Art of Animation Update: 2019-2020 Resort & Pool Refurbishments

We head back to Art of Animation Resort as we continue our Summer 2019 Walt Disney World construction updates. In this progress report, we’ll share photos of work currently being done–all of which should wrap up by early Fall 2019. We’ll also cover another big project that’ll start roughly a year later, in Fall 2020.

There are two big projects at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort right now that are impacting the guest experience. First, the construction of the Skyliner gondola station on Generation Gap Bridge between Pop Century and Art of Animation. For the duration of this project, Generation Gap Bridge has remained open, albeit with a wall closing about half the walkway.

In actuality, the station construction here has been materially finished for several months. In the next couple of months, this station should start seeing actual use, at which time we’ll see how well it’s able to absorb the thousands of guests staying at the two resorts. We cover this in more depth in our Disney Skyliner Gondola Update for Summer 2019

In terms of Skyliner “construction,” the more noticeable work is on the restrooms located between the Skyliner station and the Big Blue pool. The walls are still up here, and this project likely has larger impact on guests, particularly in the Finding Nemo section.

Even this shouldn’t really be a big deal for Art of Animation guests, and from what we saw, this structure is now finished. Walls remain up causing some visual blight, but it’s not bad. Here’s a look at the new restrooms:

As for the Art of Animation lobby, a multi-phase floor replacement project began earlier this spring. Work here is moving along nicely and should be done in a couple of months.

Here’s a current look at the finished area of the lobby:

Basically, what’s being done here is replacing the small tiles with a smooth surface that looks more or less the same in terms of the color scheme.

The new flooring lacks texture and ‘pixelated’ color effects, but it’s nonetheless an improvement.

When Art of Animation debuted, the small tiles looked great. Now, not so much.

Dirt has gotten into the grout and discoloration has occurred. The result is something that reminds me of a middle school bathroom, which is probably not something a Walt Disney World hotel lobby should aspire to.

All in all, this lobby refurbishment project also has a minimal impact on the guest experience. Unless you’re arriving at a particularly busy check-in time, you’re not really going to feel an impact. You’ll see the walls, but that’s about it.

There are other changes to Disney’s Magical Express and Disney Cruise Line port transportation pick-up and drop-off. Basically, these have been relocated to the park bus stop area rather than the Porte Cochere.

I can only assume this is a way to encourage guests waiting for pick-up to congregate outside or in Landscape of Flavors, rather than waiting in what’s already a cramped lobby due to the refurbishment walls.

The bigger refurbishment project starts next year. Beginning in Fall 2020, the Big Blue Pool will be closed for a refurbishment project that will last a few months. Official dates have yet to be released, but expect it to occur around mid-September to December. The scope of the work has yet to be revealed.

Per DisneyWorld.com: “While this work takes place, our other exhilarating pool and recreation offerings will remain open for your enjoyment—including Flippin’ Fins Pool, Cozy Cone Pool and the Schoolyard Sprayground. Noise may be heard while this work is being completed, but noise should not be heard from Guest rooms between dusk and 9:00 AM.”

Moving on to issues that are (obviously) more pressing, we didn’t spot any of the new-ish Art of Animation merchandise that debuted a few months ago (pictured above and covered in more detail here).

There are a few possible explanations: 1) graduation & Toy Story 4 items taking over floor space; 2) it all sold out; 3) we are oblivious and just didn’t see it. Naturally, we didn’t ask any Cast Members working about the reality of the situation, because what fun is that when rampant online speculation is the alternative?! Fear not, we’ll get to the bottom of this dire situation.

Finally, a few photos of Cars:

This remains my favorite section of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort by a wide margin. The way it’s done is cool, and the integration of the Cozy Cones and Wheel Well Motel is nice. I still wish Disney would’ve built a stand-alone Wheel Well Motel behind Disney California Adventure with an entrance into Cars Land. (Rumor is that Disney owns the land on which a couple of those third-party Harbor/Katella hotels sit…so maybe someday once the leases expire!)

That’s it from Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. We don’t have any upcoming stays scheduled here for 2019, but we’ll be back at Pop Century on a couple of occasions, so we’ll drop in for more Art of Animation updates then. It’s nice to see the resort receiving some TLC some 7 years after it opened (how has it been so long? I still remember when it opened like it was yesterday!). We wouldn’t be surprised to see a room refresh in the next few years, but otherwise, the hotel is still looking good!

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

Your Thoughts

What do you think about Art of Animation’s lobby and pool refurbishment projects? Is this your favorite Value Resort, or do you prefer the cheaper options? Any other improvements you’d like to see Disney make to Art of Animation Resort? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment of the projects? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!


18 Responses to “Art of Animation Update: 2019-2020 Resort & Pool Refurbishments”
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