All About the Extras
Families looking for a fully immersive Disney experience should look no further than this well-run, impressively designed resort. Parents of young children will appreciate the peace of mind made possible by suite sleeping arrangements designed to allow for flow and family togetherness. Groups of all shapes and sizes will enjoy reasonable rates along with all of the privileges of an onsite Walt Disney World Resort stay, including early-entry and late-stay theme park privileges, onsite airline check-in service and complimentary airport and theme park transportation.
From housekeepers who fashion linens into favorite animated characters to chefs who will customize dishes to your dietary needs to gift shop greeters who go out of their way to make your day a great one, staff at this Disney resort are truly top-notch. The resort is the only Disney Value category property to offer a Business Center and each day, kids can submit their own creations for consideration in a Sketch Artist of the Day contest. In Animation Hall, drawing classes offered by a live artist and a gallery of exclusive sketches set the stage for an animation-themed getaway. Ink and Paint Gift Shop features Art of Animation guestroom décor to purchase and enjoy at home, from Bruce ("Finding Nemo") and Timon and Pumba ("The Lion King") shower curtains to Cozy Cone ("Cars") lamps. At the time of checkout, you can make a donation to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, dedicated to preserving the planet through environmentally based initiatives.
Resort Airline Check-in
Skip the lines at the airport when you check your luggage and check into your flight at this staffed kiosk, located outside Animation Hall, near the Drop-Off Pool Bar. The service is available to those flying domestically on participating carriers. Hours are 5 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Free transportation to and from all Walt Disney World theme parks, water parks and Downtown Disney is provided by bus. A covered bus stop is located just outside Animation Hall. Bus service to the theme parks is direct, as the resort does not share service with other Disney resorts. Ponchos and sunscreen are a world traveler's friend, and for kids, activities such as bubbles will help to ease the wait. For those traveling with children under 3, a stroller is a must. Detailed directions to area shopping, medical centers and theme parks are available. Stop at the Front Desk to pick up a brochure.
Follow a 1.38-mile trail for fun and fitness. Check with the Front Desk for a map.
Kids Nite Out, an independent agency, provides in-room resort childcare. A four-hour minimum and a caregiver transportation fee are required.
The Art of Smart Timing
When traveling to Walt Disney World, it's best to avoid peak travel periods. Generally, these times include holidays and the summer months -- in other words, any time schools are out of session. If you do opt to visit in summertime, pack sunscreen, hydrate frequently and, unless you want to squander your souvenir money on ponchos at the parks, don't forget your raingear. Fortunately, for travelers on a budget, the least expensive times to visit Walt Disney World theme parks (Value Season) tend to coordinate with dates when crowds are the lightest. If your kids aren't in school yet, September is a great time to visit. Another prime time is early December, when crowds are low and the theme parks are decked out in holiday décor.
From Orlando International Airport (MCO): Free roundtrip airport transportation via motor coach is available to guests (advance reservation required; limited hours) via Disney's Magical Express. By car, take the South Exit Road from Orlando International Airport to SR 417 Toll Road (GreeneWay) West and follow signs to World Wide of Sports/Disney's Art of Animation Resort.
For Mom and Dad
Grab a lounge chair, order an alcohol-free Frozen Orange Crush and a round of appetizers (try the Sweet and Spicy Tropical Crab Cakes) and enjoy a poolside movie screening. Alternatively, send older kids off to the arcade while you enjoy an informative hour-long resort tour.