Monday, August 13, 2012

Where Have I Been?

     You know the song lyrics, "I've been everywhere, man. I've been everywhere, man. Crossed the desert's bare, man. I've breathed the mountain air, man. Of travel I've had my share, man. I've been everywhere". Well, I haven't been everywhere...but it sort of feels as if I have been.

      I have been really excited to share the pictures of one of our stops. This resort is very near and dear to my heart because my daughter is on the opening team and has been involved from the very beginning, every step of the way. She and her team members have been in everything from business wear to hard hats and work boots. They have worked long hours, given up vacations and days off and are exhausted. They have also bonded in ways that they can't explain, laughed, cried and they take such pride in the new Disney Art of Animation Resort. It is the experience of a lifetime for my daughter and we have loved listening to her talk about the details. When we decided to visit her we knew we had to stay a few nights at "her resort" and we loved every minute of meeting her friends/co-workers and seeing the results of all their hard work.

      Currently, you can stay in family suites in the Finding Nemo, Cars and as of last week, The Lion King sections of the resort. They are working to finish The Little Mermaid, which will have standard guest rooms. We stayed in Finding Nemo, because I love anything water related and I love the movie!

     The first thing you notice when you enter the lobby of the resort is COLOR! Everywhere. My pictures simply don't do it justice. This resort is considered a Value Resort, but believe me...the detail and thought that went into the planning of this resort makes it feel anything but. We have stayed at the most expensive Disney resorts and some of the moderately priced and I was still very impressed. In fact, I felt like a kid again as I was experiencing something new!

This chandelier has actual animation sketches attached to it.

I loved the "paint" theme of the gift shop.

     There is a large food court with sitting areas divided by themed lighting and paintings. This is The Lion King area. The food was interesting and everything we had was delicious. They had everything from Mediterranean food to create your own pasta, burgers and salads. The gelato and pastry area had delicious desserts and breakfast was excellent. Remember if you are going to Disney to purchase one of the refillable mugs, you will more than get your money back.

     One of my favorite meals, the Surf and Surf sandwich. A perfectly made crab cake topped with fried shrimp and sauce. No calories here!

     The resort is designed to make you feel as if you are part of the scene. Everything is oversized and you do actually get the feeling of  "swimming" among the creatures. This is the outside of our Finding Nemo Building.

Note the size of the sea creatures.

     The view of the pool from our room. The pool is the largest at a Disney resort and while it isn't deep, it is pleasant for adults and wonderful for kids with the showering jellyfish and water play area. I'm not sure you can tell from my pictures, but even the trees and plants are designed for each area. The palm trees are slightly bent and the plants all look as if they are the kind you would see under water. The landscaping is entirely different surrounding each themed area.

     The rooms are so much fun. They sleep six people. I will say that sleeping six adults would be pushing it in my opinion., The main bedroom has the above queen size bed (don't you love that headboard). It also has its own bathroom.

     The "dining area" has this cute table and chairs. Yes, those goodies awaited us when we checked in, but we got a bit of special treatment from our daughter. I know they often make Disney Magic happen for families, but I don't think you always get an autographed photo from Mickey Mouse!

     Surprise! Remember that table and chairs from the last folds down into this bed. The headboard even has a night light to add a glow to Nemo. So cute.

     This is the living area (sorry this picture is a bit dark) and the sofa also makes another bed. There is a second full bath off of the living area.

A small "kitchen" area is really a nice touch.

In the main bedroom.

The bath off the living room area.

The bath off the bedroom.

Nightly movies at the pool.

     It has been a little while since we have stayed at a Disney Resort. When your daughter is a manager at one of them, you try to get her some down time by staying somewhere she doesn't feel "on" all the time. One thing about Disney employees is that they are always at work, even when they aren't at work when they are anywhere on Disney property. I see her pick up trash, answer questions and scan for problems even when she is "off duty". The cast here was wonderful. Our room was spotless, all cast members spoke to us in the hallways and most of them had no idea that we had even a slight connection to the resort. They are well-trained and enthusiastic. From the custodial workers to the General Manager they really do put the guests first.

     With so many pictures in this post, I will save Cars and The Lion King for my next post. Here is just a hint of what you will see...


Traci said...

I love Disney so much! This place looks great!

Barbara F. said...

I believe one is never too old for Disney. I want to go there again. This place looks like a dream come true for children of all ages. xo

Dorothy said...

WOW! Thats the best I can come up with! That would take my breath away, what fun you must have had!!

Glenda/MidSouth said...

What a fun place !! Bet ya'll had an enjoyable time. That sandwich looks so good. Thanks for sharing your trip

dee dee said...

It looks like you had so much fun on your trip to Florida! Can't wait to see the rest of the photos from your trip!
dee dee

Nellie's Cozy place said...

Hi Sue,
So glad to see you are back safe and sound, and that you had such a great time. this hotel is darling........all that color is bedazzling I bet and
I bet lil kids would be in heaven for sure......great pool area, and how neat they show disney movies.
So cool..............
You really can not beat Disney hospitality, that is for sure!

Can't wait to see the rest of your pictures. Here we live in the area and didn't even know that this exists. Would love to go and see
how they decorate it at Christmas time. We haven't done that for awhile, we used to go out there every year when the kids were at
home and go to different hotels to see their christmas decor, it was a fun time, cause they really do it up as you well know......

Welcome back, and thanks for sharing all your neat pictures.
Blessings Hon, Nellie

Maria said...

Hi Sue!
Oh you've had quite an awesome time this summer!
My favorite thing is the shower curtain! Oh what fun!
Your surf and surf sandwich looked great too... even though shrimp is off limits for me...the fish part looks so yummy!
I hope all is well with you, I'm sure you have enjoyed so much of this summer so far!
~ Blessings always ~

Patrice said...

I'm so glad to see you back, Sue! The new resort looks like so much fun...your daughter did you proud!

Barb @ The Everyday Home (formerly Grits and Glamour) said...

Oh my goodness. This is quite the resort. How exciting for your daughter to be part of all of this. My grandsons would have a ball here. We are going in October (our fave time to go) and I can't wait. :)

koralee said...

Oh my you have been having fun "dwon under the sea" Your photos are adorable! xo

bj said...

Good Lord, woman...I've wondered WHERE YOU WERE.! Now, I see...out havin' FUN.
This looks awesome and how wonderful for your daughter to be a part of it.
Glad you are back, Suz.

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Wow Sue, this is just amazing!
Kudos to your daughter for being involved in such an awesome project.
That would be so fun to do with kids, just love it all!
Sounds like your enjoying your summer too,
Hugs friend,

Leigh Powell Hines (Hines-Sight Blog) said...

Sue, loved this post. I will be sharing it on my blog's Facebook page later today. I share travel posts there.

This is really cute.


Since you like travel posts, and you've been away, I did another "Pack Your Bags" feature while you were gone on an Inn in Durham, NC.

Relyn said...

What a great trip!