My "On This Date" series of articles typically highlights an important event in Walt Disney World history. In this post, however, I am going to be writing about something that actually took place today. Just a few hours ago, Disney's Art of Animation Resort welcomed its first guests. It is the first "value" resort to open its doors since Pop Century opened in 2003. This is certainly a momentous occasion for Walt Disney World and it adds yet another option for guests who wish to stay on Disney property.
The construction for the Art of Animation Resort actually started over 12 years ago in 2000. This property was originally going to be the second phase of the Pop Century Resort. Due to the events of September 11, 2001, the tourism industry was negatively impacted and the construction of this resort was halted. Thankfully, a short while ago, Disney made the decision to once again resume work on this resort. They also decided to completely change the theme.
The Art of Animation Resort will open in four phases. The first section that opened today is Finding Nemo. It is completely made up of "family suites" that are capable of sleeping six guests. This area of the resort has the largest pool in Walt Disney World (outside of a water park) at just under 12,000 square feet. The pool actually has speakers built into it so guests can hear background music even while swimming underwater. The next section of the resort, scheduled to open on June 18th, is themed to the movie Cars. On August 10th, guests will be able to stay in the Lion King section. Both of those areas will also be made up of family suites. The last section of the resort will open on September 15th, and will be themed to The Little Mermaid. This wing will contain standard rooms, which will be similar in size and price to the other value resorts on property. Also, this section will have exterior corridors while the other three will contain interior hallways.
The theming of the Art of Animation Resort looks fantastic. The press had gotten a sneak peak of both the Finding Nemo and Cars sections a few weeks ago and this resort certainly looks like it will be the nicest in the value category. The huge character decorations in Finding Nemo were built so that guests are proportionately the size of Nemo. A stroll through the Cars area makes you feel like you are in Radiator Springs, complete with Sheriff hiding behind a billboard. I'm sure that fans of these movies, including my family, will really enjoy spending time at this resort.
When Disney builds anything new, we certainly expect it to be done well. From all accounts, Art of Animation exceeds most peoples' expectations for a value resort. I'm sure we will start hearing reviews from guests over the next few weeks, and I'd be surprised if they were anything but positive. One of the best things about Walt Disney World resorts hotels is that that you can visit them even if you aren't staying there as a guest. I certainly look forward to spending some time at the Art of Animation Resort in the near future. I'm sure I will be posting pictures sometime in June!
Have a Disneyriffic Day and remember to keep moving forward. See ya real soon!