Flora Frog's Note: Today's post come from Undercover Tourist customer and lifestyle blogger Leah with Five for the Road. She and her family hopped to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando on their recent vacation. Look for more family-friendly posts from her trip in the coming weeks!
Whenever you stay at a Walt Disney World Resort you are greeted with a “Welcome Home." Disney's Art of Animation, an on-site Disney Value resort hotel, is a Disney fan's dream home. From the perfect Disney-themed lobby and guest rooms to the pools and play areas, Art of Animation is the perfect “home away from home” for families visiting Disney World. We spent a few days exploring Art of Animation on our last trip to Orlando and loved it. Read on for more about this amazing resort, including our best tips for exploring Disney's Art of Animation! And if you didn't know, Undercover Tourist offers discounts on Disney's Art of Animation rooms and suites.
Disney's Art of Animation Overview
When you arrive at the Art of Animation resort you find yourself immersed in the great animation of Disney. The resort has four themed areas: Finding Nemo, The Lion King, Cars and The Little Mermaid. Sketch drawings from the films line the halls of the colorful lobby. In the lobby, the kids can sit and watch Disney cartoons while you check in.
Disney's Art of Animation has two types of rooms: Standard Rooms and Family Suites. The standard rooms are in the Little Mermaid section of the resort. They have two double beds or one king bed. The rooms fit a family up to four.
If you have a larger family the family suites fit up to six people. The family suites are located in The Lion King, Cars, and Finding Nemo section of the resort. At booking, you will reserve the room theme you would like. We booked Finding Nemo and were so excited for our stay!
All the family suites at Art of Animation have similar layouts, the only difference is in the decorations and theme throughout the rooms and area. Disney spared no expense when they designed the suites. From the minute you begin your walk to your suite, Nemo and friends are everywhere. I have heard people say the resort is too much Disney, but we love Disney and can never have enough! Plus, it is made for kids!!
The suite has three sleeping areas. One private bedroom with a queen bed and bath. The main area has a pull-out couch and a pull-down, murphy-style bed. The murphy-style bed doubles as a table during the day. There is also a second bathroom in this area as well as a refrigerator and coffee maker. I will be the first to admit that pull-out couches can be uncomfortable, but Disney did it right. Both beds were comfortable for the entire family … even the adults!
Things to Know When Visiting Disney's Art of Animation
There are three pools at Disney's Art of Animation resort. Each one has its own special qualities. The pools are located in the Finding Nemo, Lion King, and Little Mermaid sections of the resort. Walt Disney World pools are for on-site guests only. To enter the pool area you need your MagicBands (they are water-proof!). Towels are also provided at the pool area.
The Finding Nemo pool (called “The Big Blue Pool”) is the largest at the Walt Disney World Resort. It also plays music under water! Expect this pool to be the busiest. There is also a small spray park/splash area that was under construction during our visit.
The Cars Pool has cone-shaped cabanas that are free of charge but are on a first-come, first-serve basis. The pool is smaller than the Nemo pool, but the shaded cabanas are worth arriving early if you are planning a pool day.
The Little Mermaid has a nice size pool as well. We found this pool to be the quietest and least busy of the three. It is great if you are looking for some quiet time by the pool or if you need a little break.
If you are staying at the resort, you are welcome to enjoy all the resort pools. We would spend the morning at one pool and visit a different one in the afternoon or evening. Typically, during the afternoon hours, they have on-site entertainment for the kids at the Big Blue Pool. This ranges from trivia, to dance parties and bingo. Check your resort schedule for more details.
The Lion King section of the resort does not have a pool, but it is not a far walk to the Little Mermaid or Finding Nemo pool.
My Family’s Best Tips for Exploring Disney's Art of Animation Resort
Give Little Ones a Lot of Time to Explore
This is one resort where the kids led the way. There were so many things to explore and discover. We loved playing on the Boneyard Playground at The Lion King and discovering the tunnels on the Coral Reef Playground at Finding Nemo. We made sure to build in time to walk around and explore each area of the resort.
Enjoy the Food
Art of Animation has one of the best on-site quick-service dining areas: Landscape of Flavors. It offers a variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner options as well as quick grab-and-go snacks. One of our favorite foods was the pizza! Everyone loved it, and with a family of five, finding a food that makes everyone happy is a big win. During the day, you can order at Landscape of Flavors. After 4:00 p.m. you can call and have pizza delivered to your room.
We also picked up grab-and-go doughnuts for breakfast at the gift shop as well as chips and snacks for the room. You can use your MagicBands for purchases throughout the resort.
Entertainment at the Resort
Make time to enjoy each of the pools and take in everything the resort has to offer. A day at Art of Animation has so many fun and exciting activities. During the day, your kids can become an artist and sketch a Disney character. There is a winner each day and his or her drawing is displayed in the lobby. At night, check out the Movies Under the Stars. Each night a different movie is shown. At check-in, you will receive the weekly resort schedule. Use it to help plan your resort time.
Make Time for Fun Photo Ops
Bring your camera!! Around every corner we found fun places to take pictures. I loved walking down the street in the Cars section and seeing Mater or looking up to a larger than life Ursula. Art of Animation is fun for the entire family. It almost feels like you are at the parks!
No matter what section of the resort you stay in, hop around to the other areas and check out the fun theming and props that make for fun family photo ops. Cars Land is one of the most popular spots with actual cars, but there are more icons in each of the areas.
Check Out the Theming
One of the most fun activities for little ones is to check out the great theming around the resort. Little ones will love The Lion King-themed play area and the oversized Little Mermaid iconography. Astute parents and kids may also notice how even the landscape changes to reflect the theme of each distinct area. For example, the Nemo area has plants that look like they belong on the bottom of the ocean.
Art of Animation was a delight from the moment we entered the lobby. All of us loved the Disney feel and the amenities were incredible. From the pools to the food we loved every minute of our stay and we can’t wait to plan our next visit!
Leah writes the family lifestyle blog Five for the Road. She shares her family travel adventures, planning tips, and everyday family fun to inspire families to get out there and enjoy the moments. You can find her spending time with her family or planning their next adventure. Follow along at Five for the Road, Instagram, and Facebook.