When people find out I am a travel writer, they always ask where they should stay at Walt Disney World Resorts in Orlando, Florida.
With over 20 resort hotels, there are pros and cons to every Disney resort. My kids and I were recently stayed at the Art of Animation resort and discovered these four best things about the Art of Animation Resort and one not-so-great one.
1. Animation Theme
The Art of Animation is based on four Disney films: The Little Mermaid, the Lion King, Finding Nemo and Cars. Kids of all ages can’t help but be blown away by how well the animation theme carries through the hotel. Each of the four sections of the hotel has its own theme which is carried throughout the interior decor, exterior and pool.
We stayed in the Finding Nemo section, which has large family suites and is closest to the main pool. Although the main pool was louder than I would have liked it, the kids loved the Nemo themed room and the large seagulls perched on the hotel that every once in a while shouted “mine, mine, mine”, a classic line from the film.
2. Pools at the Art of Animation Resort
The Art of Animation has three pools – the main pool is located directly outside the lobby and closest to the Finding Nemo buildings. There is a second pool in the Cars section, where families can find shade in a Cozy Cone from the movie. The third pool is located in the Little Mermaid wing.
The main pool at the Art of Animation is one of the best pools I have seen at a family resort. Kids can swim in the large pool with beach entry or choose to cool off in a Finding Nemo splash pad. Due to the fact that the Art of Animation is a value resort, there is no slide or hot tub at the hotel. My kids didn’t notice these elements were missing.
My favourite part of the pool is that Disney has installed speakers under the water that play different music than what is being played above the water. The entertainment team was also the best I have seen at any Disney resort. My kids begged to stay for hours and play games with the cast members and often asked to leave the park and return to the pool. Plan at least one full day to explore the pools on the property.
3. Food Court at Art of Animation
The Art of Animation does not have a sit down restaurant but instead has a large food court and a poolside bar. Some people would see this as a con but after spending hours trying to book reservations at the different parks, it is nice to know you can easily feed your kids at the hotel. The food court had a wide variety of food and some healthy offerings. I enjoyed getting fresh fruit and croissants for breakfast and eating them by the pool. The food court is a nice break from the Disney buffets and sit down restaurant offerings.
4. Family-Sized Family Suites at Art of Animation
The family suites at the Art of Animation are huge. Each suite is equipped with a separate master bedroom and bathroom, a second kids bathroom, a pull out couch and a murphy bed. The rooms also have a small kitchen space equipped with a microwave and bar fridge. We spent a lot of time at the hotel and the room never felt small or crowded. The room more than comfortably can sleep up to six people.
During the day, the murphy bed in the room turns into a table with four chairs. We loved sitting down at the table each morning and planning our day together as a family.
Art of Animation Location
The Art of Animation is one of Disney’s newest resorts. It is located closest to Hollywood Studios. For parents with young kids, the challenge of this resort is that it is a 15-minute bus ride to the Magic Kingdom at the best of times. This does not include time spent waiting for the bus to arrive.
We found the resort to be too far away from the Magic Kingdom. Due to the distance between the park and resort, I chose to try and get the kids to nap inside the air conditioned Be Our Guest restaurant in New Fantasyland. The kids would have benefitted more from a real break from the park in a quiet hotel room.
There are also location issues within the Art of Animation. Particularly, the Little Mermaid section of the resort is quite far from the main pool, food court and bus stop. If you are traveling with young children or have trouble walking, the distance to the Little Mermaid wing of the hotel should be considered before booking.
Why Choose the Art of Animation resort?
All in all, the Art of Animation is an excellent resort. The hotel has great pools, a big arcade and two outdoor playgrounds.
There is no other Disney hotel that is quite as perfect for kids under 10. The price of the hotel is hard to beat within the Walt Disney World Resorts.
Disclosure: I was hosted at Walt Disney World and, during my stay at the Art of Animation resort, I was provided with park tickets. All opinions are my own.