Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Review: Fantastic Fun for Families

Linnea Bailey Avatar

Swim in the Big Blue Pool at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
The Big Blue Pool at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Photo credit: Linnea Bailey

The writer was hosted.

The first thing to know about staying at a Disney resort is that it will spoil you. The proximity to the parks, the first-class service, the easy transportation, the themed family suites and amenities will make you want to book a Disney resort every time, from now on.

You will find yourself googling things like “Disney annual pass,” “Disney resorts” and “Disney cruises” on the way home. You will start to dream about returning.

And really: isn’t that the best kind of vacation? The kind where you dream about going back?

Our family of five recently visited Disney’s Art of Animation Resort near Orlando for our first Disney trip. Since this was our first time staying at a Disney property (and my kids’ first visit to the famed theme parks), we checked in to Disney’s Art of Animation Resort for a four-night stay.

Disney World resorts are classified by price as Value, Moderate or Deluxe properties. Disney’s Art of Animation is a Value resort but boasts luxurious amenities (like the largest Disney resort pool) that feel very high-end.

Here’s our review of the resort and everything we experienced during our stay.

Take pictures with the sculpture of Mr. Ray in the Finding Nemo Courtyard at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
A large-scale sculpture of Mr. Ray in the Finding Nemo Courtyard at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Photo credit: Linnea Bailey

Why Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Works for Families

  • Deluxe-themed family suites for families up to six people
  • Welcoming atmosphere
  • Three pools, including the largest resort pool of all of Florida’s Walt Disney World resorts
  • A Finding Nemo-themed playground
  • Fun common areas for kids to explore
  • Expansive food hall with five casual dining restaurants and kid-friendly menu options
  • Nighty family campfire and movies under the stars
  • Disney Skyliner transportation to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Easy bus transportation to the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom
  • Colorful arcade
  • Exceptional service, including online check-in
  • 24-hour self-service laundry rooms
  • A high-value resort for all if its conveniences, especially for those visiting Disney for the first time
Take pictures by the car sculptures from Pixar’s Cars at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
Car sculptures from Pixar’s Cars at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Photo credit: Linnea Bailey

Where to Stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort offers elaborately themed standard rooms (that accommodate up to four people) and family suites (that accommodate up to six people).

With three children, we often have trouble finding options that can accommodate a family of five. Not here. The resort offers a wide selection of both standard and family suites, each meticulously themed to Disney’s The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo or Pixar’s Cars.

We booked a Cars Family Suite and found ourselves transported to a mini-neighborhood within the resort where lifelike outdoor sculptures of animated cars and large-scale movie-themed signage guided the way. Cars-themed décor and artwork lined the hallways to our third-floor suite.

Our suite was equally themed to the max for fans of the animated classic (complete with traffic cone-themed lamps and headboards) and came complete with a Murphy bed, sofa bed, kitchenette, living room, two full bathrooms and master bedroom.

Our seven-year-old had fun answering Disney trivia questions via the in-room “Hey Disney!” voice assistant, and the kids all enjoyed watching vintage Mickey Mouse cartoons in the mornings on the living room TV.

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While I didn’t get a chance to check out any of the other suites, I’m sure they’re just as spectacularly themed. My daughters are already requesting the Little Mermaid rooms for our next trip to Disney.

Let you kids enjoy a ride via Skyliner from Disney’s Art of Animation Resort to Hollywood Studios.
A ride via Skyliner from Disney’s Art of Animation Resort to Hollywood Studios. Photo credit: Linnea Bailey

How to Get to Walt Disney World’s Theme Parks

Perhaps the best part about staying at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is its amazingly easy transportation options to the four theme parks. You won’t need to drive at all while staying at the resort, so leave the car behind and enjoy it.

Our favorite form of transportation was the Disney Skyliner, a gondola system that offers thrilling views from private gondolas while soaring through the air to Disney’s EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. If we’d had more time, my kids could have easily spent hours riding on the Skyliner just for fun.

SheBuysTravel Tip: The Finding Nemo section of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort offers the closest proximity to the Skyliner, though ours was also an easy walk (not more than five minutes).

We used the frequent buses to get to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom (accessible via a bus stop in front of Animation Hall, the main building at the resort), and used Disney’s Monorail system to park hop between the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT.

How to Get to Other Disney Properties

Located just across a small bridge from Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort offers easy Skyliner access to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney’s Riviera Resort. The central Disney Skyliner station at International Gateway at EPCOT is also just a short walk from Disney’s BoardWalk entertainment district, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Disney’s Beach Club Resort and Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

If you’re seeking more dining and entertainment options, there is direct bus service from Disney’s Art of Animation Resort to Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney), an outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment complex. There are frequent family-friendly festivities at Disney Springs, and if we’d had an extra day, I would have loved to check out the weekend fun at Disney Springs Kids Club.

Another transportation perk: complimentary boat service is available from the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, EPCOT and throughout Walt Disney World Resort. While we didn’t take a water taxi or ferry during our stay, we met another family who told us they loved the after-dinner boat ride taken during a visit to Disney’s BoardWalk.

Your kids will have a lot of fun at the Finding Nemo-theme playground at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
The Finding Nemo-theme playground at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Photo credit: Linnea Bailey

Top Things to Do at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort


For families looking for activities, Disney’s Art of Animation has you covered, with three pools, a splash pad, playground and ongoing recreation activities for kids.

The largest pool of all of Disney’s Orlando resorts, The Big Blue Pool offers a sizable Finding Nemo-themed pool where kids can swim alongside giant sculptures of Nemo, Crush and other characters from the animated film. For younger children, the pool’s adjacent Schoolyard Sprayground offers an equally fun splash pad, complete with pop-up fountains and more characters from Finding Nemo.

The resort’s two other pools include The Little Mermaid-themed Flippin’ Fins Pool and the Cars-themed Cozy Cone Pool. For a little shade, relax inside your own orange-traffic-cone shaped cabana at the Cozy Cone pool.

My kids loved playing at the resort’s imaginative Finding Nemo-themed playground after breakfast each morning. They also enjoyed browsing in the resort’s huge gift shop.

While we ended up staying at the theme parks and not catching any of the resort’s recreation activities, the resort features a nightly old-fashioned family campfire (complete with s’mores!) and movies under the stars at The Big Blue Pool. When my kids are a little older, I’d love to return and make time to enjoy all of the planned activities at the resort.

Enjoy waffles featuring Disney characters for breakfast at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
Breakfast waffles feature Disney characters at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Photo credit: Linnea Bailey

Where to Eat at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Open daily from 7 am to 11 pm, the resort’s Landscape of Flavors food hall offers a food court-style dining area with plenty of delicious options.

My kids loved the breakfast waffles printed with Disney characters, and the late hours saved us when we arrived home hungry from watching fireworks. I can’t remember the last time I ate dinner at 10 pm, but hot grilled sandwiches and crispy fries were just what we needed after a long day on our feet.

Landscape of Flavors also offers many to-go options, which helped keep us on track to the theme parks in the mornings. We grabbed coffee, breakfast sandwiches, freshly-baked pastries and fruit, as well as mouse ears-shaped cheese crackers to snack on throughout the day.

I didn’t get to try the bakery’s specialty desserts (Disney-themed delicacies of all shapes and colors), but they looked amazing — perfect for families celebrating a birthday or other event at Disney.


For those looking to grab a bite or drink by the pool, The Drop Off Pool Bar near The Big Blue Pool offers sandwiches, salads, cocktails and a full bar.

The child friendly Animation Hall at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
Arriving at Animation Hall at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Photo credit: Linnea Bailey

The Guest Experience at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort


The service we experienced at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort was phenomenal.

The check-in process was quick and smooth; I checked into the resort prior to arrival via the My Disney Experience App on my phone (which I highly recommend!) and got a notification within minutes that our room was ready. I opened our suite door using my MagicBand+ (linked to my account), and a guest services cast member at the front desk answered my questions quickly and efficiently.

Our suite sparkled each time a housekeeping cast member refreshed our room, and my kids were thrilled to find towels sculpted into the shape of Mickey Mouse ears on their freshly made beds.

Quick service is an understatement. When one of our suite’s hair dryers wasn’t working, I called the front desk and a new one appeared within minutes. Towels magically appeared whenever we requested them. When we needed to mail home a bulky package, a cast member appeared to help us transport the box to the front desk. Every cast member I encountered at the resort was helpful and friendly.

Take pictures in front of the Lion King-themed entrance signage at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
In front of The Lion King-themed entrance signage at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Photo credit: Linnea Bailey.

How to Get To Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is located southwest of Orlando at 1850 Animation Way, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, 32830-8400.

The resort is 30 minutes by car or charter bus from either the Orlando International Airport, the Orlando Brightline station or the Orlando Amtrak station. Parking is free for resort guests.

If you plan to spend your time onsite at the Walt Disney World Resort, you won’t need a car. Transportation via Skyline, bus and Monorail is complimentary, with private Minnie Van transportation available via Lyft in a whimsical red and white polka-dotted “Minnie” van (for a nominal fee).

We didn’t drive at all during our trip; we took a Brightline high-speed passenger train from our home in South Florida to the station at the Orlando International Airport, then took the Mears Connect charter bus service to the resort (and then the reverse on the way home). The experience was hassle-free and 100 percent worth it.

Linnea Bailey Avatar
Linnea Bailey is an award-winning journalist based in South Florida. Her recent freelance work can be found in Southern Living, The Palm Beach Post, Florida Weekly, art&culture magazine, The Palm Beaches Blog and more. A former newspaper reporter, she now owns a communications company in West Palm Beach. Linnea is an active member of The Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), the North American Travel Journalists Association and the International Travel Writers Alliance.
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