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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Disney's Art of Animation Resort ideal for friends

Cartoon-like cars, complete down to every detail, greeted us at the entrance to the building with our Cars Family Suites in the Art of Animation Resort at Disney World.

The family suites at Disney World's new Art of Animation Resort are an idea whose time has come. It's a new resort in the southern part of the 44-square mile Disney World not  far from the ESPN Wide World of Sports area and the town of Celebration. When Disney invited me to the grand opening celebration of its New Fantasyland earlier this month, I learned they'd be putting me up there so I could preview the property.

Our suite's compact kitchen had a fridge, microwave, sink and coffee maker plus plastic cutlery.
The suites, which easily sleep six and have two bathrooms and a kitchenette, are ideal for families. Thinking they'd be just as nice for a girlfriends getaway, I invited two friends to come along. I figured they could keep each other company and visit the theme parks when I was attending press events and interviews during the two-night press trip.  I encouraged them to bring food for the fridge so their basic expense would be limited to park tickets and airfares. One friend had work to do so she immediately inquired about internet access.

Our suite was in the new Cars area of the resort, just beyond the buildings called Finding Nemo. In keeping with that fishy theme, 3D fish on the sides of those buildings made occasional gurgling sounds  much like the sounds heard underwater in the Big Blue Pool. Learning that the resort had an afternoon dance party at the pool, my New York girlfriend talked us into suiting up and heading that way. I think she'd forgotten where we were. It was really cute and the  dance moves were great but participants were mostly in the under 10 age range.

A comfortable Murphy bed pulled  down from the wall above this table.
I got the master bedroom and each of them had a convertible bed, which I figured wouldn't be very comfortable. Wrong, they told me. Even the hide-a-bed, which converted from what looked just like a care seat was good sleeping. A Murphy bed pulled down from the wall to top a table that my working friend found perfect for her computer. But had we been a family, it would also seat six for breakfast. Her bed was just as comfortable as my standard queen bed. And each of the two bathrooms had a great Carwash theme.
Even the bathrooms were complete with the Cars theme.

 Although none of us were pizza aficionados, we could get pizza delivered or go to Landscape of Flavors, an array of  food shops serving custom and casual cuisine ranging from burgers to pasta and including beer and wine. 

The Cars theme was straight out of the Cars movie, down to the landscape plantings replicating the southwest. I later learned at a press conference that it's straight from a new Cars attraction at Disneyland in California.

We had two flat panel TVs, a hair dryer, and in-room safe. Just outside was the smaller Cozy Cone Pool with the Flipping Fins pool serving those staying in the part of the resort with Little Mermaid standard guest rooms.

 A few days ago I got a postcard from Disney indicating that one of us had left something behind. It turned out that my New York friend walked away without her dancing shoes, leaving them next to the bed. She hadn't missed them until she got my email. But when I called Disney,  and identified the missing item, I learned that Disney will mail them to me.   'll return them to my friend  when she comes back to Mentor to visit her family for Christmas.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds wonderful and I especially like the concept of a girlfriends' getaway. With life being so hectic these days, it is often difficult for friends to spend quality time together, so a short vacation can serve to bond with friends as well as relax and just get away. Thanks, Ms Podolak for yet another wonderful story and a great idea.

December 19, 2012 at 10:25 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article! I love disney and Janet's travel writing!

December 19, 2012 at 12:49 PM 

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