–the pools.  My family spent a large amount of time at the main pool on both days we were there.  The unique guitar shape of the pool along with the water gun-shooting Three Caballeros fountain in the center drew my kids like a Pooh Bear to the hunny pot. Imagine our enthusiasm when we discovered that pool parties were a daily event with energetic DJs and a nightly pool-side movie.  It is no surprise that this became the hot spot for the Knopps, and my kids returned from these pool events with bright smiles and tired eyes.

When our troop finally checked out of the family suite of Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, I conceded that it had been a great experience once we were actually permitted to set up camp.  The price seemed a bit steep, but being a large family who had need for some kitchen space, the cost was possibly justified.  Also, the second bathroom was appreciated on more than one occasion.  After all when you have young ones that “gotta go” at the same time, no mom wants to be praying that one can “hold it” while the other is lolly-gagging on the latrine.  With this arrangement we found ample places for everyone to be “relieved” as well as get ready to go without standing on top of one another.  In addition to that, the resort pool activities did create some wonderful family moments for which there was no price tag.  For my family with three younger children, it seemed a fantastic place to establish home base while running around the Walt Disney World Resort.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIpI1jx1h3A

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Posted on October 18, 2010

27 Responses to “All-Star Music Resort Family Suite Review”

  • I love the fountain at All Star Music. It’s a nice surprise among all the larger than life, colorful structures!

  • by Eunice Browne on October 19, 2010, at 6:35 am EST

    Looks great. What can you tell us about how comfortable the sleeper sofa, chair and ottoman were like? Are they only fit for kids or would adults get a good night’s sleep too?
    Thanks!

    • My kids were the ones who slept on the sleeper furniture, so I did not personally “experience” those mattresses. But here is what my 10 year old says about the beds [I will warn you that while she is 10, she often speaks like she is 35 . . . those of you that have met her know what I mean]:
      -The sleeper sofa and sleeper chair don’t provide a luxurious sleep, but they do provide an adequate sleep. The mattresses are rather firm, but it is still much better than sleeping on the floor.
      -The ottoman sleeper is not as comfortable as the sofa and the chair. It is even more stiff, but–again–it is much better than sleeping on the floor.

      I can tell you that when my husband and I crawled into bed on the first night (the queen bed in the master bedroom), I was slightly shocked by the lack of “comfort.” We are DVC members, and DVC mattresses are of great quality. Therefore, I was not prepared for the firm mattress that didn’t seem to absorb my “contours.” However, I was completely exhausted from a long day at that point, so I did sleep well despite the initial shock.

      All in all, our family did find our stay in the suite pleasant. We would do it again. So while our sleep wasn’t something I would describe as “divine,” it was definitely satisfactory. If you have need for that kitchenette and you have the finances for this accommodation, I do recommend this arrangement.

  • Never stayed at AS-M however I am inclined to check it out. I really didn’t expect to hear that there were nice quiet nooks to relax, however those can be a saving grace on a long trip.

    The family suites look AMAZING, however the price is what has deterred me in the past as I wouldn’t take advantage of the kitchenette and only being 3 people.

    • I will state that if you have no use for the kitchen, then I don’t see the “value” of the room considering the price tag. If your needs are simply a place to sleep and a place to shower, you can satisfactorily meet those needs with adjoining standard rooms (although you would lose the “homey” feel of the living room). But for a family that may have to prepare meals for an infant , a group that may want to socialize and host a gathering in their room, or a party with one member that has special dietary needs, this set-up can have tremendous value.

  • My husband and I were upgraded to an All Star Music family suite for free when we ran the Princess Half Marathon in March. We were very pleased with the size of the room (even though it was just the two of us,) and the two bathrooms were especially nice after running our race.

    I don’t think it’s worth the $200+ price tag, but for a free upgrade, absolutely. I would also try requesting a room in that area of the resort (without explicitly saying “Hey, we want a suite.”) We had requested a room on the top floor of either the Jazz or Calypso buildings, and I’m wondering if this was why we received the upgrade. Or maybe it was Disney magic, but that could never be, right? ;-)

    • Love that magic tip. I certainly can’t hurt to try, right?

      • Exactly! We tried Len’s tip he gave on the WDWToday podcast – put in your request when you make the initial reservation through the central reservation system, then call the resort directly 10 days before you arrive with the request. As always, it’s not guaranteed, but it gives you a better chance at getting the room you want.

  • In my opinion, the Family Suites in the All-Stars is one of the hidden “good” value-for-price paid secrets of the Walt Disney World Resort… I think if you are a DVC member… the studio accommodations give you much of the same (minus the second bathroom). BUT- it hits a good price point between the WIlderness Cabins and a standard room at a Moderate Resort for space.

    I played the part of Tour Guide/Nanny about 5 years ago when I was invited to join friends of mine at the last minute on their trip to Walt Disney World. As a 6 foot tall man, I felt the sleeper chair and ottoman is “adequate” and kinda comfy. :) We used the space exactly as designed, open community and kitchenette. The parents got some time to themselves in the actual bedroom and the kids and I bonded over popcorn and movies in the other room.

    Loved the write up JL :)

  • I agree – the room has a great, practical layout. We stayed at the All-Star Music in their family suite about a year ago. We are only a family of three, but we have some unique needs that really require the extra space. My husband uses a motorized wheelchair, so the kitchen area served as his parking place at night. Also, my son has severe multiple food allergies and a feeding tube, so we need to bring food with us into the parks. The kitchen area allowed us to keep his foods cold and heat them up as needed. I hated having to pay that much extra, but that’s just how it goes when you have special needs to accomodate.

    Oh, and I have to tell you that we ended up at the resort smack-dab in the middle of the cheerleading competition – I think we were the only non-cheering family in the entire hotel complex! It was quite amusing. :)

    • I had never thought of the convenience of a “parking spot,” but you are absolutely right. This might also serve as a great location to park a double stroller as well. Thank you for supplementing my post with your insight.

      With your son’s medical situation, I know you can appreciate (as I do) the need for that kitchenette. And I couldn’t agree more with you. I hate the added expense, but the fact of the matter is that when you have special needs, life–in general–is a lot more expensive.

      As far as the cheerleading crowd goes . . . at least you were surrounded by “upbeat” people. LOL! :D

  • by Craig Cudmore on October 19, 2010, at 11:33 am EST

    We stayed at All Star Music in a family suite just last week. I’ll reitterate that the master bedroom mattress is not terribly comfortable.

    Also a bit of trivia about the resort. The musical notes painted along the top of the walls in the food court are the notes for the Mickey Mouse Club theme some (“Who’s the leader of the band that’s made for you and me..”)

  • Thanks for the write-up! Do you know any of the quiet place gems at the ASMo? We’ll be staying there in May.

    • I have not been to All-Star Movies since 2003. At that time I had a three year-old, a one year-old, and I had just found out I was pregnant (making me nauseous and not wanting to stray too far from a bathroom), so there was no where that I could personally go to find quiet. However, if I remember correctly, there were a number of benches scattered throughout the resort that looked out on “open areas.” I would imagine that if you chose to occupy one of these benches during less-trafficked hours (such as in the morning), you could create a quiet spot for yourself.

      Since I live in Orlando and visit Disney on a weekly basis, I will make a point to revisit All-Star Movies to see what I can find for you. Then I’ll leave a comment in this post as a follow-up.

  • You have sold me on the family suite!! I have 3 little ones as well. We are staying at POP in Jan. but once the baby is 3, we can no longer do that. I researched it and it is a very similiar price point for a room at POR with a trundle bed and the family suite. I think we would appreciate greatly the extra bathroom and bedroom, as well as the fridge and kitchenette for a quick breakfast.

    • If the cost is a non-issue for you, I know you will appreciate the room. It certainly isn’t luxurious, but it is what I like to call “plussed practicality.”

  • JL, you are quite the story teller, I have to say. Reading your experience took me back to one of my first trips to the World after being an annual visitor, where I had a similar check in experience.

    Since it’s only the 4 of us, we usually just grab a Value room, and make the boy and girl share a bed. However, as they get older, I know those days are coming to an end. It’s great to see that you enjoyed this option, as the older my kids get, the more they are likely to grab a quick bite in the room and be ready to hit the parks. Sadly, there will be a lot fewer Crystal Palace breakfasts in my future.

  • There are pros and cons to every stage in life. There may be fewer Crystal Palace breakfasts, but there will less wasted time doing the Rider Swap.

  • What a great post! Gonna come back to see some updates.

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  • by Nancy & Jim Alden on September 4, 2012, at 10:14 am EST

    We are going to all Star Family suite this week end for a four day stay – Your video and inform helped easy my concerns – We will update upon departure -