While I’m busy gearing up for a trip to Walt Disney World next month as part of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration (an invitation-only event that I have been wanting to attend for years!), it seemed like the perfect time to look back at the trip that we just took a few months ago and share our family’s review of Disney World’s Art of Animation Resort.
The Art of Animation Resort is the third Walt Disney World Resort we’ve stayed at. Previously, we’ve stayed at (in order): Coronado Springs and then twice at Port Orleans Riverside. We decided to stay at Art of Animation during our December 2014 trip because Port Orleans Riverside was not included in the free dining deal that we wanted to take advantage and Art of Animation was.
The Main Building and Outside the Resort
The lobby at Art of Animation, just like the rest of the resort, is wonderfully themed. We loved all the sketches, as well as some how to draw activities. We also found the lobby to be spacious and efficient. It could be that we checked in and out at less busy times, but I don’t think that’s the case. It was just very well laid out and made the experience quick and easy.
The main building also houses a large store. This meant that we had only barely been at the resort before Molly was able to finally get an Elsa dress. She had wanted one during our trip in January 2014, but there were none to be had anywhere on the Disney property. Molly was thrilled at the ease of getting her desired dress.
The other major area in the main building is the Landscape of Flavors quick service food court. While we still preferred the quick service food court at Port Orleans Riverside, we did like the Landscape of Flavors. There was a wide range of offerings, which included very international options as well as things like pizza and burgers.
Cars Family Suites at Art of Animation
There are four different room types at Art of Animation. There are Little Mermaid themed standard rooms. There are also family suites with your choice of three themes: Finding Nemo, Cars, and the Lion King. Since we like all three of the family suite movies but none are favorites of ours, we went with a Cars suite because we just liked the way they looked best. We certainly weren’t disappointed when we arrived.
The family suites sleep six, which is perfect for our family of five, especially when our kids range in age from 10 – 15. Plus, we loved that there was a separate bedroom for Eric and I with our own full bathroom. Then, the kids slept in the living/dining room. The sofa pulled out into a double bed and the dining table became the base for a bed that pulled out of a cabinet against the wall. We all thought that was pretty nifty, even when we knew to expect it.
Oh, and speaking of having a dining table: that rocked! We typically sleep in and eat some breakfast (like muffins, cinnamon rolls, or chocolate croissants) in the room. Usually, this means people eat in the bed or wherever they could find some space. With a dining table, we actually were able to eat sitting at the table rather than in bed. Plus, it made a great spot to work on the computer now and then when needed.
The family suite also offered more room to hang out (including having a couch, which was so nice) and for storage. In our other rooms, we mostly lived out of our suitcases. But, in the family suite, we had enough room to put clothes in drawers or hang them up.
One other thing we loved about the family was having two full bathrooms. One, as I mentioned earlier, was off of our bedroom. The other was off of the main area. We also liked that this one was broken up into one room for the tub/shower and toilet and then a separate area for the mirror and sink/vanity. This made it much easier for multiple kids to get ready.
The whole area with the Cars family suites was also beautifully themed. There were large characters around and even the buildings had designs on them! It felt like we were just walking around Radiator Springs while we were walking to and from our suite.
Transportation to and from the Parks
We were used to staying at resorts with multiple pick up spots for the buses to and from the parks. Art of Animation has just one bus area, but we really liked that. We also liked that they had taken the time to make it a very organized area.
Each park had its own area to wait in, and each of those areas had chained off queue lines for waiting for the buses. While we loved staying at Port Orleans Riverside, it was sometimes a free for all when there were a lot of people waiting for the bus when they all try to get on the bus at the same time. With the chained queue lines, it just felt fairer that the people there longest would be the ones to be sure to get on the bus.
Because so many of the rooms at Art of Animation are family suites, we found that it meant that the transportation seemed a little busier, since that meant that an awful lot of people had families with multiple children. That was fine, of course, but the transportation was just a little busier. I think that made the chained queue lines even more important.
My Final Recommendations on the Art of Animation Resort
I would definitely recommend Art of Animation to families staying on-site at Walt Disney World. I’m not sure that I would recommend it as much to people without children, unless they didn’t mind lots of kids around. Families will find the family suites to be spacious and a nice change from standard rooms.
I would also highly recommend Art of Animation to anyone who has The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, Cars, or the Lion King as one of their favorite Disney movies. The theming at this resort is amazing. I know that if I could be in this level of theming for my favorite Disney movie, Tangled, I would be thrilled.
The family suites at Art of Animation are an expensive option for a value level resort. However, we didn’t really feel like we were at a “value” resort. It felt just as nice as the moderate resorts that we had stayed at previously.
My kids have said several times that they want to stay at Art of Animation again in the future because they loved the extra space and the great themes.