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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Accommodations in 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 Suite Floor Plan Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.netThe family suites are innovative and spacious, sleeping six on three beds. Photo tours of each themed suite are later in this review.

The dining area–the first space you enter when you come in from the hall–is the most innovative.

In a meeting of Murphy beds and Rube Goldberg, the dining table converts into a bed…making it a Murphy Goldberg bed…it’s easy to set up and re-convert to a table, and fun to play with.

For the price (they are not cheap) I can’t think of a better value for space on property.

  • There are even some deluxes that I’d skip to stay in instead in one of these family suites. You lose the fine dining, more sophisticated décor, balconies, and cooler pools of the deluxes, but for that you get a larger, better equipped, and more livable space…plus two baths.
  • In some circumstances I’d even pick the Family Suites at Art of Animation over some of the smaller and more awkward Disney Vacation Club one bedroom villas, like those at Saratoga Springs.

However, the most direct comparison for the Art of Animation Family Suites is the Family Suites at All-Star Music.

The All-Star Music family suites were built by combining two existing rooms, and adding a door between them and a wall to create privacy for the master bedroom and space for the mini-kitchen.

Family Suite Floor Plan Disney's All-Star Music Resort from

See the floor plan.

There’s only a couple of broadly-applicable reasons to prefer All-Star Music to Art of Animation.

  • One is price. Art of Animation family suites are ~$70-100 per night more expensive than those at All-Star Music.
  • Another is the number of individual sleeping spaces. Art of Animation has three, each sleeping two, while Music has four, two sleeping one each and two beds sleeping two. This creates more flexibility for some family structures–e.g. families with 3 boys and one girl, or a family of five plus Aunt Ida.

Cars Area at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from (2)

Some other minor points that may sway some families to Music are the easy access to both baths from all beds–in Art of Animation the second bath is in the master bedroom, not so open to the living space–and the fact every bed in Music has a TV view, while in Art of Animation the “Murphy Goldberg” bed has no TV view-able from it.

One could also like the living room, mini-kitchen, and master bedroom more at Music. (For a space by space comparison, see this.)

Otherwise Art of Animation rules All-Star Music.

The family suites at Art of Animation were also designed within constraints–the footprints of the buildings had been established years ago, when the area it now occupies was meant to be the second phase of Pop Century.

Working within this constraint, Disney’s designers did a remarkable job.

The first key decision was to have one interior corridor rather than two exterior ones.  This created an extra 5 feet or so of space available to lengthen the rooms, enabling adding a couple of feet to the window to entry door dimension.

This extra length–combined with the decision to move the closets–enabled Disney to rotate the baths and thus free up a ton of space in the center of the entry area.

The second key decision was to discover and decide to use in this space the “Murphy Goldberg” bed (this is my name for it, there’s a real brand name–Inova Table Bed).

This dining table that converts into a bed that converts into a table adds greatly to the livability of the room, and also simplifies what the living room area needs to deliver in terms of beds.

It’s also fun to play with.

Animation Disney's Art of Animation Resort from


This review continues here.





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1 Aimee { 01.19.13 at 10:25 am }

AWESOME!!! Thx Dave for the timely response. Your answers really helped us narrow down our decisions. We are planning to go w/ AoA, just getting our agent to help w/ the final quotes and details. Thx for the tip about lakeview for Building #6 at AoA. Pros with AoA family suite as you said, major kid appeal and more convenient than Saratoga and OKW. Yes, it will be a tradeoff…the kitchen and washer/dryer would have been pluses. But we imagine we’ll be at the theme park most of the time given it’s our first time, so AoA’s kitchenette will do. Thx for copying and pasting those helpful links above. I read through them. Will message again if I have more Qs (which I’m sure I will!) =)

2 Dave { 01.19.13 at 12:04 pm }

Glad to help, Aimee!

3 Jen Villa { 01.19.13 at 2:50 pm }

Impressed by your site and even more impressed by your responses to questions, etc. We are going to WDW April 24 – May 1 and currently have a reservation at AofA. Currently there is 30% off offer at Wilderness Lodge and would put us about the same price as our current reservation or I could bump up to a suite. We have 2 children ages 3 and 6. AofA looks amazing, colorful and I heard the pool is awesome – however I do want to consider convenience in traveling back and forth most afternoons for a rest of dip in the pool. What would you recommend? Thanks for your help!

4 Dave { 01.20.13 at 8:27 am }

Hi Jen, and thanks!

This is a very close call, so don’t pay too much attention to what I say (no one else does!), but here it is:

If your kids were older, I’d say WL, but at those ages AofA is probably a better choice. The theming at WL is spectacular, but it’s just a little more grown up, so I’d hold it until your youngest is say 5 or so. Transportation is a mixed bag–WL is more convenient to MK, but not more convenient to the other three parks.

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5 Fred Wolters { 01.21.13 at 11:01 am }

are there towels at the pools at the Art of Animation?

6 Dave { 01.22.13 at 7:11 am }

Hi Fred! In general, expect there to be no towels at the pools at the value resorts like AofA. (Sometimes there are–but don’t expect them to be there.) So you bring your room towels–calling housekeeping if this means you need more.

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7 Lauren { 01.29.13 at 7:20 pm }

Dave – this is an amazing website … Appreciate all the advice!! Once you get a bus from the AofA, how long does it take to get to the parks?!? Ex: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, etc?! Thanks so much!!!

8 Dave { 01.30.13 at 5:37 am }

Hi Lauren and thanks! Rolling time is about 15 minutes to MK, a little less to HS and Epcot, and a little more to AK.

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9 Kim { 02.08.13 at 5:18 pm }

Hi Dave. I was looking to see which bldg is closer and faces the pool area. It’s our 1st trip & staying @ Art of Anim standard Little Mermaid..we would like a balcony room viewing pool..any room ideas? thank you & really love your website & all the tips 🙂

10 Dave { 02.09.13 at 2:01 pm }

Hi Kim, for which parts of which buildings at Little Mermaid are best, see this: None have balconies, though–no Disney value or moderate resorts have balconies.

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11 neil & sue { 02.24.13 at 5:53 pm }

Hi Dave. what a top website mate. we are planning a 10 day visit in Feb 2014 and were weighing up between a suite at SS or a family suite at AofA. we are now pretty sure that aofa is the way forward as our children will be 7 and 4 and will appreciate the cars decor more than ss and the additional space aofa will give us. the only thing that would change our mind is the bus transportation…please tell us that aofa still doesnt share the buses with any other hotel…..cheers

12 Dave { 02.24.13 at 6:53 pm }

Thanks Neil and Sue! Buses aren’t shared–so far–at AofA. Even if things change and they are–which I doubt will happen–AofA’ll still be better–with at most two bus stops–than the buses at SS, where there are four stops…

13 E.E.R { 04.19.13 at 1:31 am }

I’m planning on visiting for 3 days. Have a 7year old,3 year old, two 15 month olds and my husband. We were originally planning on staying at fort wilderness cabins but am now thinking of AOA. We are planning to go to magic kingdom for 1 full day and then take advantage of the time at the resort we will be staying at. We are planning on visiting early June. Which one would you suggest to stay at.? Which one has more activities within for children.? Also which way is the cheapest to book right now? Do you know if being a AAA MEMBER saves more money than another booking? Website? Thanks so much. Hope to hear from you soon.

14 Dave { 04.19.13 at 7:55 am }

Hi, all the Disney deals for early June have expired, and I don’t know if you’ll find good rates anyplace else. It’s worth trying AAA, and also see this:

If your dates are movable, there’s a deal out for later June–but crowds will also be higher then. See this:

Fort Wilderness has a nice mix of fun dining like Hoop Dee Doo–whihc might be sold out–campground activities, and movies. The cabins also have full kitchens. AofA has more Disney-style kid appeal, and is cheaper.

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15 Danelle { 07.23.13 at 2:57 pm }

Hi Dave,
We currently have reservation sept 29 -oct 6 at Port Orleans riverside. We tried switching over to the military rate now that they have been released but no availability for the 5 person room which we need. How does A of A compare to the riverside. We have never been to Disney World and are traveling with 3 boys (5,8,10) . We are also holding out for free dining it seems like it might be a better deal Just want your optioning in how the 2 hotels stack up against each other.

16 Dave { 07.24.13 at 6:55 am }

Hi Danelle!

First, there’s a detailed comparison between them (and also among some other options) here:

Second, have you considered Shades of Green? Not nearly as much fun as a WDW resort, but it easily fits 5, and will likely be your least expensive option other than free dining– see this:

Note that if you book Shades, no free dining, and if you book a value resort like AofA, your “free” dining will be quick service dining. Figuring out which among these will be the best deal for your family is no easy trick…

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17 April { 03.15.14 at 5:27 pm }

Any dining deals right now that you know of? Was thinking of staying at AofA since Shades is booked up and we haven’t ever stayed at AofA. Praying no bed bugs (saw a report online that I’m not sure if I believe or not). Any tips on AofA dining or things that we must do there? Kids are 13, 10 and 3. Thanks.

18 Dave { 03.16.14 at 8:11 am }

April, there’s been no free dining at all so far in 2014. Are you thinking of a family suite at AofA–as they won;t allow you to book 5 in the Little Mermaid rooms…? And don’t worry about bedbugs. Like at every other hotel in the world, they can happen, but Disney is pretty on top of them.

19 ChrisB { 05.05.14 at 10:14 pm }

Hi Dave,
We are planning on booking a Family Suite for last week of Sept and utilizing the Free Dining plan when it comes out this week. Any thoughts on the different sections (Cars, Nemo, Lion King) for convenience, kid appeal, noise, etc.? My wife and I and our 5 yr old daughter will be staying for a week. Much Thanks.

20 Dave { 05.06.14 at 7:12 am }

Chris, the Lion King is the quietest area, and a pool view room in building 6 is the best choice!

21 Kristy { 08.17.14 at 8:01 pm }

Hi Dave, I love your website. I’m wondering what types of rooms connect at the AofA. Can you get a family suite that connects to a standard room or is it only suite to suite and standard to standard?

22 Dave { 08.18.14 at 12:51 pm }

Kristy, the only connects at AofA are between Little Mermaid rooms. Those and suites are in completely different buildings, and suites don’t connect among themselves.

23 Sarah { 03.03.15 at 3:53 pm }

Hi! We are planning a trip to Disney in April of 2016 and we are early risers. I’d like to take advantage of the morning EMH, and take breaks mid day before returning for fireworks, but our friends just got back and said it took them nearly an hour taking the buses to the parks from AofA! That would give us 4 hours almost every day on the bus. Eek! Can you put my mind at ease? Is it worth the mid day breaks? Thanks!!

24 Dave { 03.03.15 at 5:06 pm }

Sarah, I’ve stayed at AofA six times. The buses take about 20 minutes, and depart ~ every 20 minutes. So 30-40 minutes is a good planning figure.

25 Terry { 05.24.15 at 11:52 am }

We are going either in late February or early May. 4 adults( 2 of which are grandparents) and 2 children ages 6 & 8. One adult has a disability(mobility) so may need some down time. We were thinking of 2 suites at Art of Animation. Saw your comments re Lion King – if children are set on Nemo or Cars what is the best location. Do you have any other suggestions?

26 Dave { 05.26.15 at 8:02 am }

Terry, Nemo is more convenient, but more subject to pool noise. For either, also select “close to transportation” when you do on-line check in as some rooms especially in building 2 of Cars are further away than you want.

27 Kelly B - Agent with Destinations in Florida { 05.25.15 at 8:43 pm }

HI Terry, I’m Kelly, the dedicated Destinations in Florida Travel Agent for Your First Visit. I have to say that Finding Nemo gets my vote. If you have a boy and a girl, I think the Nemo suites are a bit more appealing for both (and this mom likes them better too). They are close to everything. If you’ll email at, I can send you are great video that Disney Parks made about the AoA resort. Sometimes seeing the resort gives you a better feel for it.

28 Pam { 06.21.15 at 1:30 pm }

Hi..We are planning a family vacation Thanksgiving thru Dec. 1 of this year. It will be my husband and I….Daughter/husband and 2 children 2 and 6 mo. …..daughter/husband 4 kids…7,5,4,and 2…..suggestions?? Thanks so much!

29 Dave { 06.22.15 at 9:14 am }

Pam, I’m sorry, but I think I need a more specific question–suggestions re what?

30 Pam { 06.22.15 at 3:45 pm }

Sorry…..I should have been more specific….. where to stay……. which breakfast with the characters should we do….
Thanks so much…….We could afford the one of the deluxe hotels, but didn’t know if the kids would enjoy A of A better

31 Dave { 06.24.15 at 7:08 am }

Pam, either start on the home page and work your way through its topics, or read my book.

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