As you may already know, I’m not the first one to scream “Lets Go Visit The Mouse!”, but a few weeks ago the Mrs. and I headed out on an adventure and didn’t really know where we would end up. We started heading South, and discovered India Fest, Checked out Vero Beach, but ultimately wound up in the Mouse’s back yard. Eventually we went to the Disney Art of Animation hotel. Little guy is still too young to really enjoy Disney World, and lets face it, I’m very cheap and didn’t really want to pay for tickets to the park. Instead we checked into a Disney Hotel and went exploring!
We ultimately wound up staying at the Coronado Springs Hotel, but the wife had heard about a new Pixar themed hotel that she wanted to check out. We had never been there before, so I figured it would be a great way to kill some time and we could see what all the hype was about.
For starters, it’s not necessarily a “Pixar” hotel, as we had first through, although they do use many of the Pixar characters. Secondly, if you are using Apple Maps on your iPhone, don’t bother mapping it, just ask a cast member where to go. The resort is ultimately near the value resorts, right next door to Disney’s Pop Culture resort so just follow the signs. If you use the map on your phone you will get lost if you don’t have the actual address. It picked up on another hotel in the area that wasn’t even affiliated with the mouse.
Once you get to the Disney Art of Animation Hotel, it looks fairly small from the outside, but looks in this case are very deceiving! When we pulled up to the hotel, we could see quite a few of the Disney animated characters painted on the walls, and they were larger than life! Once inside we were greeted by some classic animation cells on the wall, and you could certainly tell this place was all about the cartoons!
Although we didn’t check in, the lobby area was immaculate, and futuristic looking. There was even a huge painting of Mater in the bathroom (sorry no pictures of this one as that would have been a bit strange). There is a restaurant on property that was served cafeteria style, where you simply pick the options you want and can mix and match. The food prices were right on par for a theme park, but we thought they would be acceptable if we were actually going to eat there. We we also very impressed with the number of healthy food choices that were offered.
After walking out of the lobby, we we pleased to find one of the largest pool areas we have seen on property. This area was definitely designated as the Finding Nemo area. Pixar characters were everywhere! Nemo, Crush, and even the seagulls were represented. The pool area was clearly marked for guests only so we respected boundaries. I can only imagine being a kid and getting to swim near Crush and the gang. We thought it was pretty cool and we’re not even huge Finding Nemo fans.
We broke off to the right and found the coolest area ever! One of the buildings was decked out in a Cars theme. This area also had a pool, surrounded by the Cozy Cone motel. Upon walking into the area you’ll think you just entered Radiator Springs! The sidewalks are made to look like roads, and all the Cars characters are there for you to take pictures with. they even have Sarge’s Garage. We weren’t the only ones just checking out the hotel, as other families seemed to be just visiting the different areas and leaving as well.
The Lion King
On the other side of the hotel complex, we walked through a courtyard that was dedicated to the Lion King. There were a few photo opportunities with some of the characters, but for the most part, this was a hand off kinda area. It was fun to walk through as there were overhead character displays, but you can tell that much more thought was given to the Cars area. Although I suppose there isn’t really anything you can do since the movie takes place on the savannah. I suppose if the Lion King is your favorite movie it would be an experience.
The Little Mermaid
Lastly we headed all the way to the end of the complex and went through the Little Mermaid area. Again, all of the major characters were represented, along with some of the movie props. You can get your photo taken on a treasure test, next to one of the thing-a-ma-jigs, and even with the king of the sea himself! There was also a pool on this area, although it didn’t seem as impressive as the Little Nemo or Cars Pool. It was certainly worth a walk though though.
We spent about an hour or so wandering around the Disney Art of Animation hotel complex and snapping photos as we went. We didn’t really see many events or things for kids to do other than the pool areas along the way, with the exception of the Arcade in the lobby. I can only imagine that the hotel looks very cool at night, and would be a great side adventure if your kids love these movies. It’s sorta like walking through a movie set. At night they actually play movies in the Lion King Courtyard as well.
There are multiple ways that you can actually check out the Disney Art of Animation hotel for FREE. Remember we didn’t actually stay at that hotel when we went to Disney World, and they don’t card you at the door so to speak. You are always welcome to drive to the location, which is what we did. You’ll be asked to show your ID at security, but I have never really heard of them turning anyone away. If they try, you could always just say you wanted to see if they had available rooms for the night and they should let you right in.
If you’re looking for a real adventure though, my suggestion is to park at Downtown Disney (soon to be Disney Springs), and take a bus. Again, there is no charge for transportation on Disney property, so just hop on a bus and they will drop you right off. You can then make a day out of it, and check out all the fun and free stuff Downtown Disney has to offer as well.
Of course if you would like to actually stay at this hotel, you can always book online or call (407) WDW-STAY for reservations. This is one of the Disney Value Resorts as well, so a nightly stay shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg. They do have suites available but a regular standard room should cost around $118 a night during the off season, but goes higher during the busy summer season. The suites are much more expensive starting at $284. The suites however are spacious, and feature quite a few amenities such as a half kitchen, so you can save some cash by eating in if you would like. The prices seem quite high at first, but you can pick which themed room you want and each room will make you feel like part of your favorite animated movie. I have also seen a few Florida Resident Specials, and if you are a season pass holder, be sure to let them know as you may qualify for a discount.
If you want to see the rates and awesome room photos check out the Disney Website Here.
Disney Art of Animation Location Specifics:
Address for GPS
1850 Animation Way
Rooms Starting @ $118 night and go up to $447 for a suite during peak season.