Our walk around Disney’s Art of Animation Resort continues with an update covering what’s going on outside Landscape of Flavors. In Part 1, we took a good look at the quick service and what it’s currently offering, including a detailed review of a very large meatball.
The Disney Skyliner will make a stop at a station in between Pop Century and Art of Animation, which is a smart move considering Pop has 2,880 guest rooms and Art of Animation has 1,120 family suites and 864 standard rooms. That means there’s more guest rooms in just the Little Mermaid section of Art of Animation than there are in the entire Polynesian Village Resort near Magic Kingdom. Perhaps they should have just picked up and airdropped the current monorail system over here and forgotten about the whole gondola thing. The yuppies staying at the Poly can walk.
The Skyliner station looks relatively generic, but the wavy roof probably fits in well enough with the Finding Nemo theme at Art and perhaps it’s retro enough to groove with Pop.
It’s at least inoffensive as the gondola cabins hopefully continue to enter and leave the station in a continuous fashion. Of all the places to be stuck on the system, “over the water near a Value Resort” would probably not be high on my list, though we’re still at least a good distance away from Hollywood Studios. That’s always a good thing.
Since Pop/Art are the first/last stop on the Skyliner, work progresses on just the other side of Hourglass Lake. Over here near the Cars section of Art of Animation, the waterways remain pristine. It wouldn’t surprise me if somebody high up at Disney said, “let’s do gondolas,” and instead of getting a few of those quaint Venetian row boats transporting a few guests to and fro, we’re getting an entire system of kind-of-high-flying, careening death traps. Luckily, I’m sure we’re all familiar with the reliability of the summer weather report here in Florida. I’m sure people won’t unexpectedly find themselves stuck up there in the middle of Hurricane Galaxy’s Edge. I think I’m with the now-monorail-less people staying at the Polynesian. I’ll walk, thank you very much.
Fortunately(?), there’s quite a bit of progress happening.
Granted, it doesn’t look like any of the eleven construction workers in this picture are actually doing anything, but they’re at least there. And everyone knows if you just show up to a job enough times that it eventually gets done.
The station should be constructed here jutting out from the bridge that connects the two resorts.
Looking out towards the Little Mermaid section of the resort, we’ll have to see some pylons installed in the water here at some point. If we’re willing to risk our lives on the gondolas then you’d think we could make things a little more exciting and go straight to the catapult. Put TouringPlans in charge of the calculations and I’m sure at least 37.6% of the people would make it over. “We’re within two miles 90% of the time.”
You can see one of those Skyliner pylons above the treeline there in the distance.
We’ll see what happens, but the project is definitely going full steam ahead, which is rare when it comes to Walt Disney World construction projects.
While about half of the bridge is walled off, it remains open for anyone that wants to walk between Art and Pop.
Work on the resort itself is minimal. This grassy area at the end of one of the Finding Nemo buildings is all I saw walled off. More is going on over at the Little Mermaid end.
The Cars section of Art of Animation may be my favorite outdoor portion of any resort on property.
It’s so bright and cheerful.
And it’s fun to see the characters out and about:
Dave over at yourfirstvisit.net has a great overview of the resort, including a detailed look inside the various suites, here.
Also, it’s hilarious that there’s a miniature version of the Cozy Cone Motel.
With the pool in the back.
And a spinning neon sign.
With the entrance to the pool through the lobby.
Of course, the Little Mermaid standard rooms are located in buildings 7, 8, and 9, which are far away from Animation Hall, the main building.
You can pull up my full review of the rooms, along with some nighttime pictures around the resort and a lot more actual information about staying here, in this post.
A quick walk back to the main pool area:
As you might remember from the Landscape of Flavors post, I had an hour to kill before it was going to be time to order my jumbo meatball, so I headed out to The Drop Off pool bar, which is located just a few steps away from the Big Blue Pool, which is still Disney’s largest at 308,527 gallons.
Disney somewhat recently changed both its pool and standard lounge menus and I’ve been meaning to run reviews. The big takeaway: after 10+ years, their version of the Long Island Iced Tea actually comes with tequila. Note that you can pick up a boozy Dole Whip here as noted on the bottom.
Disney’s beer game is decent for what they’re trying to accomplish. They might not have the double milk stout that your cousin is trying to perfect in his basement, but the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is very good and there’s always Jai Alai.
And there’s no shame in going the Yuengling route.
The branded Frozen Jack & Coke/Rum & Coke machine had caught my attention a couple of times.
And the result was surprisingly good. The flavor of the Jack Daniels was present, but the refreshing flavors of the Frozen Coke did a nice job of masking any unpleasant bite. It was basically a stronger, sweeter version of the same ingredients served over ice, which makes it a great poolside choice. The Pina Colava is a guilty pleasure, but if I think anybody’s watching (and how couldn’t they with this beautiful bod), I’d probably strut around with one of these in order to keep my street cred. The price isn’t bad at $10.25 either. Recommended, though you never know what’s going to come out of that machine.
Art of Animation was the first of the Disney resorts to depart from that long, singular check-in desk. We’ll get back to the Character Artist advertised on the far right in a moment.
This is a bad picture, but you can sort of see how each desk is separated, which typically creates a more personalized experience for the guest.
Compare that to something like Pop Century, where there’s just one really long desk and you can sort of feel like you’re standing on top of the person checking in next to you as they’re all up in your business.
Art of Animation is still home to a sort of reincarnation of the Animation Academy from Hollywood Studios with their Teach to Draw Classes.
Here’s an example of one of those videos on how to draw Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
I thought this would be a pretty good opportunity to get my confidence levels up with everyone always making fun of my drawings during the Festival of the Arts at Epcot, but it was not my day. Perhaps they could adjust the frame sizes, though. My drawing would have fit just fine as is because it was “too small” “to be seen” “with the naked eye.”
There are a couple of other flourishes in the lobby, including this chandelier created from concept art.
Colorful art lines the wall opposite check-in.
The whole resort is a very colorful, bright, vibrant space with a look that’s less garish than the other Value resorts. “Elegant” probably isn’t the right word, but nothing about it really feels cheap, perhaps outside of the Little Mermaid section, which is more of a throwback to the All-Stars. But that gaudy look is by design – the kids love it.
Off the lobby, you’ll find a sizable arcade with games that are updated surprisingly often. Just because a kid might beat you at the drawing competition doesn’t mean you can’t school them at Guitar Hero later and then make them feel bad about it.
Game pricing is typically pretty reasonable, particularly if you commit to a $20 card up front. The games work on a points system, so you’ll receive exponentially more points if you’re willing to go big from the get-go.
There’s also a small business center with complimentary flight check-in and boarding pass printing.
Here with a touchscreen.
And if you really want to go old school, you might pick up a phone card; it’s the only way to reach me.
A FuelRod purchase/swap kiosk is here as well.
Art of Animation debuted with a nice selection of resort-specific merchandise.
A lot of which is still available:
That does it for this visit out to the Art of Animation Resort. Hopefully it was mildly interesting. We’ll see where we end up next.