Hey now, you're an All Star

by 9/12/2014 05:58:00 AM 0 comments
It's my birthday today, how about a blog entry?

Location Location Location

Hey, guys. You know how  excited you got when you finally got a date with that gorgeous girl you've had your eye on? Now remember how terrified you were when you got to the restaurant and she held the menu? Yea, she gets the lobster and you're stuck with a water and salad. Extra croutons. That's kind of what it's like picking out a resort at Disney World.

Let me kick this off by telling you we were supposed to stay at Port Orleans. If you're not familiar with it, Port Orleans is kind of split in two different areas. Riverside (old plantation style buildings) and French Quarter ('Nawlins). This had me excited for two reasons. One, it is located close to the parks. Two, you can rent a cane pole and bait and fish off their dock. I'm sure there were other things that should have interested me like food, scenery and boats but FISHING. Then about 2 months before our vacation all of that changed.

Disney ain't cheap, folks. They want your money and they will get it. They just don't want you to know that you're giving it to them so they offer special discounts and such during the off season. See, our original vacation date was during the first week of August because of 3 birthdays and an anniversary. My wife called Disney, as the date approached, asking if any discounts or special offers had been released during our vacation dates. She was told that if she were able to delay the dates by a month we would be able to change our hotel from a suite to a pair of smaller rooms with a conjoined door. This would save us upwards of $700. Naturally she jumped at it and with that I was moved away from my fishing dock at Port Orleans and touched down at All Star Sports.

I know what you're thinking. A week long vacation and the adults get a room all to themselves. ON THEIR ANNIVERSARY (kind of). Between the magic of the parks, romance of the roses you had arranged to be delivered while you were out, and two - count 'em two - beds at your disposal...yea well if you're thinking what I was thinking we would both be wrong. Anyways, back to the hotel.

At first I was a little disappointed to step down in “luxury” from one resort to the other, but as I began the in depth planning of our trip I realized that really it was just a place we would sleep. I think that's key when anyone is planning their first trip. If you've got a limited number of days and you are planning to maximize your time in the parks, you won't get to enjoy the amenities of your resort. For instance, at All Star Sports (and virtually all Disney resort properties) a movie is shown nightly near the pool on a giant inflatable screen. We thought this to be an amazing idea, and one the kids would love. The number of times we actually took advantage of this: 0. And we were staying less than 100 yards from the pool. I know this because All Star Sports has a football field for a courtyard and I walked out my door to the Visitor's 42 yard line. To be honest, the closest we came to watching a movie was when we visited the Polynesian resort (more on that later) and watched a cast member get attacked and subsequently swallowed by the very screen he was trying to inflate. I laughed.

Back to All Star Sports. It is located at the southern most tip of the Disney properties. This makes it about as far away from Magic Kingdom or Epcot as you can get. Like many of the value line resorts, the theme is centered around larger than life outdoor decorations. Since we were staying in the football area, we had the aforementioned football field adorned with 20 foot tall helmets as well as giant footballs to house the staircases.

There are also tennis, basketball, surfing and baseball themed complexes each with their own over sized decorations. The baseball area featured its own small pool that represents the diamond of a scaled down baseball field, complete with stadium style lighting for night time illumination and cups of Coke large enough to be banned in New York.

When I entered the resort I found the lobby to be decorated with equal parts noise and confusion. Elsewhere the decor was more suitable. Sporty wall hangings in the bedrooms, some acrylic on glass in the food court (aptly named The End Zone) and the gift shop featuring a handful of ESPN Zone items just as you enter. And people. It was decorated with lots of people.

My wife walked in first, followed by a few of my kids and then myself. What I saw reminded me of an airport ticket counter on December 23rd. One side of the room had several lines of people looking to check in. The other had fewer people but was labeled with some expensive looking French word called “concierge”. My wife, being the adventurous type, immediately claimed her place in one of the longer lines voicing the many languages of Babel. We would find out later this was indeed the wrong line and we should have been in the concierge queue. While all this transpired I acquainted myself with the gift shop and food court. And by “acquainted myself with” I mean I kept having to chase down various children, of which I am the fault of, through said locations.

Truthfully there isn't a whole lot to say about the All Star Sports resort. It was functional. It served its purpose. I will say that I found the football field in front of our rooms to be rather charming. Charming, in that of an evening while walking to our rooms there would be random families out on the turf playing a game of pickup football. It reminded me of simpler times and I wished I could have sat down and watched them for a bit or even played. Sadly it was not meant to be, I'm sure it had something to do with a 6am wake up call so we could be first in line at the next park.

Whoever planned this vacation was a sadist.

Mikey Whisenhunt

Pseudo-blogger, Dad, Husband, Disnerd

I'm Mike. I'm a married father of 3 boys. When not at work I spend my spare time talking my wife into Disney trips.


Post a Comment