Disney’s Art of Animation Resort: The Complete 2021 Guide

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Have you ever wanted to live in the world of your favorite Disney film? Then Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is the place for you!

Dive into the sea with Ariel, Nemo, and all their friends, traverse the jungles with Simba and the gang, or speed off into the sunset with Lightening McQueen.

You and your family, especially your kiddos, will marvel at the incredible worlds brought to life by Disney’s Art of Animation.

In addition to the grounds and buildings, the films permeate into every aspect of the resort.

The key to Art of Animation is the theming – totally immersive, the design of the resort is to bring you completely into the movie.

You think you know Disney resort theming? You ain’t seen nothing yet!


Table of Contents


The World of Disney’s Art of Animation

One of the value resorts at Walt Disney World, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort brings the best Disney has to offer at affordable prices. Art of Animation is almost a bridge between value and moderate resorts, perfect in so many ways for families with kids or for a weekend jaunt. The resort also has the benefit of being close to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and isn’t too far from Epcot or Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Much like its cousin, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, the buildings have a T-shape facing in towards the common areas for each section. The Little Mermaid and Cars sections each have three buildings, while the Nemo and Lion King areas each have two. Between the four sections, there are 934 rooms in all. In the center of the resort you’ll find Animation Hall, the main building for check-in, transportation, dining, and shopping.

Each area takes on the appearance of a classic Disney or Pixar movie – The Little Mermaid and The Lion King are on the Disney side, with Finding Nemo and the Cars trilogy representing for the Pixar family.

When we say it has the appearance of these movies, we mean it! Every aspect of each section goes all-out with the décor, architecture, and character elements to make you feel like you’ve really entered the worlds of these characters. Not just the finessed touches or special nods that you see at other resorts, but real, movie-set-level components that bring your experience up to ten!

Take a tour of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort!

History of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Opening May 31, 2012, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort was saw the completion of a project that almost never happened.

Back in the early 2000s, Art of Animation had been designed to be the sister resort to Pop Century with the name The Legendary Years. Covering the beginning of the 1900s up through the 1940s, Pop Century – The Legendary Years was supposed to be across Hourglass Lake and complete the movie-themed resort area.

However, after September 11th, tourism took a dramatic hit and The Legendary Years never came to fruition. The half-finished resort lay across the lake from Disney Pop Century Resort, abandoned until it the reimagining into Disney’s Art of Animation.

This legacy still had an impact on the building of the resort, which you can see in the Little Mermaid sections. Built like the rooms over at Pop Century, with exterior hallways and smaller room spaces, these three buildings were already in place when the new concept for the resort came into being. As for the remaining sections, they took on the family suite format that took off during the refurbishment of Disney’s All-Star Music Resort. Providing more room for young families without spending the high suite prices, Art of Animation was the perfect place to adopt this format and provide more accommodations geared specifically towards families.

From a forgotten relic to an animated sensation, we’re not the only ones that are glad that Disney’s Art of Animation was born from the ashes of The Legendary Years!  


Disney’s Art of Animation Amenities

As a value resort, there are fewer of the high-end amenities you might get at the moderate or deluxe resorts. You don’t have table service dining locations, a spa, or water sports on the lake, but what you do have is fun for the whole family! With one of the best counter service spots on the property, three incredible pools, and plenty of places for your kids to play, you won’t be disappointed with what Art of Animation has to offer!

Rooms

Unlike some of the other value resorts, the rooms are a major part of the attraction at Art of Animation. In fact, the design and layout is an integral part of the overall resort experience! In the effort to bring you into the film, each of the rooms for the four sections uses different themed elements to highlight aspects of the movies. Even the floors fit with the theme!

As previously mentioned, there are four distinct sections:

  • The Little Mermaid
  • The Lion King
  • Finding Nemo
  • Cars

Within each, the rooms reflect the overall feel of the movie. As you’re booking, make sure you take that into account.

Definitely watch video tours or check out our page on the rooms to learn more!

Standard Rooms

All the standard rooms are in the Little Mermaid section, and have a layout similar to other value resorts, specifically Pop Century. This is largely because this is the section that converted from the Legendary Years into Art of Animation, so they didn’t have to waste the building space. However, you’re getting a lot out of these rooms!

Available with two queen beds or one king bed, the Little Mermaid rooms have the typical hotel and split-bath layout. Beautiful blue walls and floors, seashell headboards, and film art help to set the scene. You’ll also have a privacy curtain between the rest of the room and bathroom, which can help to distinguish the spaces when you’re getting ready in the morning.

The sink space is separate from the shower and toilet room, again for convenience and privacy. Fun film elements, like an animated coral frame around the mirror, an Ariel shower curtain, and Ariel’s grotto on the shower walls complete the themed elements.

With some recent updates, the beds are the new raised style that allows you to stick luggage or other items underneath the bed. This is a great way to utilize your storage space, especially when you’re travelling with kids.

We recommend these rooms for families with young children or for a small group of adults. Even couples just doing a short trip will love these spaces! Again, since everything is all in one room, you’ll want to be sure that is enough space. However, the Little Mermaid rooms are going to be your economical spaces here at Art of Animation. They can run as low as $150 a night, which is definite deal at Disney!

Family Suites

The remaining three sections at Art of Animation all feature the family suite model, which provides more space for you and everyone in your party. You can actually sleep six people in these rooms! Don’t get me wrong, six people would be a bit tight, but it’s perfect if you’re bringing all your kiddos. You could even give each kid their own bed if you’re in a family of four, with a separate bedroom to give you your own privacy. Is it worth the extra $250-$300 a night? You know your kids…you tell us!

Room at Art of Animation Resort
Image: Grace Hoyos

In a family suite, you have two full bathrooms, a queen bed in the main bedroom, and two convertible double beds in the living area. One double bed is in the sofa, and the other is a table bed that also serves as the main dining space. This way, you can pack up the beds during the day and keep the communal spaces clear. Having the extra bathroom is huge, as you can get several people ready for the day at one time…and also keep a bathroom kid-free for yourself!

You also have a small kitchenette in the living room with a mini fridge, microwave, sink, and coffee maker. Just the addition of the microwave makes all the difference, as you can heat and eat your meals in your room. This is a major money and time saver, especially in the morning!

Kitchen area at Art of Animation resort
Image: Grace Hoyos

Family suites have either a Lion King, Cars, or Finding Nemo theme. In the Lion King section, bright, warm colors bring you to the African savanna with Simba and all his friends. This isn’t the look of the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which is subtle and authentic to African culture, but rather the colorful animated world of the character. Cars suites put you in Radiator Springs, with nods to Lightening and the gang throughout. Your bathroom is actually a car wash, brightly lit and perfect for your littles. Finally, the Finding Nemo areas show off the serene side of the ocean, with deep-sea nautical touches distinctly different from the Little Mermaid rooms. Don’t forget to look out for sharks!

Pet-Friendly Accommodations

Disney’s Art of Animation is one of the four pet-friendly spots at Disney World.

Now, when we say pet-friendly, we do really mean dogs. Sorry – no cats allowed!

You can have two dogs in your room, and they do need to be leashed in all public areas. Pet rooms are on select floors with access to designated areas for your furry friends to do their business.

Please be aware of other guests as well, and remember most common areas are expected to be animal-free (including the pools). For more information, check out the information on Disney’s website.

Pools

Disney’s Art of Animation boasts three incredible pools, each fitting with the theme of their area. Nearby to the pools are soft play areas for your kiddos to explore, ideal if they aren’t big swimmers or just need a space to run. We recommend getting to the pools early to maximize the fun!

Flippin’ Fins Pool

This pool is in the Little Mermaid section, featuring Ariel and all her finned friends. Sebastian and his Under the Sea Orchestra take center stage as part of the fun! Right in the middle of the three Little Mermaid buildings, you’ll feel like you’re really under the sea. A collection of palm trees and other beachy items gives that island vibe that rounds out the pool space.

Cozy Cones Pool

Fans of Cars will recognize this spot right away! Sally’s hotel, the Cozy Cone, takes on a new role at Art of Animation as the Radiator Springs pool. Each cone has a set of lounge chairs and an awning, perfect for staying out of the sun and relaxing poolside. Other nods to the traffic cones dot the area, adorable and the perfect touches for the cozy pool.

Big Blue Pool

Over in the Finding Nemo section you’ll find the biggest pool at Walt Disney World – the Big Blue Pool. A zero-entry pool, this behemoth holds 308,527 gallons of water! Splash around under the giant jellyfish or swim in the deeper end with Nemo and his friends. Your littles will love the Schoolyard Sprayground, a splash zone perfect for the kids that aren’t quite ready to get into the big ole blue. Nearby is Squirt’s Righteous Reef, the playground area for your non-swimmers.

As this pool is popular, you’re going to want to make a point to get here early. Remember, there’s no “spot saving” at Disney pools, so be sure to bring your whole group when you’re setting up camp. Also, please only use the space you need so everyone else can enjoy the area too!

Parking

Parking at the Art of Animation is $15 dollars a night for all vehicles, with complimentary self-parking during the day for visitors of the resort. Remember, during peak times, you might not be able to come and just explore the resort. In these instances, if you have a dining reservation at a resort on the Skyliner loop, we suggest using that mode of transportation to come see the sights.


Sports and Recreation

As a value resort, Art of Animation doesn’t necessarily have all the same sports options as some of the higher tier stays. However, there is still plenty to do!

Jogging Trails

Those who love a good walk or run will enjoy this jogging trail around the resort. The trail is one mile long, so you can start your circuit wherever you like and keep track of your distance from there. This is also a great activity in the evening, taking you around the entirety of the resort while giving you the chance to take some great pictures along the way.

The jogging trail takes you all the way around both Art of Animation and Pop Century, so this is a great way to see both resorts!

Playgrounds

Right next to the Big Blue Pool is Squirt’s Righteous Reef, a unique playground experience that is different than the conventional swing set and slide setup. This is the perfect way for your younger kiddos to get out some energy – sometimes kids just need to run around. Especially if you’re taking a break from the parks, you don’t want to just sit in your room during the vacation.

Also in the Lion King section is the Elephant Graveyard, where kids can run through the “caves” and play among the elephant “bones.” It’s not as large as the Finding Nemo playground, and the kids can’t climb up on the rocks, but it’s still nice if they just need to get out of the room for a bit.

Pixel Play Arcade

In the Animation Hall is Pixel Play Arcade, with all of your typical arcade entertainment. This is a great stop on a rainy day, as you can have fun playing the games together without being stuck in your room. This is one of the benefits of a value resort, as many of the higher tier Disney stays are phasing out their arcades.

Movie Under the Stars

Like many of the Disney resorts, Art of Animation offers an outdoor movie night on select evenings. This is a great way to wrap up your day, especially if you’re not in a park or don’t have to get up early the next morning. Bring your own snacks, a blanket or chairs, and of course your whole family! The movies are always Disney favorites and kid-friendly, so you don’t need to worry about the content. One of the benefits of the family atmosphere!

Movie night happens on the grassy space between the Lion King and Finding Nemo sections, giving a fun backdrop to the night. This is also a central location in the resort, making it easy for you to find no matter what section you’re staying in.

Play Disney Parks App

If you’re going to Disney World with kids, you’ll want this app anyway, even more so if you’re staying at Art of Animation! With the games in the app, you can create your own themed art and see it come to life in the worlds of the characters. This is perfect for the budding creative geniuses in your family, or if you’re looking for a rainy day activity.


Transportation

Disney Skyliner

Disney Skyliner sign at Art of Animation resort
Image: Grace Hoyos

One of the biggest benefits of staying at Disney’s Art of Animation is that it is right on the Disney Skyliner. With the opening of Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios, the need arose for more transportation options to get guests to and from the parks. The newest way to travel, these adorable gondolas form a path that connects Pop Century, Art of Animation, Disney’s Caribbean Beach, and Disney’s Riviera Resort with Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

A station right along the edge of Hourglass Lake gives Art of Animation guests direct access to the Skyliner, connecting these resorts to the hub station at Caribbean Beach. From there, you can continue on to any of the other stops along the route. If you’re going to Hollywood Studios, you will have to get off at Caribbean Beach to catch your connecting gondola.

Disney Skyliner gondolas at Art of Animation
Image: Grace Hoyos

Having the Skyliner also gives you access to the Yacht and Beach Clubs, as well as the whole Disney’s BoardWalk, as these areas are right by the Epcot International Gateway station. This is huge, as it opens more inter-resort travel than we’ve ever had before at Disney World. You really can make a day of just travelling the Skyliner!

Disney Bus

Like all the Disney resorts, Art of Animation gives you access to Disney bus transportation. You can use the busses to get to any of the parks and to Disney Springs. However, busses do not travel between resorts, so to do that you’ll first need to get a bus to Disney Springs and then change busses, or use a ride share option. Unless, of course, you’re headed to another Skyliner resort or the BoardWalk area.

Ride Share

Throughout Disney World you can catch a Lyft or Uber using their respective apps. I recommend Lyft, although you should use the one with which you are most comfortable. Ride share is nice because it is a direct route, although of course it is extra cost. However, that has been worth it for me to beat the busses for rope drop or make my dining reservation.


Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Location

Directions to the Resort

When driving to Art of Animation, you’ll want to get off on the Disney exit for West Osceola Parkway, which will then split into two. Take the right of the split, and turn right onto Victory Way. From there, turn right onto Animation Way, which will lead you to the main entrance and Animation Hall, although later you may choose to keep going to get to the parking lot of your choice.

If you’re coming from Florida 530 or 192, you’ll want to take World Drive to get on West Osceola Parkway, and then onto Victory Way from there.

This may be a point where looking at the map and using the GPS would be helpful. You’ll be able to see the resort from Osceola Parkway long before you’ll actually pull into the parking lot, so getting the right directions will keep you from making mistakes!

Resort Address

1850 Animation Way
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830-8400


Disney’s Art of Animation Contact Information

If you need to contact Disney’s Art of Animation Resort directly, their number is (407) 938-7000.

However, for questions about your booking, Disney recommends calling (407) 939-5277.

For all dining queries, use their online dining reservation platform.

Jump right in to the world of your favorite characters with Disney’s Art of Animation Resort!


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.

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