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Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Unveiled

Thomas Smith

by , Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

Big news…we’ve just announced plans for a new resort at Walt Disney World Resort that’ll bring to life some of our most beloved characters and stories. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will be one-of-a-kind, featuring family suites designed around four themes: The Lion King, Cars, Finding Nemo and The Little Mermaid.

Disney Imagineer Joni Van Buren sculpts a model of King Triton, who, in his final form will be 35 feet tall and tower over guests at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts newest Resort. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will be one-of-a-kind, with themed building exteriors and room interiors that bring to life The Lion King, Cars, Finding Nemo and The Little Mermaid. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is expected to open by the end of 2012.

It’s a resort designed with families in mind. There will be amazing sights at the different themed wings of the resort, including a model of King Triton that’ll eventually be 35 feet tall and tower over guests. And Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will also have themed room interiors in its nearly 2,000 new units — 1,120 family suites in The Lion King, Cars and Finding Nemo wings and 864 themed rooms in The Little Mermaid wings. Suites will have both a living room and a bedroom, offering added space.

All of the themed suites and rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort (to be located adjacent to Disney’s Pop Century Resort) are expected to open by the end of 2012. We’ll have more updates in the future but wanted to share this with you first. Please let us know what you think in the comments.


  • This is wonderful! We will be watching as the resort unfolds, and will be waiting patiently to visit!

  • While this sounds like a wonderful resort, it would be nice to have one “adults only” resort located on the WDW property for those of us without children, who still love all things Disney, to be able to relax and enjoy an environment without so much noise.

  • I have 2 questions. First, will we be able to reserve or request a room/suite in a specific wing of the resort? For example, if I want to stay in The Little Mermaid wing of the resort will I be able to book a room in that area when I make reservations?

    Second, will there be regular rooms in the Cars, Lion King and Finding Nemo wings of the resort, or will those areas be made up of only family suites?

    This is sooo exciting. I love The Little Mermaid and can’t wait to stay there when it opens!!!

  • I’m really excited to see more about this new resort! After our last stay, I think our family will only be able to squeeze 5 into one room at Riverside for one more trip- then I think we’ll really have outgrown the space… We’ve been wondering where to go without having to pay for a Villa..This sounds like a great option!!! I hope the pool will have a slide even though it’s a value- that can sometimes be a dealbreaker with the kids!

  • We are a family of 5 and have struggled to find a place on site in our budget. We have stayed in a cabin @ Ft. Wilderness(LOVED IT! lots of room full kitchen perfect setup, but only b/c 40% off. I noticed this trip(free dine) the POR was cheaper than the fam suite@ allstar and cheaper than 2value rooms. How will it price out between POR or Allstar fam suite? Hoping it will be a good deal, I know we would love to stay there, sounds fun.

  • This will be an amazing resort!!!, but I think that this resort must have a distinct feature to differentiate it from All Star Movies resort (not only the familiar suites) because is the same theme but with different movies. I think that each section could be dedicated to different movies in different Disney’s Studios periods (Silly symphonies, first Disney movies, The little Mermaid or The Lion King and a Pixar Movie like Cars or Finding Nemo) and to adapt also the resort to the nostalgic feeling of the Pop Century. I would prefer other names for this resort like Disney’s Animation Resort only or Disney’s Magical Moments Resort.

  • this is wonderful, we love the value resorts, as a travel agent when will i beable to get my name on a list to book a room, little mermaid and cars are ther three year olds favorite… Has disney every thought of providing buses for handicapped only…

  • Will Pop Century eventually be re-themed to match the Art of Animation Resort?

  • Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I’m so excited about this new resort. We are Pop Century lovers and I’ve always hated the fact that the empty shell of the Legendary Years stood as it did for so long (all that fun and excitement never to happen), and now to create such a great new value resort in it’s place is so very exciting to me! I’m so pleaased that the fine folks at Disney had decided to do this; I can’t wait to stay there!


  • My boyfriend and I were wondering what in the world was going to happen to those brown buildings across the hour glass lake. Now we know! I personally look forward to this new resort and can’t wait for when it opens.

  • I cannot wait to see this, another reason to return in 2012 already! :) I love the sense of fun at the value resorts. Another great idea Disney! It is a shame about the ‘Legendary Years’ but I guess it was coming, the buildings have stood empty for quite some time now… saying that, this option sounds better!

  • Thanks for the great news Thomas.

    Is this going in adjacent to POP Century?

    If so, will this mean The Legendary Years have been scrapped or will this be a whole new way of putting 2 properties on one site?

    Is it going to be Value, Moderate, or Deluxe resort?

    Could I have answered my own questions by simpy re-reading the article, along with your previous replys?.

    Does Disney frown upon sarcasm?

  • excellent news, im gulp 40 in 2012 and didnt know where to bring my party group of 10 or more families to stay but i cant wait for more info to be released so i can start saving and spread the word to my friends that we are stayin at wdw yay

  • So–does this mean Pop’s name is going to be changed to Pop Half-Century??? LOL :)

  • I am so glad they are doing something with the Legendary Buildings. As someone who goes to Disney at least twice a year it was a shame to see the buildings sitting empty.

    I wonder are they still going to connect the 2 “resort” areas with the current bridge that is blocked off or will they be seperated.

  • The ONE thing that I’ve always felt Disney needed more of was affordable accommodations for large families. With 5 kids myself (4 of which travel to WDW with us often), I’m SO excited about this announcement.

    The only thing I wondered about (if I’m reading correctly) was the fact that The Lion King, Cars and Finding Nemo were all Suite wings…but The Little Mermaid is not. Seems that the 3 Suite wings are all themed more for boys (although one of my girls does love Nemo). It just seems that it might be neat to have a Suite option that leans more towards girls (given that Cars, Nemo and Lion King tend to be more aimed at boys). Just an observation.

    Again, this is VERY exciting news and I’m already looking forward to checking it out! :)

  • Sounds terrific! My only problem will be figuring out which wing to stay in since Lion King and Little Mermaid are 2 of my absolute favorite Disney movies ever!!!!

  • Since it’s going to be a value resort I’m assumming that the suites will be like the ones at All Star Music. My family and I have really enjoyed staying in them but are very hard to book. This will be great to have a whole value resort with all family suites.

  • I’m THRILLED to hear the news! Our little family of five just doesn’t fit into one room any more now that the baby is getting too old. I like the theming, though agree with another poster that having two different underwater themed sections seems an odd choice.

    My suggestions – PLEASE consider putting in some sort of cook top in the kitchen area. There are many of us who really don’t cook our food in the microwave, and would like to be able to cook up a quick breakfast or snack. After all, the point of getting a suite instead of two adjoining rooms (which would cost less) is having a kitchen. Also, please consider a full size fridge for the kitchen. Again, that’s the big draw over two individual rooms, and I want to be able to freeze things as well as have plenty of room for the vast quantities of mil that my children drink.

  • I would love to see a pet friendly resort. I think it could be themed after all of the cats and dogs that Disney does so well. It could be designed with a kennel pen set in the wall so that when you left your room you could kennel your pet.

    There could be pet services at the resort with lots of animal friendly pet walks. It would be necessary to have a weight limit on dogs but you just don’t know the number of people who would utilize this option. We would travel to Disney more if we could bring our little dog.

  • Great choices on the movies that will be represented! Its a great fit whether you have boys and/or girls! We are staying at the Toy Story building at the Movies next year! Can’t wait!

  • What a great idea! All I can say is “Finally!!” We have been waiting for the “Legendary Years” to open up for years now….but this is even better! Our 2 yo…well, 4 yo when this resort opens is going to LOVE this! Great job Disney!

  • Awesome! If I stay at a value resort again I will for sure be requesting a Little Mermaid suite here!!! Love it!

  • Sounds like a great addition. I think it would be great if WDW added a pet friendly resort. Or would make certain floors/buildings of some of the existing resorts pet friendly. Even if I had to take my dog to the kennel for the day, I would love to be able to stay on the property again and keep my beloved pooch with me!

  • Finally! Very happy to see this happening! :)

  • How exciting! I cannot wait to see it and hear more details.
    Thanks for sharing the info!

  • YAY Finally another Value resort! :)

  • I think that this is a great idea especially since they are adding more family suites to the mix. Finding an affordable room for a family of five has been a real challenge for us the past few years. Now if they would only consider reduced tickets for handicapped children…

  • I’m so excited to hear about the new resort!! Sounds beautiful!!! I happen to be a Commercial Interior Designer and always check the Disney job postings hoping one day to fulfill my dream of helping on a fabulous project like this for Disney. Anyone know who I can contact to find out about these projects sooner????

  • This resort sounds wonderful. My family and I usually always stay at the Pop Century so it will be great to see the resort come to life as you build.

  • I have to agree with Robert, the two underwater themes seem redundant. I would like a medieval theme . . .

    My concern is Disney keeps building resorts, but not expanding the parks at a relative speed. You have all these people staying on property all going to the same cramped space. How about some park expansion to go along with the resorts.

  • We are SO going to be staying in the Cars wing! THANK YOU, DISNEY!!!!!

  • Curious if Disney is devising any strategies for improving the transportation problems associated with lumping so many value resort rooms into the same area? For me, the buses (or rather lack of them) is the major problem with staying at the Value resorts.

  • Hi Thomas,
    Will there be any kind of kitchens available in these rooms.

  • Very excited to hear this is true. We just returned home from the World on Saturday and a cast member was telling me about this. I’m thrilled with the themes and the idea of more space while remaining a Value resort. My next hope is that they will build an additional park to accommodate the people that will be staying here and the new resort being built near Fort Wilderness.

  • Hope these are “moderate” resorts. Disney needs more options in this tier.

  • its good to hear that something will finally be done in that unsitely piece of property with decaying structures. i am not to fond on the theme since it sounds a bit to similar to the “All Star” resort but Disney always seems to do a good job with the resorts they build.

    I am surprised that so many more new rooms will be added to Walt Disney World and over in Anaheim with its three hotels always having a good occupancy still does not seem to have any solid announcement for a fourth hotel. With so many possibilities for a nicely themed hotel in the large lot next to the Paradise Pier hotel it almost seems logical that Disney announce a new resort.

    Also curious on the other two hotels that were supposedly going to be run by Disney on the gardenwalk property since nothing has been mentioned for months now

  • Idea (and maybe the Imagineers have already thought of this):
    How about retheming ALL of the value resorts to reflect Disney movies. The All Star Resorts have been around “forever” and are showing their age, despite numerous refurbishments. All Star Movies is already there. All Star Music could be rethemed to music from Disney movies (Cinderella, Snow White, etc.). All Star Sports could be rethemed to reflect Disney’s sport themed movies (Goofy could be one theme since he always seems to be involed in sports, Angels in the Outfield could be another, Air Bud and Air Buddies could be others). Pop Century could also be rethemed with some of the other Pixar movies to go along with the new Art of Animation Resort (Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc., etc.). The resorts could be marketed under one umbrella – “Art of Disney Movies” although, of course, each resort would be responsible for its own costs.

    Although the initial investment would be considerable, it would be quickly recouped since the value resorts attract a loyal following and also are attractive because of the rates to newcomers.

  • My son LOVES Nemo! We’ll be there!

  • I am very happy to hear this wonderful news, we love pop century and were always disappointed that it was never completed! Now we are thrilled about the new resort it sounds like it will be fabulous! We are also thrilled about the suites for larger families, in the past we have always had to get 2 rooms! Does this mean they will be opening the bridge between the 2 resorts?

  • As our family is growing larger, we are up to 3 children now, we look forward to checking out this new option. My only suggestion is to maybe beef up the pool/dining areas. I would prefer something on par with the moderate resort amenities. We like to spend time at the resort so we stay deluxe. The value pool areas are nothing to look forward to, which is why we have not tried the ASMusic suites. We love the DVC 1 bedroom villas, but only if we get a decent discount. If you provide nicer resort amenities at these suites, better than values, not quite as nice as resorts, I am definitely interested! Basically, we would like to see a moderately priced suite with moderate amenities. :) Just my opinion.

  • I’m so excited for this. Love the theme, sounds like there’s something for everyone (boys included!). I’m also glad Disney is giving families a less expensive, roomier option. I echo others re: bus service, please provide a separate service for this resort, don’t bundle with Pop! Also, can I throw in my vote for a full-service restaurant? I know it’s a long shot for a Value, but no harm in asking!

  • OMGosh!!! This is SOOOO cool!!! I’m loving it!!! I know now for sure we will HAVE to plan a vaca for sometime in 2012… My son will go insane with staying in a resort involving Cars! Too bad it won’t be complete by Feb 2011, lol. We will be vacationing there at that time. Hope we will get to see some of the build in action. Can’t wait!!!

  • This is great I cant wait, sorry legend years is not going to make it but another value resort is exciting.

  • I can’t wait! We read about this over breakfast, and the kids asked if it was too early to make a reservation!!! Great news :)

  • Will Pop Century be rethemed to match the new resort?

  • Sounds awesome! I hope at least some of the rooms have 2 beds in the bedroom portion (unlike the All Star family suites which just have one) not everyone likes sleeping on a pullout sofa or chair!

  • Congrats! Excellent use for the unfinished part of Pop Century, excellent theme choice, and excellent idea of more family suites. I think the theme choice (& extra family suites) will draw more families than “The Legendary Years” would have. Imagineers may want to consider incorporating older films into the design of other parts of the resort. Perhaps, a Peter Pan themed pool or a Pocahontas themed play area with attention to recycling with maybe, a willow tree. The dining area could be divided into movie sections ie Snow White, The Jungle Book, etc., perhaps along the line of the Pizzafari design.

  • I’m ok with a long as you don’t get rid of Pop !!! It is my favorite Resort!!!!

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