Friday, November 8, 2013

Art of Animation: Resort Review and Pictures

Want to check out a full recap of our trip?  Check out all of the previous Disney World posts here!

 We went to Disney World 10/23-10/29 and stayed at the Art of Animation Resort.  First, I need to comment about the weather during our was near perfect.  For the first few days, highs in the mid 70s, then creeping up into high 70s with low 80s the last 2 days of our trip.  No rain.  Zero.  Not a single drop. No crazy humidity at all (and I'm really sensitive to heat and humidity!)  It was chilly in the mornings since we were heading out between 7am-8am every day, but quickly warmed up to a pleasant temperature.  We all wore shorts and tshirts everyday, and just brought light sweaters or hoodies with us to wear in the morning (and sometimes again in the evenings)

Now, onto the resort!! I'd definitely give this resort an A in terms of theme and kid appeal. We were in the Little Mermaid section, which is the only section of the resort that has standard rooms (the rest are suites)  While it would have been great to have a suite (which feature 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms), we just couldn't justify the increase in cost for our small family  Here are some shots of the Little Mermaid section:
view from our room

"Bad goirl" as Liam called Ursula all week

Review of our room/section: Overall, it was fine for what we needed.  The room wasn't huge by any means, but I had read some reviews online that said how tiny it was, and I wouldn't call it tiny either.  I'd compare it to a Holiday Inn size room.  Nothing spectacular (though the decor was cute) but really, we were only there to sleep and get ready, so it didn't really matter.  I did feel like there was sufficient storage space, though not a lot of drawer space.  But there was a large rack that ran along one wall of the bathroom, so we were able to stash a lot up there.  Plenty of soap/shampoo/towels left each day, and the room was clean.

One downside would be that the rooms all have 2 double beds (there are a few king-size beds available, but those are only a request and not guaranteed...we requested them in each of the grandparents rooms and didn't get them)  The beds were comfortable, no complaints there.  I had also read some reviews that the rooms got stuffy due to some type of auto shut off on the thermostat that detected motion, so it wouldn't kick on at night or during the day if no one was there.  We didn't find that to be the case; we set the thermostat for 68 degrees and it stayed that way the whole time.

There is a fridge in the room, just a standard dorm-size fridge.  We were able to fit in milk, bottled water, and some yogurts in with no problem.

I had put in some requests prior to our arrival: Building 7, lake facing, close the Lion King section.  We were in building 7, but that was all we got in terms of our requests.  We actually ended up being at the opposite end of the building away from the LK section, and we were pool-facing.  I was nervous about the proximity to the pool, but it was really ok.  I'm sure that had we been in the room more during the day it was loud, but the pool closed by 10 every night so it quieted down quickly after that.  I had also requested bedrails for the room, but they had forgot to put them in the room and we didn't realize until that evening when we were getting off the bus from Downtown Disney.  I stopped by the front desk and asked for them, they said no problem, someone would be right over.  We walked back to our room, and sure enough, about 5 minutes later, there they were! 

Some cons: the rooms are pretty far away from the main building and bus stop.  It took about 10 minutes for us to walk it (though that was with 6 people and the 2 kids, I'm sure you could walk faster by yourself)  It's not that the walk was awful, but it definitely would have been nice to be closer to everything....especially at the end of the day when you just want to crash in your own room!  But, the walk to the main area was fun to look at, as you got to cut through the Lion King section:

The kids loved the little elephant boneyard area, which featured a little tunnel (in fact, that could have contributed to the length of the walk from the room, they always insisted on running through!)


If I ever had a chance to stay in the suites, I would definitely pick the Cars section!  I really thought it was the most well-done of all of them.  Being huge Lightning McQueen fans, we knew the boys would love to walk through Radiator Springs, so that's how we spent our evening one night after dinner.

Video of them checking out the section:

Entertainment: As you can see, had we really wanted to spend more time at the resort, there would have been plenty of things to do!  In fact, there was a playground in the Nemo section that we never even made it to. There were always games and activities going on at the Nemo pool, and they played a movie there every night.  Oh, and our package came with arcade vouchers, good for 100 credits per room.  The grandparents didn't need their vouchers obviously, so we had 300 credits for the boys.  I don't know exactly how many games they played, but they entertained themselves on the last morning for probably about 15 minutes playing games until it was time to board the magical express back to the airport.  So just a little bonus, keep an eye out for it with the information Disney sends you!

Food Court: We ate in the food court 3 times: a breakfast, a lunch, and a dinner.  The food that we had was good (the build your own pasta station was delicious, actually!) though Jake (who is quite picky) was not pleased with the options, but we found him something every time.  It was relatively quiet there in the early mornings, but was packed at peak times. 

Transportation:  No complaints at all about the bus system here. Many times, there was a bus at the stop waiting so we were able to hop on it, and even if there wasn't one, we never had to wait more than 10 minutes.  The only time it was longer was after Fantasmic (though that was to be expected), we had to wait about 20 minutes then. These aren't exact, but the approximate travel time to parks was:

Downtown Disney: 15 minutes
Animal Kingdom: 15 minutes
Hollywood Studios: less than 10 minutes
Magic Kingdom: 20 minutes

That wraps up my thoughts on the Art of Animation!

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