I was lucky enough to have stayed at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort twice. Why lucky? Basically, this resort is like being in a Disney movie. So your stay can be pretty magical – especially if you’re traveling with kids (not to mention adults who grew up watching Disney and Pixar films). On this review, I will show some cool pictures of the hotel and the rooms, my opinion on the room rates, and some food and shop options inside the resort. Do as Dory would do and just keep reading!
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, which opened in 2013, is a theme hotel based on popular Pixar and Disney movies. There are two types of rooms: family suites styled as The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars, and standard rooms with a The Little Mermaid theme One of the coolest things about this hotel is that it holds the largest pool in World Disney World: the Big Blue Pool located at the Finding Nemo area: SO-MUCH-FUN! Let me tell you a little bit more about this resort.
I stayed in a Finding Nemo Suite in the Crush Building, which is right in front of the Big Blue Pool. The view from the room is amazing! You’d think that because you are facing the pool, where all activities for the little ones take place, you’d be disturbed by the noise. WRONG! You hardly hear anything because the windows are almost close to being soundproofed (well done, Disney, well done).
The entrance to each building has a large character statue that welcomes you home. It really adds to the whole character theme experience. As for the rooms, they are suuuuper comfortable because they are really big and they can accommodate up to 6 people. It’s like a small apartment with a large bedroom with its own private bathroom; a living-room with a pull out sofa bed, and a table/Murphy bed. You’ll find another bathroom in the living-room area and a small kitchenette (this includes a fridge, a microwave, a coffee maker, some cupboards, and a sink). It’s a pretty practical room for families, especially if you’re staying with little kids. I think the Finding Nemo suite was a lot of fun because you have all the Disney magic with the decorations and furniture that resemble the movie.
As for the other suites, I didn’t have the chance to stay there, so I can’t say much about the interior. The exterior, though, is just breath-taking. I’m a die hard Lion King fan so the area of buildings was a great touring experience. However, the Cars courtyard just blew my mind. I believe it’s the one that’s best achieved and it’s absolutely coherent because I felt I was actually walking through Radiator Springs. The Cars courtyard has its own pool: the Cozy Cone pool, which allows you to stay in your building area if you don’t want to go all the way to the Big Blue Pool (sometimes a bit crowded).
The Little Mermaid area is as magical as the suites’ area. The buildings also have large statues at the entrance (I stayed at Ursula’s Building) and they welcome you to a fantastic stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. The rooms’ decorations are definitely an under the sea experience. As in any other Value Resort, the standard rooms accommodate up to 4 people, but they are bigger rooms. You get two very comfortable Queen Size beds, a TV, a mini-fridge, and a bathroom. The bathroom and changing area are divided by a curtain that gives you more privacy, especially if your room reached the maximum capacity (yeah, 4 people in a room, you need some privacy).
The negative aspect of the Little Mermaid courtyard is that it is a bit far from the hotel’s entrance and food court, buuuuuut, this area has its own pool, the Flippin’ Fins Pool, which is really cool!
FOOD AND SHOPPING
I’m a HUGE fan of hotel dining and I enjoy Landscape of Flavours a lot. This food court inside Disney’s Art of Animation Resort has a great variety for all your meals. From breakfast to lunch and dinner, and some sweet treats, this hotel has it all. Pasta and burgers are my favorite choices, especially because you get to create your own pasta now. The first time I visited Disney’s Art of Animation Resort back when it had just opened, this was not an option. Buuuut, the Pasta Alfredo back then was unbelievable, and still is!
I think that breakfast is my favorite at this hotel because you can order Character Shaped Waffles! You’d think it’s just for the kids….no! As a grown-up, a Simba or a Lightning McQueen Waffle was the best way to start the day. You NEED to order these!
The Ink & Paint Shop definitely goes with the whole animation theme of the hotel. The outside is a film strip wall with scenes from the four movies that are the inspiration to the resort: The Lion King, Cars, Finding Nemo and the Little Mermaid. As for the inside, most of the merchandising is displayed in giant paint bottles. The products are basically the same as in all hotels shops, but there are of course some specific areas with merch from the 4 movies.
ENTERTAINMENT & AMENITIES
Like in all other Value Resorts, Disney’s Art of Animation offers Movies Under the Stars, a playground, the Pixel Play Arcade, a jogging trail, and of course, the three pools. The Disney Magical Express is the complimentary transportation to and from Orlando International Aiport and there’s bus transportation to and from the parks. And there’s a perk! Disney’s Art of Animation Resort doesn’t share transportation with any of the other Value resorts (the same as Disney’s Pop Century). This is a disadvantage that the All-Star Resorts have, for example. I’m a fan of buses and the drivers have always been very kind 🙂
Here we are. One of the most important aspects, if not the most important when you’re planning a Disney trip. Let’s rip the band-aid and just say it: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is not exactly cheap. If you’re on a tight budget and a character experience is not what you’re looking for, then a room at Disney’s All-Star Music will do.
Now, if you want the Disney/Pixar hotel experience, walk through Radiator Springs, swim with Ariel and her friends, or hear seagulls say “Mine, mine, mine” from very early in the morning, then start saving. The Little Mermaid Rooms are a bit closer in price to the other Value Resorts, so the difference there is not that much. Of course, these rooms sleep up to 4 adults. So if you need more space, and it is a suite what you’re looking for, then you have to know that it’s going to be a tad expensive.
The rates of the Disney’s Art of Animation suites range very similarly to some Moderate Resorts, from 300USD to sometimes 500USD (we’re talking peak season here). We booked the Finding Nemo suite very close to our trip in January right after New Year’s, and it was expensive.
Buuuuuuuut, it’s totally worth it! Trust me 🙂 From all the Value Resorts, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is the best! The food is amazing, the hotel is incredible. I mean, you can spend hours just staring at the walls of the lobby because of the awesome artwork from all the movies. I’d say the price is the only con of this Value Resort. As for the rest, it is a magical experience you won’t regret!