How will Disney's Art of Animation Resort affect the Orlando area hotel market this summer?
October 11, 2011, 11:34 AM ·
Disney fans will have another option for where to stay on Walt Disney World property next summer, as Disney has announced a May 31 opening date for its new Art of Animation Resort.
Disney's Art of Animation Resort will be a value resort in the ESPN Wide World of Sports area, with 1,120 family suites and 840 rooms. The resort will be themed to four Disney and Pixar animated films, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo and Cars, with exterior decorations and interior accents themed to these films and their settings. (Think Pop Century Resort, but with giant Disney mermaids instead of Rubik's Cubes. For what it's worth, the Mermaid and Cars concept drawings in the video above looked a lot like the concept art we saw here in California for the Disney California Adventure expansion.)
The Disney World Animation Resort's been in the planning phase for years, mothballed due to the sluggish economy. So why is Disney moving ahead with the resort now? Ultimately, Disney best strategy for maintaining its lead in the competitive Orlando-area tourism market is its package deals - Magic Your Way tickets, often combined with on-site stays that come with free bus rides to and from the airport, making it inconvenient, at best, for visitors to stray off Disney property.
But Disney needs more capacity at the high season to maximize the number of visitors buying its packages, especially with the New Fantasyland and Avatar on the horizon. So it makes sense for Disney to proceed with a new hotel. Sure, Disney adding 2,000 rooms to the market also means a tougher time for off-site hotels, but that usually translates into even lower hotel prices for bargain-hunters who don't stay on property with Disney.