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At Art of Animation, there are a few key tips to get in the back of your mind. First, remember that this is a value resort. That doesn’t make the experience any less, but it does mean that some of the usual amenities to which you are accustomed might not be there!
Planning ahead helps you to know what is available to you and what isn’t, so you can know what to bring with you or what you might need to seek out elsewhere.
Second, think about transportation options – there are really only two, which we’ll get into in a moment. However, if you’re debating whether to rent or drive your own car, this is one of those instances where you might want to consider your own mode of transportation. While Disney has you covered, you might have to wait longer.
Finally, be sure not to underestimate its size. Value resorts tend to be large, so that Disney can maximize their profit on these less expensive options. That means you might have to plan for walking from place to place, or really think about what section of the resort you book. Don’t you worry though, there are plenty of tips to help conquer these things, so let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Planning Your Stay at Art of Animation
Consider the Theme
What makes this resort unique is the atmosphere – each section has its own incredible theme that brings you into the animated world of your area.
With that in mind, if you have a little one who is obsessed with Cars, you probably don’t want to book a Lion King suite. We know this isn’t the only deciding factor when booking, and of course you have to book based on availability, but you’ll see on the website that you have the chance to book a particular section.
On a similar note, if theming isn’t your thing or you are easily overwhelmed by theming, Art of Animation might not be the best choice!
To Suite or Not to Suite, That is the Question!
One of the best tips when staying at Art of Animation is to consider whether or not you actually need the family suite.
If you’ve chosen Art of Animation as a single or a twosome, you’re probably better off in the Little Mermaid rooms and saving the cash!
Suite Life for Me!
On the other hand, the family suites at Art of Animation are a great place to house a larger family or party all in one place.
You can sleep six adults (if everyone shares a bed), and with two full bathrooms you can get everyone out of the room in the morning no problem! Family suites also have the addition of a microwave and kitchenette sink, so you can make small quick meals in your room.
Spring Break, Baby!
Considering the space, if you are a group of young adults looking to take an on-property Disney trip, Art of Animation is one of the best options. The most expensive suites (Finding Nemo) run about $550 per night with tax. Split six ways, that’s a little over $90 a person per night. True, that can get a bit hefty for a whole week, but if you’re splitting the time between Disney and the beach you can’t beat that price!
Don’t Forget Pluto!
Final consideration in terms of your party, if you want to bring your puppy with you, Disney’s Art of Animation is one of the four locations where you your fur babies can stay! Select floors are pet-friendly, with access to particular areas where your dogs can have their private time. You do have to keep your dogs on your floor to respect the allergies of other guests staying at the resort, and they have to be leashed when outside, but it’s nice to have the option to bring your dog inside of leaving him or her in a kennel.
This is one of the rare instances where a value or moderate resort doesn’t have pool or preferred options when booking. Again, the whole bit with this resort is the theme of the section. So, when you’re booking, you see the choice between the areas rather than a choice of location. Yes, some rooms face the pool and some are closer to Animation Hall, but you don’t have the option to make that selection online.
As always, you can call 407-934-7639 and make your room requests over the phone. While this isn’t a guarantee of a particular room location, it helps to get you closer to where you want to be.
Four Means Four, Six Means Six.
There used to be a time when you could get extra cots or rollaway beds at the Disney resorts, but that is no longer the case. When you book the room for the maximum number, that’s it. Kids under three that sleep in a pack n’ play are the only exception to this rule – kiddos any older count as a full person in the room. This is mostly for safety and capacity purposes, so just keep that in mind.
What about Disney Vacation Club?
For Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members, there aren’t any DVC specific accommodations at Art of Animation. However, DVC members can use their points to stay at any Disney World resort, including Art of Animation. If you are looking stay here, you can absolutely use your points (or rent them) for your stay. However, be aware that DVC points don’t always convert well at non-DVC resorts, so you might want to call and speak to someone before booking.
Plan Your Week
Given the location of Art of Animation, this is one of the tips you need to follow. You have almost immediate access to both Hollywood Studios and Epcot, so save yourself the hassle and know where you’re headed. With the current park pass system, knowing which days will be park days (and which park you’ll be in) is important. As more people are comfortable travelling, we’re going to see more of these days maxing out, so get that park pass early!
Planning ahead can also help you plan in terms of transportation, since your options are limited. Also, try not to plan too many park days in a row. A day off in between will do you a world of good!
Plan and Coordinate Outfits!
Planning out your outfits for each day is a great idea. This makes packing easier, and also helps to coordinate the family for pictures. If you’re planning to rock some ears while you’re in the parks, you might want to plan your outfits to go with your ears as well.
This tip is particularly good with kids, as it simplifies packing and getting ready while on your trip! I even like to divide particular outfits into bags, labeled for the day I’m going to wear them. I know it seems excessive, but believe me, it helps with organization.
Also, at a value resort like Art of Animation, your storage spaces will be limited. Using these tips to streamline your packing keeps you from being overwhelmed when you try to unload your suitcase.
Make Your Own Mickey Ears
Trust me, this isn’t sacrilegious. Plenty of people are making their own Mickey and Minnie ears; in fact, there’s people making of living doing this on craft sites!
If you want to save a bit of money on ears in the park, or you want to have coordinated ears for an event or special occasion, making your own is the way to go. You might even find that they are more comfortable than official Disney ears, as you can choose the headband for yourself.
Speaking of special events, make sure you let the resort know ahead of time if you’re going to have anything special happening on your vacation. I always recommend this, no matter what resort you choose! When you book, there’s usually a place to specify if you’re having a celebration during your stay, or you can call the request line to add this note to your reservation. A birthday, anniversary, honeymoon – any celebration will be marked by special decorations in your room.
Since the celebration styles tend to be themed along with the resort, you’ll end up with your own fun decorations themed with your section of the resort to go along with whatever you are already celebrating! Especially with kids, this sort of Disney magic goes a long way.
Pack a Pool Bag
Especially if I’m driving to the resort, I like to pack a separate bag with all my pool gear. That includes swimsuit, sunscreen, and extra clothes. This is so that, if the room isn’t ready when we arrive, I can head to the bathroom, change into my swim gear, and enjoy the pool while I wait.
If you have kids, this is one of the tips where you’ll be glad you listened! The pools are key features at Disney’s Art of Animation, and your kiddos are going to want to get in right away. If you’re prepared with all their swim gear in its own bag, then you’ll be off swimming in no time.
Pack a Cover-up
Along the same lines, you should plan to bring some sort of swim cover up or “over clothes” to wear back from the pool. After using the resort towels, the expectation is that you will return them before exiting the pool area. Unless you bring your own towel, that means you won’t have one to wrap around yourself for the walk back to your room. That’s where having a cover up, or even just a dedicated pool t-shirt and shorts, can be nice. Art of Animation is a large resort, and if you have to trek a bit to get to a pool, it is nice to have some clothes to cover yourself during the walk.
Similarly, make sure you have swim shoes or flip-flops to wear to the pool. I know, I know, it’s Florida, you’ll probably bring them. However, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen people just walk barefoot from their room to the pool…and regret that decision. With the size of Art of Animation, you’ll want shoes for the pool. This is one of those tips you’ll be glad for in the moment!
Know Your Route
For those driving to the resort, make sure you know exactly what route you need to take to get to Disney’s Art of Animation. While many of us depend on the GPS, occasionally the generated directions take you to the wrong places on Disney property. It’s important to check the map ahead of time to be sure you’re headed to the right place.
Even though you might be able to see the resort from several of the Florida highways, it isn’t a straight shot from the exit to the Art of Animation entrance. Trust me – look it up ahead of time.
Make a Playlist
Especially since the resort areas all have specific movie themes, why not make a playlist full of music from those films? Whether you’re driving and singing along together or bopping quietly on a plane, this is a great way to get into the mood for your vacation.
Get the App!
The My Disney Experience app (or MDE, as more people are calling it) has become a crucial component to any Walt Disney World vacation. From purchasing tickets and making dining reservations to obtaining a coveted Rise of the Resistance boarding pass, you can’t really do Disney effectively without out.
This app is important at your resort as well, as you can use it for as a map to navigate the resort. I know I’ve already said, but Art of Animation is huge. Having a map right in your pocket that you can access at any time will save you time, versus trying to find one of the few posted throughout the resort. The mobile map is also nice if you’re going between the resorts, or even in the parks. Gone are the days when you needed multiple papers maps, all you need is MDE!
Plan Rainy Day Fun
If you think it’s not going to rain while you’re in Disney World, you are lying to yourself. So with that in mind, make sure you have some rainy day activities in your back pocket. The pools don’t always close for rain, so if you and your kids are fine with that, you might have the area to yourselves. There’s even some shelter in the Cozy Cones at the Cars pool, so you can stay dry while your kids have a rain swim. However, pools will close for thunder, so it’s good to plan ahead.
Over in Animation Hall, you can find Pixel Play Arcade, where you can play games with your family. Sometimes there are even other indoor events for kids over in this building, so check with the front desk. You can also do a bit of shopping here at the Ink & Paint Shop, which is always nice. If you drove, I also recommend bringing cards or board games you can play in your room while you wait for the weather to clear. The point is just to plan something so you don’t end up with bored kids on your hands.
Especially if you’re in one of the family suites at Art of Animation, one of my top tips always is to bring your own snacks. This will save you time, money, and headaches. Have items you can eat for breakfast so you can get out the door sooner. Bring small things to nibble at the pool. Make sure you have granola bars or something semi-substantial for the parks. You can even bring your own cereal or oatmeal and get a small milk from Landscape of Flavors, which is something my family always did. Prepping with these snacks means you’ll be less tempted to buy Disney food for every meal, which takes its toll on your belly and your wallet.
Tips for Your Stay at Disney’s Art of Animation
One of the first things you should do when you arrive is check in. You can actually use the My Disney Experience app to do this weeks ahead of time. However, I suggest waiting until your flight comes in or you’re driving onto Disney property. From there, you can check back periodically to see if you have been assigned your room.
This is one of the tips that comes in handy at a place like Art of Animation, which has multiple blocks of rooms spread out over the property. You can find out your room section, skip the main building and front desk, and head straight to your room. Animation Hall will be there for you to explore after you get yourself settled!
Explore the Resort
Whenever you have an amazing themed resort like Art of Animation, you’ve got to wander around and check it out. This is a great activity for the day you arrive, getting you out and about while providing flexibility to your day.
Not only will you have a chance to see all the amazing décor, artwork, and pool areas, but also you can figure out exactly where everything is located at the resort. That way, when it is a park day, you don’t have to stress out trying to find the bus stop or the Disney Skyliner. You’ll already know where to find everything!
Photo Scavenger Hunt
On a day you’re not in the parks, doing a photo scavenger hunt or bingo can be a great family activity. Plan this out ahead of time, or just try to take as many pictures as possible, either way you’re going to have a great time! You could even break your group into teams to see who can complete the scavenger hunt first, or take the best pictures. With so many amazing decorative elements, including statues and other artwork, you’ll have plenty to discover.
WATCH THIS VIDEO TO SEE THE SCAVENGER HUNT:
Don’t Forget Your Mug!
Trying to find the refill mug?
Landscape of Flavors over is Animation Hall is where you can find it. If you are unfamiliar with the Disney refill mugs, they originally came about as part of the Disney Dining Plan. Disney resort guests can purchase a refillable mug for all self-service beverages at their resort. You can buy the mug for $19.99 (sometimes more for specialty mugs). A regular soda at Disney World is $3.99, and if you drink two sodas a day for a five-day vacation, that comes out to $40! With the mug, you can save lot of money on nonalcoholic drinks (soda, juice, coffee, etc.) by refilling instead of buying a new drink.
The free refills are only good for the length of your stay, but as the mugs change in design from time to time, they make great souvenirs. I particularly like to fill mine with coffee on the way to the park, and then rise it out and use it for water later. The refills don’t work in the parks, but if you bring a soda bottle or another beverage you can use the mug then.
Ink & Paint Shop
If you love resort-specific merchandise, you won’t want to miss a trip to the Ink & Paint Shop in Animation Hall! I personally love getting a few things from the resort stores to commemorate my visit – a t-shirt, a magnet, resort pin, and a “toothpick holder” (shot glass) are always on the list. Art of Animation’s wares are beautiful, with sketches, bright colors, and other artistic touches. You can usually find some cool Skyliner gear here as well, so be sure to check it out!
Get a Postcard
While you’re in the store, you might want to consider picking up a postcard or two.
I like to send postcards to my parents and grandmother, especially if we’re using birthday or Christmas money to finance the trip.
I’ve also heard of people who like to write the postcard to themselves as a live-journal type of souvenir. You could even do this with each of your kids, so that they have a solid memory of themselves at that time and what they loved about the trip.
Unpack, Settle In
If you’re staying for more than three nights, you really should unpack your suitcase and store it out of the way. Even in this smaller space, you do have lots of storage options. A dresser under the TV gives you drawer space, and each nightstand has a cubby space for some of your smaller items.
With the bed fairly high off the ground, I recommend you stick your suitcase under in this space. It gets that luggage out of the way, allowing you to use all the space in your room effectively.
In the family suites, there is a small hanging space in the bedroom and another one in the living room, which is great for nicer clothes, jackets, or even wet ponchos. When you have a compact living area, you want to use all the storage space you can!
For those that really like to hang up their clothes, or you’re worried that the resort won’t have enough hangers, grab some of these travel hangers before your trip. Super compact, they fold up perfectly to fit in your suitcase. When you arrive, just unfold the hangers and click them into place, and there you go
Arrival Day? Make it a Pool Day!
One of the best ways to spend your check-in day is at the pool. With three amazing pools from which to choose, why wouldn’t you?
Part of the reason this is one of my top tips is because rooms at the resorts, including Art of Animation, typically aren’t ready until later in the afternoon. If you have a morning flight, you won’t necessarily be able to get into your room right away. With that in mind, you might as well get the vacation started at the pool!
Prepare for Pool Popularity
Speaking of pools, Art of Animation has one of the most popular pools on property – the Big Blue Pool.
Located in the Finding Nemo section, Big Blue Pool is the largest pool at a Walt Disney World resort, over 300,000 gallons of fun!
However, the fun and amazing features of this pool make it a hot spot, especially in the summer. As that is the case, you’re going to want to get there early to scope out your spot.
Remember, spot saving is not allowed at Disney pools, so arrive as a whole party and only take the space you need. If you have a five year old who is going to spend her whole time in the pool, she probably doesn’t need her own lounge chair.
Don’t Worry about a Towel!
Disney resorts provide pool towels to their guests, so you don’t need to worry about packing your own. You can of course, but as someone who often flies, I appreciate the fact that I don’t need to pack these bulky items. Even if you do bring your own, grab a resort towel anyway. That way, yours is nice and dry when you want to bundle up for the journey back to your room.
You also can borrow life vests at the Disney pools, so you can save room in the suitcase and leave the puddle jumper at home. Again, if you’re more comfortable with your own, that’s fine. Just remember that big floaties, like those gigantic inflatable islands or animals, are not allowed.
This is one of those general tips you’ll be happy you followed, especially when you’re trekking back across Art of Animation.
It is hot in Florida a good 80% of the year, hanging out in the 90s during the summer.
When you’re at the pool, you tend to forget about drinking water since you’re nice and cool in the water.
However, don’t forget to drink your water as well! Trust me, the last thing you want to be dealing with at Disney World is dehydration.
Similarly, don’t forget to eat when you’re lounging poolside.
While the Big Blue Pool has The Drop Off pool bar, the other two pools on property do not.
Bring snacks with you to the pool and be sure to take breaks to eat them. Time can pass quickly when you’re splashing about, and you don’t want to miss a meal.
Last of our pool tips – wear your sunblock!
While the Art of Animation pools have some shade, the pool area itself is fully exposed to the strong rays of the Floridian sun. Florida is the Sunshine State after all, and it comes by this nickname honestly.
I don’t care if you “don’t burn,” you will here if you don’t put on at least SPF 15. Lather up, reapply, and avoid the burn.
While this isn’t an issue in the majority of the resort, in the Little Mermaid section, the doors to your room are off an external hallway. That means the railing right in front of your room isn’t yours, it is essentially part of the community walkway/hallway space. With that in mind, don’t hang items on the railing.
You aren’t supposed to do this at Disney resorts anyway, but it is especially true with an external hallway. You are much more likely to have your items lost, or, unfortunately, stolen. For wet things, use the retractable shower line to hang them up in your shower. If you’re worried they won’t dry quickly, turn on the fan in the bathroom to circulate the air.
If you absolutely must dry your gear, there are laundry services located by each of the pools. The machines take coins or cards, but not MagicBands, some come prepared.
Do the Laundry
Speaking of laundry facilities, if you’re really trying to save room in the suitcase, pack half the amount of clothes and plan to do laundry on site. Yes, you will have to sit and wait for it, but the laundry units are right by the pool. You could conceivably take a dip while your clothes wash and dry – just keep an eye on the time.
No, Art of Animation does not have a fitness center. However, there’s still plenty of ways to stay active at the resort! From the paths for running, jogging, or just walking, to swimming in the pool, you’ll find plenty of ways to stay in your routine.
If you drive yourself, you can always bring some small weights or exercise ball to use in your room.
Park Day? Eat Breakfast!
If you listen to none of the other tips, listen this one – Don’t. Skip. Breakfast.
Art of Animation has a great quick service area, with five different food counters from which to choose. You can also take some of these options to go if you want to take them back to your room to eat or eat on the fly.
Remember, you can’t eat on the Disney transportation, but if you’re driving yourself feel free to grab and go.
Skip the line and order your counter service meals on your app! Whether you’re in the parks or just picking up something from Landscape of Flavors, Mobile Order is an ideal way to get your food without having to wait. You also can find more customizations on the app, which helps you to get the food just the way you want it. Particularly if you’re really grabbing and going, Mobile Order is a must.
Right now, you actually have to use Mobile Order at all counter service locations, but it’s still a good habit to be in anyway.
Art of Animation Transportation Tips
When you’re headed to the parks, you have two transportation options – the Disney Skyliner or the Disney busses. Whenever possible, take the Skyliner. Busses generally take longer, and for the most part the Skyliner keeps moving. The lines can back up a bit at peak times of the day (around park opening or closing), but it’s still the faster option.
If you have your own car, use it. You’re paying to park your car at the resort, so you don’t have to pay the parking fee at the theme parks. Driving yourself is by far the quickest and most direct way to the parks, so take advantage of having your own transportation.
Art of Animation isn’t as far away from the rest of property as, say, the Animal Kingdom Lodge, but it’s not exactly central either. You want to make the best of all your transportation options!
Let’s get a bit more specific here. If you’ve never used the Disney Skyliner, it is the newest transportation option, using large gondolas to transport parties from different resorts to both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Art of Animation shares a station with Pop Century, putting it right on the Skyliner track.
If you’re going to Hollywood Studios or Epcot, definitely use the Skyliner rather than the busses. You do have to wait in line for the Skyliner, depending on how many people are trying to ride it, but again the main benefit to the Skyliner is that it’s always moving. Since you have a station right there, this is definitely what you want to do!
Bus Stop is out Front
If you are taking the bus, one of the most important tips to remember is that there’s only one Disney transportation bus stop at Art of Animation. Located right out in front of Animation Hall, you can catch all the busses to the parks and Disney Springs. The only downside is if you’re staying in either the Little Mermaid or Cars sections, you’ll need to make time to walk to the bus stop.
The last of our Art of Animation transportation tips is to consider using ride share. While I know not everyone is comfortable with this option, I have had fair luck with ride shares at Disney World. Lyft is our go-to, although Uber does operate on property as well.
No, this option isn’t free, but it can be much quicker and more direct than waiting on Disney transportation.
There are two main times I suggest it – inter-resort travel and rope-drop entrances.
Again, there aren’t many good options to get you from one resort to another, even though Art of Animation is better connected with the Skyliner, so ride share helps with that problem.
As for rope drop, or arriving as soon as the park opens, ride share helps you to beat the Disney busses. Busses won’t run before a certain time in the morning, so if you use the ride share you can get there before the rest of the resort crowd. This does mean getting up early, but it’s worth it to be some of the first people in the parks!
Account for Walking
Art of Animation is more spread out, this is one of the best tips to get you where you want to go in a timely manner.
If you’re over in the Little Mermaid or Lion King areas, and you’re trying to get to the Skyliner, it might take you about fifteen minutes to cross the whole resort.
If you have somewhere you want to be at a specific time, make sure you budget those fifteen minutes into your travel. You could have accounted for how long it will take to ride the Skyliner, but if you don’t factor in the walking distance it could throw you off.
Take a Break
One of the biggest mistake people make on their Disney vacation is not stopping for a rest. Even adults need to take a breather, so don’t be afraid to take a break. Especially if you’re at Epcot or Hollywood Studios, you can use the Skyliner and be back at Art of Animation within a half an hour.
As previously mentioned, in the summer Florida is hot. Everyone in your group, from toddlers to grown-ups, will be glad for the chance to go for a swim or just be in the AC for a little while. Tips like this are particularly useful if you’re planning leave Art of Animation and head back to the park in the evening, as you can recharge a bit before a late night. Moreover, will such awesome pools at this resort, you’ll want to use them!
Know the Distance
When you build break time into your day, one of the best tips I can give is to know how long it is going to take to get back to Art of Animation. Depending on what park you’re going to, it may take you even an hour to get all the way back to your room from the park. If you know you little one needs a quiet nap or you want a dip in the middle of the day, don’t plan to leave the park fifteen minutes before you know a meltdown is coming.
Even if it’s a non-park day, you still want to keep an eye on that clock. You know your children, and you know how quickly they will lose it without a break or nap. Disney transportation, no matter the option, takes longer than you think, so just be prepared!
Along the same lines, one of those good general tips is to be early for all reservations or high-priority events. Don’t plan to leave Art of Animation and show up for your dining experience right at your reservation time. Firstly, Disney asks that you show up at least fifteen minutes early. Second, you don’t know what factors could interfere with you getting there on time. Even if you have your own transportation, Disney World has high-traffic times just like all other roadways. Give yourself at least forty-five minutes to get wherever you’re going, and plan to be at least half an hour early to your reservation.
Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
Tips for Finishing Your Art of Animation Stay
Pack the Night Before
It may be the last thing you feel like doing, particularly if you spent your last day at the park, but you’ll be glad you did in the morning. Packing ahead of time means less scramble, and you will be less likely to leave anything behind in the room. Especially with kiddos, getting everything together the night before will ease the process of leaving in the morning.
Leave out your outfit for the next day and your essentials, but get everything else ready to go. Know what bag you will use to pack up your last minute items. If you have your own car, you could even load the suitcases in the evening to take away that stressor. With young kids, make sure you know the location of all their items. Your departure will be much smoother, and you will be less stressed, with this one big to-do item checked off your list.
I know I harp on breakfast, but when you’ve dealt with morning traffic on an empty stomach, you’ll understand.
You might think there isn’t enough time for a meal, especially if you have a flight to catch. However, if you plan ahead, there will be enough time for you to eat before you head out, and I suggest that you do. Heading away from Walt Disney World on an empty stomach not only will make your departure harder, but will most likely make your whole party miserable (especially the kids). Landscape of Flavors opens at 7:00am, but if that isn’t early enough for you, consider getting some snacks the night before to hold you over until you get to the airport.
Absolutely one of my favor tips – if you have a credit card on file with Art of Animation, you don’t need to stop at the Front Desk to checkout. This saves you a trip back to Animation Hall and waiting in line. Art of Animation sends an itemized statement to your email address, which you can see from the morning of your checkout, and if everything looks good you can be on your way.
The Fun Never Stops!
Just because you have to check out at 11:00am doesn’t mean you have to leave the resort!
For those that are driving only a short distance, changing their vacation location, or have a later flight, you can hang out on property and take advantage of all the amenities.
Pack up your car or store your baggage with Bell Services and enjoy the magic for just a little longer.
Be prepared to get wild, go under the sea, and zoom off into the sunset with Disney’s Art of Animation resort. With all these amazing tips, you’ll be ready to rip it, roll it, and punch it!
Grace Hoyos, Staff Writer
Grace is a life-long lover of all things Disney, particularly the parks at Walt Disney World. She is also an avid Disney Cruise Line enthusiast who regularly dreams of the white sands of Castaway Cay. Grace loves the fact that her Disney trips give her time to spend with her family, enjoy incredible food, and try new experiences.