Art of Animation: Review and Opening Schedule
As part of Disney’s 2012 Earmarked Conference we had the opportunity to tour the new Art of Animation resort, which is under construction and will begin its phased opening in May.
As you approach the main building, you’ll see lots of colors and some Disney animation decorating the exterior walls of the lobby. As soon as you step inside, the check-in area is a colorful feast for the eyes. One side of the lobby is decorated with large character sketches, which get progessively more colorful as you progress down the wall.
The check-in desks are located on the left hand side of the lobby. The new pod style desks and wall deocrations create a sweeping, stunning rainbow of color. There is also a good sized area for children to hang out while waiting for Mom and Dad to get their Keys to the World.
A welcome feature to Art of Animation will be the ability to complete Resort Airline Check-In inside or outside. Even a few minutes inside air conditioning on a hot day will be well appreciated!
As you exit the check-in area, the large arcarde is to the right, the bus stop is out the door to the left, and Ink & Paint, the gift shop is immeidately in front of you. While still in a state of construction, the bright merchandise displays shaped like paint pots are already taking shape along the walls.
Finally, Landscape of Flavors, the food court, is taking shape. Disney has already released a menu sample for this new dining location, and it should be an exiting addition for resort guests. Not content to just appeal your taste buds, Disney has also themed four areas of the seating to each of the movies represented at the resort – Finding Nemo, Cars, Lion King and Little Mermaid.
As you exit the main building, you come to the courtyard of the Finding Nemo section. This water play area is beautiful and looks to be a wonderful, immersive world for adults and children alike. The feature pool is the largest non-water park pool on Walt Disney World property. It is also the only value resort to feature a zero entry. In addition to the Finding Nemo feature pool, there will also be a “quiet pool” at Cars and Little Mermaid, with Lion King featuring a great play area.
We only briefly walked through part of Finding Nemo’s courtyard, but Cars and Lion King buildings are also visible. We were struck by how engaging the exterior theming is. Everywhere we looked there was something interesting to see.
We were also able to tour a partially completed Finding Nemo Family Suite. Guests will be happy to use the new door locks, which do not require you to insert your Key to the World. Your card only needs to touch the pad and will unlock.
When you walk in, you will first come to a table and chairs on your left, and a bathroom with tub on your right. As you contiue into the room, you’ll find the kitchenette with mini fridge, microwave and sink, plus a sofa and dressers with flat screen tv. The sofa folds out into a double sized bed, and the table magically converts into a double bed with one easy motion.
The master bedroom features a queen sized bed, bathroom with shower, dresser and flat screen tv. There is also a rod for hanging clothes and a large safe.
Finding Nemo, Cars and Lion King sections are unique for a value resort because they have interior corridors. There are exterior stairwells, and all buildings have elevators on the interior. Little Mermaid’s corridors will be of the traditional value design, with your door opening to an exterior walkway.
Finding Nemo Family Suites will be open for guests on May 31. The rest of the resort will be opening well ahead of the original schedule. Cars Family Suites will now open on June 18, and Lion King Family Suites will follow on August 10. The Little Mermaid standard rooms will open on September 15, a full three and a half months ahead of schedule.
We were very impressed by what we saw, and pictures of the resort released so far do not do justice to what you experience in person. You will truly feel immersed in the magic of Disney animation while are the resort. You can let your imagination run wild as you explore each themed area, putting yourself in the world of these classic Disney and Pixar movies.
If you’re considering Art of Animation for your next vacation, please request a quote from Mouse Unlimited on our quote page.