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Room Review: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort family suites perfect for kids, but adults may find restless nights

in Disney, Hotel, Reviews, Walt Disney World

Many casual tourists are quick to say Walt Disney World is just for kids, with its princesses, carousels, and magical fairy tale lands. But Disney fans are just as quick to say that Disney theme parks and resorts are for kids of all ages, just as Walt Disney himself intended when he decided to create Disneyland decades ago. The first wing of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort lies distinctly in-between these two camps, certainly entertaining both kids and adults, but leaving the latter with less to enjoy on their own.

In recently attending the grand opening of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and its “Finding Nemo” wing and spending a night there, I greatly enjoyed exploring its colorful, detail-rich grounds and swimming in its massive Big Blue Pool. But as a married-without-children 31-year-old, I did find myself feeling a bit out of place among families with kids, running through the Nemo-themed water play area and splashing around the zero-entry pool.

Alas I am a Disney fan, able to enjoy giant representations of Crush, Mr. Ray, Dory, and the rest of the “Finding Nemo” gang, along with the rest of the new hotel’s artwork and design, just as much as any young kid does, if not more so with a greater appreciation for the creative process behind it all. But while I highly encourage all Walt Disney World visitors to explore Disney’s Art of Animation Resort no matter how young or old they are, a night’s stay there may not be right for those without kids looking for a nice, quiet place to settle in for the day.

Taking a look around my 4th floor “Finding Nemo” family suite with a pool view in the video below, it becomes obvious that only the biggest Disney/Pixar adult fans will enjoy this colorful temporary home.


Video: Finding Nemo wing 4th floor family suite tour at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort


Before getting into the details of what is and isn’t good about spending a night inside one of these new suites, let’s take a step back outside the building.

Disney storytelling is present in nearly everything they create. Here, guests are joining the “Finding Nemo” characters as they hit the EAC (East Australian Current), “swimming” all the way to their rooms. The EAC experience begins outside each of the “Finding Nemo” wing buildings, with painted lines swirling into the entrance.

73 Comments

  1. Ryan

    Yes I agree with this review. I stayed here over the past weekend and despite the initial enticing atmosphere, it grows old quickly and feels rather “value” like. There was also a tremendous amount of hallway noise easily heard in the room. Overall is a nice resort but certainly not worth the premium price for a value resort. I too would much prefer a moderate or deluxe for similar price.

    1. Ricky Brigante

      I didn’t have any hallway noise issues, as my room was all the way down at the end of the hall. But I can imagine it being a problem when closer to the elevators.

  2. Mike Dunphy

    Hi, Ricky. Thanks for all the great info and videos on the AoA Resort. I have to say that I could see how little kids would really love to be so emersed in the themes (and perhaps even some adults). I did think that the rooms were a bit “over themed”. Looks like a bowl of fruity pebbles spilled out. Can a room be too colorful and the themeing to “in your face?”. Perhaps. I love the themeing found at Disney, but also like it to be more modest/subtle. That’s me. I know my kids feel differently.

  3. EricJ

    I’m only in the range to afford a Little Mermaid single when they open, and that sounds like it’ll fit the Pop/All-Stars value feel.
    That’ll probably be at the end of the park away from the lively Nemo pool (or maybe with its own quiet B-pool), but further away from the buses.
    Like the air-conditioned hallways, though, which you can only get from the Deluxes and not the Mods. Small rooms and bright decorative hallways seem like they took a cue from the two new Cruise ships.

    (And whose bright idea was it to put Bruce and his jolly shark pals on the shower curtains? Yeah, just what I want–That’s like a Universal hotel putting Psycho logos all over the shower…) 😉

    1. Colleen

      I have heard that the single mermaid rooms are more motel like in that you have an outside entrance not a hallway. only the suites have hallways. We are staying in December in the little mermaid section as well so I made sure I researched this well before booking. And it does have it’s own pool just not as big as the nemo pool.

  4. Jeff Lynch

    I think this resort is very beautiful for what it is — but it’s clearly not for everyone. Personally, as someone without kids, the pool looks like a little bit of a nightmare. I picture it being nonstop squealing. So I would never stay there. I can only afford to go to WDW once every 3-5 years…and while I doubt I will ever be able to afford staying at the Contemporary or Polynesian, I can swing the Boardwalk or Port Orleans. I like relaxing at a pool and having a nice time.

    I really wish Disney would build a Haunted Mansion themed hotel for adults…maybe have a Jungle Cruise wing, a Frontierland Wing, and a futuristic-looking sleek Tomorrowland wing or something too. Do the theming, but have the price point be higher and make it something NOT for kids too.

    I would just love that. Something fun and themed that would be around $150-200/night…maybe $200-250/night. That would be perfect for me and I would enjoy saving up for it.

    As an adult without kids, it feels almost creepy to be using the Big Blue Pool with all those kids everywhere. And being able to relax by the pool is a big part of what I want in a vacation.

    1. Mandy

      Sounds like you need to find a different hotel for a “vacay”. I’m sure I would have agreed with you when I was childless about staying at this resort and hanging in the pool, but honestly, why bother staying here if being around kids aggravates you? I have 2 kids now and my kids will be behaved and not loud in the pool, but maybe if you want a quiet experience, go spend the big bucks and go to the Polynesian and go to the adult pool and leave your leering looks behind at the AoA.

  5. Brandy

    This looks a bit much to me. I may try out a Car wing room however. We once stayed at a Pirates themed room at Carribean Beach and that was great. Nicely done- but upscale and non tacky- theme. Ship shaped beds (bad pun intended), fridge hidden in a barrel, treasure chest trunk for clothes. Table like a compass. My 6 year old loved the Pirates room. This room might give me a headache.

  6. OT

    For just 600 dollars I can rent a room just 15 minutes outside WDW, have plenty of bedrooms, bathrooms and my own pool. I know it’s not Disney but I like to give my eyes and ears a rest from all the fun. I don’t see how they can call it a value resort with that pricetag.

  7. laurie

    Wow, Ricky that was a tough review but thank you for your honesty. Maybe Disney will change bedding and furniture before they open the next wing @Jeff Lynch, I would so love a Haunted Mansion theme. That would be awesome

  8. Mike

    Can you tell me if the refrigerator has a freezer to?

    1. Cindy

      It has a small freezer in the fridge large enough for a few water bottles.

  9. Jen

    What about transportation? Do they have busses for this resort alone or does it share with another resort? I am concerned about the large amount of people when fully open all trying to get on the busses.

    1. Ricky Brigante

      Art of Animation has their own bus service.

  10. Paul C

    Gee, a value resort and you didn’t like the value feel?

    If you can get a deluxe at $250, I’d like it better than a value too.

    1. Ricky Brigante

      Considering the rest of the hotel feels nothing like a value resort, I was expecting the same enjoyment from the room itself. And from what I’ve heard, the Cars rooms are more comfortable. I haven’t been in one yet though, so I can’t speak from experience there.

  11. Amy

    Would you recommend staying at Cars or Lion King because of the noise at the pool?

    1. Ricky Brigante

      If you plan on relaxing in your room and don’t want to listen to loud pool activities and/or music all day, then yes. I haven’t actually stayed in the Cars wing yet (it just opened two days ago), but I will be visiting soon to see how the pool area compares.

      1. Amy

        Thanks! What about the noise in the evenings after 8pm?

        1. Ricky Brigante

          The noise at the Finding Nemo pool doesn’t stop until 11pm quiet hours.

  12. monica

    I must say, I really couldnt believe some the comments I read…..where do you people think you are staying???? This is Disney…especially being a value resort, of course there will be kids and noise. If you are wanting a more quiet, peaceful, and lack of color resort, then why the heck would you choice this one of all of them to stay??? I am staying in a little mermaid room with my 8 yr old daughter this december and I think the pics look awesome. we are very excited and cant wait to stay!

    1. Cami

      I agree Monica. I’ll be staying in the Lion King suite with my children in December also and can not wait til we get there! The rooms looks great and so what for noise, it’s a given especially at disney! Any who I love themey stuff so I hope I wont be disappointed.

    2. Cindy

      I agree. I stayed early June, Nemo Family Suite 4th floor. I don’t recall any noise at all. Of course I have two noisy kids of my own. You will LOVE it!!

    3. Kelly

      I can see everyone’s point of view. My family couldn’t be more excited for our November stay in the Nemo section. I am glad to be prepared for some of the resort’s downsides and will request a room as far away from the pool as possible. Even though I have two small children, we need relative quiet for my 1-year old’s nap.

    4. Jennifer Brenner

      Monica, I am with you 100%. Common sense dictates, a cartoon themed hotel…is for children. Disney is for kids 1- 99. I plan on being one when I’m 99, and I’m half way there. Themes stand for themselves. Example : TheBoardwalk
      I have stayed at all Disney hotels, except 3. I’m working on those. I commend Disney on finally thinking of families with more than 2 children, and making it functional. People should not critique this hotel as a Deluxe, for it is stated its a value resort. The imagineers worked wonders on this hotel. Disney is most people’s “Happy Place”. When children see this resort it will help transport them there. Your pocketbook should not dictate what kind of experience you receive, and Disney has given this to everyone with this hotel.

    5. Tammy and Carolyn

      Thank you, Monica!!! For those of us who are Disney fanatics, we LOVE the themes, the more the better! I have 4 kids, so the suite is costing me the same as I usually pay for 2 rooms at other value resorts. It is no more expensive, people need to take that into consideration before judging the price…

    6. Jennifer

      Nicely put Monica! When you choose to visit Disney, unless you have older kids who can pretty much go off on their own, there is no “relaxing” per-se. I think the theme is perfect, and if you think about it, going to the beach in the summer, all you find is noisy pools from dawn until dark! My family and I are staying in the Nemo suites after my daughter spent most of her summer in a full leg cast, so I’m all for the noise and having fun before school starts!

    7. Andrea

      Thank you Monica for reminding me why I was going to Disney in the first place. I was reading all these comments in disbelief. Why are people going to disney to relax? I am going in April with 3 children and will be very happy to see colorful happy rooms and enjoy listening to children having fun in the pool till 11pm…isnt that what disney is all about!

  13. Michelle :)

    For those of you have been there, which of the 4 decors is the best? It’s between CARS and NEMO or LION KING for us since I have a boy and a girl. Do any rooms sleep 5 or 6?

    1. Ricky Brigante

      All three that you mentioned offer family suites that sleep up to 6. The decor depends on your taste. I’ve been in the Nemo and Cars rooms and found the Cars room to be far more palatable for adults, with fewer bright colors and more comfortable furniture. But kids will enjoy the vibrant colors and animated characters throughout the Nemo rooms.

  14. Luz

    I am planning to take my 10 year old son, with Down syndrome, to Disney World next year and I am considering the value resorts. Would love to stay at the newest Art of Animation but it seems there are only suites in the buildings closest to the restaurant and buses. Do they have any Little Mermaid rooms in this area or are there only suites? My son walks but gets tired easily so I always request a room close to the restaurants and to the entrance. If there are only suites, which other value resort would you recommend? the Pop next door? In regards to dining plans, do you think it is best to have one or just pay for whatever you want upon arrival? I thank you in advance for your help.

    1. Sally Swanson

      I have stayed a Pop Century many times and have always enjoyed our room and the overall atmosphere. If you explain your son’s diagnosis, they will most likely assign you a convenient location. I like to be in the 60’s section, closest to the food court, on the side of the building away from the pool. I also request ground floor for less wait time and commuting time. I have not stayed at Art of Animation but it is beautiful and easy to visit from Pop Century. I love the dining plan but only if it is free. I’m unsure of the savings if you have to purchase it. If it’s free, it’s a no brainer deal but does require planning ahead of time for the best restaurants.

  15. casey fries

    I was wondering how much would it be per night in the Art of Animation Resort?

  16. Kim

    Thanks for the great tips and pictures. I am staying in the Cars suite in 2 weeks and can’t wait! The biggest help I found was that your pictures showed 2 toilets in the bathrooms. TIP for future guests: Some suites at other resorts say 2 bathrooms, but only have ONE toilet. That’s important if you have 4 or more people in the room, we will have 6, including a small child who can’t “wait”!

    I’m also wondering how comfortable the pull out couch is, since that is where my husband and I will be “sleeping”. I don’t plan on getting much rest, but the look on my sons face will be worth it! Thanks!

  17. Andy

    I’m just wondering if anyone has ever considered switching suites during the stay. What I meant is if you are planning o stay in AoA for a week, book the first 3 nights for Finding Nemo suite, then switch to Lion King suite for the last 3 nights. Thanks for any comment.

  18. tracy

    how many bus stops are in the Art resort. I first stayed at a value which had only one pick up and drop off location (at front of resort). When i moved to moderate they have bus stops through out the resort.

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  28. Julie LaSaracina

    Last week, for our honeymoon, we stayed at Disney’s Art of Animation resort. Being a (former) avid Disney fan, a Disney Visa credit card holder, and a shareholder, I was SO excited for this trip. On our third morning there (we were in the Little Mermaid section), I found two bed bugs in the bed. When I killed them, blood filled the tissue and stained the bed sheet. These bugs had been feasting on us all night.
    Things actually got worse from there. We were told we needed to leave our belongings with them to be sanitized and had to go to Walmart to get new clothes, shoes, etc. to get through the next day while our clothes, luggage, shoes, etc. were processed by Disney. They moved us to a room in the Lion King section and moved some of our belongings that had not been sanitized into the new room. Where did they put these items? On the bed in our new room! So, they had to test the new room for bed bugs.
    Our clothing was returned with damages AND (ready for this?) our clothing was returned with a little something extra….SOMEONE ELSE’S underwear!
    We dealt with managers on every shift for the duration of our stay. Management continued to push us off on their claims department, which, conveniently is unavailable during the weekend.
    Aside from this nightmare, the towels had holes worn in them, the counter service food court is very chaotic, and the staff was unfriendly. As we were departing and had our arms full of luggage, 3 “cast members” with luggage carts walked by. Not only did they not offer to assist, they didn’t even make eye contact or say hello!
    As a lifelong Disney fan, this experience has changed how I view the entire enterprise. Seeing how the service and magic have diminished greatly over the years, I don’t think I can ever go back. My husband has 202 bed bug bites and I have 80.
    Sad to say that Disney, of all places, actually completely ruined our honeymoon.

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