Being a member of far too many Disney Facebook groups (who isn’t?), I often see members ask if Disney’s Art Of Animation resort is worth considering for their Disney vacation. With the cost being a little higher than other Disney Value Resorts, it causes a lot of discussion with surrounding questions often including “how does it compare to Disney’s Pop Century Resort (that’s just across the bridge btw)?
Having stayed at the *Art Of Animation Resort twice now, I thought I had a little more knowledge to be able to share a more in depth review (clearly tooting my own trumpet there right?), which will hopefully make your decision a little easier when it comes to planning.
So, if you are in the process of planning your first or 100th Disney World getaway (I’m jealous either way) I hope this little post comes in handy.
As Art of Animation is classed as a Disney Value Resort it’s typical that this hotel would immerse guests with heaps of Disney character. If you’ve been lucky enough to stay at other Value Resorts, such as the Disney’s All Star Resorts or Pop Century, you will be used to the large surroundings of popular Disney characters and props. So, if you like the idea of walking out of the lobby to be greeted by a giant Crush or Nemo… you are in for a treat.
Now it may sound like a child’s idea of heaven and perhaps a little too cheesy for your typical “couples romantic week away” but Disney isn’t just for kids and adults can definitely appreciate the detail of this hotel too. Big kids and childless millennials… this one’s for you.
From the moment guests enter the lobby they will be surrounded by beautiful sketches of the 4 popular animated films Cars, The Lion king, The Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo. These sketches show the process of a quick drawn idea to a colourful character brought to life. It’s definitely a detail to be enjoyed and there’s plenty more gems like this dotted around the resort. A hotel tour is a must anyway right?
The 4 popular Disney films I just mentioned will be separate the main areas of the hotel where guests can stay… but I will dive into this a little later.
Arguably one of the most important must-knows, wouldn’t you agree? Well, I’m with ya on that one and you will be pleased to know that the Art of Animation Resort has plenty of options when it comes to Disney’s Quick Service dining.
Head through the Ink and Paint shop (treat yourself to some must-have Minnie Ears and resort merch on the way) and find yourself at landscape of Flavors where you will find options to please the whole family.
This food court is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner (necessary in betweens) and offers delivery options if you fancy chilling in your room after a long day at the parks. Just like any other Disney World Resort, there’s also a drinks station where you can fill your resort mug.
As for food, it’s not all about the burgers and typical park food (although there’s plenty of that too if you’ve got a craving ). Why not create your own pasta bowl (one of my particular faves), grab a salad, or an Asian chicken bowl. There’s lots of choices and plenty of veggie options too.
And if you are using one of the Disney Dining plans, all food (or at least the majority) is included in your credits so no need to bring your wallet.
And here’s a little side note…
If you are concerned about any dietary requirements, Disney dining and food locations are pretty good at meeting your needs. Mention your requirements to a cast member and you will often be met by your own allergen chef ready to help. Trust me this came in pretty handy when traveling with a husband who can’t eat gluten.
Want to know more about our experience dining with special food requirements? Feel free to ask.
There’s no point staying at a Disney World hotel if the rooms just aren’t what you are after right? Well Art of Animation is a little different to the other Value Resorts and here’s why the price point is a little bit higher than the rest (although it’s still arguably one of the more affordable Disney hotels).
Art of Animation is made up of 4 areas for guests to stay which include:
- Finding Nemo Family Suites
- Cars Family Suites
- The Lion King Family Suites
- The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms
Family Suites offer more room for families to stay and can sleep up to 6 guests, where as the Little Mermaid standard rooms can sleep up to 4.
I’ve been lucky enough to try out the standard rooms and a Cars Family Suite and both had there bonuses. In a family suite, guests will have plenty of room to not only sleep and get ready for a day at the parks but also to dine and prepare some food. Here’s what you will find inside:
- 1 bedroom with a TV
- 1 living area with a TV
- 2 bathrooms
- A small kitchentte with microwave, sink, coffee maker and small fridge
- A table/dining area that doubles as a sleeping area
- Sofa bed
- Clothes storage
The family suites have internal hallways instead of the usual balcony-style walkways but can still provide great views depending on where you stay. Of course the theme carries on throughout the rooms so if you want to live in the Disney Bubble for awhile, it’s a great option. As a couple on their honeymoon, this upgrade felt like a luxury and we loved the extra room but the extra cost compared to standard can be a little steep.
The Little Mermaid standard rooms can be just as enjoyable and offer options of 1 king bed or 2 double beds depending on your preference. There’s also:
- A small bathroom
- Sink area
- Small dining table
- Mini fridge
- Clothes storage
And again, the theme inside the room is just as magical as every other area of the hotel. For a couple without children, we has no issues with our room but when staying with children it’s good to know that this section of the hotel is the furthest from the lobby.
I’ve seen other reviewers have a big issue with this being a ten minute walk, but for me personally I quite enjoyed the walk due to the scenery (and trust me, I’m not one to enjoy walking unless it involves shopping). If you are travelling via the Disney buses or car, you can potentially take a shortcut from the bus drop off and car park by skipping the walk through the lobby.
Suites and standard rooms also provide guests with free WIFI, an iron and ironing board, hairdryer, telephone and a safe.
Of course Art of Animation has a lot to offer and it’s common for guests to want some hotel downtime throughout their stay. A personal fave includes taking some time to hangout at the arcade or a little retail therapy in the merchandise store.
Of course one of the biggest selling points is the great pool options that this particular resort has to offer. The Big Blue Pool just outside of Finding Nemo area is nothing short of amazing. It’s huge, includes a splash pad area for small children, plays music underwater and often plays poolside movies in the evening.
But if you fancy a pool that’s a little more quiet, there’s the Cozy Cone Pool in the Cars area or the Flippin Fins Pool over by The Little Mermaid section. A chill out by the pool has never felt better.
Whilst you are having some much deserved chill time, you can chuck your clothes into the laundry or dry cleaning facilities and grab a drink at the bar. You can even take a little break from the children by using the in-room babysitting options. Did someone say night out?
So we talked a little bit about travel but this resort has just had an upgrade and you are going to want to know about it. Yes *Disney World offer guests staying at Disney resorts a free bus service to and from the parks. Perhaps you would prefer to use a car (parking charges apply) or maybe even the Minnie Van service, but now you can do one better.
Stroll over to Generation Gap Bridge that connects Art of Animation to Disney’s Pop Century Resort and there you will find the newest of Disney travel. The Disney Skyliner is a gondola system that can transport guests from hotel to park depending on where they are staying. From AOA you can jump on and head straight to Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios and all whilst enjoying a beautiful view from above.
Buses… they can be so easy to use and a great way to travel but here’s the but. Art of Animation has a reputation for being the furthest bus stops at the majority of Disney parks. Sure that’s not such a big deal breaker but when you have tackled the park from rope-drop to close, that late night walk to the bus stop can be a real drag. Just something to keep in mind.
All Summed Up
Whilst the big cheesy details that the value Resorts have to offer may not be everyone’s cup of tea, this hotel certainly has a lot to offer. Art of Animation is no more than a 25 minute bus ride to all parks and only 15 minutes from Disney Springs. Someone pass me my purse!
Yes the resort is a little pricier than other resorts but a lot cheaper than some too. It all depends on your family size, budget and whether or not you want to be constantly immersed in the Disney bubble. If you consider yourself to be a big kid at heart… Art of Animation ticks a lot of boxes.