To continue with the trend of resort hopping on the weekend, we went to Art of Animation today! Well, first we went to Downtown Disney with the hope of seeing Santa, but the wait was hours long (literally). We obviously elected not to do that, so instead we went to the Art of Animation Resort. We spent a fair bit of time in the gift shop (I needed a new antenna topper), then checked out the Radiator Springs section of the resort. We spent so much time there that we didn't get to check out the other areas, but I'm sure we'll get back there soon. The kids absolutely loved it!
They have huge replicas of (most of) the characters. I love Flo - and yes, we made the obligatory, "She's got gas, lots of gas!" jokes.
Most of the cars had "Do Not Climb" signs, but we didn't see one around Mater, so we let the kids climb in. The ground around all the cars is that springy foam they put at playgrounds, so they're really begging to be climbed on.
Look at Sarge's Surplus Hut! Isn't that absolutely crazy? This is supposed to be a Value Resort (though the price isn't comparable to the other Value Resorts, it is considerably cheaper than the Deluxes).
The Wheel Well was so pretty, and Lightning McQueen and Sally are parked out front. I'm glad we were there in the late afternoon, the light made everything look especially gorgeous.
I think I liked Fillmore best. Doug and I had a lot of fun looking at all his bumper stickers.
The sun was a little too bright over by Casa Della Tires, but we still had to get a picture.
Luigi and Guido! Don't you just want to give them a hug? Fiona and Niall adored them, maybe because they're a little more their size.
We were super impressed with Art of Animation. I just can't believe the detail that they put into the resort. I've been getting a few comments on Facebook from people who don't quite get the Disney thing, and I wish I could show them things like this. These pictures just don't do it justice - you can't see the display windows at the Cozy Cone with real postcards they created just for this, and you can't read all of Fillmore's or Lightning McQueen's bumper stickers (some of which are quite funny). I didn't take pictures of all of the cars' license plates (again, clever), or the staggered signs along the walkway that spell out funny messages in true roadside fashion.
And this is just one area of one resort. I'm not even talking about the giant seagulls from Finding Nemo near the pool that occasionally yell out, "Mine! Mine!" or the beautiful pool itself. Who knows what's in the other areas of the resort, that we didn't even walk past. And all that beauty aside - I could never capture the true beauty of the absolute delight my children experience here (and to be honest, Doug and I feel it, too).
Okay, rant over. Sorry about that! After Art of Animation, we went over to Animal Kingdom Lodge. I've been dying to go here and was so excited to finally make it! We can actually see AKL from one of the big roads near our house, and we even catch glimpses of Expedition Everest, too. This is one of the differences between being on vacation and living down here, I guess. When you're on vacation and staying on property, you feel like you're in a bubble, like the real world is just gone or at least very, very far away. But being able to see AKL and even one of our favorite rides on the way to Target is just funny! It's not actually nearly as far away as it seems when you're on vacation.
Animal Kingdom Lodge did not disappoint. It was just as beautiful as I'd imagined, and photos of it just do not to do it justice (which is not why I'm not posting any, I just forgot to take some). We went out to the savannah overlook and saw some animals (zebras, wildebeests, and some others I'm forgetting). Then a bunch of Cast Members starting setting up a marshmallow roasting activity. They had a lovely fire going and were giving out marshmallows and roasting sticks, free of charge. The kids were super excited to get to roast marshmallows!
After that, we went to find the quick service restaurant, Mara, to grab a snack (we had limited the kids to one marshmallow each). Fiona picked out a zebra Butterfinger cupcake, Colwyn and Niall got a Mickey ice cream bar, Doug and Lachlann got some kind of peanut butter brownie, and I got zebra domes - something I'd read wonderful things about but never tried. Well, they were absolutely amazing, and I can't wait to go back. Everyone really enjoyed their desserts.
We had a wonderful afternoon, and even though the only thing we spent money on was the snacks, we felt like we got to experience a lot of Disney magic!