Choosing which Disney hotel to stay at can be a challenge there are so many fabulous options. I’m here with everything you need to know about the Art of Animation resort to help with your decision.
One of Disney’s value category resorts Art of Animation is a garden style hotel complex themed to 4 blockbuster Disney and Pixar movies each with their own section of the resort. They are are Cars, Finding Nemo, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid.
Art of Animation is located in the Wide World of Sports area of property, the closest park is Hollywood Studios. Art of Animation is walking distance across hour-glass lake to the Pop Century Resort.
The resort is made up of a main building, Animation Hall, and four clusters of three story garden-style room buildings. These clusters are each themed to one of the four movies the resort features. Each area has huge icons and immersive theming from its animated movie as you walk the grounds. Visit Radiator Springs, or walk through the Elephant Graveyard, or see a 2 story tall Ariel and her fish friends under the sea. You will feel like the movie is happening all around you. On my first visit here the morning walk from my Little Mermaid room through the Lion King to breakfast was perfection. The Lion King on Broadway soundtrack was playing softly and I truly felt like I was right there with Simba in the Pride Lands.
The theming at this resort is the most “Disney” of any other resort at Walt Disney World. The themeng is perfect for little kids, especially ones who hold one of these four movies as a favorite. This is my number one pick on the value resort level for families with small children.
For families with teens this resort can hold a lot of childhood memories if they are up for it, and a lot of photo opportunities for social media. The family suite layouts also allows teens and their parents a bit more privacy and more space to get ready in the morning.
The resort is also a great place to stay for adults who want to stay value and held one of these films as a favorite growing up. Or lovers of art and the animation process itself. Animation Hall is full of art capturing the entire animation process. Pay attention to the beautiful chandelier and see if you can spot some autographs from stars of these movies.
This resort is also a great option for any families or groups larger than 4 as the family suites can accommodate up to 6 guests plus 1 child under 3, more on this later.
Art of Animation is also one of the four pet friendly resorts at Disney World. So you really can bring the whole family. So you really can bring the whole family.
Check out my post all about Disney transportation for more details on getting around the greater resort.
You have a few options for how to arrive. The Magical Express services this resort from Orlando International (MCO) Airport. The cost of Magical Express is included in your stay. If you are driving yourself you can park in the main buildings check-in lot, you can later move your car to the lot closer to your room building.
(Starting in 2022 Magical Express is being discontinued)
** There is a nightly charge to park at the resort of $15. **
Once you have arrived you can go to the front desk in Animation Hall and get checked in and receive your room assignment. If your room is not yet ready you can leave your bags with bell services who have a service window on the outside the building by the main entrance. If you wish to skip check-in all together you can utilize online check-in prior to you trip. You will get a text message with your room number as soon as it is ready. If you arrive before your room is ready you can drop your bags at bell services and head right to the parks.
Park transportation options from Art of Animation include both buses and the Skyliner.
Buses pick up from in front of Animation Hall. The buses will take you to all 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, and Disney Springs. They run frequently and their upcoming schedule is posted on screens at the bus stop. You can also use the My Disney Experience App to check their times. In the morning the buses start to run from the hotel about 45 minutes prior to park opening and will run until 1 hour prior to park closing. In the evening return service ends 2 hours after park closing. A perk of Art of Animation is that the buses typically are not shared with another resort meaning only one stop and less demand for busses at busy times. Rides typically take about 15 – 20 minutes to get anywhere on property with a trip to Magic Kingdom taking closer to 25 – 30 minutes.
The Skyliner is an airborne gondola system that connects Art of Animation to Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. Art of Animation and Pop Century share a Skyliner stop located on the lake between the two resorts. The Skyliner runs continuously and is open shortly before park opening and runs until after park closing. If you are planning to arrive at or before opening the Skyliner is not your best option to get to the park in the morning. You can also get to the Caribbean Beach Resort and Riviera Resort on the Skyliner.
The availability of both buses and Skyliner is a selling point for me, but that convenience is one of the reasons Art of Animation standard rooms are priced above the All Star Resorts.
In addition you can also always use the Minnie Van service or traditional Uber and Lyft.
When returning home Magical Express can be used to return to Orlando International Airport. You will receive a notice on your door with your return Magical Express details. Typically you will be assigned a bus that departs about 3 hours before you scheduled flight departure time.
Make sure you have provided all of your flight details on My Disney Experience before your trip. If your flight is later in the day you can check your bags with bell services or resort airline check-in for some airlines and spend your morning enjoying the resort or parks. Your Magical Express will pick you up in front of the hotel.
Rooms at this resort are booked based on section. The Little Mermaid section offers standard rooms while the Cars, Finding Nemo and Lion King sections offer family suites.
All of the rooms are deeply themed to their respective movies. You will be fully amerced in the world of Simba, Ariel, Lighting McQueen and Nemo. The theming in these rooms is top notch they are some of the most deeply themed on property. They are perfect for kids or adults who enjoy this level of theming. But if you are looking for something more subtle look elsewhere, these rooms could be considered over the top to some.
The Little Mermaid standard rooms offer 2 double beds or 1 king bed, and are set up like a standard hotel room. While they have one bathroom a door separates the shower and toilet from the sink which allows for two people to get ready in the morning at once. A curtain separates the sink area from the rest of the room. This set up is present in many rooms across property. These buildings are garden style with hallways that are open air. These rooms are great for smaller parities that wish to experience this resort and they are always very popular bookings. The price point for these rooms vs. the family suites is also significantly less. One drawback is that they are the farthest walk from the main building and transportation. That 5 – 10 minute walk can feel long to grab your coffee in the morning or to get back to your room after a long park day. I have always stayed in the Little Mermaid section during my visits and the pros have outweighed the cons for me.
The Cars, Finding Nemo, and Lion King sections all offer the same style of family suites. The Finding Nemo rooms go for slightly higher price as they are the closest to the main building and transportation. These sections all have interior hallways.
The family suites layout includes a main living area with a Murphy table bed that sleeps two and a sofa bed that sleeps two, plus kitchenette and television. Off the main area is one of the two bathrooms in the suite. This bathroom has an entrance door and then an additional door separating the sink area from the toilet and shower. Off of the main room is a bedroom with its own additional bathroom. Both the bedroom and bathroom have their own doors. This functions as a master bedroom for the suite and has an additional television. This set up is fabulous for larger groups, the room can sleep up to 6 adults or kids plus one child under three in a crib. With two bathrooms and three distinct bathroom areas plus a third sink in the kitchenette this makes for easy morning and evening routines. Plus the addition of a microwave really expands your in-room dining capabilities. These family suites are also a much less costly option than a deluxe one or two bedroom villa which would offer a similar amount of beds.
For all sections the hotel offers free Wi-Fi and your in room TV not only has all your normal channels but lots of extra Disney content channels as well. Your TV will also provide you with park hours for the day and a channel with a guide to Disney World.
The rooms all include a hairdryer, mini-refrigerator, telephone (where you can request a wake up call from Mickey and friends), an iron & ironing board, and a safe. The family suites also include a microwave and coffee maker.
For the youngest guests Pack ’n Play cribs are available upon request. I suggest making this request before you arrive to get the best availability.
All rooms are smoke-free and there are designated smoking areas at the hotel. Laundry facilities are available 24/7 and located near each of the pools at the resort. There is also an ATM and currency exchange services on site.
There are three pools at Art of Animation. Each have complementary towels pool side. Hours and lifeguard service vary by pool daily but are posted at the resort.
The Big Blue:
- This is the largest pool on property outside of a waterpark
- It is located in the Finding Nemo area.
- Behind the pool is the Schoolyard Sprayground a splash park for the little ones.
- This is the home to the only pool bar at the resort, The Drop Off.
Cozy Cone Pool:
- Located in the Car’s section.
- Enjoy the shade of some orange cone cabanas.
Flippin’ Fins Pool:
- Located in the Little Mermaid section.
- Go under the sea with Sebastian and friends.
Art of Animation offers many activities to keep you busy during your stay.
- Pixel Play Arcade – Located in Animation Hall
- Movies Under The Stars – Watch complementary screenings of Disney films under the stars on the grassy area between The Lion King and Finding Nemo buildings. Available on select nights.
- Jogging Trails – There is 1.38 miles worth of trails around the resort, you can even hop the bridge over to Pop Century to extend your distance. The trail is full of signs with trivia about Disney animation and these 4 movies.
- Playground – Enjoy a traditional playground located in the Finding Nemo section.
- Play Disney Parks App – Download this app to test your animation skills and see it come to life in the stories inspired by the films you are surrounded by.
- Free Animation Classes – Offered multiples times a day in the children’s playroom in Animation Hall. They are fun for the whole family.
** Be sure to check your resort’s activity calendar when you arrive for additional events that may be going on. **
If you are celebrating a special occasion you can even have your room decorated or a special gift sent through Disney Floral and Gifts in-room celebrations.
In Animation Hall you will find the Ink & Paint Shop the resort’s gift shop. Here you will find lots of Disney merchandise, including Art of Animation themed resort exclusive items. You will also find some last minute toiletry needs, and some pre-packaged snacks.
I enjoy exploring the gift shop if I have a long wait for a park bus ahead of me. I always pick up a resort specific pin when I stay at a new one.
Guests at all Disney Resorts have the option of merchandise delivery when shopping in the parks. That stuffed Mickey you bought at Animal Kingdom that you had delivered to your resort will be waiting for you here.
They can also assist you with mailing home purchases.
The Landscape of Flavors food court is the main location at Art of Animation for dining. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner and open long hours that vary the food court has tons of options. The food court holds serval counters each serving a different selection. There is also a grab and go area. You pick up all your food and then pay at one counter.
Many regard Landscape of Flavors are the best food court on property. I found it fantastic personally.
Some Landscape of Flavors favorites are:
- Character waffles
- Build your own yogurt parfait bar
- Build your own salad bar
- Themed Cupcakes
Read my dining at Disney World posts to learn all about the dining plan and eating at Disney with allergies.
The food court also offers a re-usable plastic mug. You purchase the mug for one set price and then can use it for unlimited coffee and soda at your hotel throughout your stay. This is included in the dining plan.
The Drop Off Pool Bar located by the The Big Blue pool offers a menu of various alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks.
From 5:00pm to Midnight you can also order Disney Pizza Delivery to your room. The menu includes not only pizza but salad, chicken strips and beer and wine. Use your in-room phone to place the order.
Art of Animation is my favorite value resort. The access to the Skyliner can be game changing depending on your park plans and not sharing a bus route with another resort is a big plus.
The whimsical and larger than life theming might not be for all but it is perfect for young children and the young at heart. It is also a perfect fit for large parties, or parties that want more room, with the families suites. If you want to feel like you are sleeping in one of your favorite movies this is the hotel for you. I loved my stays at this hotel and recommend it as a great option for my clients.
If you are interested in staying at Art of Animation or any other Disney resort contact me today for a free quote at email@example.com.
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