You’re are generally either two types of people when it comes to hotels. You either need a really incredible hotel for your stay or you’re simply not bothered at all and have the “you’re only there to sleep anyway!” sort of attitude. Nine times out of ten, I am the second one. On this occasion though, the hotel mattered to me a little. Recently, on my trip to Disney World I stayed at Disney’s Art Of Animation Hotel. I wanted to do an honest review as there is definitely some pro’s and cons. Overall I did enjoy my stay. Would I go back? Let’s find out..
I want to start by saying that I waited quite a while for this hotel to go down in price. I booked the bundle online and it was way out of budget, so I refused and just kept an eye on it. Just when I almost gave up, it was discounted! Growing up on the animations of Disney, I was so excited to stay in this one! I paid £880 for 9 nights to stay alone. (You can read my full price breakdown here!) This hotel is considered a “budget” resort, so possibly lacks some things that others have. I went to Disney back in 2016 to the Coronado Springs resort, so I did have something to compare it to. Honestly though, it felt the same level of comfort etc.
Coming to Disney by myself was a bucket list situation for me! So I am super grateful I managed to save my ass off and get there.
The Actual Hotel
The resort has a whole bunch of amenities suitable for families, but as I was by myself, I only used a few. I used the Disney’s Magical Express airport transfer, Resort transportation to the parks (as I cannot drive), Wi-Fi, The Merchandise shop and The Restaurant. Art of Animation also has a few other things worth mentioning, please see the map below for the full details.
Art of Animation is divided into several sections by animations. Of course, each section is varying in price. These are: The Lion King Suites, Finding Nemo, Cars and The Little Mermaid. As my holiday was a budget situation, I was popped into building number 8 of The Little Mermaid Section (on your top left). I really liked the extra detail they went to on the walk to the Animation Hall. There was always music playing and little statues of the characters (like Simba on pride rock) and the Seagulls from finding Nemo occasionally shouting “Mine!” by the big pool.
Being placed at the back of the resort, was both an advantage and disadvantage. Disney only has one set of bus stops just outside the Animation Hall, so walking back after a long day at the parks was a little bit of a struggle. It took between 7- 10 minutes (depending if I was sleepily dragging my feet or not) from the bus stop to my room! (It really is that big!) but the advantage was that this end of the resort was much much quieter. I also never felt unsafe walking back alone after dark, which I think is very important.
When I opened my door, I did have a little gasp. I was given two double beds all to myself! I did resist the urge to jump from bed to bed and settled on the one closest to the bathroom. The bed was also incredibly comfy.
The room was equipped with a fridge, a safe, an ironing board and a wardrobe space
Decorated with all things Little Mermaid, Disney never fail to impress me with the attention to detail. The headboard to my bed was a shell, the light was a pearl. I also had an impressive painting of Prince Eric, decorated with drift wood. Flounder was also in between the beds. Not to mention, a mirror decorated by fish, the chairs were also shells and the carpet was decorated as the sea floor. If we really want to talk minuet details, my bed covers had small bubbles on and I had an octopus as a coat/bag hang. Small details can really make a big difference in the experience.
The only downside of this hotel is that the toilets are SO loud when they flush! I actually jumped the first time I flushed my toilet and I could hear when the people above me and next to me were flushing. I never heard conversations though, just the flush. So the walls are not that thin, this was just crazy loud! The bathroom its self was also very specious. The shower was a power shower and there was a hair dryer just under the sink.
When I arrived to check in, I was given the option of opting out of cleaning for my entire stay in return for a gift card. I picked this option and I received a $70 gift card to spend in the parks!
When it comes to food, I am quite bad at having regular meals. I am 100% a snacker. Purchasing the Disney Dining Plan was just not plausible for me for this reason. (Snack post coming soon!) Fortunately for you guys though, I did make the effort to try the Restaurant food on several occasions!
There are 3 hot counters, 2 giant fridges and a bakery section. There is also a tall basket of fruit and other snacks like crisps. Art of Animation is also a hotel which has the refillable cup option too, so there is several drink stations separated through out the restaurant. If you’re not familiar with the refillable cups, on arrival you can purchase a cup through the restaurant or merchandise shop for around $15-25 (or you can include this in your dining plan), they activate this after purchase and then you can refill your drink with whatever is on offer at the stations (mostly fizzy drinks) for your entire stay at any Disney hotel resort.
The food on offer was similar every day but definitely a huge variety! Which is what I loved! They based the restaurant on food around the world “Landscape of Flavours!” so there was a huge chunk of different things.
On my first night I had the “vegan burger” which came with vegan cheese. I am not a vegan or vegetarian, but I am not a big fan of meat either. Admittedly, while at Disney I did struggle a little bit with veggie options, but I think this might just be an Orlando thing, as apposed to a Disney thing. I also stopped off at Walmart, and boy are they mad on Ham and Turkey!
A few meals I tried were:
Waffle Bounty Platter $11.29
Character Waffles, Scrambled Eggs, Breakfast Potatoes, Bacon and Sausage
Pineapple Paradise $5.99
Frozen Pineapple Juice
Applewood-Smoked Bacon Cheddar Cheese burger $14.49
Beef Burger, Garlic Ranch, Lettuce, Tomato, Bacon served in a Brioche bun and fries.
Pomodoro Pasta $12.49 (I ordered this TWICE!)
Whole wheat Linguine, Tomato sauce, Cheese, Turkey Meatballs and a Garlic Butter bread stick
These are just a small peak at the extensive menu. You can see more here (click here!)
The food was quite delicious and I often grabbed it to go so I could eat in peace in my room! You could easily do the same, as the rooms are equipped with a table and seats. The restaurant eating space generally got quite busy a lot of time (even at times you would think those would be in the park) but it never put me off. Just writing about the food above has got me wishing I could eat it again. The portion sizes are truly quite big too.
Possibly one of the most important parts when booking a Disney hotel is the transport availability to the parks. Art of Animation hotel offers free buses to all the parks (including the water parks) as well as Disney springs. I arrived just before the Disney Skyliner launch, but I understand this offers transport to Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
Journey time via bus would vary but from what I observed it was:
Magic Kingdom – 15 – 25 minutes
Hollywood Studios – between 7- 10 minutes
Epcot – 10 – 12 minutes
Animal Kingdom – 7 – 10 minutes
Disney Springs – 10 – 12 minutes
There was a screen to tell you the arrival time but I would say the buses arrived consistently between 10 – 20 minutes.
Art of Animation bus stops at the parks were always the furthest away/the last number when at the parks too, so please bare that in mind if you have a disability. The buses typically arrive in twos after the Magic Kingdom fireworks too, so don’t fret about getting back after.
Overall I would recommend Art of Animation hotel to anyone, especially if you’re on a budget. I’d give it a solid 8.5/10. You definitely get your moneys worth. The only reason why I wouldn’t return is because each time I head to Disney, I want a different hotel and experience! If I was to go back, I’d definitely spend more money and stay in a Lion King Suite. Have you ever been to Art of Animation? Would you visit based on my review? Let me know!