When we were younger and a new hotel opened, it was a Dillo tradition to drive over to the new area and check it out. We were always intrigued to see the new theme Disney had come up with, how the pool area may be different than some others and whether or not we would be won over by the lobby alone.
This was also before security checked you out before getting close to the hotel. I appreciate the concern for safety, but miss it being easy to take a look around.
This trip was taken as guests. After one night at the Polynesian, the next two would be spent at Art of Animation. I will try to list out honest pros and cons of the hotel and not be too negative considering I went from a deluxe resort to a value within 24 hours.
Driving up and checking into any value resort is a similar experience. In one way, if you have been to any, it’s nice to have the familiar feeling. In another, I wish there were more differences in order to experience that same feeling I had when I was younger and visiting a new resort.
A slight difference to the Art of Animation lobby is the counter area. The check in counter is set up for one per guest. The Castmember, in line with Disney’s Customer Service, come to the top of the que line to welcome you to the resort and leads you to check in. This is a new signature move, but I have seen it done in non-Disney resorts.
Another new feature, as Disney moves to their new MyMagic+ technology, is how your key works for your room. Instead of sliding your key into a slot to get into your room, you simply tap it on “Mickey.” This is activated at the counter and is starting to pop up in merchandise locations.
Onto the room. We did not stay in a suite and therefore ended up in a regular room in The Little Mermaid themed building. Of course I expected the resort to be much different than the Polynesian but for two adults, the theme change was quite overwhelming. However, I imagine for a child, walking into that room is the coolest thing ever and a reaction of “whoaaaaaaa” is expressed. The rooms, are of course themed to The Little Mermaid, complete with pictures, seashell headboards and a shower with the Under the Sea theme. Colorful, bright and fun for kids! The building has the same layout as the other Value resorts with an outdoor hallway entrance and there are pools around the resort in order to provide options based on the location of your room.
Walking around the resort, you can stroll through the Lion King area and take a swim in the Big Blue Pool. In the main building you’ll find the food court and gift shop.
Overall, a great option for families looking for a fun new Value resort. I’ve said colorful before, but I think it’s the best word to use when describing Art of Animation. I do wish that Disney would put a little more into designing new resorts so they don’t all become cookie cutter one day. Part of the fun of visiting different resorts is getting a new experience. Dressing up and decorating a building differently doesn’t make me feel like I’m someplace new. I would love to know what others think of the resort. Please don’t think that I am anti-Art of Animation or Value Resorts. But with any true review, I can’t be 100% positive, what fun would that be?