More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

Earning My Wings, Earning My Ears with Southwest Airlines and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

As we get ready to officially lift the curtain and unveil our newest hotel at Walt Disney World Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, I had the chance to take a tour of the wonderfully imaginative and themed resort. But not just any tour… The great cast at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort asked me to try out a few occupations in celebration of this amazing destination. I jumped at the chance.

To help show you the new resort, we’ve joined with the fine folks at Southwest Airlines for this video preview. The airline has more than 100 flights daily to Orlando, which means there are plenty of opportunities to climb aboard one of their famous Canyon Blue-hued airplanes and visit Walt Disney World Resort.

When completely open, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will bring four new worlds to the wonderful world of Disney — 1,120 suites designed after the animated hit films Finding Nemo, Cars and The Lion King, and 864 rooms inspired by The Little Mermaid. Each section of the resort will open in phases, with dates listed below (*subject to change):

  • Finding Nemo Family Suites: May 31, 2012
  • Cars Family Suites: Opening June 18, 2012
  • The Lion King Family Suites: Opening August 10, 2012
  • The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms: Opening September 15, 2012


Walt Disney Imagineers designed Disney’s Art of Animation Resort with custom furniture and amenities, playful (and immersive, as you’ll see) courtyards and innovations including a family table that transforms into a bed. The spacious suites offer guests plenty of room to stretch out with all of the theming, whimsy, attention to detail and quality service you’ve come to expect at a Disney Resort.

In this video, I had a chance to try out a few roles at the resort and experience some Southwest Airlines “LUV” at one of the airports they serve.

Where I grew up I might say I had to “sing for my supper,” but I had to earn my ears and my wings while testing out various roles. Needless to say, I had a lot of fun and learned even more while test-driving some of the services Disney Parks and Southwest Airlines provides guests and passengers.

To find out more about Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Southwest Airlines and ways to plan your Disney vacation, fly on over to this special website:


  • I can’t wait to go see this resort! I loved that they are making a resort to my favorite Pixar movies….I loved the video- made me laugh when Tow Mater boarded the plane 🙂

  • Oh my, I can hardly wait, we are booked for the 2nd week in December and hope it will be warm so my 3 & 7 year old can play in the water. Thank you Disney for making a resort that gives flexability to families on a budget!!!! Funny video!!!

  • Amazing job Gary!! Absolutely LOVE this video! Had to share it on my Facebook page with all my Disney obsessed friends. Hoping to convert a few peeps too. Can’t wait to see the new resort. I know where I am staying next time. Love SWA also. Thanks for the laughs.

    • Ingrid, that sounds fantastic and thank you for watching. You’ll be really amazed when you get here how colorful the resort is and some of the great attention to detail our Imagineers put all throughout this resort.

  • Great video but where’s Rob????

    • Rob, is that you? ha ha

      Allison, Rob already emailed me and was honored he was mentioned here and that he was missed. Actually, he took a big chance this time and let go out on my own on this one. He didn’t think he needed to be my ‘Jiminy Cricket’ for this piece.

      I think he will be back again soon. I need more advice.

  • YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT! Resort looks beautiful and inviting. What a great way to introduce the newest resort. Keep up the great job.

    • Thanks Paul — from Crush to Lightning McQueen, the whole resort is truly like stepping into an animated cel. The storyboards and concept drawings in the check-in area are not to be missed as well. Thanks for watching!

  • I’ll probably never fly to WDW but I sure did enjoy your video.

  • Great video!!!

  • Those puns are painful >.<

    • Yes, some of them indeed were. But it was a great deal of fun. One of the great things about working with the fine folks from Southwest Airlines is they have much of the same entertainment spirit that we do at Disney Parks. So the puns were definitely flying about over the shooting days. Thanks for taking a look at the resort and the video.

  • What a great video. thanks for posting it. I was glad to see Mater in this one too. Gary, you really do have fun don’t you?

  • This is an amazing resort! My family and I are looking forward to staying here in the future. The Big Blue Pool in the Finding Nemo courtyard is beautiful! Love the video, Gary. Another classic.

    Bob from NC 🙂

    • Thank you Bob. I agree, the Big Blue Pool is amazing — more than 300,000 gallons of water and lots of splash-tastic adventures await guests.

  • This resort looks really awesome. I love the Nemo pool play area.

  • The resort is beautiful and as usual, Gary is cuckoo! So happy to see Mater make an appearance!

    • Thank you Amy. The resort is lovely from top to bottom and I appreciate you watching the videos!

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