After my initial tour of Disney’s new Art of Animation Resort, which has opened in phases, the last two buildings, Lion King and Little Mermaid are now open. I thought I’d venture back over and tour the new areas to share here with you. In addition to the exterior of the Lion King and Little Mermaid buildings, I was able to tour a Cars and Lion King room. I’ll be sharing the other photos in subsequent posts, but for now, let’s check out a Lion King family suite and its surrounding buildings.
Before I share the photos, a quick note about all of the buildings at Art of Animation. When I first saw the property back in April, what I was most impressed with were the tiny details. In the Finding Nemo section, it was the landscaping, made to look like you were actually under the sea, along with things like the swim mask featured in the film, famously marked with “P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney”. The giant sea creatures were fun for the kids, but it was those details that really made the theming work for me. The rooms were also pretty and full of muted colors like you saw in the movie.
By far my favorite section was Cars. It was as if you were walking into a less-vast Radiator Springs. After visiting Disney California Adventure and seeing the “real” version of Cars Land, of course this area cannot compare, however it’s an excellent second place. What makes it so great is the perspective. You see the cars, properly-sized, as you would in the film and you feel as if you are a part of the town. The landscaping, again, is a key detail, painting a desert scene in keeping with Radiator Springs. You’ve got the Cozy Cone motel and other landmarks that are again, properly sized so it feels natural. The rooms inside are in keeping with this theme and, I think, a nice mix of racing vs. Radiator Springs decor. We’ll see photos of the rooms in an upcoming post.
The Lion King buildings sort of straddle the line between the over-sized Finding Nemo and (as we’ll also see in later) Little Mermaid rooms and the proper perspective of the Cars section. The Lion King statues are bigger than life-sized, but not so huge that it feels just silly and not at all realistic. I like the unique layout of the Lion King buildings, with the famous “Hakuna Matata” log that Simba, Pumba and Timon dance across in the movie and the Elephant Graveyard where the three hyenas, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed are found. Of course all of the wonderfully detailed scenes are riddled with “Please Do Not Climb” signs, which will probably make this a battleground for cast members trying to protect guests and those guests hoping to get that really cool photo from their vacation. I do love the lush look of the building entrances and the overall fun but not too over-the-top theme of the Lion King buildings. Later I’ll discuss the Little Mermaid buildings and my thoughts on their theming. Now, onto the photos!
What do you think of the Art of Animation Resort in general? What about the new Lion King section? Share your favorite details in the comments below: