The hotel in its entirety is themed as a self-aware look at Disney’s animation throughout history. The lobby and food court are both feature a colorful aesthetic with various sketches and drawings of classic Disney characters. The resort itself is split into four main sections, each with multiple buildings themed to its own respective film: Cars, Finding Nemo, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid. The first three offer primarily Family-style suites that fit up to 6 people. Each of these buildings have indoor hallways. The exception lies with The Little Mermaid section, which only contains standard rooms with outdoor walkways, much like the All Star resorts and Pop Century, the other Value offerings in WDW. Each of these sections have their own pools, however they all share a food court and bus system.
On that note, the Landscape of Flavors food court had by far the most superior food selection of the Value resorts, and possibly my favorite of all the Disney hotels. It is also very spacious and can handle the dreaded breakfast rush much better than most other resorts, regardless of price. But naturally, there is no table service restaurant.
Geographically, Art of Animation lies literally a few feet from Pop Century, and together they are the most distant from all the theme parks except for Animal Kingdom. There is a plus to this, as the Art of Animation buses do not share stops with any other resorts, something which is very common even with Moderates and Deluxe resorts. The resort is around the same size as Pop Century, but definitely smaller than the All Stars or any of the moderates. Your average walk from your room to the lobby might be around five minutes. On the other side of the spectrum, the moderate resorts are notoriously larger, but offer a bus route that circles the area. Depending on your personal preference, that may be a pro or a con.
As far as pricing, Art of Animation is the most expensive of the Values, usually around 300 to 500 dollars a night. Now obviously, we’re talking about 6-person suites, but it is usually still possible to book two standard rooms (8 people) for cheaper at another Value resort. So why would you stay here?
Although I’ve only personally stayed in the Nemo suites, I find the theming in the Cars section to be outstanding (it highly resembles the Cars theming in Disney’s California Adventure, if you’ve even seen that). Art of Animation is one of my favorite resorts to walk around at night, partly because of its close proximity to Pop Century. The theming is probably Art of Animation’s greatest appeal. With that said, the theming is similar to the other Value resorts, flaunting big bulky characters and objects that some would consider to be too tacky. But for what it’s worth, it’s done the most tastefully of all the values and offers a great merge of theming with the Disney experience one would want for their kids (or even just the kids at heart.)
A side note: I would NOT recommend staying at the Little Mermaid section. Even though it offers the same room space and experience as the other Value resorts, it is still priced higher. On top of that, I find the theming in this section to be the weakest and its pool to be uninspiring. It also requires an unnecessarily long walk to reach the shared bus drop-off. For these reasons, I would never stay here unless you have a kid (or an adult) who is really into the Little Mermaid.
Overall, Art of Animation is an interesting blend of the brashness from the other Values with a few glimpses of sophistication. Because of its Suite offerings, this resort is perfect for a larger group or family that wants the next step up from the other Value resorts. If you think you like the sound of everything I’ve just said, then you probably will. But if any of this sounds unappealing, I recommend checking out the offerings of some other Walt Disney World resorts.