Parts of the eagerly anticipated Art of Animation resort at Walt Disney World, a value resort that will offer a massive number of family suites, are going to open earlier than expected, with its marquee already in place, as you can see in the photo at left.
While the first part of the resort, themed for Finding Nemo, will open as expected on May 31. However, the Cars and Lion King wings, which are later phases, will debut ahead of schedule. You’ll be able to stay with Lightning McQueen, Mater, and friends, starting June 18 rather than July 30, and Simba’s section will open on August 10 instead of September 30.
All three of those sections are made up completely of family suites. The Little Mermaid wing, which has regular rooms, was slated to open at the end of the year. Now it will on September 15.
Florida’s winter was particularly mild this year. That, combined with a smooth planning and construction process, contributed to the accelerated schedule.
When it’s completely open, the Art of Animation will have 1120 suites and 864 value-category hotel rooms. Those rooms are in the same category as Disney’s Pop Centry and All-Star Music, Sports, and Movies resorts.
The value category is the least expensive among the on-site Disney hotels. There are more expensive moderate properties like Port Orleans, Caribbean Beach, and Coronado Springs, and deluxe properties like the Polynesian, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Yacht & Beach Club, and Boardwalk.
If you like theming but prefer the moderate category, Port Orleans Riverside features Royal Rooms. They’re themed to the Disney Princesses, with Princess Tiana as your host, and decorated with gifts left behind by previous royal guests. Other touches include fiber optic headboards in the rooms and colorfully lit fountains outside in the building courtyard.
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