About Me

My photo

I'm a 30 something who loves to travel.  I have a full time job and enjoy writing (or blogging) about my travels.  I've traveled through several countries in Europe as well as Russia and Egypt.  I also enjoy domestic travel in the United States, including Disney.  My long term travel goal is to do a round the world trip.  

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Art of Animation Resort

On my September trip to Walt Disney World I stayed at the new Art of Animation Resort. This is the first is a series of 3 posts about the resort. I stayed in a Lion King family suite, a lot of room for one person, but worth it.  Disney has set a new bar for value resorts.
Lobby Animation
An Early Lightening McQueen
  When you walk into the lobby the first thing you'll notice is color. The floors, walls and furniture are colored to match an animators set of colors. It starts and grey and transitions from greens to pinks. Even the small tiles are meant to represent the pixels in the new generation of computerized animation.  This design holds true for the whole lobby except one wall, which is covered in copies of actual animations from the Lion King, Finding Nemo, Cars and Little Mermaid. These animations also represent a transition, starting at the entrance with basic black and white sketches and transitioning to colored final drawings. Even the shop uses bottle designs on the walls with colors that were actually used in films.
Lobby floor with pixeled colors
Game Room off the Lobby, spot with the best wifi

While I stayed at the resort I also did a tour, which started in the lobby and lasted about an hour.  Our guide told a little history about the resort.  It was originally supposed to be the second half of the Pop Century Resort, but they weren't quite feeling it and then 9/11 happened, halting the project.  A few years ago they decided to move ahead with the project, but as the Art of Animation instead of the depressing first half of the century.  So how were the themes chosen?  Little Mermaid, Lion King and Finding Nemo were all the top grossing films of their eras.  Cars was chosen because it's the number 2 top merchandise seller, second only to the Princesses.

The lobby has a ton of great features, I'll leave a few for you to learn on your own.  But the last one I'll tease with is the chandelier in the lobby that has images depicting the story arch of the 4 films.  This is done by posting an animation on each of the prongs, there are 14 each for Little Mermaid, Cars and Finding Nemo and 13 for the Lion King. 

From the lobby we moved on to Landscapes of Flavor, the quick service dining option for the resort.  There area  couple unique things here, it is the first food court with an all tile floor, they've used the landscape art and lower ceilings to reduce the noise level.  It's still a bit noisy, but not unbearable.  This is also the first resort to use real plates and silverware in an effort to be earth friendly, paper is available if you choose to take your food back to your room.

Food Court Area
Landscapes of Flavor is open all day for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and it was almost always busy and it is never empty.  The menu had a great variety, I never ate anything twice there.  

Outside the lobby and Landscapes of Flavor is the Finding Nemo section, complete with the Big Blue Pool.  It's the largest pool on property.  It has a salt water filtration system, combined with a bit of chlorine.  I did swim in the pool and the water does have a slightly different taste then the typical pool. 

Big Blue Pool
The pool has speakers under the water so you can hear music and also the sounds of Nemo and his friends.  Seriously, it sounds like there are fish in the pool, fortunately it's a fake enough sound that you don't think there is an actual fish.

There is no slide at the pool, but there is a water play area and a dryish play area. There are also smaller pools in the Little Mermaid and Cars section.  The Lion King section has another play area.

Water Play Area
Water Play Area
Water Play Area
Each section of the resort is highly themed, I would put it on the level of a moderate resort, and that will be a topic of another post itself.  Additionally, the rooms are unique.  While the Little Mermaid section has typical value resort rooms, the family suites are 640 square feet, sleep 6, have 2 bathrooms and a kitchenette.  I will talk about the actual rooms in another post, but they are quite spacious and well designed.  In case you wonder where 6 people sleep, 1 queen bed in the bedroom, 1 pull out couch and the table converts into a full size bed (with a real mattress!)
The only rooms to have hidden mickeys are in the Lion King Suites