By: Canadian Diva
Ever since the Art of Animation Resort opened in 2012, our family has always wanted to stay at this artistic haven! Comprised of mainly family suites in the theme of Disney’s Popular movies; Finding Nemo, Cars and The Lion King, the Art of Animation Resort also has a ‘standard room’ section with The Little Mermaid as it’s theme. With the familiarity of these movies that pulls at the heartstrings of Children and Adults alike, what Disney Fan wouldn’t want to stay at this delightfully immersive resort?
Whenever our family plans a Walt Disney World vacation, the Art of Animation is always at the top of our list. However, the family suites are usually higher in price since it can accommodate 6 people. We are a family of 4 and if we were to bring an extra adult (like my mother), the cost would be worth for us to stay here. But with our family of 4, we could get a more budget-friendly price at Walt Disney World’s other value resorts. The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms are extremely popular and are either booked way in advance or not part of a Walt Disney World special package deal like ‘Free Dining’ or “Play, Stay and Dine’ etc. (Can you tell our family likes being Budget-friendly).
Since we haven’t stayed at the Art of Animation Resort (yet!), we decided to VISIT the Art of Animation Resort. ‘Resort Hopping’ is a great way to ‘see’ and experience the theming of the various Walt Disney World Resorts without actually staying at the Resort. You can walk around, eat at the restaurants (Deluxe and Moderate Resorts have Table Service Restaurants) and food courts. It’s fun to meet up with friends from all over, if they are visiting Disney World the same time as you at one of the Resorts. The only thing you CANNOT do, is SWIM at another resort even if you are staying on Walt Disney World property. There is no “pool hopping” allowed. All pool areas are gated and are allowed in through one’s Magic Band. Children ARE allowed to play on all the resort’s Playground area.
Knowing all of the above, our family decided to have a “Free Day”. “Free Days” are the days during your vacation where you don’t go to the theme parks. We scheduled our ‘free day’ in the middle of our vacation to give us a ‘break’ from the busy touring schedule of the theme parks. It’s a great way to relax, take a swim in your own resort pool and ‘Resort Hop’. It’s also a good day to visit Disney Springs (the re-vamped Downtown Disney). Our family decided if we can’t STAY at the Art of Animation, we will spend an afternoon to visit there.
We love staying at the POP Century Resort as you can read from this article here. And since POP Century is just across the ‘Hourglass Lake’ from the Art of Animation Resort, it was perfect for us to visit. The walk around Hourglass Lake is lovely and there is a nice bridge called “Generation Gap Bridge” that connects the two resorts.
Starting off our ‘free day’ during our recent vacation, we slept in a bit (because on the other days we were trying to wake up early to make it to Rope Drop) had breakfast at our resort food court (in this case, EVERYTHING POP at POP Century) and headed across the bridge with our cameras/smartphones in hand. There are PLENTY of Photo Ops at the Art of Animation Resort.
At this Resort, with each section, you will begin to feel like YOU ARE IN one of Disney’s animated movies. As I mentioned above, the family suites are in the theme of Fining Nemo, The Lion King and CARS. The standard rooms are The Little Mermaid Theme. It is truly amazing and innovative how a resort could evoke the mood, feeling and wonderment of these Disney Classic movies.
My preschool son enjoyed playing in the little playground that looked like a coral reef. He could play there for hours. He also was THRILLED to see the larger than life CARS Icons which he adores at home. It was one of the most enjoyable parts of the whole vacation for him to see his CARS toys at home become these GIANT models. My teenage daughter had fun taking photos of all the character icons she saw around her from the movies from when she was younger. Warning: the Seagulls from The Finding Nemo movie will startle you at first and then delight you after.
We love the ‘food courts’ at all the Walt Disney World Resorts. These Quick Service Restaurants are more than just ‘fast food’. The variety of food and the lovely theming of many of the ‘food courts’ really places these establishments above your average fast food joint. The Landscape of Flavors food court of the Art of Animation is what is says it is, a colorful and diverse array of foods from all over the World as well as some local favorites as well (oh my gosh, I LOVE their Chicken Noodle Soup). Our family loves the offerings at the POP Century Food Court, Everything POP, however if we wanted something different for a day, we would actually go over to the Art of Animation Resort to have our meal there instead. Being on the Quick Service Dining Plan was very helpful and a great way to add to ‘Resort Hopping’, you can read my rave review of this plan here. AND don’t forget your Refillable Mugs, because although you cannot fill them up in the Theme Parks, you CAN refill them at other resorts! How PERFECT!
Another great thing about staying at the POP Century resort and having it’s sister resort, the Art of Animation resort, beside it are the buses. Each of the two resort has it’s on Bus to go to the Theme Parks. However there were times when we were coming “home” from one of the parks, if we missed the POP Century bus, we would see the Art of Animation bus and just hop onto there. It was great because then we would be dropped off in front of the “Animation Hall’ walk over to Landscape of Flavors and take a mini break there. We would grab a snack or a meal if we were hungry and after, have a nice stroll back, across the bridge to our room at the POP Century (this is very useful, especially if you have a room closer to the Hourglass Lake).
The Animation Hall is a mixture of animated delight all around, This colorful area has a sophisticated feeling mixed with the kid-like wonder of drawings surrounding you. It is a great place to walk around and see animation of the Disney movies themed at the Art of Animation Resort on all the walls and above you (yes look up!).
Now, what if you are NOT staying at the POP Century Resort and would like to visit the Art of Animation resort?
Patricia Payne of All for Dreams Travel suggestions this:
“Getting to the Art of Animation from your resort can be tricky. But with a bit of planning it can add to your adventure! The easiest method would be to take a bus to Hollywood Studios (or the park nearest to your resort) and then transfer to the Art of Animation Bus. You could also consider using the Minnie Van Service.
Those with their own car are welcome to drive – your resort parking fees COVERS parking at other resorts. Staying offsite? No problem! As you pull up to the gate notify the security personnel that you are exploring for a few hours. If the lot is not full you will be allowed to park in the lot for a set amount of time”
Thank you Patricia Payne for these GREAT tips! If you would like concierge-like service at NO EXTRA COST as long as you book a Walt Disney World Package, contact Patricia to start planning your vacation, ask for a free quote here. As you can see from her tips above, she is a wealth of knowledge which will definitely be helpful and less stressful for you.
So, even if you are not staying at the Art of Animation or any other Walt Disney Resort, you can always “visit” the resort. It will definitely help you dream of staying there on your next Walt Disney World Vacation.
***Disclaimer – We at Tips from the Disney Divas and Devos hope you enjoy reading our articles, and encourage you to share any you feel may be of interest to someone else. We do ask, however, if you choose to share the photographs attached to our articles, you give credit to the photographer. Thank you for your cooperation and sharing our love of Disney!