Exploring Disney’s Newest Resort – The Art of Animation Resort

14 Mar

Part of what we are doing while we are here is exploring Disney resorts that we’ve never been to.  The first one we decided to check out is the newest – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. 

 

The newest of Disney’s “Value” resorts, AoA is located across a lagoon and connected by a bridge and a beautiful jogging trail to the Pop Century (another Value resort).  AoA consists of four different themed areas:  Finding Nemo, Cars, Lion King, and Little Mermaid.  Of these areas, all but the Little Mermaid areas have “family suites”, which sleep six.  The suites have a queen sized bed (in a room with a door that closes!), a double sized sleeper sofa, and a double sized “table bed”, which is a convertible bed that folds down, out of the wall, over the dining table in the room.  It’s a very unique, space saving idea and is similar to the Murphy Beds offered in the Wilderness Cabins.  The Little Mermaid rooms are ‘standard’ rooms, meaning that they sleep up to four with two double beds or one king bed.  The Mermaid rooms also have outdoor entrances, similar to what you’ll see at the other value resorts, while the suites enter from a hallway. 

The check in and lobby area are attention grabbers with their funky lighting and incredible animation artwork.  If you’re at Disney, don’t EVER forget to look up – check out this cool chandelier feature in the lobby at AoA – each panel is unique and you could spend quite a bit of time looking just at this!

 

The “Big Blue Pool” is the largest pool area of all the Disney resorts to date, and it’s themed very creatively.  We were almost on sensory overload as we walked through the whole resort, but this was especially well done and the families using the pool were obviously having a fantastic time!

 

 

Note the fountain fish – there is an entire toddler area with the great squishy randomly squirting water features, a playground right off the pool, and bright, happy colors and music everywhere. 

The outside of each building is “themed” as well –

It was really cool and made me kind of wish I was staying there … kind of.  Rooms right now have starting prices ranging from $118 per night for a standard room (Mermaid) to $284 per night for the family suites. 

 By the way, if you’re interested in getting pricing for a Disney vacation, you can email me at travelingtogether@yahoo.com or visit my website at http://travelingtogether.agentarc.com/content.asp and I’m happy to help – on with the review now that the cheap and tawdry advertising is over. 

AoA has a great food court – I’m posting the menus below, but there were also a great variety of “quick take out” options from Greek yogurt and fruit to sushi and pre-made sandwiches and salads, ready to grab and go if the kids won’t leave the pool.  Oh, and for dessert?  Gelato and pastries …

 

 

 

The theming was wonderful throughout the resort.  Here are some photos from each of the different areas – Lion King first – the movie screen was for “movies under the stars” – a free option for Disney guests.  The movie tonight?  Up.  A great way to unwind and relax a little before attempting to get the kids into bed. 

 

 

Behind the skeleton is a little cave type area that was all lit up – there were kids playing in there, so I didn’t snap any photos – I’m trying not to unintentionally make anyone’s kids fodder for the internet – but if I were predisposed to do so, Disney would be the place to get the best shots!  Princesses skipping along with sticky marshmallow faces, pirates around every corner – if you give your kids a break and allow them to rest and enjoy some of the little spots designed just for that instead of pushing to do everything (its impossible –trust me), it truly CAN be the happiest place on earth.

On to The Little Mermaid – I’ve seen some criticism of this area (and the Lion King) on line from Disney fanatics who don’t think that the theming was quite enough – trust me, it’s plenty!  I’m not sure what was expected, but in my opinion, there is plenty to look at, lots to do, and when I get back to my resort after a long day in the parks, I like to be able to relax a bit.  That said, the pool areas in both the Lion King and Little Mermaid areas were not nearly as well done as the Cars area, which (contrary to what I expected) became my absolute favorite – although I think all three smaller courtyards (the Nemo rooms are off the Big Blue Pool) are a lot of fun.  Anyway, I digress – here’s Ariel and her friends.

 

(I love how the landscaping plays into the theme – Disney is all about the details!)

Neptune, Ursula and Ariel are as tall as or taller than the buildings – they are just FUN!

On to Cars – this part of the resort is INCREDIBLE – and when I book a trip to AoA, this is where I want to be.  Check out the pool cabanas – the theming here is so well done that it makes some of the more luxurious resorts look weak by comparison. 

 

Gotta love orange cones as cabanas –

 

 After AoA, we headed over to Downtown Disney to grab a bite to eat at one of my favorite places, The Earl of Sandwich.  If you’re in the mood for soup, salads, or great sandwiches and actually care about your budget, this is a great option.  Full sized sandwiches (10-12”) run $5.99 – and salads are similarly priced.  When Subway brags about a $5 footlong and their quality isn’t even close to EoS, the deal is even that much more surprising.  Here’s my sandwich – the Chipotle Chicken and Avocado, which comes in at a reasonable 440 calories (yes, I’m that person – watching my calories even while on vacation, sigh).  Britt had the Tuna Salad sandwich.  I normally will never order a tuna salad sandwich while out to eat, but this one is worth a look.  I don’t have a photo because she dug in too fast, but it was chunky, just the right amount of dressing and served with melty, mild Swiss cheese (she couldn’t believe it was Swiss – it didn’t have that ‘bite’ and tasted more like Havarti). 

 

After dinner, we wandered a bit, shopped a very little, and then as the exhaustion from rising at 3am to catch our flight began to overwhelm us, headed back to the timeshare.  We’re at Bluegreen’s Fountains resort – on International Drive, it’s a fast 10 minute drive to the Walt Disney World Resort and about the same distance to Sea World.  Universal is just a little further up the road from Sea World, so it’s in a great location, and if you have the opportunity to stay here, I highly recommend it.  A few pics below of Lego sculptures and then a few more of our timeshare.

The timeshare is below – these are the super deluxe units – not what I booked, but we got upgraded (YAY!) to the newest and nicest.  But here at the Fountains, even the old units are beautiful – if you want to check them out, go to  http://www.bluegreenonline.com

Bedroom 2 – with 2 double beds

Bathroom 2

the kitchen – with marble countertops and nice, new appliances, it comes fully stocked with all the dishes and utensils (and cookware) you could need – even kitchen scissors!

Master bedroom – King bed

“extra” sink and counter in master bedroom

The sink area inside the master bathroom – there is a shower across from the “extra sink and countertop, and then this gem inside the bathroom itself:

 

Outside there are two pools (one is indoor/outdoor), all kinds of food options here at the resort, a few beautiful lakes, and a 1/2 mile jogging path that encircles the lake.  But now, as I warned you above, the pillow is calling, and this is where my day must end.  Back later with Animal Kingdom!

 

 

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