I just returned from 3 nights at Art of Animation with my husband and kids (10 & 7). We booked just about 5 days from arrival, deciding last minute that we really wanted the "Disney experience" and we were not disappointed. From the minute you pull up, you feel the excitement of Disney here. So bright and fun, all of the art, décor and statues really bring the experience to life. Staff was friendly and efficient, happy to answer questions, say hello to your little princess and pirates, really making them feel special! Magic bands were a nice touch, though I can see how you might easily spend more because they make it so easy to tap and pay. But the Fast Pass Plus was a great service/added benefit of staying onsite.
We stayed in The Little Mermaid standard rooms. If you stripped away all of the fun and bright décor, you have a very basic, small, but clean hotel room with a mini-fridge. Beds were decent - full size, so not incredibly roomy, but clean, reasonably comfortable and with adequate bedding. This wing is the further from Animation Hall (your food and shuttle stop area) and is about a 1/3 mile walk. No problem for us, but keep it in mind if traveling with very small children.
The food court was always clean, even when we dined at the busiest times. We saw the tables and floors being cleaned a number of times, and so far the staff has really kept the place up nicely. Food was ok - good value and selection for the kids meals. Adult meals were a bit overpriced for quick-service dining, but there was a good variety. Expect to pay Disney prices for your items - all part of staying onsite. And the adult beverage prices at The Drop Off poolside bar will make you want to drop-off the poolside libations very quickly.
Side note - you are just a short bridge crossing away from Pop Century so can easily walk to their dining room for additional variety. However on our visit, it was very, very dirty in the dining hall at Pop. We would not recommend it until they can keep it in better shape.
Common areas were amazingly themed and worth a walking tour just to take it all in. The staff did a great job of keeping things clean. We saw them polishing the outdoor décor one morning! You will always have those guests that just can't seem to through away garbage near the pool or won't walk to the garbage can just a yard or two away. But the staff did a good job of cleaning up after them as well. Overall - the two smaller pools were much quieter and had consistently cleaner decks than the main pool (Big Blue).
I struggle on how to review the "value" of this property. I paid nearly twice as much to stay here with a smaller room, smaller beds and no free breakfast than if I had stayed off site and a number of decent properties. However, being a Disney guest, you get shuttle service, the true immersion of experiencing Disney, some arcade credit, discounts at Downtown Disney activities and restaurants and two free putt-putt vouchers and the very cool Magic Bands and extra Magic hours at the parks. Having said all of that, and being the penny pincher that I am, I would likely book Art of Animation again (but only after I searched the lowest rates in the best season!).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Be surrounded in the artistry, enchantment and magic of Walt Disney and Disney•Pixar movies. Stay at a Disney Resort hotel that invites you to explore the storybook landscapes seen in such classics as Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. From delightfully themed family suites to wondrously detailed courtyards, Disney's Art of Animation "draws" you and your family in to become a part of some of your animated favorites. ... more less
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