When you’re on vacation at Disney World, sometimes you feel like enjoying a low-key evening. And there’s no better way to do that than to catch movies under the stars at Disney resorts. You can plan on watching Disney classics and films at any Disney resort where they’re available.
Since many vacationers stay on Disney property, you can see what times these films are playing at your resort. Alternatively, you can hop over to a nearby resort if one of your favorites gets scheduled to play there. These showings are free and only available to guests staying at Walt Disney World resorts. Here’s everything you need to know about this perk.
- What Are Movies Under the Stars at Disney World?
- Which Resorts Show Movies Under the Stars?
- How Long Do the Movies Last?
- Are There Other Ways To Check for Showing Times and Schedules?
- Are the Movies Suitable for Children?
- What About Seating?
- What Else Can I Bring?
- Dress for the Weather
- Summary and Conclusion
What Are Movies Under the Stars at Disney World?
Movies under the stars are complimentary film screenings for Disney World resort guests. They’re usually shown in the evening outdoors at various hotels and resort grounds. If Florida’s rainstorms or inclement weather conditions get in the way, the resorts move the film screenings indoors.
Each screening is different, so there may be multiple nights during your stay where you can take advantage of this benefit. It’s a great way to spend time with the family, meet fellow guests, and watch new or classic Disney movies. Because the event is true to its name, movie schedules can change with the season.
Movies under the stars will typically start earlier in the fall and winter. And the showings will begin later on spring and summer evenings. You can ask or call your front desk to find out when these events are happening at your resort. You can also ask the front desk to notify you if there’s a cancellation or rescheduling.
Which Resorts Show Movies Under the Stars?
As you may know, Disney resorts can fall under different categories. Some are value hotels, and others are deluxe villas. However, Walt Disney World makes movies under the stars at several resort types. Here’s a list of some of the resorts with complimentary Disney films.
- All-Star Music Resort
- Art of Animation Resort
- Coronado Springs
- Fort Wilderness Campground and Resort
- Boardwalk Inn
- The Grand Floridian
- Saratoga Springs
- Old Key West
But you don’t have to be a guest at any specific resort to join in on a scheduled showing. As long as you are a guest at one of Walt Disney World’s resorts, you can catch any movies under the stars events. You may need to show your resort card or some other proof that you’re a resort guest.
The other caveat is that most Disney resorts restrict pool use to guests staying at those locations. Many movies under the stars at Disney World get shown near pools. If you plan on attending an event at a different resort, don’t assume you can take a dip in the pool there. Some resorts have exceptions to this policy, so call ahead or check the signs.
How Long Do the Movies Last?
You can plan on being busy for two hours during most showings. Plus, you’ll want to build in arrival and departure times, even if you’re seeing a showing at your resort. You’ll need time to gather some creature comforts and walk to the showing area from your room.
Some movies may be a bit shorter or longer. You can always call the front desk of the resort where the event is taking place for exact times. In some cases, you may want to figure out driving or travel time, including monorail or resort bus schedules.
Are There Other Ways To Check for Showing Times and Schedules?
You can check resort activity schedules online if you don’t want to call the front desk or the line is busy. Disney also has an app for checking resort activities and movies under the star’s schedules around the resort. For some, checking online or through the app is easier than calling around.
If a strong storm rolls in, you can go back online or in the app to see if the showing gets rescheduled. However, Disney resorts aren’t under any obligation to notify guests about cancellations or reschedulings. While cast members often do provide these updates, last-minute changes and unforeseen circumstances do happen.
Are the Movies Suitable for Children?
Of course! This is Disney after all! The resorts only show Disney films with a G or PG rating. They’re not going to display movies with PG-13, R, or unrated ratings. Walt Disney World is a popular family destination, and it doesn’t serve the brand to show films from the Disney lineup that might be controversial or inappropriate for kids.
You can expect to see cartoon classics like The Little Mermaid and Alladin. Around the holidays, you might be able to catch Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas, or Santa Paws. You can see the ratings for each movie under the stars at Disney in the app or the resort’s list of activities.
What About Seating?
Except for the bleachers at Fort Wilderness Resort, none of the other showings provide seating. You’ll need to plan on bringing fold-up lawn chairs or blankets to make yourself comfortable. Most people spread blankets on the grass since it’s more challenging to travel with lawn chairs. Imagine trying to get those on a flight!
But if you’re coming in from another part of Florida or driving down to Walt Disney World, fold-up lawn chairs might be more feasible. Just be sure to put your name or clear identification on them since movies under the stars can get crowded.
Seating may be provided at indoor showings. However, it doesn’t hurt to bring your supplies in case. Space and seating may be more limited if resorts must move events inside.
What Else Can I Bring?
Most people want to munch on snacks when they go to the movies. Kids, especially, have a hard time seeing others their age eat popcorn and sip on drinks if they don’t have something. But if you’re staying on Disney property, that also probably means you’re eating at your resort.
It helps to buy popcorn and other movie snacks at the resort commissary before the show. You can also purchase drinks like hot cocoa or soda there. Some guests prefer to buy a refillable mug and refill on drinks no matter which resorts they go to. That can help you cut down on your eating expenses.
That’s because the average price of a bottle of water or soda will run you around $4 to $5 each time. However, a refillable mug only costs you around $20 once. Since there’s no limit on refills, this mug pays for itself. Plus, you and your kids will have an instant souvenir to take home.
Dress for the Weather
Florida may be known for its high humidity and heat. But that doesn’t mean that there can’t be a chill in the air or that a surprise downpour won’t start. In months like December and January, you might want to bring a sweater in case you get cold. The humidity makes 50 or 60 degrees feel much cooler than these temperatures do up north.
You’ll be surprised at how cold 55 degrees feels on a Florida night if you’re used to a dry climate such as Arizona or Colorado. That said, it might be a good idea to bring a hoodie or sweater you can put on and remove. Temperatures usually don’t shift quickly or drastically in Florida, but rainstorms can dampen how things feel.
Speaking of rainstorms, it doesn’t hurt to bring a poncho or warm waterproof jacket. Yes, many of the stores sell basic ponchos you can buy in a pinch. But who wants to get soaked? You’ll need a good hair and clothes dryer to air everything back out. Before you go, you can check the average temperature ranges in Orlando by month.
Summary and Conclusion
Movies under the stars at Disney World are a fun way to spend evenings at Disney resorts. Whether you want to spend a quiet evening at your hotel or catch a Disney flick you missed in the theatres, these showings are fantastic events to add to your vacation schedule. The best part is they don’t cost extra to see, and you can attend several at different resorts if you’re a guest.
However, you’ll want to see which movies are showing at what resorts and when. Keep in mind that these times and dates can change depending on poor weather and other emergencies. You can check online, use the Disney Experience app, or call each resort’s front desk for schedules.
Because Disney usually shows movies outdoors, you’ll want to bring your blankets, seats, and snacks. You might also want a warm hoodie or rainproof jacket, just in case. Catching a movie under the stars at a Disney resort can be just as unforgettable as the latest theme park attraction or show. It may be more low-key, but it’s still a great way to entertain the family.