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 Little Mermaid Area and Rooms 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.

LITTLE MERMAID ROOMS AT DISNEY’S ART OF ANIMATION RESORT

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort has two very different types of rooms.

One room type, Family Suites, fills the seven most convenient buildings at Art of Animation.

These spaces sleep six in over 500 square feet, and cost (in 2020) $450 to almost $800 a night including tax. See this for more on these Family Suites.

The other room type, standard rooms in the Little Mermaid, is the subject of this page.

Review - Little Mermaid Rooms at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Standard rooms at Art of Animation are found in its three least convenient Little Mermaid buildings, and sleep 4 in full beds in about 260 square feet. In 2020, these rooms cost $180-$330 a night including tax—less than half of what the Family Suites are going for.

These two room types are profoundly different—anyone reserving one but expecting the other is in for a shock.

And you can’t really compare them to each other.  The relevant comparison for standard rooms at Art of Animation is standard rooms at the other four Value Resorts: Pop Century, All-Star Movies, All-Star Sports, and All-Star Music.

Based on this comparison, standard rooms at Art of Animation outshine the alternatives, (except possibly queen bed rooms rooms at Pop Century, All-Star Movies, and some refurbed rooms at All-Star Music) and are this site’s most highly recommended value resort standard rooms.  They have the highest kid appeal of any value resort—for both boys and girls—and this kid appeal outweighs for almost all families their slight deficits in convenience.

That said, Little Mermaid rooms average $80/night more than All-Star rooms, and $40/night more than rooms at Pop…and in the summer approach the prices of moderate resorts. So you are definitely paying for the kid appeal there rooms present–see the chart.

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 at using the form at the bottom of this page

REVIEW: LITTLE MERMAID STANDARD ROOMS AT DISNEY’S ART OF ANIMATION RESORT

Resorts are ranked on this site for first time visitors based first on their kid appeal, and then on their convenience.

On this basis, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is the best value resort for first time family visitors.

Kid Appeal. Several of the deluxe resorts–notably, the Wilderness LodgeAnimal Kingdom Lodge, and Polynesian Resort–have spectacular kid appeal. None of the moderates do.

All of the value resorts–Disney’s All-Star SportsAll-Star Music, and All-Star Movies,  its Pop Century Resort, and Art of Animation–have terrific kid appeal.

This appeal comes from the approach to theming they all share: bright and vibrant exteriors, framing much larger than life objects of interest to kids. These objects reinforce that these resorts were designed for the sake of kids…and not necessarily for adults!

While Art of Animation has taken this theming to a whole new level, both in exteriors and interiors, the exterior theming in the Little Mermaid area is similar in scope and scale to what you will find at the other value resorts.

Prince Eric Little Mermaid Area at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

As you walk into the Little Mermaid area, you are greeted by Prince Eric.

Little Mermaid Pool Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Then you’ll find three large accommodation buildings surrounding a pool.

Outside of each of the three buildings there’s a four-story statue of a character from the movie:

Building 9 Little Mermaid Area at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Triton outside of Building 9…

Building 7 Little Mermaid Area at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

…Ursula outside Building 7…

Building 8 Little Mermaid Area at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

…and Ariel herself outside of Building 8.

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

As at the other value resorts, attached to the facades of the buildings are other reminders of the theming.

What distinguishes the Little Mermaid area form the other value resort standard room areas is the pervasive theming inside the rooms themselves.

For example, the Little Mermaid Standard rooms are meant to be “under the sea.”

Sea Floor Little Mermaid Room Art of Animation from yourfirstvisit.net

So the carpet mimics the sea floor, and the window curtain extends the sea floor and brings undersea plants to it…

As a result, Art of Animation has the deepest level of Disney theming ever created in a hotel. If your kids like the movies it represents–Nemo, Little Mermaid, Lion King, Cars–they are going to love this place.

Convenience.  Convenience on this site means transportation convenience in carrying out its itineraries. By that standard, Art of Animation overall is tied with Pop Century Resort for being the most convenient value resort.

Among the values it shares with Pop Century both the most convenient buses and the only value resort access to Disney’s new Skyliner gondola system, whic–after a transfer at Caribbean Beach–offers fun, simple routing to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

However, the standard rooms at Art of Animation are the least convenient of all this hotel’s offerings.

See the map.  The standard rooms at Art of Animation are all in the Little Mermaid section, highlighted with the orange circle.

These rooms are by far the least convenient offerings at Art of Animation, being five minutes further away (at worst) from the Skyliner station, central pool, food court and bus stop than other (Family Suite) Art of Animation options.

For most families, this extra few minutes won’t matter; but those with mobility issues might want to consider Pop Century, the next most highly ranked value resort, especially if they are targeting a summer visit or need the queen beds or coffeemakers found in its refurbed rooms.

At Pop, as at the other value resorts, rooms can be found that are much more convenient to the central resort services.

THE LITTLE MERMAID ROOMS THEMSELVES

Little Mermaid room layouts at Art of Animation are pretty much identical what was formerly found in standard rooms in the other value resorts.

However, refurbs at Pop Century and All-Star Movies have added queen beds and coffeemakers to those resorts, and All-Star Music has begun such a refurb as well.  So the only clear comparable these days is All-Star Sports, which like these rooms still has full beds and no coffeemakers.

Little Mermaid Floor Plan from yourfirstvisit.net

See the floor plan. These rooms have two full beds, a table and chairs, a dresser with a TV on top and a mini-fridge inside, and a divided bath.

Little Mermaid Room at Art of Animation from yourfirstvisit.net

And as in the other value resorts, this room is about as small as it can be and still fit two beds.

Note that some says that these rooms are slightly larger than other value resort rooms, at 277 square feet, rather than 260.

In fact, these rooms are no bigger than those at the other value resorts.

My tape measure got all the major dimensions as within an inch or so of those at Pop Century.   For this room to have 17 more square feet, it would need to have been a foot and a half longer, or nine inches wider, or 6 inches more in both dimensions, or some such, than All-Star Music.

My measuring isn’t perfect, but I would have noticed that big a dimensional difference…so I’ve got it as 260 square feet, same as the other value resorts.

BEST AND WORST PLACES TO STAY IN THE LITTLE MERMAID AREA OF ART OF ANIMATION

The Little Mermaid Section of Art of Animation has three buildings, numbered 7, 8 and 9.

Seven is the best, and 8 the worst.  Specifically, ask for an Hourglass Lake view room in building 7 closer to the Lion King area.  This will give you the shortest walk, least pool noise, and best views.

Distance. Building 8 is furthest from the skyliner, central services and bus stop, Buildings 7 and 9 closer.

Quiet Pool in Little Mermaid Area at Art of ANimation from yourfirstvisit.net

Noise.  Unlike in the Family Suites at Art of Animation, corridor noise is not much of an issue in the Little Mermaid section. This is because there are twice as many corridors, none is walled on all sides, none is air conditioned, and thus none has a real draw as a pathway to  the resort’s central services.

Noise, to the extent it is an issue, comes from the pool.  One-third of rooms in building 8, and one-sixth of rooms in each of 7 and 9, face the pool.

Views. Two thirds of the rooms in both buildings 8 and 9 have parking lot views; there are no bad views in building 7, though as noted above the pool-view rooms in 7 can be noisy.

Art of Animation and Pop Century are the only value resorts on a lake—Hourglass Lake separates the two.  While there may be some obtuse views of Hourglass Lake from a few of the pool-facing rooms of building 8, a third of building 7 rooms have a view of the lake.

Hourglass Lake Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (3)

All in, building 7 is the best and 8 the worst of the Little Mermaid buildings.  So ask for a lake-facing building 7 room, as near the Lion King area as possible.  This will give you the shortest walk, least noise and best view!

The best rooms specifically are 7513-7524, 7613-7624, 7713-7724, and 7813 to 7824.

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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A PHOTO TOUR OF A STANDARD LITTLE MERMAID ROOM

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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144 comments

1 Lily { 06.27.13 at 2:31 pm }

Hi again Dave,

Thanks for that. I will do the online check in and will give them a ring. I will let you know how it goes. Xxx

2 Dave { 06.28.13 at 6:56 am }

Have a great trip, Lily!!

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3 Lily { 06.28.13 at 9:56 am }

How wonderfully helpful you are Dave !, Apparently I don’t need to do the online checkn as its all been done with my travel agent. Would you know if the rooms have a bath or only showers?

Sorry for such trivialities xx

4 Dave { 06.29.13 at 9:54 am }

Lily, I’m sorry but I don’t know!

5 linda barretta { 07.09.13 at 1:56 pm }

I will be staying at the lion king room with my 2 grandchildren and my daughter and son-in-law. we will be arriving on Dc 22 – Dec 28. any suggestions

6 Dave { 07.10.13 at 8:51 am }

Linda, that’s one of the two most crowded weeks of the year. I would reschedule in a heartbeat–your will be facing in the afternoons three hour waits for the most popular rides…If you can’t reschedule, then take a look at this https://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/12/04/coping-disney-world-holiday-crowds/ It’s from last year, so doesn’t directly apply, but the basic principles are still true…

https://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/12/04/coping-disney-world-holiday-crowds/

7 karen thomas { 07.13.13 at 5:53 am }

We r traveling to disney in july 2014 wit a group of twenty want to stay at one of value resorts wit connecting rooms , near pool and near transportion

8 Dave { 07.13.13 at 11:18 am }

Hi Karen! The standard rooms at the values only fit 4 to a room, and charge more for more than two adults per room.

No Disney hotel will guarantee either connecting rooms, or rooms close to each other. When you book, you can request all this–plus close to pools and transport–but no guarantees. Then 60 days before, you can do online check in, and at that time request specific areas (which will put you closer) and near transport. (Note that none of the standard rooms at Art of ANimation are convenient to transport.)

The “family suites” at All-Star Music and Art of Animation fit six to a room, but have the same adult issues, and have no connecting rooms. They are also much more expensive.

For rankings of the value resorts, see this: https://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/08/04/the-value-resorts-at-walt-disney-world/

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9 LeAnn { 07.25.13 at 8:48 pm }

LOVE your website! My family and I are planning to attend Disney and stay in the LM rooms in June 2014. We are planning on having breakfast in Cinderella’s Castle at 8 am, what times do the buses start running to MK from the A OF A resort and what time do you recommend being at the bus stops to get to MK as early as possible. We also will be having breakfast at Chef Mickey’s one morning, what time should be arrive at the bus stop to make it there on time. Thank-you so much!

10 Dave { 07.26.13 at 8:03 am }

Planning ahead a bit LeAnn? 🙂

For in park early breakfast, DIsney runs special buses. Check with the concierge at AofA the day before to arrange this, and they’ll tell you when to get the bus.

Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary is an easy five minute walk from the Magic Kingdom, so unless you have an early morning reservation (i’d pick the latest breakfast available, spend the first hour or so at MK, then walk over) you just need to be at the MK bus stop 45 minutes to an hour befroe your time. If your have an 8a at Chef Mickey’s the buses may not be running at 7.15a. Again check with the concierge, this time for when the MK buses start, but you may need to take a cab…

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11 DEE { 08.01.13 at 3:41 pm }

Hello Dave. planning a may 2014 visit to art of animation – the little mermaid rooms. we have 3 adults & a 5 yr old. do you think the room will be too cramped? also- would there be room for 4 suitcases ? thanks!

12 Dave { 08.01.13 at 3:50 pm }

Well, Dee, I wouldn’t…it’s really tiny, and the beds are full sized. There’s room under the clothes rod in the closet to stick the suitcases…

13 Katie { 08.23.13 at 3:47 pm }

Thank you so much for your efforts and amazing website, so helpful! My questions: Are the rooms at Lil’ Mermaid built like a Motel 6, where you can hear your neighbors conversation or someone walking passed your door? We have really light sleepers.Second: We already booked our package for October 2014, but received an email to get 30% off at the Port Orleans (where we booked) for this October. I called and asked if they could apply that discount to next year and they said no, but that this deal always comes out in August for fall bookings and to call back next August for the deal and we would get the discount then. Do know if that is true? The reason we booked the Royal Guest rooms is because they told us that it would be the same price as the Lil’ Mermaid with the 30%. Thanks again!

14 Dave { 08.24.13 at 9:41 am }

Hi Katie! Frankly, all the rooms at WDW are kinda loud. Little mermaid rooms are actually quieter than many, because the room door–since it leads outside–is heavily insulated to save Disney heating and cooling costs.

On the discount point…I have mixed feelings. Yes, I do think there will be a room discount for some resorts during some weeks in October 2014. But I would never plan a trip assuming I would get one… there’s just too much base uncertainty–and prospect for disappointment–in planning on a deal…

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15 maria evans { 01.10.14 at 9:37 am }

Im having a hard time choosing aoa standerd room or allstar movies standerd room. Will be 2 adults 2 children (1 girl & 2 boys) Is aoa that much better than movies?? I like that movies has toy story appeals to all children and well aoa seems to appeal more to my dd!!!

16 Dave { 01.11.14 at 8:46 am }

Maria, part of the charm of each is walking around and seeing the OTHER movies highlighted. So I’d pick between the two based on the overall appeal of all the movies at each. That leads most to AofA…

Movies: Toy Story, Mighty Ducks, Love Bug, Fantasia, 101 Dalmations
AofA: Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, Cars, Lion King

17 maria evans { 01.11.14 at 2:45 pm }

Thank you so much!!! We picked AoA!!!! I love your site it helped me so much in making all my choices!!

18 Dave { 01.12.14 at 9:15 am }

Great, Maria!!!

19 Krista { 02.02.14 at 7:00 pm }

I totally appreciate this web site I have just found. I am planning on a early February 2015 trip and have found your tips to be unbelievably helpful in my meticulous planning for the next year. Thank you so much!

20 Dave { 02.03.14 at 7:16 am }

Thanks, Krista!!

21 Lisa { 03.17.14 at 3:30 pm }

I saw someone said something on here a while ago about free upgrades. Well just thought i would tell you what happened to me. We came in Sept. was booked for the little mermaid room. Drove 16 hours straight to get there and my ankle was very swollen. Asked how far is the mermaid room from the buses and it is rather a far walk (note if you have small children and are coming back late) . The staff member looked at my ankle had someone get me ice and i said is there anyway you give free upgrades to a room closer to the buses. She said sure and there we were going to the lion king room the closest to the buses!! So free upgrades really do happen!!

22 Dave { 03.17.14 at 4:36 pm }

Thanks, Lisa! I’ve gotten two upgrades in the last month without even asking! In late Feb an upgrade from a Little Mermaid room to a family suite (I turned it down, because I wanted better photos of a Little Mermaid room than I got my last visit) and last week an upgrade from a studio to a one bedroom at BoardWalk Villas!

23 Lisa { 03.18.14 at 1:38 pm }

Nice when good things happen unexpected! Good for you!!! I have read on other sites that people say that Disney never does upgrades and they have never heard of that. Oh boy does that eerk me!! I love your site lots of great information and positive talk!

24 Dave { 03.19.14 at 7:18 am }

Thanks, Lisa!!

25 Christina { 04.19.14 at 4:33 pm }

Hey Dave!

I’m wondering if you’ve ever heard of Disney upgrading a family from a Little Mermaid room to a Family Suite? We are planning a February 2015 visit and I’m wondering if it would be crazy to ask for an upgrade to a suite when we check in. Just curious if you’ve ever heard or known of it to happen. Thanks! Love the site!!

26 Dave { 04.20.14 at 9:51 am }

Christina, it happened to me in February! I turned it down as I wanted better photos of the LM rooms than you see here (I haven’t posted them yet)…but they offered!

27 Mitz { 01.06.16 at 10:14 pm }

I just had to say that they still did this for us in December 2015. We moved late one evening from All Sports (where we’ve stayed on all our prior visits) as it was kind of loud. Everyone we worked with at the check in was great at AoA. We had been given a room at LM bldg 8. At check-in (it’s now about midnight) my hubby asked if we could get an upgrade to a suite. They were awesome and gave us a suite on 4th floor of Mater’s bldg. We loved it there and plan to go back. The dining area, gift shop and the character designs in the room area all blew our old favorite out of the water.

28 Dave { 01.07.16 at 4:17 pm }

Mitz, that’s great!!

29 Nicole { 07.07.14 at 4:36 am }

Hi- amazing site!!!! We are staying at Art animation resort and have booked lm room. Is it possible to upgrade by paying the extra, either before we go or when we arrive? Thanks

30 Dave { 07.07.14 at 9:04 am }

Thanks Nicole! I’ve been upgraded for free before from LM to a suite, but the easiest way to do it is just to call and re-book!

31 Pat { 08.31.14 at 9:18 pm }

I am planning a trip to WDW June 6th thru the 13th. There will be 11 of us. (7 over 18 and 4 under 18) think 3 rooms ( each sleeping 4) will be cheaper than two suites??? think about the Little Mermaid Resort but seeing all the questions and comments – it seems the Lion King rooms are closer to the transportation to the parks???? and it seems we might not get rooms close to each other- even if I book now???

32 Dave { 09.03.14 at 7:55 am }

Pat, yes, three rooms will be less expensive than two suites. Disney will try to put you close together, but there’s no guarantees…

33 Troy { 10.01.14 at 11:37 pm }

Just wondering if my two 8yr olds are not going to be into the little mermaid rooms. We have a boy & girl??? Your thoughts

34 Dave { 10.03.14 at 6:51 am }

Troy, while I think they will be fine–see this https://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/09/19/little-mermaid-rooms-art-animation-not-girly-not-far/ –you cna do Pop Century instead if you remain concerned!

35 jordyn { 10.07.14 at 12:06 pm }

i think that it would be cool to have a hotel with the walls out of fishtanks with glow in the dark fish:)

36 Dave { 10.08.14 at 4:50 pm }

🙂

37 Megan { 02.14.15 at 1:11 pm }

Hi Dave-
I just have to say thank you so much for all the great advice. I’m so happy I stumbled across the site, it’s been a HUGE help! Your review on the Art of Animation made me change my reservation I had with the All Stars Movie Resort. I saw the Little Mermaid rooms and couldn’t resist! My girls are LM fanatics and are going to absolutely love it. Thanks to your page regarding the resort transportation I’ve come to the conclusion that instead of relying completely on the buses we will just plan on driving our own car. That was one of my biggest worries as far as how to get around in order to be on time for reservations. I am NOT a planner and being on time is not one of my families strong suites.
We are arriving on March 1st through March 6th. I’m happy to see the crowd predictor say it’s going to be a good time for low crowds.
Although is this way fairly last minute trip for us I was still able to snag some good reservations.
Sunday night we have dinner at rainforest in down town Disney at 5. I’ve been advised its best to drive our own car.
The only other day I have concerns about is Monday …I have our morning planned at Hollywood Studios and a late dinner around 8 at the garden grill in Epcot. I was originally planning on bus transportation but to avoid risking a delay we will drive our own car.
Tuesday is our MK day. That day is my daughters 5th birthday so I’m very excited. I have no reservations for that day as I’m taking more of a play it by ear approach for the day.
Wednesday is our rest day, I managed to get dinner at Ohana as it was recommended to me by many people. I was surprised I got in at all to be honest! It took a lot of checking back to get an opening.
Thursday we have animal kingdom during the day and a lunch at Tusker house. I’d like to try and make it back to HS that night for the Fantasmic show, per everyone’s recommendations.
Friday we check out and I got us a reservation at Chef Mickeys. I’ve heard that’s a big one.
This will be our first visit to Orlando so I’m hoping I’ve made good choices so far. We have the Dining Plan so I hope that will help save us money as well.
We were at Disneyland last year in April and it was so busy it was hardly even worth it,especially with the little ones. This year my oldest is 5 and our youngest is 2. I realize that still may be a little young for the kids but I’m expecting a third in May and know that it’ll be many years before we will be able to plan another trip like this, so we are taking advantage of it now.
Any advice or further recommendations for me?
Thanks again for all your candid reviews. The site as been so valuable to me. I’ve already spent so much time here! It’s absolutely the best site I’ve seen as far as preparing me, I feel so much better about the choices I’ve made so far thanks to you!!
Keep up the good work
Megan

38 Dave { 02.15.15 at 9:50 am }

Hi Megan and I’m so glad to have been able to help!

You have all your FastPass+ set, right? If not, see this now: https://yourfirstvisit.net/2015/01/27/disney-world-in-the-era-of-fastpass/

Parking is horrible at DTD on evenings in general and weekends in particular, so I’d do the bus for that. Also for sure use the buses on your MK days.

Your itinerary is short on MK days…at those ages skip either AK or HS and add MK. You are also, frankly, a little over-scheduled. Skipping Garden Grill won’t hurt and may help a lot…

39 Megan { 02.15.15 at 12:42 pm }

Thanks, Dave!
I have arranged our FP already, yes. Well as many as they allow at least.
Good to know about parking at DD.
I managed to get in at Akershus so I’m swapping out dinner at Garden Grill for a princess Lunch at Epcot.
I think if we don’t get enough of MK on Tuesday we can always skip AK on Thursday and go back to MK.
We also may skip out on Chef Mickey on Friday as we might get to meet him at one of our other character dinings and we might just be exhausted.
Thank you again for all your advice! I can honestly say I’d be lost without it!
m

40 Dave { 02.16.15 at 8:08 am }

Megan so glad to help!!

41 Amy { 03.05.15 at 12:02 am }

Hi Dave,
I noted on MDE that I can check-in online now for our April 10-18th trip. We are staying in a Nemo room because having a son and a daughter this is what they could agree on! I do prefer quieter though, so I am noticing to request the non-pool side…is there anything else I should request to get a “quieter” room in the Nemo section? thanks for your help!

42 Dave { 03.05.15 at 10:01 am }

Amy, ask for an upper floor lake view!!

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