The New Disney Resort Hotel: Art of Animation
This month, I’ll be reviewing a new Disney World Resort hotel. You may have heard of The Art of Animation resort, new to Disney World. It is a family budget resort with four hotel room buildings, each themed after a different Disney or Disney Pixar animated movie. There is also a main building with a lobby, cafeteria, gift shop, and arcade. The four hotel room buildings are themed after The Lion King, Finding Nemo, Cars, and The Little Mermaid.
The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars all have family suite rooms; offering two bathrooms, one bedroom, two fold-out sleeping spaces, and a kitchenette. These three buildings are currently open and together offer a total of 1,120 suites. The Little Mermaid resort is not yet open, but will this September and is available for guests to book rooms now. This building has 864 regular rooms; each one offers two queen sized beds and one bathroom.
View of the hotel across the lake
The Art of Animation Resort will feature the Big Blue Pool (a play on the phrase big, blue world used in the Disney Pixar movie Finding Nemo), the biggest Disney World swimming pool outside of the water parks. Of the pools to be, currently only the feature Big Blue Pool (Including the nearby splash area and The Drop Off pool bar) and the smaller Cozy Cone Pool are open at this time, but the small Little Mermaid Flippin’ Fins pool will open soon. When completed, the resort will have over 20,000 square feet of swimming pools. In order to further immerse you in the world of Finding Nemo, the Big Blue Pool features an underwater sound system! So don’t be surprised if, when taking a refreshing dunk in the water, you hear music blaring from under the “sea”. As for further recreation, two ping pong tables and a playground sit near the pool area and every night a Disney movie is shown at the Big Blue Pool (or inside in case of poor weather?????). For some indoor fun (if you some extra money to spend) you can visit the Pixel Play Arcade. For some basic Disney gift shopping, you can go to The Ink and Paint Shop in the main building.
Part of the Big Blue Pool
Laundry: Dirty laundry can be taken care of by drop off/pick up at the dry cleaning and laundry services at the front desk or doing it at one of the guest laundry centers.
Childcare: Several childcare services, including in-room babysitting, are available.
Handicap accessibility: The amenities, parking, and some guest rooms are handicap accessible. Wheelchairs and service animals are welcome. Complimentary wheelchairs and TTY equipment are available upon request at check in but cannot be reserved ahead of time. Wheelchair accessible transport is also available.
The food is not amazing and as with almost all food that is purchased in Disney, somewhat over-priced, but there is a variety of good food ranging from sandwiches to salads to pizza to, interestingly, a few Thai dishes. There is also classic breakfast fare available in the mornings as well as plenty of drinks (bottled and fountain) available for purchase throughout the day.
Each family suite room sleeps six and gives just enough room for that many people to coexist reasonably comfortably for short periods of time. The room I stayed in was, as typical of Disney, neat and clean, however some of the furniture was of a quality that it was questionable how sturdy and comfortable it would be after dozens of families staying in it. However, there was enough seating for all, firm mattresses, and enough space at the table-that-turns-into-a-bed (which I have to say is pretty clever) to seat four at a time (additional eaters can sit at the couch with stools as tables). The room was fairly comfortable with just enough space for a family of six.
Room at the Nemo building (above and below)
1. Inexpensive (as Disney hotels go)
2. Space for a large family
3. Clean and fairly comfortable
4. Very nice pool
5. Some family activities
6. Room service
7. Casual cafeteria dining with something for everyone
1. Still can sometimes be a little more expensive than other hotels or other budget Disney resorts
2. Can get a little cramped with six people (though all right if most time is spent outside of the hotel room)
3. Not as near the parks as the moderate and deluxe resorts, only options for transportation to parks are bus and car.
Disney's Art of Animation Lobby
Overall, the hotel is not luxurious or fancy but it is clean, comfortable, colorful, fun, and good for families 1) who want the Disney resort experience without the high cost and 2) who will be spending the bulk of their time in the parks.
Timon, Pumbaa, and Simba decorating the Lion King building
Kathryn Blanco is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program, and the Disney Editor for Wandering Educators
All photos courtesy and copyright Kathryn & Martin Blanco
Feature photo: Elephant graveyard playground