Spring Break for our schools was last week, and we left no stone unturned. I love that I get the same breaks as my kids do because it means I’m super excited to be out of school, too! We spent most of our week just hanging out and running errands. We swam in our swimming pool for the first time this year, went to the dentist, visited Nana and Grandma, finally got Gracie’s bedding for her new big girl daybed (Ikea, of all places!), and did some spring cleaning and laundry. It was a nice, relaxing week for us.
We did take two days to really splurge on a local staycation. Chris couldn’t get away from work, so I took the kids with my friend, Danielle, and her daughter, Layla (one of Bean’s bestest friends in the whole wide world), and we spent two days at Disney’s Art of Animation resort.
That is one advantage of living here in Orlando that I love. We can pop in for a one night stay somewhere just down the street from our own house and still feel like we are on vacation.
I had visited the Art of Animation resort before when it just opened, but this time it was fully functional and even more impressive. The theme of the resort is the original animation artwork that went into four Disney movies – Cars, The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, and The Lion King.
This resort boasts the largest pool out of any Disney resort, and it did not disappoint. It was a gorgeous pool area. My favorite part of the pool, though, was that it plays music underwater! When I first heard about this a year ago, I thought it was cool, but imagined it sounded kind of muffled through all the water. I tried it out myself this weekend and was shocked to find the music plays crystal clear! It was awesome!
There was also a splash pad adjacent to the pool, too. Our kids played in this a fair bit, but I think younger kids would probably get more use out of it. There were lots of kids in the 1-3 year-old range in this area.
I think Bean and Gracie’s favorite part of the pool area, though, was the playground that sits just behind the enclosed pool. It was kind of cloudy and foggy the morning we were there, and this was a perfect alternative to pool play until it cleared up and warmed up a little bit.
(We are sticklers for following rules…)
The Art of Animation is one of the “value resorts” at Disney, which means it is more affordable than some of the other, more pricey resorts. I don’t think you’d ever really notice, though, because Disney has such stellar customer service, and they strive to give you the Disney experience, whether in one of their high-end resorts or their value resorts. For example, even though we were only staying one night and weren’t even going to the parks, we still all got personalized, Disney MagicBands when we checked in. If you aren’t familiar with these, they are Disney’s newest way to make the parks and resorts easily accessible. Read more about them here.
One of the places, though, where I could tell it was a value resort was in the dining because they didn’t have a nice, sit down restaurant. This was actually good for us, though, because who wants to sit down to a nice dinner when you’re on spring break?! It was cafeteria-style eating in their dining area, but it was still really good food. My kids especially liked the breakfast choices. They had a fruit and yogurt station with all different fruits and toppings for you to create your own parfait, which is one of Gracie’s favorite things to eat. And Bean is the Cereal King at our house, so he loved being able to mix his own bowl of cereal at the cereal station.
The nice thing about the Art of Animation is that it is connected to Disney’s Pop Century resort by a little bridge, so when we got tired of eating our meals in the same place, we just walked across the bridge to check out the other resort.
After dinner at both resorts, they showed a Disney movie out by the pool. We decided to have dinner at the Pop Century resort and then stay for the movie over there because the kids wanted to see “The Princess and the Frog,” which was playing there, instead of “A Goofy Movie,” which was playing at the Art of Animation. It was nice to have this flexibility, all while staying in one place. It doubled our places to play, food to eat, and places to explore.
By the time we headed out on Wednesday afternoon, it felt like we had been away for a week! The kids had a blast playing someplace new, and Danielle and I really enjoyed just being able to turn the kids loose for a while without having to worry about them. I think that’s the advantage to staying at a Disney resort. Yes, they are more expensive than staying off-property somewhere, but when you have little kids, the little details Disney puts into making your family’s stay more comfortable, easy, and enjoyable is worth it to me.
I know this sounds like one big Disney advertisement, but I promise you it is not. Disney doesn’t even know I stayed at their resort this week. They have no idea who I am. I was not paid to visit, or compensated for this post. This is just straight-up how our visit went, and I can’t say enough about it. It was the perfect Spring Break staycation!