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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.


  • A common theme of Disney Hotels and Resorts has always been, “Stay in the middle of the Magic.” This new concept makes being in the center of everything easier, better, and a lot more fun! In the words of one of my all-time favorite Disney pop songs, “I Can’t Wait!”

  • Sounds pretty good to me! I’m always excited to see new additions to the Disney property. However, it doesn’t seem much different from All Star Movies.. unless it’s going to be a Moderate Resort rather than a Value Resort.

  • Nothing more to say other than…

    Finally.. 🙂

    Disney Feature Animation and it’s history/people has always deserved more credit throughout the Resort side of the business..

    I only hope Roy Disney knew of this before his passing.

    Good job guys, i look forward to paying a visit.

  • This resort sounds fabulous!! Hopefully these family suites will be in the moderate price range so more families can enjoy the luxury of added space! And again great job on picking themes that all family members will enjoy! My family & I look forward to learning more details about these suites like–is there a fridge/microwave, is the couch a pull out, is there two bedroom suites or are there two beds in the bedroom? So share again real soon!!!

    • Hi Laura…the suites will all be one-bedroom suites, with details on the interiors still being finalized.

  • Thomas,

    Thank you very much for this great new announcement! You say this new resort will be adjacent to Disney’s Pop Century. Does that mean the plans for the Pop Century “Legendary Years” have been scrapped? Is the Art of Animation resort going to be located across from Hour Glass Lake, where some of the uncompleted Legendary Years buildings now reside?

    • Sure, Paul. And yes…the new resort will be built where Pop Century’s “Legendary Years” had been planned.

  • So exciting! I’m thrilled to hear part of the resort will be Little Mermaid themed. I guess I know where we’ll be staying in 2012!

  • Although this sounds great, I am a little disappointed that we won’t get to see the Legendary Years side of Pop. I am assuming that when you say “adjacent to pop”, that this resort would replace that planned location. I would have been excited to see the finishing touches put in to complete the whole century.

  • This is totally awesome… I can’t wait to see some designs of the new resort!! What a great theme to base a resort on!! 😮 )

  • Is this going in the existing buildings opposite Pop Century, across Generation Gap Bridge, or is this a totally different development? Exciting stuff 🙂

  • I think this is a wonderful idea. It makes so much sense for families of all ages. There are only 4 in ours but the kids are at an age where sleeping together is no longer an option. We have had to move to 2 rooms or other suites. This would help the new budget minded traveler. LOVE the themes.

  • OMG!!! I totally HAVE to stay in the Finding Nemo wing of this great new hotel, it’s my fave movie!! Sign up my reservation now please!! Thank you Disney Parks for giving us another great option to stay in the middle of the Magic!

  • If there is one thing Disney rooms could use, it is more space! Sounds like a fun place to stay!

  • I guess this means that the Ledgendary Years of Pop Century will never be developed?

  • Very excited to see this announced! I’d always wondered how long those buildings were going to sit empty next to Pop Century. The theme sounds perfect and families are sure to love the new option. I’m also happy that the Little Mermaid wing is single-rooms instead of suites… my wife will be excited to stay there!

  • I’m SO excited for this! (And I’m a DVC member!) Well done, Disney! I can’t wait to see it! The “unfinished” side of Pop Century has remained so for too long. This is a sign that Disney is optimistic about the economy, as well.

  • Sounds great! I hope some of the suites will be for larger families like ours, sleeping 8, not just 6. Our affordable options for staying on property have been quite limited since our latest little one came along. 🙂

  • Glad to hear these buildings will finally be finished. Wish the original theme was going to be used, but the current choice is cute too.
    Looks like they should re-name the generation gap bridge that connects the two, as it would give it a better feel of continuity at the two resorts!

  • I’m curious too.
    Is it going to be a Value resort, like Pop Century??

    • Yes, Value Resort.

  • This is great news! I hope that they will start to divulge more information about this resort! I would love it if it were a value, but would still appreciate it if it was a moderate resort!

    We definitely need more affordable vacation options for bigger families!

  • Will this be built where the rest of Pop Century was going to go?

  • Any news on whether any of these rooms will be for DVC?

    • This will be non-DVC.

  • Will this new hotel be a ‘value hotel’ or will it be changing to a ‘Moderate’ or ‘Deluxe’ class?

    • Hi Mike…this will be a Value Resort.

  • Will this be on the site of the former Legendary Years resort?

  • I’m so excited to hear about this new resort. I’m even more excited that there will be Lion King themed rooms. I make a trip to the “World” every year so now I already know where I’ll be staying in 2012!! Can’t wait to hear more details on this project!! I’m headed to Disney World tomorrow!! Wooo hooo!!! 🙂

  • This is SOOOOOO EXCITING!!!! I cannot wait to here more about these family suites! I love to hear about all the new things coming. Since we only visit every other year it makes it all the more exciting anticipating all the new things we will be seeing on our next trip. 162 days and counting!!!!!!

  • I’ve been wondering when y’all were going to do something with that place! It’s just been sitting there for years.

    This sounds awesome! I can’t wait to stay, howeverm I am disappointed that we will only ever be able to stay in The Little Mermaid wing. Since it’s just the two of us, we don’t need a suite so the other wings are out for us. I would have adored staying in the Cars wing; it’s my favorite!

    Still, a neat idea and I can’t wait to stay!

  • Glad to hear this announced. Had heard rumors that all of Pop was going to be re-themed as Animation. So, mixed bag. Glad that Pop will stay Pop, our favorite value resort. Glad there will be new, more family suites, hope they’ll also be better and still value priced. But a bit sad that we’ll never see the other originally planned half of Pop, classic years 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Another casualty of international terrorism and economic decline. But maybe now things are looking up and we’re making progress. Am sure you’ll do a great job of creating another great place to stay, won’t spare the Pixie dust. Look forward to more info.

  • As soon as my friend told me about this, I guessed it was going to be where the Legendary Years – and I was right! I’m so glad that Disney can do something with those buildings, and I cannot wait for more updates on this very exciting project!

  • Adjacent to the pop century… does it mean on the other side of the generation bridge ? Or else where.

  • It is stated on NetCot that it will be a value resort and the first non-DVC in seven years.

  • OK as nice as this sounds, I have to echo the sentiment that I am a bit disappointed that the Legendary Years was scrapped for this..Don’t get me wrong this sounds great and I am sure it will look awesome, but they HAVE a movies resort, and they have some of the animated characters at Pop Century so this is redundancy for the sake of getting Pixar in the mix..this is NOT an original theming idea its just an extension of an existing concept. All this time they sat idle just to move forward with a rehash of FOUR movies..what a letdown

  • I’m very excited to hear about this new resort! Can’t wait to take my nephews. Like others I’m wondering if it will be Value, Moderate or Deluxe. I hope they prices on the suites are in the value range. My husband will want to stay in the Lion King section for certain.

  • WOW!!! I’m super excited to see this new resort being developed. This is definitely a family resort and I can’t wait to visit it in 2012. I’m also slightly disappointed because my initial thought when I heard the resort name was that maybe this would be a resort aimed at the Art of Disney fans. An eclectic type of resort showcasing the many talented artists and sculptors that the Art of Disney stores displays with maybe a bit of inspiration from The Magic of Animation from Hollywood Studios…

  • What you need is a 5th gate. It has already become so overcrowded at all the parks for all the year now that it has lost its fun: last thing you need is another resort to fill (and thus further overcrowd the parks.) WDW has become more about filling rooms than providing the Walt Disney Theme park experience.

  • Can’t wait to see more pictures as it progresses.

  • Finally the vacant Legendary Years buildings will be used!!

  • Thanks, Gary…I thought I was alone in my feelings on this one!

  • Im so excited about this new resort. Ive been waiting for something new and for something to go across from Pop Century. I cant wait to stay there

  • I can’t wait to see! Even though we’re DVC, I think we’re going to have to stay at least a few nights in one of these to check out the theme. Very cool.

  • This sounds great!!! It will be fun to see a new addition to the All Star Family.
    If you need anyone to come try it out.. let me know 😉

  • I am THRILLED about this. Yes, Disney already has a Movies resort BUT not one with over a THOUSAND family suites!!!!!!!

    More budget friendly options for those of us with families larger than 4 is the best move Disney can take in my opinion! AND they just happened to pick four of my family’s favorite movies.

    All in all my family is giving this 10 thumbs up and we can’t wait to book a new suite!

  • I haven’t stayed in a value since joining DVC….I can’t wait to stay here!

  • I am very excited about this. We are a family of 5 who have been going back in forth about staying at the Music Suites, but we love POP and didn’t want to stay any where else. We can have the best of both worlds, almost.

  • Thanks Adam..I am sure it will look great, I just think if they were going to drop the Legendary Years idea they would have come up with something new or original instead of yet another movie related resort..like the saying goes..”Been there, Done that”

  • I didn’t even think about the bus service! Oh I hope it doesn’t turn into another All-Star shared bus disaster.

  • If you need an ‘every family’ to review your new resort, feel free to send us on down there. 😉

    Would love to be a social media ambassador on your behalf. 🙂

  • Hi Thomas, thanks for the update – This sounds great. So glad to see that side of the resort get finished! When the Art of Animation Resort is complete, are they going to re-theme Pop Century to Art of Animation theme also? I already know which section will be the Lady and the Tramp movie area! Will POP Century keep its room configuration or will sections of that resort be converted to family suites also?

    I’m ready to book my room!

    • Great to hear, Jake. Disney’s Pop Century will remain Disney’s Pop Century.

  • What will be the number of guests allowed in a room/suite?

    • Suites sleep six and rooms sleep four.

  • I guess I am kind of surprised that the powers that be choose two underwater themes for the new resort. Nemo and the Little Mermaid? Both?

    I would have gone with the Beauty and the Beast as the fourth theme. Lion King is the animals . . . good pick. Cars . . . Little boys love that, But two underwater themes one with the sea creatures and the other with the merpeople? I would have thought a medieval theme such as Beauty and the Beast or Sleeping Beauty would provide a greater contrast in themeing to entice a wider range of guest to the fourth theme.

    I am sure they know what they are doing. They have been doing well without my help so far. And my stock seems to be doing ok . . .

    Heh heh heh!

  • I am really happy that they are finally doing something with that area, but I am disappointed in the themes they have chosen for the sections. They just added Finding Nemo theme in Caribbean Beach two years ago. With so many amazing Disney movies, why be repetitive? Maybe Caribbean Beach can get rid of Nemo and go back to having tropical themed rooms now. I’m also surprised at Cars being one of the choices. Why not include one of the older classics – Pinocchio, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc.? Or even the other big ones from the 90’s – Beauty and the Beast or Aladdin?

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