By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.



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A Family Suite at Art of Animation, or a Deluxe Room?



By Dave Shute

DISNEY WORLD’S ART OF ANIMATION FAMILY SUITES VERSUS DELUXE RESORTS

In my overview of the deluxe Disney World resorts, it’s noted they are distinguished by having

  • the most amenities
  • nicest views
  • best dining options
  • best transport
  • largest rooms
  • best service, and
  • highest prices

However, there’s a lot to like in the Art of Animation family suites.  In the review published this summer, I noted that

“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.”

So was I carried away, or are the family suites at Art of Animation really a legit alternative to a deluxe?

ART OF ANIMATION FAMILY SUITES MAY BE A BETTER CHOICE THAN THE DELUXES, DEPENDING ON WHY YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO A DELUXE

If you are attracted by a deluxe because of an item in the list above—“fine dining, more sophisticated décor, balconies, and cooler pools”—then Art of Animation is not a good substitute.  Moreover, I’d add to this list service and easy access to at least one park—two more reasons to stay at a deluxe.

However, if the main reason you are attracted to a deluxe is simply the extra space, then Art of Animation wins.

Even the largest standard rooms at the Polynesian and Grand Floridian are smaller than Art of Animation Family Suites, and the smallest standard deluxe rooms—at the Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge—are quite a bit smaller.

Art of Animation adds to the mix space for 6 on three separate beds, a private bedroom, a good-sized dining table, a microwave, and two baths.  There are a lot of families for whom this is a pretty nice mix of stuff compared to the outfitting of a standard deluxe room.

All this for a price that’s a lot less.  In the 2013 Fall price season, weekday prices (pre-tax) are $269 at an Art of Animation Family Suite, $321 (20% more) in a  Wilderness Lodge standard room, and $446 (66% more) in a standard room at the Polynesian.

For a family that can fit into the two queens at Wilderness Lodge, I think I’d still advise Wilderness Lodge over Art of Animation. The theming there is so spectacular that it would be hard to recommend it over Art of Animation, even with the price difference, and since your family is smaller, the value of the extra space is a little less.  But if you really desire the extra space, or the separate bedroom, I can see Art of Animation instead.

The Polynesian is an even tougher choice.  Its theming is way cool, but not as cool as that of Wilderness Lodge.  Yes, it’s the most convenient of all the Disney World resorts…and yes, its rooms are quite large.  But it’s nearly twice as expensive…so if the various space and layout advantages are really valuable to you, Art of Animation might be a good choice here as well.

Not sure what to do?  Then split your stay—stay half your nights in one hotel, and the other half in the other.  Set as your second hotel the one you think you will like more.  That way it won’t suffer as much by the comparison…

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5 comments

1 Gretchen { 11.20.12 at 2:48 pm }

Hi Dave, Since the only two trips we have made onsite have been at the Polynesian and Art of Animation, (Both on your recommendation so give yourself a pat on the back!). I just wanted to add a few observations. My family and I REALLY liked both resorts. However, if this was my FIRST and possibly ONLY trip to Disney, I would choose Art of Animation over the Polynesian. The two bathrooms AND not having to share a bus with another resort are the big winners for us. Even though the Polynesian is excellent for getting to Epcot and Magic Kingdom, it is a long bus ride with at least one other resort to Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.
For dining, it is a short walk across the bridge to Pop Century from A of A if you want to try their food court for more options. We noticed that even when we were staying at the Polynesian, we ate mainly at the quick service restaurant , once at Konas, and never went into Ohanas. We were mostly out (like most first time families) and scheduled our meals based on what parks we would be at that day.
I truly don’t think you could go wrong with either one. They are both unique resorts.

2 Dave { 11.21.12 at 9:35 am }

Thanks, Gretchen!!! And I’m glad the site helped!

3 Becky { 04.11.13 at 8:50 am }

Gretchen,
Thank you so much for offering your experience with both of these hotels. We are currently booked for 7/30-8/8/13 @ AoA Nemo family suite. With the release of the summer discounts, we could not get even the 15% discount on the Nemo room (and not interested in the other themes), so could stay @ Poly, CR, WL, BC, AKL, FW cabin, for the same (or less) money. Tough choice! This will be my family’s 1st and possibly only visit to WDW. I stayed @ PR as a kid (almost 30 yrs ago) and love the idea of the monorail transport. WL theming looks amazing and so does AKL and we like the bunk beds at both. Have concerns about transportation everywhere we would consider (planning NOT to have a rental car, but will bend if we’re miserable). Just when I think I’m getting close to a decision I read something that forces me to pull back and start all over. Gretchen, your comparison between PR & AoA suite has been super helpful. Pushes me towards keeping our nondiscounted suite. My son (9) is in love with the Nemo theme and I’m afraid that if we stayed @ PR and had to wait in long transport lines and swim in a pretty small/crowded pool (even with a slide) that we would have regrets (I do realize that ALL pools at WDW this time of year are likely to be quite crowded though).
Can’t thank you, Dave, enough for this site. A wealth of info.

4 Dave { 04.11.13 at 10:08 am }

Thanks, Becky!

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5 Kesha { 10.22.13 at 10:49 pm }

This seems to be a common theme…was so excited to book the Cars Suite for our Jan ’14 visit. The discounts came out and now we could stay in WL for same price as Cars Suite, even a smidge cheaper. What to do, what to do??? Are the conveniences of WL that much better than having the extra space and kid theme appeal of the AoA cars suite? I seriously can’t make this decision on whether to switch to WL or not. Appreciate any help/reviews. Kids are 5 and 7, first trip for the kids.

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