More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Unveiled

Thomas Smith

by , Editorial Content Director, Disney Experiences

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.


  • That’s wonderful news! We stayed in a suite at All Star Music a year ago, and it was perfect for our family of 5! I was surprised at the time how hard it was to find a suite at a reasonable price, so it’s great to hear there will be more of them! If they’re like the suite we stayed in, they’ll be great!

  • I can’t wait to stay in the newest resort! I think that is a perfect hotel for value!I will enjoy it on 2012!

  • Love the new resort! However I really wish that there could be regular rooms and family suites in each theme. If I understand correctly, if you want regular rooms your only choice is mermaid? That is a very girly theme, not neutral at all. We have 6 kids and so we need two connecting rooms, two family suites would kind of be overkill, but we don’t fit into one. I imagine that it would be overkill if you just had one child also. I know room requests aren’t guarenteed, but it really is a shame that so many people who might want regular rooms will be definately limited to the mermaid section.

  • Would have been interesting to keep Legendary years and just work these movies into the theming of the common areas. That said, I think you should work the first 5 decades into Pop Century now …

  • Wow, another place to add to our bucket list of resorts to stay at. Have stayed at every level from Value to Concierge (except for DVC). Love the concept of a family suite, since this style of resort is hard to come by on Disney property outside of DVC. Our family is looking forward to checking this out and can’t wait. CARS it is for us, or maybe the King Triton rooms. Too many choices, but lots of fun planning…..Helen

  • Soooo excited. It will be just in time for my 62nd birthday and I can’t wait to place our reservation. Have been going to DisneyWorld since it opened. Last Visit was January 2010 at Pop. This is the most exciting thing to happen to resorts in years.

  • I think the animation theme is excellent. I agree with other posters comments about the two underwater themes. There are so many wonderful movies to draw from that could appeal to both boys and girls. I also concur on the sit down restaruant, the food courts at the values are sheer madness and the food is not the best when you have dietary concerns.

  • I’m a few weeks behind but just the same I AM THRILLED! As a mickey mom of 4, VALUE IS EVERYTHING! It’s great to see that we will not have to go to a two room option! Unless of course it works much like the other family suites at All Star Music (which would still make it more affordable to reserve two value rooms over the family suite) I am wondering if every room will accommodate 6 or just the suites! Thrilled to see the themes that were picked! These are some of my favorites and though there are many other great Themes (is there really a bad Disney theme after all?) I for one am SUPER EXCITED and can’t wait to blog about this one! Thanks for sharing Thomas!

  • I am so excited! We have stayed at POP for our last two trips and are looking forward to staying at the new family suites. Thank you Disney for helping to keep our dream alive!

  • I add my positive response to this announcement! Although it would have been cool to see the legendary years completed, I think the new theme will have more draw for families with kids than “we’re staying in the 30’s section.” Maybe the legendary years would have drawn mostly couples with less kids. Mmmm… We’ll never know…

    One thing I’d like to see is some thought put into specials for the suites. Many times they don’t qualify, or they at most qualify at the value level (15% off, quick service dining, etc.) When paying what I’m assuming will be at least $200 a night, it would be nice to have something that’s equivalent to at least what’s offered at the moderate level. In fact, I would have already stayed at the ASM suites if this was the case. Just my two cents 😉

  • hi–how exciting that a new resort is in the works. any chance that Disney will ever build family suites that allow 7 family members? Although not the norm , my large family (2 adults, 5 children) must resort to the more expensive 2 bedroom villas with full kitchens which are not necessary when using the Disney dining plan. it’s an unnecessary expense–please Disney…help us larger families out!!!

  • just got on this part of the site and i am very impressed that there is a real human being READING AND REPLYING to these emails…..Thomas Smith, i’m very impressed with your professional manner. give yourself a big pat on the back, people like yourself are the reason why i keep coming back to Disney World EVERYTIME I GO ON VACATION…..THANK YOU !!!…TIM

  • I’m super excited about the suites! My family will love this. We’ll be there in 2012! My only concern is the pull-out bed. Please, Disney, please make it a real bed!

  • We Were In Disney World In march Of This Year For A Whole Week And We Loved ! My Wife And I Wanna Go Back in 2012 so I would Love To Know When We can Book This Resort Is looks Great So Far !!! Thanks Disney for everything you have done and ever will do !!

  • I think that this announcement is a homerun on multiple levels.

    Win – Finally capitalizing on and immersing guests more deeply into Disney characterization. I always thought that the hotels should continue the character theme more closely in order for younger children to really feel like they are staying at Disney, hidden Mickies and towels aside. Depending on the resort, there could be very little pertinent imagery for kids.

    Win – More family suites at Value Resort prices. The All-Star Music Suites can be tough to book and the theme there doesn’t always work with all children. The Moderate Resorts that offer trundle beds do offer an elevated level of service but the rooming conditions are quite a bit smaller. The Cabins seem great but the cost is right up there with the Deluxe Resorts.

    Win – Leveraging the existing infrastructure. The Legendary Years Resort would have been interesting but it obviously never was completed. The new theme will be more successful for drawing in families anyhow. The turn in the economy reinforces the need for more “Value” beds for the average visitor. Being able to put a great themed resort near the existing ones minimizes the added cost while finally solving the blight of an incomplete parcel in plain view.

    Good job and long overdue.

  • I love the idea of a new resort. Fun for kids and adults alike, especially since a new value/mod level resort is much needed! However, I really hope resort VPs re-evaluate their theme choices. It sounds like their hoping to use left overs from other resorts and attractions with similar theming… Lion King is already over at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Nemo at Carribean Resort, and Little Mermaid and Cars will have their own attractions at the Parks. How about some classic animation from Disney’s Golden Era? Or some theming from the shows on Broadway? Or if a design HAS to be re-used, how about a cruise ship theme – just without the moving ship!! Obviously, park patrons are still hoping for the Legendary Years theme. Hopefully, everyone’s expectations for this new resort will meet in the middle!

  • Cool ! So when or what is being built over @ Bonnett Creek pkwy. & Vista Boulevard? Looks like another resort of some kind from road.

  • what i dont understand is if they are going to use the legendary years buildings ..why not just continue with what they had started to begin just doesnt make any since to me.

  • I think this is a fabulous idea. It gives families with 4 to 6 people in it a chance to stay together in one room while being affordable. I can’t wait. I love all the themes, but I can’t wait to see the The Little Mermaid themed rooms.

  • Will they keep the themed rooms at Disney’s Caribbean Beach resort that have the Finding Nemo characters?

  • Has a general contractor been selected yet if anyone was interested in working on this project from the construction side of things?

  • Hey Thomas. My wife and I are DVC members. Would we be able to use points to stay in the family suites? We are working on our first addition to our family and have always navigated WDW alone. Now we will have a little one in tow and possible take the in-laws. I know that this will be a value resort, but so the suites fall into the moderate catagory?

  • It is very exciting news and I bet they’re going to be beautiful, but like many of the other families of 5 have said, the most affordable option for parents with three young children is still POR. For us, it’s really the only way we can stay on property. I would LOVE to take advantage of this, but with POR costing less, we won’t be staying here just yet even if it would be a nice change of pace. We like to use the dining plan, so having a kitchen isn’t really a draw for us. I wonder why the other Moderates haven’t offered a trundle bed. The Moderates all have similar square footage and I would really like to stay in the Caribbean Resort or even the POR Magnolia Bend rooms. Something other than POR Alligator Bayou again. Come Disney… move some of those trundle beds over to some of the other Moderates! So many families of 5 would absolutely love this!

  • This is great, I hope the suites will have 2 bathrooms, that will be the perfect fit for us.

  • Hi Thomas, I have a suggestion to pass on to those designing the suites and the layouts of the rooms here. First of all- after a long day at the parks, families that visit, especially those with young children, want to be able to put their kids to sleep in their bed & CLOSE THE DOOR. Having the 1 bed in the bedroom, just doesn’t make sense for the most part. After the kids are in bed, that is when I get to work and pack the backpack for the next day, recharge the camera & phone batteries, fill up water bottles etc. The problem with the family suites is that the kids beds & sleeping area is in the main room where the kitchen area is and where I might be rearranging & prepping for the next day. Plus, it would be nice to be able to relax & have a glass of wine w/ my husband after the day & the kids are in bed. The kids need to be in the room with the door, so they can get to sleep & we can recharge a little w/ some alone time. And if you have young kids you are more than likely NOT to have the door closed in the bedroom w/ the 1 bed anyway(or for very long 😉 with how the rooms are set up now.

    My suggestion: Put a set of bunkbeds (or 2), a double bed & maybe one or two of those chairs that turn into a twin bed in the bedroom; and in the living room have a murphy bed that pulls down from the wall or a larger daybed type of bed. Even a chair or two that can turn into a single sleeper.

    Families that have more than 2 kids have limited options to economically staying on WDW property. Many would love to, but 2 rooms, or the larger suites/villas can be costly when you can get some much bigger accomodations for less $ off site. That’s one of the resons we often do stay off property. And we visit on average twice a year.

    For the most part, families these days seem to have more than 2 kids and this would give them another option to be able to stay and keep them on property. And it can give those of us with 4 or more kids a real “Disney” family friendly place that we can comfortably stay, not cost us a fortune, and where we can still enjoy our pixie dust filled magical vacation. (with EMH too!)

    Just a suggestion! Thanks for listening……

  • Hi, this is my first time visiting your site. The news of a new project is great for disney lovers like myself. My question is, since I am a recently unemployed construction, worker where and how do I apply for one of the 800 construction jobs for which there is an immediate need. I am available immediately. Thanks.

  • Will the building in the Legendary years be torn down and new ones built or will these buildings be utilized. Also, will the resort look like the other value resorts with the exception of the different types of themes.

  • Hey, Will any of the suites have connecting doors?

    I think a value alternative to a 12-person grand villa would be awesome!

  • With their “on demand” bussing, Disney will certainly combine when it makes sense to them. Examples:
    Port Orleans Riverside-French Quarter
    All Star Sports-Music-Movies
    Contemporary-Polynesian-Grand Floridian
    Boardwalk-Swan-Dolphin-Yacht Club-Beach Club
    Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo-Kidani

    The only resorts NOT sharing are the physically isolated resorts. Since Pop and Animation will be so close, I bet Disney WILL share, at least during low season.

    BTW, All Stars have 5760-ish rooms and they share at times. Pop and Legendary were sized to have exactly the same number of rooms as the all stars combined — 64 per floor * 3 floors * 30 buildings = 5760 (All Stars) 72 per floor * 4 floors * 20 buildings = 5760 (Pop/Legendary)

    The only change from that math is the alteration to include the suites, which tinkers with the numbers and capacity a little.

  • I love the idea BUT I would like to see more Disney Movies used. I would replace Cars with Beauty & Beast and Finding Nemo with Snow White. The Art of Animation should be about the art of hand drawn animation. I cant wait to see the finished resort? How many Buildings and rooms will be at this resort?

  • Hi Thomas. This is my first time commenting on one of your posts! I had to though. This is great news! I’m a long time Disney fan and always love to hear that new things are coming to WDW. I believe the best part about coming and staying on the Disney property is that when you step on the grounds its like you leave the real world. It so nice to be able to just forget about everything for a while and just enjoy yourself. This new resort is the perfect example. I can already imagine that when I walk in its almost as if I will be a part of those animated movies while I’m there. I can’t wait! Thank you for sharing this awesome information with us! O and when can i make my reseverations??? Haha.

  • Can’t wait to try it out. Will a third adult cost more. At that time my oldest will be 18. I am hoping there is an option that doesn’t cost more than two value rooms for 5 people. There needs to be more options like POR

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