The Art of Animation resort was originally intended to be a value resort. That means the standard "value" rooms. This video explains how there were construction delays cause by 9/11 and then the success of Nickelodeon Studio suites encouraged Disney to complete construction with a suite configuration.
When we arrived Saturday we were assigned a standard room in the farthest building on the 4th floor literally the farthest room from the main building. My first walk to the main building took nearly 20 minutes as I was not aware of the shortcut which I discovered the next day in daylight.
Here are some un-Disney like observations:
- we had no hot water that first day. You'd think housekeeping would have noticed when servicing the room. This was repaired after we called facilities.
- The shower head was so filled with lime or salt that the water squirted in all directions. This was never repaired.
- The bathroom door was expanding due to water damage.
Here's a big one. Saturday night we left the park around 9, after the parade, and arrived at our car at around 945p. As we drove back to our hotel using both Google Maps and Apple Maps we encountered endless road and ramp closures. Disney was hosting a marathon. After driving around for 45 minutes we stopped to ask a local Sheriff. He was not able to offer us complete directions nor had Disney or the Sheriff's office prepared for the problem. In mid conversation another car decided to rush the ramp. Our sheriff intercepted the driver making our delay even longer. In the meantime our youngest had fallen asleep and it was now too late for baths or a proper meal.
Our oldest has peculiar nutritional requirements and while she's too young to negotiate with it is what it is. On two occasions the current online menu information was incorrect. While in Animal Kingdom we thought that we could get her pasta at the Pizzafari restaurant, however, it was closed for renovation. So at the cost of 125 we went to the "Tusker House". After conferring with the chef we expected a bowl of couscous as there was no pasta to be had. Suddenly the chef appeared with a bowl of noodles. It's a shame that we had to insist and argue in order to get the simplest service.
Magic Bands seem to have been rendered useless. Cast members are not very diligent. On more than one occasion we were able to bum-rush the line. We also noticed that we could double our FP by splitting the configuration since the kids are too small to ride alone.
Disney is selling bubble machines all over the place. I hate it. It's an invasion of my personal space. You might not understand until you get there.
There was some cast member fraternization. I also witnessed a conversation with a bitter cast member who was discussing salaries with a guest.
I was a little freaked out by the auto location feature in Belle's dinning hall.
The photopass experience seems to have changed. The photographers are not as engaged as they once were. They will take a few pictures with their own gear but they do not try to create those magical moments the way they once did. Clearly the smartphone is taking over. I also noticed that the lighting composition at several locations are biased toward the professional camera and whatever post production filtering they might do. But it does not change that the photographers are not engaged.
On the upside:
- The room was clean
- No matter where I went there was free WiFi
Next time we hope to stay at a moderate resort. Port Orleans was always our favorite although it was strained the last time we were there.