Little Mermaid Room Review
The Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation Resort are the most expensive standard Value Resort rooms in all of Walt Disney World. This review features room photos, our thoughts on the rooms, whether they are worth the money, and other basics about the Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation Resort.
This review has been a long time coming. When originally writing our Art of Animation Family Suites Review, we included a line that we’d review the Little Mermaid rooms “very soon.” That review was first published 4 years ago and we’re just now writing this review. Better late than never, I suppose?
Our delay in staying in and reviewing the Little Mermaid rooms wasn’t for lack of effort. We have priced these rooms out no less than two-dozen times for various trips, and the price has always been too high to justify. Initially, we balked at the price, thinking it’d come down over time or eventually be included in discounts as popularity wore off. (As if the movie released in 1989 was suddenly going to wane in popularity.)
That never happened, and we ended up paying more for our stay this year than we would have if we just stayed there back when Disney’s Art of Animation Resort first opened. I’m actually a bit embarrassed to admit that we paid $140/night to stay here, which is more than we typically pay for Moderate Resorts after discounts.
I’m mentioning all of this not as a plea for sympathy or so you’ll respect the tough research we do, but as a reality check so you have an idea of what to expect here. The rate we paid is the value season rate for the Little Mermaid rooms. That’s the cheapest they get–you can expect to pay above $200/night if you travel during the summer or around holidays.
While the Little Mermaid rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort are often touted as being a small surcharge over the other Value Resorts, this is a bit deceiving. The rooms started out as a $20/night surcharge, but that has climbed to more like $30-$50/night, and that’s when comparing rack rates.
The gap becomes even more significant when you compare discounted rates at other resorts to rack rates on the Little Mermaid rooms, which is a relevant comparison when the former is discounted and the latter is not. In that scenario, you’re often looking at the Little Mermaid rooms costing roughly double the price of the All Stars. Yikes.
Objectively speaking, the Little Mermaid rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort are not worth the money. These are small motel rooms, and rather than having elaborate theme and details, they have fairly cheap decorations scattered around. The carpet is probably the coolest element of the room, and that isn’t saying much.
That’s not uncommon for a Value Resort, but the lazy thematic effort is disappointing given what you’ll pay here. For the cost difference over the course of a weeklong vacation, you could easily afford to make a stop at Party City and buy a boatload of decorations and make your own Little Mermaid “themed” room. I wish I were kidding.
None of that probably matters to those of you considering the Little Mermaid rooms. The calculus is not a rational one, but an emotional one. Sarah’s first comment when walking around the room was how much she would’ve liked it as a kid. That’s probably what you’re asking yourself, too. Will your kids love the room? You probably already know the answer to that, and no review is really necessary.
However, in the event that a review is necessary, let me attempt to dissuade you from staying at the Little Mermaid rooms. First, your child or children probably like more than one Disney film aside from the Little Mermaid. In which case, stay at the Port Orleans Riverside Royal Rooms (read and see more in our Royal Rooms Review). Those are a significantly better option for only a small premium in pricing after discounts.
Second, these rooms are in the worst possible location at Art of Animation, farther from the main lobby than the Lion King, Cars, or Nemo family suites. Depending upon the exact location of your room, this could mean a 10+ minute walk to the bus stop.
Finally, your kids only know what they tell them. These are All Star-caliber rooms (they aren’t even as nice as the rooms at Pop Century) that leave a ton to be desired in terms of space and quality. For $140-200/night, you don’t even get a coffee maker.
If you don’t tell your kids these Little Mermaid rooms exist, how are they going to know? (I guess maybe one of their punk friends could tell them.)
Rather than catering exclusively to their whims, opt for a nicer room at a cheaper price elsewhere. Put the savings towards an experience at Walt Disney World they will enjoy that actually is worth the money.
Now, this is not to say that you shouldn’t stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. To the contrary, we rather like the resort, and think its common areas have a lot of appeal for families with small children. In fact, Art of Animation is my pick as the best Value Resort at Walt Disney World.
While I think some elements of the design could be better, there’s undeniable appeal in the resort, and walking around the common areas is a fun experience. It’s not Walt Disney World theming in the traditional sense of transporting guests to a different time and place, but there’s a certain charm to the oversized characters, elements pulled from Disney animated classics, and vibrant colors.
There’s absolutely no nuance to Art of Animation, but (and I really hate to use this line) kids love it. Art of Animation is whimsical and fun, and can work for some adults, too. And unlike the slipshod design of the Little Mermaid rooms, the common areas and family suites have considerably more depth and detail, and are arguably worth the money.
To be sure, Art of Animation is not for everyone. All of the things we praised above could just as easily be construed as tacky and loud by others. That’s not our perception of Art of Animation, but we could see how other adults might view it as such. In that regard, Art of Animation is a love it or hate it resort.
Generally speaking, we fall into the “love it” camp with regard to Art of Animation. However, that enthusiasm does not extend to the Little Mermaid rooms. The decor is simply too weak, the price too expensive, and the size too small. While they are more expensive, we’re much bigger fans of the family suites, and feel the proportionate value for money they offer is higher.
By contrast, the Little Mermaid rooms feel like an afterthought, as if Disney didn’t know what to do with those buildings once the Pop Century ‘Legendary Years’ project fell through and the buildings were abandoned for a decade. (That’s what the Little Mermaid rooms were originally intended to be, and exactly what happened. For those unfamiliar with the history of Pop Century’s Legendary Years, you can find it here.)
If you’re inclined to ignore us and book a stay in the Little Mermaid rooms, you can take some solace in knowing that the resort’s general amenities are nice. We already covered this in our family suites review, so we’ll keep this section brief…
The food court at Art of Animation is called Landscape of Flavors, and it’s one of the best counter service spots at any Walt Disney World hotel. It’s by far the best Value Resort food court. Additional amenities include a play area, arcade, free a jogging trail, WiFi, and movies under the stars. These are amenities standard to most Walt Disney World hotels.
Art of Animation also has dedicated bus transportation to the Walt Disney World theme parks, meaning that it does not share buses with any other resort. Along with Pop Century, it has the best bus transportation in all of Walt Disney World. Come 2019, both resorts will also have a (shared) Disney Skyliner gondola station, meaning unique transportation to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This will be a huge selling point…but also the basis for a huge price increase.
The pools are also solid at Art of Animation. The Big Blue Pool is the only Value Resort pool to not allow pool-hopping, and is pretty cool. We think it’s slightly overrated, but it’s still a strong–and huge–pool. I actually prefer the Cars pool, which is quieter and has a neat look with the Cozy Cones nearby.
Overall, this review was probably entirely unnecessary. Like we said at the outset, there was a good chance you probably already knew whether the Little Mermaid rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation were a “must-do” for you, or something you should skip. While we both really enjoy Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, we would never do the Little Mermaid rooms again. We’d pay more for a family suite at Art of Animation or the Royal Rooms at Riverside, or (if it’s just us) less money for a nicer standard room at Pop Century. The price of these very basic motel rooms is too much for us to stomach, and that would be true even if we had kids who were the biggest Little Mermaid fans of all time.
Not sure which Walt Disney World hotel is right for you? Check out our Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews page, which offers quick-hit capsule reviews of the strengths and weaknesses of every Walt Disney World hotel, plus links to our reviews and photo pages for every hotel we have reviewed. For overviews of all of these topics and more, the best place to start is our comprehensive Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide to make the most of your experience!
Do you think Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is for you? Have you stayed in the Little Mermaid rooms? Do you think they were worth the money, or were you disappointed? Do you want to stay here? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
Thanks for taking the time to review the Little Mermaid Room at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort! It sounds like a perfect choice for families. I love Disney, so I can appreciate all the Little Mermaid-themed touches throughout the room. It’s clear that Disney put a lot of effort into making this resort truly special. I’m sure it will become even more popular as time goes on!
My two friends and I stayed at the little mermaid rooms early July 2022. They had their two-year-old daughter with them and I had my service dog. From what I could see the little mermaid rooms were the “pet section “. It was important for me to have a quiet peaceful room also that my service dog would not be disturbed by other people’s pets. There was an issue with someone’s pitbull barking in the very next room every day at 5:30 AM. Their dog barked on and off all day long as they were gone at the attractions or wherever. I brought this up to management and they moved my friends and my (connecting rooms) on our 3rd day to a different mermaid room in building 10. There’s STRICT Pet rules and regulation at this resort in the disclaimers , you are not allowed to leave your pet alone in the room barking an extended period unattended..However this was not the case. ASIDE from that the resort was CLEAN and picturesque. Very close to the skyliner you could walk to it. Food in the landscape of flavors was overpriced and mediocre but its a family resort. Lots and lots of little kids running around but again it’s July and the schools were out. Security was visible and tight I would definitely go back to this resort however not in the summer months due to the heat and kids out of school. The value was decent compared to other Disney hotels. Lobby was colorful and nice, gift shop was big and worth visiting more than once!
Wow That’s a lot of tips. Thanks for wrangling them all!
We have fond memories of this beautiful resort. We travelled all the way from New Zealand to do a tour through the southern states and just had to end our tour in beautiful Florida. We had fun days at the theme parks and of course Nasa Kennedys Space Centre however, we also had lots of fun in the pool at the resort and we loved the themed rooms and Disney themed gardens leading down the paths. We were in the little mermaid block. Also the art classes were fun too. We will never forget our stay at this fantastic resort.
Really disappointing. These rooms have zero storage, not even a shelf under the sink to put toiletries. And they kept the plastic chairs that are more like patio furniture.
I had hoped they’d do a PoP refurb, which made the room so much more functional. Especially for what they charge for these rooms.
It appears they are starting to refurbish these rooms. Building 7 is under construction and a peek in the rooms showed they were stripped of furnishings
As grandparents of a family that is staying in AoA Cars suite we had little choice but to stay in Little Mermaid room… was delighted when it was indeed discounted… just wish there were Grandparent rooms in the other buildings … we could have gone with a cheaper room but would have been in a different resort and unable to enjoy all the resort fun with our 3 grand-boys… might make a suggestion to that matter of single rooms in those other three buildings for just such “extra family” going along to help out
Hi. We stayed in the Little Mermaid Rooms in 2016 because of the price and grandkids (plus bus situation over All-Stars). I never even noticed the distance to the buses or lobby. Some people are just wimps!! (kidding).
At any rate, I found this interesting that the Little Mermaid Rooms are now part of the 2019 DISCOUNTED rooms for the Summer at 20% off. From what I’ve seen, this is a first for these rooms. Very interesting!
Just thought I’d point that out.
Hello. First just wanted to say that I love your page. I’m a huge Disney fan and have been going since I was a kid and now so happy to be share the tradition with my kids.
My debate is …We are going in February (last minute add on) and I’m torn between resorts two resorts I havent been to. I’m travelling 4 nights and 4 park days w hopper, with my husband, and 3 children 15, 12 and 7. My 2 current offer choices are a family suite a AOA or Port Orleans Riverside. Which resort would you recommend I’m really torn for the kid aspect of AOA and the obvious draw to Port Orleans. Any insight would be much appreciated. Thanks
The rooms are like a cheap motel, BUT: 1) The bathroom tile and theming is awesome. Taking a bath in Ariel’s grotto with a treasure chest on the wall???!! 2) The amazing view of the Hollywood Studios fireworks!!! We could see them from inside our room, but had an amazing view from the “hallway” balcony outside our room.
My family and I are coming to Disney this Winter, we will stay at the AoA Little Mermaid room. My daugther choose the hotel and the room!!! (I hope she really enjoy it)
Reading all the comments I will take my own French Press and a couple of extra legs to walk and take the bus.
All your posts and tips are helpfull.
These rooms were WAY to far from the bus stop n food court! Over priced for what you get and would never stay there again
We did it once when it first opened I guess, was it 5 years ago? We were trying to find something that 3 generations could afford and appreciate. Our daughter wasn’t into any of the other themes offered by Disney properties so we settled on this one. It was expensive. I brought my own coffee maker. The rooms were too far from the hub of things (bus stop, cafeteria). Everyone was exhausted by the time they got to the bus stop. Wasn’t easy to just “go get a snack” or even a cup of coffee. In the years since then we have stayed off-property. I’d like to stay at Pop Century sometime but I just haven’t done it.
I completely agree with your review. We stayed here ONE night. Only because my daughter really wanted to stay at AOA and we had one night after a DCL cruise. I am so glad it was only one night. It was like staying at a Motel 6. It just seemed so cheap and was such a long walk to anything. Thankfully, my daughter was convinced in a one night visit that it wasn’t all that great.
Thank you for this review, I have been wondering about the Little Mermaid Rooms. We stayed in a Lion King suite in January 2016 and loved it, however, we usually stay at Port Orleans French Quarter. You mentioned in this article that you paid $140/night for the Little Mermaid room and that was more than you pay for moderate resort rooms. How do you manage that? Special discount I don’t know about. I stayed in POFQ in August 2017 and I paid over $200/night. I would seriously like to know! Thanks
We stayed here for our first trip and didn’t have much to compare it to. I had heard that it was a good hotel because it was new and just had better amenities. Our room ended up being two twin beds, for three of us. They barely fit in the room and that was disappointing. I ended up laying blankets down on the floor for my kid, because the beds were just so small. I had nowhere to put all of our stuff we purchased over the week we stayed. I actually assumed all rooms were that small unless it was a family suite. We barely spent time in there, but I did enjoy the decor. Little Mermaid was one of my favorites as a kid, and of course I got to pick the room!
I thought the funniest comment in your review was the comment about punk friends telling your kids about the Mermaid Rooms. I laughed out loud.
Thanks for the helpful review!
Glad at least someone found that line funny! 🙂
I have not stayed here but after staying at Pop Century and picking an area willy nilly – 80’s well who doesn’t love the 80’s – and having to walk quite a bit to the bus or lobby, I do better research now. For our upcoming trip the Mermaid rooms were not much more at the time and I got a little excited until I reminded myself to check hotel layout maps. Once I saw where they were located and reminded myself that at the end of a long day my 9 year old would not be up for such a hike I decided the newly refurbished rooms at Pop would be better especially after getting a preferred room close to both lobby and bus for a much cheaper rate.
My daughter and I stayed at AoA two weeks ago. The Little Mermaid room was her choice and she super loved it. Yeah, the walk to the bus wasn’t super close, but I was traveling with a 10 year old. She didn’t care because she liked walking through everything every day. I didn’t care because she loved it. It was pretty much what I expected.
“I guess maybe one of their punk friends could tell them” Literally LOL.
Thanks for this review, it was not a waste of time. I may have stayed here someday for emotional reasons because I love The Little Mermaid, and it sounds as if I would have been very disappointed. So you saved at least one of your fans a huge disappointment. I read your posts and blogs almost daily when I’m planning a trip to Disney (and since my first trip 2 years ago, I’m almost always planning my next trip). I currently have a stay at Wilderness Lodge in May and AoA (Lion King Family suite) in Sept.
Thanks again for all of your insightful and entertaining reviews and for truly useful information.
Not sure why this posted as a reply, I did not intend for it to be a reply to this comment
We try to get to Disney at least once a year,more when we have annual passes, and last October was the first time we stayed in a resort.
My husband and I, and 4 of our children, stayed in the A of A, Lion King Rooms.
I can’t rave enough about the size and comfort of the rooms to accommodate all of us. It was like a small apartment. We had the dining plan and didn’t use the kitchenette much but it was there if necessary.
With 6 people, the convenience of 2 bathrooms made feel like royalty.
The pool was clean and never seemed crowded.
The food court was full of choices upon choices. Using the dining plan was so convenient. We never wanted for anything as far as food goes.
In fact we loved it all so much we are going back this Christmas. My husband, who is not the Disney fan that me and the kids are, had such a great time at the resort, I got no argument when I brought up our trip this year.
I will never go back unless we can stay in a resort.
It is truly the cherry on the sundae that is a Disney Vacation.
Agreed! The Aoa family suites are best of the best!