Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is the newest addition to Walt Disney World’s resort family. It takes theming, service, and family dining to a whole new level, but still gives families the comforts of home. I had the opportunity to stay there 5 days during its opening month and cannot wait to return. Here’s why!
After we checked in, a concept artist (Art of Animation employees are “concept artists,” not “cast members”) directed us to our room. He told us to follow the EAC to the Crush building, and from there, we entered into a completely indoor hotel. These indoor hallways are such a great addition compared to most Value / Moderate layouts; they saved us from multiple four o’clock downpours. The hallways themselves have to be my favorite hotel hallways of all time. Each floor has a different portrait as you exit the elevator, and other pieces of artwork greet guests as they find their rooms. The hallways serve as beautiful queues to the main attraction of the suites. The theming of the Finding Nemo suites is flawless. The Imagineers thought of every detail; a hidden surprise lurks across every surface from the rooms to the pool.
The Big Blue Pool is one of the resort’s greatest features. Under the water, guests can hear beach tunes as well as conversations and songs from Finding Nemo. The pool is actually salt water, which is much better for your skin and bathing suits. Nearby, kids and adults can splash away the day in the Schoolyard Sprayground. Everything in the Finding Nemo courtyard is scaled to make you feel like the size of a fish, which adds another layer to the immersion.
Our room was home to four adults, one teenager, and two young children during our stay, and not once did we feel overcrowded. There was enough space for all of us to sleep and refuel. We found only one problem in the room. The hair dryer in the master bathroom is placed in front of the light switch. Almost every time we turned the lights on, we also knocked the hairdryer down. Other than that, we did not have any problems. The room actually surpassed our predictions in size, theming, and comfort.
Although the rooms feature kitchenettes, we did not make a meal once. One of the reasons is because that would mean eating one less meal in the Landscape of Flavors food court. Without a doubt, it is my favorite food court on property. Everywhere you look there is artwork from the four featured films, and these films inspire the food that is offered. The breakfast selection is massive. They offer the standard Mickey waffles, pancakes, french toast, oatmeal, and breakfast platters, but also selections from their tandoori ovens and healthier alternatives, such as buckwheat children’s waffles, create-your-own yogurt or fruit bowl, turkey bacon, chicken sausage, and fresh cereal. The children’s buckwheat waffles are not the usual Mickeys, but featured characters from Finding Nemo and Cars. The buckwheat has a much stronger flavor, and I was surprised that they used those for the children’s waffles and not the adults’. I did enjoy it and it definitely supported their healthy initiative, but by the end of the week, they were no longer made with buckwheat. Perhaps that was just a mistake, but there may have been complaints about the different flavor. Cast members were standing by to take any complaints, concerns, or compliments from guests about the food.
The breakfast was impressive, but the dinner blew me away. Both dinners I had there were from the World Flavors section. The food is cooked in tandoori ovens, and they feature items straight off the menu from Sanaa, my second favorite restaurant on property, for a much lower price. The other stations had great reviews from the rest of my family. One of their favorite items is the Surf & Surf burger- a crab cake topped with shrimp. The desserts are also delicious. Instead of the standard ice cream freezers, this food court has fresh gelato. I tried the mango and raspberry flavors and chose to add a few toppings from their selection. My mom went in search for a Mickey premium bar, but she was informed that the closest one was at Pop Century. We were then told that the premium bars would be served at the pool bar in the near future.
This food court is very different from the others found at moderate and value resorts. Everything is served on real plates with real silverware, and there is a greater emphasis on healthy and ethnic food, as well as create-your-own options. Every guest I talked to at the resort did have one concern, however. With only two parts of the resort open, the food court was nearly filled, and the food service was not exactly the quickest on property. I would definitely suggest eating there earlier or later for any meal to avoid unnecessary stress that would take away from the otherwise relaxing atmosphere.
The Ink & Paint Shop gift shop is definitely one of the nicest resort shops on property. Its large size makes it easy to maneuver, and it featured a large supply of souvenirs. The resort merchandise is excellently designed, including items from every section of the resort. Unfortunately during my visit, they were sold out of the Art of Animation paint brush pens, but they appeared to be a unique souvenir to bring home.
Service quality at Disney is always top notch, especially at this new resort. Although many of the workers were “earning their ears,” they were constantly friendly and always wishing guests “hakuna matata.” There were also managers asking guests about their experience. The busses were always on schedule when we needed them, which is important due to its location.
If you’re not sure where to stay on your next trip to Walt Disney World, definitely book a reservation at Disney’s Art of Animation. Children will love playing by the pool, teenagers will feast on the variety of food choices, and adults will enjoy sipping drinks at The Drop Off bar. Every age will have the trip of a lifetime at this resort. I know my whole family did.
In September, I’ll be returning to this resort to stay in The Little Mermaid section. Follow me @MickeyWaffle71 on Twitter and Instagram for tweets and pictures of the completed resort. Thank you for reading, and feel free to tweet me or comment your own review below!Share