If there’s one thing that we knew about the Disney Art of Animation Resort before this trip was that it was, well, puzzling. It’s not a moderate resort, but not a value resort either. It’s hardly ever eligible for a discount if you’re looking to stay under the sea in The Little Mermaid room. And honestly, it seems like its always sold out. So what is the hype here? And why is it more expensive than the Value resorts?
The Disney Art of Animation Resort is a “Value Plus” Resort
Let us break it down for you. First of all, Disney’s Art of Animation is in fact in its own class. This is mostly due to the fact that almost all of the rooms available at Art of Animation are family suites. Its what’s considered a “Value Plus” resort, which is a step up from a Value resort and a step down from a Moderate.
Don’t let that fool you though. If you haven’t noticed, Walt Disney World is very good at confusing everyone with their prices. Although this resort is considered “lower” in the resort chain than a moderate hotel, it doesn’t necessarily mean that its cheaper. And sometimes we’ve seen it equally priced with Disney’s Moderate Resort, Caribbean Beach Resort.
Disney Resort Prices
Disney prices their resorts not only based on the type of Disney resort, but also based on availability. Since the Disney Art of Animation resort fills up pretty quickly we hardly ever see this resort included deals, or priced cheap. This is mostly due to their availability of family suites, and because everyone LOVES the Little Mermaid. That said, since you’re going in paying a little more, is it worth it?
Disney Art of Animation Rooms
We stayed in the highly coveted Little Mermaid rooms. Which we paid more for. Let us start by saying, in this resort, these are the ONLY rooms that are set up like a motel rather than a hotel. The door leads you directly outside, just like they do at the Value Resorts. There are two beds and a curtain or sliding door, if you got a refurbished room) that separates the living space from the vanity. Just like at the Disney All Star Value Resorts.
While the decor of The Little Mermaid Room is adorable, its really no different than if you were staying at the All-Star resorts. It’s very “Disney” feeling and very fun. The room, oddly, was also very small. Probably the smallest we’ve ever stayed in. Not sure why that is, but if you’re a family of four, take note. We’re three smaller sized girls and it was tough to move around in this one.
Art of Animation Resort Areas
The Art of Animation grounds are ginormous! Very very big and sprawled out. As a result, the Little Mermaid Rooms are pretty far from the food court and main pool. This is because all the family suites in the Lion King and Finding Nemo buildings are closer. So, keep this in mind if you don’t want to worry about walking very far at night to get to your room. All of the areas in Art of Animation are just themed beautifully, so you can’t really pick a “wrong” area of the resort. But if distance from the bus stops, food court, or pool is important to you, then booking rooms in the Finding Nemo or Lion Buildings are your best bet.
Art of Animation Resort Layout
The layout of this resort is similar to that of other value resorts. The main building is where you will check in, catch the bus or grab your morning coffee. It’s also the location of the main restaurant on property called Landscape of Flavors, aka the food court. So you can also grab breakfast here, go to the gift shop or check out the pool. Since the pool is centrally located in the Finding Nemo area of the resort, the pool is themed to that as well. The Little Mermaid and Cars areas both have their own pools as well as laundry. But, if you’re staying in the Lion King area of the resort ( between the Finding Nemo and Little Mermaid buildings) this area doesn’t have a special pool. Though you’re welcome to use any at this resort.
Art of Animation Resort Amenities
As with most of the resorts at Walt Disney World, there is a New Balance trail for those who want to get a bit of running or extra walking. We particularly loved this one because it runs next to Hourglass Lake, which is just beautiful and relaxing. Especially, if you’re looking to get away from some of the crowds and noise of the resort. You can also rent bikes at Art of Animation to ride around the resort and POP Century Resort right across the Bay. These are available to guests of both resorts, so take advantage of them if you have a resort day and want the downtime.
Art of Animation Events and The Drop Off Pool Bar
Like other Disney Value Resorts, this one has the standard amenities. Ice machines, laundry facilities in a couple locations, activities throughout the day for the kiddos and the night time movies by the pool. Be sure to grab a Program Guide from the front desk when you arrive. You’ll see trivia, and sometimes even a drink of the day featured at The Drop Off Pool Bar.
Art of Animation Food Court
With so much amazing foods across Disney property, we usually only use the food court at the resort as a Disney Refillable Mug stop. But, on this particular trip though, we flew in late afternoon, which left us slightly starving. The restaurant here is Landscape of Flavors. And somewhat famous for having amazing new cupcakes in their Disney dessert case. So be on the lookout for new Disney Snacks where you can find them! Landscape of Flavors offers a lot of the standard fare you’ll find at other resort Food Courts and also a few not so standard!
We were able to get pot stickers, veggies and fried rice. Plus, they had a veggie burger option, which is so nice if you’re looking for plant-based dining options. And of course, G got a cheeseburger, which was also really good. So we were rather impressed by the food lineup here.
Something to note that we hadn’t seen at other resort food courts is that you get two side dishes with the meal. If you opt out of adding the 2 included side dishes you will still pay the same price- about 13 dollars for a hamburger.
Our biggest complaint about the food court here has nothing to do with the food. Frankly, it always seemed crowded here! No matter when we went. While there were plenty of tables for everyone, there was only one centrally located drink station. So we had to wait often to refill water bottles and refillable mugs. Since this is something we never dealt with even at the Disney All Star Resorts, we were caught off guard by the crowds. Check out the Landscape of Flavors Menu.
Art of Animation Transportation
The Disney Art of Animation Resort now shares a Disney Skyliner station with Pop Century. Which means you get easy access to the other Disney Skyliner Resorts, Hollywood Studios and EPCOT! Guests at Art of Animation also gets access to the buses. We noticed that the buses seemed to come about every 30-40 minutes, which meant a lot of waiting.
Its also important to note that Art of Animation is the Disney Resort farthest from Magic Kingdom. All of the other Parks were about a 10-15 minute ride from the resort whereas Magic Kingdom took closer to 25-30 mins depending on traffic. Just as an FYI, there were times it would take us an hour and a half to get to Magic Kingdom. We definitely recommend taking an Uber if you need to be at any of the Parks or other Resorts at a specific time. As much as we loved Art of Animation, it was absolutely the longest wait for buses. We can also potentially attribute this to the abundance of strollers at the resort, which would make the buses fill faster, and thus allow fewer people to leave the resort at any given time.
Art of Animation Tips and Tricks
- There is one smaller drink station closer to the gift shop that is slightly hidden. We didn’t notice it until near the end of the trip, but you may have better luck filling your mug or water bottle at this station since we don’t think many people noticed it either.
- If you’re planning a resort day, pick a pool and stay there. Pool hopping is tough as they do get crowded rather fast across the resort.
- Visiting Hollywood Studios or EPCOT? Take the Disney Skyliner instead of the buses. It’s a nice ride in the sky and will get you there faster than any land vehicle dealing with traffic.
- Absolutely take time to walk about Art of Animation. The Photo Ops alone will make it worth your journey.
Should You Stay at Art of Animation?
Let me start by saying we LOVED the theming here. If you’re looking for fun, Disney themed resort that will nuture your love of Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, Lion King or Cars, this resort fits the bill perfectly. Probably more so than any other resort we’ve stayed at! Especially if you’re an 80’s or 90’s baby. You know these movies well, and it’s so great to see in the flesh. This resort is also perfect if you’re traveling with a larger party as almost all of the rooms here are suites. The bright colors and fun designs throughout the entire resort create a very cheerful and fun atmosphere, which we loved.
Why you may not want to stay at Disney Art of Animation Resort
So what didn’t we love? This resort felt so huge at times due to the way its laid out. So HUGE, that sometimes it felt like we might never make it to the main building! We actually really enjoy walking, but if you’re traveling with small children or those who tire out easily, that could create a huge inconvenience. Especially at night after a long day at the Parks.
If this sounds like its going to be an issue, we recommend AGAINST the Little Mermaid rooms. Staying in the Finding Nemo buildings will get you close to the main drag and make those midnight runs for snacks or drinks a little easier. The evening movie also takes place on the Finding Nemo building lawn with the seagulls on the top. So if you are travelling with little ones, or taking advantage of those late resort events, be sure to request a room in that building. That way if you have to carry the kiddies to bed, you are close by.
Is Art of Animation Worth the Cost?
Ok guys, down to the biggest question we get! Is Art of Animation worth the extra cost? We would say that really depends on your family on what they need. If you want the convenience of a suite, want a fully immersive Disney themed vacation, or want a little less quieter atmosphere than the All-Star resorts can provide, then we vote Yes.
However, if you’re on a tight budget and can’t justify the extra cost, we think POP Century Resort is also a great option. With access to the same walking trail, tranquil bay and a slightly more centralized layout that makes all buildings a little closer to the food court this may be a better choice. Read our Disney POP Century Resort Review to find out more.
Disney Art of Animation Resort Review
Art of Animation is beautifully themed and even if you don’t decide to stay here, its one resort we feel is worth the trip just to see the gorgeous atmosphere that Disney has created here. We love resort hopping and had been eyeing this one for some time before finally deciding to pay the extra and stay. All in all, we always remind everyone that no matter where you stay, it will always be awesome, because it’s Disney. If you have a favorite Disney resort, let us know.
TTFN, Rochelle, Melanie and G.