Disney World's newest Value resort, the Art of Animation, is inspired by the colorful worlds inhabited by some of Pixar's most popular animated feature films. The resort adds to Disney's collection of family suites, with relatively lower-cost accommodations equipped with mini kitchens and enough space to sleep six people.
The resort is located next to Pop Century, and will ultimately feature three uniquely themed areas: Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid, Cars and The Lion King. All total, the resort will have 1,120 family suites (from $248 a night) and 864 standard rooms which will sleep up to four people (from $94 a night).
Inside the main building at the Art of Animation resort, the walls are lined with colorful painted cells from Pixar movies like
Imagineer Showing Character Sketches
Inside the Art of Animation Resort, Disney Imagineer Gary points out a long corridor of character sketches of animated personalities as diverse as Ariel and Lightning McQueen. The sketches face the check-in counters at Disney's newest Value resort.
Walt Disney was a believer in the power of personality to bring a story to life. "Until a character becomes a personality," he is quoted as saying, "it cannot be believed...And without personality, a story cannot ring true to the audience." It's fascinating to see the personalities come to life on this well with just a few strokes of the pen.
Just outside the entrance to the Ink & Paint Shop, the gift shop at the Art of Animation resort, is an attention-grabbing chandelier. Each point ends in a small inked sketch.
Landscape of Flavors Food Court
Of course, even the most enduring characters need s landscape in which to play. Stepping through the Ink & Paint gift shop into the Landscape of Flavors food court takes you from character to setting. Open breakfast, lunch and dinner, Landscape of Flavors will serve treats like gelato, smoothies and savory Mongolian barbeque. Art of Animation will also offer in-room pizza delivery, and a snack bar will be open poolside.
Pixel Play Arcade
Not far from the food court is one of my favorite destinations in any Disney resort, the arcade. At the Art of Animation, it's called the Pixel Play arcade, and it's just off the lobby in the main building.
Ink & Paint Gift Shop
In the main building of the Art of Animation Resort, the Ink & Paint Shop is the spot to look for souvenirs, themed clothing, toys and vacation essentials. Its bright and colorful interior is a fun setting for merchandise themed to all the movies featured at the resort as well as featuring classic Disney characters like Goofy.
You can almost hear the seagulls shouting "Mine! Mine!" as you walk up to one of the three-story buildings in the Finding Nemo section of Art of Animation. Instantly you're shrunk down to the size of little Nemo the clownfish as you walk into the Nemo section of the resort. The scale is designed to immerse you into the movie's landscapes, as you experience everything from the size of a small fish.
The scale continues farther along the Nemo building, as you encounter an enormous version of Crush, the 150-year-old surfer dude sea turtle who befriends Nemo in the movie. Behind him, you can see his fellow turtles cruising along in the EAC.
Nemo Swimming Pool
The "Big Blue" pool, the centerpiece of the Finding Nemo courtyard at Art of Animation, is built to make a small swimmer experience the world as Nemo's size. It's the largest swimming pool at any Disney resort, at 310,000 gallons. Underwater, a sound system will surprise many swimmers, who will be able to hear the characters speaking under the water.
Nemo Splash Play Area
It was turned off when I visited pre-opening, no I have no doubt the splash play area just off the Nemo swimming pool will be a big hit with kids during the warm summer months. Kids will be able to cool off in the shadow of Nemo and Marlin's sea anemone home.
Not far from the Nemo splash play are is this dry playground, with steps and slides peeking out of a coral reef.
Living Room Sofa in an Art of Animation Suite
Inside one of the family suites in the Finding Nemo section of the Art of Animation resort, colors are bright and details are inspired by the Pixar movie. Above the living room sofa, art depicts the tiny silver fish that formed themselves into pictures to communicate with Dory and Marlin. Here, they join together to create a smiling fish.
Kitchenette in an Art of Animation Suite
The 1,120 family suites in the Art of Animation resort take a clever approach to design that packs value into a room that can be booked for as low as $248 a night. This kitchen area, in a corner of the living room, holds a microwave, mini-fridge and sink. Eating at least one meal a day in the room is a great way for a family to save money on vacation, and can be especially easy with small children, who may not handle a restaurant well after a long fun day at the parks.
Living Room TV in an Art of Animation Suite
Another example of the clever use of space in an Art of Animation family suite is this living room TV, which sits atop a dresser with deep drawers. Not pictured, next to it is an open closet with space for hanging clothes and suitcases.
Finding Nemo Convertible Table
I was most impressed with this entryway area of a family suite in the Art of Animation resort, which otherwise might have been wasted space. The table and four chairs may be whimsically colorful, but are oh-so-practical at mealtimes and playtime. Don't be fooled by the matching mural behind the table, however; it hides a secret, which I'll show you next.
Finding Nemo Pulldown Bed
Surprise! Pull down the mural behind the table, and out pops a full-sized bed, large enough to sleep two more people. Added to the bed in the master bedroom and the pull-out sofa in the living room, and you have space for size people to sleep in one of these thoughtfully-designed family suites.
Finding Nemo Shower Curtain
Family suites at the Art of Animation resort have two full bathrooms, one in the master bedroom and this one off the living room. I loved the colorful shower curtain here and the upgraded materials in both bathrooms. The master bathroom has a sliding glass shower door. Take a closer look at the mirror in each bathroom when you visit; in it is etched the shark mantra, "Fish are friends."
Master Bed in an Art of Animation Suite
The roomy master bedroom in a family suite in the Art of Animation resort carries along the colorful theme on the bedspread, the dresser holding the TV set, and the closet area tucked away behind the bedroom door. On the ceiling, the light fixture resembles bubbles, and the bathroom has a single-sink vanity and a sliding glass shower door.