/ Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

First Phase of Disney’s New Family Suite Resort Opens May 31

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — To kick off the summer vacation season, Walt Disney World Resort will open on May 31 its newest resort hotel with Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, a value property consisting primarily of family suites that immerse guests into the magical worlds of classic Disney and Disney•Pixar films.

Opening in phases, each of the four wings celebrates rich storytelling, spirited characters and playfulness with colorful icons and whimsical theming inspired by each beloved film depicted.  Three family suite wings will showcase Finding Nemo opening May 31, Cars opening June 18 and The Lion King opening Aug. 10, with elaborate storytelling both inside and out. Standard guest rooms make up The Little Mermaid wing, the final phase to open on Sept. 15.

The three-story resort will immediately put guests into the worlds of favorite Disney characters and animated films beginning at check-in as pixilated patterns and wavy ribbons of color decorate the resort’s exterior. Pencil drawings of Ariel, Lightning McQueen, Nemo and Simba adorn the entryway, and a cleverly created chandelier composed of animation storyboards enhances the lively and modern lobby.

“Our goal is to make guests feel like they have been immersed in the artistry and enchantment of Walt Disney and Disney•Pixar animated classics,” said Walt Disney Imagineer Frank Paris.

Giant sketchbooks filled with favorite characters seem to come to life as they pave the way to each storyline revealed. Scenic settings, icons—including a brightly-colored coral landscape, a 35-foot-tall model of King Triton, a towering Mufasa and more—immerse guests into the playful world of animation. At the Cars wing, a freshly paved road leads to the Cozy Cone Motel complete with a Cozy Cone pool and cone-shaped cabanas. It’s a journey through an African landscape in The Lion King complete with an elephant graveyard play area that invites youngsters to seek hakuna matata time. Treasures from the human world fill Ariel’s grotto in an under- the-sea kingdom in Little Mermaid courtyard.

From linens and carpeting to fixtures and furniture, all details of the guestrooms tie to the storyline. In Finding Nemo, there’s coral-shaped chairs and bubble ceiling lights; Zazu takes center stage on the headboards in The Lion King, while Pumbaa and Timon decorate the shower curtain.

Kids of all ages can make a splash at the “Big Blue” pool, the largest resort swimming pool at Walt Disney World Resort measuring 11,859 square feet. Guests enter scenes from the animated world and can explore the colorful reef with a giant-sized Mr. Ray whose wings span 27 feet, pose for a picture with Crush or frolic with Squirt in the Righteous Reef, a children’s play area. An arcade and two additional pools round out the fun.

Dining options include a poolside snack bar and pizza delivery. The Landscape of Flavors food court will feature items such as fresh smoothies, hand-scooped gelato and Mongolian barbecue.  It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The whimsical property, situated adjacent to Disney’s Pop Century Resort, will open in phases beginning in late May 2012 with rates from $248 per night. The 1,120 family suites include two bathrooms, a kitchenette and three separate sleeping areas that can sleep up to six. The 864 standard rooms sleep up to four. Rates as low as $94 include complimentary transportation, Extra Magic Hours and other benefits available to a Disney Resort guest.

In which area of the Art of Animation Resort would YOU most want to stay?

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