Last September our family of six made the trek across the country to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida! It was all I’d dreamed of…and more! No joke. Seriously, I have dreamed of this trip for years. As a Disneyland lover, it may surprise you to know that I had often dreamed of what it would be like to cheat on Disneyland with the younger, bigger, (and arguably hotter) Walt Disney World. I can now say, that I did it, and it was TOTALLY worth it! 😉
A huge part of this trip being so incredible was staying on property. It was ALL Disney from start to finish and that was just what I wanted: a total magical immersion. I wanted to eat, sleep and breathe Disney! When booking our resort, I originally went with the cheapest option for our family….which would have had all 6 of us smashed like potatoes on Thanksgiving in a room meant for 4. It would have been fine and it would have gotten us to Walt Disney World, but about a month after booking, we changed course, spent a little more money, and switched to the Art of Animation Resort.
This resort is a smokin’ deal for what you’re getting. It is a “value resort,” which is typically the least expensive resort option on property, which means you are getting a lot of Disney “bang for your buck!” The Art of Animation Resort in particular is brand spanking new and has so much to offer families….especially larger families like ours.
The thing I LOVE about this resort is the theming: Disney movies. When you think of Disney, you think of the parks, sure, but you also think of the movies. The great movies that you watch again and again with a bowl of popcorn in your living room all snuggled up with the little ones. These very same movies come to life at the Art of Animation Resort. You literally swim through Nemo’s ocean waters and walk through the jungle with Timon and Pumba. If you stay in the Cars suites, like we did, you cruise through Radiator Springs and high five Mater on the way to your room. This is what a trip to the Disney parks is all about for me: being able to really put yourself in the world of Cars, Finding Nemo, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. I love all of the fancy dancy Deluxe resorts, don’t get me wrong, they are gorgeous and amazing, but for me, this resort just wraps you up in a big blanket of Disney magic. Our kids loved it, my usually grumpy (but not on this trip) hubby loved it, and needless to say, I loved it, too!
I still have more gushing to do over my love for the theming! The room itself was SO COOL! Really. No other words for it. The bathrooms (yes, there were two…AHHHmazing) were beautifully themed like car washes!
The couch was made to look like a classic car’s bench seat. (This also folded out to a bed.) The kitchenette looks like one straight out of an auto shop….only much, MUCH cleaner.
Bedside lamps in the bedroom were orange cones and my youngest loved them!
My favorite part was the dining table…
…that doubled as a bed! My youngest daughter claimed that one right away and she said goodnight to the picture of Mater sleeping above her every night.
Again, the Disney magic was just bursting out of every nook and cranny in this room. Not to mention the fact that it was a suite, with a separate bedroom. Travelling with 4 kids, it was absolutely imperative that we have a separate area to close off so that we could get babies to go to sleep. Not only that, but so we could all unwind in our own space after a long day at the parks. The kitchenette allowed us to bring in some instant oatmeal and have a nice, relatively quiet family breakfast before heading out for a crazy day of Disney fun. And again….two bathrooms. Having six people in one hotel room basically requires that it have two bathrooms. I will never again stay in any hotel that does not have two bathrooms. Okay okay, never say never, but I can for sure tell you that I won’t like it if I do.
Another thing I loved about it was the pool…no, not that pool, the other pool. The Big Blue Pool (AKA the Finding Nemo pool) looked amazing, and I’m sure that the underwater sound was incredible! However, having a mix of children who can’t swim and are new to swimming makes me much more comfortable in a less busy water environment. Having a smaller, less crowded pool right outside our section of the hotel was a godsend. It was Cars themed, there was themed music, and we even claimed a Cozy Cone cabana all for ourselves. Not one of us felt like we missed anything. Even though it was practically empty, my middle daughter, the social butterfly she is, managed to make lots of new friends. She also managed to convince people that there was a parentless child roaming around the pool asking everyone their name and favorite animal. (We seriously had to wave at a few concerned swimmers to assure them that our daughter was being watched by her parents!)
The main building was fabulous. Our favorite characters came to life on the walls! As you enter the building, you watch as they go from being sketches to fully colored animations the way we know and love them.
Better than the sketches on the walls are the ones on the awesome chandelier! If I was a better DIY’er, I would try to recreate this in my living room….well, I will probably still try, but I’m not hopeful that my attempt will be anywhere near as gorgeous as Disney’s!
I haven’t mentioned the food court, Landscape of Flavors. It is beautiful and full of all kinds of food, made to order! There was a pasta station, waffles, omelettes, sandwiches (which we grabbed for the plane ride home,) salads, cheesecake on a stick (really a Mickey straw)….and gelato!?!? I don’t know why this surprised me, after all it is Disney and they do just about everything! But I really could not believe that they actually had gelato!
After kids were in bed, it was my time to walk around the resort and do my thing. I’d fill up my refillable resort mug with hot chocolate, and just people watch. I love seeing all of the happy families returning from a day of magic in the parks. I get a chuckle out of the inevitable sleeping kiddos who always seem to find their way into dad’s arms. (Tell me I’m not the only person who gets happy just seeing everyone else so happy?) I’d somehow, by the magic of Disney, end up in the Ink and Paint shop (the gift shop) and find some new treasure that I just had to add to my collection. (Pins and purses are my kryptonite!) And even if I didn’t buy anything, I got a kick out of the super fun Disney jokes that the cast members would tell people at check out!
To sum it up, I desperately miss the Art of Animation Resort (and Walt Disney World in general) and would stay there again in a heartbeat! It was a great fit for our family of six and definitely worth every penny we spent on it. How about you? Is there a Disney resort that just screams “Disney” to you? A resort you’d love to stay at? Comment and let us know about it!