By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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Review: The Family Suites at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort



By Dave Shute

For the first page of this review of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, see this.

FAMILY SUITES AT DISNEY’S ART OF ANIMATION RESORT

Review - The Family Suites at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.netResorts are ranked on this site based first on kid appeal, and then on convenience in carrying out the site’s recommended itineraries.

Based on that, the 6 person Family Suites at Disney’s Art of Animation resort rocket ahead of their only comparable rooms, the Family Suites at All-Star Music.

That said, the Music suites are much less costly (on average in 2020, $160 less per night), and are currently in a refurb that looks likely to eliminate one of their biggest negatives–uncomfortable beds.

REVIEW: DISNEY WORLD’S FAMILY SUITES AT THE ART OF ANIMATION RESORT FOR FIRST-TIME VISITORS

Review Family Suites Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Art of Animation accommodation buildings are in four different areas, each themed to one beloved Disney movie.

Family suites are found in the Cars, Lion King, and Finding Nemo areas. The Nemo suites are a little more central, and a little more expensive than the Cars and Lion King suites.

(Standard four person rooms are in the fourth area, the Little Mermaid-themed section; there’s no family suites in the Little Mermaid area, and no standard rooms in the Cars, Lion King, or Finding Nemo areas.)

Note that the long-time travel agent partner of this site, Kelly B., can help you book your Disney World vacation at Art of Animation or anywhere else–contact her using the form at the bottom of the page.

 

THE CARS AREA AT ART OF ANIMATION

On the map, the Cars area is at the far right.

Here’s you’ll find three buildings, each with a major depiction at its entry.

Building 1 Cars Area at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Building 1 has Mater…

Building 3 Cars Area at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

…Building 3 Luigi…

Building 2 Cars Area at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

…and Building 2 is fronted by stars Lightning McQueen and Sally Carerra.

Cars Family Suite at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The Cars Family Suites themselves are also deeply themed to Cars (there’s many more room photos later in this review)…

Cars Area at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Cars Area at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (5)

…as is the general environment in the courtyard created in the middle of the three buildings.

THE FINDING NEMO AREA AT ART OF ANIMATION

On the map, the two Finding Nemo buildings are just above the central services buildings and surround the largest pool at the resort.

Crush Finding Nemo Area at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Building 4 is fronted by Mr. Ray, and Building 5 by Crush. I love to take pictures of him, day…

Crush at Night Finding Nemo Area at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

…or night.

Finding Nemo Area at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

The stairs are themed to the seagulls…

Night Finding Nemo Area at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

…also fun at night…

Finding Nemo Area at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (3)

…and the courtyard created between the two buildings, besides holding the main pool (more on the pools later), is themed to make you feel like you are underwater with Nemo and Friends.

Living Room Finding Nemo Family Suite Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The rooms continue the Finding Nemo theme (many more room shots are later in this review).

THE LION KING AREA AT ART OF ANIMATION

The two buildings just to the left of the Finding Nemo area on the map, numbers 6 and 10, are the Lion King Buildings.

Lion King Area at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The courtyard between has parts themed to a savanna…

Lion King Area at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

…and parts themed to a jungle.

You’ll also find all the key Lion King characters here:

Rafiki Lion King Area at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Scar Lion King Area at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Simba Timon and Pumbaa Lion King Area at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Rooms continue the African theming. Many more Lion King room photos are here.

Lion King Suite Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

THE BEST AREAS TO STAY

Although the Nemo rooms are a bit more expensive, choices as to which group of buildings to book will, in many families, simply be guided by which of Cars, the Lion King, and Finding Nemo is their favorite film.

For those open to any of the three, go for Lion King. You can book the Lion King, Cars, or Nemo suites directly on Disney’s site.

More specifically, go for a 2nd floor or higher Hourglass Lake view room on the Finding Nemo side of Building 6 in the Lion King area. This will yield the least noise, best view, and relative closeness to the main services and bus stop.

The long-time travel agent partner of this site, Kelly B., can help you book your Disney World vacation at Art of Animation or anywhere else–contact her using the form below.

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
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ACCOMMODATIONS IN THE FAMILY SUITES

This review continues here.

MATERIAL IN THIS REVIEW OF DISNEY’S ART OF ANIMATION RESORT

OTHER KEY PAGES FOR WHERE TO STAY AT DISNEY WORLD

 

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100 comments

1 Robbie { 10.16.12 at 12:29 am }

Hey Dave. Wondering about how many dresser drawers and where you put luggage in the Art of Animation family suites.

2 Dave { 10.16.12 at 6:37 am }

Hey Robbie, check the photos lower on the second page of this review, which begins here: https://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/06/17/review-family-suites-at-disneys-art-of-animation-resort-continued/

3 Elizabeth { 10.21.12 at 5:32 pm }

Hello Dave!
We love, love, love your site! We have planned end of January DW trip. We have booked in the Little Mermaid Rooms, but are worried about walking distances to the bus stop. We have people in our group that have mobility difficulties and cannot walk long distances. I was just wondering if the suites are significantly closer to the bus stops?!? It looks like it on the map, but we do not know the scale on the map. Thanks so much for all of your great info!!

4 Dave { 10.22.12 at 6:54 am }

Hi Elizabeth, and thanks for the love!

the suites are definitely closer. However, there’s much more walking in the parks than there is at AofA. If you have mobility issues you might consider renting a scooter or wheelchair–and then you’ll have them wherever you are, including the hotel…

5 Kathy { 01.01.13 at 4:59 pm }

Dave,
We are planning a trip December 2013. Taking 4 generations. Parents are 73 and 74. 5 couples, 3 singles and 4 kids ages. 6,5,3 & 3 months. 3 of the couples can’t sleep in a double bed. Money is an issue. What do you suggest?

6 Dave { 01.02.13 at 6:27 am }

Hi Kathy!

The best (queens but relatively lower price) option on-site is likely a set of rooms at Port Orleans Riverside’s Alligator Bayou section. Each room there has two queens + one fold-down 66″ short fifth sleeping spot. See https://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/11/19/review-port-orleans-riverside-alligator-bayou-rooms/

This is a big resort, and you may be scattered all over the place…if avoiding that is critical, then your best bet is renting a house off-site. For that, see this: https://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/01/27/the-tightwads-guide-to-staying-off-site-at-walt-disney-world/

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7 Sherri { 01.06.13 at 7:08 pm }

Hi Dave! My family is all booked and ready for our Disney trip at the end of January and we’re staying at the Art of Animation resort. We are flying in–not renting a car–plan to use Disney buses. We are traveling with a 5 year old and 3 year old. I have booked reservations at Cinderella’s castle for 8:30 breakfast one morning. Now I’m wondering if we will have enough time to get there by bus. Based on your experience at AofA, do you think we will make it on time? How early are the first buses usually departing the resort? I don’t believe Magic Kingdom has early magic hour that day…

8 Dave { 01.07.13 at 6:59 am }

Hi Sherri! There’s a special bus for the early in-park meals. Ask the Art of Animation concierge about it the day before!

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9 Sherri { 01.07.13 at 12:17 pm }

Awesome! Thanks so much!

10 Dave { 01.07.13 at 6:07 pm }

Have a great trip, Sherri!

11 debbie { 01.25.13 at 10:45 pm }

Wow! Read all your reviews. Am impressed with your knowledge! My question…? I became a grandma 7/2012. My manfriend is her papa. He decided last August that we would take her to DisneyWorld in May 2013 (after speaking w/his siblings about their trips). She will be 22 months old. Booked Nemo suite at AoA (5 adults and her). What suggestions do you have for a 22 month old while in our suite/ what suggestions do you have for the various parks? This trip is premature for her memories but still want to make it magical for her and us by seeing her face glow with awe. (Please don’t comment on her age because I truly wish his IDEA would have waited until she was 4 or 5 yrs old. I think he did this because of my health issues.)

12 Dave { 01.26.13 at 8:32 am }

Hi Debbie, and thanks! I’m sorry, but I have nothing to offer for that age. The only way I can keep up with this site in my “spare” time is by focusing–among other things–on much older kids. But do check here: http://touringplans.com/magic-kingdom/touring-plans?utm_campaign=referral&utm_medium=website&utm_source=yourfirstvisit&utm_content=r1&property_id=1

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13 Jackie { 06.23.13 at 4:57 pm }

My husband and I, our two children (will be 4 and 5-1/2), my mom, and aunt will be going to Disney at the end of February. Will the Art of Animation suite accommodate all of us or would it be too crowded?

Thanks!

14 Dave { 06.24.13 at 7:28 am }

Hi Jackie, you will all fit, but the 4 of your sleeping in the living/dining space will be a little short on privacy, especially if you end up putting the little kids into the separate bedroom–as many families end up doing to manage different bedtimes.. Two regular rooms will give you more privacy, but at the cost of the more homelike features of the suite (at least when they aren’t being slept on…)

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15 Krystal { 07.17.13 at 10:50 am }

Dave,
I love your review. I am a travel agent (Authorized Disney Vacation Planner). My family and I just recently got back from Disney and we stayed at the Lion King Suites, loved it!!!!!
We were right around the corner from the pool and a short walk to the restaurant. Great location!

16 Dave { 07.18.13 at 7:48 am }

Thanks, Crystal! I’ll be in Lion King in August. Can’t wait!

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17 Krystal { 07.18.13 at 10:01 pm }

Dave,
I’m jealous. We just got back couple weeks ago and I already want to go back 🙂
I love Disney. If you need someone to book any of your vacations please let me know. There are no fees for my services.
Thanks and have fun!!!!!

18 Carey { 08.12.13 at 4:35 pm }

Dave,
I’m working on booking a quick Disney trip Jan 2014. I like to stay in nicer hotel rooms but the prices seem really high. We are driving to FTL for a wedding with our 3 year old and 5 month old – and thought Disney would be a fun stop. I think we are going to Sea World one day and Magic Kingdom. I’d like to stay in the Nemo room b/c my son is obsessed but not sure it’s worth it because of the short duration. I’d like to combine quick transportation/convenience to MK (because of nap times etc…) and quality of place. Do you have any suggestions?
My goal is to go to MK until nap and then back for the firework show. If we stay on Disney grounds, do you know if we can we get in the park earlier? Any must see shows (for a 3 year old) would be great…i know we are more excited than he is but it will be a fun memory.

19 Dave { 08.13.13 at 6:51 am }

Hi Carey, I focus on kids 8 and up so don’t really have any great ideas for must-see shows for a three year old…sorry!!! But check out this: http://touringplans.com/magic-kingdom/touring-plans?utm_campaign=referral&utm_medium=website&utm_source=yourfirstvisit&utm_content=r1&property_id=1

There’s no hotel at Disney World that’s both inexpensive and convenient to the Magic Kingdom! That said, I’d vote for the Wilderness Lodge at the higher end, and Caribbean Beach (with subtle Nemo theming) on the less expensive side. Price-wise, these bracket the Art of Animation Family Suite you are looking at.

For links to reviews of each, see this: https://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/04/26/walt-disney-world-resort-hotel-reviews/

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20 Carey { 08.28.13 at 11:33 pm }

Dear Dave,
We are planning WDW trip this Oct. I have two reservations on hold: one at Art of Imagination Cars Suite and one at Fort Wilderness cabins. We have a 7 yr old boy and 3 yr old girl. The extra living and sleeping space is what appeals to us about both locations. Seems like FW is a better location and has more activities. But AoI suites much more accommodating. This is my sons second trip, daughters first. My 4th vist. Never stayed at a Value resort . What would you suggest? Very difficult decision and running out of time. Thank you!

21 Dave { 08.29.13 at 7:07 am }

Carey, the Cabins are wildly inconvenient, but other than that have some positives. There’s a detailed comparison between the Cabins and the two family suite types–at Art of Animation and All-Star Music–that begins here: https://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/09/05/review-the-family-suites-disneys-all-star-music-resort/

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22 Carey { 08.30.13 at 1:38 am }

Thank you for pointing out that the AOA has its own buses, does that include buses to other disney resorts ie. Polynesian? Will it be feasible to return to resort mid day for naps and then return to park? Lastly, Would renting a golf cart at the FW cabins help with the inconvenience factor?

23 Dave { 08.30.13 at 7:20 am }

Carey, no Disney resort has buses to other Disney resorts–just to the theme parks, water parks, and Downtown Disney. Midday returns for naps are quite feasible.

Golf carts make FW slightly better but are so expensive that a much better choice is to rent a car–which makes every destination except MK a breeze…

24 nancy { 10.22.13 at 3:51 pm }

my husband and i and our grand daughter (1) recently stayed at wilderness lodge in a standard room (loved it!) want to go back next year in ocotber (2014) and bring our babysitter. will we be completely disappointed w AOA, after staying at wilderness lodge? also, can we get to wilderness for dinner from aoa without car rental?

25 Dave { 10.23.13 at 7:19 am }

Nancy, that’s a tough call. You will like your suite much better than your room at WL, but the rest of the WL environment is much better than the AofA environment.

You can get anywhere at WDW from AofA, but it can be a pain. To get to WL, you’d take an AofA bus to MK, and from in front of the park take the boat to WL. Transport time will be about 30 minutes, and waiting time will range form zero minutes to more than 30 minutes.

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26 Sarah { 10.28.13 at 3:09 pm }

Dave,
Thanks for your in depth review of AoA. I am planning a trip there with my family (husband and 3 kids– boys ages 9 & 7, girl age 4) Presidents week (feb 16-20). I know this is one of Disneys most crowded weeks, and we were nervous about the bussing to each of the parks. Are there typically long lines/wait times? We are considering renting a car instead. How much time would we save if we had our own car? Also, as this is a trip we won through my husbands company, they are giving us the option of either staying at AoA or Port Orleans Riverside. Can you help us make our decision?

27 Sarah { 10.28.13 at 3:13 pm }

Add on to my question…
The room at AoA would be a family suite, while the room at Port Orleans Riverside would be one room with a trundle bed.

28 Dave { 10.29.13 at 7:46 am }

Hi Sarah! Nice prize.

Yes, the buses can have long lines, especially when the parks close. See this https://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/10/29/disney-world-transportation-the-buses/ Driving a car is faster everywhere except to the Magic Kingdom, where–because of where parking is vs. where the buses drop you off–it’s still better to take the buses. For the other three parks, you could save 30 mins to more than an hour per day…

The only real argument for POR in your spot is the cost…and since someone else is paying, I’d do a suite at AofA. More on the pros and cons can be found on this page (about the suites at Music, but it gets to the comparison…) https://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/09/05/review-the-family-suites-disneys-all-star-music-resort/

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29 Sarah { 10.30.13 at 7:22 am }

Thanks Dave!
As of now, we are booked at AoA. After doing more research, I saw that a family of 5 could fit into a standard room at the Polynesian. Would you recommend we do that instead? We would not mind paying for the difference in price.

30 Sarah { 10.30.13 at 11:29 am }

Update to my post…
The Polynesian is running a special and my stay there during Presidents week would cost me the same as AoA. I’m excited about that but am wary that I could stay at a deluxe resort for the same price as a value. Will the construction at the Poly badly affect our stay? Will the path to the TTC be open? Does the extra square footage in the AoA suite make it worth staying there over the Poly? No park view rooms are available at the Poly, and they cannot guarantee longhouse requests. What to do?

31 Dave { 10.30.13 at 2:55 pm }

Sarah, if I procrastinate long enough, you will sort all this out for yourself…!!

First, on the construction–I simply don’t know.

Ignoring construction issues for the moment, a family suite will give you a much more flexible and livable space. Your favorite part may be the two baths, the private bedroom, or the little living room…or even the microwave. The Poly, though, is much better outside the room–the restaurants, pools (if open), beach, grounds, easy access to MK via the monorail etc.

If I were in your shoes, I’d just split the stay–stay in the Poly the first half of your trip, and a family suite the second half–when some of the excitement will have faded, and you’ll appreciate the extra space more…

32 HIllary { 11.25.13 at 12:19 am }

We have family joining us. Should we/can we have two connecting suites at Cars resort or one at Car resort and one at nemo (to experience both and the kids can go back and forth – but young kids).

And, are there specific rooms or parts of either section (nemo or cars) that we should recommend/ask for?

33 Dave { 11.25.13 at 6:40 am }

Hillary, the family suites don’t connect, and it’s a neat idea to get suites in different areas!

In both building areas you want upper floor lake view rooms near transportation.

34 Allison { 01.03.14 at 9:46 pm }

Hi Dave-
Love your site! We are coming in for a quick Sunday to Tuesday visit while in town for a wedding in March. we will be with our 2.5 year old and cannot decide between AoA and Wilderness Lodge. Our plan is to hang at at the hotel Sunday afternoon, hit magic kingdom Monday, and the chef mickey’s Tuesday morning. Cost is not the factor, it is more where our tot will have the most fun. Especially if we get stuck with a rainy sunday! What do you think? We are so torn and really would value your opinion! Thanks in advance!

35 Dave { 01.04.14 at 10:29 am }

Allison, for a kid that young, honestly it won’t much matter. You will find MK and Chef Mickeys much easier to get to from the Wilderness Lodge, so I’d go with that!

36 T Bonow { 01.28.14 at 10:45 pm }

We have never been to Disney before. Our kids ages are 10,8,6,5,3. This limits us from a lot of hotels. My kids are used to sleeping together and we bring a pack n play for the 3 year old. (she actually isn’t quite 3 yet but will be then). Where can we stay at AM that will let us in with 7. Can we get a room for 6 and her just sleep in the port-a-crib? Is it worth the free dining to get a room there or should we get a rental car and inexpensive condo?

37 Dave { 01.29.14 at 8:02 am }

Hey T Bonow, first I wouldn’t count on any free dining. And second, no you can’t book 7 of those ages in a suite, sorry. Your best bet is to try to get two connecting rooms. While Disney officially won’t guarantee them, with that many kids they will try really hard to get you if not connected then very nearby…

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