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Recently we booked a very last minute trip for our family of 5 to Disney World.

We decided on a whim to stay at the Art of Animation (AoA) resort on the Disney property for a few reasons:

It was available (with 3 weeks until our trip, on-site rooms were limited).
It was budget friendly. Check out some of the items we pre-purchased to save money at Disney!
It was newer than many of the other options, so we figured it would at least be updated.

Since our youngest is a baby, we were able to book The Little Mermaid room. At AoA, The Little Mermaid rooms are the only non-suites on site. The rooms are completely themed, down to the tiling in the shower. We found the rooms to be comfortable enough in size for our family to sleep in and eat breakfast, though there was not really enough space to just hang out in the room (does anyone do that at Disney?). There was a table with two chairs in the room, and well as a large bathroom and curtain room divider (so, if you wanted you could probably put a pack and play for a baby near the sink behind the divider, instead of in the main room where we kept it). We also were pleased that the room had a fridge, since we were traveling with a child with food issues.

The kids loved exploring all of the pools at the resort – and I loved that there was a splash pad and a zero entry space at the Nemo-themed pool. I was also impressed with the number of guards on duty and the availability of lifejackets.

The best part of AoA is the theming. Larger than life sculptures are all over the property, which make visiting the resort a destination in itself.

The kids particularly loved the Boneyard scene from The Lion King which has a tunnel that kids can run through. At night it glows red and is super ominous.

All of our favorite Disney Cars were there for the kids to explore (Isn’t this the coolest entry into the hotel rooms?

Even the pathways were meticulously themed.

Yep. this one’s trouble.

Even the pool entrance was themed, along with Cozy Cone cabanas available for lounging.

The boys enjoyed playing on the Nemo playground, complete with slides and tunnels.

To say we loved the experience is an understatement.

Lots of pool options
Clean rooms
Friendly cast members
Reasonable quality food options (I have seen a few complaints online, but we enjoyed the pizza, prepared sandwiches, and pastries – the iced coffee was the only thing I tried that I didn’t like).
Free parking at all parks, use of Magic Bands, and no need to check in/check out (in many cases) – we just walked in and out of our room – and got check out receipt to review via email before leaving the room for the final time.
Generally quiet.
The Little Mermaid rooms facing the parking lot have an excellent view of the Hollywood Studios fireworks each night.

The manageable:

Bring towels to the pool or stop in the guest center to get them before going to the pool – they are not available AT the pool.
The toilet paper is thin. If this bothers you, I’d bring some.

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