While we briefly gave an overview of the meals we sampled the other day for breakfast and dinner, I thought we should take a closer look at what I’m sure will become one of my favorite counter service locations on property: Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. There are so many amazing things to share about this great food court. It is like no other value resort in its attention to detail and theming that are prevalent throughout the resort common areas and suites.
One of my favorite details I wanted to share was all of the incredible artwork in the different dining areas themed after the resorts areas of The Lion King, Cars, Finding Nemo and The Little Mermaid. I wish I could take some of this artwork home to decorate my house! It feels like you are immersed in a very cool art gallery while enjoying some truly incredible food. I was trying to describe the menu to a friend the other day and think Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Kidani Village is the closest as far as the world flavors influence, but with some Riverside Mill from Port Orleans Riverside thrown in with the create your own pasta and salad options. Having said that, this food court really doesn’t feel like any other. The ambiance is very relaxed and welcoming. I cannot wait to go back and try some of the incredible offerings that this restaurant has!
Also check out our post from the other day with pictures of what we ordered for dinner and breakfast here.
One of my favorite elements of the lobby at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is the sketch wall in the lobby that runs opposite the front desk in Animation Hall. The sketches are from the four featured themes of the resort: Cars, Finding Nemo, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. From right to left with your back to the front desk, the sketches progress from very rough black and white sketches to more finished drafts, and then eventually on to full color sketches of the characters we know and love from these great Disney and Disney-Pixar films. Some of the drawings depict the characters as we are familiar with them from the movies while others are concept sketches of earlier incarnations. Enjoy this slide show showing the progression of the beautiful artistry from the animators and imagineers.
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Walt Disney World’s newest value resort, will be opening in just a few short days on May 31, 2012. Here are some pictures of the Cars Family Suites, of which there will be 480, that open on June 18th. I am so excited to be able to experience these highly themed suites in person this summer!
These family suites are approximately the size of two standard rooms at the other value resorts at a little over 500 square feet. The suites are comprised of a queen size bed in the bedroom, a pull out double sofa in the living room and a double murphy bed that comes down over the dining table. There is a full bath off of the living room and it is important to note that the master bathroom does not have a bathtub. Also in the living room is the kitchenette area that includes a compact refrigerator, small microwave, coffeemaker and a bar sink.
The detail of the rooms is nothing short of amazing, but I think I was even more impressed by the exteriors of the buildings. Imagineers have taken an incredible amount of effort in recreating the feel of Radiator Springs. This section of the resort is created to the scale as if the guests were the size of the Cars we all know and love from the Disney-Pixar films. One of my favorite things was on Fillmore, the classic VW van, who is a hippie in the Cars movie. He can be seen just outside the Wheel Well and at first glance only has a few bumper stickers on his side window. However, if you walk all the way around Fillmore, you are able to see the entire back of the van is covered. There are some great inside jokes that the Imagineers threw in there.
All in all, I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I fell in love with the Cars area of the resort in just the short time I was there. The rooms and colors in the Finding Nemo section are more my personal style, but I think I was even more blown away by how amazing Radiator Springs looks! There is so much to see and explore, I can’t wait to see the finished product so I can discover even more.
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is full of sooo many pool and play areas!!! The amount of recreation options at this resort is truly amazing!!!
The Big Blue Pool is located just outside of the Animation Hall, and is the single largest pool on property which has a really neat twist! While the pool is beautiful above the water with spraying jellyfish and coral, the true gem is when you are swimming under water you get to hear music…which sometimes features characters from Finding Nemo chiming in. My personal favorite was when Mr. Ray started to sing along and commentate with Jimmy Buffett’s “Fins”!!! Another fun touch is the landscaping around the pool, because you will find that all of the palm trees aren’t straight, and look like they are swaying with the current of the Big Blue Sea.
If you have someone in your traveling party with disabilities, it is important to note that there is a special lift chair available to help them into the pool. Also life vests are available for swimmers who could use a little help.
Schoolyard Sprayground is located just past The Big Blue Pool, and is a fun water play area for younger members of the family which is full of fun water sprays and fountains. Nemo and Marlin are in the middle of the Sprayground with the sea anemones, with Nemo’s friends all around them. If you have diaper-age children, swim diapers and rubber pants are required when they are using the pool or water play areas.
Kids can play, slide, and hide in small tunnels at the Righteous Reef Playground. Squirt swims along the coral creating a fun place for everyone to explore! The playground is located next to the Schoolyard Sprayground.
If you want to make sure that you are ready for the next RunDisney event or if you are feeling guilty about all the gelato you ate at the Landscapes of Flavor food court, there’s a 1.38 mile jogging trail that goes around the resort. It is a great way to explore the Art of Animation Resort, and at night the trail is extremely well lit and the view of Pop Century from the trail is beautiful!!!
Pixel Play Arcade is 4500 square feet of fun for the whole family! The arcade features ticket games, the latest in video games (I loved playing the supersized Fruit Ninja game), and classic games like air hockey. Instead of using cash in the arcade, you purchase a card with credits to spend there during your stay.
If you think that the activities stop there, you are really mistaken. Recreation Cast Members work overtime to make sure that there are plenty of great things going on in the afternoon and early evenings at The Big Blue Pool. There is The Big Blue Beach Party, the Righteous Dance Party Extravaganza, Arts & Crafts, Games, and Movies Under the Stars just to name a few. All of these activities are free, and are subject to change. In the event of inclement weather, activities may be moved to the kid’s playroom next to the Front Desk.
While the resort is a great value as far as space is concerned, when you add in the extra value of all of the water and play areas, amenities, and Recreation offerings you really can’t go wrong with a stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
Make sure you check out our Facebook Page to find more pictures of the Finding Nemo Pool and Play areas at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort!
I have always considered myself to be somewhat of an old soul. As a friend recently said, I do like movies starring dead people (read: I like classic films often shown on TCM more than a lot of the recent releases). As far as music is concerned, I know more oldies and classic rock music than my parents do. I am content listening to stories of the way things used to be. I even wrote my college admission essay about how I grew up in the wrong era. I am definitely a Gen Xer, but feel comfortable thinking back to the time when men wore hats and women wore gloves (think Mad Men or earlier). These all combine to account for a fraction of why I like Disney’s Pop Century Resort as my go to value resort at Walt Disney World.
The nostalgic atmosphere of the resort cannot be denied. For the uninitiated, the resort is comprised of ten buildings that house 2,880 rooms, making it one of the largest resorts in the country. The different buildings are themed after the decades of the 1950s through the 1990s, which makes it a great choice for anyone with a thing for looking back and reminiscing about the good old days. Of course there are tons of other great reasons guests may enjoy Pop.
One of the most appealing benefits that the resort has over the other three current value resorts (Disney’s All Star Movies, Music and Sports Resorts) is that it has its own bus transportation to the theme parks, water parks and Downtown Disney that is not shared with any other resorts. As anyone who has stayed at All Star Movies may have experienced, there is not much more frustrating than seeing a bus pull up for the destination you are looking for, only to be completely full and not accepting any guests. More good news for Pop guests is that it will NOT be sharing a bus with the brand new Disney’s Art of Animation Resort opening on May 31st of this year. This is on top of the fact that Pop is a bit more centrally located than the All Star resorts.
The standard rooms at Pop Century have either two double beds or a king bed (note: many of the king rooms are handicap accessible). Flatpanel tvs sit atop sleek mid century modern light wood dressers and the artwork is themed after the decade of the building in which you are staying. A curtain can be pulled across the opening between the vanity area of the bathroom (which is separate from the toilet and shower area) to provide some privacy and a separation from the bedroom. Each room is also appointed with a table and a couple of chairs, an in room safe, telephone, dresser as well as an alarm clock radio. The rooms are clean and comfortable and quite adequate for the value of the resort.
In the last few weeks the value of the resort has increased even more. The resort is in the process of installing mini refrigerators in all of the rooms. These are slightly smaller than the ones at the moderate and deluxe resorts, but still large enough to store a decent amount of stuff. I was fortunate enough to have one of these newly installed in my room when I stayed at Pop in the middle of March. If one has not yet been installed in your room (even at the All Star Resorts) you may request one at no charge to be delivered to your room, whereas previously they were $10./night. Another great upgrade has just been completed across all of the value resorts: FREE WI-FI!!! This may not seem like a big deal to everyone, but to those of us who are permanently attached to our phones or laptops, this is a huge benefit that was previously only afforded to guests staying at Deluxe and recently the moderate resorts.
Given these upgrades and, in my opinion, the superior theming over the other three value resorts, I find it difficult to justify staying at the Moderate resorts over Pop. Previously I would rationalize by saying they have the fridge and coffeemakers, which I never use, but now what? Ceiling fans are nice and all, as is the larger room, but unless I’m going to a moderate with two queen beds, I’m going to choose Pop. The resort seems to be great for adults with a sense of nostalgia as well as kids who will recognize the large icons of some of their favorite Disney animated characters like Lady and the Tramp, Mowgli and Baloo from the Jungle Book, Roger Rabbit and even Mickey Mouse!
Everything Pop is one of the nicer options at the value resorts and has a nice open concept design with the gift shop flowing into the food court. Many mistakenly assume that counter service restaurants only serve burgers and hot dogs. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to inform people that it can be oh so much more. One of the great selections at Everything Pop is the nightly special that is something akin to mom’s home cooking. Some nights you will find a baked turkey dinner with mashed potatoes and green beans served with cornbread fresh out of the oven, and others you will have fish, pasta or meatloaf. The other food and beverage location at Pop is the pool bar Petals. I will admit I have spent more than a few hours there enjoying friends’ company over libations. It is a nice location and the CMs are always friendly and willing to strike up a conversation.
As with the other value resorts, Pop has several pools. The Hippy Dippy Pool is the main theme pool with the images of flower power from the 60s being prevalent as the pool is situated between the two 60s buildings. There are also pools between the 80s and 90s buildings with a computer theme, and my favorite being the 50s bowling pin pool. An arcade is located in the lobby just adjacent to the front desk and Everything Pop.
I’m not quite sure how I will feel about Pop when the Art of Animation opens in the end of May. I don’t often have need for a family suite, but it may be nice for several friends staying together or if I travel with family again. The bigger question will be if I will be staying at DAAR (Disney’s Art of Animation Resort) once the standard rooms in the Little Mermaid building open. I took some pictures last week of the progress that has been made recently with the construction at the new resort along with some nice views of Pop at sunrise.