All-Star Movies Resort

Going into this, I knew that by choosing a “value” resort that we would not be getting everything that we got when we stayed at the “deluxe” Wilderness Resort in 2010. However, I have to be honest, that All-Star Movies Resort was still not what I expected. It was fine and served its purpose, but the room felt like a motel and not a resort. The room had an exterior entrance, a funny smell upon entering, and just the bare necessities. There were two double beds but there was enough room to put the blow up toddler bed that I brought along, so we all had a (small) place to sleep.

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That being said, the lobby, store, restaurant and other areas did feel like a resort. The theming added a fun element. We didn’t get a chance to use the pool, but it was big and also added a focal point right out the back door of the lobby area. Sorcerer Mickey from Fantasia shooting a fountain of water into the pool was pretty neat. Overall, I would say if you are not going to spend much time at the resort and are looking to save money, I would recommend it. However, if you want to have time at the resort and are looking for some extras, choose somewhere else.

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Verve Hotel, Long Island City, New York:: April 2013

At the Verve Hotel, the front desk staff was very friendly and polite. We checked in and made our way to our room. We were on the first floor which at first I thought would be great because we wouldn’t have to mess around with the elevator but as soon as I got to the room and looked out the window, I rethought that. There was a fence a few feet out of our window.

Luckily we didn’t plan to spend much time in the room or in the hotel so it really wasn’t an issue. If you are making a reservation here, you should request an upper floor room. I’ve read that the views of the Manhattan skyline are great. Our room was clean and spacious. There was plenty of drawer space if you like to unpack and there was a small closet with robes inside. The bathroom was clean and functional. The beds and pillows were comfortable.

The included breakfast each morning was a nice way to start the day. There was a hot drink machine outside the breakfast room which was available all day. Being a non-coffee drinker, I was glad that it also included hot chocolate. We started and ended each day with hot chocolate. It was really good. There also was a water machine which was nice for filling water bottles to take along or just to have a drink at breakfast or to take to the room. In the breakfast room, there were some things the same each day like juice, milk, cereal, bagels, donuts, oatmeal, a waffle maker and then there were two hot items that changed. There were scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, veggie omelet, and egg white omelet.

We didn’t spend any time in the rest of the hotel other than our room and the breakfast room.

The Verve hotel is convenient to two subway stops. The closest one is the 39th Avenue stop which is on the yellow N, Q line. The only issue we had with that one is that we had to ride the line to the north then transfer and come back through because the train didn’t stop at that station when it was heading south. I think that was just at certain times of the day but it would be something to look into if you are planning on using the subway (which I would highly suggest). The other station which was a bit further away but still an easy walk was the Queensboro Plaza which is on the yellow N, Q and purple 7. The yellow N, Q would take you to Central Park while the purple 7 would take you to Grand Central Station and Times Square. We used both of those.

If you are looking for an affordable hotel near to the city and convenient to the subway, the Verve hotel is a great choice. Through hotels.com, we paid just $125/night.

NYC Verve

How do I Choose a Great Hotel?

I often have people ask me how I travel with kids. They ask me where they should go and where they should stay. The best place I’ve found to search for hotels is on hotels.com. They also offer Welcome Rewards which is free to sign up. Once you stay 10 nights, you get one free.  After you fill in your information such as where you want to go, when, and how many people, it is helpful to narrow the results. I usually make the max price about $130, depending on where we are going. I mark 2, 3, 4, and 5 stars. Then the crucial guest rating. I always look for a 4.0 or higher. I might consider a 3.9, but any lower than that and I have to be desperate. Depending on the type of trip, sometimes I mark pool in amenities. Once you have your list of potential hotels, you can sort them by using the “sorted by” on the right side of the page. I usually sort them by price, but there are other choices as well. If you decide to book a hotel, just make sure you sign into your account first so that you get credit toward your free night. We’ve earned 4 free nights in 4 years. That’s not too bad, especially since hotels.com has the best prices anyway.