If you’re a fan of the animated Disney and Pixar films, then you’ll fall in love with the magic of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. This value hotel’s immersive theming takes inspiration from classic films, including “The Little Mermaid,” “The Lion King,” “Finding Nemo” and “Cars.” From detailed room decor to larger-than-life statues, Art of Animation is our top pick if you want to be surrounded by your favorite Disney characters — a perfect option for families with tadpoles and tadpoles at heart. In this guide, we’ll give you the low-down of everything you need to know about staying at Art of Animation, including all the frogtastic “deets” about accommodations, dining, amenities and transportation.
Overview of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
For the most Disney-esque hotel, look no further! Disney and Pixar’s animated films are front and center in nearly every aspect of the resort. We consider Art of Animation as the best Disney value resort, and here are three big reasons why (in no particular order).
- The themed family suites give us plenty of room and can accommodate the grandfrogs when we travel with them. The suites also have interior hallways (you enter a building to get to your room), unlike the other Disney Value standard rooms and All-Star Music family suites which have exterior hallways (the rooms have a direct entrance from the outside). It’s always nice to have an extra layer of security!
- It is the only Disney value resort that is dog-friendly (a limit of two dogs for an additional fee of $50 per night). We can bring our furry friend with us — dogs and frogs can be besties, ya know!
- It has a wide range of pools! It’s home to the biggest pool on property, the Big Blue Pool. The Cozy Cone Pool has cone-shaped cabanas that are free on a first-come, first-served basis. And Lily likes to pretend to be a mermaid in the Flippin’ Fins Pool in “The Little Mermaid” area.
In addition to making the most out of the benefits of staying on-site, there are numerous other reasons why we like staying at Art of Animation. Just to name a couple more, it shares a Disney Skyliner station with Disney’s Pop Century Resort and hoppens to be the newest out of all the Disney Value resorts. We get into everything else and dive into more details below!
Animation Hall is the main hub where you’ll find the main lobby and front desk, as well as the food court, gift shop and arcade. Bus transportation is located right outside of Animation Hall. Guests are highly encouraged to use the Direct-to-Room service via mobile check-in through the My Disney Experience app. You’ll receive your room number through a text message once the room is ready, so you don’t even have to visit the front desk!
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Rooms
One of the biggest draws of Disney’s Art of Animation is its family suites. There are three fun themes that you can choose from based on “Finding Nemo,” “Cars” or “The Lion King.” Each family suite can accommodate up to six adults, as it comes with a queen bed, a double-size pull-down Murphy bed and a double-size sleeper sofa. Each suite also has two bathrooms, a kitchenette, small refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, free Wi-Fi, iron and ironing board, hair dryer, in-room safe and telephone. If being nearby Animation Hall and transportation is important to you, opt for the “Finding Nemo” suites.
While the family suites make Art of Animation the priciest Disney Value resort, we think it’s worth the extra cost, especially if you’re traveling with a larger family. Having two bathrooms really makes a big difference in the mornings when we’re getting ready for the day! For the quietest section, opt for a room in “The Lion King” section, which does not have its own pool.
Art of Animation also has a standard room option, which is themed after “The Little Mermaid.” These rooms can book quickly, so you’ll want to get a hop on reserving your stay. The standard room sleeps up to four adults, with either one king bed or two queen beds. Though there isn’t an extra bathroom or a kitchenette with a microwave, the standard rooms also come with a mini-refrigerator, coffee maker, iron and ironing board, hair dryer, telephone, in-room safe and free Wi-Fi. Keep in mind that “The Little Mermaid” rooms have exterior hallways and are the furthest away from Animation Hall and transportation.
Transportation at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Hotel guests now have more than one transportation option, ever since Disney Skyliner opened in fall 2019. Art of Animation shares a Disney Skyliner station with Disney’s Pop Century Resort. Soar in the sky in one of Skyliner’s colorful gondolas over Hourglass Lake to the Caribbean Beach station. At this main hub, you’ll transfer lines (much like the monorail lines at the Transportation and Ticket Center) to head directly to Disney’s Hollywood Studios or EPCOT (the EPCOT line has a quick stop at Disney’s Riviera Resort but you do not need to leave the gondola). Operating hours vary depending on park hours, though you can usually expect Skyliner to be running about an hour before park open and an hour and a half after park close. Find more details about this newer transportation option in our Disney Skyliner guide.
If you’re headed to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, the water parks or Disney Springs, you’ll need to take a bus. To avoid long lines, travel during a non-peak time, or consider driving yourself (whether it’s your own car or a rental car) or using a ride-sharing service or a Minnie Van (returning summer 2022).
Amenities and Recreation at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Take a dip in one of the three Disney character-themed swimming pools. As the largest pool on property, coming in at 308,527 gallons, swim alongside Nemo, Crush and other “Finding Nemo” characters at the Big Blue Pool. With a zero-entry side, the size doesn’t have to intimidate the little ones. But only steps away, tadpoles can also splash around at the Schoolyard Sprayground or stay dry on Squirt’s Righteous Reef, a Nemo-themed playground. Chill in a cone-shaped cabana at the Cozy Cone Motel Pool, inspired by “Cars.” (There’s no extra fee to rent a cabana, but they are available on a first-come, first-served basis!) Or flip your fins at the Flippin’ Fins Pool, based on “The Little Mermaid.” Hours and lifeguard availability vary by pool and are subject to change. Complimentary towels are also provided at all pools.
On select nights, catch a Disney movie screening as part of Movies Under the Stars, located on the grassy area between the “The Lion King” and “Finding Nemo” buildings. Walk or jog around the resort’s 1.38-mile trail, and keep an eye out for fun facts about Disney’s animated films displayed on signs along the pathway. Families can also compete against each other while playing video games at the Pixel Play Arcade.
Staying on-site grants some extra perks, including the ability to book dining reservations 60 days in advance of check-in for the length of your stay (up to 10 days) and make individual Lightning Lane selections at 7 a.m. (ahead of off-site guests), plus access to Early Theme Park Entry.
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort also offers the following amenities:
- A 24-hour ATM in the lobby and currency exchange at the Front Desk
- Childcare services
- Laundry and dry cleaning services
- Mail services
- Self-parking ($15 per night)
Shopping and Dining at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
For all your shopping needs, stop by the Ink & Paint Shop, located near the main lobby in Animation Hall. Here, you’ll find everything from souvenirs to sundries. It also has a great selection of unique, resort-specific merchandise. Whether you’re stopping in for a last-minute memento or over-the-counter medicine that you forgot to pack, the Ink & Paint Shop has it all.
Beyond the gift shop, you’ll find the resort’s food court and dining area. Landscape of Flavors is the only dining option at the hotel, but it offers a variety of burgers, sandwiches, salads, pizzas and pastas for lunch and dinner, as well as breakfast entrees and platters. Mobile Ordering is available so you don't have to wait long for your food.
For the frogs who can legally drink, sip on a specialty cocktail such as the Big Blue Ocean or Seafoam Refresher at the Drop Off Pool Bar by the Big Blue Pool. Other alcoholic options include frozen cocktails, beer, cider, hard seltzer, wine and sangria. Tadpoles can enjoy nonalcoholic beverages such as smoothies, lemonade, ginger beer and lemonade. If your tummy is rumbling just a tad, snack on a pretzel with cheese sauce, chips or cheese curls.
If you’re in need of a change in scenery, you can easily walk over to Disney’s Pop Century Resort’s food court, which has similar options. For more dining possibilities, you’re only a Skyliner ride away from Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney’s Riviera Resort.
What to Consider Before Staying at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Disney’s Art of Animation is hands down the best value option for larger families and canine companions so that nobody gets left behind or forgotten. The family suites are roomy, and the benefit of having two bathrooms alone is toadally worth a higher price tag for a value resort. It’s easy to hop over to Hollywood Studios and EPCOT via Disney Skyliner. And while there are limited dining options, the food court offers a wide variety on its menu (and you're not too far from other resorts and their restaurants — including Topolino's Terrace). Though you can't go wrong at any Disney Value resort, Disney's Art of Animation Resort is our top choice!
Have you stayed at Disney's Art of Animation Resort before? If not, which themed room would you want to stay in?