Disney's Art of Animation Resort

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of joining Deb Wills and the AllEarsNet team on a tour of the new Disney Art of Animation resort. This new Disney value resort opened May 12th, where the "Heritage Years" was supposed to open.

However, in the ten years since that project was put on hold, Disney noticed their guests needed rooms to accommodate more than 4 people, a segment that had previously had to either book two rooms, get a moderate hotel room to sleep 5 or to keep costs in line, seek a place to stay off-property.

Instead, they decided to pilot test 'suites' in the All Star resorts that slept 6 comfortably. The pilot was a huge success, and led to plans for Art of Animation to have three sections of family suites. However, the story doesn't end there.

Story is actually the perfect word here, for this is the first location on property where guests book their room by 'story', choosing from Cars, Finding Nemo, or Lion King (opening August 10th) for family suites, and Little Mermaid in September. When guests check in, they're asked which story they're part of, and their experience begins with the cast member talking to them related to their story.

For instance, if your story is Cars, you'll rev your engines and drive on over to Radiator Springs or be guided to 'fuel up' at the Landscape of Flavors. (More pictures tomorrow of Animation Hall, with more details, too)

Anthony was our guide and showed us one of the suites in the Cars area. There are three buildings, Tow Mater's Towing and Salvage, Luigi's Casa Della Tire and the Wheel Well Motel. Let me just say, the themeing is fantastic-the Imagineers created a desert like vista, but on our walk, we were soon greeted by this happy fella:
so we headed inside, below this sign:
Once inside the 100% Refrigerated Air (which was appreciated, it was in the high 90s already at 10:30 in the morning), Anthony pointed out many design features. The mats below us said 'Welcone' and the hallways have tire tracks, so we were welcome to leave our own. In the corner of those tire tracks, you can spy some hidden Mickeys.
When you're given your keys, you're instructed to head to 'Route 1507', and the room numbers are Highway signs, with hallway lights that are orange cones. The room keys use RFID technology, so you just have to wave it in front of the sensor to get in.

Once inside, you are in a dining area (more on this later). To the right is a master bedroom with a queen size bed and master bath with a walk-in shower. To the left is another bathroom with a tub, and a living room area with a kitchenette.

The master bathroom vanity.
The queen bed in the master bedroom, which has a decent sized flat screen television.
The living area. This sofa has a Tempurpedic mattress and according to Anthony, is more comfortable than the bed in the master bedroom.
Above the sofa, a picture of Judge.
The retro styled kidney bean table.
Across from the very comfortable sofa, there are dressers that have a flat screen TV on top and some storage. I loved these, because they fit the theme so well!
The kitchenette contains a microwave, a mini fridge that has a small freezer, a coffee pot and a wet sink. The last few hotels my family has stayed at have had similar setups and it is so nice to have a cold drink and some breakfast snacks in the room to enjoy.
Okay, so you saw the master bedroom and the sleeper sofa, and you may be thinking about the fact that I said these room sleep six-and I entered a dining room. Well, yeah, I did, but this room has something cooler than GameTeen's Murphy Bed:
It is a bed, but in seconds, Anthony had it converted back to a dining room!
A couple of other people brought up that the table seats four, but there is ample seating in the place, so a couple of people could sit in the living room and eat. I forget what resort was mentioned, but they'll be getting these same beds with tables that seat six.

I want to note that there were about twenty of us in that room during the tour and we all fit comfortably! So if you are concerned that it's not enough room for your family, I think that's a good barometer of how well 4-6 will fit if 19 or 20 can be in there and not be squished like sardines. (well, we were for a group picture later-in one corner of the living room.)

The second bathroom has a door between the tub and toilet, and the vanity, which has a second door, so potentially, three people could be getting ready in the morning at the same time. Pretty cool.
Here's where the Disney attention to detail comes in again-look at the overhead light fixtures:
And the living room light, too.
Tomorrow, I'll share some pictures from around the resort, which is quite impressive. Even though we only live a half hour away, I want to spend a couple of nights in this resort, and immerse myself in the story. It's what Disney set out to do with this new property, and they succeeded in a big way.

Again, thanks to Deb and her hard-working team for having another great event!


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