Dis­ney’s Art of An­i­ma­tion Re­sort

“PLUSSING” THE DIS­NEY VALUE RE­SORT EX­PE­RI­ENCE

WDW Magazine - - Contents - BY STEPHANIE SHUS­TER

In 2012, Walt Dis­ney World opened its new­est – and most im­mer­sive – value re­sort. Walt Dis­ney al­ways in­tended for WDW to grow and evolve, and is known for en­cour­ag­ing his Imag­i­neers to “plus it” – to push projects even fur­ther in or­der to achieve per­fec­tion and de­light for guests. Dis­ney’s Art of An­i­ma­tion Re­sort has done just that.

It has be­come one of the most sought af­ter re­sorts at WDW be­cause of it’s rel­a­tively af­ford­able price, abil­ity to ac­com­mo­date larger fam­i­lies – and let’s be hon­est – it’s su­per “plussed” theme!

A FO­CUS ON FAM­ILY SUITES

Back in the early 2000s when Dis­ney’s Pop Cen­tury Re­sort was un­der con­struc­tion, it was en­vi­sioned as a pair of sis­ter re­sorts on each side of Hour­glass Lake. The sec­ond sec­tion was to be called “The Leg­endary Years” – con­struc­tion was started, foun­da­tions were poured, and some build­ings were even con­structed be­fore the project was halted for nearly a decade.

Dur­ing that time, Dis­ney’s All-star Mu­sic Re­sort re­fur­bished a por­tion of their rooms to be­come new “fam­ily suites” that could sleep up to six, in­stead of two or four as in other Value re­sort rooms. In­clud­ing 2 bath­rooms and a kitch­enette, this new for­mat proved pop­u­lar and a new con­cept was born for the par­tially con­structed re­sort.

At the Art of An­i­ma­tion, the stan­dard rooms which were al­ready con­structed would even­tu­ally be fin­ished as the Lit­tle Mer­maid sec­tion of the re­sort – the only the­matic area to fea­ture stan­dard rooms.

Brand new build­ings were cre­ated for the Find­ing Nemo, Cars, and Lion King sec­tions – which all ex­clu­sively fea­ture fam­ily suites. The lay­out of these suites al­low fam­i­lies to have lots of space – for sleep­ing, din­ing, and re­lax­ing. Thought­ful touches like an In­nov­abed that eas­ily con­verts to a din­ing area and 3 separate sleep­ing ar­eas make this a per­fect pick for larger fam­i­lies who need ex­tra space. Plus, the bath­rooms have de­tails that make it ex­tra fun to get squeaky clean!

A fo­cus on fam­ily suites would not be the only thing to separate Dis­ney’s Art of An­i­ma­tion from the other Value Re­sorts…

DIS­NEY IN THE DE­TAILS

Ev­ery re­sort at Walt Dis­ney World has a unique theme, but at the value re­sorts those themes are most ev­i­dent in the com­mon ar­eas – the lobby, pools, and ex­te­rior grounds. But here, the theme de­tails ex­tend into guest rooms in a big way!

Each sec­tion fea­tures rooms which keep guests in the mood of the movie – with touches like clamshell lamps in the Lit­tle Mer­maid rooms, leafy chairs in the Lion King suites, a sparkly tuna wall hang­ing in the Find­ing Nemo suites, and a bath­room mir­ror that looks like a carwash sign in the Cars suites. Each room has spe­cially cho­sen col­ors, car­pet­ing, and fur­ni­ture de­signed to make you a part of the story. It has by far the most im­mer­sive char­ac­ter-driven theme of any WDW re­sort.

Through­out the re­sort, no de­tail was spared in show­ing guests how the evo­lu­tion of an­i­ma­tion brings fa­vorite char­ac­ters to life. From sketches to full color draw­ings to the 2500 “life sized” sculp­tures (de­signed so that guests are to scale with Nemo, Light­ing Mcqueen, Simba, and Ariel) there are no end to chances to learn more about your fa­vorite Dis­ney and Pixar char­ac­ters – not to men­tion the photo op­por­tu­ni­ties!

Even the land­scap­ing in each themed sec­tion make the grounds feel like you’re in the world of the movie. Desert plants, ma­rine-in­spired fo­liage, and stun­ning rock­work all con­trib­ute to the feel­ing of the re­sort.

But the Dis­ney dif­fer­ence doesn’t stop there…

“PLUS”-LEVEL AMENI­TIES

At WDW, Value Re­sorts are known to skimp on things like sit-down restau­rants, wa­ter­slides, and recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties. While the Art of An­i­ma­tion isn’t up to the level of Moad­er­ate or Deluxe re­sorts on these “ex­tras” – the Imag­i­neers sure did “plus” the com­forts usu­ally found in Dis­ney’s most af­ford­able ho­tels.

There are 3 pools at the Art of An­i­ma­tion – one which fea­tures Cozy Cone Ca­banas (shade struc­tures that are a lot cuter than um­brel­las!) and an­other which has mu­sic play­ing un­der the wa­ter along with an awe­some splash pad area for the lit­tle ones.

Land­scapes of Fla­vor kicks things up a notch by of­fer­ing many made-to or­der items like pasta, sal­ads, and smooth­ies; in­ter­est­ing op­tions like tan­doori chicken, surf-and-surf

burg­ers, and gluten-free, ve­gan, Kosher cup­cakes; and real plates and sil­ver­ware – not pa­per an plas­tic like in other WDW food courts.

The gift shop of­fers more than just the stan­dard Dis­ney items – with lots of swag for the movies af­ter which the re­sort is themed and even spe­cialty items cre­ated just for the Art of An­i­ma­tion – my fa­vorite is the paint­brush pen!

Art demon­stra­tions led by char­ac­ter artists are a great way to cool off or keep the kids busy dur­ing check in. Bikes and sur­rey bikes are avail­able to ride around Hour­glass Lake. Check-in pods re­place a tra­di­tiona front desk for a more per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence. And soon a new mode of trans­porta­tion – the Sky­liner gon­dola sys­tem – will be avail­able in ad­di­tion to the buses.

Dis­ney’s Art of An­i­ma­tion has re­ally “plussed” the Value Re­sort con­cept at WDW, and set the bar high for fu­ture ren­o­va­tions or con­struc­tion. It’s a great choice for fam­i­lies who need ex­tra space, want to live out their dreams of be­ing IN a Dis­ney film, or are look­ing for lots of fam­ily-friendly ameni­ties on a bud­get.

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