Let’s talk about where you want to sleep. One of the best themed resorts I have ever seen can be found pretty close to Hollywood Studios. I’m talking about Art of Animation. When I say “pretty close” to Hollywood Studios, I mean it, too. Watch those GPS directions sometimes! We THOUGHT we were headed to Art of Animation and suddenly found ourselves at the pay tower of Studios, where the guard laughed and said “happens all the time,” and directed us to the correct entrance! Speaking of close, Pop Century is found just across the bridge.
I mean it, it is the cutest theming ever. Sure, All-Stars have cute theming and super awesome photo op gigantic statue-thingys, but this resort is just fantastic. The lobby is PACKED to the gills (see what I did there?) with ART and ANIMATION.
The main building, the aptly named Animation Hall, is filled with sketches from the Disney films we all know so well. As you progress through the hall, the art progresses from beginning sketches to the more finished product. It is meant to represent the creative process animators go through. If you look up at the chandelier in front of the Ink and Paint Gift Shop, you’ll see that it is made up of sketches, but those sketches are also SIGNED by some pretty famous people!
Art of Animation is, technically, a Value resort, but people do complain about the price. However, in my opinion, it is worth every single penny. But first, let’s talk about the resort itself. Again, located near Hollywood Studios, Art of Animation is a Value Resort. Its sister resort, Pop Century, is a short walk away and there is a bridge that connects the two. And this is where you will find the Skyliner station. The Skyliner will carry you to both EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, and buses will take you to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. You can stay in the Little Mermaid rooms, which are your typical hotel rooms, and sleep up to 4 adults. This resort is very special, though, because it has Family Suites that sleep up to 6 adults AND have TWO FULL BATHROOMS. You will not get two full bathrooms offered to you unless you hop up to at least a 2-bedroom deluxe villa in the DVC resorts. The family suites at All-Star Music only have 1 bathroom. The Cabins at Fort Wilderness (that also sleep up to 6) only have one bathroom. These family suites have TWO FULL BATHROOMS. Unbeatable value!!
Animation Hall, which is the Main Building, is where you will find the lobby. You can check-in at the main desk (that is, of course, unless you take advantage of the online check-in on My Disney Experience), visit the Concierge and Bell Services, shop, eat, and play. This is also where you will go to catch the buses or Lyft/Uber or taxis or Magical Express. Landscape of Flavors, the cafeteria for the whole resort, is found here. It is an excellent food court, featuring 5 different quick-service counters serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can also refill your refillable mug here, assuming you purchased one. And, of course, you can use mobile ordering and order from your room, then walk down and pick up your order. You can also shop in the Ink and Paint Shop, which is actually one of my favorite gift shops! Heading out towards the hotel, you’ll find the Pixel Play Arcade.
To play games, you will need to purchase a game card with either cash or a card. Games range in cost from $.50-$5 but MOST games are in the $.50-$1.00 range.
Arcade cars are able to be used at all the arcades at all the resorts that offer arcades, so if you or one of your guppies is a gamer, keep that in mind for rainy day activities: ARCADE HOPPING!
As you exit the building, you will see the Big Blue Pool, the largest pool in ALL of Walt Disney World! It is themed to Finding Nemo and has a zero gravity entrance. Since this is a Value Resort, there is no water slide. But there is a splash pad play area featuring some of Nemo’s friends for your little Squirts. There is also a playground in the Nemo Courtyard, behind the pool and splash pad. Straight ahead, surrounding the Big Blue Pool on both sides, are the Nemo Suites. They are the “preferred” level suites and the most expensive, because of their location. They are closest to the pool, transportation, and main building.
The Family Suites are all the same, except for theming. They all have a bedroom, with a full bathroom. The living area has a table that pulls down to become a full-sized bed. The second full bathroom is just at the “foot” of that murphy bed. Then you have a living room with kitchenette, which has a microfridge, microwave, and sink. The sofa in the living room is a sofa bed, making the whole room sleep 6. For bigger families, this is honestly a fabulous deal. We have stayed here many times, and we love it. We even had an air mattress at one point, and there was still plenty of room for everyone.
If you head to the right from Animation Hall, you’ll be headed to the Cars section. Unlike Nemo and Lion King, which have two buildings, the Cars section has 3 buildings.
The Cars section also has it’s own pool: the Cozy Cone Pool. It is smaller than the Big Blue Pool and usually less congested, offering a more quiet experience. You will find covered seating and Lightning McQueen and his friends are surrounding the pool, always ready for kids to visit!
Head to the left and you’ll be in the Lion King section. While it doesn’t have a pool, it is a little bit quieter here and the theming is PERFECT for Lion King fans. The walk is not far for transportation, food, or the pool, so if you don’t mind an extra couple steps, these rooms are great. We LOVED them because they were just so cute!
Continuing on past Lion King, you run into the Little Mermaid section. These are standard rooms for smaller families that are looking for the Value part of a Value resort. In the middle of the Little Mermaid section is the quietest pool in the resort, the Flippin Fins pool. You will need to walk a little bit further for busing and food, but, in my opinion, the overall resort is completely worth it, especially now with the addition of the Skyliner.
Other amenities found at Art of Animation include movies under the stars. Check in the lobby or the app for times, but when they are shown, they are in the grassy area between the Nemo and Lion King sections. Art of Animation also offers 3 24-hour laundry facilities, one at each pool. The laundry facilities at Walt Disney World now take credit/debit cards for machines and soap vending. You can also check the app, and you can see how many machines are available and how much time is left on your machine. Check that here.
You can also call “Housekeeping” from your room phone to have dry cleaning and valet laundry. WiFi is also available, along with complimentary Walt Disney World busing and Skyliner access. There is also a 1.38 mile jogging trail, for running and walking!
Art of Animation is a great place for bigger families to stay. You get a lot more room than the 5th sleeper rooms and the theming is wonderfully adorable. The Drop Off Pool Bar at the Big Blue Pool is a great snack bar (with alcohol for the Big Fishes) for everyone to enjoy on a pool day. Once you compare the price of two rooms vs a family suite, you might see the VALUE of this newest Value Resort.
Have you and your family enjoyed this resort? Let’s hear about it! Need help planning your trip? Contact me today to get started for free!