Imagineering Awesome: Extra Value with a Side of Pizazz

This post is part of the Imagineering Awesome series

Welcome to the fourteenth post in the Imagineering Awesome series on Mouse on the Mind! You can access all of the posts  by clicking on the link at right. 

In the grand tradition of saving the best for last, today’s post is from Estelle from This Happy Place Blog. At first, you may think Estelle is a little crazy here … but hang in there. Not only does she sneak in several Disney films, she also has an excellent (and really pretty) point. 


You know that feature magazines sometimes have? Where an overly made up, scantily clad celebrity is thrown into the hands of a stylist and given a makeunder? After staying at the All-Star resorts in Walt Disney World a handful of times in the last few years, I’m ready to volunteer this space for the same kind of treatment.

Instead of toning down the eyeshadow or wearing clothes that accentuate the body instead of show off all the skin, I’d knock down all those plastic oversized THINGS, lighten the color palette, and completely refurb all of these spaces with a theme that is pleasing to both children AND adults. (That’s what Disney Parks are all about, right?)

All Star Resorts (This Happy Place Blog)

I promise you I came up with this idea before every kid you came in contact with was singing “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” at the beach. (True story.)

How about (drum roll, please) seasons?

Yes, you heard me right: Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer.

Disney’s priorities when it comes to the value resorts are to make them as bright and kid friendly as possible. So much so that these are the resorts the general population is thinking of when sighing through the possibility of a trip to WDW, instead of relishing in the beauty of Wilderness Lodge or even Coronado Springs. Let’s change the narrative of this portion of vacation planning, shall we?

All Star Resorts (This Happy Place Blog)

With a seasonal theme, not only are the décor and amenity options so vast, but it’s a nice little allusion to Fantasia too.

Each All-Star Resort has 5 different themes, and 10 buildings. There are two pools, one cafeteria and shop per resort. No math is going to turn 3 into 4 (believe me, I tried), so the first order of business is to divide up the resorts.

  • All-Star Sports = Winter
  • All-Star Music = Autumn
  • All-Star Movies = Spring/Summer

I’m picturing this for the exterior:

  •  Murals depicting each season
  • Lots of foliage and colorful flowers/topiaries
  • Clever uses of light

We have to make these look gorgeous so no one feels prejudiced against one season, right?

I may hate the oversized dalmatian or creepy ballerina from these resorts, but I understand that many families are going to be staying at the values too. A little bit of entertainment theme and synergy can go a long way, and Disney could easily bring Frozen to the Winter Resort, The Nightmare Before Christmas to Fall, and Tangled and Summer Magic to the Spring/Summer Resort.

How about the pools?

  • Winter > snowflake and snowman pools
  • Fall > big leaf and a pumpkin pool
  • Summer > surfboard and flower (with sprinklers!)

My biggest reason behind this “seasons” makeover is the room. I never understood why “value” must translate to bright and cheap looking. (These rooms are still expensive compared to other vacation resorts!) So let’s ditch the wallpaper borders and framed posters and replace them with modern color palettes and landscape paintings depicting the “season” of the building. Bring back the bedspreads, and make sure each room is stocked with cups! (Okay, these are just personal preferences.)

Now some of the fun stuff! For children and big kids alike!

  • Hot tubs in each of the Resorts. Please, I miss these most when I am at the values.
  • Do-it-yourself frozen yogurt in the Winter Resort.
  • Starbucks café in the fall resort with cider and pumpkin lattes all year round.
  • Italian ice and iced tea café in Spring/Summer Resort.

Not only are these stops a bonus to your vacation, but it also gives guests a reason to hop over to the other Resorts too.

Some people might argue that Disney might never make a beautiful value resort. It doesn’t seem that way, would it? Realistically, it would be tough for them to even consider revamping the All-Star resorts because they are always full. (Maybe if they did one at a time?) But it would be nice to have someone championing these resorts instead of acquiescing to the fact that they are “good enough”.

(We deserve more.)

All Winter Resort Mood Board (This Happy Place Blog)

palette from design seeds | pillow at west elm | print from etsy ]

Think about the twinkly lights (winter!), cute costumes for the cast members (Gloves! Hats! Florals!), beautiful trees created by Imagineers, maybe even throw a little edutainment value in there by providing details of weather from around the world (Thermometers! Stats! Oh my!).

I know I’m really living in a dream world when it comes to this particular idea but guys, I have to believe in my heart (and for my bank account) that values can be imagineered into something awesome.

I’m going to request a room near the Snowflake Pool at All Winter Resort. You?