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A Masterpiece at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Friday, August 03, 2012

I think we can all agree that Walt Disney World has built some world class resorts.  Their collection of resort hotels is one of the reasons why their destination is so popular.  Whether it’s a value, moderate, deluxe, or DVC resort you’re sure to be impressed with your accommodations and amenities.  This is true at Disney’s newest resort hotel.  Although it’s in the value category Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is full of color, graphics, and texture.  It immerses you into a world of Pixar stories all throughout the resort.  From the lobby all the way around the large property you’ll see Pixar movie sections from Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid. 

Visiting these world class resorts during your Disney World vacation is not uncommon.  I would have never thought I’d make it a point to visit a value resort hotel, but the Art of Animation is an exception.  It’s so well done we were tempted to check it out.  All of the reviews we had read seemed extremely positive.  The photos also influenced us to spend a few hours walking around this colorful property. 

One a Monday afternoon we decided to jump in our rental car and head over to the Art of Animation Resort.  It was around lunchtime so we decided to grab a bite at the resort’s food court; The Landscape of Flavors.  As we walked into the lobby we were greeted by a Cast Member who handed us a balloon and told us the Cars section of the resort was opening today.  What luck! 

First things first, we were hungry so we immediately went into the food court.  The layout of the food court appears similar to the food court at Pop Century (Everything Pop) with food stations all around.  However, the food choices were much different and it appeared just about everything was made fresh to order.  After enjoying our lunch we agreed the food at the Landscape of Flavors was awesome.  It is more pricy than other food courts across property, but in our opinion the taste was worth the extra cost.  So was the Gelato.  Be sure to try it for dessert if you have the room.  Don’t forget to use your 20% Tables in Wonderland discount when you check out.  We saved $10 on our $50 meal. 

After lunch we headed back into the lobby.  Our daughter got a glimpse of the huge arcade (I believe the largest on property) and had persuaded me to come back later to try it out.  Walking through the lobby you can’t help but get caught-up in the animation theme.  The wall along the back of the lobby displays real life animation drawings as they are developed.  Cast Members are wearing colorful vests displaying Pixar character drawings.  A giant chandelier displays artwork at each end of its spokes.  Color spectrum lighting is shown off behind the check-in desks.  This place is a rainbow of colors and a 1930s black & white movie all rolled together.  It kind of reminds me of when we used to transfer images by pressing Silly Putty on a black and white newspaper. 

Once we left the lobby through the back door we were greeted by the resort’s main pool; The Big Blue Pool.  A PUN taken from the hit animated movie Finding Nemo.  According to Disney this is the largest feature pool at a Disney World resort hotel.  Considering its size I’d have to agree.  It looks gigantic!  With only 2 sections of the resort open it was understandable why it wasn’t very crowded, but when the resort is at full capacity this pool will get its share of guests.  It should have no problem accommodating everyone. 

After we visited the pool we decided to check out the resort’s latest addition; the Cars section.  We took a walk over to Radiator Springs where we were greeted by such images and icons like Tow Mater, Lightening McQueen, Filmore, and other Cars character favorites all along a miniaturized version of Route 66.  In the center of Radiator Springs was the Cars section quiet pool.   One of the most ingenious creations I’d seen in a while was the use of construction/safety cones as poolside cabanas.  They look great and fit well into the theme and surrounds of the Cars section of the resort.  Walking through the rest of the section it was apparent Disney drew inspiration from California Adventure theme park’s newest addition; Carsland. 

After our stroll through the Cars section we headed back to the lobby to check out the resort’s gift shop; The Ink and Paint Shop.  It was nice to see that resort specific merchandise is returning to Walt Disney World.  Although there wasn’t a huge selection of Art of Animation merchandise there was enough to garner our interest.  The rest of the shop is full of general Disney merchandise.  It’s a large gift shop on par with the resort’s neighbor, the Pop Century Resort. 

Although the Art of Animation Resort is in the value category Disney should give it a “value plus” designation.  The price point doesn’t necessarily give you the feeling it’s a value resort.  Most of the rooms are family suites accommodating more than the usual 4 guests with 2 bathrooms and a kitchenette.  If you have time in the middle of a day during your vacation consider dropping by Disney’s newest creation. 

Resort hopping to the various Disney World resorts can be an exciting experience, especially when you’ve never visited a brand new resort before.  Walking into a newly themed resort provides you with brand new surroundings.  It’s as if you’ve been transported to a new part of the country, thrusted into a storybook, or dropped into a scene from long ago.  Disney’s Art of Animation Resort puts you squarely in an animator’s studio.  Probably a studio at the Pixar headquarters in Emeryville, CA where animators first brought to life the Pixar characters we know and love today.  If you didn’t know any better you’d swear these same characters were brought to life at Disney’s newest resort.

Art of Animation Resort Fun Facts

The resort needed 23,000 gallons of paint

There are 2,300 parking spaces at the resort

One of the sketches on the lobby chandelier was signed by John Lasseter

The Big Blue Pool (feature pool) holds 310,000 gallons of water

If you stacked up all of the doors at the resort they would be as tall as the Empire State Building

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About this column

Aaron DelPrince looks at the various activities you and your family can experience at Walt Disney World


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