Our trip to Florida started out with a stop at our resort, the Art of Animation Resort. The resort has four different areas: a Cars area, a Finding Nemo section, the Lion King area and the Little Mermaid section. Each area has themed rooms and outdoor decor that fits the theme. The resort has family suites, standard rooms, three swimming pools, a restaurant, shop and arcade.
We stayed in a Car’s Suite (suites are found in the Cars, Finding Nemo and Lion King sections of the resort), and toured around the Cars and Finding Nemo areas of the resort while we were there. The Cars suite had a master bedroom (bottom right picture) with ensuite, a dining area that turns into a sleeping area when you fold down the Murphy bed, a living area, a second washroom and a kitchenette. The sofa also folds out into a bed, providing sleeping space for six people.
The space in the room was great. There was enough room for the kids to play and for us to relax. There was more than enough drawer and hanger space for five of us, and the fridge and sink made it easy to store leftovers and save a little money on food. There was also a microwave, so I brought oatmeal packets that we heated up each morning and saved time and money on breakfast.
When we walked outside of our resort, we walked straight into Radiator Springs. The buildings were painted with scenery straight out of the movie, and all of the friends from the Cars’ movies were hanging out. Tow Mater, Lightning McQueen and the whole gang were readily available for some great photo opps, and the kids were thrilled to have a few minutes with them. Outside of the Cozy Cone Motel there was a swimming pool with giant cones around it, so you could get out of the sun. If you followed Route 66, you could find a place to do your laundry, which means you can pack light when you visit Disney’s Art of Animation Resort!
My kids chose to swim at the Finding Nemo pool. Big Blue is the pool found in the Finding Nemo courtyard and it measures nearly 12,000 feet. There is a splash pad and varying depths of water for families to enjoy. The big appeal to my kids though, was that you could listen to Nemo and his friends when you go underwater. My five year old was begging us to hold him under water! LOL…of course we didn’t do that, but I have to admit I had to dunk myself and have a listen too.
In the pool area and on the walls around the pool, you will find larger than life characters from Finding Nemo. The Disney cast members at the pool were awesome. There were lifeguards on duty, and there were also two young women leading a song and dance at the side of the pool. They had a group of children taking part on the deck, but they didn’t let it stop there! They were encouraging involvement from the swimmers too. All of the pools are in enclosed areas that you can only access with your room key, which I appreciate as a Mom. I am pretty sure my youngest son would have made his way into the pool as soon as he saw it if it hadn’t been enclosed!
The Ink and Paint Shop is the souvenir shop on site where you can buy your favourite Disney pins, clothing and toys but also some necessities like sunscreen, medication and first aid necessities. Past the shop you find the Landscape of Flavours Food Court. They have a variety of menu items to choose from. I like that the kids meals all included a drink and two sides (apples, yogurt and pudding were favourites with my children). You could also order pizza right to your room, and we tried that out one night. The pizza was delicious and the price wasn’t bad either!
One of the things I liked the most about staying at a Disney resort was the ease of getting around. To go to any of the parks or Downtown Disney, we just had to get outside and choose the right queue (there are big signs for each one) and wait to head to the park. They say that a bus comes every 20 minutes, but I think we only had to wait that long once. It’s just as easy to get back to the resort from the parks. I really liked not having to worry about traffic or parking, and it was nice to sit back and relax at the end of a busy day, instead of driving to a hotel. I will definitely stay at a Disney resort again.