It can prove to be difficult to find hotel rooms for a large family. I’m going to start writing about our experiences with different hotel room set-ups as a party of 7. First stop, Disney. We’ve stayed in a plethora of Disney Resort hotels. The list includes Value Resort Family Suites, 2 Value Resort hotel rooms, 2 Moderate Resort hotel rooms, 2-bedroom villas, and 2-bedroom suites.
We have tried both Value Resort Family Suite options at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s All-Star Music Resort. There are pros and cons to both. These are generally set up for parties of 6 or fewer, but we stayed here when my youngest was under 3 years old, so we were legal with all 7 of us.
We loved the Family Suites. Biggest plus: 2 bathrooms! The things both resorts have in common are two bathrooms with a separate bedroom and sitting room, and a kitchenette (which includes a microwave, coffee maker, and small refrigerator).
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
The newer of the two, this hotel’s theming is incredible. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is one of my favorite resorts! You can’t help but smile from ear-to-ear when you look around. Tons of bright colors, larger-than-life icons, and scenes from Disney•Pixar movies. There is a Cars, Finding Nemo, and Lion King section. There are some Little Mermaid rooms, but they are not family suites. The Finding Nemo family suites cost a little bit more for the location. They will be closest to the main building. The family suites are approximately 565 square feet.
The Big Blue Pool is the largest Walt Disney World Resort pool, and it is a zero-entry pool, which is a big bonus for my little Nemos who don’t have lucky fins. There are 2 other pools, too, at the resort.
Other pros include a kitchen table with chairs which is very helpful for breakfasts. You have a kitchenette, so you might as well use it. We ate cereal, donuts, muffins, or something quick in the mornings, which saved us money at the parks. The cool thing, too, is you pull down on the green handles on the side, and voila, the table turns into a double-size convertible bed. It’s probably the most comfortable bed in the suite, in my opinion. I was pretty surprised. Warning: If you have multiple small children they will fight over this bed, which may cause some contention, which may lead to you saying you need a walk and head over to Landscape of Flavors for a snack.
Landscape of Flavors is a favorite food court of mine. They have different quick-service options other than your typical pizza and hamburgers. With choices like a Surf and Surf Burger, make-your-own salad station, and a make-your-own pasta station, you are bound to please everyone.
The transportation is better at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. They have one dedicated resort bus stop, and it does not share with other resorts. Also, you have interior rooms inside a building compared to outside walkways at All-Star Music.
It’s more expensive than Disney’s All-Star Music Resort. Depending on the season, there’s about a difference of $70-$80 a night. If you’re staying for a week, that’s a chunk of change. The other con, too, is the size of the kitchenette. It’s pretty small and we didn’t have much room for groceries.
A possible con is the layout. If you have kids or grandma who don’t necessarily like sharing beds, the layout of Disney’s All-Star Music Resort has 2 twin pull-out beds rather than a double-size sleeper sofa bed with the addition of the queen bed in the bedroom, and double table bed.
Disney’s All-Star Music Family Suites
Disney’s All-Star Music Resort is also a fun resort! They also have large musical instrument icons like guitars, drums, saxophones, and maracas. The family suites are approximately 520 square feet. There are 2 pools at this resort and a water play area for smaller children. It is within walking distance to Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort and Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort, so we’ve gone exploring to other resorts, and the kids enjoyed it.
These rooms include a bedroom with a queen-sized bed, a living area with a double-size sleeper sofa, a sleeper chair, and a sleeper ottoman.
If you stay in a family suite, you automatically have a preferred location and are close to the main building with check-in and the food court.
The kitchenette has more storage, is bigger, and is out of the way.
The Intermission Food Court is kind of small and does not have the selection or flavors as Landscape of Flavors. But there are still plenty of options and my children probably enjoyed the food here better, because their palate is well, unsophisticated. Pizza and chicken nuggets are their go-to choices.
Now these suites were added in 2006, and as far as I know, they haven’t received furniture updates or refurbishments aside from TVs. So you notice the wear on them. The furniture is looking worn, and there’s a tiny 2-person table that’s pretty standard in all the hotel rooms, so eating breakfast was tricky with a larger family.
Disney bus transportation can be shared with the neighboring All-Star Movies Resort and All-Star Sports Resort. That’s usually during the middle of the day when the crowds aren’t as heavy. However, it can be annoying when your kids are tired and need a nap or you need a nap. Most of the time it’s fine though. All Disney buses are fickle. But if you have your own car, then it doesn’t really matter.
The beds aren’t as comfortable as the beds in Art of Animation. It worked for my children, because they like their own beds, so the little ones were thrilled with an ottoman sleeper and the chair sleeper.
The Family Suites are awesome! A good budget option (for Disney) for larger families. I would even recommend them to smaller families where parents just want some privacy. 2 TVs, 2 bathrooms, a kitchenette, more square footage. You get all the amenities of staying on-property like Extra Magic Hours, Disney’s Magical Express, free transportation to and from the theme parks, and added activities like pool parties and movies by the pool.
If the price were equal, I would choose Disney’s Art of Animation Resort all day, every day. However the price is not equal. So my budget and length of stay would determine which resort I chose. This may be backwards, but if I was only staying a couple of nights, I would choose All-Star Music. The savings could buy my family a character dining experience meal.
However, if I’m staying longer, I want to be more comfortable and enjoy the resort amenities, perhaps skip a park day and relax at the hotel and visit Disney Springs. I just sent my parents and cousins to the family suites at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, and they had no complaints.
So which one would you choose?