The Deal Mommy

My Art of Animation Dilemma

Greetings from the Art of Animation resort at Disney World.  I have to admit I’m here for you, not me. I’ve stayed at just about every other Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe property and readers rave so much about AOA that I’ve run out of excuses to check it out.

Why did I keep making excuses? Because of my…

True Deal Mommy Confession

detest The Little Mermaid. Abhor. Loathe. Ariel is easily the most vapid role model in a generation that should have known better. Let’s review her message to little girls, shall we?

  • Collect Shiny Trinkets
  • Shut Up
  • Seduce an older Prince because only then can you leave your father’s house
  • Live Happily Ever After

Yes, I know as Disney Princesses go needing a Prince’s kiss to wake up is worse but Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are at least products of their time. The Little Mermaid premiered in 1989: As the Berlin Wall came down Ariel sent girls back to the Stone Age.

I was very fortunate (IMHO) to have a girl who even at 3 took a look at Ariel, Aurora, Cindy et al. and basically asked “WTH?” Give her a Tiana, Merida or Mulan and she could hang.

Which Leads to My Art of Animation Dilemma: I Love My Little Mermaid Room

All standard rooms are The Little Mermaid at Art of Animation so I had to face my nemesis, and the room charmed me. It really shouldn’t have. It’s about the same size as the rooms at All-Stars, which I don’t recommend with the same tacky Motel 6 plastic cups. The room has no fridge and lacks even the cruddy coffeemaker you get at the other Disney properties. (Note to Disney: you do so much food right. What’s up with the coffee?)

Rooms are motel style so you don’t really have a patio or balcony. Using my $12 hack I did get a 4th floor lake view in building 7.  I was able to MacGyver a chair in the hallway into an almost as good as a balcony sunrise:

Art of Animation

Sunrise from the hallway in front of room 7856, Art of Animation

However I count that as a bonus, not a feature. Bottom line is I was in a hallway shared with maid carts and other guests walking by. Almost as good as a balcony is not a balcony.

What it’s not all about

I could tell you here that it’s all about the property and not the room but here’s the deal: anyone can show up at any Disney resort and walk the property. I encourage an early morning walk here because who couldn’t smile walking by these guys?

Lion king art of animation

Hakuna Matata!

I could tell you it’s about the pools and partly it is- reviews everywhere rave about the Nemo pool and it is large, and colorful, and crowded. I actually preferred (ugh) The Little Mermaid “Flippin Fins” pool as it was much quieter and because the buildings all around you are so elaborately themed, you actually can imagine you’re under the sea. I blame this guy, who you can see from the pool:
Sebastian art of animation resort
Steel drums will be stuck in your head all day. You’re welcome.

It certainly isn’t about the food court. I have read countless reviews about this “ah-mah-zing’ Art of Animation food court and how people would make a special trip just to eat here. Not seeing it, folks. It’s a food court with some nice artwork and a heck of an echo chamber. It is LOUD in here. I’m only here because (like all Disney resorts) checkout is 11AM and (unlike Moderate and Deluxe resorts) the only air-conditioned place to sit is the food court.

It’s not about the value: Pop Century across the bridge has the same features at a lower price and somehow feels slightly less tacky then all stars. Last night All Stars would have been $40  and Pop Century $25 cheaper for the same room. I’m paying $144 (all in) using Orbitz with a coupon which is about as low as AOA goes if you’re not in a special category (pass holder, DVC, FL resident, etc.)

Nope. I loved my Little Mermaid room.

I loved the seahorses on the headboards. Loved the octopus curtain separating the bathroom from the beds (which I should have hated on principle because it’s proof the room is tiny). Even loved the coral reef carpeting. Loved all of it.

At least they keep Ariel confined to the shower curtain.

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13 thoughts on “My Art of Animation Dilemma

  1. Robin


    As tough as I am on Disney resorts, this one just gets it right. As for the food court, the kiosk serving Indian food, fresh naan, and vegan cupcakes is why it works for us so well. Glad you liked it too!

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Good point about the food court. Compared to other food courts it is an improvement. I’m just not a fan of food courts in general. For anything over $10, I want a waiter.

  2. Brenda Benn

    We recently stayed at Art of Animation and I was disappointed. Previously we’ve stayed at The Caribbean Resort and at the Port Orleans and they were terrific. The room was small, there was not enough drawer space (3 drawers for 2 people) and just a lot of cut corners. We stayed there because our kids & grandkids picked it for our family vacation. And the bus stop for A of A is the furthest one from the exits at the various kingdoms; it was an unpleasant surprise at the end of a long, tiring day. And we were assigned a room in the furthest building from the desk/bus stop/food court, also. I admit, I’m older, but not old and in the future, will stick with the nicer resorts.

  3. Annette

    As a parent, I feel like the Little Mermaid is a good reminder to not fall prey to fear based parenting (anxiety disorders run in my family). Ariel’s father meant well and he just wanted her to be safe but, as the King’s daughter, she probably had some of the best education in the ocean and was capable of so much more. He was holding on so tightly and she did what young and immature people sometimes do…think that a romantic relationship will solve everything. He probably should’ve looked for opportunities for his daughters to use their skills and their positions to create meaningful lives for themselves. But maybe I’m just projecting…..

    It’s Beauty & the Beast that I struggle with – on the surface it seems good because she’s reading, right? But she ends up falling for an abusive jerk who is literally holding her captive. Gaston is also a jerk but at least he doesn’t lock anyone in his basement. Maybe she should just move to another village. 🙂

      1. Jennifer

        They’re just movies. You both sound like liberal feminist bullies that believe a movie will somehow break your daughter. It’s your parenting that will build a foundation for your little girls, not Disney movies. Uugghh

        1. thedealmommy Post author

          LOL. I hear you and try to be pretty mellow about such stuff- but Ariel is just over the top. Uugghh indeed.

        2. Annette

          Jennifer, I’m not sure where the bullies comment came from and most parents of three daughters have at least a few feminist tendencies but, as a stay-at-home mother of four children who sent her kids to a Baptist school that only allowed the King James Version of the Bible, being called a liberal absolutely made my day. I can’t wait to tell that to my kids who sincerely believe that they were raised by conservative crazies. I do agree with you that parenting is what lays the foundation for our kids (male & female) and that one show or movie doesn’t make or break anything. I would, however, posit that being aware of what your children are watching (over & over & over again, in the case of Disney movies) and being proactive about addressing areas of concern is in fact an important aspect of parenting. My girls are now 29, 24 & 19 and they’ve turned out pretty well, if I do say so. For example, they all read/watched the Twilight series and it made me very proud when my oldest girl told my youngest, “You know that a guy sneaking into your room and watching you sleep while trying to decide whether he loves you or wants to eat you is a red flag, right?” She also went on to explain that someone who cuts you off from your family and friends and goes to the extremes of removing your car engine to restrict your movement is controlling and unhealthy. The youngest – then in upper elementary or jr. high – rolled her eyes and said, “Yes! Ugh…do you think I’m stupid?” I’ve made plenty of parenting mistakes but teaching my kids to evaluate the messages they receive through various media wasn’t one of them.

  4. Catherine

    Thanks for the info Deal Mommy. Thinking about it for our next trip. I liked the Caribbean Beach but hated the internal bus to get around. I thought it needed more theming, kinda fell flat for me.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      If theming is what you want, AOA is the way to go. Word of warning, though- you’re gonna feel the squeeze going from a moderate to an AOA standard room.

  5. Masonmary

    Just stayed at AOA lion King family room with 4 adults and 1 toddler and it was very comfortable. We went in January and so staying closest to the buses was our only goal. It was our first time to AOA and I will say this it’s fabulous to stay on resort but this hotel is super crowded so when we went to check in and get our parking passes it took almost a hour with the front desk in a loud hall trying to listen to the 8 million things the desk is politely explaining to you. It was nice that they allowed us to pick the building and view that we wanted when we arrived. The room was enjoyable, the lion King theme was excellent. My toddler loved the fact that the dinner table could be a bed and it was surprisingly comfortable, one recommendation bring your own pillow and extra blanket because they are like using paper to sleep with. It came with a microwave, mini fridge, coffee pot which were pleasant features. The food court was avoided at all costs, like I said this resort even in January was super crowded, loud, and had the aroma of a middle school cafeteria. If your not on the dinning plan which we weren’t because we were on a short 3 day trip the price of the cafeteria food was similar to the park so we actually had papa John’s delivered to us in the front lobby at AOA for less then what we could have bought two resort pizzas. The food court did have amazing pastry items that we did indulge in and they conveniently had gallons of milk for purchases which was helpful with our toddler! Don’t even get me started on the buses….. let’s just say after you walk to the furthest bus stop at majority of the parks after a long day you most likely will be waiting to be seated on the next bus because there are so many people waiting, with a toddler these makes the contemporary or pol seem much more worth the extra money and stress. Love this resort is budget friendly and larger families can be in one room together, the decor helps really rally you in to the disney spirit (we loved the Nemo seagulls saying Mine Mine Mine) love having all the disney resort perks for a lower price, I just wouldn’t stay there during peak season for sure. Polly is on the bucket list I’ve only heard great things!

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