Once again I visited the Art of Animation Resort, this time for the grand opening of the final phase of this Disney property, The Little Mermaid section. I toured the grounds and stayed in a standard room during my visit. Let's start with the room.
To begin with, the Little Mermaid section of the Art of Animation Resort contains rooms of the same type and configuration as the other value resorts like the Pop Century and the All Stars. These are NOT suites as found in the Finding Nemo, Cars, and Lion King sections of the resort. To read a brief history of how these three wings of the resort came into being, check out an earlier article of mine by clicking here.
The Little Mermaid rooms open up onto an outside balcony. This balcony is decorated with a number of colorful fish found in the movie.
The three buildings that make up the Little Mermaid section of the resort are each four stories high. Ice and drink vending machines can be found on each floor near the elevators.
The guest rooms feature two double beds covered in turquoise bedspreads with several sea flowers as accents. The edge of the bedspread displays a design of coral. Each bed has two reasonably sized pillows.
The headboards look like giant clamshells and feature small bubbles floating upwards. The light above each bed is a giant bubble and is surrounded by curious seahorses. Convenient light switches are located above the nightstand.
Between the headboards we find Sebastian and Flounder giving a fin-claw-high-five.
On the nightstand are a telephone and a clock-radio. A single drawer contains a phone book and a Gideon Bible.
On the sidewall we find a portrait of Eric captaining his ship with his trusty companion Max.
The carpet continues the “under the sea” theme with a sandy look and various seashells, starfish, and sand dollars.
The window has both sheers and blackout curtains. The curtains feature a seascape minus any Little Mermaid characters.
Each room has its own air conditioner which is nicely concealed behind a wall. The electronic thermostat is motion sensitive to help reduce energy use.
The room has a small table and two plastic “clam” chairs. An electrical outlet is conveniently located on the wall behind the table for laptop use. Embedded into the table's surface is the sheet music for “Under the Sea.”
Above the table is a brightly colored “fish” lamp/mirror. The switch for this fixture can be found next to the door.
The chest contains three drawers and a refrigerator. A “hidden” compartment houses electronic hookups for audio-visual connections to the flat-screen TV. There is NO coffee maker in the room.
On the wall next to the chest is an octopus coatrack.
The bedroom is separated from the vanity area by a somewhat light-resistant curtain. It displays a scene right out of the “Under the Sea” section of the movie.
The vanity only has one sink. The countertop is made out of a material that looks like the sandy sea floor. It's a wonderful accent that really adds to the personality of this room. In addition, Disney has added a handy cubbyhole beneath the sink for the storage of odds and ends. The mirror is framed in a sea coral design. A hairdryer hangs on the side wall.
Next to the sink is the open closet. Besides hanging space and a shelf you'll find a luggage rack, iron and board, and an electronic safe.
The water closet is small, but efficient. A motion sensor detects movement and activates the exhaust fan whenever someone enters. The Little Mermaid shower curtain is especially appealing. If you must have one for your own home, it is for sale at the Ink & Paint Shop located in Animation Hall. The bath is stocked with four, adequate towels. If you're looking for fluffy, you'll have to book a deluxe property.
For me, one of the highlights of the Little Mermaid room is the tile work behind the tub/shower. Here, you bathe in Ariel's grotto which is chalked full of bric-à-brac. It's stunning and my picture does not do it justice.
Obviously, this room can't compare to the value suites found in the Finding Nemo, Cars, and Lion King Sections of the resort. But how does it stack up against the rooms at the Pop Century and All Stars? Quite well. The theming in the Little Mermaid rooms is far more pronounced than at its sister resorts. Enough so that I would definitely lean toward this resort if I was searching for a standard, value room. Don't get me wrong, I like all of the value resorts. But these new rooms get the edge in my book.
That's it for the Little Mermaid room. To see a three minute movie of this newest addition to Disney's lineup of sleeping quarters, check out my video below.
Now let's take a look at the exterior of this newest addition to the Art of Animation.
First, let me say, the Little Mermaid section of the resort is the furthest away from Animation Hall which houses the shop, restaurant, check-in area, and bus stop. If you have a mobility issue, you might want to think twice before booking a room here. Most people will be okay with the walk, but not everyone.
The end staircases of the various wings are hidden behind multiple layers of giant, colorful coral. The effect works quite nicely.
You enter the Little Mermaid section along a winding path that is lined and illuminated by ships lanterns. At the moment, the foliage is a little thin, but give it time. In six months it will feel like the ocean floor.
To give you an idea of how detail oriented Disney can be, some of the flower beds use crushed seashells as ground cover.
Along this pathway we find a number of Ariel's treasures including a fork (dinglehopper), pipe (snarfblat), treasure chest, and stein.
At the end of the pathway we discover the statue of Prince Eric that fell overboard during the storm at sea.
I will take this moment to chide Disney just a little. Flanking every one of Ariel's treasures are at least two signs warning us not to climb on the structures. Really? Has Disney forgotten their audience? They have placed pieces of art that are absolutely irresistible to children along a pathway and expect the kids not to climb on them.
I really don't know what the answer is. Should they put a fence around these pieces like they did the Casey Jr. engine in Storybook Circus? Or are these signs just Disney's way of getting out of any legal entanglements should someone's child hurt themselves while climbing into the treasure chest to see what can be discovered.
Bottom line, I understand the reasoning for the signs. But for me, it takes away a little of the magic.
Okay, back to the resort…
Each of the three buildings of the Little Mermaid section is anchored by a giant character from the movie. We have King Triton, Ursula, and Ariel & Flounder.
On the building to the left as we enter this area we discover King Triton and his trumpeting entourage.
Facing Triton across the courtyard is his sister and nemesis, Ursula with her companions in evil, Flotsam and Jetsam.
On the furthest building we find everyone is swimming to greet their friend Ariel and her best buddy Flounder.
In the center of the three buildings we encounter Sebastian in all his glory.
The Flippin' Fins Pool is large and offers a number of lounge chairs and tables for enjoying the outdoors. However, this pool lacks the imaginative theming of the Big Blue Pool located at the Finding Nemo section and the Cozy Cone Pool found in the Cars section. Don't get me wrong. The Flippin' Fins Pool offers everything you need for a good time. But in my opinion, it isn't anything that will knock your socks off. Disney has raised the bar to a new level and now they must compete with themselves. The Flippin' Fins pool is great, but kids will have more fun at the Big Blue Pool and adults will enjoy the cabanas found at the Cozy Cone Pool.
In the pool area are restrooms and a laundromat.
To see a three minute movie of the Little Mermaid exterior grounds, check out my video below.
That's it for my four-part review of the new Art of Animation resort. Overall, I really think Disney has done an outstanding job. People come to Walt Disney World to be immersed in the magic and this spot does it in spades. Even if the Grand Floridian is more to your liking, you should definitely stop by the Art of Animation on your next trip for a look around. You'll be glad you did.
The previous post in this blog was Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party – 2012.
The next post in this blog is Tomorrowland Speedway - Magic Kingdom.