Type of Resort: Value
Theme: the artwork and animation of beloved Disney and Pixar films
Location: ESPN Wide World of Sports Area
Transportation Options: Buses
Unique Amenities: Art of Animation is filled to the brim with amazing theming, starting with the buildings and grounds themselves. It’s really a place you have to see to understand the scope of design that Disney delivers here, between the artwork, giant set pieces, and building decor. AOA also has three pools, including the Big Blue Pool (the largest on Disney property, with giant Finding Nemo set pieces surrounding it, zero-entry point, underwater speakers, and “sprayground” that will thrill your kids), Cozy Cone pool (Cars), and Flippin’ Fins pool (Little Mermaid). They also have fine art photography available, if you want to commemorate your trip with family photos.
They also have the standard Disney amenities like merchandise pickup and delivery, laundry services, mail, ATM and bank services, airline check-in, concierge services, Magical Express, online check-in, and complimentary wi-fi. This is also one of the pet friendly resorts on property!
Dining: Landscape of Flavors is this resort’s quick service hub, featuring tons of stations and options for each meal. At breakfast, you can choose from traditional breakfast foods like pancakes, waffles, and eggs, but my personal favorite was the breakfast burger. There is also a wide variety of lunch and dinner options, from salads, soups and sandwiches (I highly suggest the roasted turkey croissant) to burgers, pizzas, and pastas (we loved the make-your-own option) to more exotic flavors at the World of Flavor shop (tandoori chicken and Mongolian fish, for example).
Shopping: The Ink & Paint Shop features a mix of sundries, collectibles, and souvenirs. They also have a large pin and toy selection. We had a lot of fun shopping here.
Activities: Bike rentals, Finding Nemo courtyard playground, Pixel Play Arcade, Movies Under the Stars, jogging trails, and swimming.
About Our Stay | Little Mermaid
Time of Year: December 2017
Length of Stay: two nights
Room Type: Little Mermaid room
Travel Party Size: 4 (2 adults and 2 children), 1 household
Our Experience: Again, I’m going to sound like a broken record, but the theming of these buildings are so incredible! Our girls were blown away by the big set pieces outside our building. It took us forever to usher them to the room, because they wanted to stop and look at everything. Once we made it to our room, we were delighted by the theming there too! It really was adorable. Much like our review of the Port Orleans Riverside Royal Rooms (the rooms actually seemed identical, aside from the specific theming), our chief complaint was just space. These rooms are equitable in size to your normal motel room, so for a long visit (or in our case, kids with a lot of stuff), you may find yourself a bit cramped. We didn’t hear any hall or neighbor noise, except for toilets flushing. These rooms are the furthest away from the main building, which isn’t a big problem, unless you’re relying on getting your morning coffee there. At other resorts, one of us usually goes to get coffee while the other gets kids dressed and then we all walk back over for breakfast or more morning fuel. The main building was definitely too far away for us to just make trips back and forth to. In fact, we didn’t visit it more than once during this part of the stay. We ended up not using the internal buses from AOA, because the lines were insane and a fairly long walk from our building (same as coffee). We walked out on our first day and saw a few buses worth of people waiting to head to Magic Kingdom and quickly decided to drive our own car instead. We noticed that the lines weren’t bad later in the day, but definitely plan to be at the buses early if you’re going to use them during peak times. There are a lot of guests at this resort and they’re all going the same places that you are! Pool info below!
Favorite Part: The look of wonder on our kids’ faces and the feeling of really being transported into the Disney bubble, along with the amazing pools
Least Favorite Part: Tight quarters for all of our stuff, being pretty far out from the main building, and very busy buses
Would We Stay Again?: When the girls need less stuff to travel, it will definitely be on our list. Ruby talks about this room all the time. It was a major standout for them.
About Our Stay | Family Suites
Time of Year: December 2017
Room Type: Finding Nemo family suite
Travel Party Size: 4 people (2 adults and 2 children), 1 household (We were joined by family on our last night and had 3 additional guests, two adults and one infant, also in our room.)
Our Experience: Again, the theming is so good! The suites are really spacious and well designed. We loved having two bathrooms at the end of the night, so we could all efficiently get baths and get to bed! The kitchenette was also great, because we really utilized that space with kid snacks and cups. We were a little concerned about space when my cousin’s family joined us, but we were totally comfortable with all 7 of us in the room. I was pleasantly surprised by how comfy the Murphy bed mattress was! Our suite was the first one past the ice machine, elevator, and vending, which concerned us for noise, but was actually totally quiet. We loved how convenient everything was because of that too! We really enjoyed being so close to the main building and Big Blue Pool too. The only “downside” (not a downside) of that was that the girls wanted to just hang out at the pool all day and had no desire to go to the parks! The sprayground area really was the star of the show for them. We also got a kick out of the giant seagulls on the building that would shout out “Mine! Mine! Mine!” Our only real complaint was that there weren’t enough luggage carts at checkout, so we had to haul stuff down in multiple trips. The carts are first come, first served, so plan to go claim one early!
Favorite Part: Basically, everything. The suite was large and comfortable, the pools were awesome, we were close to the QS restaurant, and the girls loved the theme!
Least Favorite Part: The busy buses and luggage cart shortage
Would We Stay Again?: No question. We had a great experience overall and loved the suite. The small drawbacks we experienced were anticipated going into a value resort and we didn’t find them as a reason to not stay!