This is a guest post by my friend Kirsten Cuillard, Authorized Disney Vacation Planner and owner of Castles and Dreams Travel. I strongly encourage you to check them our over here for your Disney World and Disneyland vacation needs. They provide great customer service at no extra cost to you.
It has been almost a year since the Art of Animation opened at Disney World and, in April, I finally had the opportunity to stay there. I was very excited about this resort because we are a family of 5—my mom, my three children (ages 15, 12 and 11) and me, so typically we always need to get two rooms but this time we were going to try out the Art of Animation themed suites.
The Art of Animation Resort has 864 standard rooms with The Little Mermaid theme. These rooms have two double beds, a small table with two chairs, a dresser, mini-fridge, TV and are 260 square feet (24 square meters). These rooms are the same size as the rooms at the other value resorts. One thing to note is that these rooms are quite a distance from the main pool and Animation Hall (the furthest room is a 10-minute walk), but your Castles & Dreams Travel agent can always request a room as close to the center as possible.
There are also 1,120 suites in three themes: Cars, Finding Nemo and The Lion King. The size is 565 square feet (52 square meters). Our family loves the Cars movie franchise, so we chose this themed suite. Though the next time the kids requested we stay in a Finding Nemo Suite because they are the closest to the main pool and Animation Hall.
Each suite has a bedroom with one queen bed, a dresser, a TV, a safe and hanging space for clothes. There is a large bathroom attached to the bedroom that has a large sink, toilet and shower. My mom took the bedroom.
The kids and I had plenty of room in the living room. The couch opens into a double bed. I do not like sofa beds, but this one was very comfortable. There is also a dining table that converts easily into a bed. This bed was also comfortable so I was impressed with the quality of the sleeping arrangements. In the living room, there is also a TV, dresser, hanging space and a mini kitchen. There is a sink, mini fridge, coffee maker and microwave. Disney supplies the room with paper plates, forks, coffee and other items. I was disappointed that the food court did not have items that could be made in the kitchenette (such as cereal, lunch meat, bread) like they have at other resorts.
Speaking of the food court, Landscape of Flavors, we ate there quite a few times. I was looking forward to eating here because Jose & Cris (agents for Castles & Dreams Travel that live in Spain) ate here a few months before our trip and gave excellent reviews. The first night we arrived, I ordered a make-your-own salad. For one price, you can add as many items as you would like such as olives, cheese and chicken. The kids grabbed a pizza and mom got the Tandoori Boneless Chicken platter with naan bread and basmati rice. Everything was delicious. My favorite item at the food court was the cheesy pesto bread. Yummy.
The largest pool on Walt Disney World property is the Big Blue Pool at the Art of Animation. This is a zero-entry, 300.000+ gallon pool with underwater speakers (a first for a Disney resort). For younger guests, there is a spray-ground. There are activities daily at the pool. Our favorite one was “guess the attraction”. The host played music and we had to guess which attraction the music came from.
Luckily, the kids and I have stayed at most the resorts at Walt Disney World since my job requires frequent visits : ) and this is one of their favorites. Only the Beach Club, with their pool, beats this for Jason, Tyler and Emily. But a standard room at the Beach Club is about $150 more per night and about 150 square feet smaller than a suite at the Art of Animation. I hope to take the kids back to Walt Disney World in November and I asked the kids where we should stay. Art of Animation was the winner!