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.

December 31, 2013

The day had finally arrived. We woke the kids up at 5:30 am and were on the road by 5:50. We had everything packed the night before and just had to grab a few last minute things out of the fridge so we were ready quickly. It was a very cold morning and there was a possibility of snow so we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to get to O’Hare airport. We watched Peter Pan on the way and hit no traffic so we got there early. We parked in the remote lot F, took a picture of our parking spot, and hopped on the bus. We made our way to the check in and had to wait in line for a bit. Just before we were to the desk, the worker announced that if we had not printed our boarding passes that there would be a charge, so I hopped out of line and printed them at the only station of 4 that actually worked. I got back in line and we checked in. The next step was security and we got lucky with our first fast pass and were sent to the quick line. There was only one person in front of us. The other line probably took 30-40 minutes to get through. Yay! We made it to the gate and entertained ourselves.

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We took some walks, the kids played iPods, ate a late McDonald’s breakfast, and made sure we used the restroom before we boarded.

We flew Spirit and they have a bad reputation, but we knew going in that nothing would be included. We brought snacks and our water from McDonald’s. The flight went smoothly. The kids had fun and Cara was excited for her first airplane ride. ┬áPart way through the trip, Abby said, “I don’t know why I was so excited to fly on an airplane. It’s pretty much just getting there. It’s kind of boring.” Those are my thoughts exactly. I used to think flying was so exciting but it really is the idea of going somewhere. The actual airplane is pretty boring.

We landed in Orlando at MCO and made our way to the Magical Express. It was the first time we used our MagicBands. We scanned in and made our way to the bus. We had to sit there awhile but then we were on our way. After 3 stops, we were dropped off at All-Star Movies Resort. We checked in and made our way to the Love Bug section. The room was sufficient but had a funny smell upon entering and was less than I had expected.

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I emptied a few of our bags and repacked a bag to take to Hollywood Studios with us and we were right back out the door. We went to the bus stop and got on the bus for Hollywood Studios. The fun part was finally starting!

At Hollywood Studios, we decided to eat at Pizza Planet, so we walked straight there since we hadn’t eaten much all day. I ordered at the counter while Derek and the kids found a place to sit on the patio. It was so nice to eat outside on New Year’s Eve! After we ate, we headed toward the front of the park to get ready to go to Fantasmic. Last time we were at Disney World, we did not see the Fantasmic show, so I was really excited to see it. We used a fastpass and were able to walk right in. We sat in the third row and had a pretzel and some popcorn while we waited for the show to start.

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The show itself was amazing. Lights, water, fire, fireworks, and characters all made the show spectacular. I wish I’d have taken more pictures, but the show was mesmerizing and I really didn’t think to take very many!

After Fantasmic, we decided it was time to call it a night and we headed back to the resort. We explored the resort a little and then made our way to our room.

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When we got there, our suitcase had been delivered and I unpacked a little more and got Cara’s bed set up. It was a long day of travel but a great way to end 2013.

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.┬áThere 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