So we stayed at the Art of Animation this go around. Having previously stayed in several “mid level” resorts, it was time to go back down to the “projects” and stay at a value resort.
Before we get any farther, yes, we stayed in a “Little Mermaid” room. The Little Mermaid rooms were one of the old repurposed completed buildings from when the resort was going to be a regular value resort. All the other Themes (Cars, Lion King) are suite rooms for large families. So, if you want to just get a regular room, you’re GOING to be in a Little Mermaid room.
That settles it, see, I’m not gay. But I did have to lock my man card in the safe for the weekend. I got it back, though, I swear.
Actually, the value resorts aren’t bad. The amenities are a little less, and the level of opulance and theming isn’t quite what you get from the fancy resorts, but they are fun. It’s not like staying off property at a Comfort Inn or something. It’s still “Disney” enough for the informed consumer. It has been our past experience that you get a lot more of the “scooter granny” crowd (one rented electric scooter plus ten family members equals Golden Ticket for front of the line cuts) at the value resorts, than at the mid level resorts. We have given up on the Disney Buses and just drive instead, so worrying about someone cutting in line at the last minute with twelve family members is no longer a problem. With all the parks programmed into Emily, the Crack Whore GPS, we can get where we are going faster anyway. Plus, free parking! Woo Hoo!
We received two letters in the mail before our trip, telling us that there would be no fridge in the room. Being smart enough to know that an ice machine and a cooler will work for the weekend, we were not dismayed, but we were delighted to find that they were able to buy new refrigerators for the rooms before we got there.
We stayed at the “Pop Century” resort several years back, which has themed hotels for to 50’s through the 90’s. Art of animation was originally supposed to be the sister to Pop Century, Covering 00’s through the 40’s. It was abandoned halfway through construction. You could see the main building from Pop Century, but that was it. It sat empty for several years, and finally they got around to turning it into Art of Animation instead.
My daughter really wanted to swim in the pool, so we booked our stay to coincide with both the Food and wine festival, the Not So Scary Halloween Party, and plus, it was the end of september, which in Florida is generally still pool weather. We had come to the hotel back in April for a look around, and the pool has a fence around it, with a key card gate, restricting entrance, supposedly, to hotel guests. A supposed “no-no” is Pool Hopping, staying at one resort and swimming at another resort’s pool. To combat this, they plan on installing the key card gates at every pool. Yeah, how hard is it in the summer when kids are in and out of the gate every three seconds, to step over and grab the gate before it closes. Good luck on that one, Walt.
So we went to Epcot the first day, and let her swim the second morning. She got cold pretty fast, although she did like the underwater speakers. Its the only pool in the place playing music under the water. In less than an hour she was out and we were eating pancakes and drying off.
The theme for this resort was Animation and its artistry. Old and new movies were represented, and both CGI and traditional pen/paint movies were featured, including The Little Mermaid, Cars, Wall-E, and the Lion King. A lot of the rooms are in buildings with interior halls, instead of exterior halls like most of the value resorts. There are a lot of family style suites.
The food court at the place was one of the better ones for a value resort. Although we only ate Pizza, because my daughter is picky, it was pretty tasty. We had pancakes and bacon by the pool. It was actually the best deal in the place. Three little pancakes, two pieces of bacon, and some strawberries and blueberries, with a juice, for eight bucks. For a meal of that caliber at WDW, I was looking at paying at least fifteen dollars.
I wanted to get some more pictures of other hotel areas. Some of the stuff was pretty incredible. They recreated Pride Rock from the lion king, right outside one of the hotels, and they showed “The Lion King” on a big inflatable screen. There’s always something to do around the resort. The parking wasn’t bad, either.
The only bad thing I found was there is no easy straight way to get anywhere. All the sidewalks are very windy and organic. Pleasant to walk on, but if you just want to lug your suitcase from the car to the room, it involves a lot of walking out of the way.
A few things we didn’t do here:
1. Use the resort mugs. We weren’t on the dining plan, so we didn’t get resort refillable drink mugs. We bring all our drinks anyway, so it’s no big deal. The new cups have RFID chips in them to keep people from bringing in old mcDonalds cups and sports drink bottles to refill. So we didn’t get to do that.
2. Buses. Since we don’t ride the buses much any more, I can’t say how easy or hard it was to get a bus, or what the crowd was like, or if you have to share buses with other resorts. We found years ago that especially at night trying to leave the park, that it’s faster and easier to just walk to the car and not wait in the bus line. The worse case bus scenario tends to be, there are fifty of you in line, and you think you just might make it on, and at the last minute someone rolls up in a rented scooter with twelve family members. Guess who gets on first, leaving you two people back from the front when the doors close, leaving you stranded for another thirty minutes.
Other than that, I’d stay there again. In fact, we are, when we return for the X-Ma$$ trip.