Monday, February 22, 2016

Hotel Review: Disney’s Art of Animation

Disney’s Art of Animation is the newest on-property Disney resort.  It is a Value Resort Category but don’t let that “value” category dissuade you from staying here and having a wonderful time.  This property is simply one of the most amazing “Disney” resorts on property. This resort is truly unlike any other.  This resort's theme is fun and magical - something every Disney fan will love.  Walking around the resort and being in your room feels as though you are literally stepping into the movies – immersing you with every element and detail – it pleases young and experienced Disney fans.

Chandelier in Animation Hall featuring Disney sketches.
Disney's Art of Animation Resort, being a Walt Disney World Resort, has many Disney benefits and features.  The first benefit you’ll experience (if you fly into the Orlando International Airport), is Disney’s Magical Express; complimentary service that will bring you from Orlando International Airport to the front door of the resort.  As you pull up to the main lobby of this resort, Animation Hall, you’re greeted with grand buildings featuring sketches and drawing of your favorite Disney characters.  As you walk into Animation Hall, it is as if you’re walking on a rainbow!  Along the walls are the beginning sketches of some of your favorite Disney characters.  Once again, as you go deeper into the lobby the sketches turn into full scenes from movies.  The lobby building also features a classic Disney gift shop, the Ink and Paint Shop, that full of Disney gifts and treats.  Past the gift shop is where you'll find the resort's food court, Landscape of Flavors.  Also in the lobby is the Pixel Play Arcade.

Animation Hall from a check-in desk.
There are many check-in desks in the lobby and each Cast Member working the desks are trained in the way Disney knows best – friendliness and helpfulness, iconic of the Disney standard of service.   Even if you’ve done online check-in you’ll want to stop at the check in desk, this way you’ll be able to start using your Disney Dining Plan meal and snack credits! After checking in you can either have a bell hop help you with your luggage or take it to your room yourself.  As you exit the lobby building the Big Blue Pool is in your view.  The Big Blue Pool is the largest pool on Walt Disney World Resort property.  Some of the cool features of the Big Blue Pool is a kids water play area, a play area without water and an underwater sound system that projects the voices of Finding Nemo characters.  Right next to the pool is the Drop Off pool bar where you can get refreshing adult drinks. And right next to the Drop Off bar is where you'll find one of the laundry facilities for the resort (the others are in the quite pool areas).

The Big Blue Pool

Disney’s Art of Animation is the first value resort where guests access their rooms from inside – meaning there aren’t any "motel" outdoor walkways to reach your room.  Each building also features a main lobby with convenient elevator access to reach your floor.  The resort features two different types of rooms - family suites and standard rooms.  
View of the outside of the Cars Family Suites rooms.

First are the Family Style Suites.  The Family Suites are themed after three different movies – the Lion King, Finding Nemo and Cars.  These rooms are very spacious and are great for large families or even multi-generational families whom are traveling to Walt Disney World together and want to stay in the same room.   The Family Suite rooms feature a living room area with a couch and a chair, a dining area and a small kitchenette.  

The Dining Table with four chairs.

The kitchenette has a small refrigerator, a microwave, a sink and coffee maker.  Some disposable cups and plates are also provided
The kitchenette area of the Family Suites

Off of this main living area is a full bathroom that has a single sink along with a private toilet and shower/tub area. 
Bathroom has a cute shower curtain with some of our favorite Lion King characters!

One of the two bathrooms in the family suites.
This main living area is also home to two hidden beds – the kitchen table is actually a hidden Murphy bed!
What was the dining table during the day - becomes a bed at night! With some cute hidden artwork too!

The couch is actually a sleeper sofa too- thus giving the room three beds.  Both beds were very comfortable too!  There is also plenty of storage options in this main living area – both hanging and drawer style storage are available. 
Plenty of storage in the Family Suites

The Family Suites also have private-master bedroom, this is a great feature to have for when the kids go to bed but the adults aren’t ready and would like to stay up to watch TV or talk about their Walt Disney World vacation.  The private master bedroom features a queen sized bed, two nightstands, a large dresser offering plenty of storage, TV, a clothes-hanging rack and an on-suite bathroom.  
The bed in the private bedroom features a fun-themed headboard.

The master bedroom bathroom features a large counter sink area – perfect for getting ready, a toilet and a shower.  
The Master bedroom features is own on-suite bathroom.

In case you haven't guessed already, my room for this stay was located in the Lion King Suite and the shower in the master bathroom featured a gorgeous sunset tile mural that was fun to see in the mornings! 
The master bathroom features a step in shower with gorgeous tile work.

The second type of rooms are considered Standard Rooms and are in the Little Mermaid buildings.  These rooms feature two standard/double beds, a table and chairs, and bathroom with a private toilet and shower/tub area.  The Little Mermaid Buildings are the farthest away from Animation Hall.  So if you stay in the Little Mermaid rooms, you'll be furthest away from Landscape of Flavors, Disney's complimentary resort wide transportation and the farthest from the main pool.  There is a quite pool in the Little Mermaid courtyard area.  If convenience and proximity is something that is essential to your family’s vacation – you might be interested in staying in a family suite.

View from our Lion King Family suite shows the proximity to Disney's Pop Century Resort.

As I said before, the theme of this resort is completely immersive into the world of Disney animation – there are giant statues of your favorite characters placed all throughout the resort. 

Lots of photograph opportunities!

These statues provide for great for fun photo opportunities!  In the Lion King area you'll find Simba and Rafike. In the Little Mermaid area you'll find Ariel's treasures.  And in the Cars area you'll find some of the cutest picture opportunities with Mater, Luigi and Guido, Doc, Sheriff and plenty of others!

Get your picture with Simba on Pride rock!

 Since this resort is so immersive it is fun to pick your favorite movie of the 4 (Lion King, Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo and Cars) to stay in that type of room.  The Cars section of the resort looks like you are driving on Highway 55 right into Radiator Springs with lots of Cars characters available to snap your picture with.  The Cars area also features the resort's other quiet pool - the Cozy Cone featuring cone shaped cabanas! 

Even the outdoor walls of the resort are themed to perfection.

The only dining option at Art of Animation is in the food court - Landscape of Flavors.   Landscape of Flavors is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has plenty of seating.  Even though there is only one location for food, there are many types of food offered.  My favorite meal I had there was the "create your own pasta" dish with an option to pick your own type of pasta, pasta sauce and topping.  Added bonus - the portion was so huge it could easily be a meal for twoThere are other food stations with a wide range of food offerings from soups and sandwiches to to burgers to Tandoori Boneless Chicken Thighs.  There is also a bakery area of sorts featuring some of your favorite Disney treats and some unique treats as well!  There is also a Rapid-Refill Mug station in the Landscape of Flavors.

Just like any other Disney resort there are some amazing benefits to staying at Disney’s Art of Animation.  Mentioned earlier, Disney’s Magical Express will whisk you and your family from the MCO airport to the front door of the resort.  And when it is time for you to head back to the airport, the Magical Express bus will pick you up right out front of the Art of Animation Resort and take you back to the airport.  Like with all Disney Resorts, there is complimentary Disney Transportation that will take you to all 4 theme parks, the two water parks and Disney Springs.  With all of the complimentary the added expensive of renting a car while on vacation is something that is very welcome to families staying at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.  Plus knowing that you're staying at a Disney Resort, you know you're only a short trip back to the room to play in the pool or a short trip back to the park to make it in time for your FastPass+ or Advance Dining Reservation.   Every night (weather permitting) a Disney movie is shown on the lawn near the Big Blue Pool.  Art of Animation Resort guests will also have access to Disney’s Extra Magic Hours (each park either opens up early or stays open late exclusively for resort guests only).

I would repeat my stay at Disney’s Art of Animation in a heart beat. The  Family Suite rooms were comfortable and provided more room than a traditional hotel room.  The theming of the room, lobby, courtyards, the pool and more was something that constantly had my family’s attention and everyone (all ages!) loved.

Do you want to stay at the Art of Animation while visiting the Walt Disney World Resort, email me - - for a FREE, no obligation vacation quote!  Or simply fill out the form below! As a Disney vacation specialist, let me put my expert knowledge to your benefit and help you plan a magical vacation!
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