Attention Disney fans: Have you ever wanted to go under the sea with Ariel, or set about finding Nemo on your own? Then you’re going to love Walt Disney World’s newest offering, the Art Of Animation Resort that puts you into the worlds of your favorite Disney characters and animated films. The property, consisting primarily of whimsically appointed family suites, will consist of four wings with the first – the Finding Nemo wing – set to open on May 31. Other family suite wings will open over the summer; Cars on June 18 and The Lion King planned for Aug. 10. The final phase – The Little Mermaid wing – will consist of standard guest rooms and is set to open on Sept. 15.
I was able to get a sneak peek at the suites in the Finding Nemo wing, and I have two words that had me wanting to reserve one on the spot: TWO BATHROOMS. The mere thought of not having to share a sink with our two teenage girls rendered my husband and I speechless. Not to mention the spacious rooms (three separate sleeping areas that can sleep up to six) and sitting areas filled with hip, colorful furnishings that had an Ikea-goes-underwater vibe. The family suites also feature a kitchenette, and a clever contraption in the living room that starts off as a table and turns into a bed that you’ll have to see to believe. And did I mention TWO BATHROOMS?
But we found it difficult to tear ourselves away from the lobby to even see the rest of the hotel. Cells from all your favorite Disney movies line the walls, and my favorite piece is this stunning, modern light structure consisting of a sunburst of gleaming metal pipes and drawings.
Disney Resorts are known for their over-the-top swimming pools, and the Art Of Animation’s is no exception. Named the “Big Blue” pool, it has the distinction of being the biggest pool at any of the resorts, measuring 11,859 square feet and featuring a colorful reef with a giant-sized Mr. Ray and Crush. If that isn’t enough to keep the kids busy, there’s also a big arcade that my teens couldn’t get enough of (Fruit Ninja and Guitar Hero got a big workout on our visit.)
Suites at the Art of Animation Resort start at $248 per night and the standard rooms start as low as $94, and like all the Walt Disney World Resorts there are built-in perks: complimentary transportation to and from the airport and between all of the different parks and resorts, and special ‘Extra Magic Hours’ that give resort guests exclusive after-hours access to the parks. On our last night in Orlando we stayed at the Magic Kingdom until 2am – call us crazy but there was something pretty cool about riding The Haunted Mansion along with only ten other people.
If You Go:
Walt Disney World’s Art Of Animation Resort
1850 Century Drive
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830
Post by Marsha Takeda-Morrison. Also find me at Sweatpantsmom.com
Photos: Disney, Marsha Takeda-Morrison