Today, I had a chance to tour the Art of Animation resort. We were told we are the first non-Disney group to tour this resort. Since it is still under construction, no photos were allowed. I’ve got to say this is going to be an incredible resort when it is completed by the end of 2012.
We first saw the marquis which is the largest freestanding marquis on Disney property. For those that have stayed at Pop Century, Animation Hall will have the same layout. When you walk in the front door, everything starts in black and white and becomes colorful. On the wall are line drawings from animators, some that have never been seen by anyone other than the animators. The drawings by the door are more simple line drawings and as you go through the room, the drawings pick up color, the floor becomes colored and the check in pods are a range of colors, becoming more vivid the further into the room that you go. By the end of the room, before you go into the store or out to either transportation or the Finding Nemo courtyard, the animation drawings are full color.
The shop inside will be much larger than in the other value resorts. Through the shop you will reach the food court. This is set up much like in Pop Century but will have four themed dining areas. The menus will be electronic as well.
Next we went into the courtyard between the two Finding Nemo buildings. This pool is a zero entry pool and is very large. There is also a splash zone with Nemo and his dad in the anemone. All the characters from the show are around the area and even the foliage reminds us of under the sea. There is also a dry play area on the other side of the splash zone.
The buildings are shaped like Ts and the rooms in this section are all family suites, sleeping up to six. In the entryway to the building, there is a tile floor with pearlized tiles, giving you the feeling of being “under the sea”. Into the hallways, the floor changes to carpeting but the theming is still there.
Unique to the suites here is the bed set up. When you first walk in, you are in a “kitchen table” area. There is a bathroom with a bathtub to one side. Around the corner is the living room and kitchenette with refrigerator and microwave. There is a flat panel TV as well. Around the corner from the kitchen table is a bedroom with a queen sized bed and flat panel TV. The bathroom in here has a large walk in shower rather than a bathtub.
Instead of having chairs and a sofa that open up to sleeping for four, these suites have the sofa for two and the kitchen table for two. Kitchen table? Yes! This doubles as a Murphy bed! Handles on the “wall” pull down while collapsing the table. This is an easy task and can be done by one person. Hidden behind the mattress is Nemo!
The theming in the rooms is of the reef, but the bathrooms are all like the sharks’ area in the movie. The mirrors are even port holes with “Fish are Friends!” noted on the edge.
The insides of the courtyards are all full of color while the outsides have the black and white drawings of the characters. The ends of some of the buildings even look like large sketch pads. As you are facing the Finding Nemo courtyard, Cars will be to your right and Lion King to the left. Further to the left will be the last addition, Little Mermaid, which will not be family suites, but will be standard rooms.
I am excited for this resort to open and hear what our clients think! Tomorrow, I’ll talk about our tour of the refurbished rooms at Port Orleans Riverside, including the fantastic renovations to Alligator Bayou and the Royal Guest Rooms in Magnolia Bend — complete with pictures!