Disney’s Art of Animation Resort officially opened in May of 2012. Since that time, I have toured the resort several times, viewing guest rooms and suites, checking out the theming, learning about the resort amenities, and even eating in the resort’s food court. Always a visitor, and never a guest…..until last week! For our 2019 family Walt Disney World vacation, we needed accommodations that provided private spots for children to sleep, a central place for family conversation and games, and the opportunity for the introverts in the family to get away for a while when “people-ing” became overwhelming.
Two Finding Nemo Family Suites and one The Little Mermaid Standard Room worked well for us. Today, I share a few of the resort features that we enjoyed most!
Sleeping arrangements: Our grandchildren are young (almost 2 ½ and 10 months). Naptime is still a necessary part of the day, but the kids are on different schedules. That meant we needed two private sleeping areas plus a place for mom and dad to enjoy some downtime (without sitting silently in a dark hotel room!). Evelynn napped in the queen master bedroom behind a closed door. Haddon’s pack ‘n play fit perfectly in the vanity area of the second bathroom, and a pocket door provided darkness and quiet. Parents or grandparents could watch TV or talk in the living area without disrupting naps. It was a win! Just in case you are interested….a pack ‘n play will also fit in the master bathroom, so parents have several options for private sleeping areas for children.
The sofa sleeper got good reviews from Davis and Charis. I now feel confident telling my clients that the Family Suites at Art of Animation can comfortably accommodate more than two adults. No one in our family slept on the table bed (dining table that converts to a murphy style bed), but past clients have told me that it’s comfy, too.
In-suite microwave: Perfect for warming bottles and reheating take-out on those nights or mornings when you want to eat in the room!
Theming: The larger than life icons are appealing to children even if they haven’t yet seen the movies! Evelynn regularly stopped to hug the fish statues on our way to our Finding Nemo suites, and strolling through the Lion King section of the resort was almost as entertaining as a visit to Animal Kingdom.
Surprisingly convenient transportation: We found the bus service to be excellent at Art of Animation, and the ride times were around 10 minutes for Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Animal Kingdom was under 15 minutes, and Magic Kingdom was around 20 minutes. Granted, Art of Animation bus stops are positioned further from park entrances than Deluxe Resorts (except at AK), but what’s a few more steps when you’ve already logged 20K on your Fitbit?
While we were at WDW, Disney was testing the new Skyliner, scheduled to open later this year. When that opens, Art of Animation will have a new form of transportation to both Hollywood Studios and Epcot. I’m not actual transportation time will be quicker than the current bus service, but the Skyliner will be fun, it will offer excellent views, and it will run continuously.
Water fun: The Big Blue Pool is zero-entry, so it’s great for young children (or adults who prefer to get wet gradually). Nearby, there’s a Nemo themed splash pad and play area; Evelynn loved these areas as much as the pool. If you are looking for a more relaxed pool experience, you might want to check out the Cozy Cone Pool in the Cars section of the resort or the Flippin Fins Pool in The Little Mermaid section. All three pools have lifeguards during peak hours. Pool towels and life jackets are available poolside.
Gathering space: At the end of the day, after the kids were down for the night, the six adults often gathered in my suite to catch up on life and reflect on the day. Two or three on the sofa, one in the funky chair, sometimes one on an ottoman, and usually one or two in chairs pulled over from the dining table. The “baby” monitor kept us in touch with what was going on next door.
Office space: Yes, it was a family vacation, but I did work a bit. I’m an early riser, and I enjoyed having a separate place where I could work freely without interrupting Edward’s sleep. The dining table was my desk for the week, and the wi-fi was reliable during our stay.
Would I stay at Art of Animation again? Absolutely! I still claim a couple of Disney’s Deluxe Resorts as my favorites, but the Family Suites at Art of Animation were what we needed for this trip. And a good time was had by all!