Disney’s Art of Animation Resort: Review
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is a spectacular tribute to Disney’s legacy of Animation. With the entire resort dedicated to this art form, this value resort is perfect for families. But don’t worry, you don’t have to have kids to stay here! The price, amenities and location make this resort our top pick for anyone looking to spend a little less on their room and still have a fantastic Walt Disney World adventure.
Here at Magical Adventure Co., picking out where to stay is part of the fun of planning a Walt Disney World adventure! Though every explorer has different needs when booking their stay, it’s best to weigh a few options: Theming, Price, Food and Drink, Transportation, and Pool.
The bright and colorful Art of Animation lobby welcomes you with movie sketches lining the walls, filled with some familiar favorite animated films from the Disney vault. Make sure to take your time checking in (or swing back by later) so you don’t miss getting a photo or autograph from one of the many Disney characters roaming the lobby.
The resort is separated into four themed sections: The Lion King, Cars, The Little Mermaid, and Finding Nemo. While walking to each, you encounter characters and scenes from the movies. You’ll see Pride Rock and Simba, Doc Hudson and Mater, Ariel and Flounder, Crush and Nemo, and much more. With each section wonderfully decorated inside and out, you almost feel as if you’ve gone under the sea, or traveled down Route 66. You can even grab an afternoon snooze by the pool at the Cozy Cone Motel!
Art of Animation is considered a Disney Value Resort, with amenities similar to a Hampton Inn or Fairfield Inn. Room rates per night for a standard room start at around $200 depending on the date of your travel. Additionally, this resort offers family suites that can sleep up to 6 individuals. These family suites come with three beds and 2 bathrooms, a great option for larger parties that would usually have to reserve two rooms. These suites can be found for as little as $425 per night, but will often run at about $500 for most stays. Additionally, for an extra $50 per night, you can bring your pup along for the adventure!
The standard rooms are all Little Mermaid themed and found in that section of the resort only. This makes these rooms often very hard to book due to limited availability, unless you book 9 or more months in advance. The family suites are themed after the other sections (The Lion King, Cars, and Finding Nemo), and are more commonly available.
As this resort doesn’t have the option of purchasing a room upgrade at booking, be sure to ask before you check-in for a view of the lake or courtyard to hopefully avoid a view of the parking lot.
The recent addition of the Skyliner makes this resort a can’t miss value location. The Skyliner picks up right behind the resort and can take you to both Hollywood Studios and EPCOT (for both parks you will have to switch lines at the Caribbean Beach stop). In addition you can use the Skyliner to access great dining and entertainment options at Disney's Boardwalk via the EPCOT stop, or visit Disney’s Riviera Resort along the way.
For Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom you will have to take the bus. Because of Art of Animation’s location, it can be a longer ride to these parks than some of the other resorts, like Disney's Port Orleans - French Quarter and Disney's Beach Club Resort. Additionally, as this resort is pretty large, it is a little bit of a walk from the Little Mermaid section, where all of the standard rooms are located, to the bus stop. You will need to plan accordingly when heading to and from the parks as it may take longer than you expect.
Don't forget, Disney's Magical Express is complimentary and your best option for getting to and from Orlando International Airport when staying in any Disney hotel. While it may take a little longer, the convenience of checked bag delivery all the way to your room and always friendly Disney service is well worth your time.
With the largest pool in Disney World, The “Big Blue” pool is the main attraction for most families hanging out at the resort in the afternoon. With a huge animatronic Crush (of Finding Nemo fame) that talks to guests as well as a splash pad nearby, this is a pool that is extremely popular for the smaller adventurers.
If you are looking for a more relaxing area, there are two additional smaller pools in the Little Mermaid and Cars sections. Often less crowded, these can be great spots to relax in the afternoon before heading back to the parks for the evening. Plus, as mentioned before, the Little Mermaid section (where all of the standard rooms are located) is a longer walk from the main lobby where the Big Blue pool is located, again making the small Little Mermaid pool located in the courtyard of that section a great option.
Remember, it’s a value resort for a reason. The beds are firm, the rooms are small, and the carpet is rough, but the fantastic theme with a great price makes it worth it. Every inch of the grounds has been touched to incorporate some of the most popular movies from Disney’s tenure.
An additional drawback, is that it can be challenging to reserve one of those elusive Standard Rooms. If you find yourself wanting the value option, but can’t find a Little Mermaid room for your stay, check out Disney's Pop Century Resort right across the lake. It also offers Skyliner access, and is very similar to Art of Animation from an amenities standpoint. You can always walk over the bridge from Pop Century to check out Art of Animation’s theming.
Overall, this is an incredibly themed resort that is enjoyable for the young and young at heart. You’ll find yourself on a mini adventure wandering around the resort to see familiar faces you love. Hearkening back to those Disney movies that stay with you year after year, it brings that Disney magic to you in a fun and creative way.